Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: July 2010


Why You Can Ride a Large Engine Displacement Motorcycle

There comes a time in a motorcycle rider's career when he/she begins to consider moving up to a larger displacement motorcycle. In this case, this would involve transitioning from entry level bikes (250cc to 500cc) to intermediate or advanced bikes (600cc and up). Often times, I would hear the following statement from a fellow rider.

"That bike is too big for me." or "I can't handle a motorcycle like that."

If you're a new rider or one that hasn't had much exposure to other motorcycles out there, the thought of changing to another bike can sound daunting or even scary. However, if you've spent lots of time on the road with your current machine and felt confident in controlling it, trying a new motorcycle is actually a confidence booster. Simply put, handling a larger machine confidently is a demonstration of the skills you have learned and mastered on your smaller bike.

Why move to a larger displacement bike? Here are some popular reasons for doing so.

1. Personal Goals: What are your goals as a motorcyclist? Are you planning to use your bike to commute more often? Are all-day trips commonplace for you? Is a cross-country or statewide trip somewhere in your future? Will you/are you taking passengers on your bike?

2. Challenge: Does your motorcycle meet your needs in terms of utility, features, power, and speed? Are you satisfied with the motorcycle's performance in many of your riding situations? Do you feel that you've "mastered" your motorcycle and taken it to its limits?

3. Long-term Comfort: A larger engine works a lot less to maintain highway speeds. Additionally, it is smoother at lower gears and doesn't need to be revved as high to zip around. A heavier bike is more stable on the highway and through curves. Thinking about carrying cargo with you? Larger bikes have more seat room and some come with hard luggage. Some bikes even have the ability to tow trailers!

My reason to upgrade to my 2007 Yamaha FJR1300A came from a combination of those three factors. My last bike, a 2005 Suzuki SV650N, was my primary mode of transportation during college. During that time, I found myself going on weekend trips that easily topped 400 miles in a single day, sometimes taking rides from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a whim. I enjoyed the nimbleness of my v-twin standard bike (it taught me the fine art of taming the twisties) but the vibration of the engine at prolonged highway speeds was doing a number on my wrists and hands, not to mention that the lightweight nature of the bike made it easy for passing big rigs to toss me around. Lastly, my future goals as a motorcyclist involved traveling coast to coast and visiting every state in the United States. As this would be very possible on this bike, it wouldn't be the most comfortable ride to accomplish this task. After much research in finding a bike that was more powerful yet still fulfilled my needs for agility and speed, I went for the FJR1300, a touring motorcycle with the spirit of a sport bike and the ample luggage space to carry everything I needed to go anywhere I wanted. So far, I’m well on my way to accomplishing those state-crossing, mileage-racking goals.

Me and my 2005 SV650N in early 2007

Going for the bigger motorcycle is an ambitious task and does take a bit of courage to step up and try something new. Before I took the jump, I went out to several test ride events hosted by dealers and motorcycle programs and popped around on as many different bikes as I could. This way I learned the peculiarities of various models and also tuned in on what I needed and wanted as a rider. In the last seven years I have tested over two dozen motorcycles and, although I have been very happy with my current ride, still look for opportunities to stay abreast with the latest trends and technology. (I also find it funny to tell the burly male bikers that I've ridden motorcycles with engines larger than theirs.)

Still a little worried? You are not "re-learning" to ride when you jump on a new bike. Here are several fears that I've heard from riders, and many of them are unwarranted. Don't doubt your skills as a motorcyclist; you didn't come this far to stop now.

1. "I'm going to pop the clutch, ram the throttle too hard,'s going to wheelie/flip/throw me off/go out of control." There is nothing different about the way a large motorcycle operates mechanically from a smaller bike. When trying a new bike, feather the clutch to find that particular bike's "friction zone" (when the bike starts to move forward). It varies from bike to bike and can respond immediately or have some play to it. Take it easy on the throttle. Once you've found the right combination of throttle and clutch, you can make any bike controllable regardless of size and power.

