Fostering a mentality of responsible motorcycling within the military community.

Where my motorcycling life began…

I had a small 80cc dirtbike when I was a child.  I don’t remember much about it other than it being yellow and a whole lot of fun.  I had a nice little accident on it one day that resulted in my flipping end over end and impacting with mother earth.  I bounced up and promptly stated that “I am okay!”  I am not sure how much time expired, but I later woke up on the couch.  Subsequently my mother made me sell the bike.

From that point forward I never really gave another thought to riding a motorcycle.

Fast forward to 2005…

I started working part-time in a biker bar in Tucson, AZ with a bad reputation by the name of Berky’s.  It was just a few city blocks from the Bashful Bandit.  Seeing the bikes roll in and out on a nightly basis was all the prompting I needed to decide I once again wanted a motorcycle.  I promptly signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course (BRC) and Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.  A little time later and $2000 poorer I owned a 1973 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster.  I rode this bike for about a year without incident although I do recall being stranded on the side of the road a couple of times and the sensation of the first time I scrapped the footpeg in a turn.  Someone offered me $1000 more than I bought the bike for and it was SOLD!

Guess who got bit by the sportbike bug…

In late 2006 I bought a brand new 2007 model Triumph Daytona 675.  What a great bike!  And what a departure from the ergos and riding characteristics of that old H-D.  I returned to the MSF in 2007 and took their Experienced Rider Course.  Although I had some experience, this bike; the riding position, the power and the handling; were all new to me.  I left the course confident that I could handle the bike so long as I could control the urge to twist the right handgrip!

From that point I really began developing my skills…both physical and mental.  It consisted of fighting traffic on the daily commute but where I developed most of my skill was regular trips to the top of Mt. Lemmon.  If memory serves me the road is about 26 miles long to the top of the mountain which has an elevation of 9500 feet.  250 curves on the way up, 250 curves on the way down.  everything from nice sweepers to hairpins to decreasing radius curves.

Now, while me and my group of riding buddies took this road quick…we aren’t idiots.  It was not uncommon to get passed by someone wearing a hoodie sweatshirt in Nike hightops that was doing triple digits in the straights…only to see that same rider take a horrible line with way to much entry speed and grab a handful of front brake damn near killing himself in the curve…yeah, you’re fast…

We applied to a riding principle called The Pace…an article written by Nick Ienatsch.  It can be found here:  http://micapeak.com/info/thepace.html  If you ride a motorcycle, whether you are new to the sport or have been riding for years, this is a must read.  While you do need a certain level of physical prowess and balance to ride well…the area between your ears is paramount!

I left Tucson in 2007 and that slice of heaven known as Mt. Lemmon Rd.  I really do miss it.  But as luck would have it, I ended up in Monterey, CA.  Talk about a hardship tour!  Summer highs in the 60s…Winter highs in the 50s.  It is motorcycling weather here year round!  There is no off-season!  Did I mention I can hear the sounds emanating from the motorcycles finding their way around Laguna Seca Raceway from my house?  Did I mention the MotoGP circuit comes here every year?!

Since I am still currently in Monterey, CA, I am going to save the rest of the story for my next post.  Watch out for those road demons and ride safe!  ATGATT

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