Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'll Never Ride a Motorcycle

I’ll never ride a motorcycle. At least that is what I thought in 2001 when I won a shiny new pearl white Harley Davidson Sportster with chrome spokes. I promptly sold that bike and bought my husband a used Wineberry GL1500 Goldwing. Something happened to me while we were riding that year. I enjoyed the air on my face, the smell of everything around me, and the feeling of freedom. I started thinking it might be fun to ride a bike.
Riding as a passenger on the Goldwing was far different and much more enjoyable than my previous rides. Technically my very first ride was at the age of eight or so, when I rode around my grandparent’s yard on the back of a scooter my aunt was driving and nearly got my toe cut off when she came too
close to something metal in the yard. In my late twenties, I rode a friend’s dirt bike around once or twice, but it didn’t really appeal to me. Finally, in my early thirties I dated a guy who owned a Harley. We rode up the pass a time or two, and he always insisted I wear this one piece suit that was kind of sexy. Then I found out he only dated women he thought could wear the outfit, what a riot! So, my experiences with motorcycles were nearly always brief and not always positive.

As a passenger I began to think maybe it would be fun to ride my own machine. We took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico on Memorial Day in 2001.
It was our first long trip on the Wing. Along the way,we kept seeing bikers all over. It was Green River weekend, and we took a slight detour to stop there for a while. I was impressed by the bikes, but I noticed that there seemed to be some sort of biker dress code.

We stayed in Santa Fe a few days but it was hot, and we did not wear safety gear or our helmets. On the way out of Santa Fe, we stopped and put our helmets on, but that was all. Back on the road, I had just about fallen asleep when Curtis yelled, “look out Janet.” When I looked up, it was to see a huge pickup with a horse trailer pulling out from a side road into our path. The pickup driver hadn’t registered that we were there. Fortunately, he did stop in the middle of the road when he realized what he had done, and Curtis was able to swerve around him. Later Curtis told me he was getting ready to jump. He hadn’t told me to jump; he thought it was funny, but I didn’t. I could picture him jumping and me riding to a collision with the truck on the back of the Wing. I began to think more and more about riding my own bike. Riding as a passenger on the rear of a bike requires a lot of trust, and I think mine was running out.

So, in the fall of 2001, I went down and bought a brand new 2002 Honda Shadow VLX 650, which I didn't get to ride until 2002 (see my first post). In 2003, I traded that bike in for a 2003 Honda Shadow Ace 750. In 2004, not even a week later I realized I needed a bigger bike, but I waited until the next model year to buy one. In 2004, I traded the Ace in for a VTX 1300, which I had custom painted with a Phoenix to match a new tattoo. About a year and a half later I decided I wanted my own touring bike and bought a Yamaha Royal Star. My husband decided that we did not need two touring bikes and talked me into trading the Star for a Honda Rune for him. I inherited the 1800 Goldwing we purchased the previous year.

I have never really liked the way Wings look preferring the look of cruisers, but the Wing handles unbelievably well. It is also very comfortable. Earlier this year, I was rear-ended on the freeway while driving my car and my upper neck is pretty hosed. I can ride the Wing pretty well without tiring or causing too much stress to my neck, but at slow speeds the weight is a bit much for me to manage right now.

Recently, I started thinking about trading the Wing for a cruiser. I test drove a 2002 Harley Davidson Road King Police cruiser. It handled very well, but, for the price, I think the Wing is a better bike. I have also ridden an 800CC Suzuki Boulevard, which is a perfect beginner’s bike, but not for someone used to big bikes. I tried a Yamaha V-Star 1100, but it just did not seem to fit right and I really was not impressed with the way it handled. I also tried a Triumph 900CC
America model. I like the America, but it just does not seem big enough. I have no interest in the Rocket III, because I would get into issues with the weight of the bike again and it feels too top heavy when I sit on one. I hear that Triumph will come out with a 1500 in 2008 that I would like to check out. I would also like to test drive a Victory. I want a bike that handles as well as the Wing with the same comfort level, but weighs a few hundred pounds less. I will keep sampling what is out there.

1 comment:

Jovi said...

Janet I had no idea about your neck injury, hopefully you’ll find a bike that you’ll be comfortable with and doesn’t cause too much strain on your neck.

I enjoyed reading and seeing pictures of your previous bikes.
See you Saturday at the BCA Ride ~ Jovi