I can definitely tell that it's springtime in the Rockies! My son Alex and I rode down to the April Mountain Shadow Riders meeting. Wow, a lot of new people! Which is great! And it's always wonderful to catch up with my friends.
The ride after the meeting was to Pueblo. I wasn't feeling it since the wind has been bothersome so some of us decided to break off and head north to Franktown. My son had another activity scheduled, so I got to ride without him. Truthfully, I would not have gone riding if I had him--anything out of town has him complaining that his legs hurt.
While it was only 45 or so miles, wow. The wind was beating up on everyone. I had the fabulous task of leading--although I don't understand why since I'm the one that is directionally challenged. Fortunately, I knew where the Stagecoach was, so all I had to do was lead five other motorcyclists.
Unbeknownst to me, one of the riders was new. Well, I knew that he had a new motorcycle--a new to him Harley Davidson V-Rod. He hadn't ridden in a number of years, but that doesn't mean anything--I had taken a riding hiatus for twenty-something years. I started riding again on a Yamaha V-Star 1100, which is still a large motorcycle then moved to my Harley. So, in my book, anyone riding a V-Rod should know what they are doing.
I was wrong.
The wind was beating us up pretty badly. I have a windshield, but Mr. V-Rod did not and while he had a full-faced helmet on, I know how exhausting it can be trying to ride in 40+ MPH wind gusts. I did lecture him before we headed out that I expect all riders to ride their own ride and be comfortable. However, I did not anticipate that he would do 5 miles under the speed limit.
That creates another type of hazard. I typically ride 5 miles over the speed limit and will ratchet it down some if necessary but I like to stay over the speed limit. I do this because most cars aren't doing the speed limit and I don't want to create a dangerous situation where cars are trying to pass motorcycles on twisty Colorado roads because they get impatient. There were several occasions that I looked back and the group is a quarter mile away!
I know he's struggling, but since we are out, we don't have much of a choice but to press on. I cut my speed but am conscious of the traffic behind our group and when a few cars build up and the road is passable, I move to the right to let the cars by.
Over all, it's an exhausting ride. Not just from the wind, but the process of ensuring that riders stay safe and ride within their means.
Mr. V-Rod ended up dumping his bike later in the day and breaking the shift linkage, but overall, he did very well. Hey, there were a couple of uh-oh moments when the wind is gusting me around, so my hat's off to him.
Keep the Shiny Side Up!
~The Rainbow Wahine