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The more I ride her, the more I like her (long, meandering post)

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The more I ride her, the more I like her (long, meandering post)

 
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Old 05-18-2019, 12:21 AM
AJ88V
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Default The more I ride her, the more I like her (long, meandering post)

Long ride tonight on my '19 Low Rider. Wanted to check on a property I own in northern Delaware, so waited 'til after the DC rush hour traffic died down on this Friday night and headed north and east from my home in Fairfax County, VA.

495 beltway was fine, except it hit a major jam up not 15 minutes into my ride. A quick scoot through Alexandria, VA, and I found myself soaring above all the stuck traffic trying to get across the Wilson Bridge into Maryland. Almost immediately the traffic opened up and I hung in the left lane moving at whatever the traffic would bear.

Twisty rural backroads is my thing, so this trip was the most highway riding I've done so far on this bike. My Memphis Shades batwing fairing works great, although after this ride, I'm at least considering the 9" tall windshield vs the 5 incher currently on the bike. The barhopper handlebars I put on are probably 3" too wide, but the fairing did a good job of keeping me from being a sail holding up all the wind of a highway ride.

Route 50 East towards Annapolis, Maryland, was a lot better than the DC beltway. For one, there's an HOV lane 24/7, two the speed limit goes to 65, and three, the traffic just gets thinner, at least at 9 at night. The sky is mostly clear, the stars are finally popping out here without the city lights, and the moon is almost full in the southeast. Some folks are still headed to the ocean, based upon the boats or jet skis they're towing. One pickup truck comes flying out from behind making me think I picked up the police, but then pulls beside me and and slows to pace me for a minute before moving on again. Harley edition Ford F150. Nice truck, but I'm guessing he was wishing he was riding his scooter instead of his truck.

Anticipating the ride across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge caused me a bit of unfounded anxiety. I've crossed this bridge many times on motorcycles, but it's been a few years. Tonight had absolutely no crosswind up there high across the Chesapeake Bay. The water was about as calm as I've seen with the full moon high in the east on my right, sending beautiful shimmers across the water. Calm, warm air, 'though you could feel the temperature change quickly crossing the Bay - something I always look forward to in the summer. It was about 75*F when I left Virginia this evening and I'm glad it didn't get too cool over the water.

Cop sitting right there off the Bay Bridge ready to catch the impatient, but I resisted the urge to pop into the left lane when the 3rd lane opened up after the bridge and was glad the SUV in front of me was doing the speed limit.

10 miles or so east of the bridge the highway splits to the east-southeast headed to Ocean City, Maryland, and 301 North headed to Wilmington, Delaware, where my house is located. My cousin and I had been texting earlier in the day - she and some friends were taking some hotel rooms on the boardwark this weekend and I seriously thought about heading there, but then thought better of crashing her girlfriends weekend.

Splitting onto 301 North, I'd had enough of the highway and exited onto 213 North, which is kind of the real "highway" for the Eastern Shore of Maryland, even if it is only one lane in each direction. I knew where 213 ended up - Elkton, MD - but didn't quite realize how big a detour this was for me. No matter, the road was wonderful, and for a long time I had it all to myself. Now some of you live in the country, but for those of us stuck with a more urban or suburban environment, going ten miles without a traffic light is a miracle of liberation, and here I am on my '19 Low Rider just cruising to the music in my head, which is about as good as tunes get for me. Long sweepers, short dips and rises, nothing technical like I might seek on a sport bike, but absolutely perfect for this Harley with it's magic motor providing all the torque I need and this wonderful thrumming engine that's not working hard at all. I finally hit my first traffic light in Chestertown, MD, and am grateful for the chance to stretch my legs and twist my up body after riding for two hours continuously.

It’s quiet out here. I’m noticing that many things that would be open back in my suburban Virginia home are now closed here after 9 pm. It’s kind of refreshing, but also a bit strange that even gas stations are closed so early on a Friday night.

