Monday, June 27, 2011

Pat and Andy Join Lee on the Dark Side

You won’t find anything on Wikipedia about motorcycling on the “dark side.” In fact it’s hard to find information from conventional sources about the topic. A search of the internet will turn up videos on You Tube and posted comments pro and con from two camps; those that have gone to the dark side, and those who have not. I’ve noticed that those who are against it warn of tragic endings resulting in death. They have put their faith in “all the research” the industry has done on their products. Yet we have not found one incident posted that indicates a person’s motorcycle death resulted from his moving to the dark side. There are unfortunately plenty of death notices of people riding in the conventional way, with conventional equipment.

Those who have moved to the dark side, in fact want to keep under wraps the number of people who have converted for fear of big brother regulating us through the state and federal laws, or the insurance industry taking issue; a death worse than whatever fate the naysayers believe is in store for us. Yet, despite the controversy, Andy has been watching Lee riding the dark side for a year now with a bit of awe and indeed envy. So it came to be that as we both watched our rear tires wear away all too soon, he had me place an order for two car tires for our own cruisers.

The Vulcan goes first

Blaze waits her Turn

Blaze is up next.

Our local motorcycle dealer installed them for us on a Saturday afternoon. They dutifully gave us the party line, which I noticed to be delivered without emotion or judgment. We were treated cordially by Thomas, our technician, who took each bike for a test ride and reported his honest opinion of what he experienced. That was that, and off we went to test them out for ourselves.

Andy stopped 10 miles out and needed to adjust his air pressure right away (not the recommended method I might add). He adjusted mine too, although all I had felt was a bit of stiffness. Up and down the roadways, highways and byways we went until the sun went down. Blaze, as is her custom of being dignified, found no issue with the car tire she now sports on the back. We glided smoothly along. We did not encounter the dreaded “wobble” at high speeds. The Vulcan on the other hand seemed to be demonstrating a dislike for speeds of 80 to 85 mph by which Andy discovered firsthand what this “wobble” talk was all about.

Andy’s determination at finding the “sweet spot” carried us all over a tri-state area on Sunday. We headed west blasting up 101. We then meandered south to test the tires on back roads and twisties. Off we went again, high tailing it westward on route 2. At one stop for an ice cream, we even chatted with a local cop (who it turns out rides) about the bikes. Andy was proud to point out his car tire and even mention what happens at 80 and 85 mph. The officer, didn’t bat an eyelash, but did wave a friendly goodbye and asked us to keep it under 100 mph. The end of the day had us blasting once again up 91 until we crossed the Connecticut River back into NH at Charlestown. Andy never did find that sweet spot, but Blaze remained her unruffled self, and carried me home without giving that back tire another thought; probably because she’s thinking of those new Avon’s we won and will be installed in Carlisle in a month’s time. As for me; I profess to try just about anything at least once. This little trip to the dark side is for me, turning out to be not such a big deal after all.

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