One of the joys of my life is to be able to get up in the morning, sit on the back porch and drink a good cup of coffee in a leisurely manner before I get started on my day. Because it is summer break, I am able to do that for one more month. But sometimes, instead of that, I want to ride! I got that rare opportunity for a weekday motorcycle ride to breakfast yesterday, so I took it!
Some members of our BMW riders group decided to meet then ride about 65 miles from the meeting point to a favorite restaurant for breakfast. The added bonus was that it is at higher elevation so therefore cooler. Since I knew we would be riding on the pavement, and probably fast, I chose the F800ST.
My blue BMW framed by two red bikes, a BMW 1300GT on the left, a brand new Yamaha FJR on the right:
Before last weekend, I hadn’t ridden Pearl, my blue touring bike, in a while. I’ve been on the dirt bike most of the time lately. But, when I parked her in the garage last Sunday, I left her in the “back” position, the one closest to the garage door, thinking that I would probably ride on the street again soon. I was correct. You’d think I’d ride more on the street because it is the easiest and quickest to pack and gear up for. Once I got up yesterday morning, I was ready to go in the least amount of time it takes me to get my stuff together compared with any of the other bikes. That is the challenge: each style of riding has a different set of gear, and over the years, I’ve made a couple of sets of “things” to take. Too many times I’ve forgotten vital things, like my tire fixing kit. That is one essential item, and it’s saved both Hal and me many times.
I left early Friday morning. If I know I am meeting other riders, I leave super early so if I run into problems, I am still not keeping anyone waiting. It was a good thing this time because I got into a construction mess with a detour. It cost me about an extra 10-15 minutes by the time I juked around trying to get out of it, but I was still early to the meet-up point. A couple of other riders were already there, and I fueled up my bike. I put in just over $2! I only had about 40 miles on the tank, but I wanted to top it up.
After a lot of joking around, and a quick cup of coffee, the six of us hit the road. I was riding second, right off Al’s rear fender. After a while, I realized that I was so comfortable because his riding style is much like my riding partner Hal’s. We were all riding a bit faster than I usually do, and I loved it. I hardly get to ride like that anymore.
When we got to the first set of turns, I was having fun. I was also thinking of a funny remark Don had made while teasing someone at the meet up point. I started laughing really hard and had to make myself stop because my eyes were squeezing shut, not a good thing when you are leaned over taking turns at speed. I wasn’t going that fast, but I was having fun.
Pretty bikes, all in a row:
We got to the restaurant, and the parking lot was almost empty at Crosswinds in Payson, an unusual occurrence at this time of day on the weekend. We watched a group of small planes flying very close in formation over the airport. They were good pilots, they were almost wing to wing.
We had our own big table in the back room. “Yeah, put the biker trash in the back,” one of the guys joked. Actually, we’d passed the “biker trash” on the road coming into Payson. A group of cruiser riders, complete with the obligatory ape-hanger handlebar bikes and stupid “death” slogans on the backs of their raggedy vests, rode alongside us for a few minutes. They have no idea how ridiculous everyone thinks they look. None of them had helmets on, of course, much less any other protective gear.
At the restaurant, we had a nice long breakfast and good conversation. I packed the remnants of my eggs and hash browns into a plastic bag to take home to Emma, my dog, and then all the riders went back out to the bikes. I switched jackets, from the mesh to the textile one with the wet vest under it, anticipating the heat that we would re-enter when we got back to the Phoenix area.
On the way home, we stayed together for a short while, then one of the guys who likes to ride very fast passed the rest of us. We never saw him again, but that’s how it always is. Since he was in front of us, though, we knew we could probably ride faster, too, since he was the cop bait up ahead.
The whole way home is full of well-engineered curves, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I forgot how much fun it is to “fly” that F800ST home down the Beeline Hwy. It was a bit windy, but still wonderful. The wind affects me more than the other riders because I am light and so is my bike, and I don’t have a huge windscreen. If I lean down behind the windscreen more, I am in the perfect position (for me) for riding, making subtle movements to shift my weight slightly and push through the pegs while keeping my upper body light. I was smiling ear-to-ear by the time I had to sit up and come back to earth on the last (straight) stretch toward home.
Through town was the hottest part, those last nine miles, but I again I wasn’t uncomfortable. Soon I was home, parking Pearl in the garage, and de-gearing. What a great way to start the day, with another “joy of my life” – riding a fast motorbike!