Archive for September, 2016

Love the Lean

The layers were in the jacket but zipped in wrong. Thinking it might not make a difference would be easy but fixing them was more prudent. Comfort, after all has a real value on a brisk morning ride. I holstered my 9mm Glock, fitted the vest and slid on the white and black, fully armored riding jacket and zipped it to test the fit. With the vest, holstered Glock, rain liner and warmth liner all stuffed in the mesh and armored jacket it was snug and comfortable.

I slipped on the helmet and turned on the U-Clear. I pulled the phone from my pocket and turned on the Sirius App, tuned in a station with Praise and Worship and had instant stereo in my helmet. All that was left was to mount the 1200cc Octane and start it. I don’t know what it is about men and machine. There is a feeling as the bike comes upright off the stand and the throaty rumble comes from the twin cylinder pipes. The nearly instant heat rising from the exhaust and the slight vibration of finely tuned hundred and five horses mounted in the frame as I sit gives sure feeling of expectancy of a good ride. All of the senses come to focus on that one thought and there is a solid clunk as the Victory goes into gear. Out comes the clutch and the motion towards friends I ride to meet is welcome.

At the fuel stop, our starting point, there are already two that arrived before me. I park and break my hot coffee out of the saddle bag and we say hellos. A Harley Davidson three-wheeler and one of three Indian cruisers that will be riding this morning are present and the three of us riders exchange what we have been doing since the last ride. A Honda hits the ramp, wearing racing badges and straight pipes and the rider always rolls the throttle a couple of times as he pulls to the pump for gas to keep his ponies happy. I cannot help but comment on the really mean and aggressive sound of the pipes and cylinders seeking more oxygen as the pistons fire. It is like a warning, “no matter what I am coming.” The Black Star and Two more Indians arrive and the husband and wife, Slim and Gypsy who host the ride take a head count and we all chat bikes and our destination in Loman Idaho for lunch. We have one rider whose bike is broken so he brings his Corvette that he may have lunch with us. This is a group that loves the lean on the machine and we are all ready to hit the road. Somebody yells that we are burning daylight and in a moments time nine bikes fire up and we leave with a white 76 Vette bring up the rear.

This is late September and the ride will take us over Mores Creek Summit over 6000 ft. I love this ride. The road starts out below the Arrowrock Dam, just twenty minutes east of Boise. As soon as the road allows we are up to speed and the cool air rolling over the windshield and across the legs feels great as we accelerate to hi way speeds. The smell of the fresh air as we run up the Boise River is invigorating. We are staggered in pairs and the sound of the bikes in front of me is part of the joy the senses find in the ride. Coming into a corner on a bike at speed is an awesome and exhilarating feeling. I watch the three bikes in front of me as they lean left and I feel my bike roll into the turn as I accelerate. The Octane will lean thirty-two degrees before a foot rest touches the ground and there is a slight rub of the boot heel on the pavement once you reach this point. Something that will never be felt when out for a ride in the family car.

If you don’t ride you probably do not realize the bike wants to stay up because the wheels are like a gyro. A road like this is awesome as we get on the east side of the Arrowrock backwaters and slip into the mountains the turns increase in number and there is a great variation in severity and speed of the turns. There are many sensations that one realizes the fresh pine scent and the flow of the river as we go upstream. The shadows from the trees flicker with varied intensity and as we go through the turns it is like watching a wing of fighter planes peel off and fall in file to attack a target. Of course, we are only attacking the thrill of the road and the slight competitive edge of each one to the other.

You cannot run this without seeing the Kayak enthusiast and rafters running the river. There are many getting the run in before the season ends just like us.  We are running HI way 21 and quickly arrive at Idaho City. The next part of the run up over Mores Creek Summit is a real treat with a climb from 3906 elev. at Idaho city to 6118 at the summit. I love this on the Octane, there are switchbacks that require some technical riding and there is incredible scenery if you slow and look over the mountains. The cool temperatures actually add to the joy of this ride and we had the good fortune to see the beginning of the fall colors. The pale and bright contrasts of yellow and orange, amber and green mixed with clear air and blue sky with some white clouds all accented with the smell of fall.

I think one of the reasons I love to ride and love the lean is it takes all of your focus and nothing is on the mind but the ride and the elements surrounding you. You have to watch for rocks on the road and if you don’t already know the rider must look through the turn to where he is going to be if he wants to cut a line that keeps the road under the tires. I have always like to feel a machine perform and it doesn’t matter what it is. Eighteen wheeler, airplane, muscle car, dirt bike or road bike and even a CAT D10 . It is the man and machine thing I mentioned. In this ride, the Octane is a real thrill. most of the climb I run in second and third gear. The Octane has an 8300 rpm rev limit and plenty of torque to come from the three thousand range up. Accelerating through corners or holding power increases traction and stability and these two gears let me run from twenty-five to ninety-five mph with no trouble. It also helps on the downhill side when we rapidly lose over two thousand feet. Fun multiplied and I thank the Lord for a safe and exhilarating ride every time.

Arriving in Lowman is time to have lunch and stretch the legs. We pull up at Trudy’s Kitchen (Trudy Jackson) where you can find RV space, cabin rental and of course what we are after today, Great Food. It is like coming home to mom’s and I had the best burger I have eaten this year. I had skipped breakfast so the burger was two 1/4# patties, over easy egg, bacon and cheese and pure culinary joy. The conversation with friends and yes, it was like family, discussing kids, cars, bikes, trips and a few jokes. Sine we are retired or semi-retired there are old guy stories and just a moment of life with a pleasure of good company. How can one not like this kind of riding? Hence a part of why the I love the lean.

I could tell you about the return, it is a story of its own as the road is a bit faster and the jackets came off as the temperature warmed; but then I would have to tell as much as I already have. If you do ride you know what it is about. If you have never ridden this loop it is a place to look forward to. Next time I am going to take the route from Lowman to Banks, Stanly, Sun Valley and Fairfield which is a whole different set of friends and stories. Mostly, it will be more of loving the lean and feeling a oneness with a two-wheeled machine. At sixty-nine, I find I am still packing the teen with me and hear the call to adventure.

God Bless and if you are the same, Love the Lean.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: