My Motorcycling Year in Review; Now What?

The weather forecast for the last couple of days of 2021 are a disappointment. Not good for riding. So, the mileage numbers are pretty much complete for the year, and that is somewhat disappointing also.

I decided to analyze my riding to see if a pattern emerged.

MG 12-02-2021

The first thing I noticed is that I rode my 2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii Rough twice as many miles as my 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650. Really? Yes, really. The V-Strom is my third DL650, and I have loved each of them, but the Guzzi has overtaken the mileage. It is so easy to ride, to throw a leg over. And frankly, it is soulful.

I decided to look back to 2008 for motorcycling mileage. That’s when I bought the first V-Strom 650, and really started to really travel on two wheels. I put 66,386 miles on that yellow bike before trading it on a new 2015 V-Strom 650. That first one took me to many places and most of my 48-state rides.

Colorado-camping-23

In 2013, a distinct change occurred. I had one long tour to the southeast to work on my fill-in-the-states map, and that was one of my worst travels. I rode 2,400 miles round trip, five of the six days in rain. I was charged by a pit bull while taking a picture of crossing into the Georgia state line. Missed being involved in a multiple car accident by split seconds in Augusta, Georgia, because I was in the right lane and could take to shift to the highway shoulder. Took a bee sting in the face while traveling at 75 MPH next to a semi-truck and trailer on I-75. There were other incidents, but by the time I arrived home, I told my wife, “It was horrible. I’m selling that bike.” In her wisdom, she told me to wait a while. Smart woman.

Aug-ride-0026

Aug-ride-0028

In 2012, I started volunteering with an organization that serves disabled Veterans. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., is an incredible asset. The program teaches disabled Veterans all aspects of fly fishing—fly tying, casting techniques, rod building, and takes them fishing. As a Vietnam Veteran myself, I could relate. I got involved serving others. Sometimes, I would ride the motorcycle to events. It’s clear in my analysis that PHWFF was more important than long-distance motorcycling. I served for nine years, six as the program lead for Cincinnati.

Brookville-PHW-outing-38

Then there was covid and the pandemic. We hunkered down, and got our vaccinations as soon as we could, but we still practiced caution and did little traveling or socializing. Thank God for Zoom to stay in touch with motorcycling friends.

Campfire Chat 07-22-2020

I started riding at the age of 15 in 1965 on a Lambretta scooter that my dad bought. More than 50 years of motorcycle ownership, and one at a time. There were a few years of non-ownership. I owned a 2004 Honda Shadow when I wrote a few articles for Road Runner Magazine. Since purchasing that 2008 V-Strom, I have owned a total of nine motorcycles, but never owned more than two at a time. Here is the list in the order of purchase and the miles I put on them:

  • 2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650 (66,386 miles) (traded)
  • 2014.5 Kawasaki KLR 650 (2,117 miles) (traded)
  • 2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650 (12,303 miles) (traded)
  • 2017 Suzuki SV650 (2,626 miles) (traded)
  • 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 (7,059 miles)
  • 2018 Kawasaki KLR 650 (4,600 miles) (regretted trading)
  • 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 (3,509 miles) (traded)
  • 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special (2,296 miles) (traded)
  • 2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii Rough (3,001 miles)

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My current rides, the 2017 V-Strom and 2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii.

Guzzi-Strom 9-23-2021

So, here are the numbers. Since 2008, I have ridden 103,897 miles on two wheels. The years 2008-2012 totaled 57,434 for an average of 11,487 miles per year. The years 2013-2021 totaled 46,463 for an average of 5,162 miles per year. The year with the most miles was 2010 with 13,637 miles and the worst was 2015 with 3,551 miles, the year my Mom passed away.

Clearly, something or life choices made a huge difference in my motorcycling starting in 2013. Was it that horrible tour to the southeast? Or, was it refocused interest. For the most part, I think it was life choices and the opportunity to serve others that replaced my long-distance two-wheeled travel.

