It’s true, I actually got to ride to the office today! It was my first commute since the Fall and man did I enjoy it… and take full advantage of it. The ride in was a bit chilli but really refreshing and just long enough to make me want to ride all that much more.
I did get a lot done but the KBC was definitely taunting me throughout the morning. So at lunch time I skipped the food part (I need to do that more often) and spent an hour cruising around. At one point I passed a Nashville music landmark, Cats Music, so I thought I would grab a quick pic.
But the real fun started when my afternoon of work was complete. The reason I love riding to the office is without a doubt the ride home! And today was perfect. I avoided every Interstate and took my time, enjoying a long detour. By the time I rolled into the driveway, my 18 mile commute had been stretched into 86.6 miles. Ahhhh… I love it!
This weekend was not a total bust. I received a nice presentation at a local Harley Dealership and of course today was special since I got to spend time with all of the mothers in my life… including mine, my children’s and my grandchildren’s… but as far as riding goes… there was not a lot happening, thanks to our ongoing rainy season.
Yep, we’re still waiting for April showers to turn into May flowers here in Middle Tennessee but so far, nobody has told mother natrue that April was supposed to be over 10 days ago… which is about how many days in a row it has rained!
I did defy the odds this afternoon and rode the SV to my grandson’s Little League baseball game. It was cold and the sky looked like it was going to spew it’s wetness on us at any time (see picture above) but I made it there, through the game, and back home without even a drop.
There is a term used among the sportbike crowd that you rarely hear in other riding circles. The term is “Chicken Strip” and it doesn’t refer to processed, fast food or pole dancing poultry! No, a Chicken Strip is the area on the outer edge of the rear tire that remains un-marred by asphalt. The further you lean your bike through the curves, the smaller your chicken strip becomes… and conversely, the less you hit the corners, the larger your chicken strip stays. You can see that my chicken strip on the SV is rather large… I guess I am pretty much a chicken!
In an effort to latch onto the recent street-fighter craze, Suzuki is now making a stripped version of the Hyabusa that they call the B-King. I’ve seen them in the stores, in the magazines and on-line but had never seen one on the road until tonight.
BTW… I still wonder how these girls can ride on the back of these sportbikes like they do. My wife rode on my CBR with me one time and swore she would never get on a sportbike again. The Electra Glide has her spoiled.
Just a couple of days ago I RANTed about the Suzuki Gladius (along with 4 other bikes) and today when I got home from the office, the latest edition of Cycle World was waiting for me (yes I still read magazines) and what should appear in one of their features? The Suzuki Gladius of course. The article, by David Edwards, answers more of my questions about this cool little bike.
As it turns out, the Gladius is indeed replacing the ever popular SV650 but seems to improve upon it by: replacing the old aluminum frame with a tubular-steel trellis (think Ducati Monster), offering a 1.7″ lower seat, adding an impressive 6 more foot-pounds of torque… and a lot more.
It remains to be seen if Suzuki has taken too much of a gamble in replacing the lineup staple SV650 but one thing is sure… they are banking a lot on the Gladius. They are even taking a non-traditional approach to marketing the bike in an effort to reach beyond the walls of the dealership. One of my Twitter buddies turned me on to the new Gladius website and if you check it out, you will see what I mean. If you buy into their pitch… The Gladius is not just a motorcycle… it’s a Lifestyle! You can even download songs tailored to the color of your bike. (No… really!)
For a long time we were hoping for rain in Middle Tennessee… now we can’t seem to turn it off. Things have been so bad this weekend that down in Aetna (about 80 miles southwest of Nashville) people are being evacuated in flat-bottom rescue boats. The National Weather Service even issued a statement, warning about “life-threatening” flooding. Crazy!
It’s not that bad where I live but still we are getting a ton of the wet stuff and my riding plans for the weekend have been completely trashed. (Sounds trivial compared to what the people in Aetna are facing… I know.) So… here I sit again on a Sunday morning at the local coffee shop, eating a little breakfast and writing about motorcycles instead of riding them.
To feed my 2-wheeled addiction I thought I would take a gander at the 2009 offerings from five top manufacturers and see which one bike in particular from each is the no-brainer pick for Swag’s garage. You might be surprised at my choices but here are the bikes that excite me the most.
HONDA: Yeah, I know… everyone is buzzing about the new Fury but honestly; it doesn’t do much for me. And of course there is the awesome Gold Wing but if I can’t seem to get past the ST1300. The combination of sportbike looks and performance with touring comfort seems like a winning combination to me. This bike makes me want to take a month off and ride to the West Coast and back.
YAMAHA: I’ve been a distant fan of the mighty V-Max for several years now and the 2009 version is as bad as ever! I mean what’s not to like? Muscle car looks meets better than muscle car performance.
SUZUKI: Check out the new Gladius. An aggressive looking 650 with street fighter looks… this bike seems like it would be right at home… both in the canyons and on the morning commute to work.
KAWASAKI: Hands down… my choice from Big Green is the Ninja 250R. It’s been a long time since I got excited about a 250cc motorcycle that didn’t have knobby tires on it but this thing has all the “cool” of it’s big brother Ninja’s but is entry rider friendly with its 333lb dry weight and easy to digest MSRP of $3499. My guess is that Kawasaki is going to own the 2009 entry-level market… but may also gain a lot of “bike #2” business from the experienced rider looking for a commuter .
HARLEY-DAVIDSON: As I did with Kawasaki… again, I am foregoing the eye candy and all the bells-and-whistles to go with the entry level Iron 883. Are you telling me that a rider can get into a H-D bike that is dripping with Harley attitude for under 8 grand? Uh… yeah. H-D has a real winner here.
Lazy, Sunday afternoons were made for one thing right? No… not naps! For me, they are the perfect time for random rides through the backroads of Middle Tennessee. Nothing is much better in my book than to hit church, grab a bite with loved ones and then hop on two wheels to meander aimlessly for a couple hours of introspective riding. I solve a lot of the worlds problems on these rides… (ha!) and I also rediscover why I love to ride motorcycles!
You know, it’s kind of funny… I keep thinking I may want to sell the SV but then I go ride it and change my mind. What a fun little bike! Above are a couple pics of the SV during a rest stop I made today (ain’t it cool?) and there’s also a pic below of one of the scenic views I got on my ride. Plus… I’ve included a time-lapse of one of my favorite roads to ride. It is 6 miles of Couchville Pike in about 14 seconds.