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Old 05-23-2010, 05:26 PM   #11
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Location: Annapolis, Maryland
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OK, I guess I've done a lot of riding this weekend, so it is time for another update. I'm over 420 miles now, and I had my first relatively extended highway ride.

-Highways: Once I got used to the speed I found that cruising the highway is quite relaxing. I went for about a 20min ride (and back) to run by the range where I took the Rider's Edge course to say hello to my instructors (I lucked out, the same guys were working this weekend) and I also did some other highway riding with no real destination. It does get loud, I was glad to have my earplugs with me (I was wearing my half helmet). My bike may be a tad small for any long trips though- at the 65-70mph range my C50 with its 5 speed 800cc engine really does vibrate and the engine doesn't sound happy. I'll still probably take a few trips on it before I upgrade to something bigger.

-Wind: I'm getting used to it, and gusts that used to blow me around aren't even noticed anymore.

-Bridges: I've been over the Severn River Bridge a couple more times. It isn't bad (and smaller bridges don't bother me at all anymore), but it isn't my favorite. I will be waiting a little bit before I try the Bay Bridge (I will try a smaller, two or three mile, suspension bridge in the next month or two). I did go over a small drawbridge today, it was only a short distance but riding over the metal grate wasn't too big a deal (I actually found it somehow easier than I do in a car).

-Downtown: I rode into downtown Annapolis today. I guess there is enough traffic around here that I've become pretty accustomed to riding in traffic so it didn't bother me at all. Actually, Annapolis is a very historic and picturesque town so I really quite enjoyed it on the bike, much more than in a car.

-The bike: I'm really liking my bike. My gas mileage is getting better and better each tank (I have not waited until empty so I've filled it 3 times- the first time, after a lot of parking lot practice, I only got about 22-25mpg, the second time I got 46-47mpg, and my last tank was over 48mpg- really getting close to the 49mpg ratings). It has plenty of power for everything I've asked of it (though the engine is loud at high speeds), but with a forgiving enough delivery that it hasn't caused me any problems as a beginner. I will probably want to get aftermarket pipes in a year or so though, the one big disappointment is the sound when over 35 or 40mph (I could care less if it is loud, but I'd like a richer and deeper sound than I get).

-Gear: The Bates boots I've bought are becoming very comfortable now that they are broken in. However, the soft rubber sole seems to be wearing pretty quickly (maybe since I'm a beginner I'm dragging my feet despite not feeling like I am and the wear will slow with experience, or maybe the relatively soft rubber sole isn't really taking the kind of treatment they get as riding boots very well and experience won't matter). My next pair of boots will be motorcycle boots (I've found a few companies who make them in EEE widths). My Joe Rocket Sonic II leather jacket is terrific, though a bit too warm when it gets over 80 (with the removable side panels I'm comfortable when I'm moving well into the 80s, but when I get home my back is soaked through with sweat from where the back pad makes contact and doesn't breathe). I have ordered some Carhartt double front work pants for when it is too warm for my leather overpants, and I will order some Brosh Kevlar lined jeans. Unfortunately, instead of exchanging my mesh jacket for the right size, Leather Up refunded my money (so, the jacket I was waiting for isn't coming, and while they don't charge shipping on exchanges, I will have to order from scratch and pay shipping again ). So, I'm in the market for a mesh jacket so I can have CE armor protection when it is too warm for the leather and hopefully have a bit more comfort. I now have a pair of prescription transition lens Harley Davidson motorcycle glasses and I love them (the removable foam is great when riding, but I can remove the foam when I get where I'm going and don't need to carry around my regular glasses, it's also great that one pair works in all lighting conditions).

-New experiences to come: There is going to be some rain this week again (the forecast is now only calling for 2 days of rain). If it does rain this week I may finally start trying to get some time riding in the rain. Some experience in the rain and some time on full suspension bridges and I will have enough experiences to start considering using my bike as primary transportation (I do need to install my saddlebags first too, I should hopefully be ordering the supports in the next few days).

-I am really enjoying riding. I may actually use it for a short (2-4 hour) weekend trip by mid-summer. I wonder if the tent I have will work (it won't fit in my saddlebags, but I can add a sissybar and sissybar bag) or if I'll need to get a smaller backpacking tent (hmm, an excuse to buy another tent ). Unfortunately, I'll probably be ready for the 600 mile maintenance by next weekend. Hopefully it won't be too expensive.
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:06 PM   #12
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Good stuff, Jeff. Be safe out there!
"Aid to the helpless indigent is civilized. Aid to the irresponsible is socially corrosive." ----- Schizuki (c. 2011)
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