2. "The bike is too heavy." Yes, there may be a little bit more mass to push up straight from the kickstand, but once it's upright you're ready to take off. As you've learned in basic motorcycle training, the bike becomes more upright as you decelerate. A motorcycle that is straight and upright feels more weightless, and the role of your feet is to keep it that way as it slows to a complete stop. Focus more on smooth stops and understanding the weight balancing of the bike and you’ll do just fine.

3. “The brakes will be too sensitive on a new/different/unfamiliar bike.” In some cases, this is true. However, you wouldn’t grab a ‘handful’ of brake on your small bike, so why would you do it to a larger one? Braking systems have become more responsive and all it takes is one or two fingers to fully activate a front brake. This is mostly the case on the larger bikes, so take it easy on the test ride by increasing your stopping distance until you’ve accustomed yourself to the brakes.

4. "The bike is too tall." Although having both feet flat on the ground helps new riders gain confidence, you do not have to have both feet on the ground to control a bike when stopped. The belief that this is necessary has limited many riders from trying potentially awesome bikes. Not too sure of what you can handle? Go to a dealership and sit on several taller motorcycles. You will find that keeping the bike upright is easier than you think. One popular method is scooting your butt over on the seat so that the left foot is perfectly flat on the ground. It's the same way shorter people ride dirtbikes. In this position, your right foot is always near the rear brake to control the bike's movement or to stop the bike completely. Some riders have even gone to modifying their riding boots (i.e. elevator soles) to get on the motorcycle of their dreams or lowering the bike itself. Depending on the motorcycle, physically lowering it can adversely affect its handling physics and performance so this option is often used as a last resort.

All props go to the small, mistake-forgiving displacement bikes to get you to where you are today. They're stepping stones to your improvement as a rider. So what are you waiting for? Go to a test ride at your local dealership or motorcycle event. Even if it's a brand that you're not even considering it's worth the experience. The bikes you'll have the chance to ride are only limited by your ambition. Ride safe!


Ride Reviews: Triumph Thunderbird 1600, Tiger 1050, Rocket III Roadster

I had the chance to test ride a few Triumph motorcycles last Saturday at MOTOHIO European Motorbikes in Columbus. This was the first time I had the chance to officially test ride motorcycles since going to the last Femmoto event in Las Vegas in October 2008 and it was a nice change of pace instead of working a full day at my store. Oh dear, such a punishment for me! Okay, was in the mid 90s and sweltering hot. That was something six bottles of water and a few hot dogs fixed quite easily.

So first up to the plate was the Thunderbird 1600. It's a parallel twin powerhouse on two wheels (and I haven't even made it to the Rocket III yet). For its size it was well-balanced and felt like a much lighter bike. It had quick acceleration and every gear was smooth, making shifting effortless. I was cranking this machine through the turns and it responded to my every command. For cruiser-style bikes, it's difficult to find one that doesn't make twisties feel like a laborious task and this one definitely proved itself to be an agile winner. Additionally, its seat height is quite neutral; I'm 5'5" and was flatfooted on it. However, because of the location of its forward controls, I found myself either overstretching slightly or reaching for the levers, suggesting that the ergonomics are more for someone who is several inches taller. Aside from that, if you're looking for a power cruiser that's fun, agile, and has the potential to keep up with the sporties, this is definitely a bike for you.

The Tiger 1050 SE has now earned a place in my top three list of future, full-time utility motorcyles that could take my FJR1300's place whenever it decides to retire. It's upright, enduro-style posture was comfortable and made me feel taller. It's agile and smooth at any speed at any gear, and has power to boot. I had a great time running that triple-cylinder engine through the gears and its constant spunk reminded me that it had torque to spare. I was also surprised by the firmness and comfort of the stock seat, too. My major criticisms of it are that it doesn't have the same luxury options as the FJR such as an electric, extendable windshield and large plastic fairing for those jaunts in the late fall/winter months. Additionally, it's chain-driven so there's a little bit more maintenance issues involved, especially on long-distance runs. Also, the stock sidecases aren't large enough; one sidecase's cargo room is compromised due to the bike's exhaust pipe, and the larger sidecase can't fit a single full-face definitely needs a top case or aftermarket sidecases. The 32.5" seat height will take a little getting used to as well. Otherwise, it's a contender to the low-seat, low-frame BMW R1200GS.

