In the world of motorcycles there are a number of divergent species of riders.
Heavy or light?
Cruise or Touring?
Highway or back road?
We have the big-boy tourers. These bike range between 800 and 1200 pounds with their boxes empty. They brag the likes of full stereo/ intercom/ cruise control/ heated seats/ heated grips/ adjustable windshields… by nature these bikes are heavier and slower than the others.
I know people that call these bikes “granny-glides”.
We have the medium cruisers that have a wind screen and bags but is a bit lighter. Less options but usually a dynamic ride. A bridge between a fast sport ride and a slow cruise.
We have the sport bikes which trade weight for speed and manoeuvrability. Engines in these bikes are often the same size as the big ones. They just turn the ride into more of a sporting adventure than a comfortable cruise.
Each of the species have their different colours and decorations. The large riders prefer to look like bugs, all black and hard and scaly. The smaller the bike being rode the brighter the colours of the critter riding. Sport riders like bright reds with racing stripes and greens.
Which is better? Of course, this discussion has no end so I shall simply move to discussing the riding I am doing…
I must preamble and digress… both at the same time…
I am sitting at “EMMA JEAN’S” Diner and lounge at the cross roads that is Walnut, Iowa, on I80, west of Des Moines, about 50 miles from the Nebraska boarder and the crossing of the Missouri River, into Omaha.
I blame this all on the bad company of a good bike…
The place is empty but for me and the gal running the bar and kitchen. I guess the rush hour crowd has not arrived yet.
I am riding a 900cc/ 70hp Triumph motorcycle. It is designed to remind us of those early days of motorcycle madness when man was just nudging the 100mph threshold on two wheels. It all happened post WW2, in the early 50s…
– quote – unquote –
A number of British, post-war, companies went into building motorcycles. And the goal was to build a bike that could run at 100mph for as long as the rider could hold on. They ruled the world when I was young….
The Ton-Up Club was born…
– quote – un quote –
Rockers, leather boys or ton-up boys are members of a biker subculture that originated in the United Kingdom during the 1950s. It was mainly centred around British cafe racer motorcycles and rock and roll music.
My “Triumph Thruxton” is a modern classic… Traditionally known as a cafe-racer, it is a modern -retro- that was done with taste and attention to detail.
These are light and fast machines designed to make the rider ride low to reduce drag as well as to be nimble and balanced around corners. You load these machines up too much and you lose the advantage of the “naked” ride. They then become “pigs”… which is what the original VTwin bikes were affectionately called.
Contrary to the modern “cruising” machines, known as “dressed” rides, offering easy-chair sized saddles; These machines are not technically built for long distances. More of a racer, more of a cornering machine. Hell, it ain’t even got a passenger seat.
So I am running naked across the US of A.
I ride in a very good “suit of leathers”. Keeps you warm enough. Keeps you cool enough. Has heaps of armour “in-case”. I ride in a very good full faced helmet. So, considering I have no bug deflection or wind shield or cow catcher… I need to wear armour.
My naked run across half of America is a fast n light run. Hell, how can you run naked and halve yer pockets full of stuff…
So I have a big condom I put my gear in… lets take an inventory:
2 x jeans
4 x underwear
2 x socks
3 x tshirts
1 x computer
1 x iphone
1 x gopro camera
1 x toiletries
My leathers allow me to ride in a tshirt and my jocks. I have my redwing boots. My tank-bag is basically a pillow and has a hooded sweatshirt in it. I hope I don’t need it because I do need a pillow for my chest.
At the end of my first day, after around 5 hours in the saddle and only – only ! – 200 miles, my bike looked like this…
Tomorrow’s ride will need to be a bit more aggressive. At 200 miles a day i’ll need 9 or 10 days to do this trip.No, I need my hours to build maximum mileage. I am aiming tomorrow to cover well over 400 miles in about the same amount of time as I rode today…
Now, I hear in the back row…. I hear in the peanut gallery… I hear a bit of heckling out there.
You think I don’t hear the sniggers and back-talking… “dumb-shit”, “going to look like the” hunchback of nitre damn”, “midlife crisis”, are all things I hear.
And we know I am a dumb shit. And I know I do live in the past.
But I ask you… ain’t this one hell of a purity bike? It deserves to be driven. And it deserves to be driven by me. The old fart who likes to behave foolishly…
So I sit in Walnut, Iowa. I have had a couple “Redds Apple Ales” and feel pretty floaty. I got here about noon, dropped my bike off to be serviced, looked at all their purty bikes, borrowed a modern Bonneville and drove to a local pub for lunch. I had my bike back and was at the hotel by about 230pm. Sorted my life and checked the email and showered and untangled my hair and …
EMMA JEAN’S is next to the hotel. The sedative is working well. I just got a call from Ron. He and Holly will be here soon.
Holly is my elder sister. Of my numerous siblings she is closest in age to me. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I am the middle of 9) Ron and Holly were high school Sweeties. Been married 40 years or more. I am taking this bike to their son, Andy, who lives in California.
Holly and Ron ride a trike…
So one can very quickly see where I may be at what wrestlers call a “distinct weight disadvantage”.
So… day one complete. I will ride for the next 5 days through 4 more states… Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, California. Total will be at least 25 hours. I know I shall be less than enamoured with my “cafe racer” at more than one point in the proceedings… but that is OK.
I joke with my family members who are riders… these folks ride a lot. I note here that I only mentioned to Ron n Holly that I was going west on a bike and they quickly found time for the ride.
Mind you, Iowa is cold for 9 of it’s 12 months thus when it is warm anyone who has a bike is riding their bike.
And, one day down… 5 more to go….