Ride your ride? Choose your ride!

Everyone says, “ride your ride”. What they may really mean is that you should do what they have done. They may also mean that it’s OK for you to not push new conditions that make you uncomfortable.

Every motorcycle has been designed for some purpose. You need to find the purpose that you really enjoy and find the bike that fits that. In the very beginning for me, that was riding a little bike with a top speed of 40mph. I rode around town and through campgrounds. I was happy and had a little 90cc bike that was perfect for that. That was my ride.

Times change and I decided to pursue riding open road bikes. I bought a Harley Fat Boy because I could hold it up. That was about it. I couldn’t turn, I didn’t know how the friction zone was supposed to work. I had the bike and I had challenged myself to move outside my comfort zone.

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Meet Sylvia, my 2013 Honda Gold Wing. She has ABS (Antilock Brake System) and Tire Pressure Monitoring, so she can tell me if she has a low tire. All this is nice, but I need to know how she really works. How does she handle the rain? Many bikers might get up on Saturday morning and see the rain pouring down, shake their head and go back to bed. That’s fine if you ride a cruiser, which is designed for day trips, ending back home. However, if you are a long distance rider, sooner or later you will ride in the rain. It’s important to train for those conditions.

Last weekend, I rode to St Louis to visit family. It’s a nice ride, only 430 miles. No rain on the ride down (Boo). The ride home made up for it. The first half of the trip was dry, but Mother Nature let loose on me to help. 🙂 The first thing a biker learns about rain is that if you stop to put on your gear, it won’t rain. 🙂 The worst possible thing to do is to wait until it does rain, then find an Interstate overpass to stop to put on gear. This is how people get killed. I studied the weather patterns and determined that I was good for the first half of the trip and a potential drowned rat for the second half.

Enter the rain. I put on my rain gear in anticipation. Didn’t work. The rain was heavy, intense and consistent. Despite how cool the aerodynamics look on Sylvia, the wind does not blow the water off the windshield. I can stand up and the wind blows it off my helmet visor, but when I sit down, I can’t see. This is the very reason for this trip. I need to experience what I may face, so I can prepare for it. Consider this training. Train for that which you may encounter, so you are ready when it does. This includes not only vision, but rain gear and boots. More to come.

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