The last ride of the day was a reunion of sorts with the Rocket III Roadster. I had my first encounter with the world's largest production bike in 2007 when I rode it to kill time while getting the 8000 mile service on my FJR in Lakeville, Minnesota. This 2010 version, however, is the souped up roadster version. Triumph has gone ahead and made a leaner and meaner edition of its excellently designed high engine displacement machine.

Its powerband can be summarized in one word: torque. This thing gets you moving on sheer power. The 2294cc engine was barely trying to get me moving; I was never above 3rd gear at any given time (the thing has five gears). I slammed this bike into a curve and it leaned effortlessly through it. I hope to try the fully dressed touring model someday; that is one that screams for a towing hitch and an accompanying trailer. I applaud Triumph for creating and improving a bike that, not only has an engine larger and with more torque than most economy cars, but also thinks it's a bicycle and eats curves as if it were one. My only criticism is ergos; the location of the pegs on the Roadster had my knees up higher than I would like for long distances. Then again, this thing is intended to be a short-distance hooligan...for longer trips it's the touring edition.

In general, every Triumph excels in agility, smoothness, and braking power. All you need to do as a rider is find the one that fits your personality. For me it's the upright styled Tiger 1050. Of course, with the constant evolution of motorcycle technology that could change in the next several years. Oh well, Eleanor isn't going anywhere for a long time, and I wouldn't want her to, anyway. :)


My rant of a random Ohio driver (and others of that kind).

I had one of the strangest moments on a motorcycle involving a truck on the road yesterday (Thursday) evening. I'm coming home from my WOW meeting at the Tuttle Mall and traveling south on I-270. I'm the left lane doing about 75MPH (the speed limit is 65MPH). I then see this older, brown mid-sized pickup truck behind me change lanes, accelerate quickly, and blast past me doing over 80 and speeding away. I'm thinking it's another typical person in a hurry; I get passed on 270 regardless of how fast I'm going and what lane I'm in. It's very common around here in Ohio; they know you have a motorcycle and want to one-up you just to raise their self-esteem by two notches. I'd just let them go. I have never exercised my right to twist my throttle 1/4 a turn for triple digit acceleration out of anger.

I then get home and jump on the computer, logging onto my e-mail and one of the motorcycle message boards I read. There's a private message waiting for me, and I click it. It turns out that the driver of the truck that passed me recognized my bike and was also part of the same message board. Here's the message this person left (names and slogans have been covered up to protect the one I scratch my head at).

Now I normally don't get irked by these kind of things, but I'm actually more confused than anything else. It was a calm Thursday and I had nobody in my lane tailgating me so I figured my spacing was sufficient. Additionally, if I compare this to California traffic (for all my friends back home), what I was in was the equivalent of the 405 freeway at about 11PM so pretty much a very low volume of cars but enough for the freeway to look used. If I what I was doing (10 over posted speed limit) was too slow then sure, I should've been in the next lane over. If this person was so much in a hurry, the truck should have continued at 85 MPH all the way instead of wasting it on just passing me, the "obstruction." However, when I looked at the description of the bike that this person rides, it doesn't surprise me that I was passed like it was the final lap of MotoGP. Additionally, I don't know how a motorcycle "hogs" a lane. I usually ride in the center to make sure nobody shares it with me...I never thought Eleanor's 38 inch wingspan would be so selfish.

There are quite a few drivers like that on the I-270 loop that goes around Columbus, and I often hear that these moves are very common of Midwest drivers (the East Coast drivers deserve a whole other rant). I've invented a couple names for these moves; I call it as I see them.

"Show Me the Milk Bottle!" (It's an Indy 500 poke): It's the car or motorcycle that flies past you at an ungodly speed just to get to the other side of Columbus faster than everyone else. Look man, there's no chilled milk at the end, just a lot of chunky cranberry juice on the ground if you eat it or hit something else in your path.

