A couple weeks ago I bought my wife a bike. It was her idea and there was no pressure from me. So every few days, I’ll ride it to a local park with a big empty parking lot so she can ride while we wait to get her into an MSF class.
I showed her what I could remember from the MSF course, and let her run with it. She’s doing really well too! One day we decided to take a ride around our neighborhood and I followed on my bike. She is still a bit wobbly and lacks confidence, but is getting better every time.
What does this have to do with the “Long Way Down” series? Well, when I wrote my original review I was pretty critical of Ewan deciding to let his wife tag along on part of the trip. She was extremely inexperienced on a motorcycle and slowed Ewan and Charlie down.
Ewan and his wife Eve during “Long Way Down”
But now, having taken a short ride with my wife, I would follow her around the world with a huge smile on my face! It wouldn’t matter that she can’t go as fast as I would like too, just riding with her was freaking awesome.
Call me a sentimental cheeseball, I don’t care. My wife is my buddy, and now that she is riding that’s one more thing we can do together!
I took the XT to work today. It only has 1700 miles on it and it needs more! Couple things jumped out at me very quickly…
It’s way too short for me. I’m not exactly sure how much it has been lowered, but add in that the seat has been shaved and it quickly becomes very uncomfortable. That being said, it’s still a hoot to ride. The thing weighs almost nothing, and you can really whip it around.
The headlight is much better then the one on my DR. I’m pretty sure it’s stock too. I’ll be looking for DR headlight upgrades soon!
It’s really weak compared to the DR. I can’t compare it to anything though, but I’m sure it’s fine. Just going to take getting used to having less power.
First gear is ridiculously low. By the time the clutch is out it’s time to shift to second. I guess it will be great offroad, but adding a tooth in the front will probably help.
It’s a little buzzy. People warned me that a thumper would be buzzy when I bought my DR. Until now I had no idea what they were talking about. There is some engine vibrations at higher speeds that you can feel through the pegs and seat. It’s not bad, but on a cross country trip, I would be doing my best to stick to roads with a sub 50mph limit.
All in all I’ve put about 70 miles on it since we got it. I really like it, but if it wasn’t my wife’s bike I would be raising the suspension back up, and getting a more comfy seat!
A few weeks ago (about the same time I started riding more) my wife expressed a bit of interest in getting her own bike! So the hunt was on for a bike that would fit her. She’s short, so the options were pretty limited. So short, in fact, that there isn’t a dual sport out there that she could even tip-toe without lowering it.
As luck would have it there was a guy at the local trail riders club that had a line on a lowered XT225. So, to make a long story short, it’s now sitting in my garage! We picked it up last weekend and spent a couple days cleaning the carb, and doing some general maintenance. It’s a 1997 with only 1,650 miles! It’s got a Clark tank, Acerbis hand guards nice little tail rack, and some good tires too boot!
I rode it to a local park while she followed me in the car. I gave her some pointers and she hopped on and took to it like a duck to water. After a pretty short time she was zipping around the parking lot having a good time. Now we just need to try to get into one of the booked full MSF courses before I teach her a bad habit!
Let me back up a bit…We went to a local place to get her a helmet and gloves. After trying on a bunch of helmets she decided on a Bell. She didn’t want to get a very expensive helmet until she was sure she liked riding. Here’s the odd part. She could only fit into an XXL Bell! Ok, she’s got a huge grape…but my HJC is only a large and she swims in it?!? And I couldn’t squeeze into her helmet. At first I thought maybe she was just trying on the kids sizes until we went to another store and it was the same deal. I guess Bell doesn’t make a helmet for my head. I bet there’s more then one person that has gotten embarrassed trying on their helmets!
The funny thing about her not wanting to spend a bunch on a helmet until she knew she would like riding…now she’s looking at Aerostich jackets! Nothing like going from a $100 helmet to a $500 jacket to say you like riding!
I bought a pair of riding pants a couple months ago to complete my ATGATT set. I was riding in jeans for awhile. I know…shame on me!
Anyway, after forever of trying to decide on a good pair of pants I finally settled on the Firstgear TPG Escape pants. And I freaking love them! I can even get them on over my boots! They are very comfortable, the adjustment in the waist is perfect, and they are 100% waterproof!
My only complaint, and it’s really just my fault, is that the knee armor seems like it should be higher up in the pants. The armor is adjustable, and I have mine set all the way up, but with a straight leg (like while walking) the top of the armor is just barley at the top of my kneecap. When I’m sitting on the bike it’s perfect, so I don’t think it’s a problem, but I had to put something negative or it wouldn’t be a proper review!
The Pace Motorcycle Podcast is doing a pretty cool event/contest type thing where you go and take a picture of your bike in front of something and send them the picture. Different things are worth different amounts of points. I’ll be hitting this one pretty hard this year. I like random things like that. So I’m odd…what’s it to ya!
The other thing I’ll be continuing this year is playing photo tag. It’s pretty much the same thing as what The Pace is doing, but it’s more local.
The idea is; someone takes a pic of their bike someplace interesting, then posts it in a forum. Then you ride to that spot and take a pic of your bike there. Now you’re “it” and get to post the next picture for someone else to find.
I’m also working on a silly project of taking a picture of my bike in front of all the County Courthouses in Ohio. I think the person that came up with the idea lives in a small state. There are 88 counties in Ohio. I’ve only gotten three so far! I’ve got a long way to go!
The only “big” trip I’ll be doing this year is the trans WV trail. It will probably only be a few nights, but I don’t have very much vacation time so it will have to do. The plan is to head down the evening of the 3rd, then start the ride the morning of the 4th. Tentatively, it will be a total of 4 nights and the return trip will be in a big van with all the bikes in a trailer. That beats hitting the super slab the whole way home! It would be an iron butt ride to make it in one day, (At least on a DR it would be!) and I don’t have the time to make it a two day ride home.