went for another awesome ride yesterday... weather was great - sunny, cool, simply a great day for riding...
sunday started out as usual. went out in the morning to pick up the sunday paper for my wife. also picked up some eggs since i was making french toast for her and we were getting low on eggs. knowing it was cold out this early in the morning (6:30ish), i put on a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, my leather coat as well as chaps and took off. remember i cleaned my bike saturday and stripped it down?? remember i decided to leave the windshield off?? considering the temp (or maybe not considering the temp), i quickly learned that was a mistake!!! i thought about going back home and slapping the windshield on real quick, but, since it was a (fairly) short trip, i decided to tough it out... obviously before starting the day long trip, i put the windshield back on the bike. when i left the house for the brunch ride, i was really glad i had the windshield on the bike. it was probably a combination of having the windshield on and the temps going up, but the ride was a lot warmer.
so, the day started off, again as usual, with brunch at lucky32. only three of us showed up for the ride. before leaving, i told jim that i wanted him to test my bike - i had some concern over where/when the clutch was grabbing as i released it. i thought it should be grabbing a little sooner, although i guess something like that could fall into a personal preference area. jim said that during the ride, we would switch bikes so that he could determine what was going on. i thought this would also be a good opportunity to have him tell me about the general performance of the bike. jim has been around motorcycles for a long, long time and i really appreciate his views.
so, we started out, jim leading the way. we were taking our normal route up to danville - bicycle 1 to 96 to oxford, 158 to roxboro, 57 to milton and 62 up to 58/danville. when we got near wilton jim pulled over at a gas station - time to switch rides. jim jumped on my road king and did a couple small radius circles, testing the clutch. when he stopped, he said the clutch could probably use adjustment. so then we decide to take off. now i get a chance to test jim's gold wing. okay, so i'm really nervous. here i am on this bike i'm not too familiar with. jim steps me through the controls real quick - ignition, started, turn signals, radio, heater controls, etc. i'm thinking i'm not using the radio or the heater - we're on two lane, twisty roads, i don't need to be worrying about what i'm listening to on the radio. so i start the bike and it's so quiet. and there's no vibration. i look at jim and jokingly ask him if it's running. starting off wasn't that great - we went around the back of the gas station, through a gravel road and had to make a right turn onto the road we were traveling on. so here i am, on a gold wing, trying not to dump it, the steering is totally different from my road king, so i'm wobbling around, trying to hold it up at slow speed and approach the turn. i probably over thought the whole situation as i made it through without any real problems.
so i got to ride the gold wing for about 40 miles. great ride - smooth, comfortable, the bike had good pick up. honda sure does know how to engineer a bike. so we get to roxboro where jim and i switch back to our bikes. i had a bike grin on my face because the gold wing was a lot of fun to ride. if i was considering another cruiser, i would definitely consider the gold wing. but i wouldn't want the gold wing in place of my road king - in addition to, sure, but not in place of. guess i'm stuck on that "harley thing." go before going again, jim gives me a quick evaluation of my bike - overall runs well. need new front brake pads. he would recommend replacing the stock air shocks with progressive 440s to remove the feeling like you're riding on a hose. jim also commented that the seat was very comfortable. i replaced the stock seat with a mustang seat and haven't regretted that decision - especially when my wife rides with me. she couldn't go 75 miles on the stock seat - with the mustang seat, we can ride all day.
after getting back on our own bikes, we head up to danville and the trials. the ride up there was great - the sky was clear, the temps were great - cool, and getting warmer, but not hot. the roads were clear, not a lot of traffic. just the kind of day you want to be out... the trials were good - getting to know a couple of the riders since i've been to a couple of the events.
after spending a couple hours at the trials, we decide to head back home - the long way. as i mentioned in an earlier post, we decided to go through yanceyville and hit little deals gap. it's about a five mile stretch of road that's full or twists and turns, a couple one lane bridges and some near-hairpin turns. it's great. the only problem yesterday was there was gravel in the road around a couple of the turns. apparently whoever maintains the road decided to put gravel on the shoulders of the roads. i guess some of the yahoos around there can't manage to stay on the road, so they kick the gravel from the shoulder into the road. it took a little fun out of the ride because we have to be really cautious going into the turns. at one point, to avoid the gravel, i had to go into the opposite lane - lucky for me, no one was coming in the other direction. once we reached the end, we decided to go back the other way. it was good riding it in both directions. i was wondering if some of the local animals were targeting me - on the first pass a squirrel ran out in front of me. on the second pass a woodchuck ran across the road and almost ran into my back tire. guess it just made for a more exciting ride...
after that, we decided to head home, with a quick stop in oxford for some food. after eating, we decided to go different directions because it was getting dark and we wanted to get home. i took off along the two lane roads between oxford and my house. having the experience earlier of having the animals run out into the road, my concern was deer running out. this is the time of season for them... luckily i was behind cages most of the way - that was a little more reassuring.