Honda Africa Twin: The Long Way Home

Good friends will help you move. Awesome friends buy new motorcycles and leave them in your garage to ride.

I happen to have an awesome friend. In fact he’s been bugging me for weeks (basically since he got it) to take it for a ride. Sadly with everything else in my life going on it took a while. (Plus my newish motorcycle is pretty amazing.)

However, last week I finally got it out of the garage and onto the streets, and I’m glad I did. The Honda Africa Twin is a fun motorcycle, and I’m pretty sure that if I was riding in Africa it would be the bike to take. It’s got the long suspension to handle the crappy roads and plenty of grunt to keep you out of  the way of the crazy drivers. Both of which Africa* has lots of. I enjoyed the ride height, and had fun playing with the DCT.

Though I have to say that early in the morning when it’s still dark, is not the time to try and figure out a new motorcycle. I had a bit of an adventure trying to get on to the freeway while somehow stuck in first gear. (I thought DCT would be a no brainer… apparently I was mistaken)


Since there is no way better for me to get the feel of a motorcycle than taking it on the Long Way Home, that’s what I did. The huge variety of different riding that “The Long Way Home”  has certainly gave me a sense of what I like and didn’t like about the bike.

Liked:
The lazy easy rider nature of the DCT, it was fun to just zip around town and the Highway and not worry about shifting.
The Ride Height is awesome, it’s great to see over traffic with a clear view of the road ahead of you.
Shifting in “manual” mode is fun. just use the paddles, which in some corners is much easier than using your foot.

Disliked:
The DCT on sporty roads is not good enough, even in the “sport” setting. You need to switch to manual.
It’s heavy and tall, which means it can be tough to move around the garage or any really slow situations.

Overall the bike is great. I’m not sure I’d buy one since it’s made for a type of riding that I just don’t see myself doing anytime soon/ever. The narrow front tire makes me a bit nervous in the twisty bits. I struggled to get comfortable with riding the bike at a fast pace. Part of this was just not knowing the bike well and also part of it was not wanting to crash my friends new motorcycle!

Now I really a BMW GS, (I wonder if one of my friends still has his?) and compare the two, since those bikes are definitely more direct competitors.

I think the best thing riding another new bike was that it just made me love mine more.

 

*Well my experience of Africa which is only Tanzania and Egypt.

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Last Ride Before the (Blueberry of) Doom Arrives

My little girl will be joining us soon, October 4th is the ETA, but we all know that is just a date that means very little, since it could come anytime now.

Knowing this I planned one last ride on the motorcycles with some friends. Originally I was hoping to do something a little crazy and longer, but the realities of planning with a good dose of procrastination meant that it was just a few of us who managed to meet up at a Starbucks at 7:30 Sunday Morning.

I couldn’t get the map to show the whole route, but this is most of what we did. Minus a detour around a bicycle race.

https://goo.gl/maps/9X3dZC4jZSK2

The heat and traffic made us head back earlier than we planned. We cut out a big loop of Pescadaro Road that we’ve done a few times and enjoy. Over all it was good to get out even though it wasn’t  something really crazy. (I really wanted to head north to Fort Bragg and do an epic 300-400 mile ride.)

Wish me luck with the new challange!


 

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New Aerostich Suit

I got an unexpected package in the mail last Thursday, my new Aerostich R3 motorcycle suit came.

It’s been ages, since I ordered it, but with the all the craziness in my life it’s mostly my fault for taking so long to mail it back to them…

Which needs explaining.

Getting an Aerostich the right way is a bit of a process. Not too much of one but it does take time, so patience is required. What you do is you look at the sizing chart on the website and order the one that you think will fit you the best. Then once it arrives you try it on, and if it fits perfectly your done. However, this is very unlikely and I think it’s worth a little (comparatively) extra money to make if fit exactly. They can adjust just about everything, and you just send the suit back with the adjustments you want made and they make you a custom suit. If you’re not sure what adjustments to make they can help you on the phone, or you can get a tailor to help you. I’m lucky with the fact that my wife designs clothing, so I just had her help me with what to change on the suit.

This is why this took so long. It took me about three weeks with the suit to finally get the measurements made and send the suit back to them. By the time I did this it was mid summer and the busiest time of year for them. So it took a few weeks to get my completed suit to me.

I’m really happy with it so far. I’ve only ridden to and from work, though I did take the long way home and it was the hottest day of the year (record breaking heat) so I did get to test the breathability of the suit. Which is pretty good I think. The R3’s main difference to my old Roadcrafter is that it’s unlined. I like this as I really don’t like nylon against my skin when it’s hot. Sweating into nylon is gross. So I always had to wear a long sleeve shirt no matter how hot it got. So not only does the suit seem to breathe better, it also allows that air get right to my arms which was nice. I really wasn’t miserable until my bike was saying it was over 107. Not moving sucked too, but not moving sucks at anything above 80.

The only bad thing about the new suit is the fact that the fabric is new and really stiff. I hope it breaks in soon, it’s just not as comfy as my old suit… except that it’s cooler.

 

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My Garage… My Poor Garage

My world is in for a huge change and I’m not ready, and I’m not sure I can be. I was ready for some changes, or at least aware of things that are going to be happening soon. There will be dirty diapers, and sleepless nights and crying (plus the baby will be crying too!).

So much for being reserved for motorcycles

I was not aware however that I would lose a good part of my garage to the kid… I mean sure I figured there would be a bicycle and someday hopefully a motorcycle down there for her, but I’ve already lost it to all this stuff… that apparently she “needs”.

It’s making it hard to get anything done down there, I’m weeks late on changing the oil on my motorcycle, and even looking at tire pressure or my chain is a pain.

Well soon I won’t have time for any of that anyways, so I guess I won’t care as much.

 

 

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Almost as Good: New Motorcycles

What’s the next best thing to getting a new motorcycle? Having your friend get one for you to keep in your garage!

My good friend in NYC purchased a new motorcycle to zip around on out here.  I’d like to introduce you all to the Honda Africa Twin DCT.

I haven’t really been able to ride it, but my friend says  it’s amazing.

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Bonus Good Deed for the Week

Strangely enough my week continued to be interesting. While walking to get coffee (chai tea) I came across two motorcyclists looking at the bottom of a 2016 Triumph Street Twin with a small puddle of oil underneath it. I had to ask if they needed help.

They answered no, but as we chatted it turned out that they could use an allen wrench set which I had on my motorcycle.

Not a big deal, but it is always great to chat with other riders. Helping them even a little bit making it better.

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My Good Deed of the Week

While walking to my office talking on the phone to my wife I heard a crunch from behind me. It sounded a bit odd, but when I glanced behind me I didn’t see anything weird, so I continued on my way. However, since I wasn’t done talking to my wife by the time I got to my building I turned around and headed back. I walked back to see two women staring at a motorcycle, I couldn’t exactly make out what they were saying but it sounded to me as if they backed into it. I looked at it as I walked by but didn’t see anything.

Then I noticed they got in the car with out leaving a note. In a fit of just in case I decided to snap a picture of the plate as they drove off. I then decided to take a closer look at the bike and sure enough the rearset was completely busted.

I left a note and my business card on the bike letting the owner know that I had a picture of the plate and to contact me.

Sure enough an hour later he contacted me and I gave him a copy of the photo. Later I spoke to the police telling them what I saw and heard, while not enough to accuse them of hit and run it was enough for them to help the owner of the motorcycle track them down. Luckily the owner of the car decided to exchanging insurance information was the right thing to do.

Who knows what would have happened had I not gotten the photo, I’m just glad I was there and could help a fellow motorcyclist out.

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