Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hitting The Road

There's a great little book, a pamphlet really, published by Aero Design and Mfg. entitled "Lightweight: Unsupported Motorcycle Travel for Terminal Cases" It's a great resource for anyone thinking about taking a motorcycle road trip. It's a book a could have written myself.

The first road trip I took on a motorcycle was from Decatur, IL to Chicago, two-up on a raggedy Honda 305 Scrambler. It was loud, rough riding, with an uncomfortable seat. Every mile felt like it took an hour. By the time I got to Chicago I was beat up and exhausted. And, I was hooked.

Since then I have traveled thousand of miles by motorcycle, some with good friends, some with people I didn't know, and thousands more by myself. I've ridden coast to coast 5 times, including one time solo. I am more comfortable in the saddle of a motorcycle than anywhere else in the world.

I'm leaving today for my first road trip on the Piaggio MP3. I'm headed to Indianapolis to meet up with my son and and old riding buddy [we've known each other for over 30 years, we are OLD riding buddies] for the US Motorcycle Grand Prix. As I wrote recently, more than half the joy of any journey is in the preparation.

Whether you're going a hundred miles or for weeks, the time spent thinking about what you'll need - and what you'll wear - are worth their weight in gold. On smallish motorcycles, and certainly on the MP3, there's not much room for carrying extra stuff. You need to distill your needs down to what really matters, and that's it.

So, my packing list includes a couple of pair of socks, a couple of changes of underwear, my running shoes and gear, and that's about it. I'll wear my Aerostich Darien jacket with jeans and carry a good pair of rain pants. My only extravagance is an extra pair of gloves. I'll have a warm pair, a cool pair, and a lined pair in case it gets cold.

I'm excited, a little bit nervous, but eager to hit the road. Come back next week for photos from the trip and the race.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Old Dog, New Tricks

I've been riding motorcycles, or motor scooters, for over 50 years. The first motorized vehicle that I ever rode and controlled myself was an Allstate [Sears] moped. I was probably 12 years-old. The freedom I felt the first time I twisted the throttle is still with me some 50 years later.

The vehicle that liberated me from the bonds and boundaries of my tiny word was a borrowed Cushman motor scooter. I was probably 14. It was a buddy of mine's and when he was at work I'd take off on the scooter. Although I doubt that I ever got more than 5 miles from my house, it felt like I had the whole world at my feet.

With the arrival of the new Piaggio MP3 it feels like I've rediscover both that freedom and liberation. There's something magical about a vehicle that is so user-friendly that makes riding just that much more fun. As I said to someone yesterday, it just makes me smile.

It's pretty obvious from the photo of the garage that the MP3 has found a good home. The only problem so far is that I'm having so much fun on the Piaggio that I'm afraid I might not ride the others enough to keep their batteries charged.

For more information go to the: Piaggio or Vespa web sites.

Scooter on!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A New Beginning

All I can say is WOW. I've been riding motorcycles for 40 years and this is the most unbelievable experience I have ever had.

This will be short and sweet because I'm going out for a ride, but it's really not like anything else I have ever ridden. The two-wheeled front end configuration [I'll learn what it's called once I stop riding] gives it a stability - yet not so much stability - that it's like - well - I don't know what it's like. And maybe that's the point. It isn't like anything else.

I was getting a pretty complete set of riding instructions. There's a lot to know. But once I got it going, I was as happy as I could be.

This is a video of Jenny finishing up her first ride. I don't know when the smile will come off her face. I'll be posting more photos on my Facebook page[]

All I can say for NOW is that I can't wait to get back outside and fire it up. And, I'll have to come up with a name.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Running and Riding: Two Passions

This is going to be an experiment. I've got two real passions in my life right now. Running and motorcycling. But neither is easy to define or easy to defend.

When I say I run, I mean that I move my body with my own two feet. I run. I walk. I walk and run. I run and walk. It doesn't matter. I'm moving.

When I say motorcycles, I mean anything that I can sit on and twist the throttle. It can can have a 50cc or a 1500cc motor. I don't care. It can go 25 miles an hour or 150. I don't care.

And now I'm going to have a chance to expand from two wheels to 3 wheels when I take delivery of a new Piaggio MP3. This blog is going to be devoted to the common ground and common joy in my two passions. Stay tuned.