I have no idea what it’s really called, but I decided to grab the ADV RI/eastern CT tag last night before heading home. Instead of taking a more direct, less turn-turn-turn route, I took some time to drag and drop a route on Google maps. And I’m glad I did!
I’m not a native Rhode Islander, but I’ve gotten to know a lot of the state. I’m still missing the northeastern corner and the far southwestern corner. The tag was dropped in Lincoln, or Smithfield, or Cumberland, or whatever those towns up north are. I think it was Lincoln because the street signs were red.
I found some wonderful, tiny, backroads out of Providence, into North Providence, and then up to Woonsocket Reservoir Number Three. I even found a house that I’m putting on my “I wouldn’t mind living there” list. It was obviously the original farmhouse, and the land was sold off over time upon which houses were built.
The roads were curvy, uncrowded, leafy, peaceful…and I was FIVE MINUTES outside of Providence. Farms, stone walls, horses…FIVE MINUTES outside of Providence.
Even though I had my camera with me, I didn’t take any pikchures. The reservoir itself was beautiful. I never would have known it was there. I’ll definitely head back there for a ride.
Heading back into Providence, I continued the drag-and-drop route. Pretty sweet. I dropped a new tag at a toxic waste dump as a counterpoint to the pristine drinking water we have in Rhode Island.
All in all, it took me an hour and a half to ride the 4 miles home.
I’m behind with my posts, but thought I’d throw up some pics from this year’s first ADV Pachaug CNR hosted by none other than the lovable, affable Rob.
I took a half-day off work on the Friday, and met the boyfriend at his work. We rode down with our camping gear to Voluntown, CT and the Mount Misery campground. A shitload ton of people showed up, many who I’d never met before so that was fun. Just enough of the regulars to make it so I wasn’t all shy.
Friday night dinner showed up courtesy of Rob’s wonderful wife. Meatballs, rolls, cheese, homemade cookies…mmm.
Saturday morning was a large, big bike friendly group ride. Now this is Rob’s version of big bike friendly and I had no idea what he was planning. As we’re lined up getting ready to leave the campground, my plan was to wait and ride with one of my regular guys, but he was planning on getting video of everyone leaving and waiting ’til the end.
As I watched the bikes begin to leave the campground, I looked around and thought, “I don’t know most of these guys, and they’re all on big, big bikes [KTM 990s, Triumph Tigers, KLRs], and what if they completely suck at riding?” I didn’t want to get stuck behind a slow, plodding rider.
I hit the throttle and found myself in about 6th or 7th riding position. There were about 25-30 riders total!
Rob set a nice pace and very quickly the group chunked into three hives. I was hanging with the fast group as we came to the first true off-road section. I knew it and also knew how dry it was so wasn’t too concerned. We’re a mile or so in and it’s getting kinda bouncy when I feel something hit my right thigh and go flying. Huh? I look down and there’s my tankbag flopping all over the place. That’s right, I forgot to zip it. I pull up and over to get out of the way, and a quick look confirms that it was, indeed, my wallet that bounced out.
As I’m frantically zipping up the bag and getting ready to turn around, two of the guys come roaring past me. One glances over and gives a tentative thumb’s up. I shoot one back. This is gonna be a good ride. Not one of them thought to pull over and help…treating me just like they treat the guys!
With a big grin, I threw the DR around and quickly located my bright yellow wallet. I grabbed it, shoved it into the bag, and threw the DR around again. In all this time, not one other bike passed. I’m thinking, “What the hell? This is an easy section. Where IS everybody?”
I got on the gas and went as fast as I’ve gone through this section, trying desperately to catch up as I didn’t have the route loaded in my GPS and I didn’t want to get stuck with the middle pack. As I came upon an uphill rocky section, I noticed a bunch of people and a bike standing in the woods. As I knew I needed momentum to get up rocky stretch, I hit the throttle, stood up and threw my weight way forward, and kept going. I figured, if no one is lying on the ground screaming and writhing in agony, there’s not much I can do. What can I add to lifting a big-ass KLR when there’s four guys already there. I make it to the end of the stretch where folks are waiting, and they’re all asking me what’s going on.
