Monday, September 11, 2006

More Reading.

I'm safely back from Idaho. Total mileage was 1403. No matter how you cut the trip, there's a lot of time spent riding in a straight line. Although, given a week and a map I could find an awful lot of fun roads in some of those areas I skirted. Sometimes I just had to content myself with looking over the top of the hills and remembering fun rides from the past. Time is always an issue these days, it seems. I need to throw my clock off a cliff and navigate by the passing of moon phases, I guess. As it was, the trip home was 9 hours with just a couple of small detours.

Spokane was a trip. It's been so long since I've been there. How it's grown! I saw a motorcycle class in progress right beside I-90 near what looks like an abandoned airport control tower. There's a crane next to the tower so maybe it's being updated. There were several Yamaha TW 200's that caught my eye. They're white and showed up well in the hot sunshine. I thought about stopping to chat but I wasn't sure they'd appreciate me. I've been a trainer to instructors for so long I probably would have started to offer unwanted feedback. The instructors would probably have staked me out in the sun and let me cook. Well, at least they could try.

Right now I'm busy catching up on other things. In the next couple of days I'll post some stuff from my trip. Some of the trip was play, but the whole reason was a sales retreat which means it was work related. I have to say it's the first time in my life I've attended sales training in shorts and barefoot, though.

In the meantime, here's another link you should find thought provoking. It's still on the subject of us middle aged riders.

http://www.columbian.com/news/localNews/09032006news56062.cfm

I knew this guy. You'll have to look past the sensationalism and liberalism the press seems to wholeheartedly embrace. I promise to keep off the subject for a while after this. As a professional in the motorcycle safety business I just keep looking for answers. If we know the problems we can offer the correct solution. That's why I share it with you, I guess.

To my friend working nights at the Port of Seattle, this will help pass the down time!!

Miles and smiles,
Dan

6 comments:

dan_durham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dan_durham said...

Pass the time - the down time came early tonight :) it's just after 9pm and I've started on the coffee already... still have 9 long hours to go... The airport never sleeps.

I read the article. Twice actually (there are a lot of statistics). I find interesting the median motorcyclist age is increasing. I just turned 27 so am well below the 41 2003 figure. It is obvious that there is more motorcyclists on the road, and I am by no means a veteran myself.

I do however consider myself level headed and safety conscious - I contribute that to getting into motorcycling for the primary reason of transportation over recreation. This has forced me to realize traffic survival skills to commute in congested Seattle and constantly seek other moto-commuters to learn from.

I have never been an "casual" rider, which should be obvious looking at my Hurricane with (gasp!) saddlebags.

So Dan, how do you see the trend going? More young riders in your class trying to learn to use their bikes for primary transportation? Or is it primarily middle aged folks returning to riding?

-Dan

irondad said...

Dan,
I'm seeing around a quarter to a third of my classes being men over 40 who are returning. Most of them aren't doing it for transportation. They're looking for other things.

About a quarter of my classes are women, these days. What I used to see a lot of was women in their 50's and 60's whose husband rides a big touring bike. Their reason for taking the class was to be able to ride the bike "Just in case Fred has a medical emergency". Most of the time they struggled mightily with the little training bikes. I would suggest a good satellite phone that could call 911.

Anymore, women are riding because their friends and family ride and it looks like fun. Some are there for fuel economy but most for socialization.

A quarter of my students are there for commuting purposes. Most are under 30. It's usually college age folks. I guess there's hope for the commuter ranks growing.

The last quarter is the misc. areas. I see a lot of young guys but most of them are wanting to go play on sport bikes. Those who just want to see what it's all about are in this quarter. A few of these end up riding to work.

My general thought is that riding is getting more popular because it's "trendy". By far they are recreational riders.

Your Hurricane with saddlebags is different than the usual mold. Good for you for doing your own thing. I've ridden in your area. It almost seems like more work than it's worth.

Dang, did I just say that? It's always more fun on two wheels!!

Dan

DaveT said...

You're right, the Spokane area has some really great riding roads. I've lived here over a year and I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of the best roads. Last weekend there was an organized ride for the Wishing Star foundation around lake Coeur d'Alene to St. Maries, then back up highway 95 to Rockford Bay for lunch. Then a few of us sportier riders took a back road home. It's a favorite called "Valley Chapel". If you don't know where it is or where it goes, you'll have a tough time finding it.

Next time you're headed this way try to take some extra time and plan to stay for Monday's bike night, and we'll take you for a couple rides to show you the sights.

irondad said...

dave,
I would be honored to accept the invitation next time I'm coming that way. I went through Spokane and into CDA on my way North. What's the population of Spokane? Somewhere around 200,000?

DaveT said...

Spokane proper is around 200k, the area around it has grown up outside the city limits, and sucked in several smaller towns. I think the overall total is around 450k when you consider all the areas around here.

BTW, that is the NEW control tower you saw with the crane. The old one is on the other side of the airport and is only 1/4 as tall. (New is 23 stories as I recall)

There are more great roads around here than I can keep track of. I used to work afternoon/evening and spent mornings just exploring back roads. Had a great time getting lost and finding my way back to "civilization" and then trying to figure out where I went with a map. LOL

One really fun run is I-90 over the mountains in Idaho, then get off at Wallace and back road over into Murray, over Thompson pass to Thompson Falls Montana. I call that our Tri State run. It's a good 300 mile day, and most of it is on roads with little traffic and high posted limits (Montana 2 lanes are posted 70mph). Tight twisties on the top of the mountains, sweepers into the valley. That Montana road was built by a motorcyclist, had to be!

See ya next time you come over this way.

Dave T.