Friday, November 21, 2008

Autumn Ride

A gorgeous fall day...

Riding gear hanging on garage wall next to parked 2008 Harley-Davidson FLHX (A hard bagger commonly known as a Street Glide). 

The recipe for the day:

  • Remove vintage WWII olive drab woolen Army blanket protecting bike from dust. 

The fact that the blanket was “appropriated” over 40 years ago automatically gives your bike a certain amount of character.

The blanket releases a not unfamiliar smell combining faint scents of wax, leather, newer plastics, fiberglass epoxy, oil and gas.

  • Remove rolled up leather chaps from fishnet holder on garage wall.
  • Buckle chaps, then reach down and zip each leg, then fasten two snaps at bottom of each leg.
  • Start motorcycle and let run to warm up.

The great sound of the bagger at idle is enough to distract you from properly completing the rest of your “recipe” or checklist so you have to regroup just a little before you go on.

  • Put on and zip up hooded sweat shirt
  • Put on and fasten snaps on leather vest
  • If temperature is around 50F or less, add scarf
  • Put on leather jacket, leaving wrists momentarily unzipped.

A lot of layers yes.  But as the day progresses and as the temperature warms you will be able to selectively remove them and put them in your badass baggers bags baby.

  • Put on “do-rag” to help prevent dreaded “helmet itch”.
  • Put on sun glasses.
  • Put on helmet and secure strap
  • Put on gloves
  • Zip up jacket sleeves snugly around gloves.

You will often forget this simple task... zipping the sleeves…don’t ask me why but you will realize it as soon as you get on the street and notice a chill wind finding its way around your gloves and up your arms. 

  • Perform visual bike inspection to make sure everything is attached and closed properly

There will be times you will be so excited you will forget to do this as well – it’s a fact.

  • Mount bagger
  • Shuffle feet to back bike out of garage
  • Check surroundings
  • Check azimuth of the sun to determine travel direction

This is often the only criterion for the day’s ride… you pick your direction so the sun will not be in your face.

  • Hit first gear
  • Hit the road
  • Begin absorbing input from all senses and from all possible angles
  • Assume everything moving… cars, motorcycles, bicycles, people, animals will do something incorrectly and somehow end up in your path
  • Be prepared to take evasive action
  • Always have an escape route in mind:
  • Can you suddenly move left or right or is there something in the way that precludes it?
  • Can you accelerate out of danger if necessary or will that put you in the path of other objects?
  • Can you slam on the brakes if necessary or is there something moving closely behind you?

Somewhere down that road, there will be a steaming cup of hot coffee and a fresh donut waiting for you.  It’s well worth the effort, in fact it’s priceless! 


Waiting for the Big Giant said...

...and then you get in the passing lane and drive 32 miles per hour ignoring the "woman on the verge" imprisoned behind you!


You Harley people are going to need your own state pretty soon. I think you should opt for Alaska!

Go north, young man! Palin awaits! They even named a special donut after her that you're gonna love. The "dodo" donut.

TomC said...

As always, I appreciate your comments. But with this one, you have cut me to the quick. I recall your story about the bikers blocking you and can only surmise they must have been riding Hondas. As to the "Dodo donut", I confess I have no pride. I have never met a donut I didn't love - shoulda been a cop...