Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Ride 2012

Today I was up bright and early to get the FJR over to Performance Cycle. It was due in the shop for the spider ground recall. If Performance discovers that the spider junction had a meltdown, they are required to take possession of the bike to replace the entire wiring harness. Mid February seemed like the appropiate time to have this checked out. Not quite riding season, so having the bike tied up a couple of weeks would not be a big deal.

Next thing to deal with is will the bike start. I did not put the battery on a tender this winter. There are different schools of thoughts on placing batteries on tenders. I went with the lazy method this year. So I wasn't caught by the short hairs, Friday night I went over to where the bike was stored, put the key in the ignition and watched the dash light up and listened to that familar whirl, the fuel pump energyzing. Pressed the starter button, 2 1/2 turns and the FJR is purring away. For this year, those that say new batteries don't need tendering for the few months they are stored were correct.

Organizationally getting ready to ride, especially the first few times, can be a bit challenging. Getting the riding pants on, then getting the jacket and the liner out of the closet. Placing the helmet and riding gloves on the table so I don't go down 3 flights of stairs, just to go back up because I forgot the helmet. Wallet and phone in the pants pocket, keys in the jacket pocket and put my glasses on. Walk out the door and hesitate briefly to see if I remember something I forgot. This generally doesn't work, but I still do it.

Next challenge is getting the FJR off the center stand. The FJR is just a bit taller than I am, so doing this for the first time in a couple of months can be a bit intimidating. Nothing would suck more than dropping if off the center stand and having the weight get a head of my strength and having the FJR tossing itself to the ground. I mounted the bike, got comfortable in the saddle and threw my stomach and hips forward to rock it off the stand. Plunk, my feet (or should I say my toes and balls of my feet)are firmly planted, the FJR is vertical.

I had MeAsWe help push me out of the garage, like I always do when having to back up some distance. Why get all out of breath, toes slipping out, when a small push works so effectively. This operation goes smoothly, especially cocking the handlebars to one side to turn the bike around to face the street.

Being the first ride of the season, usually has me readjusting to riding. Clutching isn't always that smooth, feet placement and stopping needs to become habit again, and just plain ole riding. Today was alot different than prior years. It was as if I had been riding thru out the winter. Everything just seemed to flow.

Next problem to knock off is to head for Giff's to check the air pressure in the tires. They have been sitting for 3 month now. I checked the rear and it read 29#'s. I didn't bother checking the front. Pulled into Bill's and he and his son, John, were polishing parts for the 80's Goldwing he is working on. Bill checked the front pressure, 39.5#'s, perfect. Some air in the rear brings it up just over 40 and we are good to go.

All done at Bill's, I finally headed out for Performance. It is brisk this morning, probably somewhere in the mid 40's. Performance is probably 15 miles away, not far, but enough to set in a chill to the core. Keeping my speeds down so I didn't start the season with a performance cerificate (speeding ticket) made the cripsness a non-issue. As I progressed to RT 140 and then turning onto RT 20, I was able to open up the FJR a bit. Not a hint of coldness, not even around the neck or fingertips. Onto RT 9, and I probably hit 70 or so, still no hint of the coolness. The ride ended all too soon, the entrance to Performance came much to quick. A right turn and parked the bike right in front of the service bay.

I always go upstairs to see what Performance has on the floor. The had 1 FJR, which I believe was there last season.

Then there was this gorgeous green ZX-14.

Performance had the bike for a couple of hours and we headed back over to pick it up around 2pm. Harness work is all done, no spider meltdowns. MeAsWe is not feeling too good and is headed back home to rest. I decided to take the long way home and spend a couple of hours just riding around, grabbed a chili at Wendy's and stopped in to visit some friends before heading back home.

All in all, this is the best start of the season ride I have ever had. With the angels looking over us, hopefully this is an incident free season. I am passionate about riding again.


Runner said...

I could feel your renewed love of riding through your words! I remember those rare beautiful days in winter.

Jan said...

Nice, Willie - I've yet to have those "first of the season" jitters...I think I'm going to, but once the leg is in motion swinging over the saddle I'm as good as GONE!

Looking forward to this season, especially with the Connie as my main ride. I missed the first long tour on her last fall, but the first 2012 tour will be ALL MINE :)

PS - sent Cole the pic of the green THAT whet's her appetite!