Endless Summer.

Well, I guess summer is pretty much done, and this one was essentially the same as the last one. Gym, work, adventures, bitching about carbs and repeat. I really need to do something about that. I did have some pretty awesome adventures, though – mostly on the water. Hundreds of miles of paddling, and I saw some pretty cool stuff. Still, I kinda feel like I’m missing out on…something. Dunno.

To close summer, I took the motorbike out a couple of times, and went on some nice rides. Sunday, up and over Signal Mountain, via the infamous W Road. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but just never have. Basically, it’s a road a few miles long up the side of the mountain, with extreme hairpin turns at the top (and other curves along the way). I don’t think I’d like going up in a car, but on the bike, it was quite fun.

Once at the top, back down the front of the mountain. Luckily, it was pretty early, so not much traffic, because it’s a pretty fast roll. I also tried out the new GoPro Chesty harness I just ordered. As the name implies, it’s a chest harness to mount the GoPro on – I bought it because I intend to go horseback riding in the next couple of weeks, and I can’t really mount the GoPro on a horse’s head. It was a little tight getting over my motorcycle jack (which, sadly [kinda] is waaay too big for me now), but it worked well, and adds a pretty interesting new perspective on the bike.

North Shore - click for larger

North Shore – click for larger

Monday, the holiday, I headed down to my regular stomping grounds, the North Shore. But this wasn’t completely a pleasure ride – I got the bike up on the freeway for a little bit, just to open her up. Freeway riding can be incredibly dangerous – you’re just one crack in the road, one pothole, one oil slick, one bad driver away from instant death. I did, however, cheat a little – I took the same route to the gym earlier, just to check the road to make sure it was moderately safe. Spoiler alert: it was. I lived. It was great to be flying down the freeway again, even if only briefly – in Hawaii and DC both, I was on the freeway all the time, and never thought much of it, but this is the first time I’ve gotten on the freeway on this bike.

Following the freeway, just some puttering around the North Shore – the Market Street Bridge, the Veterans Bridge, other points of interest. The MSB is always challenging, because of the steel grates in the middle of the bridge; but, we made it over, no problem. I also mapped the ride, as well as yesterday’s, and composited them into one. No real reason – just because. It’s not like I’ll ever MTB up the W Road or anything, so this was a chance to add it to the Master Adventure Map.

The W Road and North Shore rides - click for larger

The W Road and North Shore rides – click for larger

So, two good rides to close out the summer. In fact, I’ve been kinda bonding with the bike lately, so much so, that I’ve about decided to keep it. Sure, I won’t ride it all the time, but on a sunny day, when traffic isn’t too heavy, it’s quite enjoyable. And, believe it or not, it is actually pretty decent exercise. Not as much as my mountain bike or kayaking, but hanging on to 600 pounds of motorcycle while doing 50 miles an hour does require some effort, as well as skill. So, I guess that counts for something. I used to think about how lucky I was that I never got killed on any of my previous bikes when in Hawaii and Washington; now, I guess I’m over playing it safe. I’m too old to “live fast, die young, leave a pretty corpse”, but I guess the “live fast” part doesn’t sound too bad.

Sadly, it’s almost time to put the bike in the barn. There’s still maybe a month or 6 weeks I can ride, but falling leaves on the road are dangerous, as is ice, and it’s established how much Mother Nature hates me. Maybe I’ll spend the winter souping her up a little. Or something. We’ll see.

And hopefully, next summer will be better.