Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Never had one lesson...

Words made famous by Ferris Bueller, but that's how I entered the Team Oregon Advance Rider Training course Monday.

The class started off with usual classroom introductions, my name is Brad and I ride an 07 Triumph America, 20 years riding experience, no formal training so I'm here to shake some bad habits.

We were fortunate to have the legend himself teaching our class, almost as if he was lurking in the forums, learned that his fellow bloggers and former BRT students were signed up for the 8/23 ART course and moved mountains to make sure he was instructing that day.

The classroom was informative and although it made sense at the time, as one rider put it at the end of the class "it clicked" out on the track.

We didn't have much time to stop and take pictures, the four instructors kept the class moving so we weren't standing out in the sun all day.

We spent most of our time riding which is where all the fun was. One exercise had us stopping while in a turn, which I seemed to have the most difficulty with, but it wasn't long before I got it. Head and eyes forward stupid.

After that it was *swerving exercise, then practicing our turns, apexes and exits.

*Photo blatantly stolen from Musings of an Intrepid Commuter

I took this opportunity to explore the limits of my bike, or as Dan put it in class "depleting my reserve". I've always been overly cautious leaning into turns on my bike, never knowing how much it would lean. I would touch a peg to the pavement and startle myself which would cause me to upright the bike, mess up my line and blow a corner. I started the class ever so slowly, leaning and learning with every pass, listening to my bike while she "talked" to me.

*Another photo blatantly stolen from Musings of an Intrepid Commuter

By the end of the day, much to the dismay of my classmates, she wouldn't shut up and talked through every corner.

I learned not not be afraid of touching down, I learned how much I had in reserve, but I also learned that when the peg folds up in a full lean, my boot is scraping and the pipes touch down I am flirting with traction deficit.

It wasn't part of the curriculum but I got over one of my biggest fears of leaning the bike all the way over.

No more chicken strips.

I have a better understanding of entry speed, apexes and exits. I learned to turn my head and look all the way through the corner and I now know how to properly stop in a corner. The ride into work this morning was the same route but a completely different ride.

Thank you Team Oregon and to Irondad, Dan, Dave and Scott.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fancy a ride?

The Triumph Demo Truck came to town this weekend so a group of us rode up to Canby to take some bikes for a ride. Our favorite little shop in Eugene has a limited number of demo bikes so we thought this would be a great opportunity to test ride some of the bikes our own group doesn't own. Among us local riders we have my America, a Scrambler, a Street Triple, a Thruxton and an older Tiger that I am sure any one us could take anyone's bike for a ride. Rod's shop has a Tiger 1050, a Bonneville SE and a Thunderbird. I don't know how often we could take his bikes for a test ride before he got suspicious we weren't serious buyers, although we are loyal customers. I've bought two bikes from him and plan to buy my Dirt Triple and Trobairitz's 450 in the future, Stacey bought her Triple and Sean his Thruxton.

Rick, Trobairitz and I rode out to Lebanon to meet up with Bluekat and (Mr. Bluekat) Ron, Andy and Josh. Andy led us north along some beautiful, scenic backroads which I would never have found had I been leading. We shuffled through the traffic and pedestrian obstacle course of Davenport Days in Silverton and arrived in Canby shortly after 10:00.

We made our way over to the truck and started signing waivers and reserving a bike. Evidently, they had too many Thunderbirds and little of anything else. Out of 9 Thunderbirds, 2 Rocket IIIs, only one of each other model and no Sprint GT, I waited 2 and a half hours to ride the next available bike.......one of the 9 Thunderbirds.

Tbolt had a 9:00 service appointment at the Salem Suzuki dealership and would be running late, but Stacey met with us up there.

Tbolt finally made it after getting lost, although she blames it on poor directions. After entertaining us with a rant, they both sat (sans Monarch chairs) and visited with us until our scheduled ride times.

They found out most of the rides were booked and neither one of them were up for waiting until after 3:00 to ride a bike they didn't want to ride.

(The "Hero" walk)

Triumph did a piss poor job of coordinating this event; they had two rows of bikes so that meant two separate ride groups, but only one lead rider and one sweep for both groups. While one group of riders were out on a ride one row of bikes were just sitting and people were standing around waiting.

We deduced that this would be so bikes were present at all times for everyone to sit and pet. It made for frustrated attendees and impatient riders. If I were King, the host dealer Cascade Moto would have had all of their floor models there ready for purchase and the demo rides would have had a lead and sweep for each group with 10 to 15 minutes between rides rather than the half hour intervals we were forced to endure. Twice as many riders would have been through the ride portion and Cascade Moto would've sold a bike or two.

Andy testing the Scramber (he was first in line to sign up).

Josh on a Thunderbird.

Josh's "Hero" walk.

Rick saddled up on......yup another Thunderbird.

I think Ron got a Speedmaster, (the blacked out, drag bar sibling to my America), he was the first one of us to go for a ride.
Triumph Demo Event 8/7/10Click for video.

Here is Andy on the Scrambler, Josh and Rick on a couple of Thunderbirds.
Triumph Demo Event 8/7/10Click for video.

All and all I had a great time visiting and laughing with friends and I got to ride a Thunderbird.

Nothing against the Thunderbird, nice bike and plenty of torque but my America would outrun it on a twisty road. I scraped my boot twice on a couple of easy sweepers. It's sure fun to wick it up on the straights but a lot of bike to push through the turns.

This bike was definitely aimed at the Harley crowd.

My "Hero" walk.

After my ride (I was last in line), I expressed my feelings about the Thunderbird then we packed up and headed down the road to Pat's Acres go cart track. Several of us are signed up to take Team Oregon's Advance Rider Training course in a couple weeks and we wanted to scope out the track. We stumbled upon a couple of kids on their bikes staging for a few laps.

We thought this would be fun to watch and stuck around.
Pat's Acre's 8/7/10Click for video.

Little did we know the surprise we were in for.....VESPA RACING!!!!
Pat's Acres 8/7/10Click for video.

These guys were in full leathers and full knee sliding, floorboard scraping, muffler dragging leans.

Now how am I going to swing a Triumph Dirt Triple AND a Vespa racing scooter?


"The Hero Walk"