February Ride on the KLR

Brent and KLR at the Morrow, Ohio, train depot. It’s now a Rails-to-Trail, Little Miami River Recreational Trail.

Temps in the low 50s. Partly sunny. The roads are dry and rinsed of all salt after three days of rain. Of course I’m going for a ride.

See you on the highway.

Brent

What? A Flat Tire!

I have been very fortunate over my 57 years of motorcycling to never have a flat tire while traveling. All my previous flats were discovered in my garage. But, this flat happened 35 miles from home while returning from a Kentucky campout with friends. 

Packed and ready to head home. Just put on the panniers.

I was monitoring my fuel. The computer indicated I had 90 miles before requiring fuel, and I was about 60 miles from home. As I traveled north, I decided there was no need to push it, and I pulled into a Kroger fuel station in Mount Orab, Ohio. I was tired and ready to be home.

Fueled up, I lifted the bike off the kickstand and fired it up. Rolling, the bike just felt different. Was it me, tired, or the bike. I looked at the front wheel, and kept going pulling into traffic. Now, I’m in traffic, and I realize it is the bike–most likely a flat, and safety is about 300 yards away. I cross the overpass of Ohio Route 32, see a Tire Discounters store and plenty of parking lot next to it. Stop. Get off the bike. Check the tires, and the rear is definitely flat. Thank god I have my tire repair kit with me.

That is one long screw. Unfortunately, I am not!

I empty the tire repair kit onto the ground, and commence to removing the screw and plugging the tire with one of those “mushroom” type pieces. I have used them before, and they work perfectly. Next, plug in the portable air compressor and air up. Unfortunately, this compressor, which has never been used before, failed to inflate. It failed to even start. *(^$(^))^%$%$&$@***

You get the picture. But, wait! I pulled into this parking lot just in case because right next door is the tire store, and they are busy putting new tires on cars. I walk over, and explain my predicament. Will they air me up? “Yes.” So, I walk back to the bike, start it up and gently paddle-walk it next door where I nearly drop the bike. I am so tired, I forgot to put the kickstand down. It was a muscular save, and I haven’t got much of that at age 72. 

“How much air?” “41 psi, please.” Filled up, and very thankful. No funds exchanged hands, even though it was offered. 

Off I went. Headed home for the final 35 miles. Full tank, and patched tire. 

Frankly, even though I had a flat tire on the road, I felt lucky. I was prepared, and saw the possibility of a Plan B. What I should have done was get off the bike back at the gas station, discover the flat right there, and roll it over to the air hose. But, lesson learned, and I am very thankful.

A new air compressor (different brand) was ordered the next day. 

Be well. Ride safe. See you on the highway or on the side of the road.

Brent

 

 

Ride Before the Storms

Despite the lovely weather, the forecast for the weekend and beyond was rain, rain and more rain. If I was going to get in a ride, it was Thursday. So, I rolled the Moto Guzzi V7 out of the garage, threw a leg over, fired it up and headed out of the neighborhood.

Wandering the backroads, I headed towards Loveland, OH, a lovely small town with lots going on.

Looking for a photo-op, I decided to stop at the Loveland Veterans’ Memorial, near the Little Miami River. 

Having paid my respects, I turned towards home on familiar roads. The Guzzi hummed along like a faithful steed.

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

Fifty-Seven Years of Motorcycling

And still counting!

It’s hard to imagine doing anything for a longer period of time, except for living of course. But yes, I have been riding motorized, two-wheeled vehicles for 57 years … and counting. There have been a couple of periods without motorcycles, but I still count from the beginning.

It all started with that broken Lambretta motor scooter that Dad brought home and fixed up. He would take us kids for rides. I’m not sure how Mom felt about that exactly. I only know that I was not allowed to buy a vehicle until I graduated from high school. I wrecked that Lambretta at age 16 when a driver turned left in front of me. Scooter was gone in a day.

Many years and motorcycles later, my thoughts turn to how much longer I will be able to ride. My riding buddies and friends have had this discussion. One has already sold his bike and quit. I, on the other hand, have sought out books and articles on the subject. Stories of older riders and riding into the senior years. Here are a couple of books.

John Otterbacher bookWhat Remains, Memoir of an Old man on the Road, by John Otterbacher. (2021)

Otterbacher, at age 74, embarks on a motorcycle journey from his home in Michigan to the west coast. Riding back roads and through small towns, he is reliving past journeys. He has heart issues and carries nitroglycerin tablets, but persists on his journey until a disastrous accident in a construction zone. He nearly dies, but does recover and questions what he will do with the rest of his life, with what remains. In the Epilogue he writes, “What remains is what is always available, with a little more clarity and a little less pretense. … I am old, but don’t much feel that way, more a willful child with some aches and pains. … Retreat is out of the question.”

Nick Adams bookDo It While You Still Can, motorcycle escapades and tribulations, by Nick Adams, (2021)

Adams, age 71, has been a prolific writer of motorcycle travels. He lives in Canada, has owned numerous motorcycles, currently rides a 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado, 1960 Panther, and a 1986 Suzuki Cavalcade. Nearly all of his travels suggest that any motorcycle can be an adventure bike.

I think it was the Moto Guzzi that caught my eye and prompted me to start following him. I always thought he was an old man on a Moto Guzzi—something I admired. When I started looking for his actual age, I learned he is one year younger that me! He is just a youngster. LOL. What is old? I recently heard that we perceive old as being ten years older than we actually are.

On the end cover of Adams’ book, he writes, “ As baby-boomers like myself get older and the median age of motorcyclists climbs ever higher, it’s easy to find the couch more appealing than the bike seat. But don’t let those aching joints and wasted muscles hold you back. Life is short. The time is now. Do it while you still can.”

Sound advice from two authors: With whatever time you have left, do it while you still can.

I began to think about this several years ago. My riding habits were changing. Long-distance touring diminished. Fewer annual miles. Thinking about those tall and heavy adventure bikes that I had been riding. I wanted a bike that would allow me to ride into the future, riding as long as I physically can. After a long search, I bought a Moto Guzzi V7iii. Easy to throw a leg over and easy to ride. And, it just resonates with me. And, I have toured on this bike, riding to a Kentucky backroad campout.

KBC_2022-3

MC Ride 03-21-2021

Are you thinking about quitting? Family and friends encouraging you to quit? Then maybe the time has come. Or, if you’re still healthy and physically active and able, you can ride for a while longer. Some things are not easily given up.

I’d like to think I will be riding to the very end, and the most likely last two-wheeler for me will be a Vespa motor scooter. What goes around comes around.

See you on the highway … for a long time to come.

Brent

The Travel Planning Begins

Where are you motorcycling to this year? Friends ask me this frequently. Destinations and travels I have mentioned are only dreams until the planning advances from thought to pen and paper to packing the bags.

Lots of options out there.

See you on the highway.

Brent