Thursday, 28 August 2014

Video Stories That Express Why I ride - Dream Your Ride

There are a few video stories that express why I ride.  Some of them are company ads and others are individual productions.  Enjoy.


Yamaha WR Ad - What I dream of at work many days


This video expresses the feeling of freedom that I get when I ride


A great commercial featuring one of the longest running motorcycle competition, The Isle Of Man TT


This one's long, but these riders are crazy and amazing.  Enjoy!


Finally, the trailer for THE motorcycle experience movie

Dream Your Ride and enjoy it.

Gerald Trees


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

My Peru Motorcycle Adventure – The Recap

--> My Peru Motorcycle Adventure – The Recap

After spending 14 days in Peru, 10 of them on a motorcycle covering 2,000 km, and taking a couple of weeks to “unwind” after my trip, here are my observations on this magical country.

My Favorite Roads:

  1. The road to Q’eswachaka.  8.5 km of cornering bliss.
  2. The road to Lares.  30 km of perfect pavement that climbs and twists from the Sacred Valley into the mountains, followed by 30 km of dirt road that gets you further into some spectacular scenery.  The beauty is that you’ve got to do the road in the opposite direction to get out.
  3. The road to Chivay.  While the pavement is potted and rough, the road into the town of Chivay descends from 16,000 ft to 12, 000 ft in 30 km.  The bonus is taking a fun dirt road another 20 km into Colca Canyon.



The People:

  1. The people of Peru are amazingly warm and friendly.  They are willing to stop and help strangers with directions or store our motorcycles in their garage overnight. 
  2. In the rural Andes it’s quite common to see a lone person sitting miles / kilometers from any town or structure.  They may be watching over a few llamas or sheep, however there were some who were simply sitting there waiting for something.

Travel:

  1. If you’re flying from North America to South America or within Peru, fly LAN Airlines.  This is a South American based airline and by far one of the best airlines I’ve flown with. 
  2. Taking a Peruvian taxi is an adrenaline rush!  Hang on and enjoy the madness.
  3. Bus drivers in the rural areas of the country, especially those found on the gravel roads, drive like they’re in training for the Dakar Rally.  On the plus side, if they have a flat tire, they know how to fix it.

Food & Drink:

  1. Pisco Sour is an acquired taste and I’ve acquired it. 
  2. Pizza is one of the Peruvian staples.
  3. If you’re spending any time in Cusco, Jacks is the place for dinner and The Meeting Place is where the coffee is real and the waffles are awesome.

Accommodations:

  1. The typical Peruvian hotel is comfortable, however more “rustic” then what you’d typically find in North America.
  2. Heat is a luxury and usually is in the form of a portable space heater, if you’re lucky.  It’s cold at night in the Andes so dressing warm for sleep is a good idea. 
  3. If you’re in Cusco, the place to stay is Casa Elena.  It’s in the heart of the city and the proprietors, Yves and Elena Chemin are wonderful hosts and will also book tours for you with operators that they trust to give their guests great service.

The lobby at Casa Elena
  
Important things to know:

  1. Toilet paper is rare commodity and often non-existent in locations like gas stations.  Bring Your Own Everywhere!!!
  2. Bottled water comes in two forms, plain (Sin Gas) and carbonated (Con Gas).  It’s my opinion that the carbonated version is bottled at sea level and then transported to the higher elevations, which makes for a spectacular eruption when opened quickly.  Open slowly if you want to stay dry.
  3. Toilet paper must go in the ‘waist basket only.  Putting it in the toilet will likely start an international incident and an environmental disaster.



My Favorite Tourist Popular Tourist Attractions:

  1. Machu Picchu.  Some say Machu Picchu is a magical place, while others believe aliens built it.  Regardless of you’re belief, this place is amazing.
  2. The city of Cusco.  Old World meets modern.
  3. The city of Arequipa.  The architecture and the magnificent and majestic volcanic mountains that surround this city are truly unique.

Machu Picchu
Cusco from above

My Favorite “Out Of The Way” Attractions:

  1. Q’eswachaka.  This is the traditional Inca rope bridge that’s built from the plants that grow on the surrounding hillsides.  It was a rush to walk across this structure.
  2. Colca Canyon and the Condors.  Spectacular!
  3. Lares.  This small community hosts hikers and mountain bikers who are looking for a relaxed setting without crowds.  The people are very friendly, the scenery is beautiful and time literally stands still in this place.

Q'eswachaka from above

I would like to thank Paul Opp for being my guide and companion for this adventure.  He put all this together.

Gerald Trees

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Live Large, Work Hard, Live The Dream!

Today I was finishing up some paper work at the end of my day when by good friend and brother Ken popped in.  He'd just made it back the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and stopped by to give me a rally shirt.  I was surprised and very grateful!

 My 2014 Sturgis Black Hills shirt.  Thank you Ken!

