"Hey man, you should come out West. We can rent Harleys and rumble up the coast."
While the plan was for us to both rent Harleys, my friend had recently put some rocking new pipes on his Ducati Monster. So, it made sense for him to roll his ride, with only me renting an HD.
I had previously rented a Harley Davidson Fat Bob during a trip to Denver. Before that experience, I had never driven
a Harley Davidson. I must say that the Fat Bob left me mightily impressed with Harley Davidson. I now understand the Cult of Harley.
The Fat Bob was an absolute assault on the senses (in an awesome way). All screaming pipes,
I was on a business trip when I rode the Fat Bob in Denver, so I didn't have time to roll out of the city and explore the highway. Unfortunately, that meant that I never got the Fat Bob beast out of second gear (any higher would have surely meant a speeding ticket). Sadly, I did not have the same spell-binding experience with the Sportster 1200. Yes, it's fast..... but it doesn't have the gut-wrenching pull and rumble of the Fat Bob (just passing this information along in case you are in the market for a 10k+ motorcycle).
Despite my disappointment in the Sportster, this was an amazing trip. I hadn't seen my buddy in more than a year, so the night I arrived, I forced him to stay up late with me drinking sauvignon blanc (I am such a princess) and talking democratic politics (the only good kind). We woke early the next morning, grabbed the Harley, and headed for the mountains.
Now, I am pseudo-granola. I like to think that I am a simple person who cares about the earth and the environment. But, realistically.... I am not a fan of camping (bugs. no shower. bleh). So, a trip like this is perfect for me - zooming by beautiful scenery and climbing steep mountains on 1200 ccs of black steel. We stopped a few times to breathe the fresh air in deeply, and stare off into the distant mountains like bad asses (assisted here by head-to-toe leather).
I have owned a motorcycle for about eight years now, and I maintain that it is an incredible and fantastic hobby. Few things help you zen/zone out like focusing on the traffic flow, shifting gears, and choosing when to accelerate. Sometimes dangerous? Yes, but there is a way to ride. When I ride with guys like my friend, I am reminded that motorcycles are also the province of conscientious geeks (like me and him). We both always pay attention, read up on safety techniques.... and try to know our limits.
There was one scary moment for me...
When we first reached the mountains, I couldn't help but marvel at the landscape as I navigated the twisty roads. Mega-mistake. I was immediately hit with vertigo. As we crossed a bridge, I felt certain that I was about to black out and swerve into a passing car. It took everything I had to hold it together and not fade. Oof. Lesson learned. Next time (we are gonna hit the 101 up the coast), I will only ogle the view when stopped (to look bad ass while mini-hiking in full leather).