213 continues to be a lovely road as I'm putting along at the speed limit. There's probably a local cop for every 20 or 30 cars you see, which makes you a very good target for revenue generation in these small Maryland towns. And I don't really care because I don't need to go extra-legal speeds on this Harley to enjoy the ride. The turns come perfectly, the dips across the rivers, the rises over the hills, the giant moon now high in the sky, we're all just a piece of this evening's perfection. The coolness of the woods, the humidity and mist across the rivers, the smells blending and changing, from cut hay, to horses, to cow manure, a passing lovely bit of someone's smoker making delicious barbeque, and then cycling through it all again and again. The M8 motor pulsing, with just enough feel to let you know there's a for-real alive engine down there, happy in this simple cruise, not asking too much attention or rowing of the gears.

My gas light has finally come on. I’d been looking at the Range function on the dash and was sure I’d be ok, but decide to stop at the next gas station. Fortunately there’s one not too far where the pumps are open even of the large store is not. I fill up and calculate my fuel burn at a bit over 50 mpg. Not too bad considering how much I like running through the gears on my normal rides. I decide to put on my jacket liner because the temperature is starting to drop rapidly as the evening progresses.

North of Galena, MD, there are big marinas on the Sassafras River. I can see lights on some of the boats and I know there must be Friday night parties going on down there, but wonderful as that sounds, they can't compare to the feeling I've got on my Softail tonight.

I continue to watch my speed carefully. The speed limit varies between 55 and 25 and these small time cops think of you, especially out of staters, like an open checkbook, This is the one place where I would dearly love to have cruise control, so that’s an add to my almost-completed mods list..

I had been planning to detour into Elkton, MD, to see an old friend who owns a bar in town, but decide to skip it because he might turn in early - must be 75 or so nowadays and only tends bar on Fridays.

Instead I detour back towards my final destination through the south side of Chesapeake City, MD. Coming through town, I’m scrupulous about making full stops and putting my feet down. At one four-way stop I see there’s a cop sitting in his SUV watching the intersection and I’m glad I’m not cutting corners tonight. Half a block up there’s a fancy restaurant on the bank of the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) canal. People are walking about and a car decides to pull out of the parking lot just as I approach and stops halfway into the road as I really try out my brakes and then scoot on past and back on my way.

Just south of New Castle, Delaware, my final destination, there’s about four cop cars in a parking lot and an SUV with all the doors open. Once again, I’m glad I’m not doing anything to draw attention to myself as I pass on my way.

So almost a 3 hour ride. I pull up in front of my Delaware house and shut the Low Rider down. The Harley detachable saddlebags come off in a snap and are easy to handle one at a time, although the bar on the lower mount makes them a bit awkward setting them down.

This bike did everything I need. The best thing is that I noticed it where I loved it, and most of the time it just felt right without me needing to think about the bike at all.

Never did stop for dinner. Made a frozen pizza and some Dewars scotch on the rocks. Great way to end a great ride on my Softail. Looking forward to riding her home tomorrow afternoon, but will probably take the fast way.

But then again, maybe not!

Thanks for reading.
 

Last edited by AJ88V; 05-18-2019 at 12:29 AM.
The following 3 users liked this post by AJ88V:
jazzkat (05-18-2019), svilla (05-18-2019), Zedbra (05-18-2019)
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:21 AM
KMC1
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THIS!!!! This is EXACTLY why HD has so much market share and the squids / BMW guys just can't figure how or why. HD has the best REAL WORLD drive train on the market in my opinion - by far. I'm done with the sit on my tailbone riding position - I have been wishing for HD to FINALLY wake up and make a true R1250RT competitor so I can sell the foreign crap in my garage. Your write up explains perfectly why that is.
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:27 AM
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Glad you enjoyed your ride. If you ever get to Wisconsin you won’t see too many speed traps. Just stay out of Rosendale.

Lots of pretty 2 lanes here, sparse traffic. Here is my ride on the old Hwy 10, now Hwy 96. Picture is west of Appleton. This highway used to be very crowded, but a 4 lane replaced it and now it is deserted, like most rural roads here.


 
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:22 AM
AJ88V
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Originally Posted by KMC1 View Post
THIS!!!! This is EXACTLY why HD has so much market share and the squids / BMW guys just can't figure how or why. HD has the best REAL WORLD drive train on the market in my opinion - by far. I'm done with the sit on my tailbone riding position - I have been wishing for HD to FINALLY wake up and make a true R1250RT competitor so I can sell the foreign crap in my garage. Your write up explains perfectly why that is.

I had a 1998 BMW boxer last summer. There was a lot to like about the bike - very comfortable, good torque, and gentlemanly handling - but some of it was ridiculous, like an all-day job to grease the clutch splines, lots of plastic that wasn't holding up too well, and the wiring so lightweight that it looked like it came from a 1960's Japanese radio instead of a motorcycle. Now the Harley is solid throughout, the weight of some of the parts is absurd, but it all just seems to work.


Originally Posted by Ron750 View Post
Glad you enjoyed your ride. If you ever get to Wisconsin you won’t see too many speed traps. Just stay out of Rosendale.

Lots of pretty 2 lanes here, sparse traffic. Here is my ride on the old Hwy 10, now Hwy 96. Picture is west of Appleton. This highway used to be very crowded, but a 4 lane replaced it and now it is deserted, like most rural roads here.

Swap that sun for the moon, the clouds for stars, and that's pretty much what I had last night. We certainly are blessed to have such beautiful open places to ride our machines.

Rubber side down....
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:00 AM
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Like they say, pics or it didn't happen....
 
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:06 AM
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I was picturing your ride as I read along. One of the things I enjoy the most, as you mentioned, are the smells you encounter while cruising on two wheels. Great write-up.
 
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:12 PM
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I've had a few holidays in that part of your country, and can really appreciate the picture you're painting.
A great bit of writing, thank you from Oxford, England.
 
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:01 PM
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Congratulations on your new mount and thank you for sharing your ride through some old familiar territory and overall cool place to ride, dine, hunt, fish and generally goof off.

I should have my Low Rider in a few weeks - only because I want the faster Barracuda Silver.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you think of the placement of the mid-controls as well as the stock bars for a several hour ride? In that context, what is your pants inseam and arm sleeve length?
 
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:24 PM
AJ88V
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Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
Congratulations on your new mount and thank you for sharing your ride through some old familiar territory and overall cool place to ride, dine, hunt, fish and generally goof off.

I should have my Low Rider in a few weeks - only because I want the faster Barracuda Silver.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you think of the placement of the mid-controls as well as the stock bars for a several hour ride? In that context, what is your pants inseam and arm sleeve length?
Well, you're right that Baracuda Silver is a faster color, but everybody knows Red is the fastest color. (and Black, like mine, is just stealth, and hopefully nobody notices if I'm fast or not!)

Mid controls are fine. I'm short (5' 7" with 29" inseam). The bike is plenty fine for standing/maneuvering in a parking lot - I'm used to much taller bikes in general.

The forwards on my Dyna were way too much of a stretch for comfortable control, so those were changed to mids. I think the forwards on the '18+ Softail would be fine for me, but I'm good with the mids which let you stand on the pegs over big bumps - a definite plus for anybody who grew up on dirt bikes and wants better control overall. That said, I do want some highway pegs or a mustache engine guard to stretch out for the long rides. I'd also like to try out the Harley Tall Boy seat for this bike to move me up and back a bit. The stock seat kind of presses on the lower part of my spine after an hour or so and the Tall Boy seat might help. I think Mchad likes his Tall Boy.

The stock bars were just goofy to me. Bars are changed to a beach cruiser bar, just a bit wider than I wanted, but the angle of the handgrips is way better for me. Using a short 3-1/2" pullback riser, but think I might go to a 5" pullback next to get it perfect. Old Mike picked out a nice T-bar that looks perfect too.

But all in all, I've got the bike almost perfect for me and I'm very happy with it set up this way.

(P.S. The Barracuda Silver is really pretty. I'm thinking of vinyl wrap to protect the paint and silver is on my list.)
 

Last edited by AJ88V; 05-20-2019 at 05:25 PM.
 


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