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Now for something completely different


Quinn

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Here's a copy of an e-mail I sent to a friend just a little before Christmas. Hope you enjoy it and don't see too much of yourself in it.

 

Well, I finally went and did it. Work has been rough the last few months and I found myself daydreaming more and more about getting another bike. I'd been going to the websites and researching different models. of "sport touring" motorcycles. Capitol BMW had some used 2002 police bikes with high mileage (49k) for a reasonable price according to Kelly Blue Book so I went over to Raleigh to check them out. They were interesting. They had a small case to hold a laptop and such instead of a passenger seat and the side cases were narrower than standard but were surrounded by a tubular cage. All the extra lights,police decals, etc. had been removed and it was really just an R1150 RT painted black and white. I decided that they were okay, but I would really want the full size side cases that could hold enough for a weekend trip. Just as I was leaving, the salesman mentioned that he had an '04 RT with only 9k miles that was in perfect condition. It was love at first sight; I didn't know I still had so many hormones left in me. It's black; not my first choice, but it's growing on me. The horizontally opposed cylinders are 1130cc's and produce 95 hp. The thing is almost twice as big and twice as heavy as anything I've been on before. The clutch is good and the engine is great when the rpms get over 2.5k. At low speed it seems to surge and clunk around parking lots. I'm also having trouble getting used to the brakes. They're ABS power assisted and they grab; the front is the worst. When you pull up to a stop sign, if the front wheel is the least bit cocked and you apply the brake lever, the front end tries to twist the handlebars and tip the bike over. I know that all bikes will do that, but this is a lot worse than my Yamaha 650 was. I think it's because the rake angle is so much greater.

 

They told me when I bought the bike that it would all come back to me--just like riding a bicycle. Yeah, a 700lb bicycle that wants to kill you when it falls over. The owner of Capitol is a licensed instructor and gave me a free one hour lesson (my stipulation before paying for the bike). Sure enough, it does come back--just a little more slowly than riding a bicycle. I bought the bike and a helmet and riding jacket. Always buy a matching helmet and jacket; it makes it so much easier for the EMTs to match up body parts. I remember in 1972 buying the best helmet made at the time for $89--big bucks in those days . Nowadays, a mediocre brain bucket is almost $300. And the riding jacket: My old gear was still good but seems to have shrunk over the years. I bought it when I weighed 145lbs and had a 30 inch waist. I couldn't even get one leg in the pants now. The new jacket was expensive but also vastly improved with skid plates built in. I still want to get some sticks of dynamite to put in the jacket; if somebody hits me, I don't want to go alone.

 

The ride home. After a one hour lesson. After a 17 year hiatus. Well, I'm writing this e-mail and the bike is outside; so it does have a happy ending. I planned my route from Raleigh carefully picking secondary roads that would allow me a chance to stop and dry off the seat . Extra points were earned if there were no traffic lights or stop signs on hills and no tight curves. I started on Spring Forest which turns into Lynn road. Only killed it twice before I realized that I was trying to start out in second gear each time. It took me that long to look at the display and see there was a gear indicator next to the tach that showed what gear the bike was in. I think that's one reason cyclist wear helmets--so when you do something that stupid, you won't be recognized and teased later. Lynn road got me to Glenwood and highway 70 just outside Raleigh. Now was my chance to use the rest of the gears and get up some speed. 6th gear is apparently quite a high overdrive. I found myself having to downshift into 5th going uphill if I wanted to accelerate at all. Guess that's a good thing for cruising gas mileage. When I got to TW Alexander, I cut over on it to get to the Durham Freeway. I figured that I'd done so well at speed at that point that I'd be safer doing that than wandering through the bad parts of Durham on back roads. I couldn't think of a back roads way through Durham that didn't involve places where I'd be afraid of getting mugged if I fell over. I decided to pull over in ADC's old parking lot and take a break and a cigarette before getting to the freeway., I missed the first turn in because I couldn't figure out how to get slowed down enough and turn sharply enough at the same time. Yeah, just like riding bicycle--a 700 lb bicycle that is just waiting to scrape all the meat off your skinny legs when you fall over. I got stopped in an empty area of the lot with no one around, put my feet down, and then, and only then, realized that I didn't know where the kick stand was. I knew I'd flipped it up when I took off at the dealers, I knew it had to be on that side because I can only mount from that side and it had to be the low side; I just couldn't find it. I found the centerstand, but you have to be off the bike, standing on one side to use it . I couldn't keep my balance well enough to dismount. Finally, finally I saw this little loop of metal sticking out between the foot peg and the gear shift lever. Why would they put it there? But they did. That was it. Down it went, the bike is resting, leaning over on the kickstand and I'm off and ready for a cigarette. Now it gets dumb. I can't operate the buckle on my new helmet. I got the darn thing fastened just fine at the dealers and thought, gee this sure is easier than the old two D ring style I'm used to. Now, here I am, standing next to a motorcycle that took me ten minutes to get off of, sweating in my heavy duty riding jacket, spinning around slowly in circles. Why do I think I'm going to find the secret to the buckle release if I just turn around a little more? Kind of like trying to see the stain on the back of your shirt by turning around. About the time I was getting claustrophobic and considering using my pocket knife, the release took pity on me and opened. Time for that cigarette, practice with the buckle release, and on the road for the final lap. No problems (other than that the bike likes 65 to 75 better than 55 and you have to keep watch or it will start passing everyone on the road). In case you've forgotten, I have a gravel driveway. There's nothing like a gravel driveway, a 700 lb motorcycle with front brakes that grab and lock up with the least amount of pressure, and a new rider who's not too sure that he ever rode a bicycle before. I straddle-walked the bike down the driveway at less than one mile per hour. It probably took me just as long to go the twenty feet of driveway as it had to get there from Raleigh. Well, like I said earlier: it has a happy ending and the bike is outside waiting for me to get up enough nerve to try it again. My 29 mile adventure was enough excitement for one day.

