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Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Crash...or So I Think!

Looking at my archive history, I had over 200 posts in my first year.  2010 has exactly six posts.  I need to get crackin'.  With less than 200 days left in the year, I doubt I'll get any where close to that number but we shall see.

As everyone knows, the best way to gain experience in riding is to ride.  And practice.  And ride.  Slow skills.  Picking up a dropped motorcycle.  Practice practice practice.  P.S....riding fast in a straight line is not practice.  Unless you want to work on your braking skills.

Unfortunately, an important skill to have is also crashing.  However, this is one area that is rather difficult to practice.  At least I hope for the average bear.....

When I was growing up and lived life on 8 wheels (yeah, I skated on 'quads'), I got several lessons on crashing and learned how to fall down.  It's saved my bacon a time or few.  I also had the luck of having a terrific boyfriend at the time that believed in teaching reactionary skills so not only did I learn how to fall down on skates, I learned how to countersteer on ice (a feat accomplished in north Louisiana, no less) and how to handle skids, dirt, gravel, and other hazards in a car and on a motorcycle.

Interestingly enough, I've found that mountain biking has been a great contributor to my education of controlled riding and well, crashing.  Riding trails that are quite technical will certainly take one though a OJT course of how to and how not to ride.  I think it's pretty amazing to watch those mountain bikers that are leap years beyond my skill level and how they manage to get over rocks, rivers, skid, corner and everything else they do.

At this part, I'm far away from being 'expert' in mountain biking--as a matter of fact, I can state that every ride I've done has had my bicycle has had at least one crash resulting in something being bent.  I've gotten good at getting off and watching my bike crash...which I'm not sure if a good thing, but hey, it's easier to repair (and less expensive) the bicycle than to repair Christine--especially if something gets "bent" so I let go of the bike and watch it crash without me.  I don't know what I will do if it goes over a cliff.  Buy another bicycle, I suppose.

Granted, translating the laws of physical science from a bicycle to a 700 pound motorcycle is different, however, the skidding is pretty much the same.  Rather do it on a bike since the speeds are slower (although while it's all unfolding on the bicycle it does not appear to be so) than Mr. Chubbs.

I think I would get some odd looks riding Rampart Reservoir on the Harley.  Not to mention the impossibility of getting it over some of the really technical parts.  Although there is something to be said about twisting the throttle while climbing up a hill which is when I'm usually muttering under my breath for it to somehow magically appear.

It has never happened.  However, I notice an improvement of reactions when I do get on the motorcycle, so I've learned something.  Riding with control.  Braking with control....and crashing with control.  I hope I never have to test the last theory, but hopefully the muscle memory will stick with me if I ever need to call it home.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who's Still Out In Blogosphere?

I blinked three times and three years have somehow passed.  That's it--I'm keeping my eyes open!

Seriously, at one point I was involved with the huge online biker community and then made a left turn called life.  I see my fellow compadres do a drive by and visit--and see them out doing their thing and writing about their passions.

Hmmmm...just a thought.

How To Take A Bath on a Harley...

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago I'm riding around in a small group of two.  Typical for Colorado weather--afternoon thundershowers to cool the day down.  In my area of town, there was the 20 minutes torrential downpour resulting in flash flooding and big pools of standing water.

Note 'big pools of standing water'.  On northbound Austin Bluffs, before Rangewood, the left lane typically gathers water.  Lots of water.  As I'm riding wing, I realize that the water is probably there and I should be proactive to 1). not ride in said pool of water since I need new tires, and 2). I do not want the water to be thrown at me resulting in the inevitable drenching that renders my vision absolutely useless.  Check traffic for a clear lane--I signal and move over.

Unfortunately, the leader isn't paying much attention nor realizes that the hazard is ahead.  No problem, I'm out of the way and I know that said leader is fully capable of handing said pool 'o water. 

Or so I think.

Said Harley Davidson Road King hits water about 45 miles per hour.  The arc of water it creates is of absolute beauty!  The fearless leader said he glanced in his rearview mirror to see if I was okay, only to find that I was not there.  No, I'm in the right hand side of the next lane watching a beautiful arc of water racing towards me. 

