Learning Curves Good Boy, Bad Boy
I grew up as the oldest child in my family. I always tried as a young child to be a “good boy.” I was expected to be a good example to my siblings. Being a good boy meant being compliant, obeying the rules and meeting expectations. It meant pleasing my parents and teachers and others I looked up too.
I don’t think I was every “really bad”, but I remember the “evil” freedom I felt with my first real motorcycle at age 14. Then at age 15 I got that 1949 Chevy and took off the mufflers, lowered the front end and put added energy under the hood. All through high school there was that special place in the parking lot where the “bad” boys with their “bad” cars parked together. We had a club with a real club house in the woods next to the lake. For sure, I never lost respect for my parents for their teachings and the commitment to goodness that I was raised with. But this little touch of badness became a new good or at the time what I considered “cool.” My motorcycle, at that time, was a Yamaha 250 Enduro. My mother did not agree with motorcycles. She would always say, “Now Roy Alan, you be careful on that two wheel thing.”
Fifty years ago right now I became a husband. My parents were relieved and thrilled as I set my course to go to college and then on to dental school. They were so proud that I saw a new way to be “cool” and that I was endeavoring to be a great husband and future father.
There have been many many many miles on two wheels since that day 50 years ago. I know that without a doubt the way to really be “cool” is to be a great husband, father and grandfather. I could talk for hours on my ideas on how to do this but instead I use this newsletter to talk about motorcycles. I still try to be good most of the time: paying bills promptly, giving my all as a husband, father and grandfather, keeping my grass and yard in excellent condition and all other things expected of a “good boy” of my age.
But, with all of this, there still comes that inclination from time to time to be just a little bit “bad”—loud pipes, lots of chrome, black leather, ape-hanger handlebars and high speeds. I am sitting here writing this month’s letter as the snow falls outside our home and I know it will be months from now until I can be” bad” again. This gives me time to ponder the opportunity and freedom I have to ride across this great land of ours. As for this month of January, I can only think about doing it, but just thinking of it gives me chicken skin.
Now it’s your time to be a little bit “bad.” Come ride with us at Learning Curves. Book your 2012 ride now. Your mother will be worried about you but will be relieved when you come home safe and sound and you will bless your life and ours here at Learning Curves as you experience this great adventure.
Thanks for listening,
Ergonomics & Upgrades
If your bike remains stock, exactly as it came to the dealer in the box, you are missing out on the real comfort that is so important for joy in riding. This is also even more important for the joy of your passenger at your backside. A few weeks ago while in the Dominican Republic, one of our volunteers was telling me about her experience being a passenger on her husband’s Harley Fat Boy. If I let her go by the name of MB, then she will know who she is, but can remain anonymous.
She explained how her right foot got very hot next to the tail pipes and her feet on the pegs were not comfortable for the long ride. Her back rest was very small and her seat very narrow. The only way we can keep Harley Davidson Company profitable and make MB comfortable is to go immediately to the Harley web site, or go through the catalogs at your local dealer and start spending money. Whatever it takes, it will be worth it. When MB is comfortable, the joy of the ride increases exponentially.
A closer look at that stock bike and all the after-market parts will let you know that the changes you can make to improve ergonomics are almost endless. If you are only going to ride around the block or to the local bar and back then only spend money on good looks. But, if you want to really enjoy the wide open spaces, mile after mile, consider the following areas of change available:
- Seats – I have never really enjoyed the stock seat on any of my bikes. Look for a seat with a good rider backrest and you will enjoy the miles much more. If you want to change the look for around town, it takes only five minutes to make a seat change.
- Foot Rests – Be sure you and your passenger have a good board rather than a peg. This gives you flexibility in foot position.
- Handle Bars – There are many different heights, shapes and pull backs. Experiment with different positions for arm and shoulder comfort on the long haul.
- Seat Height – The height of the seat should allow both feet to be flat on the ground at a stop. The seat height is a product of both the seat you choose and the height of the bike. Both can be changed.
- Hand Grips – There are many different shapes and sizes and compositions. Get the one that feels comfortable to you.
- Back Rest – Be sure your passenger, as well as yourself, has a high enough and wide enough backrest to give support for comfort.
- Highway Pegs – I like pegs on my engine guard that allow me to stretch out my legs off the floorboards on a long leg of the ride.
- Pipes – If your pipes are to near the legs of your passenger and makes him or her too hot, then change them. Also, if your pipes are not loud and you feel like a “good boy” and want to feel like a “bad boy,” then change them. There are many many different configurations for pipes.
I hope these ideas give you an overview of some adjustment you can make to that stock bike to bring more comfort and joy to that long cross country or day ride.
Keep the rubber side down—
Welcome to the New Year!
Register now for one of our rides