Tag: bonneville

September Road Trip Notes: Taking the Bonneville

September Road Trip Notes: Taking the Bonneville

For my road trip in September, I did things a little differently. The biggest change was that I decided to forego my zippy, mile-eating Tiger for the stripped-down simplicity of the Bonneville. The choice left some people wondering “why?” The simple answer? Because I wanted to.

Because I’d never done a multi-day trip on the Bonneville, I did add some creature comforts to it’s set up. I posted previously about some of those peripheral odds and ends that made my trip a success. This is how I felt about the Bonnie itself.

I found that my highway speeds naturally dropped off from what I might do with the Tiger by about 5-15mph. It isn’t that the Bonnie can’t do 85, it absolutely can. It just doesn’t “feel” like a sweet spot to me. That isn’t a knock, that’s just my reality. I found myself in the far right lane often when doing highway stints. It very well could’ve been my mindset, but that’s the way things shook out.

The Bonneville gets great gas mileage on the highway. You can plug along at 75 on the speedo and get over 50mpg.

While this might not have any meaning to the tall drinks o’ water out there, being able to pull over anywhere and put both feet on the ground at the same time is heaven! It changes your confidence level and takes one more consideration out of the mix, freeing up that brainpower for something else.  This new-found freedom meant that I could pull over on any roadside or surface that I might avoid if I were on a bike that I have to tippy-toe with.

And on top of that, when you add in how short the sidestand is, creating a nice lean, I was able to not only pull over and stop anywhere but I could park there too without worrying about the awkward, too-upright lean of the bike. Or – with having to tippy-toe and trying to get on and off the thing without gracelessly sending us both ass over teakettle.

The footprint of the Bonnie is so narrow, I could easily squeeze into places I wouldn’t on my sport-touring bike. I may or may not have lanesplit a couple miles here and there and it may or may not have been easy as pie not to have to worry about my sidebags taking out someone’s mirror.

I was pleasantly surprised by how the bike felt on very tight mountain roads. If you have bigger feet, you’ll probably wear the toe of your boot out, but all in all, it was easy and fun to ride. The response from the front end doesn’t feel like a sportbike of course, but it felt planted and wasn’t work to ride. Just gotta keep those toes tucked in.

Overall, what I wanted from the Bonneville is what I got – a low-slung, easy-does-it bike that allows me to knock out some highway, ramble the backroads, and is easy to make frequent roadside stops on questionable surfaces for pictures or general loafing. Everything about it feels laidback and simple.

I’m certain I’ll be multi-day roadtripping with it again. In fact, I wish I were going right now…

My Bonneville – The Great Equalizer

My Bonneville – The Great Equalizer

Some people take it as a personal affront when their motorcycle wave isn’t returned by another rider. I’m not one of them. I wave because I want to. Or sometimes, I don’t because I simply don’t feel like it. Overall though, you could say I’m more of a waver than not. It’s almost like an automatic behavior.

Something as innocuous as what amounts to a “Hello! We share the same interest!” has some underlying barrier that dares not be crossed for some riders. That barrier seems to be bike-genre. When a pack of 20 riders won’t return a wave? It’s more than just one person not paying attention or not feeling like it.

For cryin’ out loud, it’s a wave, a friendly hey, man. We’re not getting married because of it. And I know and agree – who fucking cares if someone doesn’t wave back? But, I am curious about people and what makes us tick. So, I find myself questioning why we size each other up and deem the worthiness of such a greeting. As people do we always come back to us versus them?

Because I own different styles of motorcycles, I experience firsthand different levels of interaction. My experiences have demonstrated that far and away, the Bonneville is the most equalizing thing I ride. My KTM? Not quite the same reception.

I dunno. I don’t really have a point to any of this. This was all the result of reflecting on some interactions over the last few weeks.

Keep on wavin’. Or not.