Ken and I had an "eventful" 2013.  A year ago I was laying in a hospital bed recovering from a ruptured appendix that went septic and according to my surgeon was "gross" and could have ended my ride permanently.  That life event slowed me down for 6 weeks and I missed a 2 week motorcycle ride down the California coast and Central Arizona.  A few days earlier Ken had a close call while on his way to the 2013 Sturgis Rally that could have cost him his life.  He never made it to South Dakota and spent a few weeks recovering from some bruising and cracked bones, not to mention rebuilding the front end of his motorcycle.

12 months after our close calls with the reaper, we kept the dream alive and lived large.  I took a dream ride through the Peruvian Andies and my friend and brother made it to Sturgis.






Life is precious and can be fragile so give it all you've got every minute of every day.

Ken, you are my brother and I'm thrilled you had a great trip to South Dakota.

Gerald.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Motorcycles in Peru - They're Everywhere

After spending 10 days riding in Peru, I saw more motorcycles on the road each day then what I see in a given day, even a nice day, where I live in Canada.  My riding companion, who's from US, made the same observation.

In Peru, motorcycles are a widely used form of transportation and I'd go as far to say that few Peruvians use their motorcycle for recreation.

A typical Peruvian motorcycle.

In Peru, most motorcycles are simple single cylinder bikes that are under 200cc's.  In North America, that's a beginners motorcycle.  We consider 650's and smaller to be, well, small.  In Peru our Honda Falcon 400's were considered huge and fast.  If you see a larger motorcycle on the road, it's either part of a tour or the owner is riding through South America and is from North America or Europe.

A big motorcycle by Peruvian standards.

In Peru you can buy a Yamaha FZ16.  All 160cc's worth.

Yamaha FZ16.

While you will see a few Yamaha and Honda motorcycles on the road, most of the motorcycles in Peru are brands that are unknown in North America.

A Wanxin 250.

Finally, there is one motorcycle available in Peru that I would love to see come to North America. The Yamaha Tenere XT660.


Keep dreaming and make sure you live, and ride, your dream.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Altiplano near Chivay, Peru

Altiplano near Chivay, Peru

The road to the town of Chivay climbs to an altitude of 4,910 meters or 16,110 feet.  Our Honda Falcons did very well in this elevation considering they're carbureted.  It was cold and we rand into a few snow flurries along the way.

Gaining elivation

Yes, that's ice!

Outhouses at elivation

Near the summit with snow on the horizon





Heading south from Chivay, Peru, the gateway to Colca Canyon, is a fun riding road.  The elevation is high and it's important to watch out for buses as the bus drivers drive like they're competing in the Dakar Rally.

Enjoy the video.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Life: Quality, Quantity and Longevity

Life:  Quality, Quantity and Longevity

Yesterday, August 5, 2014, well over 200 family, friends, employees and business partners came together to celebrate the life of Dr. Francis Jean, founder and president of IRIS, The Visual Group. 

 
Francis Jean passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 56 while riding his bicycle in the Canadian Rockies on July 17th.  He was riding to raise funds for cancer research. I received the news of my friends passing the next morning while I was in Peru on my dream ride of South America.

 Cycling became a passion as did raising money for cancer research.

I first met Francis Jean in 2001 when he “cold called” on me and wanted to discuss merging my optometric practice with IRIS, The Visual Group, at the time a Quebec based company that had recently purchased the largest retail optical company in British Columbia, where I live.  I took the meeting and from the first time we shook hands I felt that I was already his friend.  That friendship and a great business partnership developed over the next 8 months.

Francis Jean had a very large dream of building the largest eyecare provider network in Canada and to help Canadians experience the best vision possible.  Along with this dream was a vision of how he was going to accomplish this and a plan to go with that vision.  I wanted to be a part of this and jumped in completely, merging my practice with the one in Port Alberni, where I live, and purchasing 4 more locations in partnership with IRIS, The Visual Group.

Over the past 13 years I’ve learned a great deal about life and how to live it from this unique man.  The most valuable lesson was that many people have dreams, fewer have a vision of how to make their dreams a reality, even fewer have a plan and the people who are living their dream do so because they’ve taken action on reaching their dream and that action is complete, without hesitation.  The second most valuable lesson was that living with a purpose every second of every day is the only way to achieve success in anything and have it really mean something.  This can only happen if you have a passion for living.

Society today is caught up in living long (Longevity), accumulating as much stuff as they can (Quantity) with the belief that this will give them a good life (Quality).  That is a trap!  The reality is that by living life with purpose and passion (Quality) the other two elements, Quantity and Longevity, have little value and are a nice bonus if they happen.

My friend, Francis, lived a Quality life and was blessed with a large group of family and friends, which he valued more then anything.  While his life was short in duration, he packed more into 56 years then most will accomplish in a lifetime.  My life was made richer through his example and encouragement and I will miss my friend very much.

If you have a dream, act now to make it happen because now is all you and I are guaranteed.  Later may be too late.

Gerald Trees


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dream Your Ride - Riding In Rural Peru


We rode some amazing roads during our two weeks in the Peruvian Andes and this was my favorite paved section of road.  This gem of a road has very little traffic and leads to a crazy foot bridge.







Q'eswachaka

Enjoy!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride