Monday, December 5, 2011

If You Can't Laugh At Yourself... probably aren't riding your R1200GS.  After all, we are on the White Horse of the Apocalypse.   The Alpha and the Omega.  ;)

Where's my little "strongman" emoticon when I need him??

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How's the GS?

I realize I have been away a little.  Work and life balance is not one of my strong points.  :)  I was facing a product (software) release the week after purchasing the GS.  Many hours of overtime and a Sunday deploy kept me grounded and merely watching the GS sit in the garage.

Really.  A brand new bike and I get to watch it sit in the garage...  Argh...


During the interval the GS has received:

1) It's 600 mile service (965 km).  Do you conceive of how difficult it is to put 600 miles on a bike when you cannot ride on the freeway??  This was the longest and most difficult 600 miles I have ridden!

She got new oil:



New final drive fluids:


2) Received engine and tank guards:




3) Installed a Centech unit for all those electronic accessories. Oilburner did a great job, didn't he?



4) Auxiliary headlights, to better be seen:



5) Hyperlights (no pictures)

6) We took a quick trip to snag a tag and she saw her first bit of dirt...errr water:




I think the next item should be a Fender Extender to save those pipes.  :)

Can you believe? Even the RT was showing RTA (Adventure) stripes:


Monday, October 31, 2011

What's In A Number, Part II

Don't get me wrong, I don't much care that my bike has 42,000 miles (67,600 km) on it.  I am quite proud of that number in all honesty.  My shop tells me that I am one of their higher mileage bikes, and I like that.

Oilburner and I never purchase something with our eye on value retention or resale.  We purchase what is good and plan on keeping it until it is worn out.  After all, I drive a truck that is 18 years old with 230,000 miles (370,000 km) on it.  And yes, we bought it new.  It has been paid off for over a decade and hasn't required much work beyond normal maintenance.  The engine should be good until 400,000 miles (645,000 km) at least. 

So mileage doesn't mean too much to us.  But I know it is important to some people.  A friend was looking at used GT's and RT's that had 50,000 miles and 75,000 miles (80,500 km and 120,700 km).  He was seriously concerned over longevity.  We told him that shouldn't be the only limiting factor.  But to him it was a deal breaker.

Of course, mileage really depends on your expectations.  It might be a different story if you want a daily or long distance rider.  Higher mileage may be less appealing.  A collectors item that will be ridden less frequently might not be a problem.

Now, I did forget to add the winking smiley to the end of the last post.  I have no qualms about keeping my R1200R in my garage.  Truthfully, it would be next to impossible to ask me to get rid of it.  (Sometimes I get really attached.  Just ask Oilburner.  He's been trying to bribe me for 17 years to get my truck.)

There are a couple people out there wanting to get their fingers on my R1200R.  But I ain't listing to them.  So yes, the beautiful R1200GS with the DOHC engine is appealing.  After all, I have been drooling over GS' for years.  It has always been a bike that was unattainable to me, a dream: too tall, too heavy, I don't need that kind of power.  My eye sparkles and delights looking at the GS, but never at the expense of my "R".  I just can't give up the bike I love for one that I don't know.

Rest assured.  The R1200R is remaining in my garage.

But that doesn't mean I don't have enough love to share...

So that "number" is now TWO.  hehehe.  I'm catching up to you Brady.  :)  And rIePe...have you ever been accused of being a prophet?  ;)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's In A Number

24,901.55 - circumfrence of the earth at the equator, measured in miles
5280 - feet in a mile
451 - degrees in Fahrenheit at which paper burns
42 - The answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything

When can something be nicely worn in without being worn out? 

For kicks, Oilburner and I have been talking bikes.  (Like we've never done that before...)  I was wondering where is that magic mileage sweet spot when a bike goes from "nicely broken in" to "too many miles".  Where is that perfect line of a bike still being marketable versus someone having prejudices against the mileage.

My baby went in for her 42,000 mile service yesterday.  I didn't even look at the new DOHC Classic R1200R.  Well...I didn't look much.

I sat with the service manager and chatted and laughed.  I stood in the service bay talking with the tech working on my baby.  I played with the used oil, no metal shavings, no burnt smell.  I inspected the valves, the chains, the springs.

Then Oilburner arrives...

He starts looking around.  He starts talking.  He starts asking me if I am going to take a test ride.

I've never demo'ed a bike before.  I've never had enough confidence to jump on a bike that I don't own and take it for a spin.  I mean, how much am I going to have to pay if anything happens to a motorbike that I don't own.  This is the same reason that I never ride someone else's bike.  I've even been resistant to riding Oilburner's bikes in the past.  I had only ridden any of his previous bikes once each.

Somewhere along the way that changed.  And I can't pinpoint when it occurred.  A couple months ago, when he informed me that I would be riding his new bike home I didn't bat an eye.  Didn't have any queasy butterflies in my tummy.  I hopped on it and took it for a rrriiidddeeeee.  I'm suspecting my trepidation left me for good after Oilburner totaled his bike.  My subconscious thought process might have followed something along the lines that if he totaled a bike in one fell swoop, there wasn't much worse that I could do.

So back to the bike shop...

I decided to take that test ride finally.  Steve, our friendly, neighborhood sales guy, rode the Classic R1200R off the showroom floor.  Yes, I said rode.  It went over to the service bay to get a couple pounds of air.  Then she stood in the parking lot waiting for me to take her out.

We enjoyed a quick little romp, unfortunately rush hour traffic was closing in.  I took her over to a short, twisty little road I know.  Autos prevented full utilization of the best curves.  We also scooted over to the main thoroughfare to enjoy the high speeds against traffic.  She was an enjoyable bike.  There wasn't a "wow" factor.  She was so similar to my bike.  There didn't seem to be enough differences to justify a trade.  She was nice, just not nice enough.

Oilburner and I took a seat at the table, sipping some sodas and talking about the ride.

All the while is a big, beautiful R1200GS sitting in the sun, gleaming in front of me.  Hmmm...  In for a penny, in for a pound.

Steve checks it over and sets the seat on its lowest position.  I swing around to turn her on, only to realize the key has suddenly disappeared.  Explain that one to me...  Yeah.  Steve left the key in the seat lock.  hehe

We only get to spend a short time together.  Rush hour traffic had set in.  Any direction we traveled was going to be hindered and just spent burning a clutch up.  We went to a short little road with a couple of representative curves.  Wow.  WOW!  Four miles was way too short a time to get a feel for anything.  All I know is that I wouldn't mind spending a couple hundred more miles getting to know it.

So what would you guess that mileage line is on my precious bike?  I was thinking 50,000 miles might be getting there.  Boy was I wrong. It seems that my baby's time has passed.  Those who didn't know her don't want her.  She can be her 2007 model self, but would need to have 30 or so thousand miles on her, instead of the 42 that she has.  Finicky damn men.  Apparently no or old model doesn't matter.  But they can't have been well ridden. ;)

Darn.  I guess I will just have to keep her in the stable.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I had to stop and play the last sentence of the conversation over again.  Three grown men, none of whom had children, were talking about sippy cups.  Really?!?!

I believe that many men act like children, but the use of a sippy cup?  Well...yeah.  I guess I can see where it would be beneficial.  But I am way off track.

The conversation was actually chiding Oilburner for not having a cup holder on the RT.  After all,Ken had one on his.  And the discussion at hand was the only way Oilburner would be able to drink while riding with a full fact helmet.  Sippy cup came up, but I think they meant something with a flexible straw.

I didn't care.  I knew Oilburner wasn't installing one.  That is a Goldwing farkle.  So I tuned back out of the conversation and thought forward to the ride that was coming up.

We hadn't ridden to Cherohala or the Dragon yet this year.  With the fall colors coming, and winter not far behind, those roads were going to be busy soon.  Therefore the first "autumn" like weekend of year saw us headed there.


Who knew the first autumn week would have us experiencing 37.4 F (3C) at 12:30 on the Skyway.  But there it was in all its blinking glory on my temp gauge.


Where were the 67 F (20C) highs they had predicted?

Nothing to worry about here though.  Starting out in my winter jacket and four layers of winter clothes showed me that would not be sustainable at freeway speeds.  So I switched the layers to the Gerbings heated jacket directly at the breakfast/meetup location.  Two guys had fairings, and one of them heated gear.  The Harley dude, sans a windshield, had on a down jacket.  We were all prepared.

There isn't much more to say about this day.  It was all about the ride in the company of good friends that were well matched in riding styles.  The twisties were smooth and easy. The side trips were agreed upon.  The route was up for changes.  We were all willing to take a lead.

You can see more images on Flickr.  And you can watch the video that sums it all up.

Cherohala With Friends from Love Of A Motorbike on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wandering in the North

"If you are going to ride naked make sure you have a clean can" the voice intoned.

"The Voice" belonged to Oilburner, and he hadn't quite realized what he had said until it was out and ringing in our ears.  I immediately busted up laughing.  He might actually have blushed a little at that one, if his face could have been seen through the helmet.

I was riding as close to naked as I ever had.  No saddlebags, no top box, no luggage except for the tank bag.  I did still have the luggage racks and windshield, so I wasn't completely bare.


The topic of conversation was the stainless steel "can" (exhaust).  My bike and I had ridden in the rain since the last washing.  And my dogs nose had left slime trails.  The can was desperately dirty and didn't look like the lovely shiny can it can be.


Who cares?  Not me.  I wanted to ride, not was my motorbike!

This was the first perfect autumn weekend and I wasn't wasting it.  Daytime temps were supposed to peak out at 77F (25C).  Humidity should be around 45% mid-day.  It doesn't get much better than this.

Unfortunately I also had an invite to make jam.  I was interested since I have never made it before.  But this day was not made to be spend indoors.


Oilburner and I saddled up and met up with a friend on the road.  No one had a clue where to go, so we just figured "north" into the mountains.  We wound up on some beautiful scenic byways and headed towards Hwy 60, a notoriously enjoyable twisty road up here.  The day was complete with perfect weather, beautiful blue skies and leaf litter scattered across the road.



Our lack of destination gave us roads to head towards, but no restrictions on how we arrived there.  I tried to navigate on the less traveled roads.  I was plagued by slow drivers whenever I had to take the well-known roads.

Our food goal, for lack of finding another place, was the marina at Lake Burton.  The food is good and the place can not be beat for ambiance.




It was a lovely day with no particular place to go.  Such fun taking turns at random.  Sometimes it back fired and we ended up somewhere we had just left.  Other times we were introduced to roads we had never yet met.

I did force us to take the long way home.  Adding a couple extra miles pushed my year-to-date mileage over 9,000 (14,484 km) to keep up with my goal of 1,000 miles (1609 km) per month.  And it also kicked the odometer of the bike to 41,000 miles (65,980 km).  Small victories.  :)




I knew this trip was more about the ride and less about the scenery.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to play with the cameras, so just brought the point and shoot. I also discovered a way to attach it to my tank bag.  Therefore I was free to learn the complicated art of photography while riding.    I wasn't so successful all of the time.  For not taking many photos, I can't figure out how I had so many to upload.  You can view the more successful ones on Flickr.



Work has been keeping me tied down lately. We've been working on a product release...that finally occurred last Sunday.  I've been absent in the blogosphere, but look forward to catching up on all of your adventures.  :)  Chat with you soon!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's It Worth To You?

Baby Ruth candy bar:
Diet Mtn Dew:
A stranger excitedly exclaiming that yours is the superior bike within Oilburners hearing, even though it is sitting next to a shiny, new, loaded BMW with the new DOHC engine:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Look What the [Cheshire Grinning] Cat Brought Home...


That's right.  I rode the brand spanking new RT home today.  Starts its new life in our household with 13 miles on it.  I brought it up to 21.  I took the slightly longish way home.  I wasn't going too far out of my way since it was evening traffic.  The only direction I could have gone was downtown if I didn't want to sit at stop lights.  I wasn't terribly gung-ho on that idea.  So we shared a few quiet lanes with a few quiet curves.  I can't get too crazy on it during the break in period and brand new shoes.  But we did have a little fun.

Oilburner was gracious enough to follow us home in the pickup.  He asked me to ride it home to sustain tradition.  When our group started back into the riding business, most of us were new enough that we didn't trust ourselves to ride our bikes home.  So Oilburner was tapped to be the first rider on all our bikes.  No one had done that for him, and look at his track record.  He is hoping to break any potential issues by having someone else ride the bike home for him.  Voila ME!

So...what can I say about the BMW's new Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) engine?  Nothing.  Not a damn thing.  Though I gave Oilburner the thumbs down on the way home.  And I immediately called our sales guy and told him that I hated him and he wasn't allowed to play with Oilburner any more.

That is one flipping awesome engine!!!  Lower torque, smooth, quiet.  Almost has a little turbo diesel whine to it at times.  Sweet.  Just really super sweet.


I'm wondering if Oilburner's guilt is showing through.  He keeps pushing me to upgrade to the R1200R Classic.  Hmmm...that new engine makes it tempting...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Can you say "Dumbass"?

Guest blog kindly provided by Oilburner.

Check you six...and your three...and your OH CRAP!!  Call me Dumbass, my new nick name.


Well the week started off with perfect riding weather, especially for this time of year in Georgia.  Morning temps are a cool 75 F with afternoon temps reaching 85-95F with low humidity.  I am looking forward to riding every morning even it is means going to work.  Although sometimes it's hard to keep all 1200cc pointed in that direction.


Check your six...  I made it to work Monday and Tuesday, uneventful as usual, and for some reason wasn't really looking forward to the ride home Tuesday evening.  Work has been a little hectic and after a long day I think I just wanted to be home already.  It took a little while to put on all the gear and point her towards the freeway.  I manage through downtown traffic fine, and enter the freeway by way of the carpool entrance.  I have ridden this route home for a couple of years now, so it's become pretty routine, although I still look for the unexpected.  So, seeing all is as expected I turn on some music and start to settle in for the 35 miles home.  I've traveled almost to the I75/i85 connector (a distance of about 1/2 a mile) when, as I frequently do, I check my six and see an emergency vehicle approaching the cage behind me with its lights ablaze.  I decide to exit the carpool lane early and enter the normal traffic congestion for 5pm in hopes of speeding him along.


Check your three...  Both lanes were going approximately the same speed so I check my 3 o'clock and start the merge between two cages, with about a car length in front and behind me.  Well, here's where I think that things start to go wrong...  My peripheral vision is telling me I need to recheck my 3 o'clock again as something appears to have changed.  So I quickly recheck my six and turn my helmet clad head to the right and look  --nope, all is well--


Oh CRAP!!  By the time I look forward again everyone is stopping very fast.   Instincts kick in... this all seems so familiar to me for some strange reason...  I feel the anti-skid kick in as I attempt to swerve to the left, back into the carpool lane.  In slow motion I see the approaching cage and start to prepare for the inevitable impact.  Luck has it that the bike responds flawlessly to my input and instead of impacting head on and possibly launching me over the bars, I feel the right side of the bike ricochet off the left rear bumper.  The impact of the front forks and cylinder head on the bumper kicks the bike to the left.  In an attempt to correct my trajectory I countered steered back to the right.  The bike just caught and dumped us on the right side, sliding back behind the cage I just hit.  My mind still registering this as familiar and lets me watch my luggage eject from the bike and the plastic parts explode and bounce across the freeway.


When all is stopped I am fortunate I only have two small injuries: a swollen ankle and elbow.  My gear worked flawlessly with the only exception being that the sleeves of my jacket were too loose, allowing the armor to roll around out of place.


Oilburners name the past week has been "Dumbass".  He knows this was his fault, though he maintains that he was not speeding or riding recklessly.  It was just one of those accidents.  I asked him to write a guest blog to help us all with a lesson...he just couldn't come up with one other than "don't pull over for emergency vehicles."  See...the vehicle that was coming up wasn't an ambulance or anything.  It was a HERO unit.  In the south, these are response vehicles that come to the aid of stranded motorists whether it is an accident, flat tire, or running out of fuel.  When the HERO stopped for this, Oilburner questioned where the guy was rushing to, and why had he stopped here.  Turns out the HERO unit was headed towards a minor stall up the road...

Take what you will from this.  I will continue riding cautiously, as usual, and leave plenty of gaps around me.  Dumbass' dirt bike riding days were long ago, but I think they helped his reflexes in this instance.  Don't feel sorry for him though.  The bike doesn't appear too damaged, the damage just isn't readily visible.  The bike has been totaled and Dumbass is currently in the process of signing the paperwork for a new 2011 R1200RT (with the new DOHC engine).  I can't figure out if I am kind or stupid.  I considered forbidding him to purchase another bike and make him ride pillion behind me for awhile.  But that is just punishing me.  

Be safe out there friends. 


Monday, August 29, 2011

Watch your Six

The instructors in my Experienced Riders Course gave us a statistical break down from which direction motorbikes are most likely to be hit.  Not surprisingly, the front and front quarters had the highest statistics and most discussions centered around it.  Accidents from behind, or called your "Six" had only garnered about 3% and the instructors glossed over that not much "real" danger comes from that direction.

My jaw hit the floor.  I took great umbrage to the easy dismissal of watching out for your rear.  Three weeks before class I might not have given it much more thought.  But two weeks before class Oilburner had been rear-ended on his motorcycle and I was still reeling.

As motorbike pilots we have all encountered someone turning in front of us.  In your case, hopefully it did not involve and metal or asphalt kissing.  Though I know that some here have.

We are all aware of our front and always try to keep our eyes peeled.  We know we are invisible.  It is easy to keep our eyes peeled for dangers in front of us.  We are looking in that direction anyways.

For me?  My closest encounters and near misses have always come from behind.  A direction we can't watch nearly as easily or nearly as frequently.  I would just like to recount two incidents that will hopefully help you with being aware of your surroundings at key times.

I may have mentioned in passing about Oilburners accident before.  It is a story that hadn't yet written itself and therefore hadn't been recounted here.

We were supposed to be on vacation.  We had taken two weeks off and meant to haul the dogs and travel trailer up to Maine.  A week before vacation my dog was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and had started on chemo.  We decided to cancel the vacation travel, but take the time still and just hang around locally.  We weren't sure how she would respond to the chemo and didn't want to stress her.

It was another one of those heat wave summers and was unbearably hot.  We had been camping locally and decided to cut that short when our other dog wasn't responding well to the heat.  Taking her to the vet, she was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia from a vaccine she was recently given.

This vacation isn't going as planned.

So Friday of that first week sees us all back at home.  Oilburner and I decide to jump on the bikes for a leisurely ride across town to a motorbike gear shop.  The time is currently the beginning of Sept 2008 a little after noon.  I had just taken ownership of my BMW two weeks ago.  I hadn't ridden it, except a couple miles around the neighborhood.  We were on vacation remember?  Oilburner was on his purple Harley Davidson 883.  Such a great bike.

We ran our errands and were on our way home.  We pulled up in the queue at a stop light, maybe the fourth position back from the light.  We were sitting there side-by-side, he on the left, me on the right.

I hadn't yet transferred my blinking brake lights from my Suzuki and was feeling a little vulnerable.  Oilburner and I were chatting through our helmet communicators and I "thought" I had seen the guy behind us stop.

I was wrong.

I suddenly am aware of Oilburner yelling "What the FUCK?!?" through the communicators and this black wall sliding along my left side, pushing Oilburner away, like a bug in the bow wave of a boat.  Thinking the guy behind us had stopped, I assumed it was the guy behind him that was causing this accident.  I'm watching Oilburner being pushed forward and this moving black wall sliding past, just waiting for an impact to me.  I'm wondering what it will feel like.  Will I be pushed forward or will it be a glancing blow that will just knock me over to the right?

Oilburner is gone.  Replaced by the sparkling black death star.  He was impacted hard enough to send him into the minivan we were behind (while Oilburner was engaging his brake).  A minivan we had stopped about 6 feet behind.  Hard enough to bend the forks and peel steel back.  The black wall hadn't stopped yet and impacted Oilburner a second time.  It was too much.  Oilburner was a dirt bike rider of old but he couldn't hold onto this anymore.  I remember seeing his helmet rolling off to the left, what little I could see over the hood of the black wall.  In actuality he had "stepped off" the bike and let it lay down.  He stumbled a little but remained on his feet, in the opposing lane of traffic.

I'm sitting astride my bike, untouched, and in complete shock.  The entire time I'm watching this occur, and waiting until I feel that push that makes me a participant of this nightmare and no longer a witness.  I am listening to a litany of incomprehension and outrage as Oilburner experiences all of this.  My eyes are wide, my mouth is hanging open, and I can't figure out what to do next.

I figure I need to get off my bike.  I just can't figure out how.  I can't just put the kickstand down and dismount.  That black wall is that close.  I cannot lean the bike onto its kickstand!  I consider just falling over to the right and tumbling me and the bike over.  But the dirt shoulder is quite a few inches lower than the edge of the asphalt and there is a very large puddle of murky water right where I would be landing.

I finally work out that I should ride the bike forward 10 feet where the shoulder is the height of the road and it is covered in grass.  I don't like riding on grass.  I've only been riding 3 months by this time.  On a very new to me bike that I didn't have any time on, and I felt was extremely tall and top heavy.  I didn't care what happened to the bike, I just couldn't figure out how to get off the damn thing and get to my husband.

By the time those brain synapses finally function and get me dismounted Oilburner has lain down on the pavement to the right of his bike.  And one young ass is running around waving his hands in the air (yes, one was clutching his cell phone) screaming "The brakes failed.  The brakes failed!"

All the time I was forced to listen to Oilburner get hit, Oilburner now has to listen to me screaming at this idiot that his brakes did not fucking fail.  See, that black wall was a BMW X5 only a year or so old.

I slowly realized that my "conscience" was talking to me in a low voice.  My conscience is telling me to call AAA for his bike.  At the time I didn't question.  I was on auto pilot and there wasn't any way I could think for myself.  I didn't call the police.  I didn't call our good friend 5 miles away.  I didn't take off my helmet and talk with Oilburner.  I called AAA.  What a frickin dipshit I am!!

Later...when I realized what I had done I asked Oilburner why he told me to call for towing.  His response was "to give you something to focus on."  He figured it would calm me down and keep me from killing this kid.

Kid he was.  He was all of 19, and he called both of his parents who came rushing to the accident site.

Emergency response was quick, though there was confusion on their end about who should respond.  East bound traffic belonged to the city and westbound traffic belonged to the county.  :)  Go figure.  The good news is that the hospital was right in front of us.  The bill for the ambulance had one mile transportation charge.  The EMT's mused that this was their new record.

Oilburner was OK, just mild whiplash in his lower back.  Physical therapy helped that.  The bike was totaled, the kid was distraught and his father rode a Hyabusa.  Hopefully this incident and his parents taught him a lesson about cell phones and driving.  I don't know if the kid was texting or talking.  I just know he didn't see us.  If we hadn't been there we are 95% certain he would have rear-ended the minivan anyway.  No one knows how I escaped unscathed.  I wasn't any farther to the right in the lane than normal.  The X5 had a good hole in the bumper from the Harley on the drivers side, so the SUV wasn't too far to the left.  We just don't know.  But we are grateful.

It was extremely difficult for me to get on the bike after that.  But I did.  And I religiously analyzed my "Six" approaching stop lights/signs for many months.  Now can you understand my outrage in my class two weeks later?

The second incident was graciously provided to me on that slow moving, scenic Blue Ridge Parkway trip we just completed.  It occurred on the first day we were on the parkway (so the second day of the trip).  This one a$$hole felt the need to turn this scenic parkway into his own private Daytona 500 race track.

I led  most of the distance and kept any tails on Oilburner in my sight.  While we were clipping along a little over the speed limit (a very little in honesty), I tuned into people who might want to go faster and got out of their way at the first opportunity.  I wish some people would have done that for us.

In this instance we were behind one of those oblivious drivers averaging 35 (in a 45 zone), without any chances of passing.  Someone came up on Oilburners tail and hovered there.

After maybe 10 miles the lead car must have spotted something shiny and finally pulled off.  We surpassed the speed limit again and the SUV stayed on Oilburners rear.

It took a couple miles for the next turnout to come up.  It happened to be on the left and happened to be just over a little rise, and happened to have a fairly straight stretch of road which just happened to be a "no-passing" zone.

I appropriately signed my intent to turn and get out of this guys way.  Just as I was preparing to turn I hear Oilburner in the helmet communicator yelling "Whoa!!" and hear his horn honking.  I can't see the SUV in my mirror and suddenly see a gold wall passing on my left with the sound of a screaming engine wound up as it flew by.  This all occurred in the span of about 2 seconds.  The ONLY reason I was not already committed in the turn was because of some traffic cones and people milling about at the entrance of the overlook.  I shudder to realize that if I hadn't paused for that split second I would have been turning across the left lane as that SUV accelerated to pass.  There wasn't anyplace for that SUV to go, or if he even would have had time to respond.

I'm still going over the situation in my mind when Oilburner expresses his desire to go after that son of a bitch.  I'm not shaking or in shock.  This wasn't really a "near miss" or anything.  But it could have been.  Or it could have been much worse.  Another fraction of a second, and while I know Oilburner wouldn't really "go after" the guy, I decide to.

Yeah, I know.  Not a good idea.  But this guy needs to understand just how close he came to taking my life.

He is already into the next curve when my throttle hand catches up to my thoughts.  I whomped on the throttle and off I shoot.  I am up to 75 mph before I catch the guy.  When I slow to match his speed (and keep a safe distance behind in case he wants to retaliate by slamming on the brakes) we are doing about 70 mph.  I lay on the horn and just flip the guy off.  Oilburner has caught me by this time and is telling me the error of my ways.  He takes the quickly flashed brake lights as a sign that the driver "understands me".  I don't take it that lightly.

I back off and try to find my zen.  That is rather difficult when I am scrutinizing every turnout for that damn vehicle.  We considered calling the park rangers or the cops.  But that probably won't do any good.  I take solace in my daydream of finding this a$$hole in some turnout, taking my helmet off and using it to bash his fucking head in.  However, I would be happy with just denting every panel on that SUV and breaking all the windows.  That guy is lucky I never saw him again.  But his license plate is burned in my memory and I will keep an eye out.  And according to Twitter, I am not the only person that has had a run in with this vehicle and driver.

I'm reliving these instances to impress upon you how important it is to be aware of your surroundings.  I know you are, but sometimes we need a refresher.  In a Stayin' Safe class Oilburner and I took while at the Georgia Mountain Rally (local BMW rally), the instructor pressed us on to look at our six before braking or turns.  If someone isn't paying attention to your actions, you might get in trouble.  As for tailgaters?  Try to keep the emotion and ego in check and just pull over for a break. I was honestly trying to do that.  I wasn't trying to police this guys speed.  I just didn't realize that he wanted to drive 70 in a 45 zone.

Stay Safe out there everyone.  I want you around for a long time to come.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Power of Suggestion

Warning:  If you are susceptible to the power of suggestion I recommend you stop reading now.  To continue reading may set you up for having the wrong song in your helmet for a long time to come.


Helmet to helmet communicators can be a blessing or a curse.  Of course, I've only ever been connected to hubby.  So he is stuck with my rumblings and rants.  I'm not sure I could do well with "on" communication with anyone else.  I know it would be a connection with friends.  But your friend isn't always in your head to that degree.  And, honestly, do you really want them to be?  I mean, the spouse has signed up for your crazy, but your friend doesn't necessarily know the depth of it.
Do doo do-do

Oilburner and I don't keep up a constant patter of communication.  We have long periods of silence just listening to road noise, engine noise, wind noise.  But the line is there in case we spot something interesting, to warn each other of obstacles, or discuss what's for dinner.

