May 29, 2009

495 words 3 mins read

Ride Friday: Bay to Tahoe

A few weeks back I needed to return John’s motorcycle to him (which I had been borrowing for the winter). The easiest way to do this was for me to ride it up to him and then he’d give me a ride (in a shiny Subaru) back down. As this was my first long distance ride (much more so than just puttering around the bay), it would prove to be a good experience. Overall the ride went very well and I learned a few important things. Including that I need to pay better attention to/for the CHP when on a motorcycle — oh well. Here’s the short run down of what I’ve learned and decided I needed (since I want to buy a touring bike):

  • Comfortable seat — Obviously you want a comfortable seat, but I realized how really important it is for the longer rides. The seat on John’s cruiser seems to work for him, but not me. So be it.
  • Windshield — Preferably adjustable. John had a bolt on windshield that was ok, certainly better than nothing, but I could never seem to get it to stay how I wanted.
  • Bigger gas tank — Possibly the most frustrating thing about riding John’s cruiser was the fact that it is limited to about 100 miles per tank (based on my riding style). Since I didn’t want to get caught in the mountains without gas, I filled up more often than that. Even still, the 200 miles (+/-) from the Bay to Tahoe required 2 fuel stops.
  • Proper sound system — I’ve got a Nolan Ncom helmet which has the option to put in a headset that can be connected to things like iPods, but as I don’t own a motorcycle or ride that much, I hadn’t actually bought the headset. Instead I’ve been using my iPod and earbuds “normally”. This works fine for an hour here or there but for a 4 hour ride, it killed my ears.
  • Cruise Control — As noted above, the CHP tagged me (Not even 20 minutes out of the gate ::sigh::). I found myself riding faster than I wanted to after that, simply because I had a tendency to creep the throttle. If I was going to be doing a lot of riding I’d want an electronic cruise control (“cheap” preventative for speeding tickets).
There are, of course, other things I could think of that would be nice to have. Though I think the above ones are the most important, and what sticks out in my mind the most. I am shopping for bikes, but it may take a while before I buy one (unless we get bonuses at work or something). Right now I’m lusting after a few nice touring bikes like the BMW R1200RT. My major problem is that I’m shorter, so there aren’t that many touring bikes I can actually ride (without looking like a little kid trying to steal his big brother’s huffy bike).