Throughout the ride I got to ride Chris’ KTM 500 which turned out to be a relative of Hell Boy. I took it on a very short, easy portion of the Pachaug Loop. I almost wound up plowing into the guy in front of me when I hit a rock and blipped the throttle. Holy Shit! I was screaming in my head the entire ride. “I’m going to die, I’m going to die!” I managed to stall on a hard right, uphill turn, making everyone behind me have to stop in an awkward spot. I got it going, and just took it as easy as I could to get out of there. I hadn’t even come to a complete stop at the end of the section and was jumping off, more than happy to hand it back over to its rightful owner.
Another one of our group graciously lent me his 2008 Husqvarna TE610. I’ve ridden his bike before on a short section of the loop, but this time I kept it for about an hour to an hour and a half. What a treat, that bike is. While it may weigh the same or even a bit more than my DR350, it’s how the weight is distributed and that lovely mid-range that just gives you incredibly confidence. I was flying down a trail in the 40s! I never do that.
Saturday night said Husky owner brought out two huge, and I mean huge, pots of chili. One venison and one vegetarian, with all the fixins. This was the first CNR that I did no cooking. What a treat!
On Sunday, a couple of new riders showed up, and a bunch of us took them on a tour through the Pachaug campground roads and into the Arcadia Management Area in Rhode Island. What we didn’t know is that it was the annual Blessing of the Horses in Arcadia. I’ve never seen so many horses and it really cramped our riding as we pulled over and cut the engine for each group plodding along the motor vehicle gravelled roads. What annoys me is when the horse folks get upset with us, even though we pull over and wait for them to pass, on a public road. Are cars and trucks doing that? No way. As someone who used to ride horses, I understand the power of the animal, but why are you clomping around on a public road? We motorcyclists are as respectful as we can be, concerned for your well-being and not wanting to spook the horse, but you let the animal poop all over the roads, and sneer and complain. I just don’t get it. Buy some land, create some trails, and get off the feckin’ roads.
Shortly thereafter the boyfriend and I broke off and headed on a leisurely ride back to Providence. All in all, a very nice weekend.
Last Tuesday I was heading over to the Lincoln campus of CCRI to run a class. I had just left my campus, coming up to the first stop sign, when I see a bike zip by.
“Hmmm, that sure looked like a Dizz,” I thought to myself. “I’ve got to catch up.”
Of course there was traffic, but I managed to wangle myself a spot right behind the bike as the next stoplight. I’m looking and snooping. Those taillights, they look right. But the plastics, what’s going on? I just need to see the forks. I finally just decide, “feck it, I’m gonna ride up next to him and chat.”
I’m on the 1986 Honda Elite. It’s not the hippest bike, but I don’t really care. Upon seeing the gold, inverted forks, I know for certain I’m sitting next to a DR-Z 400SM with a hooligan aboard. The bike has been Rhino-lined which looks pretty bas-ass.
Lifting my helmet’s shield, I yell over “Nice sumo!” The dude stares at me. “Nice DRZ…I used to have one until it was stolen!” Finally the kid cracks a smile. “I love this bike!” he tosses back. And he sure looked it. He reminded me of Jesse, the guy I bought my Dizz from…young, hoodie, invincible.
But really, I was just confirming that it wasn’t my stolen bike. Had it been, I don’t know what I would have done. Follow him on a mid-80′s scooter? And then what. “Gimme my bike back, ya ass?!” What’s that gonna get me?
Still miss Elsa, the pink & black DRZ400SM.
Headed down to the TT open house on Saturday, April 13. Met up with some of the regular crowd (Matt and Al), as well as other folks that know from teaching the MSF course at CCRI (hi Josh and Mike!) and hi-viz sportbike guy (hi Dewin!). It’s the most social I’ve been in a very long time.
Thanks to the guy with the Honda that cool luggage racks. I did find them on eBay but they don’t make for the DR350, sadly.
It was nice to see an “adventurized” Honda NC700X, a bike that TT is renting out. It’s been completely SW-Motech’d. I can’t really see it as an adventure bike, but I sure wouldn’t say no to taking it out for a ride.
After standing around and talking for a while, the boy and I headed out to grab the RI/eastern CT ADV tag, knowing full well we’d be bruced. And of course we were.
We headed toward Razee’s in North Kingstown to check in with Brendan, the parts guy. I ordered a set of Pivot Pegz for the DR350. They’re stupid expensive but I had them on the DRZ, and just rode the Transalp to a meeting last week which also has them, and now I have to have them again. They’re just so damn comfortable.
It was great to see Brendan, and he had me to talk to Pete about the KTM 390 Duke that I’ve been lusting over. Pete didn’t have any update but said he should know something soonish. I know pricing won’t be set until about a month before it arrives in the US, but I was interested in when it might arrive as well as fitment. Pete did say that it’s the same frame as the 690 Duke, which I did have a chance to sit on at the IMS show in New York in January. And it felt pretty good, so there’s hope the 390 may wind up in my stable!
A couple more pics from April 13 … the weather could have been a bit nicer.
Finally got some time to do research on what tires I should put on the recently acquired 1986 Honda Elite 250. Well, sorta spurred on by the fright I got when I went to check the sizing…I’d been riding around all winter with tires that were pretty dry-rotted. The Bridgestone Molas tires (ML 16 and ML 17) are wicked expensive (for scooter tires!) but they’re the only thing I could find to fit 10 x 4.00. What the f sizing is that?
Anyway, they looked hot as just tires. Now that they’re back from mounting (the only work we don’t do ourselves is tire mounting), they’ve been riding just grrrrrrreat. I love ‘em. And I’m loving the Elite. It’s like riding a sofa; it’s taken me some time to just drop it into corners as it feels like it wouldn’t like that, but it just responds fabulously.
And the name is … JP for John Player Special. Just loving the CH250.
I haven’t posted in a while, not for lack of activity but more so lack of creative writing skills.
This morning’s incident, however, I have to document. I was riding into work on Elmwood Avenue which is now one lane in each direction with a center turning lane. It is a “block by block” street meaning that there are city streets intersecting it every block. From where I turn onto Elmwood to where I turn off, it’s about 8 intersecting streets. A couple of these intersections are real doozies because of the traffic pattern.
As I was approaching my left turn onto a side street, I put on my blinker and began to move into the center turning lane. A car was pulling out from my right, inching out onto Elmwood. I was watching her head and noticed that she was just not seeing me. I also noticed that traffic in my opposite direction was clearing.
Yes, you guessed it. She pulled out right in front of me.
Things I had going for me that prevented a collision:
- assumed she was going to turn in front of me
- just put on new tires and new brakes
- didn’t get flustered, just swerved left and then braked hard
She made her turn, I made mine, and I’m certain she never saw me once, no idea that she pulled out in front of a vehicle this morning.
The thing is, I didn’t honk, I didn’t do the WTF armflap, I just went on my way. So either I’m really, really tired or all these years of riding are making me just act.
City riding sucks.
gaaaaah, I am TIRED of snow, TIRED of it! Make it stop. Enough. I’m like that MADD lady who is exasperated at all the morAns who drink and drive, Gabi says ENOUGH!
When I got into my office, I was a sopping, dripping, soaking mess. Not a drop got through to my clothes, though. I cannot rave enough about the Rukka gear. The jacket and pants were completely dry by the time I left this evening. I am officially a brand whore.
On a completely unrelated note, I was on Valley Street around 5:45 pm tonight, according to the beautiful, ornate street clock in front of Ardente (the plumbing place), a Wednesday. There was no traffic. I was the first vehicle at the Atwells/Harris Ave/Eagle Street 5-points and no one came up behind me for at least a minute. This is the same intersection that can take 3 to 5 cycles to get through on a Friday. What is up widdat?
Brrrr! It was cold this morning, 25F when I left the house. So who woulda thunk that I’d see a bike on the way home? It did warm up but the wind was a bit wikkid…pushing me and the wee Buddy scooter all over the place.
There’s something about Friday traffic. It’s always, always much worse than other weekday traffic. I just don’t get it. I passed FOUR cars on the way home (on city streets where, really, you shouldn’t be passing). What is with the plonk-plonk-plonk down the street? Get a move on…there’s cider waiting for me at home!
Anyway, as I’m stuck behind yet another crumbling SUV that’s crawling along Dexter Street (and getting ready to blow by him), what to my astonishment do I see but a tiny dude on a red sportbike. The fact that I don’t know what the bike was indicates my utter displeasure with being stuck going 15 mph.
So booyah! to a bike on this cold day.