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.

POEX-Jun25--65

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

Detour

The sign said, “detour, turn left. Road closed .8 miles ahead. Local traffic only.” The detour was also south and away from the intended northwesterly route. How far south would it go? How much of a detour will it be? All reasonable questions.

Life is like that. You come upon an unexpected obstacle and can follow the signs to get around it. Follow the path that someone else has laid out for you, and you will arrive … eventually. Usually, the route is not terrible, it’s intended to carry heavier traffic and yet more time consuming. It can be an inconvenience or a blessing. The detour will eventually take you around the obstacle and back onto your original route. But, the detour path is always somebody else’s idea.

What if there is another route? Where does the road to the right go? What will I discover? Will I get lost if I don’t follow the signs. Will it take longer? All reasonable questions.

There is an explorer in all of us. We all seek adventure to some degree. Granted, there may be adventure in following the signs, but the greater adventure is wandering through the countryside zigzagging down country roads. You may find twisty roads and a countryside dotted with farms. Horses in the pasture. Giant bales of hay freshly cut and rolled awaiting pick up. Clumps of crossroad buildings that carry a name, but are too small to be shown as a small town on the highway maps.

Yes, there is much to be discovered by not following the detour.

I turned right onto a freshly paved country road, and it made all the difference.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Testing the Anakee 3 motorcycle tire Part 1

I am ready for a new rear tire on the V-Strom, but decided to wait until Spring. That turned out to be a fortunate decision.

A couple of weeks ago, Glen from Sport Tour called to say their Michelin rep is looking for someone who could write a review for a new motorcycle tire they have developed for the adventure bike market—like the V-Strom. Would I be interested in testing a set of tires? Tell me more, I said. What are the conditions?

Michelin-Anakee3-test-1

Turns out, Michelin is looking for an honest and fair review of this new tire, and so I agreed to write a review and also produce a couple of You Tube videos.

In that first phone conversation, Glen said, “They look different.” Yes. They are quite different looking from the typical adventure tire. But, that seems to be part of Michelin’s research and design. Most adventure bike miles are on paved roads, so it appears there is a sport tire component to the design. The deep tread appears to be for the unpaved roads, and the interesting part of the tread are those little bevels and wedge cuts. Michelin says the tire is designed to release mud and gravel and give the tire more bite in the dirt. Interesting. This could truly be an adventure.

After agreeing to write the reviews, the tires were mounted on the wheels, and I installed them on the bike.

Here’s Part 1 of the video review:

Testing Michelin’s new Anakee 3 motorcycle tire

 

After producing that video, I had the opportunity to take the bike out for a few more miles. I purposefully chose a couple of local roads that have a twisting, up/down hill component with an off camber surface. I wanted to see how these tires were going to grip, and attempt to compare them to tires I am comfortable with—the Metzeler Tourance.

I was quite surprised. These tires have a very good trip on the twisties. I found myself leaning through the curves at a higher than my usual pace. And, the bike just tracked where it was pointed. Secondly, and this one is very hard to quantify, I think these tires are actually quieter on the road than the Tourance.

Granted, this is just a first impression, but it is a very positive one. The real test of these tires is yet to come, and how many miles will I get out of them. The Michelin rep wants them tested “all the way to the end.”

Look for more review of these tires in the upcoming riding season.

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

First ride of 2013

1st-ride-2013-1

Every year, the anxiety sets in. When will I be able to get the motorcycle out for that first ride of the year. Many years, I have been fortunate to actually do the first ride on the first day of the year. But, not this year.

As I sat in my office, between tasks, I looked at the weather bug on my computer. It read 51 degrees. The blue sky clearly visible from my office window beckoned, and without hesitation, I headed for the other room for my riding jacket and helmet. Boots came out of the closet.

I rolled the bike out of the garage. It fired up on the first crank of the engine after sitting for three or maybe four weeks. As it warmed, I took a quick self portrait to document the moment.

Trust me. It was all smiles for the next hour or so.

See you on the highway.

Brent