I just reread what should have been my post of “Six Months In” and realized It has been almost that long since I wrote anything about my cycling journey. I got so wrapped up in riding that I’ve forgotten to write. Depending on who you ask that’s not a bad thing. The last post (as I’m working to post this) was actually a short one in December, so, let’s catch up, shall we?
I had talked about service during that post. I changed the oil shortly after I’d logged 4400 miles (non-OEM rear tire) and felt good. When I took the bike to the Indian dealership at about 8600 miles in, they changed the oil and filter while checking out everything with a clean bill of health. So, with one year gone, I’ve logged in almost 13,000 miles and have never been happier! Yes, I noted the mileage at the end of 2020 (December 31 to be exact) and the end of twelve months of ownership (7 March 2020 to 6 March 2021), and yes, I have a 9 week overlap (January/February).
Also, during this time away, I’ve taken on additional responsibilities dealing with riding in general. Before the Tour of Honor season was even over, a call went out asking for State Sponsors for a few states, Georgia was on the list so I tossed my helmet into the ring as it were to be the State Sponsor for Georgia. That was a quick one! Within two weeks I was added to the Scorer’s Facebook page and emailed guidelines for site selection. The hardest thing was writing up a concise enticing description for each proposed site. Guess I did a good enough job as all seven of the desired sites were taken as is and I was sent the “test” map for Georgia. Pros and cons: I know exactly where each site is, but I obviously cannot compete for a top three place in the state. No biggie and it’s not why I’m doing it anyway. I will go for the Saddle Sore Extreme when the season opens April 1.
In for a penny, in for a pound…
In September I found a local CMA chapter in Jesup and started going there. Met or rode with them three time and was accepted into their membership, completed the 35-question training questionnaire, and got my CMA number in November. Got my CMA colors presented in January as a few people were starting the process to form a CMA chapter in Hinesville. The CMA-H group chose a slate of officers to form the chapter and wouldn’t you know it I am the secretary. Needless to say I have been somewhat busy since I started riding.
I remember thinking how embarrassing it was to have dropped the bike during the training sessions last year and swearing I would not do that again. Well, that didn’t go quite as intended. I’m writing about them now because the humble pie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. God has taught me that if I don’t have an ego, I’d have none to get bruised. Case in point, we went to Cherokee, NC in September for an alternate Ride-to-Meet when the real Ride-to-Meet for the Tour of honor in Pennsylvania was cancelled due to COVID complications (PA closed the state. Nuff said). Anyway, we got up one morning and getting ready to head out for a day of riding. I backed my bike up and went to cut to the right and proceeded to lay it on over. CRAP! I didn’t go down, only the bike did. Training kicked in and I picked the bike up exactly as I had been shown, but forgot to set the kickstand out. Luckily Gary flipped it down otherwise I would have just dropped the bike onto the left side. Now that would have been injury to insult with a whole heaping of salt ground in for good measure. Ouch!
November saw the official start of the Hinesville CMA forming chapter. The weather was nice that morning and I was so happy to ride there that when I stopped, I put the kickstand down (which cut off the bike) and started talking to another of the forming members. I got off the bike and when on in for breakfast and the meeting. About three hours later (talked about a lot of things we needed to consider as a forming chapter) when I went to get on the bike, I felt around in the pocket for the bike key. Not there! Not good. Luckily, I saw it in the ignition of the bike. Good? No. It had been left on and the bike would not start up. To make matter worse I had parked several spots away from the three other bikes so I figured I’d just roll it over to where they were and see if I could get a jump. Went to put the kickstand down and… You guessed it. The bike went down. This time it followed me as I fell backwards and the running board landed on my left foot. I remember just laying there with bike laying on me thinking what had just happened. Pride. I had none. It had just flown the coop. You can’t tell me God wasn’t at work on this one. Because my foot was hurt (thank God it wasn’t broken), I was placed in the perfect place to be of aid to a stranded soldier at work. Since we both had to be at the same place for the next few days AND I could go through post (military installations are limited access), I was able to not only drop him off at his barracks that afternoon, I was able to be there as a means of transportation the rest of the week. And wouldn’t you know it, by Wednesday my foot was fine and I could have been back on the bike. That would have been nice, but I had a greater responsibility right then (and some great conversation, also. Thank you, Jesus!).
You know things happen in threes, right? One Thursday night in February (a Masonic meeting night for me) I rode the bike to Lodge. It had been rather wet for a few weeks so I was happy to be able to ride without fear of getting rained on or wet in general (road spray). After the meeting, I got on the bike and started to go around the other side of the building and hit the road. Several members will do that – just ride across the grass in their trucks and gone. I went on around the corner of the building, shifted gears, and slid into home plate (at least that’s what it felt like). SAFE! Slick wet sod and sideward momentum from going left around the corner of the building and the rear wheel just slid right out from under me. What do you do when you have no ego or pride to bruise anymore? You laugh! No harm, no foul, only a divot in the grass. Got the bike up and took of a little more carefully that I had started out. Lesson taught; lesson learned. Pride goeth before a fall. No pride; no fall.
Speaking of learning things, the hard way, our CMA meetings in Hinesville are on the first Saturday of each month. We usually plan to ride after the meeting providing the weather cooperates. January’s meeting was going to be raining early afternoon that Saturday so we shifted the ride to Sunday afternoon (don’t want to mess with church). It was a cool afternoon and I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt under my riding shirt. I thought about a jacket, but ignored the voice saying “go get it”. Long story short on this, when the sun goes down, the temperature goes quicker! Remember, riding causes a wind-chill factor based on your speed. If the temperature was 50 in the sun, it went to 40 in ten minutes when the sun went down and felt like 20 or less when riding at about 55-60 mph. Needless to say, the hot shower definitely felt good when I got home. Again, lesson taught; lesson learned. Dress in layers for the expected temperature including a wind-chill factor.
The following weekend, the group of us rode to Southern Biker Gear in Richmond Hill to help me get some chaps. The temperature was a bit colder (low 40’s) riding up. I don’t remember where we were headed that Saturday, but I do remember I felt a LOT better once I had the chaps on. So, with the addition of the chaps, I now have a near all-weather wardrobe which includes a wet weather suit (pants and jacket), a leather jacket with armored panels, a Hi-Viz jacket with removeable armored panels, a Bohn Hi-Viz armored shirt, pull-on calf-height leather work boots with steel toes, and the grey zip-up military style boots I started out with last year when I learned to ride. Of course, the original HJC modular helmet (compliments of Gary) got an upgrade by adding a Sena-20 Blue-tooth audio set. This is really great as it allows me to listen to Sirius XM through the phone, answer calls, and talk via intercom when paired with someone else. To top all this off I have a leather vest with my CMA colors.
20 March 2021