Well… Elise pretty much covered the happenings of this past weekend. I guess it’s time for your humble narrator to tell you about the scooter. Let me first tell you that the ride to work on the trusty Shadow was very odd on Monday morning. I felt like a giant riding atop a girl’s Schwinn bicycle. I don’t know how else to explain it. The 500 + pounds seemed particularly light underneath me. I noticed that the grips are set low and far apart which is probably why my lower back hurts after riding more than 60 miles at a time.
Riding the Heritage Softail was like driving a tank compared to my bike. The second I sat on it, I could tell it was rugged. The ride was so much smoother with the additional 200 lbs of machine under me. The ergonomic design made it easy for me to keep going and going and going. Floor boards have a lot to do with biker comfort. The trusty Shadow has pegs. I’ve gotten to the point where for comfort I rest my ankles on my foot pegs with the heels of my boots 2″ from the highway [not recommended]. The handlebars on the Heritage were directly up in front of me and allowed me to rest my arms. The back seat was high enough and forward enough that it created lower lumbar support. The only thing that starts aching is the middle of my back, between my shoulder blades. Luckily Elise was back there and would massage the tension every few dozen miles. All-in-all, a very comfortable bike. I could easily see myself riding 100+ miles without having to stop and stretch. Maybe that’s just me… I get fidgetty even on long car rides.
And then there’s the pipes. I probably burned half of our fuel by the intermittent full throttling at red lights and in small town squares! That throaty thunder rumble at idle and the repetitive, gun shot muffler blast on acceleration. HA HA HA HA!!! !! Oh yes, one day I will own one! One day, El and I will take off and ride to Sturgis and Daytona (and we would actually ride – most rubs pull their bikes behind their $50k SUVs in a trailer). I want a custom chopper (solo seat), a big cruiser and a handful of sport bikes. Guess I need to start saving, eh?
Anyway, the Heritage Softail weighs in at over 700 lbs and the engine is almost twice as big as the trusty Shadow’s. Harley engines are measure in cubic inches. Most factory big twins are 88ci (1450 cubic centimeters). The Shadow is a 745cc cruiser. Needless to say, there was a HUGE difference is horsepower . And the torque! I didn’t tell El this, but many times I was was tempted to open the throttle, dump the clutch and pop a wheelie! I really didn’t want to try this for the first time on a rented scooter that I was liable for.
Motorcycle enthusiasts are really great people too. You’d be really surprised who you can meet and strike up a conversation with. As El noted, there is a definite camaraderie – and that goes beyond the wave. It’s just a club that you join when you own a bike. There are factions though. I find it hard to pull into a location occupied primarily by Harley Davidson motorcycles on the Shadow. I don’t care though, I like my bike. Anyway, back to the people. All walks of life are represented. A lot of them are ‘salt of the earth’ as El likes to call them. Some you know to stay away from, others are friendly and outgoing – just like every day social endeavors. A lot of people who drive those 4-wheeled vehicles with the holes in the dashboard that blow cold air like to stop and talk shop as well.
Riding a motorcycle is just plain cool. I think the classic word ‘cool’ was introduced into the English language with the motorcycle in mind. You see everything, you smell everything, you hear everything, you taste everything [when you yawn]. I like to think when I ride. You don’t have the distractions that come with a car – you’re not changing radio stations, talking on the phone, thumbing through books of CDs, playing air drums on the steering wheel, putting on make up, etc. You’ve got the wind and your wits.