Ed. Note: March 21, 2021 is International Poetry Day.
Spring air coaxes me on as I lean into the curves. The park is filled with families, kids in the playgrounds. Overhead, an airplane tows a glider, ready to be released to near total freedom, but it must return to earth. The motorcycle awaits. It is the total freedom machine.
It’s January—cold with a mix of rain and snow. Coronavirus has required us to stay inside. So, what’s a fella to do?
Planning. Getting ready for a fishing season along with a little motorcycling. That’s what a fella is to do!
Over the years, I have built fly rods and bought rods that would make it easier to carry them on a motorcycle. Then, I discovered Tenkara in 2013, and that changed my motorcycle/fishing world completely. However, I still like to use a conventional fly rod from time to time. It all depends upon the water to be fished. The minimalist approach to Tenkara just makes perfect sense with the motorcycle. So, for 2021, here is my list of gear for fly fishing with the motorcycle as transportation.
Any one of these will fit into the bags on my motorcycle. From top to bottom:
Tiny Tenkara. 8.5” collapsed, 54” extended
Tiny Tenkara 2. It is 14.5” in rod tube, 8’ extended
Tenkara USA Hane’. 17” in rod tube, 10’10” extended
7-piece, 9’ 5wt travel fly rod. 18” in rod sock
5-piece, 7.5’ 4wt fly rod. 20” in rod sock
Of course, there are a lot of other manufacturers and options out there. Find one you like, and get to fishing.
I do not use a fishing vest preferring a pack instead. I have three in different sizes. They can carry an assortment of fly boxes. It just depends upon how much you want to carry, or more importantly, how much room on the motorcycle is available. L to R above:
Simms small sling pack. Plenty of room for fly boxes and gear, including space for a water bottle on the bottom.
Fishpond small waist pack. Less room, but will hold one fly reel as well as fly boxes.
Fishpond small chest pack. Minimal gear. One small fly box.
With the minimalist approach of Tenkara, the small Fishpond chest pack is perfect, and it takes up less room in the motorcycle bags.
I think a net is a luxury for motorcycle fly fishing, especially if you are also hauling camping gear. But I recently discovered a net manufacturer who has been in business since 1955, and I think his net will be just the ticket for saving space.
The top net is one I built. It is 21” long, and will fit in a bag if you tilt it a little. It’s a nice net, and there have been plenty of fish in it. The little one is an expandable net from Handy Pak Net Company in Pennsylvania. It has a spring steel rim, folds up to fit in that pouch, AND it is a bigger net than my homebuilt. The Handy Pak Net is going with me on the motorcycle.
What about waders? Waders take up too much space, and if you’re going motorcycle camping, they are left behind. You either wet wade or fish from shore. If you’re just going fishing near where you live, there is probably room for waders. I prefer waist sock-foot waders with a separate boot. The waist waders fold up into a smaller package for transportation. Plan on some kind of plastic bag for carrying wet waders and boots home.
That’s all folks!
I am so ready to get on the motorcycle and go fishing.
See you on the highway (or maybe on the water … or both).
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.
I wanted to wait a while before writing about the new motorcycle in my garage, because I also wanted to give some first impressions. After riding for about 2,000 miles, I can tell you whole heartedly that this 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special is fantastic. I bought it in late June this summer—about four months ago in an inventory closeout deal at Cadre Cycle.
First a couple of items about why I bought this bike. Soon, I will turn 70 years old. With my 30-inch inseam and aging body, I’m getting a little tired of mounting a tall, heavy adventure bike. I sold the V-Strom 1000, but still have the V-Strom 650. I was looking for a bike that was easy to throw a leg over and ride. I have found that with the Guzzi.
The looks of this bike are unique. It is a head turner. It’s that v-twin engine that sits sideways. It is immediately recognizable as a Moto Guzzi. And the unique character of the engine upon start-up, lets you know you are on something different, as the torque shifts the bike sideways. That disappears once you are underway, but you feel the torque throughout the gears, pulling you along.
