Friday, January 16, 2015

Go Small, Go Now... But How?

Triumph informed me that she doesn't love dirt roads,
but that she now owns this one, all the same.

Due to a few minor mechanical issues,* and this weird weather here where tiny bits of frozen water fall from the sky, Triumph has been parked since late October. Which has left me with a bit of Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, as well as spare time to daydream about where to take the bike next.

Several people have suggested taking a ride along Minnesota State Highway 1.**

The trick is, it's a 270 mile ride just to get to Ely which, technically speaking, isn't even where MN 1 begins. That's a fairly long day on Triumph, but not that daunting. I've done a couple of 420 mile days, though by the end of those I was in pain. The Speed Four wasn't exactly built for touring.

Highway 1, once I've gotten to it, is roughly 360 miles end to end. It'll be another 360 miles to get back home from the North Dakota border. At the moment, that makes it a three day trip: One to get up north, one to ride across Minnesota, and one to get back to the Twin Cities again. And after three long days on Triumph, I suspect I'll need a day off so my legs and wrists can recover.

And I just realized that if I can add about 10 miles to that whole trip, it'd make an excellent loop to attempt an Iron Butt ride. Something to consider, though I don't think I'll be trying it on Triumph.

At some point, I'd like to get out to the House on the Rock as well. And I'd like to cruise up to Lake Itasca and explore the Minnesota and Wisconsin sections of the Great River Road. I also have a handful of postcards I'd like to send from the northernmost post office in the lower 48, up in scenic Angle Inlet, MN.

One of these is a war machine that rains death upon
any who dare oppose it. The other is a helicopter on a stick.
Lately I've been dreaming of getting a touring bike***, but it's going to take some significant saving before I can afford one. Which means it could be a while.

Cruising sailors say "Go small, go now," and I've always believed the best bike for motorcycle travel is the one you have in the garage. There is no perfect, just things that will work, and things that won't.

I want to spend the day chasing the horizon. But on Triumph, the pain sets in way before my desire to stop riding.

So my situation is this: I want to ride far, I have a naked sportbike, and I'd like to minimize the amount of pain I have to deal with while riding far. I know some of you folks do high daily miles on sportbikes. What tips can you give me for going further in a day and hurting less? How do I make it work?

And, since we're on the subject, any Middle Coast locals want to chime in on Minnesota/Wisconsin rides that shouldn't be missed? Riding season, for those of us who aren't on an Ural, is only 4 short months away. It's time to gather some ideas.

*Also known as "winter projects", I gather. More to come.
** Chris Cope, erstwhile Middle Coast resident and current Bloomington Rock City ambassador to Wales, was the first to suggest it.
***I've got it all picked out. More to come on that, too.


Chris Cope said...

I'm interested to hear about this touring bike you're pining for.

In the meantime, I wonder if some handlebar risers might help in terms of changing your seating position and making the ride a bit more comfortable.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

I don't ride a sport bike because of all that pain you mention. I am a spoiled, high mile, Dresser rider and a windshield is my friend. That all aside you need some kind of highway pegs to get your legs stretched out. Some sort of cushion on that hard looking seat wouldn't hurt, and higher bars, as mentioned by Chris, would be helpful. A full coverage helmet can help if there is no windscreen for Triumph.

Good luck with the plans for a Tourer, there are some nice ones out there.

red said...

Bar risers and drop pegs will help. Also check your riding posture as the day wears on.

Trobairitz said...

I've topped out at about 473 miles in one day on the Gladius and I still look back and wonder how I could straighten my legs to get off the bike that night.

An essential for me is the Go Cruise throttle control. Gives me enough time to shake out my hand and help a bit on the straights.

Never have done anything for knees or the butt to make it easier on a long ride.

mq01 said...

whispering in your ear: theres a spa at the house on the rock..for after that long ride on triumph. ;D

Dar said...

Lucky what type of tourer are you thinking about? As for the pain factor it's one of the main reasons I ride a cruiser. I'm middle aged and when stuff hurts it's no fun. I did like Honda's NC750S it's a bit of sport & tour mixed together that's my next bike at some point. Don't sacrifice comfort eventually it takes it's toll on your knees, hips, back, neck & wrists.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Lucky, my suggestion is to get yourself an extra day (or two) and do it/them with what you already got. We are blessed around here with many weekend-length trips no matter your vector.

I'm trying something a bit different this year for my trip planning and will be writing about it soon.

Lucky said...

I've been slacking on replying to comments, sorry everybody!

Chris - I'm going to post about the touring bike, I've just got to sit down and do it.

Handlebar risers are a good idea, thanks!

AZ Harley Dude - Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure what might be available in the way of highway pegs, but I'm going to look into it. I've got a full-face helmet, at least. I think it's the only way to fly. ;)

Red - Thanks for the suggestions. Right, keeping the posture right would help a lot, I'm sure. I'll have to look into drop pegs.

I have actually found a bar riser kit for the Speed Four, looks easy enough to install. I think I'm going to have to cruise by the Triumph dealer and hop on a Speed/Street Triple and see how I like that riding position, since they've got tall bars rather than clip-ons.

Trobairitz - the Go Cruise control looks awesome. Thanks for the tip!

MQ01 - I like the way you think. ;D

Dar - I've got a post coming up about the bike I have in mind. Right, there's only so much abuse I care to take while riding. :)

Coop - I agree with you completely about taking a little longer to do the rides. The trick, of course, is balancing riding time and vacation time. And, of course, my problem is that I can ride all morning and afternoon and still want to ride more except ow, ow, ow. ;)

Thanks for chiming in, everyone!