"The Guilty Pass": This is where a car passes you at a noticeably higher speed, gets in front of you, then hits the brakes, forcing you to do the same. It actually looks like they're setting up a basketball-style pick for someone else to move past you. Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP) has several posts along the loop where cops in cars or motorcycles camp out with radar guns. What I think is that drivers get overly paranoid about stacking the extra speed to get around cars that they want to make it look as subtle as possible.

"The Lane Sweeper": Drivers from all parts of the US are guilty of this one. It's where you find a "line of travel" and slide your vehicle across multiple lanes without signaling. The last time I checked moving laterally while going forward increases the distance of travel on the road. Not only is it stupid and dangerous, you look like a total ass. I was sideswiped by a Jaguar on the 105 West toward LAX that was attempting that exact move. It doesn't take much to, (1) signal, (2) look, (3) change lane, (4) cancel signal, (5) repeat steps 1-4 until you reach desired lane. Goodness.

Look people, it doesn't matter what you do; in Ohio the OHP can cite you on visual (not just radar gun) confirmation of speeding and/or reckless driving. There's no point in speeding just to pass one car. If you're going to pass, holy crap, just go for the gold and pass ten cars. Flaunt that impatience, save those precious seconds, and set a date with the traffic court! It's not like you'd win the fight anyway. >.<

To the random Ohio driver that passed me yesterday, my 75 MPH in a 65 MPH zone was probably too slow for you and your truck. So be it.

Being here in Ohio is a change of pace and is calm enough to where riders and drivers have to make things exciting and dangerous on the road to get an adrenaline rush. I wish more vehicle operators would appreciate the fact that Columbus has a real "rush hour" that only lasts for, literally, one hour.

This is the way I see it: I don't mind riding at a spirited, yet reasonable speed. Unless you've actually lived in CA, one wouldn't be able to comprehend the high level of skill and courage that it takes to travel, lane split, swerve, and handle a two-wheeled machine through a state that contains most of the worst freeways in the nation. In the seven years and over 130,000 miles I've ridden, I have been hit by several cars, taken out by oil slicks, and had more close calls than I can count. There's no point in hurrying home; it'll always be there...I just want to make sure I get there.


Riding the motorcycle in the rain?! You'll live, seriously.

I've come across many motorcyclists who only consider themselves "fair weather riders." Loosely translated, that means they're riding only when it's sunny and warm enough that jackets and other protective gear are, for some, cumbersome options. It also means avoiding weather that isn't ideal. If you live in Central Ohio or any part of the Midwest, being a "fair weather rider" can take away nearly half of the riding season thanks to the constant movement of clouds and precipitation in this part of the United States. A bad forecast for later that day can alter a route or cancel a trip with friends. With some practice and preparation this can be changed.

Unless you live in California or any part of the Sun Belt where impending rain can be predicted days in advance, preparing to ride in the rain is vital. The ability to ride well through a downpour is another skill a rider can add to his/her toolbox of motorcycling. Not only will you become more confident on your bike, you'll develop a deeper understanding of your two-wheeled machine.

Here's a few tips to help you out.

1. Gear: Take advantage of the many innovative accessories and gear that allow you to ride in every condition and, in turn, lengthen your riding season. Rain suits, gloves, boots, etc. are available for every need and for every style of riding. Do a little research online or go to your local motorcycle store to see what the powersports industry has to offer.

2. Time: If it's the first time it's rained in your area in more than a few weeks, give the road an hour or so to wash away all the oil and other road grime that's built up during the dry time.

3. Increase your following and stopping distances. Visibility (of you) and visibility (your view of the road) are reduced in the rain. Flash the brake light several times before stopping. Look around and at your mirrors for other cars and objects in your path.

4. Eliminate sudden movements. Take more time to think about where you want the bike to go. Deliberately make line changes visible and obvious to other motorists. Gradually roll that throttle and shift cleanly. Press both front and rear brakes smoothly and gradually until you come to that stop.

5. Take it easy on the turns. This isn't the time to slam into a corner or practice maximum entry speed. Your tires have good grip on the road. When you get more comfortable with your bike in wet conditions, try increasing your lean as you take turns.

