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The Next 90 Miles (continued)

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The Next 90 Miles (continued)

April 8. 6.5 miles, 43.1 miles total. Had to run errands, decided to take the motorcycle. Had to make quick shopping/bank stops then off to a clients site. Upon arriving I had to parallel park the bike on the street. A big open space is available, I pull right up and stop. The bikeís not quite in the position I want it to be so I attempt to move it. Of course the road is an incline. No problem! I can handle a start on a hill, after all, Iíve been PRACTICING!! Fiddle with clutch, front brake and throttle. The bike stalls out. What the heck?! I know I can do this, Iíve been PRACTICING!! Restart the bike. Fiddle with the clutch, front brake and throttle again. The bike stalls AGAIN! Now Iím getting aggravated. Start the motorcycle again. Fiddle with the clutch, front brake and throttle. The bike stalls for the third time. At this point Iím really frustrated. Bad words are being produced and I let the bike roll back against the curb, put the side stand down, and leave it where it is taking up a parking spot and a half.
I walk into the building and apparently no one knew I now ride a motorcycle. They were all shocked to see me walk in all suited up. I actually elicited a laughing fit from one of the gals. She was laughing so hard she had to put her head down on the desk. Apparently motorcycle and geek donít go together. Who knew? I work on what needs working on and leave the building. Itís now drizzling. Good thing I put the rain liner under the jacket. I wipe off the seat (who wants to get a wet butt, right?), get on the bike, pick it up off the side stand and prepare to start her up. I shift to neutral by pulling up on the shift lever. No neutral. Huh? Whatís going on here? I push down on the shift lever. Still no neutral. Not even a flash of the neutral indicator like I passed through neutral into first gear. I press down on the shift lever again. BINGO! Neutral! Then it hits me! Thatís why the bike stalled out three times. Apparently when I pulled up along side the curb to park, the bike was still in second gear. Note to self. Stop doing stupid things and make sure the bike is in first gear when you come to a stop, what an idiot.
During this ride I think I figured out that the turns that I have problems with are right turns from a stop. For some reason I run wide in these turns (see April 1st entry) and I did something similar again today Ė twice. Luckily there was no traffic and I didnít go quite as close to the other lane today, so not an issue, but if I keep doing this itís going to be a problem one day. Iím not sure yet what the problem with right turns from a stop is, not looking far enough into the turn maybe. Iím going to have to work on this in parking lot practice where I can concentrate on it with no traffic around.
Did 4 or 5 hill starts on my street. All successful!

April 9. 4.8 miles 49.6 miles total. Rideus Interruptus. Family issues called and ended up having to cut the total ride short. Overall an uneventful ride but I did get a do-over on one of the right turns from a stop that I futzed up yesterday. It was a success this time.

April 10. 13.4 miles, 63 miles total. Todayís commutes bring me up to a total of 165.7 miles. Yeah I know, this is supposed to be the second 90 miles and my grand total should be 153 miles at this point, (you double checked my math, right?) but I skipped a day where nothing interesting happened during the ride so Iím not counting that in the second 90 miles. I feel myself getting more comfortable and relaxed each time I saddle up. It took a few times out after the winter hiatus, but now I try to figure out if thereís a way to get where I have to go via a route that will fit within my comfort level riding the bike. If there is, Iíll opt for the bike before the car. During my jaunt today I finished with a job and was returning to home base. I debated whether to go back the way I came or to try a different route back. Guess which route won? Yup, Iím finding that the shortest distance between two points may be a straight line but when youíre on the bike the shortest way is not always the way you choose to go.
A first today. As Trials put it, my ďfirst episode with invisibility.Ē While turning left from a three way stop, turn signal on, with a car and a bus at the opposing stop sign. The car took his turn and proceeded down the road. My turn to go. I looked the bus driver in the eye and made sure he wasnít moving. I proceeded into the intersection and the bus started into the intersection and kept going. At least I didnít have to stop, I coasted slowly until the bus passed by then I completed the turn It was an ugly turn. The driverís behind me probably thought I was going to lose the bike because the turn was so slow and wobbly. More hill start practice today. All successful again.
On the plus side getting geared up to ride is taking less time. I think Iíve got a method for it now.

April 12. 8.5 miles. 71.5 miles total. Took the bike out as a commute to setup for a fund raising breakfast. Nothing memorable happened but more and more people I know are being educated to the fact that geeks do indeed ride motorcycles. Itís amazing how many comments I get and everyone seems truly concerned for my safety. I havenít gotten any of the ďyou know what they call motorcycles in the emergency roomĒ speeches yet. Later that afternoon I took my daughter out for some riding around our neighborhood. It was an experiment for both of us. Sheís been bugging me to take her for a ride since I got my license last year and I wanted to see what it feels like with a passenger on the bike. It really is a different feel. The bike which has a low center of gravity and usually doesnít try to fall over on me at a stop sign has a tendency to want to topple over. The toppling feeling is not very pronounced, but it is noticeable.

April 18. 11 Miles. 82.5 miles total. Yeah, itís been a while since I last had a chance to use the motorcycle. The weather has been really rotten. First rain, then cold and snow. This is actually the first day that has been decent in a week. The temp finally got into the low 50ís today and riding with the mesh over pants and mesh jacket with its rain liner was enough to be comfortable on the road. Nothing memorable happened on this trip but the bike feels different. Iím starting to get a feel for how it handles. Corners are not as hard to manage and I can take them a bit faster. My throttle control has improved from the jerky on and off control of the past, itís definitely more steady now. Starts from a stop are getting easier too. Today I had to make a left turn and a car coming around a blind corner surprised me a little as I was starting out. The distance from the turn to the blind corner did allow enough room to start safely and turn form a complete stop. I would have aborted the start a couple weeks ago and waited for the car to go past.

April 19. 23.2 Miles. 105.7 Miles. BRC2 class. Left home at 8:00 am temps in the mid 30ís Fahrenheit. Geared up with denims and long sleeved shirt, mesh riding pants with rain liner to stop wind, mesh riding jacket with rain liner and cold weather liner, winter thinsulate lined gloves. The ride to the class was quite comfortable with that level of gear. Over the course of the day I removed layers of gear and gloves were switched out in turn as the temps increased. Eventually ending up with only mesh jacket, mesh pants, and gloves with good air flow. The ride out to and back from the course was uneventful.
The BRC2 course itself was really not much different than the BRC course exercise-wise but it definitely is different when riding a large motorcycle. I was the only licensed rider in the class but I think the one with the least amount of riding experience. Some of these guys (they WERE all guys) have been riding on permits only for a few years in lieu of getting their ďMĒ endorsement. One drop occurred during the course (not me). ďThe BoxĒ gave me some grief, even with the practice earlier in the week, and Iím not so sure about my quick stop distance. Everyone passed so I guess I didnít do too badly. I really got a feel for how far over you can lean a 700 pound bike. Iím not an aggressive rider so the 130 degree turns at about 15 mph were a bit scary, but FUN! I think Iím going to have to find somewhere to practice these to remove the fear factor and enhance the fun factor.

Thatís it for now.

Ride Smart. Ride Safe.

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