A Quick Winter Ride

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Nov 212008
 

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… lalalalala…” the tune kept rolling through my mind like a broken record.  Then the lyrics changed to my wife’s “Texas” version… “Oh the weather outside is frightening, not to mention all the lightning… lalalala…” I couldn’t shake the melody as I searched for that new helmet I bought, but rarely wore.  I figured I would start being better about that.  It was a beautiful day for a ride… I know it may be hard to believe, but it is mid November and the weather is just about perfect.  Today was 78 degrees, sunny, and not too humid.  My heart goes out to my friends who live in other states:  Steve, Forrest, Victor, and the rest of you who are snowed in or fighting sub-zero temps.  I suppose that Houston is good for something at least.

Had enough work, been putting the hours in at home, had to get out and stretch the Ol’ legs (or spread the Ol’ legs as we like to joke).  I pointed my 21-inch hoop North and headed to Conroe to stop in at the Harley dealership there.  Never been, and I got a little lost on the way.  I did discover some things: a) even with Map Quest directions, I can get lost and b) getting lost is not a bad thing.  I tooled around the back roads for a few miles and took in the sights.  It wasn’t long before I was back on track and found the dealership.  Boy, was it ever dead.  I was so sure they were closed; I almost didn’t shut the motor down before trying the door.  As it turns out, not too many folks are bike shopping around noon on Thursday.  Oh well, I enjoyed looking around.  I enjoyed it so much; I hit another dealership 15 miles away… then another 20 miles from that, and then another 30 miles from that. 

I sat on everything.  Twice.  I was trying to decide between a Street Glide and an Electra Glide (standard).  Basically the same machine, the Street Glide is already slammed and has some nice accents and a stereo; the Electra would need to be slammed, needs a stereo, but has the spotlight bar and as my Bro Brendan would say, “It says Harley-Davidson MOTORCYCLES…. It is the ONLY one that says MOTORCYCLES.”  He is a purist.

I also paid particular attention to some of the lighter machines, thinking of what I would like to surprise the Ol’ lady with.  I am always thinking of what to surprise her with.  Should it be a Street Rod, a Sporty (slammed and fully custom), a Deluxe with some touring accessories, a Crossbones?  Whew, I really don’t know… I suppose we are broke so I don’t really need to make a decision today, but I get caught up in the moment.  I need to get her something, someday, and when that day comes, I want to have a plan!

Anyway, I had set out about 11am and found my way home by 5pm… rode a few hundred miles or so, but just at a leisurely pace, enjoying the scenery.  It had been a while since I had felt so relaxed.  Even the idiots on the road seemed a touch less idiotic.  Plus, I had loaded the clippie ipod with some good 70’s punk rock and the helmet helped to keep all the sound in… ahh, so that is why people wear helmets.

It may be a while before I get out like that again.  We do have the International Motorcycle Show on Saturday, but I just got a text that the girls might be sick… so I may be on my own rather than having the family with me for a grand day of drooling.  I do hope the weather stays warm.  We are having a cold front move in that will keep us in the 50’s for a high… Not too shabby.  I have a personal rule that I prefer to take the truck when the weather is below 50.  However, rules were meant to be broken, and I am sure I could go down to 40.

“Ohhhh, the weather outside is frightful…”

 

Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,

ArtBiker

  

Oct 092008
 

Today is the perfect day.  The temperature is in the mid 80’s, the humidity is low, the sun is shining, and the pollution level is mild enough you don’t choke as soon as you leave the house.  I have spent the day tooling around town looking for a new helmet.  You see, helmets have been a major topic of discussion around the homestead as of late. My Ol’ Lady has become less than happy with my novelty skidlid.  So she has been trying to convince me to move to a DOT model.  In her words, she and the kids like my noggin’ the way it is.

I suppose I am a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to helmets.  I want a tiny lid or nothing at all; I want my wife in a good DOT number, and I want my girls in the best full-faced jobs money can buy.  Perhaps that is how most of us are.  I value the lives of the ones I love more than my own… I also feel I have some control in a world that is hell bent on proving that no one has control.  Foolish? Yes.  But that is the way it is sometimes.

If I am going to consider this, I have a decision to make.  Half Helmet? Three Quarter Job? Full Faced?  Each has its own qualities.  I personally prefer the look and feel of a half helmet, so this is what I am gunning for. I have found that the carbon fiber models seem to be the smallest and lightest. Three quarter helmets have come back into vogue lately and my lovely wife looks as cute as can be in her Biltwell, even if it is not a DOT approved model. Fulmer and Davida make ¾ models that have the low profile, kool old school look and they are both DOT approved.  Be careful of the Davida though, I thought the monthly note on a new bike was high, the cost of this thing is pretty outrageous.  Lastly is the full-faced model.  I have a few Bros who swear by these and they are the only helmets they will don.  Besides offering exceptional protection in the event of a high-speed get off, they also offer ID protection if the situation ever calls for it.  I have found that HJC has a youth line of full-faced lids that I will be getting for my girls.  Full coverage protection and they come in pink… what little girl doesn’t like pink?

So, after a few years of unhappy looks as I ride off in my old brain bucket, I have finally decided to buy a new lid. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I considered slapping a DOT sticker on my existing pudding bowl, but that could end up badly.  If you happen to be caught by Johnny Law with a sticker on a novelty helmet you could be looking at a very large fine, and in some states, they will impound your bike right on the spot!  Hitching a ride home with a novelty helmet in my hand sounds like a drag to me, so I decided to avoid that all together.

I ended up at the local, independently owned biker shop and took a peek at what they had.  The helmet that fit me best was a HCI Naked Front (no lip or visor to catch the wind).  The sizes run a bit large, and I may have been able to squeeze my skull into a medium, but after the ride home I figure this one was going to do the trick.  And at under $50, who could complain.  Besides, riding off with a kiss and a smile from the Ol’ Lady is worth much more.  You have to pick your battles and, this time, she was right.

 

Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,

ArtBiker