Jul 16, 2009

bikesafe – nc…

BikeSafe - NC

looking forward to tomorrow… going to participate in bikesafe – nc, a program to assess my skills and offer advice on improving… well, probably not so much designed to assess and improve my skills as much as reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities on the highways and make riding safer and more enjoyable.

the program was modeled after the bikesafe – london program. apparently the program in london has been very successful. and the program here in nc is showing the same promise.

as i understand it, there are two classroom sessions followed, each followed by a riding session, with feedback after the riding. i figure motorcycling is a something that should be continually practiced. so this should be an excellent opportunity to learn a more about what i can do to improve.

Jul 12, 2009

easyriders rodeo…

took a ride out to the easyriders rodeo in wilson yesterday… blasting down the highway, enjoying the solitude, thinking about how nice it was to be out riding… even thought about passing up the rodeo just to keep riding. it did cross my mind that if i had the paperwork, i might have turned this into an attempt at the ss1000. probably a good thing i didn’t!!!

i arrived and headed toward the ticket booth. with the variety of bikes in the parking lot, i’m thinking the bike show should have been outside!! DSC_3272 DSC_3273 DSC_3275 DSC_3277 DSC_3279 DSC_3280 DSC_3353 DSC_3351 DSC_3281 DSC_3282

i finally make my way inside and head over to the bike show to kill some time before the rodeo events start… while i appreciate all the effort that goes into customizing a bike, i definitely prefer the old bikes and rat bikes over custom, raked out and chromed bikes. DSC_3284 DSC_3287 DSC_3288 DSC_3290 DSC_3292 DSC_3304 DSC_3305 DSC_3346

this ‘63 triumph was probably my favorite – wish i had some extra cash laying around!!!DSC_3349DSC_3350

rodeo events…DSC_3301 DSC_3299 DSC_3300DSC_3308 DSC_3310

they even had a powderpuff round…

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and definitely the most interesting part of the day… i’m walking around the track get to the bleachers on the other side. as i pass a guy on his bike with a chick on the back, he asks if i take pictures. i answer yes, thinking to myself, that’s why i’m carrying this camera around. he asks if i’ll take a picture of his girl. of course!!! as i back up to get them in the picture, he adds, “because she’s always wanted to get into a magazine.” hmmmm… so i take a couple pictures and make some idle chit-chat asking if he’s entering the rodeo.

as i start to walk away, he grabs my arm and asks, “which magazine is she going to be in?” uh, ohhhh… i come clean, tell him that i wish i was good enough to take pictures for a mag, but usually post them on my blog. he seemed to think that was still cool. i told him what to search for, so hopefully he’ll find it. i can’t really blame him if he doesn’t. i couldn’t even remember his name after i got around the end of the track. i’ll call him rebel.

anyway, here are the pics i promised. rebel, if you actually find this, leave me a comment. would love to hear from you…


until next year… when maybe i can talk my wife into camping…

‘nother first-timer…

took an awesome ride last friday. well, technically two fridays ago… couple old roads, couple new roads, nice scenery, wonderful weather. but what made this trip so great was i got to ride with my son. and he was beside me, not on the back!!!

DSC_3013 day started out with a ride to shelton’s to pick up a buell blast. since it had been a few months since son had been on a bike, we spent a couple hours on their range before heading out on the open road.

we had an agreement that we would both have to be comfortable before hitting the road. being responsible for him, and knowing that i would have to answer to his mom should *anything* happen while we’re on the road, i figured we’d be spending a lot of time on the range.

we started out with the basics and built up from there. before leaving, i’m expecting him to practice and show proficiency in cornering, quick stops and swerves. two things really stood out while he was practicing: how quickly he would correct things he was doing wrong; how he would continue to practice a skill even after i was satisfied; and how beautiful some of his quick stops were – some of the best i’ve seen. okay, so that’s three!!!