There's not much I can do except do a distance check to make sure there is no one too close, take a deep breath and shut my mouth. 

There was so much water that I was momentarily unable to see through my windshield.  Needless to say, I was soaked through and through--and in places that normally do not get wet while riding in a rainstorm.

Well, next time I will just have to be in the very far right lane. 

Either that or lead!

I think that bath earned me a dinner and a bike wash. Okay, fair enough.

Until the next time~

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's A Time Warp...Sneaking in a Ride

Its pretty amazing how quickly time flies.  A few weekends ago found me at the 20th Annual United Run...the first ride I've done in a very long time.  Glad to see a good many of my friends...and most were surprised to see me.  Happy, but surprised.  Sigh.  Work, graduate school and just a whole boatload of other excuses :).

The ride was a mystery ride--only the stops are known.  The order of the stops and the time are the categories.  Each motorcyclist guesses at the route and then rides it.  It is fun and of course, getting out for wind therapy is always great!  I should do it more often!

I invited myself to ride along with a few wonderful friends and we had a great time.  Well, except the fact that I do need new tires.  It's been something that I've been ignoring for much too long.  Of course, I'm trying to beat my good friend Dozer's record of getting down to cords, but I'm finding that I'm unsuccessful.  Actually, I could probably get down to that, but from a safe and sensible perspective, I think that I will blink in this unscheduled game of chicken and get 'er done.

Until then, the bike is parked in the garage and will sit.  I have "fond" memories of riding in the rain on slick tires.  Even cautiously riding and braking resulted in a sideways drift on wet pavement.  Riding with control has never been a problem and countersteering is a great skill to have.  I've forgotten all the bumps and bruises that earned that skill--mostly on dirt and never on pavement.  Keeping it that way is the smart thing to do to honor these old bones!

Sunday found me in a sideways skid because of stopping too fast.  On dry pavement, nonetheless.  I want a new motorcycle--just not like this!

Note to riders...the contact area of a motorcycle tire on the ground is about the size of an average person's palm.  It is critical to have proper tire inflation and tread!  With other hazards such as chemicals on pavement, gravel, dirt, water, animals (okay I will stop there) are important.

Bike should be in the shop in the next week or two, so I'm heeding my own advice!

It was good to get out and ride...and my fellow Mountain Shadow Riders took first and second in the United Run.  Kudos for them!!!

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Friday, June 04, 2010

It's Time


I have managed to get a bit o' riding in here and there.  My kiddo is visiting his dad for the summer, so I get the daily fix of riding to and from the office.

My son is with me full time now since his father has moved away.  Not a bad thing, but it certainly changes my weekends chock full of riding.

The weather hasn't been too agreeable; it seems like the awful weather was always coming in for the weekend--so it cut into 'prime' riding time.  However, summer is right around the corner and the weather is finally turning.

In April, I had Alex (he's my son, btw) climb on the back of the Fatboy to see if he was finally tall enough to ride on the back.  Lo and behold, he was!

Down to Apex to buy safety gear.  Geez, I had forgotten how much gear is needed!

Nonetheless, gloves, helmet, leather jacket are the priority.  I still need to get boots.

I got to give him props, we have had quite a few turns around the neighborhood and he's adjusting very well.

The time came to get out on the city streets and again, kudos to Alex!  He's an excellent student as far as being a passenger.  Of course, he may be scared out of his mind for falling off!!

The biggest test was on the Interstate.  Now, going down I-25 at 70 MPH on a motorcycle isn't necessarily scary.  However, this is the first jaunt down the highway and *I'm* concerned!  All the crazy "what ifs" are going through my mind.

No worries, Alex was terrific.  I normally don't make a habit of interstate riding, but it was necessary for that day.  He did great! 

Problem solved.  At least a bit of it.  I don't think we'll be putting 500 miles for a day's ride anytime soon.  However, we can get out for a little putt on occasion.  It's a start.

I guess it's time to seriously start thinking of that new big ol' cruiser bike, huh??

Already promised.....I have to finish grad school.

Summer, 2011 is the target!!


Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine