Thursday, July 20, 2006

Motorcycle Diaries, The Beginning

Saturday, 7/15, ODO 28
Burn-in Noon to 4PM: three cycles of 200 degrees to cool.
Practice rides (2); ride to Home Depot; ride to Waxpool.
Notable: Being tail-gated by an SUV at 60 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Monday, 7/17, ODO 69
Practice ride; south on Loudoun County Parkway to shopping center; north on Loudoun County Parkway to GW campus and soccer fields beyond.
Notable: A flock of 10-20 geese crossing the road on the way to the Parkway. Density of bugs on Loudoun County Parkway at 9PM. Cleaning up the bike, helmet, and jacket, after.

Wednesday, 7/19, ODO 84
Emergency breaking practice and warm-up; south on Loudoun County Parkway to Belmont Ridge Road.
Notable: Dramatically better overall control, improved shifting, and riding with authority. First "wave" to fellow rider -- simultaneously upsetting my balance during the entry into the turn.

Thursday, 7/20, ODO 90
Trip to Safeway for B-day card; 20 psi in front tire increased to 35 psi (warm).
Notable: Warming up 7/19 made a difference -- control tonight was not as smooth / precise. Saved gas!

Friday, 7/21, ODO 109
Air in rear tire to 37 psi (warm); Wendy's for lunch, mentioned Apex to the cashier; first ride to work; ride home just before 4PM to avoid rush-hour traffic.
Notable: Second, third, and fourth waves to other riders, without upsetting balance. Riding with increased confidence: better control, smooth shifting and speed.

Saturday, 7/22, ODO 126
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 33 psi (cold). Claiborne to Lansdowne to Ashburn Village Blvd.
Notable: Home too soon. But, ready for TopCoder SRM 312 chat at 11AM.

Sunday, 7/23, ODO 171
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 31 psi (cold). Gas: 3.133 gallons (i.e., 40 mpg). Claiborne to Ashburn Rd to Loudoun County Parkway to Rt.7 to Fairfax County Parkway to 50 to Rt.28 to Waxpool.
Notable: Longest ride yet (45 miles), average speed 40 mph, top speed (with traffic) 75 mph+. Followed cars (at 4s+ distance) on Fairfax County Parkway at 65 mph, and on parts of Rt.28 at 75 mph+. Is me, or do cars just go faster when they're in proximity of motorcycles?

Monday, 7/24, ODO 186
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 31 psi (cold). Work and back.
Notable: At least for the ride to work, time seems to pass much more quickly on a motorcycle.

Tuesday, 7/25, ODO 199
Rear 34 psi (cold), front 31 psi (cold). Work and back, again.
Notable: The ride home... I was slowing, approaching the intersection watching for traffic as the light turned green. I'd learned my lesson years ago about entering intersections immediately after the green: two cars running the red light, I hit the second. So, perhaps I was more focused on the road than I the bike... I accidentally reved the engine and popped the clutch following the green. I wouldn't call it a wheelie as much as a squirlie... the front end got extra-twitchy, and I just about swerved into the adjacent lane. Fortunately, I'll never know how close I got to dropping the bike, cause getting back on the clutch and off the throttle brought the bike under control. To think... I'm still working hard to keep it under 6,000 rpm (red-line at 11,000 rpm). The break-in period has been good for the bike, and it has been good for me!

Wednesday, 7/26, ODO 226
Evening, Loudoun County Parkway.

Thursday, 7/27, ODO 242
Work. At lunch, Giant, McDonald's, home to avoid the rain.

Sunday, 7/30, ODO 279
Rear 36 psi (cold), front 33 psi (cold). Belmont Ridge to Loundoun County Parkway, to Rt.28 to 606 to Waxpool to GW to Claiborne. Gas: 3.143 gallons (i.e., 48.7 mpg).

Monday, 7/31, ODO 295
Work and back.

Tuesday, 8/1, ODO 315
Work and back.

Saturday, 8/5, ODO 366
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 32 psi (cold). Work briefly for a couple emails, then around.
Notable: A bright yellow bird (of caution?) flying directly at my head on Loudoun County Parkway as I hit 73 mph... or something like that. I ducked, he veered.
More notable: A guy leaving Home Depot with a 2x4 out his left rear window -- without a flag... protruding three or four feet from the side of the car ...into my lane as we passed.

