One of the great things about riding a motorcycle is the tie that all motorcyclist enjoy. Yeah, I am one of those guys that waves, to every motorcycle rider I see, even if it is a guy on a scooter. Why, because I love the fact that a perfect stranger and I have something so close in common. Riding a motorcycle in modern times is not a necessity like it was in post war Europe or Japan, or as the cheapest means of transport like it was here in America. Instead you ride a motorcycle now, because you love it. You like to live life just a little bit different. I am not saying all people who ride are hard core bad ass people. I mean I am an elementary school teacher, but rather we live life by a different set of rules, and that unites us. You can almost always count on a fellow motorcyclist stoping to help you out if you are stuck, you can always count on another rider giving you parts or gear, for free, just because you need it and they got it. You can always count on at least one good story every time you stop and talk to someone.
I bring this up because just the other day I was getting on the IMS Triumph Tiger 800XC when a old man walks up to me and starts talking. I needed to get home, it had been a long day and my wife had to deal with a 4 year old and a 2 year old for the last 12 hours alone, so you can see my hurry. Well this particular old man had started the conversation by asking about the bike, saying he had seen me on the freeway and really wanted to talk to me about the bike and was glad that we ended up in the same place at the same time. When I explained to him the bike, the engine, and all the add ons, his smile just kept getting bigger. You see back when he was in college, one summer he bought a brand new, Triumph 650 Bonneville Twin Carb, and rode it from Pittsburgh up into Canada, along the Trans-Canadian Highway, down to LA in California. Seeing me on this Triumph really brought back those memories, it was almost as if he had just gotten of the bike in LA all over again. It was really something else to see this bond between the two of us. We had never meet before, and probably never will meet again, but I had found in this old man, and he in I, an instant friendship that you just don’t get with other people. Now, I have never done a ride like he mentioned, and it will probably never happen for me, but each time I swing a leg over that bike, each time I fire up that 800cc Triple and hear the purr of that exhaust, I am making memories that I will hold onto for a lifetime. And one day I will be that old man, telling some young kid about how I used to have this hopped up Triumph and how I rode it everywhere, off road and on. It will be at that point that I connect with a person in a way that I just wont be able to connect with someone who doesn’t ride. And that kid will do the same thing one day himself.
This kind of experience is something else, it is something that few understand, and it is something that I hope to pass on to generations to come.
So today, take the time and wave at a fellow rider, stop and talk for a minute, help them out on the side of the road, you never know when you will make a life long friend that you never had before. So go make a friend and get out and ride.
Ok, I am not going on a rant here. I just wanted to talk about something that was near and dear to my heart as well as to many off road riders out there. That is the trails that we ride and the trash that we find. This is prompted by a recent ride I did on one of my favorite trail systems. I was just riding along getting near the end of the trail where it hits the road, when I crossed this beautiful little stream. Now recently I have decided that I was going to try to become a professional “Free Camera App iPhone Photo Taker” so I stopped to take a picture with my XR in the middle of a stream, because that would look cool. Anyway here I was taking pictures walking around my Dual Sport when I walked up the stream a little to get a more dramatic shot when I looked over and saw it, a nice little collection of trash (primarily water bottles and a few miscellaneous other things). This really made me sad, and at first I was just going to leave, after all I had nothing to carry the trash in to properly dispose of it, but at the last second before I left I decided to take a picture and post it up here, hoping to raise awareness to this problem.
A few months ago I had posted a picture of my mountain bike on a local ride I did and commented on how so many trails that had been formed by off road riders had been shut down and how if we don’t figure out how to fix it more and more will continue to get shut down. I see things like this and honestly can understand why. This area is absolutely beautiful, (as this photo hopefully shows) and if you look not too closely you can see the first bit of trash that caught my eye laying on the bank in front of my bike, a little white trash bag.
Now I said I wasn’t going to rant, and I am not. I realize that just a few days before this ride was a holiday weekend and there was a lot of campers, and maybe someone was riding out of this trail with a bag full of trash and it got caught and ripped open and they didn’t notice. Who knows, all I can say is that it was there and if we don’t take care of our trails then eventually they will get shut down, and I totally understand. Who wants their trails to look like this.
It is true that every once in awhile I do find cool things on the trail, once I found the remains of a car front seat set up so that whoever sat there got an amazing sunset view, (when I found it it was just a rusted bunch of metal but I could see the potential) and I understand that, it was right near a campsite. (If you want to read about some really neat trail finds click here http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/847470-weirdcreepy-things-youve-found-on-the-trail/) All I am trying to say is if you pack it in, pack it out. Like I learned in sixth grade Science and Conservation Camp, (yes I was that kid still kind of am) “Take only photos, leave only footprints.” Keep it safe and ride clean.
So to conclude what do you guys think we should do to keep our trails clean and open for years to come?
So this morning it was a cold and windy day, the forecast was only a 30% chance of rain, plenty low enough for me to ride. So I left my warm windless house got on my XR and headed out to the Starbucks to do some work. For the first hour I was there it was fine, still cold but no rain. I figured I had plenty of time to work and so I kept at it. At that point it started to sprinkle only a little at first but enough that I decided to move my motorcycle out of the rain and under the over hang by the window I was working at. This turned out to be the smartest decision I made all day. Within a few minuets of doing this the rain decided to come down and with a fury. The wind is still going strong and the temperature has dropped, all in all it turned out to be a pretty bad day for a ride. I know not everyone minds the rain, and after living in Hawaii for 4 years I learned, by necessity, how to ride in the rain. My real problem is the wind. When a 40 mph gust picks up, and that is what they are calling for today, and you are not ready for it it is a really heart stopper. Add on top of that the cold and you got a triple whammy. The only thing that would make this worse would be snow, and now that I said that it will probably start doing that as well. Luckily for me I only live a few miles from this Starbucks, so I am not to concerned. Heres to days turned bad, may they be few and far between.
Not the best photo, but if you look real hard you can see the pools of water in the parking lot. It wasn’t like that 10 min before this photo.