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Ural Bashing – How to Not Make Friends in One Easy Step

Owning the Ural has been an interesting education in people. Far and away my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. But every barrel of apples has one or two bad ones, right?

Over the weekend, I met a friend of a friend at the motorcycle show in NYC. As we stood talking  about the event the subject of Ural not being present came up. This opened the door for friend of a friend to chime in with “now there is a brand I would NEVER recommend anyone ever buy.”

Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut but I mentioned that we had one at home. Rather than stopping the course of the conversation there, it kept going. He then tackled how slow they are. Right. Slow, got it.  They’re too expensive. Check, expensive. They’re essentially a piece of old Russian junk. Russian junk, gotcha.


Really, dude?

Crosses Ural-hater off Christmas card list.

I cannot fault someone for their negative opinion of the brand. I’m sure they have their reasons for arriving at those conclusions. For those people, the answer is simple: don’t buy one.

What bugged me most was the basic lack of tact and social skills that some people have when carrying on a conversation with a stranger. Often it isn’t only what people say but how they deliver their message. This wasn’t lighthearted ribbing followed by a ha ha and a wink.

Why stand there insulting someone’s interests to their face? What is the desired outcome? Should I rush out and sell my bike? Or is the intent to simply let me know that I am an idiot?

People Like What They Like

As the conversation unfolded,  I tried to keep my irritation in check and not be bothered. Obviously it didn’t work because I’m writing about it 3 days later.

I don’t need someone to approve of my purchases to make them valuable to me but I also don’t need someone to give me a dressing down about them either. Having had enough, I tried to cap the conversation by saying, “people like what they like.” Isn’t that the truth?

My sweet, lovely Ural. Yes, it is slow. And yes, it is the most expensive thing in my garage. But let’s get this straight –  it is not junk. Not to me.

My First Ride on a Royal Enfield

On New Years Day I had the opportunity to take my first ride on a Royal Enfield. Though not as rare as a pink unicorn, Royal Enfields aren’t something you see around these parts very often. Needless to say, I was excited.

2012 Royal Enfield Classic 500 – Desert Storm

First things first – it is a great looking bike. It doesn’t get fussy with pretense instead it wears its classic styling well. Its matte sand-colored paint job is très chic!

My first impression as I swung a leg over and parked my rump on the sprung saddle ~ Wow, she is quite petite. The C5 was first motorcycle I’ve flat footed since the Monster more than a decade ago.

When I turned the key, the exhaust note began puffing a sweet, steady thump the likes of which I’d not heard before. It sings a very unique song.

The riding… well ~ when I first pulled away and picked my feet up to put them on the pegs, they weren’t where my brain said they ought to be. They were slightly more forward. A light touch on the bars was necessary to combat some of the ever present buzziness of the bars in my hands.

If you aren’t interested in taking it easy, this may not be the bike for you. With less than 30 ponies coming out of its little heart, you aren’t winning any races.

That said, as I clicked through the surprisingly smooth gearbox I never felt disappointed. On the contrary I felt content, dare I say, happy. The bike brought a smile to my face as it danced its way through the curvy north shore roads swiftly and confidently.

When I  arrived back home, Kenny eagerly asked me what I thought about the bike. I finished up my ramblings with a resounding ‘I love it!’  

There is something romantic about this bike that speaks to me. Some pleasures are perfectly wonderful while still being simple.

The Snow Ride that Almost Wasn’t

After watching the forecast on Friday night, I was so excited about the idea of riding the Ural in the snow for the first time. There is something so peaceful, so beautiful about the world when that first snow starts to fall. I love the muffled quiet as it blankets everything around you. There is a light that emanates from the fluffy stuff, even after dark.

All day on Saturday I waited and waited for the snow. I rode along wishing for flakes but all I got was soaked by the winter rain. I did get to glide through some huge flooded puddles near the beach, though.

And I did see a soggy snowman.

It seemed that the snow just wouldn’t be coming so I went home. Kenny, being the angel that he is, hosed down the Ural and slipped it back in to the garage.

After the sun had set, I heard Kenny say, “here comes the snow” while looking out our front door. I would be able to head out for my first Ural snow ride after all!

Before venturing out onto the main roads, I did a lap around my neighborhood to get my snow legs. There wasn’t any other traffic around as the flying pumpkin thumped along. It was just us, a lone headlight burning a path through the swirling gusts.

I didn’t ride anywhere special, just looped through our town and down by the beach. But I carried in my pocket that excited feeling of doing something new, something different. Isn’t that one of the greatest feelings in the world? It will never be my first Ural snow ride again, so I took my time relishing each mile.