Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Valley of the Blazing Hot Death, AZ
ďBack in the saddleĒ
March 6th, 2013, I straddled my bike for the first time in 94 days. Actually thatís not true, I straddled it a couple times in late Feb just to make sure my leg could hold it up. For several months, the KLR has been in storage at a couple different places waiting for me to heal. Tuesday, March 5th, I spent the better part of the day getting it ready for the road again. Fluid and filter changes, clean & lube the chain, go over it with wrenches to tighten things up, and wash it up real nice and shiny like. Then fired up the engine to charge the battery and really just see if it would start at all after sitting so long. It took a few tries and full choke, but it did start and stayed running just fine once the choke was released. So Wednesday, March 6th, is the first time Iíve ridden my bike in 94 long, monotonous days. I was worried that I may have forgotten how to ride a bit, since Iíd been down so long, particularly getting going in 1st gear without the bike stalling and /or shooting out from under me. I really didnít want it landing on my foot again. I remember when first learning to ride, just getting out of 1st and moving was the hardest part. So I nervously fired up the bike, took a deep breath, andÖÖ. wait fot it...... Smooth as silk. The right amount of clutch and throttle, and it just flowed naturally, like Iíd never stopped riding at all.
I took it easy at first, just tooling around the block a few times, practicing turns, shifting, etc, and just making sure I did indeed remember how to ride. After a while, I took it up the freeway a bit to get it up to speed. Everything went well, so I brought the bike home and spent the rest of the day checking out tall protective boots. Iím going to be spending quite a bit of money getting much better gear, as well as some additional protective gear Iíd been wanting anyway. Hmmm, $500 for boots. Yea, my heart skips a beat every time I think about it. How can someone justify spending that much money on a pair of shoes? Okay, there are people who do it daily, so let me clarify. How can a man, a straight man, justify spending that much money on shoes? Well, itís a drop in the bucket compared to buying a new ankle. In case you were wondering, a late model, 2012 right ankle and lower leg, (that includes all parts, installation, and a ride in the neat van with the flashy lights, cute girls, and fun drugs) will run you about $65,000! Yep, thatís not a typo. And like anything, it loses its value once you take it off the lot. I imagine if I tried to sell this ankle to anyone else, I wouldnít get half of what it cost me. Add to that the months of pain, unemployment, and insanely mind numbing and maddening cabin fever. Yea, Iím buying a $500 pair of freakní shoes! I guess it couldíve been worse though, at least I still have a foot to put the expensive shoes on. As stated in a previous post, the bones are healed, and I now have good enough range of motion in the ankle. It seemed like it was taking forever and no real improvement, but once I was able to hobble on it(hobble, not hobbit. Those are two entirely different things) the muscles started to loosen up. It still gets sore after walking on it all day, but itís been getting better the more I use it. Other fun stuff Iwas used to and had forgotten about until yesterday: My knees, thighs, and butt are sore from riding. Also my left fore arm and palm are sore from squeezing the clutch all day. Guess my body just needs to readjust to those things.
Where do I go from here? When I finally made the decision to get a bike, I wanted a dual-sport. I grew up playing and exploring on ATVís and 4x4ís. I was raised as an outdoor guy. My family was always traveling and camping as far back as I can remember. The reason I looked at bikes to begin with, was because I couldnít afford to travel with my jeep any longer. (Freakní high gas prices) So if I was getting a 2 wheeled vehicle, I was getting a 2 wheeled ďjeepĒ. I needed something with great gas mileage, but also something fun, capable, and reliable off-road so I could camp and explore. I canít be trapped in the rat race. If youíre a member of this site, I know you understand that. As I said, Iíve been offroading for a lot of my life, Iíve even done it professionally for over 10 years. On 4 stable wheels, I can go or do just about anything you need me to. 2 wheels on dirt has been a completely different story, and Iíll admit that while Iíve been aching to get back on my bike, Iím pretty nervous about going off the pavement again. Actually, for a while, I am staying on the black top. I do love to explore, and itís why I bought the bike I did (that, and I couldnít afford a BMW or Triumph). Iíve been looking into some training courses, (Raw Hyde has a nice one) but most are kind of expensive. Teaching yourself to 4x4 is much more stable, and in my case, MUCH less expensive than teaching yourself to ride a motorcycle off road. I canít afford to buy new body parts and be unemployed every time I fall over. I donít know, just kinda thinking out loud there a bit. I guess Iíll take it easy a while, try to find some work, and maybe try to save up for some good training.
ATGATT: I get to dress like a Space Commando every day, and people still take me seriously.
To riders who wear no gear: I'll try to remember how tough and free you were, as I watch EMS clean you off the road with a mop and spatula.