Why do we ride?
It could be freedom from the normal constraints of other modes of transportation. There is the thrill of open air exposure against which a convertible automobile has no chance nor it's owner a clue. Smells become textures at 60 miles per hour and the roadway is larger than life. There is constant adaptation to your surroundings. Insects, debris and ever changing weather events cause immediate changes to your mental processes.
A quick glance downward, and just to the outside of the piston driven marvel that propels you, sharply contrasts the scenery flowing easily by to the rush of the asphalt by your tires. You feel freed from the normal tethers to this earth but strangely connected and at one with machine, roadway and wind. It is an extraordinary melding of man with a multitude of mechanical parts.
The power, speed and braking are thrilling and you don't have to use them to know they are there, it is felt, it is sensed. It is a reserve assistance in the odd encounter with the errant cage driver. Brakes will keep you out of trouble not get you out of trouble.
Riding with others is an experience that can not be forgotten. A short trip with a small group to a local eatery is wonderfully comforting. A trip with your regular riding friends to a favorite spot and to catch up for the week....recharges you and makes you feel all is right with the world.
Motorcycling is a life altering choice, a lifestyle, a plateau in life where all the separate and disjointed visions combine into one clarified existence....for a brief time.
Why do I ride?
It makes me happy, it makes me smile.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Why do we ride?
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 7:28 AM
Sunday, March 25, 2007
We decided to head to Beaufort with Chad and Lynn Sunday, March 25. We started out at 11:30AM and took Hwy 70 to Havelock and then Hwy 101 into Beaufort. We stopped at the Dock House on the waterfront in Beaufort for a quick lunch. From Beaufort we rode to Atlantic Beach and took Hwy 58 into Maysville. From there it was Hwy 17 back to New Bern. Saturday had been wonderful with highs in the 80's but today it reached only to about 70, was mostly sunny and there was a good bit of wind. This is a nice route to take any time of the year when you need a leisurely 100 mile ride along the beach and river areas. The Bogue Banks road is almost depressing with developments. I learned to surf here in the early 70's. At that time you just parked on the side of the road and walked to the beach. The majority of the hotels and motels I remember from years ago are being torn down to make room for condos. In a few years no one will have access to the beach unless you own some property. In contrast the Emerald Isle to Maysville road is a back country two lane with little traffic except in summer.
As always click the pictures to make 'em bigger!
We hit over 1000 miles on the odometer so it's time for the 1K service. Carried her in on Tuesday afternoon and will pick her up Wednesday after work. I sure hope they take good care of my baby.
I just realized that until now there has not been a picture of our Ultra, so here it is. Dressed in Vivid Black with a few goodies here and there. Riding is more of a pleasure with each passing day. Photo taken at the waterfront in Beaufort.
Chad installed some Vance and Hines pipes on Lynn's bike last week and man do they sound great. She also had the local Harley shop do the Stage One with the Thunderslide and air cleaner. Either the bike's faster or Lynn is a little more cocky and the best part is the hesitation at idle take off is all but gone. The Sportster has a really good sound and Lynn REALLY likes the new hardware.
Debbie tried her hand at in-motion photography on the trip from the co-pilot seat and took some great pictures.
Here is Chad on the infamous Street Bob taking in the scenery at 60 mph or so (yeah right). For legal purposes he was only going 55 and I was just rounding up. Poetic license if you will. I read about people that ride above the speed limit on motorcycles and I am appalled.
Here is Lynn cruising along on Hwy. 70 East between New Bern and Havelock. Like Chad, Lynn is very observant of the posted speed limit. The fact that her Sportster would run the ass off a Cheetah does not mean she would try.
Keep the chrome shining, stay right of center and keep an eye on the rear view.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 7:10 PM
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Attitude. That really bothers me. Why do some people act as though they are better than others? In reality we were all created equal and came into this world screaming and naked. As we grow up we are conditioned first by our parents and later by our teachers, acquaintances, friends and environment. Since our conditioning is not done at all by ourselves then why the attitude. It's not like you have made yourself high and mighty. The beginnings to the road you have traveled were molded by a rather large group of people and the majority don't share your blood line. Maybe you are living a lie. Of course perception is reality.
