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Back in the saddle after a long time; my experience so far.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Oldie, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. I've been out of the bike scene for many years and have finally reached the point in life where I'm empty nesting with no wifey to try and manipulate me.. happy times indeed.

    The last bike went when I was told in all seriousness by the pregnant wifey that I had responsibilities now, etc. And soon after I was pensioned off due to old injuries from my maniac riding days of last century.. so no bike, no bike magazines, etc, as other things had $$ priority once the wifey left me with the girly and took everything else.

    So this post is about my re-learning phase to safely get out in the wind again.

    After six months of seeing what you could buy for your money these days I settled on an older (2001) Vstar 1100 classic.. piccies of which I have posted up already in other threads. This fit my small budget of $6,500 and was advertised privately for that amount with no RWC or Rego.

    So I rang the owner and we gently haggled it down to $5,500 cash since he needed some urgently for his bank account... and I had to sort RWC, Rego and Transfer fees with what I had left after purchase.

    Next day I left the car in the shed and bussed it up to Gympie to test the bike. I found the owner to be a genuinely nice guy, pretty honest, and desperate for dollars in the bank to keep paying his new HD off with.

    On my test ride I met an older Viet Nam Veterans MC rider who told me the bike was well loved by the owner so I had better take care of it, etc. That was the confirmation I needed after finding it rode well, didn't seem to have any issues and needed nothing more than a headlight bulb for RWC. I spent some time over coffee looking through the service booklet to see it was all in order and made a mental note of the new tyres and always garaged condition, etc. And I was impressed with the low 52,200 km on the clock in those 11 years of it's life.

    I became the new owner of a Cruiser that day, after 18 years with no bike. And I was excited, thrilled to bits to have the chance to enjoy riding out again. To be honest I struggled a bit with some elation making it harder to focus clearly... some called it the start of a honeymoon phase.

    Day one I had about 400 or so k's to get her home after paying for the insurance and paperwork to ride it. The first thing I noticed was how content I was to sit around 80 to 90km/h on the country roads, but also found 100km/h on the highway was a bit uncomfortable due to not having the same neck or upper body strength as I had in my youth... something I can remedy though.

    The second thing was my tailbone started to get a bit sore after an hour, so I changed my plans and had a few stops at friends and family to let me walk it out a bit before continuing... and suck down a ciggie or two with coffee. Ahh addictions!

    The last stint was at night.. an open face lid and lots of bugs, dark sunnies didn't really help matters at all and going up the Range made me remember about the cold air going through the wrong sort of clothing.

    Next morning I dropped the new baby into the local bike mechanics for a service and RWC while I started looking around for jacket, gloves, night riding glasses, etc. All of those came from Ebay at bloody good prices.

    Now I had the bike, the gear, and was ready to ride. But I knew I had to get my bike-legs back before tackling anything long distance/interstate.

    So I began taking regular small rides, under 200km, and a lot of around town stuff to get a feel for being in traffic again. I made sure I did a couple of test stops so I knew how the bike would react to emergency braking, I made sure to get some wet weather riding in so I could feel how the tyres worked in various conditions, and did some dirt roads while I was at it since they were the things I hated most on a road bike.

    Something I noted was that with more time in the saddle I could ride further before needing to walk out the sore tailbone. A little handlebar adjustment and some leg stretching to the end of the running boards made a difference.

    In the month that's passed since I bought the girl home, I've had two instances where car drivers forced me to take evasive action, both times I kept her upright and stayed calm. Not like when I was in my youth at all.

    With 2,200 k's under the belt now I am very aware that my survival depends completely on my approach to riding.

    And I am a little surprised with being able to see car drivers 'radiate' their intentions with small clues like head positioning, small steering wheels direction changes.. all the things I didn't really notice in my younger man days. Which is probably why I had a few prangs in those days.

    I was very happy to find I hadn't turned into a sunshine rider in my older age, so rain still doesn't bother me. But, the cold does now.. maybe that's just a sign of age.

    I'm looking forward to what the next couple of years brings as I have plans for a 10 day jaunt through NSW later this year to see old friends and see what has changed since my young days of interstate rides, and later I want to see Darwin, the one place I have never been in Oz yet.

    My daughter asked me if I will come back home after Darwin. I thought about how silly it would be just to turn around and ride home when the road west continues and will eventually bring me home again anyway.. 3, 6, or 12 months later.

    But, one day at a time.. which is how I have to take life anyway.

    Thanks for the chance to share my old-newby experiences here.
    • Like Like x 39
  2. Awesome, congrats.
  3. Great Story well told.
  4. yeah, great write-up oldie!
  5. Fantastic write up. Thank you for sharing.
  6. nice one old son, if I ever see an old bloke up Gumbieville way riding an 1100 ViagStar with a big stupid grin on his face I reckon it just might be you.
  7. pretty interesting read, good to hear its working out well
  8. Thanks guys.

    In the last week I've noticed the bike popping a lot on trailing throttle.. slowing down. Sometimes she doesn't like to idle well at all. So I figure the carbs need some tickling or I got a batch of bad fuel and the carbs need a cleanout.

    I'm not confident enough at the moment to do the work myself so this time she will go into the mechanics to get sorted next week while I study up on the how to do stuff pdf's I downloaded.

    That big stupid grin is still there.. it just gets more stupid looking when I'm riding.
  9. thanks for the great perspective on getting back on the bike!

    Always makes me sad to read/hear things like the above. giving wives everywhere a bad name!
  10. I rode to Darwin to see a mate in 1985. Got home again in '97. Well worth the time spent.
  11. I could be completely wrong here, but it seems that the longer you are away, the more you appreciate riding when you come back?? Anyways, welcome (back) from another hiatus rider, oldie.

    As for the pain in your tailbone, that won't go away easily because the cruiser-style bike puts the majority of your weight on that exact spot. However, you should find that the joy in your heart will compensate :).
  12. What is it with SOME girls and that control issue ???
    When I had the kids and started the buis I stopped for the first time in my life too.
    It wasn't wifey at all. She had four horses in the paddock and rode @ 6 months preg.
    I was very busy and time off was reno-ing the house, the paddocks, the restaurant, work fark me....never been more rich or miserable.
    It was my call I guess I am saying.
    Then my bro got cleaned up. He didn't ride and was the... more sensible one of us by a long margin.
    Within a month I had a KTM200 dirty in the shed. To check the paddocks of course. The ST4s followed shortly after.......and so it goes.
    Yeah they might be dangerous. But I truly believe your death is pretty pre determined. I've walked away many times without a relative scratch. And seen a girl die in her driveway in a car. true...a bloody steep drive but went into a coma never to come out.
    Unfortunately I liked it so much I then rode for a living. teaching others how to ride.
    And now seriously thinking of walking away from it again.... just between you and I lol.
    Might have to catch up for a ride before I hang up my lid bud. Two fossils into the sunset for a gasper lol.
  13. Or in my case, life, kids, business, well meaning to dangerous family whinging, blah blah blah stopping you in the first place then finally getting to a point in your life where you stand up and say F&CK OFF NOW IT ME TIME and I'm making the most of it.... :D

    Accept it whatever happens...
  14. Thanks Hornet. I think you are spot on about appreciating it more after time away. I find my butt gets a bit sore sitting in a car for a couple of hours, so I'm not that worried about it on the bike. Although for the big rides I will be looking into gel or water seat inserts/covers and some highway pegs to stretch out on.

    I'd like that.. will be up that way next month for my Mum's birthday.

    Joe mentioned Me Time, and that is exactly how I feel about it. The bike is a reward for the hard yards of raising a child on my own in this steadily more fornicated culture.

    Re.. time being up.. I don't think it is set in stone. To me each moment in life is filled with choices, some we make with full awareness and many we make through our behaviour patterns.. without much thought. So that each choice we make can change the direction of the 'stream' we are on. One stream leads to the end at a different time to another stream, so we reach our demise dependant on the choices we have made.

    Either way, no point being afraid of it. Just live each moment as best you can... and ride.
  15. Yesterday dawned cool and cloudy.. and since it was my "get the hell out of Gumbieville day" I had to stuff the Dri Rider winter liner + new gauntlets and sodium "Chopper" glasses to test in the dark on the way home in to a small backpack before hitting the road to see a mate 90k's away. I put an order in for some rain along the way to test how weatherproof everything was.

    So a nice day was had visiting and I left at sunset, as the clouds promised some good rain for testing.

    Open face lid was no issue when the rain came 10 k's down the road as my left hand esily covered my nose and cheeks with the gauntlets on.. all good so far.

