Tag: riding

The Secretive Lives of Motorcyclists: Finding Your Way

The Secretive Lives of Motorcyclists: Finding Your Way

A few weeks ago I was speaking to Rich, the publisher of AutomotiveTraveler.com because he wanted to use one of my photos for a story.  In the course of our conversation he said something to the gist of, ‘motorcyclists know the best roads.’ I think he’s right on the money. One thing that many motorcyclists don’t know, is how to share. In this digital age of communication motorcyclist who frequent online hangouts like forums or message boards have been known to hold their road cards close to their vests.

Guilty as Charged

I am guilty of keeping mum on my roads. Are you? The reality of the matter is of course that there are no secrets. Anyone that can buy a map or look at Google Maps online can know what you know. Yet, somehow we feel the need to protect our knowledge for fear of the word getting out. It all comes down to one word. Trouble. People who draw complaints from whizzing past driveways, bringing the noise, stunting shenanigans and heaven forbid accidents, all bring the police. Who wants to encounter the police on their roads?

Today when I was messaging back and forth with Goldenchild who writes the SteadyOntheHumble.com blog, he readily tipped his hand to me on a road loop he likes to use. I immediately thought, ‘Wow! Alright, this is nice!’ I was honestly shocked that someone would share their treasures with me and I really appreciated it. I hope I am able to return the favor some time.

How do you find your way?

So how do you do it? How do you find roads in areas that you’ve never been to? My personal preference is to get a paper map of the area I will be traveling to. A paper map gives a high level overview of where I’m headed. I then zero in on where I think I may be going and start picking off routes that look interesting. I look for lakes, rivers, and mountains. My experience so far has taught me that these things are rarely square, so aside from lovely vistas they often provide the twisties. If I’m near a computer, I usually follow up with checking my route on Google Maps to see if I‘ve come up with something good. When have you ever ridden a ‘Snake Hill Road’ or ‘So and So Mountain Road’ that really stunk?

For trips to faraway places I check regional forums on message boards whose membership are sport or sport touring oriented. I look for ride reports and photographs that are centered around the state I’ll be traveling in and jot down any interesting tidbits that I find. I then go back to my paper maps and to Google to see how everything begins to gel. Routes will then begin to materialize naturally.

Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned to do over the years is just to wander. Explore. Make a left when left looks like it might hold some promise even if I haven’t the foggiest idea of where I will end up. True, this often works best when riding alone as I most often do. But, from many of my conversations with other riders it seems that some have a hard time letting go and just winging it.What is that saying? All who wander are not lost.

Fuzzygalore's Triumph Speed Triple in Columbia County New York

Everything you could possibly want is on the internet, good motorcycle road suggestions included. Here are some websites that offer road suggestions:

I’d love to hear your feedback on the topic. Please, don’t be shy!

20 Random things riding a motorcycle has done for me

20 Random things riding a motorcycle has done for me

A motorcycle is machine, right? Just two wheels, some metal and couple hundred moving parts. So what is it then that makes the motorcycle such a conduit to great adventures in a life?

I don’t believe that I could ever be as excited about driving somewhere in a car as I could riding there on my motorcycle. To me, there is no such thing as a pleasure drive. But, a pleasure ride? Absolutely. Outside of the simple enjoyment of the act of riding, motorcycling allows me to explore my own humanness, to broaden my horizons in a way that I have yet to experience with any other activity. Just a machine? I beg to differ.

Because of riding motorcycles…

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  1. I have met my partner in this life.
  2. My feet have walked in many of America’s great states.
  3. I have friends that live around the world.
  4. I have watched someone die.
  5. I have watched people truly live.
  6. I have learned that the world is huge.
  7. I have also learned that my universe is small.
  8. I now know that I want to go everywhere and see everything.
  9. I’ve learned that motorcycle people are weird and wonderful.
  10. It seems that I have become rigid in some of my beliefs.
  11. I have learned to be flexible in my actions.
  12. I have learned to have respect and to have fear.
  13. I’ve been fearless and stupid.
  14. When I wonder what’s down that road over there, I’ve learned to go find out.
  15. I have fallen in love with my friends.
  16. I’ve learned how to see.
  17. Into each life a little rain must fall makes sense to me now.
  18. I have seen many shining examples of how the people of the world are the same everywhere. Doctor, lawyer and Indian chief, we all do the same crap. Riding is a great equalizer.
  19. I have decided that people are curious and friendly and for the most part good at heart.
  20. I will always be looking forward to my next ride.