Sunday, 8/6, ODO 394
To Best Buy to pick up a new camera, and Loudoun County Parkway.
Notable: At a four way stop, a girl in a Z4, cell phone in one hand, the other hand wrestling with the small dog on her lap as she turned left. A rough standing start onto Rt.28 with two stalls.... it's hard to get a bike moving in 4th. Passing a GSX-R1000 on Loudoun County Parkway (going opposite directions).

Monday, 8/7, ODO 407:
To work and back, in the wind and rain.
Notable: Rushing home at 4PM to avoid the storm, and instead hitting the weather at it's peak, winds gusting to 40 mph (fun on a bike), and rain for the last mile or two. Many lightening strikes. But, no hail, fortunately. After I finished cleaning and drying off the bike, the sky cleared and the sun came out. Nice. Ride to/from work was smooth, quick, and exact - even in the rain (although, less quick).

Tuesday, 8/8, ODO 425
To work and back.
Notable: 600 mile service scheduled for next week. Weather was iffy in the morning, but by 3PM was taunting me with sunny skys, low humidity, and reasonable temps, so I drove home to pick up the bike. Got my hair cut on the way home (after stopping at the barber shop, and removing my helmet ;-)). Ride to/from work was good, although shifts were a bit abrupt.

Wednesday, 8/9, ODO 438
To work and back.

Friday, 8/11, ODO 474
To work, Loudoun Motorsports for plates, home.
Notable: Beautiful weather. And, everyone is in a hurry to get home on Rt.7 on Friday afternoons. ;-)

Saturday, 8/12, ODO 521
Belmont Ridge, Loudoun County Parkway, Rt.28 South, Dulles Air & Space Museum, Rt.28 North, George Washington University, Loudoun County Parkway.
Notable: Absolutely perfect weather (high 60s, low 70s), at 25 mph mesh jacket was too cold, returned home for lether jacket - perfect! Warm even at 80 mph on Rt.28 North (following traffic). Everyone is in a hurry on Saturday mornings, too. In crouched position at 80 mph, the sound of the wind on the helmet is like a shuttle lift-off; an amazing sound, actually.

Sunday, 8/13, ODO 521
The morning weather is absolutely perfect once more... but I'm too tired to ride safely. Sleep in and have coffee with our exchange students visiting from Japan. Then, take them to Summit Point Raceway to watch Superstock and Superbike, Heavy, 750cc, and 600cc expert and novice races. One of the top Superbike lap times: 1 minute, 17 seconds. 2 miles. Average speed: 93.5 mph!

Monday, 8/14, ODO 548
Morning temps started at 72 but rapidly climbed to 84. After a day in DC with friends from Japan, out for a "quick" ride: Belmont Ridge, Loudoun County Parkway, Waxpool to Claiborne Parkway.
Notable: Small deer in the forest on Belmont Ridge at twighlight; fortunately, they stayed in the forest. Practice evasive riding. Increased poise and control - better sense of balance and comfort at 50+ mph.

Wednesday, 8/16, ODO 586
To Loudoun Motorsports for 600 mile service.
Notable: Adrenaline rush from riding on Belmont Ridge and Rt.7. Rider's High? I'm particularly surprised to see no references to the term (for motorcyclists) on the web.

Thursday, 8/17, ODO 605/618
From Loudoun Motorsports to work, and then home. And, a late-night ride after dinner - ostensibly, to pick up razors from the grocery store. Hey!? I was out.
Notable: Visibility on turns in the dark is very limited.

Tuesday, 8/21, ODO 638
A nice day - to work and back.
Notable: Nice to be able to rev beyond 6,000 RPM.

Wednesday, 8/22, ODO 677
To work and back, and to/from lunch at Pacific.

Thursday, 8/23, ODO 693
To work and back.

Tuesday, 8/28, ODO 697
Evening ride, football practice, the pet store.
Notable: A whole weekend without riding!?

Wednesday, 8/30, ODO 707
To work and back.
Notable: Riding in the rain with rush-hour traffic. The theory among rush-hour drivers in the rain must go: the closer I follow, the less chance the driver will have had to slow down when I run into him.

Thursday, 8/31, ODO 722
To work and back.
Notable: Weather was cool: 71 degrees, overcast, and breezy. But, my riding was not at all smooth, and eratic drivers were everywhere.

Monday, 9/4, ODO 762
Labor Day, to Legend's old office, McDonald's and back.
Notable: 60s, light traffic.

Friday, 9/8, ODO 787
To work, and home via 606, Rt.50 and Belmont Ridge with Kevin.
Notable: Beautiful weather, stuck on Belmont Ridge behind two cement mixers and a school bus.

Sunday, 9/10, ODO 816
Local test rides, followed by a trip to Best Buy via Loudoun County Parkway and Rt.28, then to GW soccer fields, and home.
Notable: Carrying "The Command & Conquer Collection" on my back under my riding jacket ("Cool geek?") And, upon returning home, being told by a female neighbor that I'm the "rock star of the neighborhood." LOL

Monday, 9/11, ODO 830
To work, and home.

Wednesday, 9/13, ODO 860
To work, to Unos (diet coke, only), to back to school night (sport-biker jackets get a lot of different looks at back to school night), and home in the dark.
Notable: The morning weather is chilly: 64 degrees at 50 mph is surprisingly cold -- effectively about 45 degrees. Rt.7 traffic was horrible, but the route through GW and across to the Loudoun County Parkway may actually have been quicker -- certainly, more fun. Back to school night made me want to go back to school (for the first time, ever).

Friday, 9/15, ODO 886
To work, to Unos (again, but still only diet coke), and home.
Notable: Rt.7 traffic was surprisingly light, but the route through GW was still more fun. Every now and then I'll see crazy-fast bikers blowing through there; I work to avoid being one of them.

Saturday, 9/16, ODO 1030
To Belmont Ridge Middle School, toward Tysons Corner, and then home via Reston Parkway and Rt.28 (in the rain). Second trip in the afternoon to Coleman Powersports in Woodbridge.
Notable: On the chain gang for football - and, we won 21-0. Moto Fair and Midnight Madness Sale was awesome - wheelie machine, 540 boyz stunts, dyno tests of several wild bikes, and a slew of bikes of all shapes and sizes. The Ducati 999 and Suzuki GSX-R1000 both look much more approachable now, than they did last time I visited Coleman (in early July).

Sunday, 9/17, ODO 1078
To Purcellville on Rt.7 then back on the Rt.7 Bypass.
Notable: Beautiful weather - impossible to stay in. Saw McDonald's sign on the Purcellville exit, and after turning toward Purcellville -- but missed it. Lunch later. Saw 89 mph on the way back.

Monday, 9/18, ODO 1088
To back to school-night and back.
Notable: Parking a motorcycle is a lot easier -- getting out through all the traffic was a little easier, but not as easy as it should have been; lane splitting is legal in California.

Tuesday, 9/20, ODO 1116
To work, to Bungalow Billiards via Rt.28 in rush-hour traffic, and home (in even more rush-hour traffic) via Rt.28 and the Greenway.
Notable: Fortunately, not much. ;-) Nice weather. Paid cash to get on the Greenway.

Wednesday, 9/21, ODO 1133
To work, to VW dealership to look at Eos (for the third time), and home.
Notable: $2,000 cash down and $499 / month, four year lease. Hmm... Sounds like a Ducati 999 and a Suzuki GSX-R1000, with cash left over for maintenance and tires.

Thursday, 9/22, ODO 1156
To work, to Countryside, and home.

Sunday, 9/24, ODO 1175
Notable: Clearly, winter is going to be torture; 60 degrees is about my limit in my current gear.

Monday, 9/25, ODO 1195
To work and back.
Notable: After noon, the weather is perfect - blue skies and 75 degrees. But, what the heck!? See Faster...

Wednesday, 9/27, ODO 1224
To work and back (the long way) - still used less gas! ;-)
Notable: Comfortable riding a bit faster than before - but now back in sync with the bike and the speed. Absolutely perfect weather - hated to stop riding in the morning.

Thursday, 9/28, ODO 1281
To Borders for the next issue of Fast Bikes, to work, to Loudoun Motorsports and home.
Notable: Loudoun County Parkway.


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