Red & black BMW, Red & black rider

December 22, 2010

Woke up before the alarm. I tend to do that. I hate alarms. They are… alarming. The heart pounds and you jump out of your skin, your dreams, your blankets to silence the rude contraption that dares to ring. So I learned to just wake up before it. It’s pretty good except for the days I’ll do that 2 hours before then every 15 minutes following.

Got up, got a bowl of cereal, made an espresso, checked the email…. Time to go.

Go where? You ask?

Go get the bike…. OMG.

Yesterday I got the paperwork all lined up : license fee, 2011 tag, bike insurance with AAA. I don’t know if it took 40 minutes for the whole process.

So I hop in my leathers, grab my helmet, gloves, papers, Leo, wallet and off we go.

The rain has abated. Sunny says it’s the calm before the storm, she’d been watching the satellite views of the rain coming towards us. We got a dry window of time to get this done. I can feel it. The whole environment seems to hold its breath, dripping, soaked, damp and with it’s teeth chattering.

We climb up the hill towards Lake Hughes where the BMW awaits. I make mental notes of the places where the rain flooded the road and left sand banks. Road bikes and sand is not a good mix.

We get there. I see the bike, it is covered in a nice flowery bed sheet or something. I get 3 sets of keys and we go outside. I put the new tag on the plate.

I start to gear up. It’s quite a bit colder up here than it is in Lancaster, I would say a good 10 degrees. I take the bike out of the garage, man it’s heavy! This bike is about 200 pounds heavier than IO. Whoa. I thought IO was heavy…

we get it in the driveway facing the road out.

Then comes the funny moment of remembering my instructions : where is the choke, the starter button, the ABS brake light twinkles… We’re all looking trying to figure this out.

Zanya told me “She’s going to serve you well” She is excited. I am excited. We are all excited. There is a sense that a purpose, fate is being served here. A sense that this must happen somehow. I don’t know if we’ll get to know why but we are living this incredible chapter all together. I think it’s cool that we are all women doing this together, Sunny is a rider, Zanya is a pilot.

Sunny is documenting all this brilliantly with her camera. She took most of all these photos here, she even managed to make me look not too bad with a balaclava on my head. (I lost all vanity when I started wearing that thing)

I finally figure out the proper order for the ignition procedure. Vroom. I let out a Woo Hoo!

This is for real. I am awake. I am sitting on it and the engine is running.

I think of getting the kick stand up but with this bike, the stand goes up automatically when you grab the clutch (!) so it was already up. A few more photos and I’m off.

First impression : Holy crap! The tires are super low!!! Shoulda checked that.. duh… that is one of the first things you learn at motorcycle school… Pre-trip verification… Sunny had asked to wait for her at the bottom of the hill so I do. I tell her about the tires. She said there was a gas station up the road but I forgot about it as I was just focusing on how things felt.

It is very cold. Very, very cold up here. My visor fills with fog immediately, so I open it up to clear things a bit and it’s so cold I can’t breathe.. Oh yeah… I remember that feeling… almost like jumping in frigid waters. Aaaaahhhh!

I realize the throttle does not release when I let it go… I have to bring it back manually… Hmmm… going to have to look at that. It makes for lame gear changes…

We wound our way down the hill, nice and easy and get back to Lancaster.

There, it’s time to pack up the bike. I feel that window of opportunity narrowing. the weather is coming. Get, get, get, get going. Get all my stuff, the BMW gear that had been gifted to me, my clothes, my laptop, book… We spend a bunch of time looking all around the bike to find the electric outlet for the electric vest.

Oh I need to get my plate from IO…. I go get it. I see IO. It actually looks calm. Quiet. It’s a bit eerie. As if it took a deep, deep breath, let it out and stayed relaxed after that. It does not look in a hurry to get back out. I take the plate off…. wow… I remember putting it there in late May some months ago. Seems like half a lifetime away, just before I left. I get a few more things. IO rests. I love you. We turn the lights off, close the door.

We got back out, I put air in the tires, the front tire was at 15 lbs and the back at 14 when it should be 35 lbs… Yikes.

Leo has to try the controls himself of course, his opinion is always highly regarded, after all he too has traveled a long ways…

Steve arrives, he figures out the throttle, it is an old version of a “cruise control” that kept the handle from returning to neutral, he loosens the screw and the throttle is back to normal operation. We’re all fixed up.

Bags are packed, I’m bundled up with a wool turtle neck, a heated vest, my leather jacket and the rain jacket over top.

Sunny loaned me her thick winter gloves, I feel like the Michelin woman. Get on the bike, start the engine, get going, wave, I’m off. Off with my new machine… hopefully I won’t be calling anyone to come and pick me up because of some trouble.

I stop for a fill up then head out on the freeway.

This is a whole new experience, these two bikes could not be more different while looking somewhat similar. First thing I notice is how stable we are. Grooves or no grooves on the pavement, wind, water, puddles, buffeting from semi-trucks nothing fazes it, we just motor through. The rear view mirrors don’t even shimmer. It does not feel fast, but it goes powerfully, and I realize there is still some power to pass. It needs more time to slow down on its own if you let go of the throttle, because of the mass and inertia I guess, but the brakes are superlative. Holy cow. So braking is incredibly efficient and solid.

I cover the 90 some miles from Lancaster to San Dimas with ease, despite wind, rain, wet roads with puddles and debris very easily. I can see how a 500 mile day would be a breeze on this thing. It feels like I get less of the elements, rain, wind, It cuts through the air fairly silently.

……

It’s now 2:15 AM, I’m still up. The rain is just pouncing down. All I can think of is this bike. It’s big… but it’s got heart. If I was to compare this bike with IO I would say that the Suzuki was a thoroughbred and this BMW is a Warmblood. The Germans started developing a sport horse that was calmer and sturdier than a thoroughbred. They had local breeds which were light carriage horses and they mixed them up with race horses, thoroughbreds, they tried to get them big, athletic, well mannered, powerful and less prone to injury. This bike is a German Warmblood. Totally.

I think I might call it Beowulf… we’ll see.

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2 Responses to “Red & black BMW, Red & black rider”


  1. Beowulf. Normally I despise copy/paste but in THIS case – Wikipedia deserves to be quoted here:

    “Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts.”

    Except in a sense, YOU have the spirit of Beowulf – and now, the BOTH of you BECOME Beowulf.

  2. Madeleine Says:

    J’avais hâte de voir quelle sensation quelle impression tu aurais sur ta nouvelle moto,ça me semble être “une force tranquille”, est-ce que je me trompe? J’espère qu’elle t’inspire confiance et que cette confiance sera méritée.
    J’ai presque 500 pages d’imprimées de tes blogues.
    Gros becs….


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