Tag: Suzuki

Autumn Motorcycle Riding on Long Island

Autumn Motorcycle Riding on Long Island

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. While I much prefer riding in the cooler weather than in the heat, I never look forward to the approaching long, dark days of winter.

Autumn here in the northeast is picturesque. The changing of the leaves always looks so beautiful but there’s such a short window of time to enjoy their amber, gold and red. Being out amongst the beautiful scenery makes the fall one of my favorite times to ride.

How about you? What’s your favorite season for riding?

DRZ in the autumn leaves on Long Island

Motorcycle Photo: My Suzuki DRZ 400 Mascot, Mr. Bill

Motorcycle Photo: My Suzuki DRZ 400 Mascot, Mr. Bill

Oh Nooooooooo! I found Mr. Bill in a Cracker Barrel in Alabama.
Suzuki DRZ 400 Mr. Bill Mascot

It was actually my first time eating there so I ordered what so many have recommended – Chicken Fried Steak. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the chicken fried steak at Denny’s is better.

But… the fact that you can buy a Gumby, a brick of peanut brittle or a sweatshirt with a pig in roller skates on it in the Barrel might give the place a leg up. Oh, but then again, Denny’s sells something called Moons over my Hammy. Even though I’ve never ordered it, I really like saying it. So naturally, I’m torn on where to spend my future chicken fried dollars.

And while we’re on the subject of chicken fried steak – Isn’t it totally a road trip food? The only time I eat it is when I’m away from home. I find that it’s best to not think too deeply about what it or that white gravy is. Though it can be difficult to contemplate such things over the din of your hardening arteries anyway.

Your thoughts?

Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport Ride

Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport Ride

On Saturday afternoon with our tent and sleeping bags packed, Kenny and I hopped on the ferry to cross the Long Island Sound. We headed towards Winsted, Connecticut to the White Pines Campground. Sunday morning we would be joining the LI ADV gang on the Berkshire Big Adventure dual sport ride. It is an annual charity event held by the Berkshire Trailriders Association.

We arrived at the camp to find 80% of the gang already there and suiting up to head out for a ride. We said our “hellos” and watched them as they rode away to get dirty. In the meantime, Kenny and I unloaded our stuff and set up camp.

Berkshire Dual Sport Ride

Berkshire Big Adventure Dualsport Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog Berkshire Big Adventure Berkshire Big Adventure White Pines Camp

As a few more stragglers arrived we decided to take a road ride around to see a little bit of the area. In reality we really went to get beer but just happened to take the long way around. We arrived back at camp to find a BBQ in full swing and spent the remainder of the evening laughing, sitting by the campfire and just enjoying being outdoors. It was a great night.

On Sunday morning we headed off to Tuckers Pub in Sandisfield for the ride sign-in where there was already a good crowd of bikes assembled.

The ride was listed as a big bike friendly dual sport ride. It was a mixture of some paved roads, dirt roads and unmaintained woods roads. There were also 5 hero sections available to riders who were looking for something a bit more challenging. I avoided those altogether, even the one marked as ‘easy’  near the end of the route. Everyone told me that it was no more challenging than some of the regular route sections when I met them on the other side. I guess I was completely put off by the fact that it was tagged as a hero section. My biggest hurdle is apparently my lack of confidence, not so much my lack of riding ability.

White Pines Campground DRZ Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport Ride
Bikes on the Ferry Fuzzygalore Motorcycle Blog Smile Car Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog Campground Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog

Kenny is officially my hero

Initially I was going on this ride alone but at the last minute Kenny was able to come along on the big bomber GS, which is fitted with regular street tires. Between the two of us having little and  no experience riding offroad we didn’t know what to expect from the route. My brain imagined something like hard-packed dirt roads. Neither he nor I imagined ruts, golf ball sized gravel and wet rocks. I’ll chalk this up to both of us being noobs.

It was Kenny’s first time riding offroad. He bravely navigated that big, heavy beast through everything that came his way. Sure there was some cursing and a few scary moments but he clearly has a skill that I was unaware of. I would have cried and packed it in at the first sight of a rocky uphill climb. But, he didn’t. He soldiered on and I’m really proud of him. I see a dirt bike in his future.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Up to this point any of my wimpy tip-toeing through the dirt had been a scary and frustrating exercise. Everything changed during this ride. I don’t know if I was just in a better mindset being with people that I know and trust or if I was finally mentally ready to just hand myself over to the process a little more.

Thank You Come Again - Fuzzygalore Motorcycle BlogI felt great all through the ride. I worked at keeping my speed up and my eyes looking further ahead. Both of these things helped tremendously. I was able to stay with the group and wasn’t gripped by fear. That’s a new sensation for me on something other than tar. In retrospect, I feel like it was the speed that helped most.

I came away from this ride feeling excited and very much looking forward to next time!

I Spy: 1975 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Motorcycle

I Spy: 1975 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Motorcycle

I am fortunate enough to have a very eclectic group of motorcycle friends. I’m surrounded by unique and interesting characters. So too are their bikes.

