Sunday, November 15, 2009

End of Season Blues

Well, we ended the season on a high note today. We took a long, ambling ride to Vermont, on back roads, stopping to explore, get lost, get found again and eventually arriving at our destination.

I got my first ride on a Yamaha FJR 1300. My bike has been put up for the winter and a generous friend offered me the use of his second bike, which is currently for sale (email me for details).

What a beauty this bike is! And, if you know anything about this model, you know it goes likes a runaway train. As the ride was mostly on back roads, I didn't get to twist the throttle as hard as I wanted to or for more than a blip. With just a little input, I leapt ahead, quickly on the tail of whoever was riding in front of me. A real test of this bike would be on wide open super slab, where I could carefully watch the needle climb to it's top speed somewhere north of 150 mph.

On the return trip, at a red light, I looked across to friend Manny, astride his H-D Cruiser and he comments "Fast, huh?" With that, the light greened and I was gone, Manny still looking for 1st gear. I slowed down for the next light, only a block ahead and he smiled at me. Again, the light turned and I whacked the throttle, shifting through first to second gear at about 55 mph. I held it open for a bit and saw that I'd left my compatriots well behind me. Easing off the throttle, I stayed in the lead the rest of the way, until a gas stop forced us to re-group.

It's light, carries a full load in the side bags, is very well-balanced and has more engine than the transmission can handle. You almost need a traction-control setting for this bike. I was trying hard to keep the front-end down while doing my stop light drag racing. I didn't think Jason would appreciate my doing wheelies on his bike. Jase, if I'm wrong, can I take it out again tomorrow?

It was a good end to a short season, no thanks to the bad weather the northeast suffered for most of the summer. Still, a good ride, with great bikes (and even better friends) will keep me moderately satisfied until Spring comes around once again. Come February, you might find me in the garage with a beer in one hand, looking under my bike cover like a ten year old boy inspects female mannequins in a department store. By then, with the holidays behind us and the wish list catalogs repeatedly dog-earred, I'll be ready to ride again.

Have a great rest of the season, for those of you who don't have to tuck your bike away for the winter months. There's always the possibility for a warm-weather business trip and an early Spring.

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket