Riding Home on a New Motorcycle

When I initially had the thought of buying a motorcycle 400 miles away all I could think of was all the twisty roads I could fit in on the way home. Reality of course made things more complicated.

The biggest hurdle was getting down to LA and to the dealership without it wasting all the money I was saving. Luckily I have some great friends and family.

The plan was to fly down the night before, stay with family then get to the dealership first thing the next morning. This plan worked… mostly, I made one mistake which was trying to fly on a buddy pass through a friend who works for an airline. The flights filled up and I was left stressing with no flight the evening before. With no good options left I bit the bullet and got a flight for super early the morning of.

Thanks to family I did have a ride from the airport to dealer. Even better we had time to get coffee and catch up for a little. It was really nice to see family, which made me regret not getting down to LA more often.

The whole dealership experience is something that I might explore in another blog. For now I’ll leave it saying  that the dealership stuff went pretty smoothly, though it took a little longer than I would have liked.

I was on the road by 11:30, and the adventure began. I’ve heard about LA traffic and I was hoping that by avoiding rush hour or really anything close to I might avoid it.

That ended up being a futile hope, the traffic wasn’t horrible, but I was hoping to avoid lane splitting until I was more than 10 miles along, no such luck. It did help make sure I was moving up and down through the gearbox and revs making sure it was broken in properly. Traffic was on and off for most of the ride from Brea to Ventura. This put me behind but I really wasn’t worried too much about it, I was just having fun on the new bike.

It wasn’t until I was splitting lanes through Santa Barbara that I realized that I was eventually going to run out of sunlight. The change from Daylight Savings was still recent and I hadn’t really thought about how early the sun was going to set. Not willing to push too hard meant just resigning myself to what ever happened.

The coast was pretty, and as I turned inland slightly past Santa Barbara I

Which meant sadly getting to San Simeon just as the sun was setting. Which meant riding the really epic bit of coast in the dark.


Good news is that my high beams seem to be good, bad news is that it’s hard to enjoy scenic road when it’s dark and foggy. Still the road was interesting and challenging which was fun despite the cold.

By the time I got to civilization again I was definitely ready for a break. I’d been riding stopping only for gas and water for seven hours. So as soon as I got to Carmel I stopped, ordered a hot drink, called the lovely wife and warmed up for over half an hour. While this greatly delayed my arrival home it helped assure a safe last leg of the trip.

The rest of the road was very familiar, which was nice since it had been a long day and I was glad to be able to really focus on the bike and less on the roads. No surprises, just getting miles under the tires.


Getting home was fantastic, pulling into the garage for the first time was definitely a special moment.

Overall it wasn’t a bad way to spend your first day on a motorcycle, ten hours and 493 miles later.

Posted in Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Thankful

On this holiday of Thanksgiving it’s always good to take a moment from gorging yourself and reflect on everything you have to be thankful for.

Thankful for things like fast motorcycles.

Things like family, friends and of course motorcycles.

However, there is another thing that I’m especially thankful for and that is my readers. Every single one of you takes the time to read my blog, it means a lot to me.
So thank you.

 

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So This happened: Hyperstrada 939

I really was planning on waiting until February to get a new motorcycle. Really.

The wife and I had talked about it a lot, and waiting until after the holidays made sense, also by then we would have paid off the little bit of debt we had left from the house remodel.

With that in mind, I really did have no intention to buy anything when I was searching on the internet for prices on the Ducati Hyperstrada. The Hyperstrada was on my short list and I was curious what a 2015 model would cost. This turned out to be a bigger slippery slope than I intended. You see I found one listed for $9,999 new from a dealer which is $3,795 off of MSRP. I thought about it for several days and figured I should contact them and look into financing it since the closest I could get to that price was still $1,000 more. So I sent them an email I got a pretty generic (automated) reply saying they would like to go over the details on the phone. That was fine with me so I called.

This is roughly how the phone conversation went.

“Hi, I’m calling about the 2015 Hyperstrada you had listed for 10k.”

“Hi! Thanks for calling, we got your email about the Hyperstrada, and I checked online to see what bike we had up and noticed that we had a small problem. Looks like we sold that bike. However, I have a 2016 that we can work with you on.”

At this point I’m thinking not nice things about dealerships and shitty sales people pulling scams. Like advertising a bike that just happens to have “just” sold. However, he goes on.

“I talked to my manager and we’ll give you the same price on the 2016.”

I took a second to process this.

“So you’ll sell me the 2016 for the same price. 10k?”

“Yes, we’ll sell it to you before tax (and blah blah blah) for $9,999.”

I had to think for another second, I did want the 2015, but the 16 was nice as well. And selling the newer bike for 10k was even better deal since the MSRP on them is over $14k. The do have a larger engine which wasn’t my thing, but a newer model would mean better bluebook for insurance if the worst happened. However, it really left me with only one thing to say. “Um… ok.”

Not that I committed completely right then, I still had to run it past the wife and a do little due diligence of looking at other dealers. The rest is history, figuring out a loan, insurance and the rest of process that buying a bike is.

