Sunday, January 08, 2006

First ride of the year

I got up today and instead of seeing clouds outside I saw brilliant sunshine. At 10:00AM it was already 37 degrees outside. It was killing me that I needed help to get my bikes down to ride (for full explanation see blog entry for 1.7.06).

I wanted to ride!

I went in to the garage again and looked at the ST3. Yea, there was no way that I could sit on the bike and rock it off the center stand. It was leaning too much to the right and I’m not comfortable supporting the weight with my right foot. And it was facing the wall, the wall was so close to the front tire. What if I couldn’t stop the bike from rolling forward and it hits the wall and I fall down with it. What if I turn the handle bars and the bike falls to the right. I’ve never taken the ST3 off the center stand so I had no experience with this. Was getting the bike down worth drop it?

To be honest, the way it was leaning to the right, on my uneven garage floor, I was afraid of even sitting on it. I stood to the left of the machine and pretended what it would be like to push it off the center stand. I can’t do it. The reach to the brake is too far and the bike is already leaning to the right, if it starts falling I can’t save it. I walked around to the right side of the bike. Maybe, I can support the weight with my leg from this side, all I have to do is push it on the already extended kick stand. This can’t be that hard?

I opened the garage door, it was actually warmer outside than it was in the garage. It was beautiful out side. That's it. I was going to do it. But the 954 was too close to the ST3, I needed to move it. But even before that I wanted to start the ST3, I wouldn’t want to go though all the this work and have the bike not start.

I turned the key and pushed the start button, the bike roared to life as if I just rode it yesterday. Now I have to move the 954 out of the way. The Pitbull stands have wheels so I just pushed it across the garage floor and got it out of the way. I moved over to the ST3 and stood there to the right of it for a long, long time holding the handle bars imagining how this was going to play out. I couldn’t stand here any longer, I was either going to do this or not.

I pushed the bike forward and nothing happened. How hard do you have to push it? Oh yea, it’s facing uphill too. This time I really leaned in to it and I head the center stand retract, the bike didn’t really roll forward too much, I applied the front brake and all the sudden there was a lot of weight in my hands. I had to push the bike on to the kick stand although I couldn’t see it from here, I started to move the weight of the bike to the other side and finally the bike stopped, it was sitting on the kick stand. I think this uphill and leaning to the right actually worked out for me, the bike didn’t have to go very far over to the left for the kickstand to find the floor.

But what about the 954? Even though it had the trickle charger connected to it the whole time, I wasn’t sure it would start, after all the battery wasn’t very strong anymore. I disconnected the trickle charger and started it up. It started on the first try, strong. Wow! I should ride it. I took the front Pitbull stand from underneath front wheel but how was I going to do the back? I couldn’t hold the bike and remove the rear Pitbull stand at the same time. My neighbor was outside working on his car. I could hold the bike, I just needed for him to pull the Pitbull stand out very carefully, that can’t be too hard. I asked him for a hand and in less than a minute my 954RR was standing upright on the garage floor, I lowered it to the kickstand.

Both bikes running, both bikes were ready to ride. By 11:30AM I was riding the ST3 away form the suburbs. I was just planning to ride about 50 miles on this bike and come back and ride about 50 miles on the 954RR, top both bikes off with fresh gas and get to work.

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ST3 in Burlington, IL

I went exploring some new roads and before I knew it, it was getting late already and I was still 50 miles away from home. I pointed the bike toward home but the damage was already done. I arrived at the house 110 miles later, I was out there way too long and I still had to ride the other bike and go to work to finish my project. I grabbed something to eat really quick, put the ST3 in the garage, pulled the 954RR out and took off again, this time I would stay around the suburbs, since the sun was getting ready to set soon and the temperatures were going to drop quick.

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This is where the Blackhawks practice in the suburbs

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Pretty sunset near Bensenville, IL

While today’s temperatures were 43-45 degrees in the suburbs, it was only 38-40 degrees where I was riding. I got back to the house, I only managed to put 40 miles on the 954. Now the sun had already set. It was warmer riding the 954RR in the suburbs after it got dark, than riding the ST3 in the corn fields during the day.

At 6PM I dragged my ass to work, hopefully I can get done by 11PM. Well, I don’t regret it, even though I have to work late on a Sunday night now, I had a really nice ride today and the ST3 and 954 were running great. Not too shabby for the first ride of the year, on the first week of January.


Twist said...

If I can make a suggestion, you should split your blog entries so that the main page only shows the first paragraph or two, and you can click on the Read More link to see the whole post. Otherwise your main page takes too long to load with all the pictures and everything. You can see an example of what I'm talking about in my blog

This page here explains how to do it:

Jerry said...

Nice photos, nice ride, nice story. I lived in Chicago for several years (BA Physics, U of Chicago, 1980) and I think you're lucky to ride at all in Jan. Congratulations. Of course you could move to CA where we ride year round (980 miles Christmas weekend). I enjoyed your centerstand thread on ST forum. --Jerry

Rick said...

Arrrghhh you went riding and didn't give me a ring? :( So both of us riding solo:( I'm glad the 954 started! I think as long as you keep the float charger on it between the times you actually ride it, you won't need a new battery. In the warmer weather, the battery will have enough CCA to start the the frigid weather, it's old enough to be down on CCAs to not start the bike. But you have the new charger and addtional float charger, so order the adapter and we make a floater charger for the ST3.

VIVID1 said...


I had too many blog entries showing, 20... I changed that to 7. That should make it load faster.


I wasn't supposed to be riding, I was supposed to be working. It was great though. The last time I remember riding in January around here was 2001. I hope it continues this way until Spring.