Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

There's A Lot Riding On It ...

Today had me believing that spring might come after all. It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t snowing though the sky had the look - it could do either. The temperature was somewhere between 2 and 15 depending on the relationship of sun to thermometer. I was hoping for the high end but got the low end. Still it was a perfect afternoon to get out for a walk. It was almost the kind of day that could convince this sissy girl it’s time to get her VStar out of storage.

This is Canada and it’s no accident that our flag has a maple leaf on it – this is the land of the maple tree and it is "sugaring" time (no, everyone in the neighborhood isn't running out to remove their unwanted hair growth, they're making maple syrup). Walking by a local sugar shack I was taken by the sweet, smoky smell of an outdoor fire seasoned with just a hint of maple. I remembered my fall walks and how smoke from a wood fire gave me a feeling of comfort and homeyness and now, nearly the same experience, gave me the feeling of wanderlust. Maybe it was endorphins from the exercise or maybe it was memories of campfires and adventure from last summer that came flooding back,I don't know.

I came back from my walk with a feeling that it is time to start planning the next bike journey, not that it hasn’t been on my mind for months. I actually had a dream that I just couldn’t get the bike packed and had to keep taking everything off to start over and over. This year I am hoping to ride more than double the distance of last, one of my longest tours and certainly my longest solo trip. I’m thinking my planning needs to be better than ever….so where do I start?

Not really me!
Next to the actual route I’ll be taking, one of my top priorities will be the tires that I’ll be riding on. I’ve already got over 10,000 km on this set and am concerned that it might be pushing it to expect them to last for over 30,000 km safely, especially carrying a full load. On that note in both the January and April editions of Cycle World; Service by Paul Dean (an ask the expert section) questions were posed about tire inflation and over inflating tires to carry a heavier load…You’ve got to check out the cartoon illustration by Cademartori (April), I’m sure he’s seen me on the road – just kidding, I really try to pack lighter than that. Paul’s answer to both was clear – don’t over inflate and don’t overload. He has me thinking a lot more about my tires, the gross vehicle weight rating and my packing. I’ve always tried to check the tire pressure regularly and keep them inflated to the specified psi front and rear but never realized there was also a recommended total weight load for the tires not to mention a gross vehicle weight rating for the bike – of course it does make perfect sense. (Now me and all my gear aren’t going to equal the weight of Mr. April alone but it’s pretty obvious I should check my specific tires and my bike to see what the limits are.) This year I’ll be weighing the bags along with me and all the gear plus the six pair of undies I plan to pack before I leave instead of when I get home and in my search for new tires I’ll be reading sidewalls looking for the maximum load.
So what else should I be thinking about….

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