Monday, March 22, 2010

My Spring Equinox Ride

I make it a point to ride on the first day of Spring every year. Normally I post a group ride on the forum, plan a route and welcome my favorite season with friends and fellow riders. This year I wasn't sure I was going to get a ride in or not.

I weighed my options, assessed priorities and chose to do what every loving husband does on weekends, I tackled the honey do list. On the top of the list was to go shopping, first on the list was Premier Motogear for a motorcycle jacket. Next was Starbucks for...well Starbucks, then to the Suzuki dealership for a new motorcycle. Yup, my honey do list rocks.

I managed to get that ride in after all...I rode Trobairitz's new bike home.

I rode down Highway 213 from Oregon City, a nice two lane rural road through the country past barns and farm houses. The setting sun filtered through the blossoms of a flowering tree and beamed through a white rail fence as I came up over a sweeping crest, where for a moment I was in one of Peter Egan's tales he writes in Leanings. I wasn't riding a vintage or classic bike but it sure was a great re-enactment. I stopped for a few pics before the sun set.

I played around a bit with iPhoto's antique feature to recreate a 1970's motorcycle ad.

The little Suzuki is quite a competent bike and would serve any new rider well. You have to plan ahead regarding gear selection when approaching uphill climbs but the fun factor and agility in the corners make up for the only shortcoming I found. It is a 250cc bike and as long as you take it for what it is you'll have an absolute blast.

I think we found her bike, she feels the love and is reading Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough, anxious to ride this summer.

Welcome Spring and welcome to a new rider to the sport of motorcycling.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring in the Valley

Trobairitz and I tagged along for a group ride Saturday, well I did more than tag along, I made a slight suggestion when the ride was being planned. The original route was to go North and then West toward the coast and then down Highway 101 for chowder. Coast runs are fun and I am usually up for chowder but we were just at the coast last weekend with Fable, (my niece Faith, brother Barrett and sister-in-law Lisa).

The weather reports were forecasting the day to be sunny and 64º plus so I recommended that we stay in the valley, too many times we have missed a beautiful sunny day to find the coast foggy, windy or just plain cold and wet. Normally, if it is nice in the valley it'll pull the fog onto the coastline and if it is foggy in the valley it can be absolutely gorgeous weather on the coast. I didn't want to risk missing a rare sunny Spring day in the valley.

We met for Saturday morning coffee and confirmed nine of us for the ride, ten if you count Trobairitz as pillion. We left the coffee shop and rode out Kings Valley about thirty miles before our first stop, we had a several riders with us whom we hadn't ridden with before and wanted to make sure everyone was good with the pace, position etc.
We stopped at the Ritner Creek covered bridge.

Everyone was doing well and Rick, our fearless leader gave us all a route report of what to expect ahead. We mounted up and continued north to Rickreal where we came across a controlled house fire. Rick was our tour guide in Seattle and never fails to entertain us with some sort of surprise no matter where we go. We could feel the heat through our gear as we passed by in the lane closest to the fire.

We scooted North towards Brooks and took the Wheatland Ferry across the Willamette River.

This is where I discovered that I missed my calling as a motorcycle gear fashion photographer. I was sitting on my bike with Brandy behind me and was just snapping pics, I couldn't see what I was capturing and figured I would sort them out later. Isn't Jim a handsome model?

The ferry is just a short cable ferry across the river so there wasn't much time to get off the bike and snap pics so I missed an opportunity to talk with a Can-Am Spyder rider that was on ahead of us. He did give us a bit of a show and pulled away from us as we rode across the valley toward Silverton. I am patiently waiting for Doug to cobble together a video, as he says he has footage of the elusive arachnid.

We enjoyed the sunshine, blooming daffodils and cherry and plum tree blossoms set against the green fields and blue sky before reaching the conifer trees and steep hills of Silver Falls State Park for lunch.

We rode through the park after lunch and stopped briefly at a viewpoint above the falls but only because the line up to pay for parking into the falls was too long to waste such a beautiful riding day.

There were a few Harleys hanging around so not to bother them and make them feel less individual than they already were, we saddled up and headed home. It was a great day, we met some new people made some new friends and we look forward to riding with them again.

Unfortunately, the weather today has turned colder and wetter, although appropriate for a sad day. Trobairitz found a newspaper article this morning of a motorcycle crash that happened last Saturday while we were out riding and the death of a fellow rider. I know Riley through a previous employer/friend/fellow rider, had ridden with him several times before and had just spoken to him the weekend before at the Triumph shop in Eugene. I haven't spoken to anyone about the accident yet, but I will stop by this week and offer my condolences to our mutual friends. This is shocking and sad news, my heart and thoughts go out to his family and his many friends. Riley was a rider with over 40 years riding experience, always willing to help, share a great story and a laugh. It is an honor to have known him, a pleasure to ride with and a good man whom will truly be missed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I was approached in late January by Riders Discount, an online motorcycle gear supplier offering gear in exchange for a link on my blog. I know other bloggers have been offered this same opportunity and have declined.

I thought about it for quite sometime, going back and forth trying to decide whether or not to accept the offer. What I came up with was after answering the email and corresponding with Marjorie, she answered my questions and never hassled me or sent me emails, newsletters or updates. She left me alone to peruse the website at my leisure, it has been well over a month in fact.

Tonight I ordered a pair of Tourmaster waterproof boots, we are approaching Spring in Oregon and with me being a year round rider this should provide a pretty good test. I was reluctant about ordering boots online without being able to try them on first, but I thought this is what they do and worst case scenario if they don't fit is I'll get to experience their customer service and exchange policy first hand.

The other item I ordered was a helmet liner. I've been considering purchasing a new helmet, but my current bucket is just over 2 years old so the shell is still in great shape. I figure with a new liner I can extend the use of my bucket another 1 to 2 years and save a couple hundred bucks at a time when we are all watching our pennies.

So I put their link in the menu bar on the right of my blog, no pop ups or flashing text, just a subtle link under the header RIDERS DISCOUNT. I will let you know how this relationship develops and I will write a review on the gear and service in the near future.