I guess it’s time to prepare my bike for summer trips.
I like owning a bike because it makes short distance travel very accessible. My Honda Shadow gets better than 50mpg in most circumstances. Even with city driving.
It’s also small enough to park anywhere. Between two cars. In spaces that are too small for cars. Walk ways, sidewalks and other stuff can also be even more convenient. For instance in Chicago you can park on the sidewalks.
To the right you can see where I parked for 4 days in Harlem. I should mention that the bike sat there (near Manhattan and 112th) for four days. I left some of my bags and contents on the bike. The bike was basically untouched. After returning to Ottawa, I parked on Bank Street for about 2h. When returning someone bent my mirror. I must say this is more evidence that New York is a much friendlier town than Ottawa.
Also this type of cruiser style motorcycle is quite quiet. People don’t notice you much. The police are disinterested as well.
Except once when I was cruising down Broadway and the police were on a binge to pull over every motorcycle. In this case there was a Dominican Parade and apparently they pull over every motorcycle the passes into lower Manhattan.
Police in New York are much more professional and friendly than our poorly trained forces.
This was a pleasant experience. I just parked the bike for 20m or so while they checked all my paperwork and ran whatever checks.
Apparently they had three different agencies there. Federal, State Troopers and City police.
There is a disadvantage with a motorcycle when it comes to comfort. It’s much harder work than operating a car.
On longer trips you need a gel seat. Otherwise you get a soar rear end like you can never imagine. When driving a car, you can choose lots of different ways to rest the weigh on your rear. On a bike, you will have one or two sets of foot pegs so there is only one or two ways to sit.
You wont notice this much till you are much over a 4h trip though.
I found this out on this run to Chicago from Ottawa.
I had no gel seat, plus I had not yet adopted a tank bag. That really helps when travelling in USA because of tolls. It really helps to have a glove box sort of thing in front of you for change. Also for refueling.
The elements is another interesting thing. In the picture to the right, I was tooting along on a beautiful day about to pass through the Pocono Maintain area. It was so nice out I just had my light vented jacket.
Suddenly I saw what looked like dense fog again. I pulled over when I saw a huge load of hail in the ditch. There was a 1 km stretch that was covered in hail stones as large as 1.5cm.
Wasn’t any need to pull over I just wanted to marvel over the hail.
This wasn’t cold or anything. But rain can be very annoying for a motorcycle. I can’t emphasis the importance of having good equipment for a bike. You can’t wear ordinary jackets and stuff because they will flap (and fall apart) and will not have good airflow patterns.
The other thing is that you learn to live with very little storage.
I’ve added two leather side bags, a trunk bag and a small purse on the front forks for sunblock and a few tools. I have a couple of tank bags as well. The one on the right is my small one for local travel.
When I’m in a city I usually take the rear trunk bag off and leave that where I’m staying.
A windshield is also a good thing to have. I have a full size police style windshield. This will take up almost everything that comes your way. You wont have any issues with bugs or whatever’s out there.
Also, you’d be surprised how hard it is to sit up in the wind on a bike. The windshield takes up a lot of force on your behalf. On the down side, it will destroy your gas mileage. But I’m still well over 50mpg.
I think this summer I will use the bike for everything from Toronto to Montreal to Ogdensburg. I’ll use car and train for some other locations.