Things we think of while riding down the road

Posts tagged “Yamaha Cruisers

From the “What was I thinking” File

Or… according to Elvis Costello…Peace, Love and Understanding.

I have spent up until now, 100% of my motorcycling life  (50 years) on Sportbikes, Sport Tourers, Vintage bikes  (Honda, Yamaha, Triumph, BSA, Ducati, BMW….), dirt bikes and a couple  of Adventure bikes along the way but never a two wheeled Winnebago’s (read, Gold Wing).

A number of years ago after finishing the WERA 24 hour endurance race  (third place, beating 2 factory teams), in my exhausted state I made my daughter 2 promises (motorcycle related only) 1; I would never buy a Harley ( I didn’t want to buy into that lifestyle) 2: I wouldn’t buy a Gold Wing (I will never be that old). Well, I kind of broke both promises. I have a Buell (powered by Harley Davidson) and I did buy my dad a Gold Wing and kind of enjoyed riding it but was happy to pass it along.

So, here I am today straddling the biggest motorcycle I have ever owned, a Yamaha Stratoliner. 1900cc, 800+ pounds and what feels like longer than my truck. What in the world was I thinking?Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.58.56 AM

Now to the subtitle. Peace, Love and Understanding.

1; Peace. Coming to grips with the fact that Sportbikes are in my past (although I still have two in my barn). Medicare, bad backs and arthritic wrists are not big fans of clip-ons and rear sets. My son was instrumental in bringing me to that peace. His comment, ” it’s really sad seeing some old guy on a 1000cc Sportbike going slower than a sixteen year old kid on a 125. My ego was brought down a notch or two, or three. But I am learning to be at peace on a Cruiser/Touring bike. Somebody help me…..Please.Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.49.06 PM

2; Love. I bought my Stratoliner for a number of reasons. The first is Heather. She is not a tall woman  and getting on a tall Adventure bike is no fun, I have to make it easier for her.. Number two; the comfort factor. We travel quite a bit so having a motorcycle we can ease into while loving the ride is perfect. When I first got the bike all I could picture was the Queen Mary on two wheels and then I started riding it. Other than being bigger than anything I have ever owned I was was instantly enamored  with how well the bike handled. Yamaha did a great job designing this motorcycle; chassis, suspension, and tons of power that is easily  managed…what more could you ask for.  I started to love this steamship of a motorcycle.

3; Understanding. This is where it gets weird…at least for me…understanding the ‘Cruiser Mentality’. A long time ago a local dealership carried both Yamaha and Harley Davidson , on the Harley side they had a T-Shirt that read “GOD rides a Harley”, on the Yamaha side the T-Shirt read “If GOD rides a Harley , GOD rides slow” .Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 6.52.27 AM  I have noticed that sitting on this two wheeled BarcaLounger has changed my riding…as in “Hey, when did I slow down?” Loafing around at the speed limit is well, very depressing. When little old ladies on skateboards are going faster than you, you know you have a problem.  There has got to be a support group somewhere…Cruisers Anonymous?screen-shot-2015-11-05-at-7-47-10-am

Another level of the understanding is that as a professional motorcycle riding coach many of my clients ride BIG motorcycles (read born in Milwaukee) so I needed to better relate to what they had in order to be a better coach. Henceforth the Queen Mary.Queen_Mary_Long_Beach

I have to go to Confession at least once a week to confess that I have come to peace, love and understanding with my new motorcycle and the lifestyle that comes with it.  But I still have a question…”What Was I thinking?”

PS…the guy in the picture is not me…he really needs to go to Cruisers Anonymous!

Ride Safe, Ride Far and I’ll see you on the road,

Paul