The Blossoming Romance with the Bonnie

The Blossoming Romance with the Bonnie

In the fall of 2015, the Bonneville came home as something of an impulse buy. I hadn’t been lusting over one for months or years. And the truth is, I didn’t need it. I just wanted it. As a result, up until recently, it hadn’t been ridden with the same enthusiasm you might approach something you’d been longing for. Instead, the Bonnie has been a slow burn – the flame getting brighter and brighter over time.

For some time, I’ve considered moving away from my Tiger. Not because there is anything wrong with it. Quite the opposite, really. It is me that is different. My comfort level and wants have changed. The Tiger is an excellent sport-tourer; a great workhorse for the fast-paced, mile-munching trips that I am inclined to knock out. But, now? I don’t want that.

What do I want? I want easy.

I’ve tried to explain the feeling of dealing with a top-heavy bike while on tiptoes to Kenny. As a tall drink o’ water, he can listen and try to be sympathetic but will never know the experience firsthand. Though in my mind we see eye to eye, he’s a bit taller than me.

I am the luckiest girl in the world <3

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Over the years you learn to compensate for all the things that might be less than ideal about your too tall, too heavy bike. And there may be long periods of time in which you are perfectly fine happy, with the situation. You love the bike, you’re more than willing to do what you need to to ride it. But sometimes, you change. I think that’s where I am now.

Enter the Bonneville

The Bonneville, while peppy doesn’t offer any punch when you crack the throttle. I often refer to it as gentlemanly.  It’s front brake is… okay. It’s rear suspension, a little jarring. Yet in spite of those things, it is a pleasure to ride. Perhaps because of those things? I don’t know.

Performance or lack thereof aside, I hadn’t really considered what a relief it would be to ride a small bike all the time. What a great feeling it is to be able to pull over and put both of your feet flat down on the ground anywhere; to be able to park wherever the hell you want to without worrying if you can swing the sidestand around; without worrying if you and the bike will topple over as you try to dismount while one-footing on uneven ground. These may sound like nothing things, but I’ve come to realize that worrying about them makes you have to consider what you’re doing. That’s the opposite of easy.

The ability to effortlessly handle your motorcycle at low or no speed with surefootedness is something I didn’t know I needed or wanted. Now that I have it, I love it. As someone who likes to pull over on the side of the road to look at stuff and take pictures? This carefree hop-on-hop-off ability is a joy.

Cheers to a blossoming romance. Let’s go somewhere!

Low and Slow, The Way to Go

Low and Slow, The Way to Go

Thanks to my inseam, for the most part, I can ride any bike. Some with more comfort than others but the possibility is usually there. Though it’s not really the riding but rather the stopping where things can get weird. It is true that I do often tippy-toe. Over time I’ve developed varying degrees of comfort with that depending on the bike. Weight, the center of gravity, width of the tank – all of that stuff plays in.

I’ve tried to convey to my tall drink o’ water husband what a relief it is to be able to wheel around something low-slung like the Bonneville. Things like:

  • Being able to pull over on any roadside without fear of toppling over because you don’t have good footing is a joy.
  • Being able to get on or off of it without calculation.
  • NOT having to think about where to park.
  • Putting both feet completely on the ground… at the same time!

Though compensating for your lack of stature becomes second nature, when you don’t have to do it you become acutely aware of how wonderful that is.

Low and slow is the way to go! (for now 😉 )

Happy National Donut Day – A Very Important Holiday

Happy National Donut Day – A Very Important Holiday

Though I’m cheating just a teensy-tinesy bit because I didn’t actually celebrate National Donut Day today, I do have a donuty post anyway.

While cruising around on the Bonnie last weekend I got to enjoy my first cider donut at a local farmstand.

Their cheerful little sign beckoned me to stop and sample their wares.

Their cakey dough-loops were delish. As a matter of fact, I wish I had one right now. I do love a good donut, you know.

If you too missed your chance to properly celebrate this wonderful day you can always make it up to yourself tomorrow. Every day is a good day for a donut. As the saying goes: Eat to ride, ride to eat.

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