by Bruce Mike
So my riding season has started. Yes, I have a riding season. I realize the previous writer of this column rode year-round, which I think is pretty amazing, but not something I have any desire to do. You can find me on those random warm winter days, riding whichever bike I can get out of the garage, that will run and not be seriously damaged by salt.
This last stretch of warm weather got me going sooner than I expected. My first couple of days out I was riding a “vintage” 2-stroke we recently acquired. The bike is a lot of fun and meets my requirements for riding on early-spring roads. I made my way to the Interstate where there was less chance of encountering the ice and snow that was still quite abundant in the residential area where I live. As I got up to speed, all my thoughts turned to motorcycles and why I love to ride them. Despite the cool temperature and that other drivers did not expecting me to be there, my helmet was filled with my smiling face. After racking up enough miles to knock off my “riding rust”, I returned home having successfully scratched my riding itch. There is a feeling I get with that first ride of the year that I try to recapture on every other ride I’m on till the first snow.
I was able to get one more day in on the little 2-stroke before it sufered a minor mechanical difficulty. Sigh, the beauty of old bikes. Fortunately, not long after this we received three days of good rain, which took care of most of the remaining snow and ice as well as the salt. The weather got warm and it was time to take out my daily rider. For me, what designates a daily rider is a bike that is mechanically sound and always ready to go. In my world that means a fairly new, fuel-injected and regularly-serviced bike outfitted with bags and fairing so I can haul stuff and be comfortable.
My lovely bride and I went on our first ride of the year together. She has a bike of her own, which works out well because neither one of us likes to haul a passenger. It was a quick ride with a stop at a coffee shop and lots of smiling. I spent the next few days commuting and getting back in the groove of every day riding. Every-day commuting for me on a motorcycle is a constant test of my ability to focus and remember to drive defensively. Most of my near-death motorcycle experiences have happened during habitual riding times. I’m glad early-in-the-season riding feels new again because it’s easy for me to stay focused on everything around me while the other folks on the road get accustomed to seeing motorcycles again.
A couple of days ago, my wife played hookey from work in the afternoon and invited me to accompany her on her quest to look at a Triumph Street Triple. This is a bike she would someday love to own. We geared up and hit the road. She took the lead which is good for me because she is a much safer and defensive driver than I am. Our quick trip to a local dealership turned into a hundred-mile ride which included beautiful two-lane country roads and even a few miles of hard-packed gravel. I was able to recapture that first-ride feeling and experience a lot of the other things I love about riding. If you haven’t been out yet, don’t wait too long. The riding “season” doesn’t last forever