 

 

 

Now comes the part about telling my wife. If I had announced that I was bring her sister home so I could have sex with her in front of the TV during the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, the reaction wouldn't have been any worse. Jesus hung on the cross three days for the sins of all mankind. By that standard, I should be off the hook with Janet in about six months. You know "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun? "You'll shoot your eye out!" Well, we started with that. Then we went on to how dare you spend so much money without discussing it we me (so she could say "You'll shoot your eye out"). Now, understand that I've had this separate saving account at my credit union for years and have always called it my Harley fund. And she's known that I've been looking at bikes for months. I've even discussed how I want to take trips on a bike and get a job commuting by motorcycle as part of my retirement. I guess she thought I was just blowing off steam. Wonder if she'll have the same reaction when I announce that I've quit my job. Maybe she thinks I'm bluffing about that also. She's heard me talking about quitting next August (when I'll be 59 1/2 and can draw on my 401k) and she knows I've talked to my manager about it. At least now, if she gets this mad again, I've got a motorcycle to leave home on.

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Yes, funny and well-written.

Always buy a matching helmet and jacket; it makes it so much easier for the EMTs to match up body parts.
I'd never heard that before. lmao.gif
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Yep. . . . . pretty much the same reaction I got when I pulled up on the bike. If you get off with six months consider yourself lucky. Everyone is talking about Global Warming, but after the Ice Age I just experineced a little thawing out will be good.

 

I also just gave "Notice" to the wife that my job is on notice. I have not decided when I will pull the plug, but it won't be too long.

 

At least you had the advantage of the "Harley Fund" being common knowledge. I went cold turkey all the way! I keep the saddle bags and top case packed in case a quick get away is required. dopeslap.gif

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Quinn - Just a suggestion not to try and learn how to ride on icy roads tomorrow morning! wave.gif

 

How's the first week with her been? You've had a few good days to ride.

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Quinn - Just a suggestion not to try and learn how to ride on icy roads tomorrow morning!

 

How's the first week with her been? You've had a few good days to ride.

 

Actually, I got the bike just before Christmas and the weather has been good every weekend since. I'm doing slow speed practice in the neighboring sub division's cul-de-sacs; circles and turning at stop signs. They probably think I'm a child preditor looking for targets. "Hey, little girl. Wanna ride on my motorcycle?"

 

I've also had a few thirty mile adventures to go to an indoor gun range on back roads. I even tried out the interstate. People thought I was a police bike; they confused my screams with sirens and kept pulling over.

 

I'm scheduled for classes in March and will be taking it easy until then. My only fear is that I'll get hurt or scare myself so badly that I'll quit riding. I think my wife has already picked out a tombstone with "I told him so."

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Now comes the part about telling my wife. If I had announced that I was bring her sister home so I could have sex with her in front of the TV during the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, the reaction wouldn't have been any worse. Jesus hung on the cross three days for the sins of all mankind. By that standard, I should be off the hook with Janet in about six months.

lmao.giflmao.gif

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