Friday, June 04, 2010

Four years ago this past Memorial Day....

...I was finishing day two of the Basic Rider Course (BRC) taught by T3RG Motorcycle Schools, I didn't even own a motorcycle at the time and the first time I'd swung a leg over one as a rider was on day one of the BRC!

I sure didn't think I'd be where I am today, four years later.  Started out riding a small cruiser type motorcycle, progressed to a sport touring beast, and now I ride a near vintage BMW Airhead and a Russian sidecar rig! 

In the last four years, I've learned a lot about motorcycling, doing basic service/maintenance tasks, had one accident, have ridden through 17 states, traded my first motorcycle Gretl, a 2006 Honda Shadow Aero 750cc, for a bigger one: Maria, a 2004 R1150RT BMW, acquired a second motorcycle as a spare: Brigitta, a 1987 BMW R80 and later traded Maria for Natasha, after racking up a bit over 50,000 miles on Maria.

I've had three flat tires, all rear ones, two on Maria and one on Natasha.  I've learned to check valve clearances on Airhead/Oilhead Beemers and Russian Urals.  Spent many an hour replacing engine oils, final drive oils, transmission oils and brake fluids.  I've learned to swap tires on all my motorcycles and learned to appreciate Natasha's ability to carry a spare one.  The only time my Beemers stranded me on the side of the road due to mechanical issues was when I lost the input shaft on Brigitta.  Natasha, on the other hand, has provided numerous opportunities to "troubleshoot by the roadside"; however, she's always gotten me home!

Thanks mostly to my Russian friend Andrey, I've survived the dreaded Russian Hand Grenade alternator, learned hot to replace timing gears, a sheared apart sidecar drive shaft, and all the other "features" of owning a Russian sidecar rig.

I've ridden in all kinds of weather, sometimes even intentionally!  My coldest ride was a ride in to work last December when temperatures were pretty cold, I think my lowest temperature was -10°F.  I've ridden under sunny skies, then rain, then hail, strong winds, snow and sunny again....sometimes all in the same day, that's Colorado for you!  I've ridden in summer heat that nearly parboiled my brain and rain so hard it was difficult seeing where I was going, not to mention there's no such thing as a warm summer rain in Colorado!

I've attended not only the Basic Rider Course but also the Experienced Rider Course and the Basic Sidecar Riding Course as well.  Training is a must, enhance your chances while riding, get some training!

I've ridden in winds that caused me to lean my motorcycle over so much that I would have probably fallen over had the wind suddenly quit!  Winter's snow and me had quite the uneasy relationship for most of the last four years until Natasha entered my motorcycling life, now I just say: "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow".

I've seen breathtaking sights while riding, mostly here in the great state of Colorado with its majestic mountain ranges, seemingly endless prairies, sometimes raging rivers and winding canyon roads.  I've discovered I've an almost unstoppable urge to explore lonely dirt trails and taking my two-wheeled motorcycles down "roads" where we really didn't belong.  Things are easier now that I've a sidecar rig.

Over 800 personal blog postings and last year started writing for, my thanks to all you readers who regular read this stuff and come back for more.

I've also realized that you truly become invisible when riding a motorcycle, and ride accordingly.

Four years, 91,022 miles ridden by me on my four motorcycles, and Brigitta my 1987 R80 Beemer is coming up on 85K miles of her own, about 24K of it while ridden by me, it'll be quite the milestone to achieve 100K miles with her.

None of the above would have been possible without the support and time given to me by my loving wife Martha.  She's quite the enabler don't you think?  In fact, she's already authorized the purchase of a BMW GS, I just have to find the right one.....


cpa3485 said...

Thanks for the riding history of yourself. I've followed you for a year and a half or so and enjoy going on the rides with you by reading your blog.
Mighty impressive mileage numbers, mine pale in comparison. But we share the fact that we got into riding without a lot of prior experience. By getting training, etc, I am impressed that you have done a lot of "right" things along the way.
Understanding spouses are a real plus, too.

Richard Machida said...

"In fact, she's already authorized the purchase of a BMW GS"

Wow! One in a million.

What model(s) are you looking at?