Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wide Glide's Shakedown Cruise

Okay, so this post sounds similar to Wide Glide's Maiden Voyage, but I haven't ridden much lately and figure something is better than cyber-silence. Seriously, though, this is not a re-hash, so read on ....

Unlike this weekend, when we're experiencing a nor'easter with torrential rain and strong winds, last weekend was Mother Nature's invitation to bikers suffering from cabin fever, with both days sunny and nearly 60 degrees.

I rode my Harley to church last Sunday, and by the time church ended around noon, I was itching to ride. I called several Christian biker friends to see if they were up for a ride, but only got their voice mail. So, I decided to ride to Rendezvous Leather in Uxbridge, Mass. It was my first trip out of state with my bike, and the first time I had it on the interstate highway.

As stated before, the bike has plenty of power, a comfortable ride and feels very stable at speed. Very rarely does a bump cause my butt to leave the seat (this bike is 200 pounds heavier than my Yamaha Virago). And I feel safer riding the Wide Glide on the highway because I can get out of potential trouble situations much more quickly than I can with the 535 cc Yamaha. But, the Wide Glide is taller and I get more of a wind blast on my chest, so I will probably get a windshield for the bike for highway riding.

The weather drew a fair amount of bikes out, and I saw a few on the highway. At Rendezvous Leather, I bought another helmet (a size smaller), some goggles and a Throttle Boss (an accessory that makes it easier to hold the throttle on longer rides). I was surprised there were not more than a couple of other bikes at Rendezvous, a popular biker gathering spot, but a few rode by. Anyway, the Vega half-helmet - which stays on my head better at highway speeds - and the goggles - which enable me to ride without a helmet face shield - proved to be wise purchases. The Throttle Boss, however, didn't work well and I plan to return it. Fortunately, there are different styles and I will try another one.

About the title of this blog entry: a shakedown cruise is "a limited sea excursion for the purpose of testing all the working equipment of a ship before putting the vessel into service," according to an online nautical dictionary. Previously, I've only had my bike out a few times for fairly short rides, so I consider last Sunday's ride my true "shakedown cruise".

In many ways, riding a motorcycle is an act of faith. I have to have faith that I will ride to the best of my ability, and that God will do the rest to watch over me so no four-wheeled (or 18-wheeled) vehicles turn me into road kill (unless that's God's plan for me to depart from this earth). I have to have faith that my motorcycle is mechanically safe to ride. And, I have to have faith that my motorcycle is mechanically reliable, especially if I'm riding it a long distance. I'm still in the "getting to know you" stage of owning my 2002 Wide Glide. It did prove very reliable for the previous owner, who rode it to Pennsylvania last summer with no problems, but I have to learn to trust it for myself. Last weekend's ride definitely helped to earn my trust.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ken, nice to see you've been getting out.

    The 'shakedown cruise' is definitely very important. A man has to get to know his ride be one with it...or he's just begging trouble. If you don't know how she leans hard under controlled conditions, you won't want to find out for the first time when you may be manuvering to save your ass. The Dyna Wide is a great bike, and I have no doubt you'll have many amazing miles together, because you're doing it all the right way.

    This is something the poseurs who only ride a few miles to Hooter's bike night twice a year will never understand. On the other hand, if it wasn't for these type of folks, guys like you and I wouldn't benefit from finding a great low-mileage gently used Harley at a great price.
    I'm looking forward to seeing your new ride in person at the Blessing.

    Until then, and always, ride safe.