    As it got darker I found the riding glasses to be bloody good.. no glare from oncoming cars and trucks and even as the rain got heavier I could still see the line markings. As it got even darker to full night I could see with no problems at all... well worth the $9.98 investment from Ebay.

    Very impressed too with the tyres on the bike in various levels of rain and road wetness.. I felt very confident and mostly dry.. I did only wear jeans after all so I was wet from the knees down.. nothing surprising there.

    As I buttoned off for the 80km/h zone into Gumbieville I noted a small pool had built up at the bottom of the jacket where it was bunching up and the easing of wind pressure allowed the pool to drain through to my crotch.. oh well, that's been wet before too. Nothing a decent pair of wet weather duds won't fix.

    The worst affected part of the jacket was the top outside pocket.. it was a bit wet inside.. so I won't be putting anything of importance in there.

    So, being very happy with the outcome of apparel testing I decided to take a ride today since it was raining around the foothills.. bloody brilliant with hardly any traffic at all.

    This time I had the liner out of the jacket and wore my fingerless gloves.. they got a little damp in the light rain and a bit more in the heavier rain. I pulled up at Yangan to check to see if the cool feeling on the front of me was just wind cool or wet cool.. turned out to be slightly damp cool.. so the liner will have to stay in it for future rides if rain is a possibility.

    The smells you get on a ride out in the country when it rains are simply awesome.. couldn't smell road kills at all today, fortunately.

    All up, I have to say I'm loving being back in the saddle again.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. It's freaking awesome isn't it. From fresh cut grass due to a farmer mowing his paddock, cow shit as you pass a stock crossing, cooked up brakes as you home in on a cager giving it a bit in the twisties, that unique smell of Gum trees as you ride through a forested area to the smell of fresh rain approaching. I love it all. Non riders wouldn't understand it if it belted them in the head.
    • Like Like x 3
  17. Another weekend to ride, another weekend of rain.

    I don't know about anyone else but I like riding in the rain, don't even mind being a little cold. So an invite to a mate's place to help with his twins 16th birthday party security was as a good a reason to venture out into the rain and cold as any.

    So there I was cruising along around 80 to 90 on the backroads, beaming smile on my face, lower legs of my jeans were wet, the wind was brisk and I was loving it. Cagers looked at me like I was some crazy old coot.. which I am by the way.. but I don't care.

    Only saw one other bike, a couple touring on a BIG Beemer with all the bling.. stereo speakers on either side of the pillions backrest, etc. Was good to see at least one other on the road.

    Arrived mostly dry and mostly warm. But I did have one moment on the short dirt road into my mate's place. A little water had begun to seep through the lower jacket into my crotch, so I reached for the jackets bottom and pulled it away to drain the water off.. too easy. Except right at that moment I touched the ridge of built up gravel and the bike veered down the slope into the muddy edges where water normally runs.

    Thought I was about to drop the girl and do some damage but managed to keep her upright.. not get bogged.. and start back up the rise onto the dirt road again. Lucky me.

    The first beer went down very nicely and over the next 8 or so hours my jeans slowly dried off. The wind picked up and the band played louder as more beers went down smoothly. And not a hint of gate crashers to be seen into the wee small hours of Sunday.

    Woke up a bit too late to head for the MRAQ ride to Roma Street, so some coffees, BBQ'd bacon and eggs and a couple of ciggies topped off the morning perfectly. Hung about cleaning up until the afternoon when it would have been safe to pass a breath test from the night before.. and away home in the rain I went.

    Still smiling.. made it home in one piece, mostly dry and mostly warm.

    The sun comes out today, so perfect timing to wash the road grime off the girl and sit to admire her style over another coffee.

    Did I say I'm loving being back in the saddle again?
    • Like Like x 2
  18. What a beautiful post. Thank you Oldie, I imagine there's a few can relate to it. Ride Long Old Mate.
  19. An Airhawk seat cushion will go a long way to solving your sore tailbone problems. I, too, have an XVS1100 Classic and had the same issue until I purchased an Airhawk. They can be a bit fiddly to get right as you need to adjust the air pressure ever so slightly to find out what suits but that just means that you have to go for a ride to see how it is, so no problem at all really.

    Nice choice of bike and great thread, I even enjoy riding in the rain, as well. Maybe it is just an age thing.