Ted’s essays

We never do this in a car

We are trying to build expertise and confidence on our motorcycles, particularly Missy on Piglet. To this end every-other-day outings are the pattern we are shooting for.

She is officially in rider training mode which requires direct supervision on all her street rides … until she smokes the written test she has scheduled for mid September.

Initially I was tagging along on our snowplow, the Polaris Sportsman without the plow until next snow season. She was running under 25mph on those trips and the Sportsman was happy at 20, 15, or whatever she felt like at the moment. As her skills and confidence grew, so did her speed. The Sportsman can easily top out quite a bit faster than Piglet, but that is not what it is best at.

So I tried out Dr. Zee, my Suzuki DRZ400S/SM. No contest. Dr Zee is more light and agile, seeming a whole bunch better suited as a companion to Piglet… not to mention more fun to ride, and happy in a very broad 20-70 mph range.

As you may have seen in my post a couple days ago (Biggest adventure thus for for Piglet and Dr Zee), we stretched our legs and went to the Lake Como boat ramp for a break and some photos. That was a nice ride in all ways.

Today we did some tight-turn slalom practicing in the Darby High School parking lot, dropped videos in the library returns slot, visited the Darby Museum (me for the first time), then motored over to the Darby bridge over the Bitterroot River.

There we un-helmeted, un-gloved and enjoyed a break in the midst of some lovely scenery.

Missy pointed out, “We never do this in a car”.

There it was. No “Why not?” No question that her statement was 100% correct. No reason we don’t. We simply do not tourist, take breaks, stop and smell the roses, or whatever else you might call those special, unscheduled moments we took on our motorcycles today.

Truth is, we sometimes do, but those are very, very rare. On the bikes, however, those breaks seem to be integral parts of the rides. I suspect it has something to do with how much closer a biker is to the elements, the surroundings, and also how easily almost effortlessly motorcycles stop, go and turn.

Another part may be that motorcycling is a much more physical activity and the extra risk demands a significantly higher alertness to your surroundings. Both of those warrant additional breaks.

There might be more to it, but regardless of all that, this is shaping up to be a grand summer vacation for us both.