Of course then I was left with the small problem that the bike was nearly 500 miles away from me.

 

For the curious here’s a link to the specs of the Hyperstrada 939

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Getting a New Motorcycle: Mandatory Mods?

I’m looking at getting a new motorcycle and I have a friend who is also looking at getting one soon too. The process of buying a bike is hard enough but once you have one there are things you should think about adding. Some are just for looks, others are just to make the bike more functional.

What things should you look at for the bike?

  • Frame sliders
  • Handle Bar Risers
  • More Comfortable Seat
  • Luggage/Top Case

These are all things that can change a bike from being good to amazing.

In the case of the frame sliders, make a bad moment in the driveway or a slow speed incident something you can pick up the bike and ride away from.

The middle two are obviously dependent on how crouched you sit on the bike and what the stock seat is like. Sometimes you just get used whatever your stock bike has, other times you’re crying after 100 miles in the stock seat. (Sadly I know this from personal experience.)

The last one is what takes a bike from being a toy to a legitimate replacement for a car in most situations. Adding the ability to get those groceries home is simply amazing, a top case also makes those camping trips easier as well.

This guys parks next to me all the time, I’m super jealous of his top case.

 

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Autumn Ride 2016: With Lots of Pictures

Getting away on a motorcycle is one of my most treasured activities. Some time on the road with no one but yourself to dictate your day and your pace. Solo riding is pretty amazing.

I also really enjoy motorcycle camping, and since I did not get to camp when we did the spring ride I wanted to do a fall trip. To top it all off with my hopes set on getting a new motorcycle it could also be the farewell ride with FrankenMonster.

All that put together shaped my plans. Which basically was ride north up the coast to Patrick’s Point and back again hitting all the good roads in between.

 

Nearly Packed and looking to hit the road.

I stopped in Stinson Beach to quick switch out my clear visor for a dark one, the sun was finally coming up.

 

The trip was fantastic. There were a few moments though that meant it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The first was a small anxiety attack while heading north on 101 that I already wrote about. The other stress worthy moment on the first day was when my fuel light came on really early about 20 miles past the last gas station and at least that far from the next one. It definitely made it hard to enjoy the Avenue of the Giants as much as I would have liked.

The last hiccup to the ride was my misguided attempt to ride an extreme mountain back road on a Ducati Monster. Too much gravel road and gravel in corners of the paved sections ruined the road.

The weather was perfect, sunshine and not cold along the coast and not to warm inland. Getting to ride the section of  Highway One that cuts inland from the coast to the avenue of the giants twice in one weekend was worth it by itself.  It was a lovely two days of riding.

Camping when on a solo motorcycle trip in pretty much mandatory. Last year when I did a solo trip I stayed in a hotel and it was horrible. Budget hotels are terrible, and fun sucking, and no a place to end an epic day on a motorcycle. Camping keeps the adventure going, the challenge of getting your tent up before dark (barely), getting a fire started (failed) and finding a place to eat (yum) are all part of the experience and keep the energy going. I do however need to remember to bring some earplugs into the tent with me. The forest is a lot noisier than my bedroom, I didn’t sleep that well.

Despite the lack of sleep the ride home was great, it’s nearly impossible to have a bad day on a motorcycle. Can’t wait to do something like that again.

Stopped in Jenner for a short break. These blue skys followed me all day long.

Skaggs Rd. Some will tell you it’s heaven for motorcycles. I’ll say it’s not bad, and probably better when there isn’t 5 miles of gravel road construction.

A break for breakfast on Skaggs Rd. There were some pretty parts.

Skaggs Rd. A good spot for breakfast.

Blue skies along the coast. So beautiful. Was hard to stop since I kept having to pass the same cars over and over again.

Love the Avenue of the Giants

It was an uncomfortable ride back to the campsite with the wood. Too bad it was a wasted effort.

It was getting dark as I set up camp.

You wouldn’t know it from this picture, but this road was awful.

Almost home.

 

Posted in Ducati Monster 620, ducati monster 695, FrankenMonster 695, Motocycling, Motorcycles, Riding, Travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why Do I Like Ducati So Much?

The other day my Aunt asked me what it was about Ducati that I liked compared all the other brands. I found it difficult to answer (in a one or two sentence facebook format), because in reality there is a lot to it.

Motorcycles are an emotional decision, because while there are lots of advantages to them motorcycles are not nearly as safe as other modes of getting around, and something has to push you past that.

Ducati definitely knows how to play on that, they don’t make bland motorcycles. Motorcycles that do their best to be characterful and inspire passion.

I haven’t owned very many motorcycles, but the difference between telling someone you ride a Ducati and a BMW is surprising. I never quite felt the same about the BMW, and I’m sure that is simmering around my subconscious as I try and decide what motorcycle to buy.


 

 

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Autumn Ride Pictures

Working on getting the words down for my Autumn ride.
Here’s some pictures that didn’t make the cut.

img_7794 img_7856 img_7846

Posted in ducati monster 695, FrankenMonster 695, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment