I posted something on my facebook wall asking my friends to suggest blog topics they'd like to see and this is the first reply I received. Since it looked like a good one, I thought I'd use it. Thanks, Nathan for the suggestion and I hope you're not disappointed. By the way, if you're not one of my facebook friends and would like to be, please look me up and send a request. Search for the name Chipley Fortykradio and you'll find me. That's first name: Chipley, last name: Fortykradio.
So here's the thing about summer.....I don't do much inside stuff. This summer has been a particularly outside year. Last summer in the beautiful Eden that is Erie, Pennsylvania we had loads and loads of cool temps and crappy rain that pretty much ruined all of our outside fun. This summer has been the complete opposite and its been stupid hot and ridiculously humid since just about the time the kids got out of school for vacation. Since our house only has air conditioning in the bedroom we spend a lot of time outside. Oh, and I bought a motorcycle....Yeah, a motorcycle. I've had my license for a couple years but was never able to actually pull the trigger and get myself a bike after I finished the Rider Safety Program. So this year I decided it was the summer to try and find myself an affordable used bike to get my feet wet and learn what being a motorcyclist was really about.
You wanna hear about my motorcycle? You know you do....OK, I'll tell you about it if you're gonna beg like that. I found myself a 1996 Suzuki RF900R Sport Touring bike at a local used dealer. It's got some miles on it because it came to Erie from Arizona where you can pretty much ride a motorcycle all year long but its in great condition and looks and runs like a much younger bike. I really wanted a cruiser with a big V-Twin and gobs of chrome dripping off of it but apparently everyone else wants one of those too and they are lots and lots more money than I had to spend. It took me a long time to find a bike that would fit all of my requirements which were not numerous but had little room for compromise. Basically, I needed a motorcycle that was big enough for my girlfriend and me to ride comfortably and powerful enough to do so without the bike straining to keep up with the stresses of frequent 2 up riding. Sport bikes were pretty much out of the question because of the rider's seating position and the tiny, elevated rear passenger seat that they all come equipped with. Let's face it, the back seat on most sport bikes is an afterthought and a way for a guy who really wants one to tell his significant other "Look, honey, I AM thinking of you. There's room for you on there too!" With sport bikes out of the running, the search for a decent motorcycle in my modest price range looked like it might be fruitless and I'd have to seriously consider borrowing a lot more money than I had intended to purchase a motorcycle or just give up on the idea completely. I finally dropped into Northcoast Powersports in Erie and took a look at what they had. Most everything for sale were sport bikes or beautiful Harley Davidsons that were so far out of my price range that I didn't even look at them. I told the owner what I was looking for and he showed me the bike I eventually purchased, the Suzuki RF900R. He worked with me on the price(A LOT) and got me into the bike, helmet, jacket and insurance for the year at as close to my budget as I could have hoped.
The RF900R is a Sport Touring motorcycle. Although it was built in 1996 the bodywork was ahead of its time and most people who look at it think its an early 2000's model. It looks aggressive and sporty but has a long wheelbase and a wide seat that has very little rise from front to rear and is designed for operator and passenger comfort. The bars are decidedly sport bike in position and shape but the foot pegs are much further forward and lower than a sport bike so you sit more upright and it is pretty comfortable on long rides. The 937cc 4 cylinder, water cooled engine has gobs of horsepower and torque and has never left me feeling like I needed more power in any of the nearly 2000 miles I've ridden it this summer.
I spent a couple weeks and a few hundred miles getting to know the bike and recalling all of the nifty things they taught me in my motorcycle safety class and then asked Sylwia if she wanted to go for a ride. She was a bit apprehensive at first but I bought her a helmet(very cool but girly at the same time) and we went to a large parking lot and rode around for 30 minutes or so and she thought it was pretty cool. Since then we've spent our days off going everywhere we can on the motorcycle and planning trips to restaurants and attractions that we never would have thought to go in the past. When travelling by motorcycle you realize that the journey, not the destination, is the experience. The sights, smells and excitement that come along with travelling on two wheels really make even the most mundane trip an adventure. I love riding more than I ever thought I would and spend all of the free time I have riding. The best part is that Sylwia loves it too and always wants to get on the bike and go somewhere when we're off together. We've even been caught in some wicked rainstorms with nowhere to hide and she took it all in stride and actually thought it was pretty funny.
My little nugget of awesomeness for this post is going to be a link to the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program web site. If you live in Pennsylvania and ride or want to ride TAKE THE COURSE! It will save your life some day. If you don't live in Pennsylvania I'm sure that your state or locality offers a similar program. Please take the course.
If you ride, ride safely. If you don't ride, please remember to look twice and save a life because motorcycles are everywhere.
Here's your nugget of awesomeness, that little pearl of wisdom I promised you.
Thanks for reading!