View Full Version : In which I take my first putt on a road trip
02-24-2011, 10:17 PM
12 years ago, my first putt was a Yamaha Maxim 550. Ugly as sin, but a good first bike. I decided to ride from central CT to upstate NY, Herkimer area, to see a friend. More or less it was a hop on and ride type trip, I studied maps to avoid the Mass Pike and NYS thru-way.
So off I went. In MA when they say 35mph around some of those state road corners they mean it! The day was beautiful and the roads well marked--route numbers through towns and such. I think it took me about 5 hours to get there, had to be around 200 miles. Boy did I learn what saddle sores were. That was one bike not meant for that kinda riding.
I stayed a coupla days, and then headed home. I never ran out of fuel, but fueled just about everywhere I could. Then I learned about riding in the rain. There was NOWHERE to get off the road, so I slowed way down and just got wet. Later back in MA I was in a little one bridge town, musta been somewhere around Lee, where I learned about rimfires on the air cooled bike. There was one bridge outta town and everyone was wantin to be on it. I think there were antique stores and the like. So I stopped and let her cool off before continuing. IIRC the sun was out by that time, and I was still trying to dry off from the rain in NY. Yuk.
Looking back it was a little nutty to make that trip on that bike, but I learned a few things and had a good time doing it.
02-26-2011, 09:53 PM
It's always a good decision to ride no matter the circumstances. Read my thread "Deer Jumper" and I think you will agree it could have been MUCH worse.
02-28-2011, 11:54 AM
Yeah I grew up on Bugs as well, and Hanna Barbara. Nothing these days is as good.
A few small equipment changes would have made the trip more enjoyable. A cell and a credit card would've been good to have. The bike was kind of a beater, so in the back of my mind, if repairs got too costly on the road, I'd give it away and get a bus ticket home. And it will make for a good story to tell the offspring someday . . . .
03-02-2011, 09:51 AM
I really enjoyed your motorcycle adventure you posted, great job!. As we all know, riding motorcycles exposes the rider to all the varying weather elements that nature can throw at you (this may include afew people too). Making most trips an adventure with high, highs and low, lows. Your story is a perfect example of this Phenomenon. I guess this is one reason why these adventures are not easily forgotten by us. I just love going to new places, stopping off at a local bar there and hopefully meeting afew new fellow biker friends. This makes for a great evening's entertainment, listening, and telling colorful biker stories (like yours) . I cant wait for the next go round!:thumbsup:
03-02-2011, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the thoughts. I like the idea of checking out local spots too. Bed and Breakfast's are really nice places to visit.
A co-worker has a Virago he's wanting to sell for a very good price. Perhaps junior and I will have a go-round at a longer trip if he takes to biking this summer . . . .
It was another bike, and another time, but I busted the return throttle cable about 20 miles from home--so I couldn't get the power below maybe 40%. All local roads with traffic lights and traffic to keep it exciting. It was running so high that I couldn't run in first gear at all. So no stopping, brakes and clutch to keep it from stalling . . . . That was a 30minute ride I'll never forget!
I used to drive to see clients all over western MA. In the summer that included the putt. I stopped for lunch, talked to other bikers at scenic overlooks, met a friend for ice cream on the way back to the office--on the clock . . . those were good times too. Best of all, was that I didn't take the highway to work, normally a 70minute drive. Back roads on the bike was a 90 minute ride each way. I arrived to work and at home entirely refreshed, as if I'd just come off vacation.
I gotta get that Virago . . . .
03-03-2011, 03:04 PM
I owned a 1981 750 Virago for a while in the mid '90s. I liked the bike because I could maintain it myself. Tires were resonable too. Here's link, w/a picture of my Virago on post #8
I used to ride the Virago 29 miles each way to work & back on a paved over stagecoach road.:thumbsup:
03-03-2011, 07:45 PM
That's cool (looked good too) that it was something you could maintain yourself. What made it that way? I did very little on the shadow 1100, so this time I want to make small changes myself so i can learn the bike. As I go I want to add some (HID) lights, a strobe, maybe ape hangers, perhaps saddle bags, forward controls, anything to make it unique.
The only downside is that it is the 90 mile tank. I knew a guy North of Springfield who did custom jobs on Shadows. He built a larger gas tank by welding two together--two gas caps. Said he'd never do it again it was such a PITA. But like you I plan on riding lot--90 miles a day or so. I've had my credit card declined for using it too many times in one day for fueling (work paid the mileage tho!). I might throw a camping stove fuel container in the saddle bags . . . .
03-03-2011, 08:27 PM
Sounds like you are going to have a fun project with your future Virago. I guess I am a little old school with motorcycles. What I mean is, back then bikes were easy to maintain. Changing the oil, tires, adjusting the valves etc, was all easy, straight forward stuff to do on the older bikes to keep them tip-top. I think that the Virago and other motorcycles from that time are the tail end of that era. The newer motorcycles are great! the technological upgrades with everything on the newer bikes make them the best there has ever been, except for working on them. Everything has gotten so specailized that not everybody can do work on them like motorcycles from the old days. Motorcycles were cheap and easy transportation back then. That isn't the case so much these days with the latest greatest what ever. Tires on some bikes are more expensive than tires on your average car. Getting the valves adjusted with a tune up and oil change cost a whole lot more than it used to. I am not knocking the newer stuff, it's just everything has evolved to a different standard . Tires, frames, supension, double over head cams, 4 valves per cylender, fuel enjection has put motorcycle in a whole different light, they handle so much better than ever before, which really makes the newer motorcycles safer to ride. It's all really great stuff, just not cheap or easy for average guy to work on. So find a shop manual for the Virago and enjoy learning to do it yourself. Sorry for the rant, just my 2Cs.:wink:
03-03-2011, 10:52 PM
Ok I got it. Airplanes used to be that way, some still are. I'd like to learn it in and out, and have enough parts to keep her running for a long time. I'd rather have something I can adjust for conditions rather than have expensive repair bills and parts. Event the shadow had pricey parts, including wheels. From the pics, it looks like it is accessible. Something closer to EMP proof would be nice too . . . .
03-03-2011, 11:35 PM
I found this little blurb about the Virago: Hacking a path through the urban jungle is the bike's real forte. It loves to cruise Brando-like through town in a quietly testicular way, and doesn't mind stopping at every intersection any more than a dog minds sniffing every bush on its daily rounds.
03-04-2011, 09:49 AM
yeah! Typical cruiser style. It's not bad at covering some serious ground when the need arises though.
Is it nutty to want to go long-distance cruising? (8 hr trip to home?)
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