Sunday, March 12, 2006

Weekend Riding

Met former spouse & friend, Ann, in Germantown for coffee Saturday morning at Royal Bakery & Deli, an incredibly good Bakery. Then knocked around the back roads until I ran into 32. Took 32 to Bob's, then to Annapolis, then to lunch at Adams Ribs in Edgewater before returning to the DC area.

Pictures from my phone camera are not of the highest quality, but I caught John Galvan giving some advice to a customer. John was suffering through the day with back troubles that have been with him for some time and resisting the temptation to take a pain pill that would put him in La-La land.

As I was leaving, I spotted a BMWBMW club family and had to get a picture. Sometimes a spouse and a family do not have to get in the way of riding! Here, it's the husband who is in charge of two kids. Very cool.

Next day, today, got up early to meet a group of friends in the BMWBMW motorcycle club for a ride to the monthly meeting at Morton's, a BMW motorcycle dealer in Fredericksburg, VA. The plan was to meet a few people for coffee, then to ride to the Lincoln Memorial to meet up with others for the ride to Fredericksburg.

We got off to a bad start, meeting for coffee. Woodside Deli did not open until 8 and we were suppose to meet at 7. I was the first to get there and discover it. The coffee shop and bakery, Heidi's, across the street was open and I had heard many times that it was an especially good place, also. So, I waited for a break in traffic, and scooted across the street into their parking lot. I ordered coffee and began eating a great cinnamon roll, then saw a member of the club who goes by the on-line name of "Wired Cur." I ran outside, waved to him, and he rolled over. While he was parking, and I was back at my table chatting to people at the next table, I looked up to see another member and friend who was just coming to a stop in the middle left-hand turn lane, get suddenly and forcefully hit from behind by a small SUV.

The next two words out of my mouth weren't polite. Several of us ran to help him and to get the broken bike and salvageable pieces out of the road. Thankfully, he had no major injuries, but instead of eating breakfast, we ran home to get his pickup truck, a short hop, then took the bike home and got his other bike to go to the meeting.

One of the casualties of the accident was a bell that several of the club riders put on their bikes for good luck.

The day improved after that. We arrived at the Lincoln Memorial just as a group who had met on a different side of the Memorial gave up on waiting for the main group of riders. They arrived at a light, coming from our left, the same time we did. They had a green light, and we were able to negotiate the stopped traffic on our side of the intersection and fall in behind them. What timing!

On the way out of the DC area, we stopped for gas at the Glebe Road exit from 66. This taught me a great meeting and jumping off point for future use. We then agreed just to take the highways, and about ten of us made the rest of the trip in good time in light early-Sunday-morning traffic. I was impressed, by some of the skill of our leader, in negotiating lane changes for us. He had a lot more experience in club riding than me, and the trick he pulled, getting in the next right lane and motioning for us all to pass him so that we could pull in ahead of him was very cool.

It was my first visit to Morton's, and that made it worth the drive, alone. Otherwise, it had been a long time since I had seen some of the faces who were there--since the Christmas party, anyway. The meeting was fun.

I purchased replacement parts for my helmet and a "Long Way Round" DVD.

After the meeting, several of us went to lunch at the Hard Times Cafe, next door. There I had the pleasure of sitting next to Henry Winokur, who is the manager of motorcycle safety training at Montgomery Community College, in Gaithersburg, where I'll teach--one of my bosses.

It gave me a chance to ask a question that was on my mind. In MSF training, we require that all braking include the use of all four fingers of the right hand applied to the front brake lever. In dirt riding, there are plenty of articles about doing otherwise. Riding in traffic, I often find myself cheating with fingers on both the throttle and the brake, knowing it will reduce my reaction time if I need to brake.

He pointed out that the risk of not using the all four fingers is that the brake on some bikes won't be able to be fully applied if fingers are trapped between it and the throttle. Good point. Just because my bike's brake lever is adjusted so this won't happen, who knows when I might be riding a bike that is not.

I have already learned two reasons for using both front and rear brakes even though I have an integrated braking system along with ABS. One, you want to have good habits for when you ride another bike--such as a loaner from your dealer, during service. Two, it turns out that the integrated bikes do not use both the front disc brakes until you use the front brake lever. It was good to get some good advice over chili.

Then, even better, Henry got out a map and sorted out some of the back roads off of Highway 1, further North, that took us to 66, instead of slabbing 95 to the beltway. The back roads of Virginia were a nice treat, with horse ranches, and a refreshment break at Arden for more conversation between fellow BMW riders. One of whom was Frank Parisi who has a business selling motorcycle accessories on the Internet: BMW MOCS.

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