By May 11, 2006

If I Can’t Ride ….

It’s muggy as hell outside with a 70% chance of thunderstorms, so I’m not going out on my bike today. I am proud to say that I met my goal of 3000 miles by the end of April. I know it’s the second week of May, but I have been too busy playing EVE, hanging out with Lady Jaye, and riding Cylon to really post about my milestone.

I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned during my first 3000 miles on a motorcycle.

  • I feel safer on the highway than I do on surface streets. Sure, I’m going two to three times the speed on the highway, but there aren’t any intersections, and on-ramps and off-ramps are predictable. The scariest part of every ride is a blind left-hand sweeper on the last street before my house. There’s an intersection there (only going to the right), and I’ve seen many cars start to make the turn in the opposite direction without looking. I’ve had two cars start to pull out in front of me and slam on their brakes at the last minute. It’s one of the few places where I count on having to do some evasive maneuvers. The highway has none such spooky spots.
  • Parking in downtown Richmond is a pain in the ass, especially in the Shockoe Slip area with all of the cobblestones and uneven pavement. Cary street is so messed up that if I park on the right hand side of the street, the dropoff is so steep I can’t extend my kickstand.
  • The wind generated at 100MPH+ feels less than at around 75 – 85MPH. This does not help my compulsion to drive faster.
  • Most people on bikes are jackass squids who don’t wear enough protective gear. Beyond the completely obvious jacknuts who ride around with shorts, tshirts, sneakers and no gloves (just a helmet), I am continually pissed off by older riders wearing nothing but jeans and tshirts. If you’re not going to wear enough gear to protect yourself, at least wear enough gear to protect my insurance premium. The added expense of treating road rash and skin grafting hurts all of us.
  • I get less shit from cruiser/Harley-style riders now that I have my saddlebags and tail bag on all the time. They are much more likely to wave now than even two months ago.
  • Riding all winter and getting frostbite has earned me some cred from fellow riders. This goes along with my distaste for squids, but as soon as most riders dusted off their FZ6s for the spring a lot of them crashed. Out of the six or seven crash threads during the first two weeks of good weather, only one of them was from someone with a lot of experience who rode all season.
  • The toes of my left foot get numb sometimes when I’m on the interstate for a long time. I think it might be the vibration, coupled with my leg position.
  • Riding a bike is an experience unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. Just riding to see Lady Jaye yesterday was a joy … a fleet horse, the wind in my hair, a falcon at my wrist … WRONG, CONAN! I meant to say, smelling the fresh honeysuckle, the warm night air curling underneath my helmet, leaning around corners. All of these things and more make riding a bike much more interactive than when I’m driving a car. Even when I am behind the wheel of Inara.

Stay shiny side up.

Posted in: motorcycling

2 Comments on "If I Can’t Ride …."

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  1. noel says:

    congrats. i should have a lot more miles on my bike, but 2.5k after a broken collarbone isn’t so bad.

    i find that i get the cruiser/harley-style riders are the friendliest. usually the jap bike riders will wave back, but the harley guys usually wave first.

  2. drfaulken says:

    Sorry to hear about your collarbone — did you get that riding, or some other mishap?

    What kind of bike do you ride? Cylon’s a sport standard, which is the redheaded stepchild of all bikes. Too sporty for the cruiser folks, too upright for the sport folks. I am the first to wave almost every time, perhaps if I waited a bit I might see who waves first out of each group. But then I might miss out on some good waving opportunties. 😉