I left my motorcycle behind when we moved from Langley to Castlegar. Our move was in March: that’s an impossible time to ride a bike through mountain passes. And after much thought I decided I preferred the idea of riding it to its new home versus trailering or shipping it. So into storage she went.
The conditions aligned such that I was able to take a few days off at the beginning of June to go pick up my motorcycle and ride her to the new homestead. Things went well, but not perfectly- especially not for one mid-sized grey bird, who had a really awful day.
Getting out on my bike has become less of a common thing the last couple of years. The reasons are not terribly interesting: disruptions in health, work pressures, depression. But I still build up a need for two wheel therapy, probably even more so than when I was riding every weekend. And so I’ve focused on ‘long form’ road trips to get my motorcycle fix, and this year was a biggun’: a ride to take my 2011 Road Glide ‘back home’ to where she was born: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
My 2011 Road Glide is my ‘baby’, and when something starts behaving a bit odd I generally notice it fairly quickly. Twice now, once last fall and again just this past week, my bike has suddenly started idling at over 2,200 RPM. The normal idle is about 1,200 RPM, and the high idle revs make the things I normally do like using engine braking a bit challenging. Interestingly, if I ‘force rolloff’ the throttle (i.e.: roll it ‘down’ below its neutral point) the idle will drop. And frustratingly, the problem seems to magically ‘fix’ itself after a while, which has meant getting the service folks to investigate it has been challenging.
I think I have found the cause, as well as a temporary (?) fix.
I was going through some draft posts on my blog and came across an outline for an account of a motorcycle road trip from back in 2013. It was originally written shortly after the event and, although it is in bullet form and rather sparse on detail, it does account for some events I had partially forgotten or mis-remembered.
And, since it was the only motorcycle trip I’ve taken with both my brothers Ron and Colin (my third brother, Dennis, doesn’t ride motorcycles 😉 ), I didn’t want to lose it. I’ve cleaned it up a bit, added some pictures, and now it is here for posterity.
Life is full of surprises: some good, some not so good. I don’t deal well with surprises, but to counter that I’ve adopted a ‘seize control’ mentality that sometimes kicks in and gets me past the unexpected. My motorcycle road trip for 2015 is essentially a case history of that adaptation of mine, and I’m not sure whether to be proud or a bit sheepish. Either way, here is my accounting of the Journey of Unexpected Turns. Wherein I was supposed to be going to Reno, Nevada, but ended up going somewhere else entirely…
I set out in June of 2014 (June 28, to be precise) to meet up with my brother Colin for the second of our ‘annual’ motorcycle road trips. The plan was simple: go to Yellowstone Park, and see what is to be seen. A very rough map of the sites we visited (if not the route we followed… more details below) looks something like this:
Everyone who rides a motorcycle should wear a helmet. I am sure some people will disagree, and that is their right. But, and I mean no insult, wearing no helmet at all is foolhardy. I might even say going lidless is stupid. But hey, stupid is a choice sometimes too: and it is true that a helmet won’t save your life in every circumstance. Wearing a helmet doesn’t make you a super-hero, or indestructible, or even close to ’safe’. You are better off learning how to ride defensively all the time and going without a helmet than popping on a helmet and riding like an idiot. But if you want to go helmet free, you may as well stop reading now.
The freedom to wear or not wear a helmet isn’t the topic of this post. I assume you have already chosen to wear a helmet- good for you! I want to share my continuing journey towards the unachievable ‘perfect’ helmet, in the hopes that someone will benefit from my mistakes and discoveries. Because I have owned a lot of helmets over my past five years ‘back in the saddle’, and I’ve learned a few things along the way…
I decided in December of 2013 that 2014 would be the year I upgraded the performance of my 2011 Harley Davidson Road Glide. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with my bike’s get up and go. But after over 65,000 kilometres of riding, I felt I knew better what I wanted when I rolled on the throttle. And I had driven some steep roads at American highway speeds i.e.: somewhere around 130 km/h (85 miles per hour), and there were times where I felt the end of the throttle looming.