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touch of painted curls
road trip 
7th-Sep-2003 04:45 pm
For those not familiar with my bike saga... I decided I wanted a bike (motorcycle). I wanted to get something fun and practical, but I found this (big) used sportsbike for a low price. Not a beginners' bike at all. I ended up making the second half of its payment getting the bike tuned up. Some days I'm patient enough to wait for what I really want, some days I'm not. Immediately after getting a bike, I decided I wanted a house this summer, so I spent several months obsessing on that, going to the UK, and otherwise not using my bike. ;)

So I went on a bike trip, starting at 8:30 this morning, finishing about 2:30. Three of us explored various roads to the southeast of Albany, towards Massachusetts. We stopped in Chatham for breakfast, at this castle-like house (with a great view) in Olana (a state park), and to look at strange metal sculptures. There were some nice views and some twisty roads, and one particularly nice painting by Frederich Church, who built the house. I didn't have any problems riding. The other two riders, Robert and Kevin, were much more experienced, but I wasn't holding them up.

The trip was very enjoyable, and any learning experience in which nothing gets broken is a very good thing, statistically. :)

My bike and gear work fine, but could be better. The Yamaha FZR1000 is powerful, handles ok, but is not comfortable (Umm.. yeah, duh.. if you couldn't tell just by looking at it, any review says so). Pretty much every part of my body gets to appreciate some discomfort on this thing. Even with decent gloves, my hands get numb from vibration (mostly at highway speeds). The mirrors leave something to be desired, too. Fortunately, my body is resilient and doesn't seem to care (wood, please). ;) The awkward position is giving my arms a workout; that's kindof amusing; I can use all the exercise I can get. :)

My leather jacket is satisfactory. The pants are small and far too warm when not riding, but still kinda cool to have. I could use a tank or seat bag, as I currently can only carry things in my clothing. Earplugs make riding much more enjoyable; the wind noise inside a helmet is unpleasant and distracting. My helmet works fine but isn't quality; would make a better spare.

I'm considering trading the bike for a comfy street/touring bike either shortly or in the spring. I'm vaguely watching for a reasonable BMW K75 or Honda Nighthawk or some such. Also considering nothing or a better car instead, considering how useless the bike is in winter. Most likely I won't do anything about it for now. Despite its faults, it's nice to have a bike. 500 pounds feels a more appropriate weight of metal to move an adult or two around.

I was concentrating on my riding so much that I probably didn't appreciate the scenery as much as one could. The ride on a bike is a lot more interesting and interactive than a car (though I'm sure I've more autopilot to develop, in this respect). One sacrifices conversation on a bike (although it is possible to communicate via headsets). Music is also nixed on most bikes (many luxury / touring bikes will have it).

Today's actually the first fully legal riding I've done. (I'm insured and registered, but only licensed to ride with a licensed rider nearby.)

Wow.. this is almost like a real journal entry. :)
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