Thoughts on the BMW R1150GS – She ain’t the Prettiest Girl at the Dance

Thoughts on the BMW R1150GS – She ain’t the Prettiest Girl at the Dance

She ain’t the Prettiest Girl at the Dance

…but she sure is fun.

The BMW R1150GS

I’ve been spending more time time riding the GS lately, just for the sake of trying something new. You know, to maybe take a fresh outlook on riding in general. (No, I’m not giving up or selling the Triple) What started off with me being hesitant and tentative has really evaporated into a nice easy fit. The GS stopped being big about 3 days after owning it. It’s almost funny now to think about how intimidated I felt by its size because really, it’s just not that big. I guess you just gotta get in there and give something the old college try before you can really make a decision one way or another.

3 things I really appreciate as of late with the GS:

  • Having a trunk.
  • Going 200+ miles on a tank.
  • A little more room to stretch out.

3 thing I really don’t appreciate as of late with the GS:

  • Fanatical brand loyalists who try to indoctrinate you into their idiotic rah-rah BMW is the best thing ever club.
  • Still not used to noises that on another bike would sound like something is wrong. 
  • Wind buffeting right at my ear level!!!
Back in the Game

Back in the Game

For me, motorcycling is and always has been an emotional journey. I can’t disengage the act of riding the bike from the all encompassing connection to the world, my feelings, to people that it delivers me to.

Since the loss of Cindy and Michael in September, I have struggled with an emotional rawness that kept me away from wanting to ride again. Witnessing the loss of life devastates you as a human being in ways that you cannot comprehend until you’ve had the misfortune to bear witness to it. As a human being, a little piece of you grieves at the instant loss of connection. An unrecoverable, unique piece of the greater human puzzle is missing and you just feel its absence.

With these months that have passed I’ve come to no greater understanding of what took place. What can you say really, other than you just learn to accept it? What else can one do? So with these months now of associating my last big ride with such a sad event, I took a break.

From the time she was very small, my daughter’s pediatrician always told me that I shouldn’t worry about making her eat x number of fruits and vegetables like a tyrant. Don’t worry, he said. When she needs something, she’ll take it. Her body knows when it’s time. This self-imposed break was much like that, I suppose. I stayed away until my body knew it was time to try again.

As I mentioned to my friend Greg, my reawakening was something of a slow trickle set off I think by the planning of our spring trip to Kentucky. Poking around looking and maps and hotels – I love doing all of those things and I think that it helps me to focus on the positives.

On my birthday last Sunday, I went out to the garage and started the Triple up for the first time since fall. She’d been dozing on the tender all that time. With the garage door open, I let her idle and warm up for 5 minutes. Like a word on the tip of my tongue that I just couldn’t quite get out, I mentally teetered on the brink of maybe heading out for a ride. It just wasn’t right, though. I shut her down, closed the garage door and went on about my day. That was the closest I’d come to maybe riding, since November.

On Monday at work, I was reading ADVrider’s phototag thread for my locale. I knew where the latest tag was and no one had yet claimed it. The night was to be clear, the salt had been largely washed away with some good soaking rain… it was time. Provoked with a purpose I wriggled in the car all the way home with excitement about my secret.  I was going to go for a ride. And I did. I went out after work into the cold, into the night to grab that tag.

My worry that things would just seem kind of you know, off was quickly dispelled. The natural memory of the sound, the feel, and the motions all felt like home. In my mind what I’d built as a huge hurdle bedeviled me for about 30 seconds and then fluttered away in my wake. It felt good again. It did.

I like to think now that there are another two souls that will ride the wind at my back and carry me safely on my journeys. See you on the road!

Crap picture, I know… but this is the one that brought me back.
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