dual sport motorcycle

A Beautiful Day to Ride

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve had a chance to take the bikes out. (Too darn hot!) We eagerly took advantage of the fall weather this past weekend and headed out to the Vernon Enduro Trails, near Leesville, LA. It was a beautiful, perfect day. Low 70’s, low humidity so that it felt cool, but not chilly. Clear blue skies. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.

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We rode for close to 4 hours, our longest day out yet, and covered about 28 miles. My quads are talking back to me today (from all the standing while maneuvering over roots and fallen trees.)

Newsflash! I stayed upright the entire time! It was my first day without a spill or running into a tree. Awesome.

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We found this great spot for practicing hill climbs and just playing around.

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The picture DOES NOT do justice to the size or scale of the area. The camera really flattens the scene and changes the perspective. They look like itty bitty little nothing hills. I feel ridiculous telling you that I almost wouldn’t go up the one on the far left; but I did. This would have been a great area to take some video but we didn’t bring the GoPro. (Next time for sure.)

Since we couldn’t get video, after playing for a bit we took a break and then Don had an idea to stage a picture. Here he is setting up the bike.

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So I could pose with it. LOL

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The bluetooth headsets we purchased for riding are so incredibly useful; I feel like I can’t even describe how meaningful it is to be connected and able to talk continuously. It completely enhances the experience. We aren’t just two people silently participating in the same activity. Don is able to alert me of obstacles that are coming up or coach me more directly when needed; and it just allows us to share thoughts or ideas while riding instead of riding in silence and stopping and trying to yell to one another through helmets, or having to go through the process of taking off our gear before we can visit.

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Another great day of adventure and good times. 🙂

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
~ Aristotle 

Trail Riding

In-between all the movies and cooking, we do still get out occasionally and do other activities. 🙂

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In fact, almost two months ago we took a motorcycle safety course so I could get my endorsement to be legal to ride on the road. (Our bikes are dual sport, legal for the road, but rugged enough to ride on trails as well. GREAT combination.)

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Don had to refresh his course certification also due to a new regulation with the military. I am glad we had an excuse for him to take it alongside me. I was crazy nervous; I’m not the best about learning new things. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the class (so did Don.) I learned a few tips and tricks that hadn’t come up in my trial-by-fire sessions on the trail. Don is a great teacher but he’s been doing it for so many years that some things come so naturally to him that he doesn’t think to spell them out for Miss Newbie. I also didn’t anticipate that everyone else in the class would have absolutely ZERO experience on a bike so the fact that I had been out a few times already on trails, and we had our own bikes to use in class, set us apart slightly. Most of our classmates treated us like we were both pros. LOL  Little did they know. Pro? Don. Yes. Me? Heck no. But it made me feel good and we had a lot of fun that weekend.

Now, when we go trail riding we can cut back to the parking lot using the forest roads and main roads if needed. Don’s also eager to get me out on the regular road to get more experience on-road and with traffic. I must admit, I am a little nervous about that. But I’m sure it will be less intimating the more I ride, just like everything else.

We also have some new gadgets to go with our riding hobby as well – a GoPro Hero3 and headsets so we can talk while riding.

The GoPro is a fun accessory. It’s a tiny little video camera that you can mount to your hobby toy (kayak, surfboard, snowboard, helmets, bicycle, you name it) and you can take video as well as still shots with it. The first photo in this post is one of our first still shots we took with the GoPro the first day we took it out. There was a slight learning curve to use it but we got it figured out in a couple of trips.

Here’s a one minute clip of me riding; I asked Don to mount the camera backwards so you could see me riding from the front, rather than me riding in the lead and watching the back of my bike.

I like the different view but he’s a traditionalist and seems to like facing the camera front.

The headsets are not just a fun accessory, they are essential, and beyond awesome. It is such a relief to be able to talk to one another without having to stop, try to yell over the bike, and/or through the helmets. We don’t have to press any buttons or do anything while riding. We just turn the headsets on when we start out and we stay connected the entire ride. When Don is riding in the lead, he lets me know what obstacles are coming up which is a nice benefit. We don’t have to stop to check in with one another which lets us keep going for longer periods. It’s really incredible and so worth every penny. It enhances the entire experience to have constant contact with the other person.

And, it turns out, the GoPro even picks up our conversations. Nice.

Here’s one last video for you; it’s only 40 seconds. Me and my goofy self crossing the biggest obstacle I’ve had to face yet.

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The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.
~ Oprah Winfrey

A New Adventure

We brought home some new toys last night – dual sport Yamaha TW200‘s.

Don can barely contain his glee. He’s been riding things like this since he was about 5. Me, not so much. My dad bought me a 3-wheeler ATV when I was around 5 but I wasn’t sure about it. One of my fearless friends at my birthday party jumped on for a ride. I watched and pondered whether I was brave enough and she promptly tipped herself off going over uneven ground. That was all the confirmation I needed that it wasn’t for me. LOL  I think it sort of became my sister’s after that. I may have ridden it some, probably with her, but I really can’t remember.

I’ve been a passenger on many a motorcycle, both with my dad when I was young, and with Don. And we’ve had our own 4-wheel ATV which I enjoyed immensely. But I never had to learn gears or shifting or any of that. This is going to be a new experience for me.

Luckily these bikes are perfect for the beginner rider. To some they are not much more than a glorified scooter. Not a lot of power, lightweight, and small with fat tires. We can ride them both on and off-road but it will be mostly off-road for me until I get the hang of things and take a motorcycle safety course for my on-road endorsement. I don’t see myself doing a lot of on-road riding but it may come in handy some day so I might as well learn and have the ability. Don hopes to do some commuting to work with his bike. They get about 78 mpg so they can make a great commuter vehicle if you don’t have far to go or much gear to pack.

I had my first crash course in riding last night. We got home from the dealership after dark so we just stayed in our apartment complex and we puttered around it twice, me in first gear only. I only killed the engine once and throttled too much by accident another time. No harm, I just went a little faster than I was prepared for. LOL  Being around all the parked cars, and some neighbors pulling in or out of the complex was a little nerve-wracking. My hands were sore from death gripping the handles when we were done. I will need much more practice in unpopulated places like the woods or the beach as I learn the finer points of shifting and maneuvering. At least I didn’t fall or hit anything last night!

We would be out riding today if it wasn’t raining like mad. Figures. 🙂

Happiness is a state of activity.
~ Aristotle