6. Always have a way out. Drivers act differently during a rainstorm so be prepared for anything. I usually try to position myself to have at least one (or if I can help it, two) ways to leave my lane in case of a sudden stop, a flying object, or debris on the road. In some cases that may be an adjacent lane, a freeway shoulder, or (in an extreme case because this is illegal everywhere but CA) splitting between traffic.

7. Watch out for painted lines and tar snakes. Those things are slippery when wet, so it's a great idea to avoid putting your foot down on top of one when you come to a stop. When rolling over them, use caution as well.

8. The only way to improve on rain riding is to actually go out and ride in the rain. Travel on familiar roads. Ride to and from work. Take the highway. Practice makes perfect! With time, rain riding is just another moist day on the bike.


My Review of Sea To Summit Lightweight Dry Sack - X-Large

Originally submitted at REI

Whether you're a backpacker, adventure racer, jungle trekker, boater or pack-rafter, you need to keep your gear dry and functioning.

Great motorcycle traveler accessory!
By Christine the motorcyclist from Columbus, OH on 7/15/2010
5out of 5
Gift: No
Pros: Strong Material, Tight Closure, Easy To Carry, Good Capacity, Waterproof
Best Uses: Motorcycling, Camping
Describe Yourself: Advanced
I purchased this product as a way to pack my clothes on top of the seat of my motorcycle for a 2500 mile trip through the NE United States. I liked how easy it was to stuff everything into the bag and the roll-down style closure kept everything airtight. I was a little skeptical about the waterproof capabilities of the bag until I reached a three hour downpour in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. When I pulled my clothes out at my final destination, everything was bone dry.

This XL size bag is perfect for a week's worth of clothes for a motorcyclist. I recommend this product to anyone who needs a waterproof stuff bag that's easy to strap down and carry around. As for color selection, that was the last thing on my mind. But, I did enjoy the fluorescent green. :)


Last Day: New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and eventually, Columbus

The last day of this trip started as a very rainy one. The forecast of
light rain during the day turned out to be quite a torrent that didn't
let up until I left Washington, D.C. several hours later. I predicted
the worst and my rain gear saved the day again.

I traveled down I-95 through the turnpike and its many toll stops,
crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge and a few places that I had seen
almost four years ago to the day I took my first cross-country trip in
a car.

After making it into Maryland, I stopped for lunch at Roy's Kwik
Korner in Glen Burnie (1002 Crain Hwy, S.W., Glen Burnie, MD 21061), a
small market famous for their "baseball crabcake." And yes, this thing
is the size of a baseball. It's mashed between two pieces of bread and
any toppings you can think of. I had mine plain with a Boylan's root
beer. Absolutely delicious.

I then took US-50 into Washington, D.C. It's a route that's quite
familiar to me. Once in there I snaked through and rode past the
National Archives, the Capitol building, and the National Cathedral.
It's another story in itself, but being in the presence of this city
brought quite a bit of closure to parts of my journeys on this side of
the United States.

Upon leaving, I got lost on I-495 and almost missed tagging Virginia.
I recitified that by taking I-495 the other way and it was off on the
Capitol Beltway, I-270 (no relation to the one circling Columbus), and
Later in MD, I took a detour off of I-70 to I-68, a national scenic
byway. This highway seemed like a cross of I-70 in Colorado, I-40
approaching Flagstaff, AZ, and the hills of Iowa all mashed together.
It was a beautiful and quiet ride all the way into Wheeling, WV. In my
opinion, this is one of the prettiest highways east of Colorado.

Total miles: approximately 700

Total miles for this trip: approximately 2500.

Now it's back to work for me. I'm now back in Columbus and throwing
this online before my shift while having a bagel or two at Panera
Bread. I love this store.

Pictures and descriptions will be up later for your viewing pleasure.
Until then, I'm off to selling motorbike helmets until 5PM.


Day 5: Spending the day in Freehold, NJ

After the closing ceremony at the Ride-In, I packed up and left early this morning for Freehold, NJ via Hartford, CT and various cities along I-95. I got caught in traffic NYC and was feathering clutch for quite a bit until I hit the George Washington Bridge. The bridge was free flying (the breeze from the ocean was quite nice too) and I made my way into New Jersey. About ten miles in I was caught in a downpour and had to pull over and utilize the rain gear for the first time on this trip. I got into my friend's house by 1:00PM, showered, went out for a quick snack at Jersey Freeze (120 Manalapan Avenue, Freehold, NJ‎), took a nap, and went out for a nice dinner with the family at Shiki Japanese Steakhouse (1735 State Route 35, Middletown, NJ) to celebrate her birthday. It's been four years since I've been back in Freehold, and with the truncated schedule and inclement weather, we tabled the NYC trip for another day...figured I'll be back here eventually.

After dinner, she and I went out to watch "Despicable Me" in 3-D. I highly recommend this movie to everyone, and I definitely suggest watching it in 3-D as it really takes advantage of this viewing format. The plot is great, the characters are well-developed, and the slapstick comedy will keep you giggling the entire film.

Today I will get to have someone else pump my gas for me. As much as I'm not a fan of the idea, I can't really defy state law (Oregon is the only other state that still does that). On a bright note, gas here is the cheapest it's every going to be because I'm in an oil refinery state. After that it's crossing into the nation's capital, baseball-sized crab cakes, and the journey back to Columbus.

On my return, I'll have photos up and some more retrospect of this very entertaining road trip. Until then, I will continue to keep the rubber side down. See you back in Ohio!


Day 4: New England with Matt

With Matt somewhat rested from his successful (and first) Iron Butt
SaddleSore 1000, we opted out of the Ben and Jerry's Factory tour and
traveled back to Nashua, NH to see his old house and the city he
called home before moving to Columbus, OH and eventually, California.
Nashua is a quaint city with everything a person needs close to home.
He often talked about this place, but it didn't take long for me to
realize why he missed it so much.

After that quick jaunt, we headed up to York Beach, ME to visit
another place he used to visit as a kid. We stopped at the beach and
had a couple lobster rolls and a basket of freshly fried clam strips
(not the chewy Long John Silver's crap). After a stroll in the sand
and some pictures we were off again back to Stratton, VT.

Before I get the questions, I will explain what a lobster roll is.
It's a bread roll that's slathered in butter and toasted and topped
with giant chunks of freshly steamed lobster. It's absolutely
delicious, and you can only get it up in this region.

On the way back we took the same roads just a bit faster. It's been a
while since we've been able to hammer through curves like that;
Columbus region just doesn't have those kinds of roads nearby. Total
distance for this journey: approximately 320 miles.

I have the feeling that I'll be back here a few more times. This area
is too beautiful to not spend more time in. And that beach. It's not
the same as the CA coast, but for now just getting that smell again
will suffice.

According to travel plans, I will be in Freehold, NJ tomorrow for a
quick journey into NYC. I want to go see the NHL store in Times
Square. :)


Day 3: Hanging around in Stratton

Today was a bit more relaxing because I stayed in the resort and avoid
riding through blistering temperatures hitting at least the mid 90s.
It started with an early jaunt to registration at the main base lodge.
After that it was a bit of taking pictures, acclimating myself to this
part of the resort, and attending an early seminar about the proper
way to take sharp curves on a motorcycle.

I had lunch with my friend that flew in from CA (the current director
of the OC Spirit Riders), chatted with ladies from the Cleveland
Rumble Pack, and headed out to the Chapter Director meeting in the
main lodge.

After a bit of a break and some BBQ I taped the opening ceremonies for
this year's Ride-In. Matt finally made it to Vermont around 9:30PM
after completing an Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000 ride that he started at

It looks like there may be a chance of rain tomorrow but we'll see
what Mother Nature decides to bring to Vermont.

So far I'm having a blast catching up with ladies from last year and
the years past. I'm telling the story of how I ended up in Ohio after
my stint in California. Additionally, I am happy that we have three
representatives for the Buckeye State Lady Riders here. Not bad for a
chapter that's only been chartered since February.