while he was practicing his cornering, i told him that i was happy and he could move on when he was ready. i think he was really enjoying the cornering because he kept going ‘round and ‘round. i finally felt obligated to stop him and remind him that eventually we’d like to get out on the road!!!

he did happen to have one mishap… earlier in the day, i warned him about covering and applying the front brake while in a corner. i told him as a beginner, i’d prefer to see *not* use the front brake at all while in a corner – if, for whatever reason, he applied too much front brake, he would be down quicker than he knew what was going on.

sure enough, he was coming around a corner quicker than he wanted and applied too much front brake. bam!! he was down. i think the only thing, thankfully, that was hurt was his pride. we talked about what happened and why it happened. after that, he didn’t use the front brake unless his front tire was straight.

so now it was time to hit the open road. being his first time out, we stayed on mostly two lane, back roads. the plan was to leave durham  and head to virgilina via creedmore and oxford.

we’re on the road and i’m watching him in my rear view. waiting for any sign that he’s nervous or having problems. but no sign of that. he’s maintaining a good distance behind me, negotiating curves with ease – looks like he’s doing well. looks like he’s having fun.

i start to relax a little, feeling comfortable with his riding. now i realize i’m starting to get hungry. i was so wrapped up in him getting out on the road (safely), i didn’t pay attention to the time. it’s way past lunch and i’m starving.

DSC_3014 i scrap the plans to eat in virgilina and decide to stop at milano’s in oxford. we’ve been here before and know the food is good. if you’re in oxford, in the mood for some good food at a reasonable price, this is the place!!

not long after getting seated, son is sharing the news with everyone… or at least as many people as we can think of  who would be excited about his first venture out.DSC_3016

after eating, we venture out again, heading up to virgilina. as we’re cruising along, i notice he trails off. i turn around and see him walking the bike to a pull-off. i pull up beside him and find out that he’s run out of gas. silly me. i asked the dealership how far the bike would go on a tank, never thinking to check how much gas was actually in the tank.

we flip the valve to reserve, chuckle at the fact that his first experience running out of gas is on his first ride and head to the nearest gas station. which, thankfully, is only a couple miles up the road.

we finally make it up to virgilina and stop for DSC_3019some refreshments. i explain to him that one of the problems with motorcycling is you always have to make decisions. like where to go next. i had originally planned to head west through roxoboro back to durham. but we were having an awesome ride and maybe we should head east, across the kerr dam and head back that way. it’s a beautiful day, he’s riding well and i think he’d enjoy the view across the dam. across the dam it is.

as we’re heading towards the dam, i’m watching him in the rear-view mirror, thinking how awesome it is to be riding my son. i’ve been looking forward to this day. and now it’s here. what a great feeling. i can only imagine (and hope) my father-in-law felt the same way the first time we rode together.

i’m wrapped up in the moment of riding with my son instead of watching for signs of distress from him. i realize i’m comfortable and confident in his riding. a wave of satisfaction comes over me. this is what riding is about.

DSC_3028 we stop in boydton to stretch our legs, make a few more phone calls and take in the sights. i know he’s enjoying the day and we’re both wishing it could last forever.

we ride on, heading to the dam. we both agree that the twisty roads are a heck of a lot more fun than the straight ones. between here and the dam, we’re sure not to be disappointed.

DSC_3035 we finally make it to the dam. a trip i’ve made many times. a trip he’s made many times on the back on my bike. as we’re crossing, i take note of the american flags hung on the dam in honor of independence day. the symbolism is not lost as i think of the independence my son’s gained learning to ride. i smile and look forward to many more rides like this…

unfortunately the day draws towards the end. we’ve had a great day, rode over a hundred fifty miles today. as the day is ending, i know we’re only at the beginning of riding together. he’s done very well today and i can’t wait to ride with him again. in fact, he’s already talking about riding the blue ridge parkway. sounds like i’ll have to arrange a trip with him and gramps…


here's the route we took - in light blue