Monday, May 4, 2009

Glitches and Optimism

Now that the riding season is in full swing I am riding more and writing less as you may have noticed. Not that there isn’t loads to write about, but it is sort of like washing the bike. If it’s a nice day to wash the bike, it’s also a nice day to ride. Which do you think I would choose? The same goes for writing.

The last weekend of April proved to be absolutely fantastic weather-wise as the temperatures soared into the 90’s. Andy and I took the opportunity to ride with our favorite couple on April 25th in what I like to call the Cheshire County Loop. (More about this loop in a subsequent post.) On Sunday April 26th I rode with my sister and her new/old boyfriend. There’s a story there too, but I’ll leave that to her. It is her boyfriend who rides. He has a police model Harley. The bike is gorgeous! He is also a policeman, so we obeyed all the traffic rules, although I don’t think he’s a stickler.

The weather prediction for this past weekend didn’t look so promising, but on Saturday, when we opened our eyes to sun, we jumped on the bikes and headed to Danvers Massachusetts to joint the Northshore RIMBY (Ride In My Backyard.) So many people showed up that we split into three groups. The organizer, who is new to NER, led the first group with the folks from his Meet Up group. GoldwingBob headed up the next group with all New England Rider folk. Andy and I joined Wingman with a ragtag group of Meet Up and NER folk, although the NER folk seemed to be under represented.

Since JHLPhoto who sponsored the ride is new to NER and does not own a GPS, GoldwingBob took the Streets and Trips Map and converted it to MapSource which works with Garmin. Four of us in Wingman’s group downloaded the file from the NER website, activated the route and off we went. We arrived at the first stop, Seacoast Harley, and chatted a bit with the other two groups before they were off again. Then off we went too, our destination Rye New Hampshire for lunch.

We all merrily followed the GPS route into New Hampshire, but here is where the glitch began. All of us, following the GPS route assumed the same thing. That although it didn’t seem we were heading to Rye, maybe it had something to do with the “no stoplight” feature of the ride. On we went without concern. My stomach started to tell me I’d missed lunch. Then about an hour and half past our stop time, one of the newer members finally spoke up at the next stop sign.

It appeared we were headed back to the start. One of the locals in our group turned us around and we did make it to Rye for lunch. It was now after 3:00 pm. The other two groups had come and gone. In the discussion that followed on Sunday, we surmise that because no specific way point was marked for lunch add to the fact that the route crisscrossed itself, the GPS formed a route that followed all the via points exactly. We are still a bit confused. Of the three groups we managed to have the highest mileage, so we are sticking to that for bragging rights.

Once home, I had another statistic to add to my treasure trove. My new bike is as optimistic with the speedometer as my last bike by 5 miles per hour. I tend to trust what the GPS is telling me, and the bike consistently indicated a speed that was 5 miles faster than the GPS displayed. Once again, the folks on the forum seem to agree, that most makes of motorcycles tend to be optimistic in this way. Go figure?

The GPS glitch was a good lesson for me as I am currently tweaking a route of my own. I will be sure to test the route, label the via points carefully and make clear each way points for stops. On the RIMBY ride, those of us GPS equipped were not concerned at all and happily followed the route wherever it wanted to take us. The non-equipped group knew full well we were off track. It was their shyness at being in a new group that kept them from speaking up sooner. There is another lesson here too, one I don’t find so comforting and would rather not articulate.


Baron's Life said...

sounds like you had a wonderful weekend know I'm thinking of getting a GPS myself. If for nothing else, the statistics.

Baron's Life said...
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