Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slow Ride (Take it Easy!)

The weekend is almost here and I am practically OUT OF MY MIND with happiness. You see, tomorrow (Friday) I get to ride to a client meeting waaaay the F over in VT. It's about 170 miles each way and the weather looks just perfect. It should be in the high 70's by the time we return. I say we, 'cause my buddy, Box, set up this meeting for me and he's riding there too.

On Saturday, most of the entire state of NH will converge on Center Conway to attend the Whitehorse Press Open House (and BBQ). There will be music, food and discounts. I plan to meet two Twitter buddies there (Corry01 & Two Wheels New England) and say "hello" in person. Plus, I get to push the VTX hard across the Kancamangus Highway, one of the BEST roads in the state.

On a recent ride, the thought occurred to me that it's NOT a matter of how FAST you ride but rather, how SLOW you CAN ride. Think about that. I'm an adrenaline junkie like many of you and I have scared the crap outta myself more times than I will admit. You get a perfect patch of open highway, nary a cop in sight and you pin back that throttle and play boy racer. It's a load of fun to get so much wind that you got to duck way down behind that tiny windscreen. And then roll it back and be Joe Model Citizen, again.

A better measurement of how good a rider you are is how SLOWLY you can ride your bike. Can you maneuver it at speeds below 10 mph? How about below 5 mph? Can you do this and do it consistently? I'm not talking about a parking lot turn-around or a stop-n-go. I mean riding and controlling your bike at speeds just above a stall. That takes skill.

I may not be the best rider in our group (or maybe I am!) but I will consistently challenge myself to exert more control over my scooter every time I ride. It's the exact OPPOSITE of what so many car drivers do: get on the highway, put on cruise control and turn off their brains. I want to be ACTIVELY involved in the control and handling of my bike. It takes attention to small details, the road, the engine, clutch feathering, etc.

Anyway, I've got two days of great riding ahead of me and I am so looking forward to this. It's been a while since I was so jazzed about riding. I think it helps to have a destination and a plan, as opposed to aimless wandering (sorry Joe!). Getting lost never made me moist.

I hope you all have a fun weekend ahead. Riding season is truly here at last.

A low, slow wave

Joe Rocket