by Gus Breiland
There comes a time in a cheap bastard rider’s life when his bike will leave him stranded. Many things can happen; stuck this, broken that, silvery / glittery oil. You know: “I was riding along, minding my own business when all of the sudden a loud…” and next thing you know you’re putting your faith in a midget mechanic, it’s 31 degrees, it’s snowing and freezing on the road surface. The destination is 1.5 hours away and you have to hop on back of your impatient traveling friend’s 15-year-old Italian bike with a stock Italian headlight with only 45 minutes of daylight left. How do you spell Lucas in Italian? C.A.G.I.V.A.
Fortunately for me, I had the presence of mind to pack my Canyon Dancer Bar Harness and 2 ratcheting tie downs for this trip. I was on my Tengai and in Two Harbors (destination Grand Marais) when we came to the stoplight and I didn’t like what I was hearing. I looked over at Mike and the questioning horror in his eyes as he snapped his head in my direction, and then my motor, told me I was in heap of trouble.
After dinking around for a bit; tightening this, oiling that, the conclusion was the Tengai was cooked and I was in need of a ride. We found a place to stash my bike and got on the road. A moment of clarity hit as I was on the back of the Cagiva, racing the sunset in search of entertainment, food and beer. I had nothing to fear.
Worst-case scenario was I would have to hop in the sidecar that I knew was empty for a ride home. I could then borrow a truck and drive back for the Tengai. What actually happened was a sensible person came up in their pickup instead of riding through that crap and allowed me to be his friend on the way home. (Thank you, Mr. Anderson) If they didn’t have tie downs, I did. Finding help when in need isn’t all that hard. It is finding the correct equipment to make said help effective that’s not always as easy.
I didn’t pack the Canyon Dancer and straps because I thought the Tengai was unreliable or that I have had history with the bike leaving me stranded. I packed it knowing that the weather was less than optimal and considering the odds, I figured what amounted to the same space as a travel kit for toiletries, there may be a need to trailer or truck a crashed / broken bike home. Little did I know it would be my bike
This simple little device is basically 2 straps intertwined with a loop on each end for tie downs and “tubes” on either side that slip over the grips of your handlebar. Once installed on the handlebar, you place a strap through each loop, then ratchet them tight.
The Canyon Dancer is compact and easy to fold flat. This allows you to pack it in an unused portion of your saddlebag, tank bag or under seat compartment. I have made a little kit that travels with me. Along with my flat tire kit and tool roll, the Canyon Dancer and 2 ratchet straps fit nicely at the bottom of my panniers, laying in wait.
The Canyon Dancer is also a great item to have around the house just for simple transportation of a bike. I have a shop about 7 miles away from me. In the dead of winter when I can’t ride the bike and want to work on it in my heated space, I can simply pop the bike in the back of a pickup and strap it down. Using the handlebars as the tie down point rather than various nooks and crannies around the bike, allows for greater protection against inadvertent rubbing damage on the fairing, and gives you better leverage when balancing the bike. Strapping to the triple tree or on the frame tubes is less stable than using the handlebars. The tubes on the strap evenly distribute the force of the tie downs on the grips, versus using the hooks of the straps, potentially pulling off a loose grip, allowing the bike to fall, and damaging both the bike and vehicle it is strapped to. This allows you to concentrate on the road ahead, and not the rearview mirror.
The Canyon Dancer retails for $28.99 and comes in 2 different sizes. One is a standard length for most bikes. The other is up to 34” wide for cruisers. The Canyon Dancer is such a simple device, that makes transporting your motorcycle simple. Everyone should have at least one hanging on their garage wall, if not packed in their travel kit.
I picked my Canyon Dancer(s) up at Midwest Cycle Supply in South Minneapolis. You can find them at 4300 Nicollet Ave. Their phone number is 612 825 9774. They also have an online presence at http://www.midwestcycle.com/.