Today was the sad day; put the bike away for the season.
Warning: long post
My first season in summary:
- Bought the R6 (yes I know it’s not the right first bike) in October last year, 3 weeks of riding then it was time to put it to bed for the winter..
- Put the bike back on the road on April 6 after a loooooong winter. Thanks for the great deal on the insurance Paul and Ena at Cassell’s
- Passed my class 6 in May, woohoo night riding!
- Did 9000 km (yes, yes, I know that’s a 1 week trip for some riders.)
- Lots of riding back and forth to work from Pemberton to Whistler so it’s a pretty fun commute, lots of rips over the Duffy to Lillooet, Cache Creek and Lytton. A few rides down to the city.
- 1 overnight trip through the interior, 1100 km of blasting around on great roads with no popo to be seen, that was fun. )
- 3 oil changes, 1 filter change; damn oil changes are easy on a bike.
- 1 new set of tires, I wore out my Pirelli Diablo’s and I mean WORE OUT, the casing was showing through on the rear when I replaced it. Note to self, need to learn how to judge when it’s time to replace your tires. Put on a set of Dunlop Qualifiers, great rubber, seems less slippery on the tar snakes.
- 0 speeding tickets.
- I couldn’t even count the number of days I rode, I guess I could do some math, I drove my car 3 times between June 1 and Labour day……
- Stepped up from textile gear to leather 2 piece, that feels way better to rock the leather and now I look like a power ranger too.
So what did I learn?
- You go where you look, so look where you want to go. This wasn’t exactly new to me given all of the sports I do but damn, it all happens a lot quicker on the bike.
- If you want your bike to straighten up real nice in a corner, stiffen up your arms.
- Let your tires warm up before you punch the throttle in late September.
- The lesson that hit home last week (oh so close to the end of the season) was about head and hip positioning, holy crap does that make a difference to my cornering; it seemed to get the whole body into a better position. I noticed a big difference in how fast I could corner. Luckily the road up to my office climbs up 5 switchbacks and one open S bend so I had a road I knew really well that I hit every day, great practice on the cornering.
- Harley riders on the bikes with the big fairings never wave.
The things I made habit this season:
- Always shoulder check….always.
- Cover brake and clutch as you approach an intersection (esp. when facing an oncoming left turner.)
- Ride my own ride.
- Never brake in a corner, lean harder, the bike has way more in reserve than I’m using.
- Keep the upper body relaxed when cornering
- Look at the point in the road where you want to be.
I’m noob and self aware so I skipped group rides, even noob ones. I’ll learn to ride my bike before I learn to ride in a pack. That being said, I went for a couple of rides with other riders, the big lesson for me was to skip riding with people that ride like asshats. One of the riders I went with wasn’t too shy about passing on blind corners, on blind uphill curves and riding at the ragged edge of his bikes capabilities. Two rides with that asshat and he had close calls on both of them. No more rides with that person, not sure why I even did the second one. I’ll ride my own ride, pass some people get passed by others, I’m OK with that. Most important, the shiny side stayed up all season. Must make a mental note to keep myself in check next season especially early when the skills are rusty. I'll still consider myself noob with only one season under my belt.
I’ve been on this planet long enough that I’ve done a lot of stuff and not much measures up to riding for fun. I’m addicted; this winter is going to be agony. Time for me to join the ranks of keyboard warriors on BCSB, envying all you riders in Vancouver that can get some days in over the winter.
Hey other noobs, let’s hear about your first season.