It makes me happy to commute to work on a motorcycle instead of driving my car. Well, let’s say it makes me happier. However, when you spend five to six hours a week navigating highway traffic, sometimes the last thing you want to do is hop back on a bike during the weekend.
It is with great joy that my twin friends Tomax and Xamot talked me into riding with them yesterday. I had an absolute blast, and may have converted another sportbike rider into a mid-distance-in-foul-weather riding, touring gear wearing, hardcase luggage bearing four-season motorcyclist.
Here’s Xamot, in my driveway astride Raider, my BMW R1150R. He is in the process of selling his Honda 600RR and may buy my R from me.
Tomax waving hello. I was happy to see he wasn’t waving with just one finger. He’s on his BMW R1150R Rockster edition. It’s actually the sub-model I wanted when I first started researching the R1150 series. The Rockster is the most street-tuned of the naked R bikes. The orange paint job on it is beautiful (more on that later).
The temperature was in the 60s all day, and I wore my Rev’It Cayenne Pro jacket and Motoport mesh kevlar pants. I had both liners in my Cayenne Pro, and the waterproof liner in my Motoport pants. I also wore my Rev’It Fahrenheit gloves, which kept my hands warm almost all day without the need for my FZ6′s heated grips. I turned the grips on “low” just a few times.
I take the gents down one of my usual routes, through a wooded subdivision that passes a nearby lake. I fished my Canon PowerShot 1100 out of a chest pocket and pointed it over my shoulder:
I am really going to miss the auxiliary lights on the R1150R. Look how bright they are in full daylight! I purchased some for the FZ6 but I have no idea where I am going to mount them. I wish my bike had crash bars like the R.
Xamot was wondering what the F I was doing when we stopped at the next intersection.
We tooled around for a bit more and stopped by a newly-opened coffee and bagel joint. Unfortunately it was closed, being Easter Sunday and all. Feck. So much for supporting the little guy. I took some pictures of the ponies:
I really like the wheels … orange is one of my favorite colors.
Raider, reporting for duty.
By your command. Even after buying three other bikes, Cylon is still my favorite thing to ride. With two wheels, that is.
The twins: Tomax on the left, Xamot on the right. It was totally awe-inspiring and a little weird watching them ride. They have logged countless miles on rides together. They ride much more closely than I initially found comfortable. However, they know where the other is at all times. They turn at almost exactly the same speed, exactly the same entrance and exit points, and exactly the same angle. It’s uncanny, like watching birds in flight.
We set out past Route 360 and off to Old Gun and Powhatan. Tomax was in the lead, and I was bringing up the rear.
Oh yeah, here’s me. The only saving grace on this shot is that it was taken at about 60MPH on a country road.
This country road.
Tomax and Xamot on the BMWs. Watching the twins ride today made me think about Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman‘s Long Way Down documentary. They made a short jaunt seem like a bigger than life adventure. I had such a good time I wouldn’t mind being the anonymous cameraman
I caught this one at just the right moment. Tomax is signaling with his left hand at an upcoming road hazard (dead opossum, sorry Configuratrix). It is the responsibility of the lead rider to keep an eye out for dangerous conditions on the road, any potential traffic issues, and also keep tabs on all of the other riders in the group. Another huge responsibility is making sure everyone knows when to turn, and in what direction. We use a combination of hand signals and our bikes’s turn signals, and it works pretty well. I like the duties of being the lead rider … but my horrible sense of direction often puts me at the back of the conga line.
I was so happy to be back on the FZ6. I like Raider a lot, especially on the highway, but Cylon is very nimble and I enjoy the challenge of mastering tight corners and sweeping turns. I am in the process of upgrading him to mimic the things I like the most about the R1150R. For today, his slightly modified seat and Puig double bubble windscreen kept me perfectly comfortable.
This is the second part of the trip that Tomax led. It was about fifty miles, plus another twenty under my guidance. Some of the route was SUPER TWISTY, with turns at thirty miles an hour or less.
At the end of the ride, as we were refueling the bikes, I remembered that this is why I started motorcycling:
It wasn’t to get to work a few minutes more quickly because I can out-maneuver a car. It wasn’t to save a few dollars a year on gasoline. It was to wake up, rub one’s eyes, meet up with some friends, and hit the fucking road. We had no idea where we were headed when we met up, but we logged about five hours on the bikes anyway.
It was one of the best days I’ve ever had riding, and I know when all of my riding family can co-ordinate their schedules we’ll have even more fun this year.