The engine and transmission are getting smoother as I add the miles, resulting in an even more pleasant ride. I have added a Dart Fly screen, which provides a very small amount of wind deflection, and a center stand. I’ve been looking for a pair of side bags to add a bit of utility to the bike, but have not bought anything yet.
The bike uses premium fuel, and the current mpg is about 55, improving as the engine is breaking in. Of course, I ride with an easy wrist. But, every now and then …. wow!
I think this bike can easily travel. It just needs some bags, which can also haul some groceries. It’s just a matter of finding the right accessories that enhance the overall look of the bike.
This Moto Guzzi V7iii is a blast to ride. It is old school with modern technology, including ABS and traction control. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy one of these. I certainly looked at them long enough. Too long.
When I was 30 or even 40, I never asked myself how long I thought I would continue to ride motorcycles. My friends, about the same age, never considered such a question either. But as I “matured” into my 60s, the question popped into my head. And now that I am only months away from 70, it is a question I have been asking myself and others. “How long do you plan to keep riding?”
I have been riding since age 15. Unofficially, of course on that Lambretta motor scooter that dad brought home. When I turned 16 with a new driver’s license, that Lambretta was mine to ride. Riding has always been my passion. It’s the freedom of the road, wind in your face experience. Even though I have had three accidents (one seriously) I never felt like I would quit riding.
My first owned motorcycle was a 1963 Harley Davidson Sprint Scrambler 250cc made by Aermacchi. It needed a lot of work. When I returned from Vietnam in 1971, I bought a brand new Honda Scrambler CL350. Then another Honda, and another Honda, and so on, including a 1976 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing that I partially restored to its original standard configuration in the early 1990s.
In the “old days,” all motorcycles were standards. You bought them and then modified them to do what you wanted with it. Today, there are so many different types of bikes, niche bikes. There are dirt bikes, motocross bikes, dual sports, adventure bikes, touring bikes, cruisers, and many variations thereof.
Technology has entered the scene with ABS brakes, traction control, and even cruise control, making motorcycles safer and more expensive. My 2017 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 has ABS and traction control, and is much more capable than my riding skills. It, and my previous DL650s, has taken me anywhere and everywhere I’ve wanted to go, including all 48 states of the USA.
So, I’ve been through a few motorcycles in the past decade, looking for that perfect vehicle, and more recently asking about ability to keep riding. I concluded that tall, heavy adventure bikes may not be the right bike for me as I get older. I am not the fit young man of my earlier years. A little arthritis and reduced flexibility remind me often of that, even if 70 is the new 50. It has become a little more difficult to throw a leg over a motorcycle and prepare for launch.
I needed to make some changes. I started by selling my V-Strom 1000. It was a great bike with plenty of power. Lots of power and torque. But, it was tall and top heavy. It will be a great bike for its new owner, who seems to be happy. I plan to keep the V-Strom 650 for a while. It is lighter, more economical, and frankly the better bike.
I also renewed my interest in a smaller bike, one easier to mount, and I returned to my previous research and interest. I found a great deal on an inventory clearance sale on a 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special. Old school bike with modern technology.
The bike and I are just getting to know each other, and I am quite happy. I have also learned a couple of things. The Guzzi draws a little attention. Both of my brothers said they wanted to ride it even before I offered them a ride. They never did that with my previous bikes. One of them invoked the hallowed name of Steve McQueen. There is something to an old school, standard bike.
Another thing I learned, or should I say re-learned, is the true joy of motorcycling. The V-Stroms and the KLRs are great bikes, as are many other adventure bikes, but when I started riding the Guzzi, I noticed something. The Guzzi is wide open. Naked. More exposed to the elements, the environment, the road. All of that which we identify with the joy of motorcycling. And, it dawned on me that when riding the adventure bikes, I feel like I’m in a cockpit on two wheels. Fairing and wind screen with a seat that dips quite lower than the fuel tank. Yes. A cockpit.
This is what I want riding into the future as long and as far as I can. Something easy to ride that brings the joy of motorcycling. Downsizing is good as long as it works toward the goal. Who knows? Maybe the last scoot will be a Vespa. I hope I’m still riding through my 70s and into 80. That is only ten more years.