We each have a Bluetooth connection with our own phones.  We can, and do, shut each other off and listen to music occassionally.


Many times I do enjoy listening to music while riding.  It's usually on just as background noise to drown out my wind/helmet noise.  But it is mostly when I ride alone.  I rarely listen while riding with Oilburner.  And he is the same way. 

This isn't a new thing for us.  Many times we will listen to the radio in the truck while driving.  When we are pulling the trailer?  The music is never on.  Pulling trailers is a responsibility.  I think we leave the radio off to tune into the trailer more, and keep alert for dangers.

Do do-do-do

I'm wondering if the same thing is true on the bikes.  Are we keeping the channel open, even though we aren't talking, "in case" we need to communicate in an emergency?  Or are we just concerned the other person will be offended if we didn't want to talk to them?  A way of ignoring each other?

The handful of times we have disconnected from each other was on the super slab and we wanted to make some miles.


So we went on a group ride this Saturday.  It was going to be a long distance day and the first leg was going to be slabbed to get us into Tennessee.  The pace was "spirited".

Oilburner was polite and offerend that I could listen to music if I wanted.  (Now I am beginning to wonder if he was telling me he didn't want to to talk to me, so he could listen to his music??  Hmmm....Why do I never think of these things at the time??) 

I told him I was OK.  I didn't need to listen to music.  I would just sing in my helmet.  Seriously, I really don't know the lyrics to too many songs.  So the default song came in...

It was over.  Oilburner had this song running through his head all day.  Karma for all the time he and his coworkers subtly whistled different tunes each week that their boss would unconciously pick up and hum, whistle, or sing for days.

And just when Oilburner was getting over it?


I have officially put 30,000 miles on my bike in three years.  I purchased my bike somewhere around this time in 2008, with 9,442 miles on the clock.  I flipped to 39,443 at the Saturday ride meeting location  It was a short lived victory since I went to put on an additional 400 miles that day.  But I'm still happy.  :)


The Saturday ride took us to places we have never been before.  Not even in a cage.  So it was lovely seeing a brand new area.  The group we went with are people from the local tag games.  So we "know" each other by avatar on the boards.  Some know each other in person as well.  This was our first time meeting most of them in person.  They are some good people.

However, I just don't mesh with their riding style.  I don't mind a spirited ride and allowing people to go their own pace.  I am fine falling behind and catching up, if you are good with that.  But please don't say you are good with that, and then not be in actuality.

Their idea of good riding was fast twisties come hell or high water and whisking along 45 mph roads at 60+ mph.  This involved passing on double yellows and even passing in the twisties.  I'm disheartened to say that I bowed to peer pressure and followed long as I was positive it was safe.  (Though nothing would have saved me if there had been a police officer.) There came a time when it was not safe and I fell way behind without any way of catching up.  Good.  It allowed me to actually spend some time looking at the scenery that was completely new to me.

The day was meant for the twisties and a minor amount of sightseeing.  Fine with me, except the roads where we were sucked!!  Lots of erosion and heaving, uneven surfaces with poor patch jobs.  There were a few decent areas, but many of the twisties were plagued by uneven drops.  After having read a face plant recently of someone that suffered broken ribs from a very minor 6 inch wide sink hole, I wasn't going to push my speeds on new-to-me roads.

In all, the twisties were fun.  It was wonderful being on new roads and having new vistas to look over.  We managed to make it to a state park with a beautiful waterfall, that we didn't see.  The heat was getting to Oilburner and he wasn't up to walking the trail to the overlook.  So we sat in the shade and hydrated.

It was nearing 2:00 pm by this time and we were 4 hours from home.  We had only progressed one third around the originally planned loop.  Oilburner and I decided it was time to split off and head for home to rescue the puppy and have a leisurely ride home.  We stopped at one overlook for photos.  :)  And the one patch of rain we hit was wonderfully refreshing, dropping temps from 100F to 74F  (38C to 23C).