Now What?

Good question. Now what? At age 71, I am not ready to quit riding. I have ridden to and through all 48 states—all on V-Stroms. Looking at the numbers, it does not make sense to buy a third motorcycle when I would just be splitting miles with three bikes. And now that my PHWFF duties have changed, I have more time to get away. The easy decision is to make smaller two and three day rides and fishing trips, and that would be perfect for either of the bikes currently in the garage, the V-Strom and the Guzzi. In fact, I really want to take the Guzzi for a tour. It’s the perfect bike for two-lane highways. 

Grog Run Rd 12-23-2020

See you on the highway.

Brent

The joy of getting on a bus

Every now and then, a scene—an observation–brings a big smile to my face. This morning was one of those as I drove through town to meet friends for coffee.

The school bus was coming towards me, and slowing down. I assumed it was going to stop to pick up a student. I slowed also with plenty of clearance to the bus. First the flashers came on, then the red flashers and stop sign extended out from the side. I rolled to a stop and looked for children.

Out of a car parked on the side street stepped a school girl, maybe 7-years old. Maybe 8. She had a pink backpack and was wearing a pink mask. She ran towards the bus, arms waving in the air as if to say “hi” to someone or everyone on the bus. She behaved absolutely joyful to be getting on the bus and seeing friends.

It brought a big smile to my face. The innocence of kids. The joy of seeing friends or going to school. Absolutely magical.

The bus flashing lights turned off. The stop sign rolled back to the side of the bus, and it began to roll. I waved to the bus driver. She waved back.

See you on the highway.

Brent

It was a surreal moment watching the Space Station fly over

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Screenshot of the ISS Detector app on my smart phone.

The night was perfect. Unusually clear sky. Stars shining brightly at about 9 p.m. The phone app, ISS Detector, had signaled the impending flyover of the International Space Station, and it was going to be almost directly overhead on an arc from horizon to horizon for about five minutes.

I stood in my backyard, phone in hand, watching the image of an approaching Space Station coming closer and closer to my viewing spot. And then, there it was rising above the trees, ascending into better view. It shines because its height above the earth is actually reflecting the sunshine off its surface.

Seven astronauts doing their space thing flying along at about 17,000 miles per hour, with all that technology and science. I am in awe to be able to watch such an event. It gets me every time, and this one was perfect.

About one mile away, workers and volunteers were still setting up for the annual Farm Club Antique Tractor Show. I guess tractors were still arriving and being moved into their places for display even at that hour. I could hear the deep chug of a tractor being moved, the kind of sound that only an antique tractor can make. It’s not a smooth whir of an engine, but a deep, single sound of an engine: chug…chug…chug…chug.

Antique Tractors 9-17-2021-1
Could this be the tractor I heard? It is an old steam engine tractor, the kind that sounds like what I heard, “chug…chug…chug.”

I listened to this tractor while watching the Space Station fly over, and it was such a contrast in technology. Overhead is this marvel of technology and science flying silently across the sky, and over at the farm, an antique tractor fills the air with its marvelous low-end mechanical sound. Viewing one and hearing the other was an observation in how far we have come as a civilization. It was surreal.

It is fun to watch such an event with others, to talk about that magnificent object flying overhead. We would have talked about the Space Station until it was out of sight. But, I was solo on this night. If there had been others, I might not have heard the antique tractor which made it surreal. Was being alone meant to be? Fate? Karma? Synchronicity? Perhaps.

I can’t wait until the next time the Space Station flies over.

See you on the highway. 

Brent

Dreaming of the Oregon Trail

For some strange reason, I awoke this morning dreaming of my 2012 ride on the Oregon Trail. It was a 6,000-mile, 21 day adventure. But, why this morning? Maybe I’m just dreaming of another motorcycle adventure. 

OrTrail-60
Chimney Rock in Nebraska, a landmark for travelers on the Oregon Trail.

See you on the highway. 

Brent

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