This morning I went on an old-fashioned cruise through the Texas Hill Country. We live close to a popular route for motorcyclists: RM 1431. The best stretch winds from Cedar Park to Marble Falls, filled with long sweepers, and many ups and downs. There are only a couple sharper bends, but nothing I’d call a twisty, and as long as you use the speed warning signs as your cue, you’ll be fine. In fact, I’d say the lowest your speedometer would drop to is maybe 45 mph / 72 kph, and I tend to ride conservatively.
I’ve ridden RM (Ranch-to-Market) 1431 many times, and it’s always really fun. It’s nice to just cruise at a leisurely pace or you can twist the wrist a bit and see what your motorbike can do. There are even several slow-vehicle passing sections too which can be helpful.
I prefer to ride in the early morning when there are barely any cars. On the way to Marble falls at 7:30 am, there were only a handful of other motorists, but on the way home, I saw a lot more cars and motorcycles heading in the other direction. So if you’re like me and prefer the open road, head out early!
Please check out the POV videos I recorded on the ride:
Today I took Kiki (my motorbike) to get its annual safety inspection. Truth be told, I don’t always do this every year, and as such, the registration lapses and I can’t renew it online. So once again, I have to go in-person to the county office to renew the registration. I’m too lazy!
Anyways, the inspection is cheap (US $7) and the guys at the shop are laid-back and friendly. Some of them also ride motorcycles, so there’s a nice kinship and the inspection always goes smoothly. 😄
I spent some time on my motorcycle practicing u-turns this afternoon, and I made good progress. U-turns are a source of anxiety for many riders, myself included, so it’s good to build confidence, and practice is the only way to get better.
Not only did I improve a lot today, but I realized that successfully executing a smooth, tight u-turn can be really satisfying and fun!
By the way, if you want to see motorbiking blog posts, I have another blog dedicated to it: Motofuji.net. Hope to see you there!
Today I have the day off from work (actually the whole week!) so I decided to have a bit of fun riding my motorcycle around. Motorcycling is an intense experience, where all five senses are on overload. But I also spent some time practicing skills that need some work: u-turns at full lock. For these exercises, I went to the elementary school’s parking lot, which is perfect because I can use the parking space markers to gauge my progress.
My goal is to comfortably make u-turns in either direction, with the handlebars at their maximum position (full lock). The correct way to do this is to look at where you want to go (way over your shoulder), then turn the handlebars and initiate the turn. The trick is to keep the proper speed where you are slow enough that you can keep the handlebars at full lock, but with enough speed that you can lean over without dropping the bike. The secret is to use clutch control while revving the engine a bit to avoid stalling. If you are sensing that you are falling over, then you need to let out the clutch and let the engine power bring you up again. But not too much that you come out of the tight turn.
It’s a real skill to do this well, and only practice will allow you build up the muscle memory to feather the clutch to adjust the power without consciously thinking about it. It’s my one big apprehension when riding, so it’s worthwhile to take the time to make some progress! And even if I feel like I didn’t do such a good job with my skill training, I know that it is progress towards getting better!
In the afternoon, I went for a nice bicycle ride to relax a bit. Bicycling is a wonderful activity. Super fun and good exercise! Plus you can clear your mind and see some great sights. I always feel great after a ride, even if it is just around the block to pick up the mail, but it’s a real treat when the route takes me to see sights like this: