The Return of Joy

I was out on the motorcycle yesterday. The weather was gorgeous, although just a little breezy. The KLR hummed down some of my favorite back roads. I felt like I could ride forever.

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I did not feel this way a year ago. In fact, the past year of riding has been somewhat erratic. No long trips; at the most only long day rides to visit family. In my post, Soul searching on a motorcycle, I wrote: …”the reason—that thing that seemed to be missing—came to me. What I discovered: I have lost the joy in motorcycling.” In January, I actually created a flyer for the sale of my V-Strom. I put it aside and pondered posting it at several of my frequent hangouts. Through the Spring and Summer, I kept searching, and decided not to sell the V-Strom but rather buy another motorcycle—the Kawasaki KLR 650 New Edition—that would give me a different kind of ride.

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On paper, the V-Strom DL650 and the KLR 650 are very similar. On the saddle, they are quite different. The V-Strom is a very smooth reliable motorcycle with plenty of power. The KLR is like a big dirt bike also capable of running down the highway. The V-Strom is a joy to ride. The KLR is a hoot to ride. Maybe it’s because of the newness, but I have found myself riding the KLR more than the V-Strom. The V-Strom will get the nod in the long distance rides.

Somewhere along my route yesterday, with the sun shining down on me and the breeze in my face, I began to think that it was nearly a year ago that I almost quit motorcycling. The rides this year have given me plenty to think about what it is I am doing with a motorcycle. Yes, I believe my riding pattern is changing, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll return to long-distance tours. Maybe not. The important thing is that I have rediscovered the joy of motorcycling, and it’s a hoot.

Finding the joy in motorcycling again has been like remembering that tune you used to listen to all the time, and have rediscovered. It’s like watching that favorite movie that you haven’t seen in a long time—you want to watch it again and again. And so it is with the motorcycles. I’d rather jump on the bike to run an errand than take the car.

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Now, if I can only resolve that other nagging question from that post a year ago. “Why am I here?” What is my purpose at this stage of my life.

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

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Breaking in a new motorcycle

Look online for how to break in a new motorcycle, and you will find more opinion on “the correct way” than you asked for. Of course, there is always the manufacturer’s instructions, which can be found in the owner’s manual. My best guess is that the engineers who designed it know the best method for proper break in.

So that’s the method I am following for my new Kawasaki KLR 650: keep it under 4,000 RPM for the first 500 miles, and then under 6,000 RPM up to 1,000 miles.

It requires some miles, and of course roads. Yesterday, I cruised out to the dealer, Clinton County Motorsports, just to say “hi.” And then, I managed to find a little gravel to test its stability. I was very pleased.

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The more I ride this KLR 650, the more I like it. It’s going to be a great exploration vehicle.

See you on the highway.

Brent

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Allan Karl begins his World Rider book tour

Round-the-world adventure rider Allan Karl kicked off his WorldRider book tour in Columbus, Ohio, recently. Speaking to several different groups, signing books and talking with patrons, Allan, delighted the crowds with tales of his adventures.

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His book, Forks: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine and Connection, is unique in that it not only tells the stories of his travels, but also offers up recipes from the countries he visited in his three-year, five-continent motorcycle adventure. His plan is to offer a sampling of a recipe at each of his stops. In Columbus, with the help of one of the local restaurants in the North Market, he offered a Fattoush salad to the audience. The recipe comes from the Middle East.

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Allan plans to visit many more cities in the USA in the coming months. Check his web site for a location near you. WorldRider.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Posted in Motorcycling, Notes to Readers | Tagged | 2 Comments

I fought the good fight

Are you one of those individuals who reads and researches to the Nth degree and ponders your reasoning before you buy something. I am one of those, especially on big-ticket items.

I have looked at other motorcycles for some time, and scrutinized a couple … very closely, reading up on all the forums, basically anyplace I could find credible information and feedback. It’s probably overkill, and may be considered part of my borderline mental health issues.

In my last post, I wrote about not buying a KLR, I thought that if I put it down on paper, out there for every one to read, that act alone would be my confirming decision. Instead, that little voice in my head nagged me even harder.

I surrendered. I bought a Kawasaki KLR 650, the 2014 New Edition.

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Stablemates: my trust V-Strom 650 now has a companion, the new KLR 650 dual sport.

See you on the highway!

Brent

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Facebook vs. Helmet Time

Frankly, trying to make a decision while reading Facebook posts and comments is a terrible idea and could be a disastrous influence. For Facebook, not only wants to get in our minds, it was recently announced they were using posts and comments to influence emotions of users. Now, I’m all for social research, but that just doesn’t seem right. I have a better solution for decision making—helmet time.

Helmet time? Yes, helmet time. What is that you ask? Well, helmet time occurs during a motorcycle ride and the helmet does double duty as your “thinking cap.” It can be very productive, and it’s safe because you’re wearing the proper gear including a helmet. You won’t be answering the phone or texting. It’s just you, the road, and the thoughts in your head, and empty roads can be some of the most productive places.

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For some time now, I have been struggling with my motorcycling efforts. I have wavered back and forth between selling what I have and buying a second bike. The bike at the top of that list is a new Kawasaki KLR 650. I’ve always wanted one.

Within the past couple of weeks, I have gone to the dealer to buy one. The first time I went, the one sitting on the floor had just been sold. The second time I started out, I was riding the V-Strom, and the farther I rode on this fine motor bike, the more I questioned why I would want anything else. I even had a check in my billfold. That’s how close it was. I never arrived at the dealer. Of course, I shared this with my wife, and she suggested I wait a week or so to see if it’s really what I want to do—buy another bike. It’s been two weeks, and I have been perusing through all the KLR 650 Riders Group posts, photos and comments on Facebook.

This morning, I put a fresh blank check in my billfold, and headed up the highway on my trusty V-Strom towards the dealer. The smoothness of the bike, the effortless pull of the engine, the knowledge that this bike truly gets 60+ miles-per-gallon. It has taken me everywhere I wanted to go—without issues and without worry about whether or not it will get me home.

Eastward I ride, thinking about this motorcycle and how it meets all my needs, and the “thinking cap” starts its process … again. My conclusion—again—why would I want to ride anything else. Where would another motor bike take me that this one can’t?

Just east of Morrow, Ohio, on Route 22/3, I reach the intersection of SR 123. To continue towards the dealer is straight ahead…. I turn south to follow more twisty roads before turning back towards home.

I put the blank check back in the checkbook, and I pull up my Facebook account to delete one or two motorcycle groups that were wasting my time and my more important helmet time.

See you on the highway.

Brent

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