There are so many stories and side conversations that I've had with
many of the women here. I find that being here for this event every
year is just so much fun. It's not often that you're surrounded by
women who share that same passion for motorcycles that you do. I
encourage everyone who is part of Women On Wheels(r) to at least make
the trip once; you'll be making friends and memories you'll never


Day 2: [State] Tag, You're It!

Today's agenda was reaching Stratton, VT by way of Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire. The route I chose turned a 70
mile ride into an almost 450 mile stretch but it was a very
interesting culture shock both as a motorcyclist and as an American.
Today's temperature hit the mid-90s and was at triple digits in some
parts. I had to pull out the evaporative cooling vest again just to
save myself from broiling.

I left Albany at about 8AM and made my way across to MA and into the
very tiny Rhode Island, stopping in Providence. The town was
completely dead due to the fact that it was July 5 and Brown
University was not in session. I filled up gas and continued on back
toward Boston.

Upon reentering MA, I noticed several things. First off, as I was
approaching the city, people's driving beacme increasingly more
erratic and sudden. Sometimes, a car would swerve across two or even
three lanes with minimal signaling. Lane changes involved squeezing
into gaps no larger than the car itself, and tailgaiting was the norm.
I was forced to perform several evaseive maneuvers myself and
intentionally kept more than a five-car distance from the car in front
of me just to allow everyone to pass. This, by far, was the worst
display of driving (if I can even call it that) that I've ever seen.
Matt often told me about their legendary vehicular skills, but it's
very clear to me that they've earned the badge, "Massholes." I was
glad to finally hit the New Hampshire border.

So I hit New Hampshire and here come the tolls. A dollar here, a few
quarters there. About 40 miles later and after waiting at a
drawbridege, I'm in Kittery, ME eating authentic and VERY fresh
lobster rolls at Herbert Brothers Seafood. Look these guys up on
Facebook. This is the place to go for legit Maine lobster. They're the
first restaurant you'd hit crossing over the bridge from Bridgeport,

After that culinary escapade, it was back through NH into Vermont
where an additional 160 miles brought me to the Stratton ski resorts.
However, riding through New Hampshire game me a bit of the creeps.
Lots of the (male) motorcyclists rode shirtless and none of them waved
to me, even the ones on sportbikes. This is the only state I've ridden
through where I've felt that I was given the cold shoulder. I don't
understand that mentality, but I tried to wave anyway.
And then here's Vermont. I wave at a biker, that person waves back.
Repeate over a couple dozen times and now I'm back with friends again
at the WOW Ride-In. This is a beautiful state to ride through with a
nice mix of twisted roads and routes alongside rivers.
And for your reference, here are the helmet laws for the states I
crossed today. Of course for me, a helmet is ALWAYS mandatory.

New York: mandatory
Massachusetts: not mandatory
New Hampshire: not mandatory
Maine: not mandatory
Vermont: mandatory

See you tomorrow!


Riding to Albany, NY - Day 1

It's been a long day with a 660 mile ride from Columbus, OH to Albany,
NY. I am currently testing posting via e-mail using my Pocket PC so
posts over the next few days will be straight from the road.

I left at 6AM with another rider who joined me and rode all the way to
Albany. The route was pretty much I-71, I-77, I-80, and I-87. It went
relatively well, except for the temperatures hitting the high 90s and
causing quite a bit of discomfort on the journey. We had to stop at a
McDonald's in Eastern Pensylvania to cool off and for me to throw on
my evaporative cooling vest.

On the way there we passed by a caravan of several WOW riders from
Missouri. I'll be seeing them again in a couple days.
I arrived at my hotel around 7:30PM and went to diner at a very
intersting and tasty Italian restaurant called Delmonaco's Italian
Steakhouse (1553 Central Ave., Albany). They're known for their 24oz
Delmonico steak and with good reason; it's quite a slab of juicy meat.
If you're in Albany and want to go to an offbeat place full of classic
Sinatra-esque nostalgia, lots of caricatures, and good homestyle
Italian cuisine, this is definitely one option.

That's all for now. Tomorrow I'm off to visiting Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, Maine, and eventually, my final destination of Vermont.