Last evening while out for an after dinner walk we ran in to our friend Quacka. He just happened to pull in to town on the maiden voyage of his 1975 Suzuki RE-5 rotary project bike.

Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Motorcycle

Suzuki RE5 Rotary Dash - Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog 1975 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Motorcycle - Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog 1975 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Motorcycle - Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog

Three cheers for the ugly duckling.

He’s turning what was a corroded mess into a real attention getter. The RE5 was never considered a real looker but it has well established cult following of Wankel-lovers these days.

Their signature roll-top gauge cluster and tail light usually garner polarizing comments. Love it or hate it, I foresee a lot of conversations with folks who “remember when they first came out” in his future.

Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Motorycle

In 1984, the first Iron Butt Rally had a first place tie. One of the riders was aboard a Suzuki RE-5. Fast forward 25 years to the 2009 Iron Butt Rally. Two more brave souls on RE-5s threw their hats in to the ring to compete. Although neither RE-5 crossed the finish line, they had a lot of folks cheering them on.

Suzuki RE-5  Links

Discouragement 101: My First Day of Trail Riding

Discouragement 101: My First Day of Trail Riding

Last Saturday, I signed up to do a trail riding event with Long Island Trail Riding Conservancy (LIRTC) the following morning. They hold fund raising events where motorcyclists can come and enjoy a day of safe, legal trail riding. Being able to legally ride in the woods here on Long Island is a near impossibility, so I was excited to get my feet wet without having to head off of the Island.

Kenny was busy doing a construction project at our house. That meant he needed our cargo van. That also meant if I wanted to go to this event, I had to ride there.

When I left the house on Sunday morning, it was 44 degrees and slightly overcast. I was dressed in a wicking shirt, a t-shirt and a lightweight vest underneath my Marsee textile jacket. I also had on a pair of Marsee textile pants, my off-road helmet and my Sidi Crossfire boots.

Lonely Loser – Party of One

As I rolled into the parking area I felt acutely alone. You know that nerd at a party who looks like they don’t know what to do with their hands as they stand around looking awkward? That was me.

As families and groups of friends milled around the parking area, I parked the DRZ and headed towards the sign-in table. Having ridden to the event, I had no place to stow some of my riding gear. The gear that was far too heavy and hot for this event.

I’m Going In

After the riders meeting, I mustered up a little squeak of courage and headed in to the trails. As I entered the trail head and rolled about 10 feet past the trail boss he shouted, “hey, hey wait!” I thought to myself, oh man. Now what did I do? “Hey, your tailpack is open!”

Ugh, I am a complete knob.

I rode into the trail alone. At the time, I felt good about that because I didn’t have to worry about having to get myself out of anyone’s way and I could just concentrate on getting through the ride.

This being my first time, I had no idea what to really expect. I supposed I thought I would be doing something a little more lazy and meandering. Instead it was what I’d look for on a tarmac road – small and serpentine, winding it’s way through the trees. I putt-putted along moving more slowly than was probably called for. I didn’t feel scared, I just didn’t feel confident. Within the first 5 minutes the inevitable happened. I grabbed the front brake and bang, I dumped my bike in a left hand turn.


After the Fall

I got myself up and looked around. Still alone and feeling like an ass, I squatted down and tried to get a good spot to lift the bike up. The first couple shoves were unsuccessful. I managed to get myself in a good position and lifted the bike up off it’s side. I got it started and got moving again. So that was it. I popped my cherry. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. But, being completely overdressed for the occasion, I found myself sweating.

I wobbled my way through the trail only falling once more on that loop. I came out and shed my vest, drank a Gatorade and went back through the trails a few more times. I didn’t feel like I made any progress with each loop. Each time I hit the deck, I left a little more of my confidence behind. I found myself wishing Kenny was there to give me a little pep talk. I needed a hug and an ‘atta girl’.

My last trip through I did a proper faceplant on a downward facing slope. I slingshotted my way to the ground and wound up with my wheels angled up the banking, front wheel facing down the slope and with my right foot firmly wedged between the gas tank and a berm. Have I told you I love my new Sidi boots?

I wriggled myself out from under the bike but I just could not pick it up alone that time. A nice man on a quad helped me pick up the black devil that was clearly trying to kill me. He muttered something like “…big bike for you.”

DRZ 400 Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog

I rode on and found a nice open, flat spot and took a photo and drank some water. I took a minute or two and tried to collect my thoughts. I felt sweaty, overheated and useless. I would be lying if I said I didn’t come away from my experience feeling defeated and low. I tried my best but,.. I sucked! I was totally discouraged.

What I Learned

The whole ride home I tried to think about all of the things I did wrong and how I would need to work towards correcting them for next time.

  • Dressing properly is of the utmost importance. ATGATT also means the right gear for the situation.
  • The tire pressure you ride in on isn’t the right pressure for the trails – but I don’t know what is!
  • Having a home base or vehicle at the event would’ve been a smarter way to go.
  • Having a buddy probably helps morale.
  • Hydration is key.
  • Keep those eyes up!
  • EASY on the front brake!
  • Moving too slow can work against you.

I’m hoping that next time I do more things right than wrong. ::crosses fingers::

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