In my two wheeled adventures I have met the most wonderful assortment of people. You pick the line of work and there they are, riding the steel beast accented in chrome and roaring and snorting on high octane fuel. The uniform is almost complete, but never entirely, with leather, patches and pins, helmet, glasses and gloves. So there they are from all walks of life, smiling, laughing and sharing a story....with me and anyone else who shares the dream. Did these people ever have an attitude or was it was discarded when the leg went over the seat?
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 7:44 AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I know, I know, it's a topic that's been discussed time and time again. I'm not just talking about the Motorcycle Wave but the Jeep Wave as well. Believe it or not the Jeep folks have a wave but it is more like "Hey there's a Jeep, I'm in a Jeep." Whereas motorcycle riders wave at other motorcycle riders and most are not concerned as to the make and model, Jeep owners only wave at other Jeeps. Of course there is a protocol to be observed. The Jeep wave in usually initiated by the lesser (consider taller, bigger lift kit, over size tires, lots of off road lights) or newer vehicle. Now don't call your Ford Explorer a Jeep. It ain't. If the word Jeep is not on your vehicle it is not a Jeep. And yes there is a hierarchy within the Jeep community than involves Jeeps other than the Wrangler. Jeep owners are an odd lot.
The motorcycle wave is always interesting to me. Unless I am in the middle of a maneuver that requires all hands on deck then I will always wave. I don't care what type of motorcycle you ride as long as you ride. Fists and knees in the wind, and that sort of thing! Sometimes the wave can be a royal pain. Just what the hell are you supposed to do when you approach the late November Toys for Tots run of 420 bikes? Thirty one, thirty two, I really need to downshift at this light, any minute now....well you get the point. I really do try to initiate or return the wave at all times but sometimes I am preoccupied with the scenery or traffic. It is obvious that some riders of certain brands are less likely to wave than others and why that is I don't know. I do know that my fellow Harley riders actively participate in the wave. One statistic I read a week or so ago places motorcycles at just below ten percent of total vehicles registered. So no matter what you ride, put your brand loyalty aside and wave to your minority brethren.
Minority..hmm...where is Reverend Jackson's business card...it's here somewhere. NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Cruising People. Nah, that would keep the Sport Bikers out. NAAMP, National Association for the Advancement of Motorcycling People. We can ride on Washington!
Owner of a 2000 Jeep Wrangler and a 2007 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic. Waving my ass off.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 10:08 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Lynn got us reservations in Ocracoke at a bed and breakfast for the weekend of the NC HOG Rally. We are leaving on Friday, April the 27th. We still don't know what route we are going to take but we will take the Cedar Island to Ocracoke Ferry on one leg of the ride.
The NC HOG Rally is certainly drawing a crowd.
We hope to head to Wilmington, in the next two weeks, with Chad and Lynn and meet up with Mike and Holly. We hope to grab lunch and do a ride to Carolina Beach.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 9:14 PM
Monday, March 12, 2007
- The lowers have storage compartments with snap on covers. Harley should supply a better alternative than that. There are aftermarket covers that lock.
- Sound quality with the headsets is not good at all. This is for radio or CD, the intercom quality is great.
- The kick stand scrapes the road when you make sharp left turns. Scared the hell out of me the first time.
- Why did Harley not finish the pipe covers? The exhaust pipe is uncovered near the right rider footboard.
- There is a small amount of buffeting at 55 MPH and above.
- The looks of the machine. Chrome and black engine treatment. Truly a work of art.
- The stereo when played through the speakers. Outstanding performance even at highway speeds.
- The acceleration is more than adequate for such a heavy machine.
- Some have said the braking is lacking. After several intentional panic stops on a back road: she stops damn quick!
- The ride quality is awesome. Soaks up the bumps very well.
What I Added
- Chrome windshield trim
- Luggage Rack
- Saddlebag chrome rails
- Kuryakyn Switchblade highway "pegs"
- Kuryakyn flag holder
- Exhaust heat shield (see what I dislike)
- Split vision mirrors
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 5:11 PM
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Debbie and I decided if we are to do more long distance riding then we better prepare. We planned to ride to Smithfield non-stop from New Bern and that is exactly what we did. It's only about 85 miles but the longest we rode on the Sportster at a stretch was about 50 miles. We left New Bern on the Ultra at 11:30 and headed to Kinston via the bypass.
The bypass was completed in the late 70's to replace the old Hwy 70 that was only a two lane road. Old 70 connects New Bern to Kinston and threads Cove City and Dover into the fabric. It is a great back road with minimal traffic. I remember riding my Suzuki TS 185 from New Bern to Dover and back when the bypass was just a rock road.
Traffic was fairly light and the Ultra did well at 78 MPH with cruise control on. We passed through Kinston and Goldsboro and there was only one idiot cage driver that wanted to merge without looking. We listened to the first half hour of the State/Carolina game and made back and forth comments via the intercom. We find that the audio quality from the CD/FM portion of the sound system is really bad through the headsets while underway. Even with the bass maxed out and the treble set at minimum. The audio through the speakers is great even with 3/4 helmets and at highway speed. We arrived at the Outlet Mall at Smithfield with the intention of having a late lunch at Cracker Barrel. With a line out the door we circled back and decided to try the fare at Bob Evans.
We checked out a few of the outlet shops (Debbie loves The Gap) and of course wandered over to Shelton's Harley Davidson. There was quite a gang hangin' out in the parking lot listening to the game. On the return trip we stopped by a friends house near Princeton and checked out his newly acquired Suzuki Boulevard.
The low gas indicator came on with 150 miles out of the tank so we gassed up about 10 miles west of Kinston. I rode for a while but could not decide how much I trusted the gas gauge. The fill up was 4.3 gallons and the MPG still hangs around 38. Total trip was 183 miles and the weekend total is close to 300 miles. The trip to Smithfield was comfortable, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 60's, and I think we both agree that an hour and a half or so makes for a good break point, for now at least. Looks like Kill Devil Hills and Myrtle Beach are well within our reach.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 7:48 PM
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I figured Friday night that one of our group would cruise to Kinston with me but no one could make Saturday morning so I rode solo. I had not run the Ultra much above 60 for any amount of time so I decided to go to Kinston on the bypass. I hit the 70 MPH zone in fifth then kicked it in to sixth gear and set the cruise on 78 MPH. The tach was reading about 2700 RPM and the stock exhaust settled into a wonderfully toned highway song. Feet up on the Switchblade highway pegs and 20 minutes later I was approaching Dover. I tapped the brakes and the cruise disengaged just before the Dover exit and rode the remainder of the way at about 60 MPH or so. I made a brief stop at McDonald's in Kinston for a drink and called a friend of mine so he could check out my bike. That accomplished, I headed back to New Bern via highway 58 and Trenton. It had been years since I drove that back country road. It was a very comfortable trip back and at a much more restful pace. Total round trip of 105 miles. There are 704 miles on the odometer and at the fill up today the MPG comes to 37.84. I certainly think I'll get 40 by the time it's broken in. The weather was, well, fantastic. One of those days when the leathers are just right riding but a little warm if you stop more than five minutes.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 2:32 PM
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
It is always a good feeling to help kids. When you can help and ride your bike well, it just doesn't get any better than that.
We started at the Crash Bar, just outside of New Bern on 70 east. This fine establishment is no longer in business by the way.
Since Toys For Tots is sponsored by the Marine Corps, there were quite a few Marines helping out.
The weather was great. We pulled out of the Crash Bar and our route took us to Chopper Toyz near Morehead, then to Swansboro, Beaufort, and ended up in Havelock at Jean's Place. We actually won a folding chair in the raffle at Jean's. It was a little cool and cloudy at first but quickly became sunny. There was one brief shower late in the day while we were on Hwy 101 between the Intracoastal Waterway bridge and Havelock.
Here are a few of the "Best of the pictures".
Click 'em to make 'em bigger.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 7:14 PM
Monday, March 5, 2007
Saturday was a great day! Debbie's birthday was Monday so we decided to celebrate over the weekend. Chad and Lynn rode with us to Oriental to have lunch. Chad rides an 06 Street Bob, Lynn rides an 06 Sportster and with me at the helm and Debbie as navigator we pilot an 07 Electra Glide Ultra Classic.
The weather was good. Temps in the high 60's but the wind was a bit much with gusts around 25 mph. We rode Hwy 55 for the trip and found that less than half of the proposed 4 lane project is complete. There is certainly some smooth pavement in place. Just hit 600 miles on the Ultra since we got her in mid January. Won't be long for the 1K service.
Posted by Ralph Southerland at 7:17 PM