Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006's parting shot

Any year that I'm still around to reflect upon couldn't have been all bad, but 2006 was far from my favorite year of motorcycling. Work requirements, family schedule, unexpected medical issues and extreme weather conditions conspired to keep me off two wheels a good bit of the time. I had so much non-riding time on my hands in 2006 I even had time to start up a stupid little website!

My mileage for the year was around 4,000, the lowest in years. Much of that total was commuting; I wasn't able to take any trips, including my sorta-annual trip to Americade. Nor did I have more than a handful of long Sunday-morning rides. Worse, my best shot at a really long ride on a nice twisty route ended early when one of the group I was leading encountered a surface defect in mid-corner, got stood up and soon thereafter discovered that full-dress Harleys don't make good dirt bikes. Fortunately, the rider suffered no serious injuries and a couple of hours of roadside battle-damage repairs had his bike back on the road.

2006's last insult was on Friday. I left my office early and had an enjoyable ride home via some excellent twisty back roads in the Brandywine Valley. But about 100 feet from my driveway, I felt the rear tire run over something that I hoped was merely a rock. In the garage, I discovered a piece of metal sticking out of the tire. It was larger in diameter than a nail and it took a lot of work with my pliers to yank it out to discover it was a cylindrical machined piece of hardened steel about 2" long. I have no idea what the cylinder is for, other than flattening Bridgestones that is. The tire had about 6K on it and was getting a bit squared-off from commuting anyway, so now I have a good excuse for replacing it. As well, my front tire is starting to cup as well so I'll likely order a set from my favorite tire vendor, Southwest MotoTire. I think I'll also take the opportunity to train myself on the use of the Stop 'n' Go tire plugger I bought a couple of years ago to replace my old kit. I guess it would be nice to familiarize myself with the kit before I need it some day on a roadside in the middle of nowhere, plus having a kit and knowing how to use it probably guarantees I'll never need it.

Well, here's wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable 2007, hopefully with many miles of tilted horizons!


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