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.