First ride of 2005.
I went outside about 8:00 PM here in the Madison area, and realized the air was warm and dead calm. I knew that rain had been predicted for the next two days, and if I was going to get that 'first ride' in this week, it looked like now was the time.
I was apprehensive. I was still rehabbing a broken left hand, and as many of you know, I changed out my complete handbar assembly to chrome. With this change, I had replaced the stock clutch cable with braided stainless, and it was a bear to pull.
But that wasn't the only reason. I truly believe that bikers are born, not made. And bikers I associate with consider themselves 'professional bikers,' as calm at 85 MPH on the Insterstate as they are at home on a couch with a brewski. I'm a little clumsy in spring. Everything on a Harley is heavy, the engine, the wheels, the clothing, the boots and momentum is an ugly mistress. My abductor muscles atrophy every winter, and I pay for it every spring. I've been working out hard again, but maybe I lost a step.
And I'm older. Men my age are bouncing grandchildren on their knee, not sharpening stilettos and oogling chrome. Boys still get out of my way at the gym, and being a Rider carries a some status at the Harley shop. I approach this sport with the utmost sincerity.
The bike, "Black Betty," had been polished and filled with gas last fall. A battery 'tender' had been plugged in for most of the winter, and that meant my starter could draw on 85% of its capacity. I slipped on my Harley jean jacket, my half boots and some tight black gloves and whirled Betty out onto the driveway.
I fanned the clutch a few times, turned on the ignition, and waited for the engine lights to pop off, indicating that the cylinders were charged by the EFI and I hit the starter. The engine fired instantly, as if there had been no winter hiatus.
I idled the motor until the rocker boxes were toasty, drew the clutch and clunked Betty down into first gear. As I eased out the clutch and lifted my feet, the old familiar pain shot up my inseam. Oh well, no pain, no gain.
I continued to throttle lightly until out of my subdivision and downshifted onto the first acceleration ramp. I hit two quick gears and rolled the throttle on smoothly but decisively past highway speed. I shifted into fourth and finally fifth to ease my speed down.
Just like riding a bike.
In these forums I might make too much out of my perspective on life. But it is my perspctive. I have been a biker just shy of 40 years, and while there are tens of thousands of Wisconsin bikers, only about 75 have ever been CC Riders in the club's entire existence.
I had trepidation standing in the garage. But once the motor lit, I felt that 'exhale moment.' It's moving with my heels inches above disappearing pavement I feel my best, in my place.
I hope in your pursuits, your jobs and your leisure activities you finally find that mental clarity. My Grandfather built Harleys, and I try to wear them out. It can be no other way.
I guess I was born that way.
Tourist - I'm on your page dude - totally. I was lucky to get bike out a few times during early months of year - freaky days when warm enough. But now - here too - a balmy warm and sunny day - and so - of course - had to go somewhere.
Elected to ride over to one of the gun shops - browsed a lot, bought some consumables and resisted urge to leave there with a (nother) gun!!! My wife had stuff to do so rode solo - no probs there but do like being able to share the outdoors with Mrs whenever possible.
I can only claim a ''poor man's Harley'' . Honda VTX 1300C4 - but hey - it's a cruiser - it has a good beat and handles great. I am still one happy camper. Wednesdays is pin shoots - and all being well now clocks changed and weather looks Ok - should be able to bike over to club for that - save some gas as well as up the grin factor!
I had my first bike when still at college aged 18 - a ''lash-up'' machine built out of parts I could scrounge - but got me started. That was 42 years ago (ouch!). From there I advanced thru many bikes ... plus some years when somehow I was intermittently bikeless - not good! Late 80's I really got back in properly again and had a K1 Wing for some while - did a lotta miles on that. Then another hiatus for a bit but then because of going back to college at age 47 (yeah, really), sold car and survived totally on 2 wheels for 3 years .. a XJ 650 Yamaha - semi custom ... did enough miles on that to go round world a time and a half ... about 36,000+ - all weathers including snow!!!
That went and I picked up a GS1000G Suzuki - which served well - for a good many thousand more miles.
2003 decided a cruiser was needed and got the Honda ... added a lot of ''stuff'' and have loved it ever since. True enough - we bikers have a certain set of genes i think - it is in the blood from day 1. Only did about 4k last year but 1,500 of those were with Mrs ... some great rides - some of which were rallies in state.
This year, as concession to advancing years - plan to put trailer on truck and tow bike further afield, and then explore lotta new places. Main reason is - prefer dry riding - and reason for that is - I am a lazya$$ when it comes to cleaning bike - me? I can get wet - but bike? Naw - too much work!!
Enjoy the new season dude - may we ride safe and enjoy every doggone minute of it. :smile:
I agree with your theory Tourist.
I've always wanted an ATV. For no good reason.
I've always wanted a Winnebago. For no good reason.
I've always wanted a vintage Chevy, something from the 50's or 60's.
I've always wanted a '59 Dart for no good reason.
And a 1974 'Cuda.
I've always wanted a Chevy pickup truck. I got one of those at least. It was by far the most practical.
But for some reason I have never had a desire to own a motorcycle.
It's about 1:30 AM now, andI've been dozing in front of the big screen watching "Rolling Thunder." No, Michelle Smith doesn't do it for me, it's the little blonde quiff that does the actually riding that I enjoy.
Euc, don't worry, you just don't have the Lackhorn gene. And that's kind of my point. Some people shouldn't be out there on the highway, not that I'm a snob. Even when I didn't own a bike I was a biker, and owning two or more per year didn't validate it, either.
Besides, man, you're the "Royal Regent of Revolvers." Your place is on dry land, plinking with those crank guns.
Sounds like you are not quite ready to trade Betty in for a Vespa yet. :laugh2:
Not quite yet. I have very strong legs from the StairMaster.
However, Harleys can now be converted to trikes just like those Gold Wing cruisers (which use a Miata rear end).
I can see a time when I'm 60 to 65, when I want to continue riding, I have more leisure time and my wife wants to accompany me more and more.
Those trikes have a lot of storage space, and it would make day-trips easier.
When my 95-inch engine needs to be re-built, I plan to go to the 103 engine, unless something else comes along. Rumor has it that Harley has stuck a deal to put Jim's 122-inch S&S engines in stock bikes, complete with warranty.
That will pull three wheels quite nicely.
My first ride was in our winter hiatus in January. It was almost 60 and the road was calling. No, make that screaming. I rolled out the bike, washed it down quick and then went out to "blow the excess water off".
My wife is almost a constant companion when I ride, but she understands the first couple rides of the year I have to go alone. She knows I will push the bike hard until I feel good about it and then she can get on the back. She doesn't like it when I drag parts on the ground.
Today I am working from home and it is 81 out there. It is all I can do to stay in here working versus out there riding. In fact I'm sure in another couple hours the bike will win the fight. I already moved the truck out of the way so I can get the bike out. So I'm 5-7 minutes from being on the road. Maybe I'll be a good husband and wait for my wife to get home and take her out riding. Then again I may just do both.
It sounds like we have a lot of redneck bikers here at CCW.
What an odd occurance. Guys (and gals) who love freedom, love the freedom of riding and decide to choose their own path.
Yikes. Well, a family is a family. Feel free to pull up a box on my driveway, open a bulk package of those 'lips and tongues' and we'll slaughter an agave cactus or five. I'll suds up Betty, maybe wash the motorcycle, too.
Must be spring, the seat ripped in my favorite blue jeans. But, oh, those 95 inches can howl. Do I have to say more?