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G Floyd

Is First Ride of 2003 An Omen?

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G Floyd

I did the 55th Annual (Minnesota) I-Cycle Derby on New Years Day.

 

A new experience for me. Turned out to be a great day for riding, as there was no snow and temp got up to high 20°’s or maybe even low 30°’s.

 

Had difficulty getting underway, as I could not squeeze the RT out of the garage, around the other vehicles. Then it occurred to me that number-one son had last driven the van, and did not know that he needed to hug the far side of garage. Then, key would not turn in the ignition. Hairdryer remedied that. Interesting that I had gone for two rides since the last washing (of the bike that is), but it still was iced-up. And when I washed it, I even used the leaf blower to help dry it (and force the water out of the oil cooler).

 

When I finally arrived at the staging area, I was struck by the diversity of all the bikes.

Present were BMWs, Harleys , many Japanese makes, a URAL w/side-car, and a little blue Vespa with a large storage compartment on the back that was shaped and wrapped like a Christmas present.

 

At the event start we were given route sheets with timed checkpoints. Average speed for the morning leg was to be 24 mph. We were sent off on 1-minute intervals. I was #22, right after the Vespa. Hmmm, I had a feeling I was going to get spanked by the Vespa at this competition. redface.gif

 

 

Anyone familiar with Minneapolis knows that it is the “City Of Lakes”. The morning route had us riding on many a Lake “Parkway”. And then somrtines turning only after one block or two of each road. I once counted that we were turning left six times in a row! I started to grow uneasy at the thought of showing up at a checkpoint too early (by taking the completely wrong route).

 

Part of the afternoon leg took us unto a couple of the freeways. Average speed to shoot for: 40 mph. This is where that Vespa was going to have to ride like a Hoon. Nerve racking for me though, as the cars flew by at 75, probably wondering what was wrong with that large motorcycle that was going so slow.

 

With only a few blocks to the final checkpoint a one-gallon jug of automotive antifreeze (full or empty?) appeared just a few yards ahead of me. In the instant I had to consider it, I elected to roll over it, and not try any evasive maneuver (many cars to my front, rear and in next lane). To my delight, the trusty RT rolled on without a hitch. I was a little surprised at the large bang as the whole contents were expelled into the atmosphere to my left. The cars to my left and rear were really surprised as a green cloud showered their vehicles. Back at the finish, I heard accounts of warnings of engine trouble indicated by the steam coming from the undersides of machines (“…..no, nothing wrong with my bike, it was that %#&$ huge puddle of coolant I rode through, back on Lyndale Avenue”) rolleyes.gif

 

 

After the final return to the staging area, I noticed an unusual looking Honda with Wisconsin plates. It had a large amount of Coke and Sprite stickers or endorsements all over the fairing. I wasn’t the only one who noticed, as the local law enforcement also followed him through the final checkpoint. Upon closer examination it was apparent that the fairing was not a fairing at all, but a series of 12 and 24 pack cardboard soft drink containers that had been carefully “re-engineered” to form a fairing.

 

Well, that was a bout it. I took the long way back home after the event, but still only put on about a hundred miles that day. I was happy it turned out to be a good 12-hour day (on and off the bike).

 

 

 

 

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