Monday, August 10

It doesn't get any better than 3 in 1...

Another canceled weekend trip turned out to be a very good thing. On Saturday, I was able to ride all three bikes. I used the ST to do some general errands. Afterwards, I dropped by Motoworks to retrieve the SV650 to take home to the suburbs. When I arrived, I took Dave's BMW F650GS on a little trip (still helping out to keep the GS running well). This is tough work (hehe).  Riding three bikes in one day is pleasurable beyond description. Each on required a different touch: the throttles had unique personalities. The ST is smooth, even and tame. The SV is twitchy, itching to go and a tad on the wild side. The GS is jeepish, solid and gets the job done without the drama of the SV, for example. Friction zones too have different personalities with the GS being the most forgiving--from a dead stop, it pulls in second gear without hesitation--the ST will too but it doesn't like it. The GS and I headed for Kankakee River State Park in Kankakee, IL.
I avoided the Interstate in favor of back roads and long stretches of emptiness and sweeping curves. Corn and soybean fields lined each side of me much of the way. 

For the most part, the roads were devoid of traffic. At times, the isolation was interrupted with an attractive old farm house or a fancy, modern mansion sitting on vast land. The GS seems made for roads like these. The road shoulders are replete with gravel that I didn't find objectionable. I never hesitated to pull over in because the bike enters and pulls away easily from such shifts in road surface.  I think these roads will make for some nice early morning photos and I made a mental note to return in the near future.

When I arrived at the park, I spent a little time at the river. I parked near another motorcycle because that's where an empty space existed. Had I known what was in store for me, I probably would have parked farther way. As I turned off the bike a couple sitting at a park bench turned. I thought the man was saying something but I couldn't hear him until I removed my helmet. He looked like he belonged to the Harley Davidson I parked next to. 

"Hey, aren't you hot with all that stuff on?" He motioned to his head and body. 

I hate when this happens. I mean, I don't ask folks anything about the gear they wear or don't wear. Why do I seem to always get people who shun gear asking me about mine.  It bugs me.  His voice is not questioning, it's more of an accusing statement. Inside I want to tell him to leave me alone. Instead, I just say, "No, I'm not, I'm fine." Frankly, I am ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). If I were burning up, sweating profusely, ready to drop of heat stroke, I'd never admit it to people who adopt that tone with me. It was a warm day but donning weather appropriate gear is possible. It requires an investment of money to find the right gear and a commitment to wear it. Period.

I reversed my route and headed home. While on one of those lonely roads, I thought about why I love solo riding so much. I am able to ride my own ride. Whenever I've ridden with Dave, for instance, I am paying attention to him and thus slightly distracted. My thoughts are interrupted as I watch him for and ignore the rode. Out there alone, I quickly settle into my own zone; I self talk about the ride and potential hazards; I vary my speed; I stop when I want; I do not need to synchronize my nature calls with anyone else. Solo riding. It's all about me and that's not a bad thing.
Stay tuned to hear me yak about Monday, my first Track Day of fun-filled learning.  


Unknown said...


I think the Harley Dude was just trying to make conversation. Originally I was reading into it another interpretation of what it meant. He meant "HOT" like in temperature HOT, while I read into it the "other" HOT, like in HOT chick on a bike kinda HOT
It doesn't get really hot up here except for this particular year when it was into the mid 90's and our humid air, so I have a modified rule. Helmets here are compulsory, but I always wear a riding jacket, and when hot I have one where the panels are removeable to reveal a full mesh jacket, and riding pants while on the highway, or when raining. otherwise I may forgo the riding pants whilst in town. so modified rule: ATGSOTT
Glad to see you are doing your job by keeping the 3 bikes running. I know it's hard work but some one has to do it

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Steve Williams said...

I get comments at times about ATGATT especially since I am just riding a scooter. Some of them seem belittling and others out of a genuine mis-perception that scooter riding is safe and not really like a motorcycle. So I make a joke about the road not differentiating flesh from scooter riders from that of motorcycle riders, smile and go on my way.

Nice post and ride by the way. And I always thought the Illinois countryside would just be flat, boring and full of soybeans. Just goes to show how ill informed I am...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Bob, It could be he was trying to make conversation. But I don't enter conversations well when the tone is one of unequivocal brutishness that bordered on disdain. No, I'm not the one to get much conversation from with that disposition.

I'm a gear nut and have all the seasons covered. It gets very hot and humid here but I always ride relatively comfortably. Sounds like you've covered the seasons too.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Steve, I love it! The ground doesn't discriminate between scooter rider skin and motorcycle rider skin! Excellent come back.

And, yes, I can believe that scooter riders who are geared up would get questioned a lot too. I have the feeling that gear wearer do not approach non gear wearers with these inquiries. I always amazes me that perfect strangers will not hesitate to question me on this issue. Oh takes all kind, I guess.

Steve Williams said...

When it comes to riders there definitely are all kinds. And some certainly are free and forthcoming wiht opinions, advice and declarations. On one hand I admire a person's ability to speak up to strangers. I guess I believe the world would be a better place if we talked more to each other.

On the other hand it means I need to be willing to listen. There is no communication if I don't want to hear the message. That's the hard part for me. I try and separate stuff that makes me emotionally uncomfortable from stuff that are genuine violations of my space.

I suppose there is not much anyone can say to me that falls into the second category when it comes to riding save for things like "I'm going to run you down if I see you on the road". That sort of stuff.

The rest of the comments seem as if my gear or choice of a scooter has somehow threatened another rider's own decisions. Maybe at some level they feel unsure of riding without a helmet and wearing only jeans, t shirt and sandals.

Who knows.

But I do feel a reaction sometimes when people make fun or criticize. When it happens I try and do something to minimize the feelings or let them go as soon as I can.

Life is sweeter without so much resentment. For me at least.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Steve, just about everything you said, I agree with.

I think in my haste to write about this, I failed to underscore the tone in which this guy spoke to me.

I ride in part to enjoy the experience and characters I meet along the way. As a solo female rider, many people kindly approach me and we talk about many things. I have several people I've met this way with whom I now correspond. So strangers are central to my riding enjoyment.

But not all strangers are kind. What I failed to do is stress how gruff and hostile the tone of his inquiry. I don't care as much what people say to me as I do with how they say it. Many people have approached me and the exchange has been great--I'd even say the majority. Still, the minority can get on my nerves and interrupt my reason for being out there. I don't receive hostility and brutishness well. I'd just as soon the person said nothing and leave me be.

You're right, life is too short, which always makes me wonder why anyone would take the time to be uncivil--just leave the person alone. Move on. I try to let it go and appreciate that the experience is another reason why I'm glad I'm not a handgun owner--