Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: July 2012


Ride Review: 2012 Ducati Diavel

It's not often that I'll jump on a bike, take off on a test ride, go "whee, whee, whee!" and want to ride it all the way home. That was the case with the 2012 Ducati Diavel, the Italian motorcycle maker's take on the cruiser genre. I had the opportunity to stop by Touring Sport in Greenville, SC, one of the sponsors for this year's Women On Wheels® International Ride-In, to test ride this exotic beast.

With the modern, avant-garde styling of the Diavel, it's pretty difficult for me to even consider it to be a "cruiser" despite its designation by Ducati. It has the huge rear tire of a custom cruiser, the upright posture of a naked bike, and the ridiculous power of a sportbike with an innovative computer system to boot. When I threw a leg over this machine, its ergonomics had me thinking that I was on a low-slung Monster rather than the stereotypical laid-back posture of a standard cruiser. The foot controls were so upright, in fact, that I thought I was in an office chair with handlebars! And I could even stand up straight on the pegs!

Getting ready to rip the pavement on one sleek Duc!


Ride Review: 2012 Yamaha Super Téneré

This is a review that I've hoped to have the chance to do, and this bike is definitely worth the test ride.

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to throw a leg over a 2012 Yamaha Super Téneré XT1200Z on a 20 minute test ride through some of the nicest roads in northern Ohio. I still can't stop thinking of this bike, especially because of its split personality - it's an adventure bike that offers not only a smooth ride down paved roads but also has the ability to take you down dirt paths effortlessly. Now, granted that I'll probably be doing most of my travel on the street/highway, this machine gives me even more confidence to explore the most random places off the beaten path.


2012 Ride-In Report: Tagging states and the way home.

It's been a very fun week at the WOW International Ride-In in Greenville, SC! I had a lot of work to do on my end, thanks to my position at Women On Wheels®, but it was productive. Hopefully members who attended my seminars about local chapter organization and using social media were able to take away something from them. The preparation for those presentations (and my online blogging absence over the last couple months) were definitely worth it.

Because of the tight schedule during the event and the fact that I had to be back in Columbus on Saturday so that Matt could get to work, we had to book it. Since it's probably going to be a while until we return to that part of the country on motorcycles, we made slight detour south about 350 miles to tag a couple more states with the two wheels. We headed down to Atlanta, GA, then to Gadsden, AL, and back up to Columbus via Chattanooga, TN and I-75/I-71. We took a break for the night and stayed in Georgetown, KY to rest up for the last 200 miles to Columbus.

Luckily, the route we took put us behind several severe storm systems. We only hit rain twice, once north of Chattanooga and the last leg home, starting in Florence, KY. We were so determined to go home that we rode the last 120 miles in a complete downpour without stopping to put on the rain gear! So yes, everything is either in the clothes dryer or attached to the motorcycle gear dryer in the living room. Huzzah.

Here's the route!

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By the way, I'm already preparing for next year's WOW Ride-In in Billings, MT. Here's the video I made for this year's closing ceremonies to re-introduce this site to the membership. It's the largest party of the year for our organization, and we're always looking for more ladies to hang out with us!


2012 Ride-In Report: Columbus, OH to Asheville, NC

As much as I wanted to do the proposed route in my previous post, time and budget constraints put us on a more direct route to South Carolina. To get down to Greenville, we decided to take US Highway 23 South all the way down. For most people in Columbus, this road, which includes High Street that runs right through the city, is more known for being the main road north toward the cities of Delaware, Upper Sandusky, Toledo, and Ann Arbor, MI to name a few. When it's taking southbound, you would encounter Circleville, OH, Ashland, KY, and if you take it long enough, Asheville, NC. US-23 has been the source of a few of my other adventures in the opposite direction, one of them I write about extensively in a previous blog post, "Ride Report: Hockey Heaven is in...Michigan?! My journey to Perani's Hockey World."

The first half of the route before we really entered the mountains and steep inclines of Kentucky dealt out some unbearable heat. Temps were well into the triple-digits and just bearing down on us and the bikes. Although I had a lightweight, mesh jacket on, the evaporative cooling vest came out in Kentucky and stayed on until we reached Asheville. If you've never used one of those, you're missing out on instant relief from sweltering temps.

Aside from the hot conditions, the only other issue we encountered was the top speed of Matt's 2008 Piaggio BV250 scooter on uphill climbs. I think we've seen its limits when dealing with elevating terrain, but it did its best chugging along at a maximum 48-52MPH at wide open throttle. It also helped that we were on a quieter highway on a Sunday.

The seemingly mountainous areas were only separated by state signs.
Beautiful sights from the partly cloudy overlooks in higher elevations.
The uphill climbs were doing a number on the mileage and top speed on Matt's Piaggio BV250, so an extra 1-gallon gas can was in order in the mountainous areas.
More touring with one of the strangest bike duos around!
There's not much to the route; just take US-23 southbound, and if you're crossing state lines and not encountering any Canadian border guards, then you're going the right way. Despite that simplicity, it was a beautiful ride through the mountains of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. For more information about US Highway 23, click here.

Also, if you ever have the chance to swing by Asheville, NC, I suggest spending a couple days to see what this beautiful city is all about. There's a lot of promising restaurants out here and more famously, the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in the United States. I hope to find my way back here for an extensive review.