My Very First Trip Report

From hope Sat Jul 7 18:52:20 2001
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 22:12:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: Hope
Subject: My very first trip report

Hi all,

I just got in from my first few hours of riding on the public streets, and I'm exhilarated. :)

My friends Chris and Tina, who are regulars at the Wednesday night bike hangout downtown, offered to take me out for some parking-lot coaching and riding, so we got together this evening and did it. I was a bit worried about the logistics of getting to a suitable parking lot, but once I got out on the road, it felt a *lot* better. The parking lot where my bike lives now is in a weird little semi-alley squished behind two fast food joints and surrounded by other buildings, and has a pretty significant hill to climb to just get out of the lot, but it turned out to be not near as fearsome as I'd thought. ;)

The bike feels very good, very smooth. I was impressed with how well I was able to maneuver and especially lean it at low speeds - it just seems to have a good balance for me, I guess.

We headed out on some less-used surface streets to a Meijer's parking lot on the west end of town and focused on a few of my trouble spots - 1) tight u-turns in a box, 2) tight perimeter turns, and 3) shifting without overreving the engine. Oh yeah, and something we hadn't learned in the MSF class ;) - using (and cancelling) turn signals. I played around with doing figure-8s for a while, and discovered that counterweighting is very easy on this bike - it just seems very easy to balance. We played with the idle speed, because it was hard for me to keep the speed slow enough for really tight turns - Deerslayer had mentioned that it idled a bit high, around 1500 rpm, and so we tried to get it down around 1000, but that seemed to leave it just about wanting to stall, and very jerky in first (well, that's more about me than it, I'm sure). In the end we adjusted it back to about 1300, and that seemed to do just fine.

We did some real-life obstacle-dodging around shopping cart carrels and lightposts, and shifting on the straighaways, and a lot of using the turn signal (and forgetting to turn it off). After a while, I think we all got bored of this, and so decided to take off for a short ride while it was still light - about an hour. We took off south through some farmland/semi-rural areas to Saline, and I discovered that the bike really seems to want to hit sixth early on (somewhere in the 40-45 mph area) - don't know if that's "right," though. I have to pick up a user manual to see what they recommend. At any rate, I cruised in sixth ("overdrive") around 50-55mph, which felt incredibly fast. (Keep in mind that before tonight, my top speed in MSF class had probably been 20mph).

Ann-Arbor/Saline Rd. is a pretty much a straightaway with the occasional four-way stop, and when we reached downtown Saline we looped around and picked up a different northbound road to head back to Ann Arbor. One thing I've discovered is that it's a lot easier to miss second on this bike than it was with the MSF bikes, something I'm going to have to work on.

When we got to a stop, Tina excitedly asked us "did you see the deer?", and I'm half-glad I'd missed it (though knowing that I need to be able to spot these things) - after talking a bit with Deerslayer, I have to admit being somewhat deer-afeard. ;) No other road excitements - no one trying to cut me off or anything, despite a lot of blind intersections (which I learned to deal with by slowing up to the intersection so I could see, and then gunning it through the intersection).

Oh, another lesson learned; remember to take off the sunglasses *before* it starts to be dusk. Even though they're polarized (and so I can see almost as good as in daylight), once I hit patches of shadows (no pun intended) it's much harder to see detail.

I like the bike. :) It's peppy enough for me (I don't really have a basis for comparison), and handles well. Chris and Tina also seemed to approve. All in all, a good night. I'm looking forward to more riding soon...

Hey Deerslayer, wanna get together sometime this week? I'll probably want to do some parking lot stuff, but after a bit of warmup like that, we could take a ride in some of the less-deer-infested areas around here, if you like. ;)


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