The heavy rains over the last several days melted 99 percent of the snow and washed away any road salt, so when I saw that the roads were dry today, I was tempted to ride my Harley.
Apparently, I was not the only one. As I drove my van to North Kingstown to have Sunday dinner with my brother, I saw a Harley and its owner stopped in the breakdown lane on Route 1 north. I pulled over to see if the rider needed any assistance or tools. The bolt for his air cleaner cover had fallen out, but he said he was okay, so I went on my way.
When I returned home around 4:30 p.m., I threw on a hooded sweatshirt, grabbed my leather jacket, helmet and leather gloves, backed the Wide Glide out of the garage and started it up. I badly needed a ride and was glad I went, although I paid a price for it - it was colder than I thought. I thought it was in the low 40s, but it was about 38 degrees, I later found out. My prescription eyeglasses fogged up every time I exhaled (I was wearing a half-helmet with eye shield). A full-face helmet would have prevented this problem and been a lot more comfortable in these temperatures, but it doesn't look right on a Harley.
This was only my second ride on my new bike and I had a brief scare when my rear tire fishtailed when I downshifted a bit too abruptly, but it happened so quickly I didn't have time to think. This bike is much more powerful than my little Yamaha, and I will have to ride it conservatively until I get used to it.
About halfway into my 20-mile ride, mostly on country roads, my fingers started going numb from the cold. Then when I got home and the blood began to circulate back into my fingers, the pain was excruciating. For about three minutes, it felt like my fingers were on fire. I can see why many people are fair-weather riders, and next time I ride, I'm going to wait for a 50-degree day. With March beginning tomorrow, I'm hoping that I won't have to wait more than two or three weeks for that 50-degree day.