So this is it. Riding season is over for me. Yeste…

November 22, 2005
So this is it. Riding season is over for me. Yesterday, I washed and polished the bike, lubed the chain, added Stabil to the gas and put it away for the winter. My dissertation advisor Scott is letting me park it in his garage. It was a nice day, temperature in the mid 50s. A few bikers were out riding and I wondered if I was putting the bike away too soon. Maybe there would be a couple more weekends before it got really cold. But who was I kidding! I had gone for a 90 mile ride Saturday on KY10 and though I enjoyed the ride, I knew it was getting too cold. I was frozen to the core by the end of the ride, in spite of wearing thermals, 2 long sleeve t-shirts, 2 socks, double gloves and leather jacket.

Looking back, I had a great 7 & 1/2 months and approximately 4500 miles of riding. I think I started off as an average motorcyclist and have become much more proficient, thanks to the MSF course, the Proficient Motorcycling books and….well the 4500 miles of riding! I enjoyed each and every ride, but my favorite one is the Indiana Fall colors trip with Angie. Everything was perfect….the roads that we rode on, the weather, the scenery, the stay at the farm, the food… couldn’t have been a better trip.

And looking ahead, I can’t wait for spring! I plan to get a bigger bike next year, maybe a 1100cc Honda Spirit or Sabre or even the 1300cc VTX, but I’ll probably hold on to my VLX until summer. I also plan to do some long distance bike trips out west with Ashok(check out his bike). Meanwhile, I will continue to post pictures, routes for future rides, reviews of motorcycling magazines and books etc.


I recently read an article in Road and Track mag…

November 14, 2005
I recently read an article in Road and Track magazine by the famous automotive journalist Peter Egan. Subscribers to the magazine will be familiar with his regular and extremely popular feature, Side Glances. In the latest issue, he makes some observations about the American driver after returning from a 4000-mile motorcyle trip in Canada and the United States. After driving in Canada (or England or Germany or France), he says, driving in the US feels like you have been demoted from adulthood and sent back to first grade, complete with hall monitors, lunch-lines and slow-to-mature classmates who are still struggling with coat zippers and shoelace technology. He attributes bad driving habits (cruising on the left lane of the freeway, for example) to the three deadly traffic sins: obliviousness, sloth and self-righteousness.

While I have not driven in any of the other countries mentioned above, I do agree with Egan that there are a lot of bad drivers here and riding a motorcycle makes one especially aware of them. But an interesting incident when I was out riding last Friday gave me reason to hope that there are some good drivers out there. I was riding in Kentucky, somewhere along route 18, when I came up behind a construction truck slowly making its way up the hill. I was annoyed, because I was on my favorite part of the route and now I would have to putter along behind the truck. I knew there was no passing zone for a while, so I sighed and settled for a steady 20mph behind the truck. Imagine my surprise when, a little later, the driver switched on his turn-indicator, pulled over to the right side of the road, waved me by and then got back on the road. I guess he was constantly checking his mirrors and understood the frustration of drivers stuck behind slow moving vehicles.

We were lucky to have some glorious weather on Friday and Saturday in these parts, considering that its almost mid-November. Every weekend, I convince myself to wait another week, hoping for one more warm, sunny day to head out to the countryside and carve up some corners, but I think it may finally be time to put my bike away until spring. Riding season, however, has just begun for my good friend Ashok, who lives in Dallas. Yesterday, he bought a 2002 Honda Shadow Spirit (750cc) with barely a 1000 miles on it and got a great deal on it too. I’d be lying if I said I am not a bit envious, not just because he got bigger bike with fewer miles for cheaper, with a lot of accessories thrown in, but also because he gets to ride all year round. We plan to do some iron-butt rides out west next summer.

Recent rides in Kentucky

November 9, 2005
I have been quite irregular in posting updates as of late but that has nothing to do with lack of opportunities to ride. On the contrary, I have been riding more than usual in the past few days, clocking about 100 miles per ride. Last Thursday was uncharacteristically warm for November, a clear day with bright fall colors all around, which prompted me take off from work early to go riding. I discovered that the KY 338 -KY18-KY20 loop offers some very challenging twisties for motorcyclists. On Saturday, I convinced my friend Wei, who rides a Kawasaki Ninja, to join me on the same route. Being a reletively new rider, Wei was extra careful and didn’t try to keep up with me. I rode pretty hard that day, testing my cornering skills by pushing the bike to its limits. Somewhere on route 18, a couple of guys on big H-Ds appeared in my rear view mirror. I speeded up a bit and tried to set the pace, cornering much more aggressively than I usually do, but they kept up with me effortlessly. I soon realized that not only were they on more powerful bikes, they were more experienced and skilled as well. I moved over to the right side of my lane on a straight stretch to let them by. As they blasted past me, I wondered if they were thinking “you have a lot to learn, grasshopper” !

Some excellent bike routes in Kentucky Posted by Picasa