Friday, January 07, 2011

The New Harley

I picked up a new motorcycle on Tuesday. No, I didn't trade in my Fatboy—she's still in the garage ready to go. But the sad part is that I sold my Caddy to get it. I don't want to dwell on selling the Caddy—she had been part of my life for the past 11 years. And all of us had spent wonderful times in that Caddy. But she was really just parked in the garage for the past five years, rarely getting out due to one problem or another, and it was time to pass her on to someone else who I hope will get as much joy out of her as I did.

In my strange “practical” side of thinking, I bought a new Harley Sportster today. “Practical” in that my reason for getting a Sporty was to use it as my everyday rider—one that will get over 50 miles-per-gallon. And with gas prices over the $3.00 mark locally, it was probably a good time to pick one up. Weather-permitting, I will ride the Sporty daily to work, leaving the Fatboy for weekend ventures.

Riding it home this week has been a bit strange. First, I had really forgotten how “small” the Sportser is—or at least how “small” it feels. The novice wouldn't notice this if they just saw me riding it on the street. But the rider knows the difference. It has a much lower profile than my Fatboy, it is thinner, it feels “lighter”, and it just feels “small.” To be sure, it gets up to freeway speeds pretty quickly. It is quite the perky bike. It has more than enough power too to fully compete with freeway traffic. But because of the frame-mounted engine, it shakes like crazy and is clearly not as “smooth” of a ride as I get on my Fatboy.

Because it's a 2004 model, it also has a “choke” that I need to use when starting it up. Interesting process. I haven't used a choke since I drove my dad's 1936 Ford pickup (there's a story behind that truck). I'm sure I'll get the hang of that, but I know I'll be off the mark more than once over the next few weeks. I'm just glad that the bike is garage-kept—that will keep it from getting too cold to start properly.

At this time, I don't have many plans to “modify” the bike in any way. I am sure I'll add a small detachable windshield, and I may end up putting a pair of bags on it. My hope is that eventually Susan will get her license and ride the Sporty with me on trips—with Devin on my bike riding with me. She seems ready for this, though I know she still loves riding on the back of the Fatboy with me. I also plan to give this bike to Devin when he turns 15. I really want Devin to be my riding partner in the future. I think we could have some real fun with it.

It's a good way to start off the New Year—with a new motorcycle. I'm really looking forward to riding it a bit more over the next few weeks. I just hope the weather holds out—it's been beautiful, but cold.

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