Thursday, July 11, 2013

My daily ride: The first one hundred days.

Welcome to the Daily Ride!  This started out as daily statuses on Facebook and then I made it into a note on Facebook.  Well, I ran out of space on the note and my musings were starting to go beyond daily statuses.  I have preserved the first three month’s worth of entries for those of you interested in seeing them.

I began recording my thoughts and impressions after I purchased my motorcycle in April of 2013, but the journey began almost two years before then.  Or maybe it began decades ago and was placed on hold.  Either way, in July of 2011, it began.
Every year, I go to Otakon with my kids.  It is a large anime convention and convention-goers dress in colorful costumes from their favorite shows or movies.  The dealer room has lots of anime and anime related products, and some of the video retailers have grab bags.  In the grab back I got was a season one set of the anime, ‘Ah, My Goddess.’  The anime is a comedy and was fun to watch with my kids, but it is in watching this anime that the dream of motorcycling took hold.  The main character, Keiichi Morisato rides a BMW motorcycle with a sidecar.  As I watched the video, I realized that a motorcycle would be well suited to the majority of my travels.  The sidecar was particularly appealing, but for the most part, not needed. 
From this day, I began my research into the practicality of motorcycling.  I started off looking at a Suzuki Boulevard S40.  My search expanded to the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 and the Honda Shadow 750.  I was trying to stay under a litre.  I voraciously read motorcycle reviews and began buying magazines to read up on the various bikes.  I was relatively unfamiliar with motorcycles, but I was very familiar with cars and their specs, having worked in automotive parts and service for years and having been a regular reader of Car & Driver and Motor Trend.  I knew the kind of information that I was after and it didn’t take me long to find it. 
After much reading and research, I took the next step and obtained a Motorcycle learners permit in September.  I began visiting dealerships and actually sitting on the bikes and questioning the salesmen.  It surprised me at how few dealerships remained in Montgomery County, as remembered at least seven in the area that had been around for years but were now gone.  Cycles USA, which had been on Georgia Avenue ever since I was a child was gone.  Wheaton Yamaha, where I had looked at a Virago when I was eighteen, was gone.  There were others that I remembered, all of which had simply vanished.  But one that hadn’t vanished was Rockville Harley Davidson, though they had moved to the Airpark and changed their name to Battley Cycles.  They were also a Yamaha, BMW, and Ducati dealer.  Of all of the dealerships that I visited, they were absolutely, far and away the most helpful and the most welcoming.  They were also the least pushy. 
Around this time, I also began dating a lady with whom I had been friends for several years.  Her name was Carina, and she was a motorcyclist, though at the time, she was between bikes.  I ran a lot of bike choices by her and asked her a lot of questions, which she very patiently answered.  Most importantly, though, she was incredibly supportive of my decision to ride.  Though we no longer are dating, we have remained friends and she continued to be encouraging and supportive.  I ultimately have her to thank, as I’m not sure I would have followed through without her encouragement.  I had other good friends who were also very supportive as well and who frequently would engage me in conversation about how my search was going.  By April of 2012, I took the Harley Davidson Rider’s Edge class at Frederick Harley Davidson.  I learned on a Buell Blast, a 440cc sporty standard bike.  The course was about six hours a day for three days and it was, like the name of the bike, a blast!  As a child and as a teen, I was an avid cyclist and had raced BMX bicycles for several years.  I had ridden mopeds and minibikes as well, and have continued to cycle ever since then.  These experiences all came back to me when riding that little Buell.  The last day was the test and I passed.  With a total of about twelve hours of riding under my belt, I went to MVA and turned in my paperwork and was presented with my M class endorsement.
It would be another year before I would buy a bike.  I continued to research and now, go out and ride the bikes that I was interested in.  Unfortunately, most of the dealers won’t let you test ride the bikes.  The exceptions?  All Harley Davidson dealers.  I test rode several bikes and concluded that unless I got one with forward controls, a Sporster would be too small.  The Suzuki Boulevard S40 was actually much smaller than the Sportster in spite of having the same wheelbase.  This is because it has a much greater rake angle to the forks, which makes it resemble a mini-Wide Glide.  The comparison tests I was reading were consistently putting Harleys ahead of most of their competition as well, particularly in the areas that interested me, speed not being among them.  By this point, the other bike that had drawn my interest was the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, but without being able to ride one first, buying it wasn’t happening.  Also, I was trying to stick with an air cooled engine for simplicity’s sake.
By the end of 2012, I was in a new relationship and thankfully, with another lady named Lynda who was very encouraging of my intent to ride.  We went to the bike show in January with my younger son and I got to at least sit on a good number of bikes.  At this point, I was coming to the conclusion that I would need a larger bike due to my height.  At 6’4” with a 36” inseam, many of the bikes that initially interested me as a new rider were simply too small for me to comfortably ride.  By April of 2012, I still hadn’t found a bike and had ridden less than a full hour since taking the class.  But that changed on April 19th.
On April 19th, I looked at a used 1996 Harley Davidson FXD Super Glide at Battley Cycles.  Sam Yang, the salesman who had been patiently answering my questions for over a year, had informed me of this bike.  It was in near mint condition.  It looked almost like it had just rolled out of the factory.  Only the faded leather bags gave away that it wasn’t brand new.  The test drive was my first ride in several months, but I was immediately comfortable on the bike.  I was initially concerned that a 1340cc engine would be too much, but its power delivery was very well modulated.  It never gave too much and power built slowly and progressively.  Handling was very predictable and the ride was nicer than any of the Sportsters.  It had a windshield, saddle bags and a tool bag.  I went back on Saturday to finalize the purchase.  It was at this point that I began regularly keeping my riding journal.

Rock hard, ride free!


  1. Day 1. It was Saturday, April 20th, 2013, and I made my way to Battley Cycles with Patrick, my oldest son. I had him drive because I knew that I would be riding home. I had spent the week in contact with Sam Yang, my salesman, and had settled on a bike. It was a used 1996 Harley Davidson FXD Super Glide in metallic silver. The bike had a windshield, saddlebags, tool bag, highway pegs, two-up seat, and a back rest with sissy bar.

    I had settled on the bike on Friday, after a year and a half of looking at various bikes, mainly Sportsters, two Suzuki models and a Buell Ulysses. The Dyna platform was a better fit and the Super Glide is a standard seating position with mid mounted pegs. There were two Dynas, one a 1996 and one a 2001.

    The 2001 had 50,000 miles, had been lowered, and had all kinds of billet accessories with edgy designs meant to convey a tough guy attitude. I’ve never been a fan of steel handgrips and the seat was worn out. I also didn’t care for the wide drag bars. The 1996 only had 8293 on the odometer and was in excellent condition. I had originally been looking to keep the engine under a liter, but when I took it out to ride on Saturday morning, the bike was very manageable and rode very smoothly. The extra five inches in the frame over the Sportster 883 made a huge difference, as did the extra three inches of seat height. At 6’4" tall and weighing 215 pounds, the Dyna was a much better fit.

    After riding it, I knew that it was the bike I wanted to take home. Sam and the Battley crew made the purchase easy and enjoyable. As they were having a motorcycle safety event that day, there was also a cook out, so I got to eat hot dogs while making the purchase.

    The weather was perfect, so after all was done, Patrick drove off to his rehearsal and I rode home. The quest that I had begun in 2011 had finally come to completion.

    I took the bike out for an hour in the afternoon just to get more time in the saddle. I rode around the neighborhood. I should have done this years ago.

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  3. Day 2. I rode to Saint Francis for church. The visor in the helmet decided that it wanted to fog up. I went to Battley after church and picked up the no fog spray. It didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I solved the issue by cracking the visor open one click for a few seconds.
    Again, I took the bike out in the afternoon for about an hour to get more time in the saddle. Just around the neighborhood.

  4. Day 3. My third day of motorcycling. Rode to work. Uneventful and smooth. Just the way it is supposed to be. I should have done this twenty five years ago.

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  6. Day four: rode the bike into work again. I packed a rain jacket just in case. I think it was colder last night than it was the night before, but it fired up readily. I think being run regularly is helping.
    I rode to Caribou at Bauer Dr. last night for a free coffee of the day (coupon from Facebook yesterday) and I think the bike appreciated being run at a nice, steady 50 mph.

  7. Day 5: I rode the bike to work this morning. Perfect weather. The bike delivers power smoothly but not abruptly and not overly quickly. I've had a few occasions since purchasing it to accelerate quickly and in those instances, the power is always just enough. No surprises and nimble handling for a bike of its size.

  8. Day 6. The ride in was nice this morning. I wore a scarf today and it made the morning commute more comfortable. My gloves are summer gloves, so they're a wee bit drafty in the morning but very comfortable in the afternoon.
    Shifting has become as second nature as it is when I drive my standard shift Chevrolet, and I'm finding that hours and hours every day, every week, every month of every year from grade school through my first year of college of riding my BMX bike and leaning, turning, and just having fun on two wheels has all come back and is paying dividends.
    I missed my parking spot this morning and turned the bike around in the parking garage. Going that slow in that tight a circle, the bike decided that it was in a good place to rest. I didn't let it go down, but as nimble as it is, it was a nice reminder that this is a 622 pound machine.

  9. Day 7. The end of my first official week as a biker. The ride in was smooth and the weather has been very cooperative this week. Other motorists have been polite overall, and none have been impolite. I find the bike pulls strongly in pretty much any gear and it handles smoothly and predictably. The ride is pretty smooth too.
    Looking forward to a weekend of more riding. :D

  10. Day 8. On Saturday, I took the bike up to Frederick Coffee Company to meet Lynda Mayfield. That was the longest trip I've taken on it so far. I went up 355 rather than 270. The trip on the back roads took roughly an hour and fifteen minutes. The weather was perfect!

  11. Day 9. Sunday I rode the bike to church and back, after which I drove with Lynda and Connor Sullivan to see my son, Patrick, in his play (he was fantastic!).

    Day 10. It's raining. Traffic is heavier when it rains and I have less than 20 hours in the saddle and it is supposed to rain through the day. I drove.

  12. Day 11. I rode to work this morning. It was misty the entire ride in, but the bike held the road nicely. Motorists have been surprisingly polite and observant since I have been riding. However, there was this guy in a Mercedes that just had to be doing fifty on Needwood. When I slowed down for the speed bumps, he just went around, passing on the double line. No worries; there was plenty of room. Of course, when I got to the traffic light, he was sitting right there next to me. Not much return on his investment. It was my first real ride in the wet stuff, and while I almost drove in instead, I decided that it was a good day to hone my skills on wet ground. Thankfully, I can park it indoors. And now, time for coffee.

  13. Day 12. Perfect riding weather today. An uneventful ride in. I got behind the school bus on Needwood Road, which stops to pick up the chibis at every house. It was fun keeping the bike up at less than five mph by working the clutch and the rear brake. Looking forward to the ride home.
    In the evening, I rode out to rapier practice at Rick Allison's. I put my fencing gear into one of my bogu bags (one that can be worn like a back pack) and headed out 108. The traffic was very light and the weather was perfect. The pack sat on the passenger seat and was unobtrusive.
    The ride home was my first ride at night. The regular light does well enough, but the high beam is like airplane lights. Good and bright!

  14. Day 13. The ride in was cool and overcast. Children waiting for the bus wave to the man on the motorcycle. I slowed down to about 25mph at the speed bumps on Needwood Road; the signs recommend 20 mph. Someone in a Hyundai Elantra with some kind of cause ribbon magnet passed on the double line and almost had a head on with a Dodge Dakota. It wouldn't have affected me if he/she had wrecked, buit was stupid. And of course, when I finally got through all of the speed bumps and up to the light, the Hyundai was sitting right there. All that to go fast through a development with a 30 mph speed limit. The rest of the ride was uneventful. And in about a half an hour, I'll be on my way home in this beautiful weather!t it was stupid.
    And of course, when I finally got through all of the speed bumps and up to the light, the Hyundai was sitting right there. All that to go fast through a development with a 30 mph speed limit. The rest of the ride was uneventful. And in about a half an hour, I'll be on my way home in this beautiful weather!
    In the evening, I rode out to Battley Cycles to pick up some things for the bike and to look at helmets. The ride out 108 to Fields Road to 124 was nice and smooth. The ride back was fine, but somebody had had an accident of some kind up by the soccor field on 108 and the police were detouring people to Wickham way. It was the first time I'd been on it since they extended out to 108. I went to the Hair Cuttery in Olney for a trim and then rode home. This makes a full 14 hours on the new bike.

  15. Day 14. The weather today was better than yesterday's! I left earlier, so I missed all of the school busses and all of the traffic. Some guy in a Hyundai Santa Fe ran the light at Redland and Needwood well after it had changed. No accidents, but it seems I'm seeing a pattern here with Hyundai drivers. Today will make fifteen hours on the Super Glide. I'm going to make a note and copy these entries to it. A riding journal of sorts.
    The ride home was nice. No silliness from motorists, and great weather. It's funny; people seem more inclined to be in a hurry in the morning on Needwood Road than they do in the afternoon. On my ride home, everyone else is slowing down to around 20 - 25 miles an hour at the speed bumps.

  16. Day 15. I took the bike into town to fuel it and to purchase some items at Rite Aid. The weather was nice. I find that I'm using a little over three gallons of gasoline per week. If I took no rides for anything other than work, it would probably be closer to two.
    I gave the bike a spot cleaning in the afternoon to get a week's worth of pollen and dust off of it. I gave the pipes and chrome surfaces a nice polish too.
    In the evening, I took the bike up to Germantown for Richard Mayfield's birthday. It was my first time taking the bike onto 370 and 270 for more than one exit. The bike cruises very comfortably at 60-65. with the engine turning at about 2500 rpm. I can see, however, why newer bikes have a sixth gear, as for long distances it would definitely be handy.

  17. Day 16. I took the bike to church again today. The weather was gorgeous!
    This is my third weekend of motorcycling and marks a little more than two full weeks of riding daily.
    As Sunday is a day of reflection, here are some reflections on motorcycling.

    • Your senses are much more active. You see more. More of everything, not just a larger view of the road. You see colors more vividly, you see details more readily, and you appreciate the world you ride through. You are also more alert by necessity. Not only that, you feel the sun through your visor when it is strong. You actually smell and taste the world around you. I had thought that this might really aggravate my allergies, but it has not. And in spite of the sound of the engine, you hear more. You are engaged with the world and with the act of riding, rather than being engaged with your stereo. Physically, you feel everything that the bike is doing because you are connected to it much more closely. There is no mechanical linkage between you and the steering mechanism, and no power assist to remove road feel; you are a part of the steering mechanism, connected directly to it.

    • Other motorcyclists wave to you. There is a sort of camaraderie amongst those of us on two wheels. Perhaps it is because when you ride, I see you, not the car you're wrapped inside of. The shared experience of being more vulnerable to those wrapped up inside of cars certainly contributes.

    • I use far less gasoline. I am averaging 41 mpg, most of which is in town riding.

    • I also find that in riding, I am more relaxed and far less stressed! I use my time on the road rather than trying to beat it. There is no clock on the dash telling me that I'm late, early, or right on time. It is, in a different way, meditative.

  18. Day 17. The Monday ride in was nice. It was supposed to be sunny, but it was overcast. It was starting to sprinkle when I got to work. The cool air was very comfortable and the ride was very pleasant. I find that my comfort level in the saddle is growing steadily, but there is always something that I find I need to improve.
    The ride home was dry, though overcast. I had to dance around a few parked cars and small children in the neigborhood. Nothing out of the ordinary, but I am finding that I can get a lot of response from the bike by using small movements from my core and lower body.
    Every day, I try to stretch my capabilities just a little.
    And when I got home last night, my H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) material arrived!

  19. Day 18. It was dry when I left this morning, and I debated for about five minutes on whether or not to ride. The weather report indicated that it would not be a good idea, so I decided to drive. Looking out the window, I see that my decision is vindicated.
    If it is dry when I get home this evening, I will take the bike out.

    Day 19. I was fully expecting to drive today, but I saw beautiful weather outside and rode in instead. The ride was slow because of a school bus, but that meant that everyone was going slow.
    There was no humidity (it's all on the ground) and it was nice and cool. Now, come this evening, I'm hoping the dry weather holds! Day

  20. Day 20. Cloudy and overcast, but dry. The ride in was pleasant, though I am finding that every impatient driver that I have had to deal with have all been driving Mercedes motorcars. I'm not sure why it is that that guy in the six hundred horsepower Cadillac CTS-V can maintain a reasonable following distance and drive like he's on a 30mph road while the drivers in the Mercedes want to go 50 and 60 through developments.
    Ah well.
    And last night, I rode out to Battley Cycles for a new helmet and a helmet lock. I walked in on the monthly H.O.G. meeting. And I was able to attend, because I am a member! Lots of great people in M.C.HOG, and it was good to meet some of them.
    The ride was nice. Beautiful on the way out and while there were a few droplets on the ride home, it was nice, cool, and pleasant. Then new helmet is an HJC in silver, so it matches the bike. Very comfortable.
    The evening ride makes up for not having been able to ride on Tuesday.

  21. Day 21. Another beautiful sunny day. I'm hoping that it holds, but I'm commited one way or the other regardless. Not counting the riders class last year and a small number of short rides, I am up to twenty six hours in the saddle, which is virtually nothing in the grand scheme of things, but is more than I had three weeks ago.
    The evening ride was nice and dry! The weather held and the ride home was a pleasant one.

    Day 22. The day started off cloudy, but dry. I headed out to Battley Cycles for the swap meet and to have the mileage on my bike certified for H.O.G. The weather held, and aside from a bit of mist and a few droplets, the ride was rain free. I parked it when I got home, but it was nice to get an hour of riding in. That ended my week at twenty seven hours in the saddle.

  22. Day 23. The week began with a ride to church. The weather was gorgeous and the ride was nice. While in church, another parishoner asked Patrick if the helmet was his, but he said that it was his dad's (mine). The gentlman knew Patrick from Caribou and said that maybe it's time for Saint Francis Hog group.
    On the way home, I stopped by a friend's house to see his new Victory that his son had mentioned. Only it wasn't a Victory, but a Suzuki V Strom. I got to ride it. It felt light and quick, and certainly was a bullet if you wanted to go fast. Not much torque, but it builds what it has very quickly. The bike had superb balance, but I really disliked the riding position. Fun ride, though!
    In the afternoon, I took a ride out to Battley again, as it was triple points day for HOG members. I bought the goggles that I had originally planned to buy on Saturday and ran into my old kendo sensei, Master Choi. The ride home has put me at twenty nine hours in the saddle.

  23. Day 24. The ride in today was cool and sunny! Smooth riding. They are resurfacing 355, so I have two fairly major bumps to deal with in crossing. Thankfully, the cars slow down more than I do, and I'm slowing down a lot for it.
    I'm finding that my daily commute is consistently ten minutes longer riding. I am more careful to observe the speed limit, as I am not as isolated from my speed on the bike. Also, the ride is much more enjoyable!
    After a comment from Kathy McManus saying that she enjoyed reading about the daily ride, I have decided to change the name of my note from 'Biker Journal' to 'The Daily Ride.'
    The ride home made thirty hours in the saddle. It was enjoyable as usual. I happened to see an unusual car; the new Tesla Model S. Sharp looking; kind of like what the Porsche Panamera would look like if they had had better stylists. With the nice weather, I was surprise not to see any other motorcyclists, but I suppose as the weather warms, I'll see more.

  24. Day 25. Another cool ride in. Another lane on 355 has been resurfaced, so the road is a little bit smoother when crossing. I'm over thirty hours, which is nice, but each day reminds me that there are many things that need to be improved upon. Most all of them involve low speed maneuvering. But each day, improvements are made.

  25. Day 26. It was sunny when I left at eight this morning. I actually got to work in 26 minutes today. Only one red light. Green lights the entire trip save the one at Redland. I was getting a few droplets on my visor as I pulled in, but when I walked over to the mail room later, it was still just cloudy.
    I'm getting more confident in leaning the bike and the turns on Needwood are getting a little quicker. They paved in another strip on 355, so there are now two two-lane wide strips in both directions. At the rate they're going, it should be done by the end of the week, which will make the crossing very nice.
    The ride home was a little different. I got out about fifteen minutes later than usual and as anyone who drives daily knows, five to fifteen minutes can really affect the tone of the traffic. It was more stop + go and pretty much all the way until I got to Bowie Mill, and it was a bit heavier even then. A driver in a pick up truck was holding his cigarette out the window. Sharing the habit with the world, I suppose. I let him get far enough ahead that it was tollerable.

  26. Day 27. Another morning of good light cycles. Both lanes on 355 are fully paved, but there is still the aprons and a median width strip in between to be done. Still, it is an improvement. This past Monday marked thirty hours and this coming Sunday will mark 30 days. Today is 33 hours.
    The ride home was nice, but it was definitely a warm ride home. Thankfully, I don't sit too much in my ride, and after I get past the Crabs Branch Road intersection on Redland Road, I hardly stop at all. After I got home, I took the bike up to top it off for the weekend, then took the bike north on Georgia Avenue and then took Brookville Road over to 108 and then back home, making today good for almost 34 hours.

  27. Day 28. Today was the very best ride in so far! Perfect weather, light traffic, and green lights almost the entire way. They've paved the median area between the lanes on 355, so all that is left are the aprons on Redland, so my crossing is smoother and smoother.
    The ride home was almost as nice as the ride in. I'm finding that my travel time on the bike has been shaved by about five minutes or so, as I have gained more confidence in the saddle. Today brought me to 36 hours.

  28. Day 29. It looked like rain, but I got out and rode to Urban BBQ in Sandy Spring. I finally got to use those motorcycle parking spaces that they have!. I got a compliment on my bike from an exiting patron. I ordered take out and took it home in the saddle bags. It sprinkled a little on the ride home, but it never really rained.
    I rode to Longwood later in the day for kendo practice with Lynda Mayfield and Carina Tornow. The weather held, so both the ride and the practice was dry. Day 29. It looked like rain, but I got out and rode to Urban BBQ in Sandy Spring. I finally got to use those motorcycle parking spaces that they have!. I got a compliment on my bike from an exiting patron. I ordered take out and took it home in the saddle bags. It sprinkled a little on the ride home, but it never really rained. I rode to Longwood later in the day for kendo practice with Lynda Mayfield and Carina Tornow. The weather held, so both the ride and the practice was dry.

  29. Day 30 . The ride to Church made one full month in the saddle. I parked under a tree to keep the bike dry, but weather held in the morning and early afternoon. Exiting the church parking lot has been handy for practicing low speed maneuvers, and since they have a crossing guard, it makes getting out less hazardous.
    I had planned to ride up to Frederick today, but Lynda indicated that it was misting up there. As they were calling for rain, I opted to drive. We had a great afternoon, but I was kicking myself for not riding, as the weather turned out to be almost perfect! We did get to Da Black Cat (formerly Creative Stitchins) and the Owl Nest, and Harley Davidson of Frederick and looked at Lynda-sized helmets. After that, Baja Fresh. And today makes 38 hours!

  30. Day 31. The ride in was overcast and cool. Overall, uneventfull, but when turning right on red at Muncaster Mill and Needwood road, some guy behind me in a Mercedes (I'm really seeing a pattern) had to honk because I stopped before turning. Good thing too, as the left turn lane going north had right of way and cars were starting to enter the intersection. The aprons at Redland and 355 still haven't been finished, but the broad strip of fresh tarmac still makes the crossing better than last week.
    The ride home was nice and sunny. Given that it had been overcast all morning and into the afternoon, this was a very welcome change. Some guy in a Toyota Tacoma got behind me on Needwood Road. He followed a bit close, but not so close as to be really tailgating. After each speed bump, he made moves to start to pass me. I don't really care; I'd rather someone pass me if they really have to than build frustration riding behind me. Now keep in mind, this is a residential area and a thirty mile an hour road with speed bumps every 16th of a mile and a double line the entire way; there is no passing zone anywhere on this road.
    So, he moves to pass on the left, but realizes that he can't because of oncoming traffic. He then moves to pass on the right at a place where there's an intersection and a widened shoulder. But because I'm actually doing a couple miles over the speed limit, he doesn't have the room there either. He makes two more attempts to cross the double line, but I've either pulled ahead enough that he can't risk it (the road is curvy) or there's oncoming traffic. We get through the speed bumps and I take it up to 40, leaving him way behind. Meaning that he was really upset not to be doing 35-38. When I get to the serious twisties, I lose sight of him completely. So, we get to the end of Needwood road, and the light is red (it always is). He catches up to me. He follows me on to Muncaster mill for a block, we turn onto Bowie Mill, and about three miles up the road, he turns left onto a service that services a number of large homes. Needwood Road is less than three miles.
    So basically, this guy only had six miles to go at rush hour on roads with speed limits of 30-40 miles an hour. Sounds like he needs to take a vacation and mellow.

  31. Day 32. The ride in this morning was nice, but overcast again. The overcast weather combined with the green of spring is evocative of Ireland, though it is warmer and more humid than the Emerald Isle. Traffic was heavier this morning than usual, but it moved along nicely enough. The gent in the Mercedes SUV that was honking yesterday was behind me today, but there was no honking. I hear that it is supposed to be sunny later like it was yesterday. I look forward to it.
    The ride home was sunny! And warm! No unruly motorists, good traffic flow, and a nice ride! I went out last night to RFA, and then to Caribou Coffee. Two hours of riding today makes 41 hours. When I got home, the bike had turned 9000 miles!

  32. Day 33. Another smooth ride in. No obnoxiousness, no rain, no road issue. Overcast but humid, I definitely am going to have to invest a summer riding jacket. The ride home was brighter and warm, though not uncomfortably so, and ended with 42 hours in. I went to SCA Rapier fencing in the evening with Lynda, though I drove. However, I did deposit my gear at the workshop so that I can ride the next time.

  33. Day 34. It was dry when I woke up and dry when I went outside, so I decided to ride in. The day was, again, overcast and though humid, not overly hot. I caught a few droplets on the way in, but no real rain. They claim that it will rain later today. I refuse to live my life based on the predictions of overpaid talking heads who have a less than 50% accuracy rate. If I get wet on the ride home, I get wet on the ride home.
    Of course I didn't get wet on the ride home. It was sunny for much of the day, only clouding up when I left, but it never rained. There was almost no traffic, as people have begun to head out for the weekend.

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  36. Day 35. It was misty this morning, but it never really rained on my ride in. The traffic was very light, as it is Memorial Day weekend. I got in dry except for a bit of dampness on the shins.
    The ride home was overcast, but dry. There was hardly any traffic, which is always nice, whether riding or driving. Something happened along the way. Nothing specific, but I noticed that I was riding with more confidence, as I do when I drive my car. It was as if everything that I have been practicing and doing for the past month just suddenly came together unconsciously. It was a very wonderful feeling, but it is also one to keep in check; confidence equals comfort, but not necessarily a matching level of skill. It is very important not to out ride my skill level. Still, it was very cool!

  37. Day 36. Saturday morning came bright and beautiful. Breezy, but very nice. I gave the bike a spot cleaning and headed out to Battley for their Memorial Day event. Lots of great bikes, a great band, and of course, food! I picked up a denim vest to put my H.O.G. patches and pins on. It fits very nicely over my lightweight leather jacket.
    I didn't ride any of them, but I did sit on a newer Dyna, a Softail, and a Road King Classic. I was amazed at how light they felt, particularly the Dyna and the Road King. The balance on the newer bikes is just incredible. The Road King outweighs my bike by over 150 pounds but it felt like it weight fifty pounds less than mine! The newer Dynas feel lighter than a Sportster. While I was there, I ordered the grab strap for the passenger seat and picked up a guardian bell. Here an article about the bell: . According to the article, the bell is twice as effective if it is given to the rider, so if one does come my way, my bell will be passed on to another rider. :)
    Later in the day, I rode to Longwood to meet Lynda, Rob and his daughter Val, Paul, and Dan for kendo practice. After that, I returned to Battley in my car with Lynda. She sat on a Sportster 883 Superlow and it was a good fit for her. We wandered around looking at apparel and eventually headed off to pick up Connor and then to dinner at Cheeburger. The week ended with 46 hours in the saddle.

  38. Day 37. Another beautiful day, and less breezy too! The morning ride to church and back went nicely. The Deacon asked if I was riding to the Wall today. I would like to have, but I had other commitments today. Next year, I plan to be there, however.
    In the afternoon, I topped off the tank, rode to Wendy's, and then rode up to see my friends, Andy and Stephanie. I worked with Stephanie to re-learn her driving skills. She did well, and with that done, I went to see Lynda. I went to Frederick via 270. This was the longest highway ride that I have had so far, and the fastest I've had the bike. The ride up was windy, and I was riding against the wind. I finally got to stretch out and use those highway pegs. They're very nice on a long ride. With a speed limit of sixty five most of the way, the bike got to stretch its legs. The ride home was equally nice, but with no wind, and much of the trip is downhill.
    Between 2500 and 3000 RPM, the bike's character changes dramatically. The big twin has plenty of power around town, but its delivery is relaxed. When running above 2500, the engine is awake and alive. In fifth gear, a gentle twist of the throttle at 60 mph brings out a deep, powerful roar and the bike is instantly at seventy. I kept pace with traffic and went no faster. And today brings me to 50 hours!

  39. Day 38. I went out in the morning to Caribou Coffee and CVS. Everytime I go into Caribou with my helmet, someone behind the counter (different people each time) asks what I ride. When I tell them it is a Harley Superglike, they always say 'sweet,' 'nice,' 'cool,' or something similar. While I don't have a need for purchase validation, it is nice that the ride is appreciated. And the staff at Bauer Caribou are always tops. Best cup of coffee in the state. I got home and took the saddlebags off and cleaned them up. The back of each was a wall of pollen. Now, they're nice and black again. I cleaned up all the hardware that is normally hidden behind the bags as well. Have to keep the machine clean.
    I took the bike up to Lynda's parents' home in Germantown for a cookout. When I got there, I found that the road sprites had managed to snag my bell. Bummer. The ride in both directions was very smooth, though, and traffic was very light.
    Day 39. After such a nice weekend, I was hoping for a brighter day today, but instead, I was blessed with Irish weather. Heavier traffic than usual, but everyone was polite and the trip in was smooth. The ride home was a normal sunny day. I definitely will need to change to a lighter jacket!

  40. Day 40. Perhaps there is Bibilical significance to having ridden for forty days and forty nights? Unlikely, but day 40 is upon me. I'm very seriously considering selling the car. The weather this morning was absolutely perfect, and though traffic was not as light as it was last week, it was very tollerable.
    The ride home was hot. Not warm, but hot. My ride is short, and when you're moving, it isn't bad, but when sitting in traffic, you notice it.
    I rode to RFA last night. Putting gear on the bike was fun, but I managed. Thankfully, I was able to leave the foil and the mask at RFA. It was still hot on the ride over, but the ride home was very comfortable. I took Southlawn and Avery, so the high beams got use. I was very careful looking for dear. My fortieth day ended with 56 hours.

  41. Day 41. It was over seventy degrees when I left this morning. I put the denim vest on over a sweat jacket instead of the leather, and that was definitely more comfortable. Trafic was at capacity but flowed very smoothly. And they finally paved in one of the aprons at the Redland and 355 intersection. One left and the crossing will be all smooth!
    I took Connor out driving last night and we went to Battley. I looked at different bikes with forward controls. I think I may have to break down and install them later this summer.

  42. Day 42. Another warm morning ride. I left earlier than I have been and that certainly lightens up the traffic a bit. I even got to stretch the bike's legs a bit on the way. Riding has proven to be a meditative experience for me. Not in the sense of meditating while I ride; that would be dangerous. But the ride itself is meditation. You are constantly infused with the glory of creation and a sense of divine presence. For those who seek to live their lives being in the hand of God, I would challenge you to commute on a motorcycle, for that is all the protection you have. And it is all the protection that you need.

  43. Day 43. I rode out to look at a set of used bogu near Lake Needwood and back. It was a beautiful but very warm sunny day. I missed the house as I was riding and u-turned it. I almost laid the bike down and realized that I was reflexivly using the front brake, a no no in tight turns. While it is comforting to know that I can haul a 622 pound bike upright with upper body strength, I'd prefer to correctly maneuver the bike instead. The couple who were selling the bogu also are riders, so I got a little motocycle conversation in. He rides a 1980 Honda Nighthawk and she a Suzuki Savage (not sure of the year). When I got home, I intentionally missed the driveway so that I could practice the u-turn. Went much nicer.

  44. Day 44. After the past few days of heat, I rode to church with just a t-shirt and vest with my jeans and boots. I wore gloves and a helmet, but my arms were bare. And it was very, very comfortable. I made it home as it was beginning to cloud over and practiced that u-turn again. I drove to Frederick to see Lynda later in the day due to the severe storms they were calling for, and on the way home, it was raining very hard from Germantown into Derwood. And today marks sixty hours in the saddle!

    Day 45. The ride in was very nice. Went with vest and a gasoline shirt. It spritzed a bit on the way in, but no real rain. The traffic was amazingly light this morning. The humidity was such that I was glad for the bare arms, even at forty miles an hour.

    Day 46. The ride in was mild, and I went sleaveless again. It was a little cool in the morning, but not uncomfortably so. It was a blessing in the afternoon. I think I will need to invest in a 3/4 or half helmet. Partly for comfort, but also for less between my senses and the world around me.

  45. Day 47. I left earlier than usual this morning and it was cooler. Another sleeveless day, it was cool when I left, but by halfway there, the sun and the warmth from the engine were keeping me nice and comfy.
    This afternoon, I ate a quick snack at my desk and went out to pick up the seat strap that had come in. I picked up a half helmet while I was there, and wow! Riding back, I took Shady Grove to Redland and Redland back to Gaither to Gude to Research. Redland between the ICC bridge and Needwood Road is just gorgeous when viewed through goggles and an open face helmet. I find that my awareness of my suroundings is much greater. True joy!
    The ride home was equally nice. I took my usual route home, but tomorrow, I think I will try a different way. One without speed bumps. It is amazing how much more you hear and are aware of with the open face helmet. And it is amazing how much more comfortable it is. My arms are tan from riding without a jacket, but only from just above the elbows to my hands. I need to work on that.In the evening, I rode to SCA for fencing. Fencing was nice, but after fencing, I took the bike from Sundown Road to New Hampshire Ave. and then picked up Georgia and rode home from there. Nice ride at twilight. The cool night air was refreshing and the amber goggles really do make things brighter. I'm still working on doing tight turns with what is a fairly long bike. Technique is improving, though it still needs work.
    Today was good for about three hours of riding, bringing me to sixty five hours in total (not counting the class and any of the sporadic rides that I had last year and earlier this year).

  46. Day 48. I put my casual short sleeve button up shirt into the saddle bag and rode in with my tank top and denim vest. It was overcast, so my upper arms didn't get the sun equalization that I had hoped for. While it was a bit chill initially, my body acclimated to it. After about ten minutes, my arms could feel the heat radiating from the engine anyway, so I was not cold. I did take my new route this morning: 108 west to Muncaster Road - Redland Road, crossing 355 and then taking Piccard instead of Gaither over to W. Gude Dr. It was a much nicer commute. I must do this tonight on the way home!
    The ride home was mild and overcast. I took the new route home. Much nicer. I think I will keep this one. I was about three quarters of the way home when it started sprinkling on me. By the time I pulled into my driveway, it was just starting to actually rain.

  47. Day 49. Unfortunately, the weather is such that I opted to drive today. I don't know if it will be such that I can sneak a quick ride in this evening before kendo class, but as they're calling for flash floods later this afternoon, I felt that it would be wise to take the car.

  48. Day 50. I rode out to RFA for fencing because at 9:30, it was sunny. It was a very nice ride. I like the park section on Southlawn Lane after you turn off of Avery Road. There is a lot of beauty in the area, and while you can 'see' it in a car, you appreciate it more on the bike. Simply not being surrounded by glass makes a big difference.
    The ride back home after fencing was interesting. It was sunny when I left, then got cloudy and started raining lightly when I got onto Avery, was raining steady by the time I got to Muncaster Mill, and was raining pretty hard by the time I got to Bowie Mill, then pretty much subsided by the time I got home. The day got sunny later, but I had errands that required the car, so the morning was all the riding that I was able to get in.

  49. Day 51. I rode to pick up a set of used bogu in the morning, over off of Avery. It was sunny when I left, but clouded up. The bogu bag had a shoulder strap for carrying like a purse. I put it on the passenger seat and wrapped the strap around my waist like a belt. Parts inside made for a less than soft backrest, but the ride was nice. It was cloudy and I thought it might rain, but it never did.
    In the afternoon, I rode up to see Lynda. I took 270, and by the time I got to Germantown, it was less overcast. Once I was up in Frederick, it was downright bright and hot! When I got off of the highway onto 40 and stopped at my first traffic light, I could feel the heat radiating from the asphalt and from the bike on my arms. I have been riding sleeveless, so my arms really felt it. It wasn't bad, but you knew it was there. Thankfully, I did put on sunscreen prior to leaving. The ride home was started out overcast and I rode through rain when I got to the truck scales. It was never bad, though, and at sixty miles an hour, it beaded off of the windshield.
    Riding with goggles and the open face helmet has really been a blessing. I feel much more a part of the world around me. I'm no longer driving on and through creation; I'm part of it, interracting with the rest of it. Even in the rain, rather than it being a nuissance, it was a bonus. It was like being touched by the sky itself. Had it been raining harder, I would have exited off and taken 355 the rest of the way.

  50. Day 52. Due to having to haul gear to kendo class this evening for myself and a student, and due to the rain and thunderstorms that are called for today, I drove. It was raining softly, but steadilly, though after I got in, it was pouring. Hopefully, tomorrow will be drier.
    On a plus note, I found that the dilemma between forward controls and engine guards is no dilemma at all. I looked through the Harley catalogue a bit closer and it looks like I can indeed have both!

  51. Day 53. A nice, sunny morning greeted me today. I rode out and got as far as Rt. 108 and realized that I had forgotten my wallet, so I turned around and went home for it. Then I rode out again, for real this time, and just let the sound of the engine fill my ears. The morning was beautiful, and I took the 108>Muncaster Rd/Redland Rd.>Gaither Road>W.Gude Dr.> Research Blvd. route. Perfect temperature today too!
    Lunchtime came, so I rode to the Safeway at Fallsgrove to get lunch fixins for the next week or so. Navigating that parking lot is sooooo much easier on the bike! The ride back was nice. My parking space was even waiting for me!
    The ride home was pleasant enough, though when I was near home on 108, all of the eastbound traffic was turning around due to something somewhere between the big park and Olney Mill Road. I turned around and took Wickham Road back to Olney Mill and across. I never did figure out what the hold up was. I rode to Sandy Spring and then later to Caribou on Norbeck and Bauer. The night perfect for riding. In all, I got about three hours of riding in, bringing me to 73 hours in the saddle.

  52. Day 54. The morning ride was nice, cool, and bright! I put sunscreen on my arms again, but I doubt that I would have needed it. They're calling for possible storms later, but given that since I've been concerned about the weather, the weather men have been wrong 40%-60% of the time. So I have reverted to making my own daily forcast: I look out the window.
    The ride home was warm bordering on hot at one point, which I tend to prefer. I've decided that I will invest in a detatchable windshield and plan to remove the current one for a weekend just to try out not having one. I think my mileage will improve.
    I went out in the evening to top off the bike, as I plan to drive tomorrow in the wake of the supposed super storm (if the weather men stay on track, it will be another Chicken Little forecast). I calculated my mileage again and am consistently averaging 45mpg. After filling up, I took the bike north on Georgia Avenue and then took 650 west to Rt. 108, then back to Olney. A nice hour on the bike to make up for not riding in tomorrow, bringing me to 75 hours.

  53. Day 55. Because of the forecast storm, I drove to work today. I could have ridden, but such as life. In the evening, I took Connor driving to Battley Cycles, where I picked up a spanner for adjusting the rear shocks and determined if the HOG meeting was happening because of the storm. It was, so we went home and I got the bike.
    On the way home it started raining, but by the time it was time to go to the HOG meeting, it had stopped. The ride was beautiful. The evening sky after a storm is amazingly gorgeous. Vibrant colors, the green of the trees, and the cool of the night air. The road spray however, had my lower legs soaked by the time I arrived. The meeting was nice and the HOG members are all very friendly and welcoming. Good group! The ride home was darker and cooler, but drier. In all, it was good for about an hour of riding. 76 in total!

  54. Day 56. It was a little overcast and breezy this morning as the last of yesterday's weather was blown out of here. But it was a beautiful ride! And now it's sunny out!
    The ride home was another fine one. I have decided that I will take the windshield off this weekend to see what it is like. Oh, I forgot to mention that last Tuesday, they finally paved the apron at the intersection of Redland and 355, making for smooth pavement the entire trip home.

  55. Day 57. I took the bike to RFA for fencing again this morning. I love going through the park area on Southlawn between Avery and the part where it opens up into the industrial district. While you're in that part, you'd never know that just a quarter mile away is a massive concrete and asphalt maker.
    I got home and took the windshield and the really badly weathered tool bag off of the bike and installed the passenger grab strap. I also gave the bike a good clean up. I took the bike around the neigborhood to see how riding without the windshield was. It was nice, but once you hit 30, the sound of the wind is almost overpowering. It was nice, but it also makes for a very, very different ride. The windshield really makes a nice little bubble of tranquility for you to ride in. I think I will put it back on for highway riding, but keep it off for around town stuff.

  56. Day 58. I rode to church to meet my parents for mass on Father’s Day at Saint Patrick’s. Riding down Georgia Avenue at fifty with no windshield made me feel like a dog sticking its head out of the car window. Lots of fun! Church was nice and the priest gave a good homily, but I just couldn’t get over that he sounded like Phil Hartman.
    After church, I rode to Lake Forest Mall to meet Lynda for lunch. I turned right on Norbeck leaving the church, as turning left from either driveway was simply going to be more bother than worth. That took me to Avery, which is beautiful to ride through. I am continually amazed at this pocket of natural beauty in the midst of our overdeveloped county. Riding through this area, you’d never guess that acres of housing developments and blocks of industrial and office parks surrounded it, not much more than a half mile to a mile away from the quiet, verdant canopied road. It made for a nice meditation. Avery brought me back to Muncaster Mill, which I took all the way out to Centerway. I decided to avoid Midcounty on the trip out. They filled in all of the cracks with tar, so the road looks like a kid tried to draw veins on it with a giant magic marker. The tar makes the ride different, as it is softer than the asphalt. Centerway to Goshen was a smoother and greener ride anyway.
    Once at the mall, I saw a cool Sportster chopper that Lynda was kind enough to photograph for me. At lunch, she gave me my Father’s Day card and a new bell for the bike. When we left, it was sprinkling, but stopped by the time I got to the bike. I rode home through sunny skies that occasionally sprinkled.
    My conclusion is that without the windshield, you get more wind-in-the-face experience, but after a while, you also get physically worn from being continually buffeted. I think that for most of my riding, I can leave it off, though given the protective bubble it provides, cooler days and days where I will ride the highway for long distances will see the windshield back on the bike (it’s only four screws). I wrapped up my weekend with 80 hours in the saddle. At some point, I haven’t decided when, I will stop tallying the hours.

  57. Day 59. Today is ride your bike to work day! I do that most every day, but it was fun to be able to parcipate.
    A lovely ride in, the temperature was perfect. Bright and sunny, I made sure to have sunscreen on before I left. I'm still riding sans windshield and haven't decided yet on how I like it; overall, I think I prefer it. One thing that I noticed was that the windshield bisects my view and actually detracts a bit from seeing things in the road because of the split between upper and lower views of the road. I rode in with my bogu and kendogi in a back pack. The pack rests on the passenger seat nicely, so it isn't a strain to ride with it on. I consider it passenger practice.After work, I rode to RFA to teach kendo, and then home.
    On the ride home, I was blessed with the most spectacular sky, particularly as I rode up Bowie Mill from Muncaster Mill. The clouds over the green tree line and hills was blue with large, full clouds, bright white and tinged with a pinkish glow at the edges. Mother Nature and Heavenly Father painting one beautiful panorama after another. And on the bike, I see it all!

  58. Day 60. Today marks a full two months of riding. The morning ride in was hazy and overcast. I rode in as I have been, sleeveless, and between the breeze, the warmth and the humidity, it was actually a very comfortable ride. As I crossed the bridge over the ICC going down Redland, I saw this beautiful view of the tree line with a steeple peaking out from behind the trees. This is my gateway to... the canopied tunnel that Mother Nature provides on that part of my travels. At the bottom of the hill, I go over a creek and ride through woods. It is a brief but wonderful part of the ride.
    As I start up the other side of the little valley, houses start to dot the roadside and a development entrance appears on the left alongside the dark wood and brick Derwood Bible Church. Even at this point, the ride is still picturesque. It isn't until I cross Needwood Road that the picturesque woodland fully gives way to suburbia and development, as the road widens out and the Shady Grove Metro rises ahead of me.
    In spite of the rampant overdevelopment in this area, a lot of effort has gone into keeping greenery as a strong presence. Though I wish it were more so, I can appreciate the efforts. Even through the more built up areas, my ride remains green pretty much the entire way through. The ride in was capped off by my parking space being ready and waiting for me.
    The ride home was misty! It rained lightly at times, but never too much. With no windshield, I felt more of it. Raindrops pelting you at forty miles an hour get your attention. I took my old Needwood Road route, as I didn't feel like being pelted going fifty miles an hour. As usual, my lower pant legs were the most affected, while the rest of my clothes were simply a little damp. I rode with just my denim vest. Had it been raining any harder, I would have had to don the rain coat.
    In all, it was still more enjoyable than driving. I felt kissed by Mother Nature, though I'm not sure I would have felt quite the same if it had been raining harder.

  59. Day 61.
    The morning was sunny and cooler today, a nice change from last night. Below thirty miles an hour, it was warm enough, but above that speed, it cools considerably. That will be a plus in warmer weather. Even so, I could feel the heat from the engine. While it was most noticable when stopped, it was mildly present when moving, even at higher speeds.
    As I came down the hill after the ICC bridge on Redland, I saw that there are young new trees that have been planted aesthetically on the right hand side of the road. Thankfully, the power lines are on the left side, so these trees can grow and spread as they will. That will make the ride even lovlier. The morning was sunny and cooler today, a nice change from last night. Below thirty miles an hour, it was warm enough, but above that speed, it cools considerably. That will be a plus in warmer weather. Even so, I could feel the heat from the engine. While it was most noticable when stopped, it was mildly present when moving, even at higher speeds. As I came down the hill after the ICC bridge on Redland, I saw that there are young new trees that have been planted aesthetically on the right hand side of the road. Thankfully, the power lines are on the left side, so these trees can grow and spread as they will. That will make the ride even lovlier.
    On the ride home, I was treated to bright, warm weather. I'm seeing more motorcyclists, and most all of them wave. I exchanged waves with a probably sixty year old gray beard biker on a big Harley yesterday, as well as with a young lady wearing racing style gear on a Suzuki sport bike of some kind. For most of my trip on Redland, I was behind a young lady in a calf length dress and a helmet on a Vespa. She stayed in front until she turned left on Muncaster Mill. I passed another gent on a Vespa. I waved to him as I do other motorcyclists. He waved back, but looked rather puzzled.
    I rode out to fencing at Rick's and the clouds were more dramatic than they had been on the ride home. There was one V-Twin shaped cloud. It was dark in the center but pinkish white at the edges. Leaving fencing practice, I took a long route home, taking Sundown to New Hampshire Ave. to Georgia Ave. It had cooled off a bit, which was nice. I had a large commercial van behind me the entire way. He alternated between being too close to being way back. I finally pulled off of Georgia and onto Brookville Road to lose him, but he turned with me. When I took the back way into the development, he kept going on.
    And so ends another daily ride.

  60. Day 63. Another sunny morning, but cool. The route that I take alternates between open to the sky and tree covered. When it's sunny, it goes from being warm to being slightly chilly. Every morning, as I round the curve in 108 between the two soccor fields, I am treated to a beautiful vista with the tree line contrasting with the sky above. Today, the sky was blue with white clouds. It is usually at this point that I simply find myself at one with nature, in that perfect place where I touch both the ground and the sky at the same time. The wind brings the Earth's fragrance to my nostrils as it embraces me and my machine. The warmth of the engine radiates upward and the engine pulses through the bike, up through the handlebars and through the frame, as the grade of the road is sensed through the wheels and up to the handlebars. It is the oneness of man, machine, earth, and sky.
    The riders I saw yesterday were nowhere to be seen today. I had hoped to see more regulars riding, but so far, that has not been the case. As I got home, the warm and sunny sky gave way to an overcast sky, though this later ceded itself again to the sunlight. Today makes for 85 hours in the saddle.

  61. Day 64. As I rode out again this morning, the cool air brushed against my arms, energizing me for the day. The traffic was unusually light and the ride unusually relaxed. My ride is the same each day, but that trivializes the experience. Each time I see the same places, they are the same, and yet they are different. The sky each day belongs to that day and that day alone. There is no going back and looking at it again. Even if you were to take a picture of it, you lose the depth of the panorama. The clouds all move as if in 3-D. Except that unlike a movie, they really are 3-D, and from one moment to the next, they change ever so slightly, and from one day to the next, they are completely different, sometimes absent entirely, sometimes blanketing the sky. Each moment on the road is to be drunk in and savored. The ride ended with my arrival at work and after a brief moment to hear Lynda's voice, I went in to have my perfect cup of Kona coffee.
    Riding home was its usual treat. I always love that quick transition from overbuilt Rockville to wooded parkland as I cross Needwood going downhill on Redland. You go from hot and humid to cool and shady. Coming out of the woods and crossing over the ICC takes you to a part of MoCo that has retained its semi-rural flavor, even though there are a couple of developments along the way. It isn't until you get to Muncaster Mill that it looks like developers just vomited on the intersection. But that passes quickly.
    Once you cross Muncaster Mill, it goes back to countryside again and remains so until I arrive home. Riding home was its usual treat. I always love that quick transition from overbuilt Rockville to wooded parkland as I cross Needwood going down hill on Redland. You go from hot and humid to cool and shady. Coming out of the woods and crossing over the ICC takes you to a part of MoCo that has retained its semi-rural flavor, even though there are a couple of developments along the way. It isn't until you get to Muncaster Mill that it looks like developers just vomited on the intersection. But that passes quickly.Once you cross Muncaster Mill, it goes back to countryside again and remains so until I arrive home.

  62. Day 65. The morning found me riding to RFA for foil practice. My route through the park area and down Southlawn is one to be savored. The stretch of Southlawn between Avery Road and the industrial district ends all too quickly. But while you're on that stretch, it is as if nothing else exists. Once out of the park and onto Gude, the traffic was light. The ride home was similarly so. This was unfortunately the only riding I was to get in today.
    The ride today marks 87 hours and ends a full week without the windshield. As I plan to go up to see Lynda in Frederick tomorrow, I will be putting it back on. Riding without it has been a fun experience, but I find that while the bike looks better without it, once you're over about 25-30 mph, you actually take in less of the world around you, as your hearing is limited entirely to wind noise. I think I will probably remove it again for local riding, as it is only four screws and can be removed in less than two minutes.

  63. Day 66. My normal ride to church was replaced with a drive, as Patrick 'Patches' Sullivan rode with me and it was actually raining fairly hard (had I not had a passenger, I would have ridden anyway). But when we got home, the sun came out! I reinstalled the windshield today. When I first got the bike, the windshield was back far enough on its mounts that when the bike was parked with the kick stand down, as the wheel turned to the left, the bottom edge of the windshield would touch the tank. I made sure to correct this. I moved the lower part further out on the mounts by about a half an inch. I left the top in the original position. This increased the windshield's rake by about 3-5 degrees. When I rode out, I noticed the difference immediately. The bike moves through the air with less turbulence and less resistance. The ride to Frederick was nice, and with the windshield, I felt like I had gotten back my hearing. I went up 270 and for the first time since I started riding, I hit freshly grooved pavement around Urbana. I just relaxed my grip and rolled back slightly on the throttle and it was fine. Otherwise, the ride was smooth. The sky had a lot of dramatic cloud formations and the blue was very blue! When I got to Lynda's, the sky above was the darkest, richest blue I have seen in some time. It could be the elevation, but it was magnificent. When I went back down to Olney, I fueled up at the Get-Go and took 270 down to Urbana. The traffic was backed up to the exit by FSK mall, so I exited and took 355 the rest of the way. It was a very pleasant country ride, with nothing but the road, the trees, and the sky. In scripture, Jesus says that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. In pre-Christian religions, the earth and sky itself are a part of divinity. In my experience, both are equally valid, as 'Heaven' really is at hand. You ride through it, and the earth with all of its life and vibrancy is all around you. The day ended with three hours in the saddle, bringing me to ninety hours in total since I got the bike.

  64. Day 67. A very warm ride in this morning, my bike was laden with kendo equipment for class tonight. I definitely need a luggage rack!! I wore the bogu in a back pack, which is, I suppose good passenger practice. I got out a little earlier than usual and so the traffic was lighter. I took special care to take in the vista as I cleared the trees leaving the development, as it is a lovely one. Only I realized that in focusing on that, I missed out a little on riding through the trees. Thankfully, I entered another tree lined canopy passing the soccer field. I made sure to take in the world around me. It was a less contemplative ride this morning, but also a more interactive one. I managed to make every single light on the way in! Now that's timing!
    The ride home was nice, though late afternoon looked like it would be a wet ride. Carina Tornow was kind enough to offer a ride to class, but as we left in her car, the rain had stopped and by the time we were out of the parking lot, it was sunny. Lynda Mayfield drove me back to work to collect the bike and the ride home was gorgeous. I took special care to appreciate the valley between Needwood Road the ICC on Redland. It is a special place, even though I am only in it for a minute or two. I also took the time to take in the trees by my development that I had breezed through on the way to work. The canopy is such that it is almost as though you're in a green tunnel. Pulling into the driveway, I shut off the bike and put her to bed.

    Note: It was after this entry that I found that Facebook's note system had a limit, as it wouldn't post anything after about half the last sentence.

  65. Day 68. This morning was a perfect temperature. Sunny, and cool but not cold. I rode at a leisurely pace through the development to take in all of the trees and greenery. In spite of being just a large housing development, there are a lot of trees in the neighborhood. Leaving and heading west on 108, I entered the first canopied portion. I took special care as I rode through it today to take in the beauty of Mother Nature, both the visual, the tactile, and the fragrance of the wooded stretch. As with most of these parts of my ride, I'm only in it for about a minute or so. These sections of the road are sanctuary from the development that has engulfed the county. You can feel the presence of the woodland spirit, riding along with you through the trees. Coming out, I was treated to the vista overlooking the soccer park. The sky's majesty was more subdued, a pale blue and pinkish clouds that melded into the sky rather than standing in stark relief. Though less dramatic, the sense of openness is much greater on these days, with the sky seeming to be further away. But as you ride through the open stretches of road, you can feel the sky coming down to touch the Earth. You ride through it, and it is not at all distant. The heavens are not a far away place 'up there' but are all around, mixed with the trees, flowing though the grass and washing over the land. If you want to embraced by the Heavenly Father, get out and ride. He will embrace you and shield you the whole way as the lady of the woods and fields rides with you as your companion.
    The sense of this was even greater in my little valley between the ICC and Needwood Road. The sunlight is diffuse and the air cool and moist. Life is all around you, the very air itself alive with energy. As I exit my valley, I am energized more than any supposed energy drink can hope to do. There is no nervous energy or gittery edge. This is the divine energy that you breath in, which fills you up and nourishes your spirit. Another morning of mostly green lights, I arrived at work refreshed and ready for my day.
    The ride home was pleasant and I had a nice opportunity on 108 to accelerate from 0 - 50 with urgency and maintain a nice spirited pace the rest of the way home. I've found all of the little paths between the potholes and bumps between Wickham and the light at the soccer field, which makes for a smoother (literally) ride.
    In the evening, I took the bike to SBA to officially end the Tuesday night fencing practices due to lack of attendence. Afterward, I rode out Georgia Avenue to Damascus Road (650; if you turn left, it's New Hampshire Avenue) to 108. The sun was low in the west, prompting me to use the helmet's retractable sunvisor (normally, the goggles are sufficient). Out that way, there are still quite a few working farms. Looks like crops are coming in nicely.
    I find that I will have to make a fresh note or simply post these as statuses, as the Daily Ride seems to have maxed out it's character length. In any case, today brings me to 93 hours and marks the turning of the 10,000 mile mark on the bike. About another hundred and twenty five and I will have ridden 2000 miles since April 20th.

  66. Day 69. This morning was another one of those perfect weather days. As I rode, I chose to thank the Earth for yielding the land to us for the building of the roads that I ride upon. Though I doubt that those who planned, surveyed and cleared the land, and built the roads asked any kind of permission, I have become more deeply conscious of the giving of the land in order for me to have my rides. I also considered other drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. I read a lot of motorcycle articles that stress the tension between motorists and motorcyclists. The term, ‘cagers’ is used pejoratively for people driving cars. While I understand the tension, collectively, all on the road contribute to the life and energy of the road. There is life and energy that is brought by the collective, and the road is no different. I give other motorists courtesy and yield as the laws of physics demand. Much like aikido, where one does not meet the oncoming force with force, but yields and blends with the energy of the opposing force.
    As usual, my ride ended with a brief phone call to Lynda followed by a cup of Kona coffee.

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  68. Day 74. Normally, I post the previous day's ride home in the comments, but on Day 71, my journaling was interrupted. The Thursday evening (day 70) ride was fine and Friday morning, day 71, was a gorgeous day for riding. After arriving at work, Lynda Mayfield called to tell me that her car had taken an indefinite break at a gas station on 97, so I rode home, got into the Chevrolet, drove to meet her and took her to work. I drove home and picked up the Harley and rode back to work. The ride home was another gorgeous ride. This brings me to 96 hours in the saddle.

    Saturday, day 72, saw me doing a lot of driving as I had multiple passengers, so as beautiful as the day was, I sadly got no riding in whatsoever. But I did make it to Dick's Sporting Goods and picked up some rain gear. Sunday, day 73, looked like rain, but I rode to church and parked under a tree to keep the seat dry if it rained. Happily, the weather held and I had a dry ride home. I rode up to see Lynda later in the day. It was bright and sunny for my ride up and for most of my ride home, though the ride home was blustery.

    All of which brings me to today, day 74. The ride in was mostly overcast, but not dark, and some blue peaked through the clouds. I was sprinkled on while on Muncaster Road, but it abated by the time I crossed Muncaster Mill. The ride home today will bring me to 100 hours after the weekend.

  69. Day 75. Seventy five days and one hundred and one hours in the saddle! T'was a gray day with no blue whatsoever peeking through the clouds, though no rain either. But a day such as this has its own beauty, its own appeal. Cool already, going under the trees and down into my valley doesn't produce the change in temperature, as it is already evened out. Rides like this tend to be more contemplative, more about listening to the world around.

  70. Day 76. I saw a meme today that read,

    "A Biker's Code: If you don't ride in the rain . . . you don't ride."

    I'm not entirely sure that I'd agree with the meme, but I do ride in the rain. Today wasn't too bad. My Frogg Toggs kept me dry, but I definitely need gloves with cuffs for when it's colder. I think I'll Rain-X my HJC full face helmet this weekend (or maybe tonight), though.

  71. Day 82. Sorry to those who follow my daily ride; I haven't posted an update since day 75 on July 2nd. Day 76-78 took me to 104 hours. I didn't get much riding in on July 4th; only a half an hour or so. I didn't ride at all on the fifth, but I did get out for about a half an hour on Saturday. On Sunday, I rode for a total of two hours. Fifteen minutes each way to church, then an unplanned trip to Battley, as my battery gave out later in the day. I was able to start the bike by popping the clutch in third gear. The battery installation was fairly easy, so I have now done my first real repair on the bike. I tried to ride to Frederick again and got caught in a thunderstorm while still on Needwood Road. I put the rain gear on and got home. Needless to say, by the time I switched vehicles, it was letting up and in the end, I could have ridden. But by this point, I felt that it was time to let the bike rest a bit. I wiped her down and said good night.
    Today, day 82, I actually drove the car inspite of the beautiful weather. I brought an old computer to be recycled and had to carry kendo gear, so if I get any riding in, it will be tonight. However, I will be back on the bike tomorrow morning.

  72. Day 83. Tuesday morning was a little overcast, but not to badly. I took the time going home to stop off at Battley about the battery. Turns out that the battery was the one in the bike when it was traded in, so it isn't new. It could be the original. Either way, the bike is firing up consistently since Sunday.

  73. Day 84. Wednesday was even more overcast than Tuesday and stayed that way through most of the day. For some reason, I had on my mind a petty, minor comment made by someone on the internet the previous day. A few years ago, I would have gone over it again and again, but now I try to put such things out of my mind. I missed out on much of my usual appreciation of the beauty around me because of giving time to these thoughts. I rode almost three quarters of the way to work, only realizing after I came out of what is normally my favorite stretch of road (my little valley between the ICC and Needwood Road) that I had completely missed out on the morning’s beauty, all to give valuable energy to a very trivial nuisance. I resolved to enjoy thoroughly the rest of my ride. I was successful, and I made a promise to myself to never let that happen again!
    My ride home rewarded me with a gorgeous sky and a lush, green ride home. My little valley seemed happy to have me ride through, this time giving it the attention I should have given it in the morning. The ride was calming, reminding me of why I started riding in the first place: to leave all the negative baggage behind!

  74. Day 85. I rode in today and savored the entire ride. Traffic was light and though the air was very humid, I was quite comfortable while moving. The sky was gray, so there was no dramatic panorama. My ride was more meditative today, simply being in the moment as I rode through the wooded canopies and stretches of pasture and farmland. When I got to my valley, as I descended Redland I consciously visualized all of the negative energy being stripped away from me as I rode into the coolness. The mental exercise had the desired effect and I felt refreshed and energized when I arrived at work.
    The ride home was clear and bright. The gray clouds had given way to blue sky. I performed the same ritual of ridding myself of negativity as I entered the valley from the other direction, shedding the negativity of the day before entering this favorite part of my ride.
    In the evening, I went to the H.O.G. meeting. The meeting was nice and I’m looking forward to the events that they are planning. Unfortunately, when I went to leave, it seemed that the battery was not the original problem and I needed to pop the clutch to get it going. I also had the tail light out, so I installed a new bulb, but the problem was not solved. I am willing to bet that the one is connected to the other. Looks like I’ll be chasing wires this weekend. In a weird way, I’m actually looking forward to it. I have a car, so this is not an emergency, and I do miss the therapeutic nature of working on my vehicle. This ends my week at 111 hours of riding.

  75. Day 86. Due to the fact that the bike will not start, I drove in today. I looked online for wiring diagrams for a 1996 FXD, but none were available. Today, I managed to transfer over all of my daily ride entries from Facebook to the new blog, Our Daily Ride. This entry is the first in the new blog that actually occurs on the date it is listed as happening, July 12, 2013. I plan to run this one out to 100 days and then start a fresh entry.

  76. Day 92. It has been a week without the bike, and though it is not prefered, it has been illuminating. With a car to drive, there is no emergency with the bike down, leaving me free to repair it without hurrying.

    As it turns out, the tail light socket is bad, but it is pressed into the tail lamp assembly, which is seventy five dollars. I ordered the part on Tuesday, only to learn on Wednesday that it is an obsolete part. Battley Cycles is trying to locate one from another dealer and they indicated that they should have it by Friday. The part is seventy five dollars, so after installing the new one, I will go to work on the old one, taking out the area where the socket is and modifying it to accept a standard automotive 1157 socket. I will be buying a new multimeter tomorrow so that I can test some other parts of the electrical system.

    To say that I miss riding in is an undertatement. But its need of repair has prompted me to dust of skills that I haven't used in years, skills which are themselves a part of riding.

  77. Day 93. Today marks a full week of not riding due to an electrical problem or problems with the bike. I have tried daily to have the same meditative experience in the car, but it just isn't the same. The car isolates you from the world around you while the bike places you right in the middle of it.

    Additionally, I've inadvertantly swatted my door as I take my left hand from the steering wheel to wave to bikers.

  78. Day 94. I went to fire up the bike, but not having been run for a week, what little charge remained could not start it. I did get it started by popping the clutch with my son, Patrick, and Lynda pushing.

    I purchased a new multimeter, so after riding the bike in the neighborhood a bit and letting it run, I found that the charging system is only putting out about eleven to twelve volts, when it should be putting out 14.7. After shutting off the bike, it would not restart. It wouldn't even make the starter solenoid click.

    Lynda and I took the other battery (the brand new one) over to Battley and had it charged up so that I can work on the bike tomorrow. While we were there, I enjoyed their seventies day event and got some very nice pictures. Look in my new "Cool Bikes" album to see them.

  79. Day 95. After church, Lynda Mayfield and I went over to Battley and I picked up the now fully charged battery. I installed into the bike later in the evening and fired her up. With the bulb removed tail lamp, I get a reading of 15 volts. Yesterday, Lynda and I were looking through the owners manual to see where the fuse pannel is. The answer is, it isn't. There is a pannel of breakers, but in the description it mentioned that if a repeated short occurs, the breaker will throw until the problem is resolved, preventing proper charging. I took the bike out a little bit in the neighborhood, so I at least got a little (very little) riding in this weekend.

    I have 112 hours in the saddle. Not as much as I'd hoped to have by the end of the weekend, so I'll have to make up for it after I repair the bike.

    I am hopeful that the part will arrive tomorrow so that I can get back to my daily ride.

  80. Day 96. I had forgotten that Battley Cycles is closed on Mondays, so tomorrow will be the earliest arrival date for the lamp assembly. Due to having to teach kendo in Rockville this evening, I would be driving today anyway, but I had hoped to at least have it installed this evening.

    But it's alright; I just have something to look forward to tommorrow.

  81. Day 97. It is Tuesday and I am hoping for the lamp assembly to arrive today. I took the bike out in the neighborhood last night for about twenty minutes just to keep it running regularly. The voltage is still holding at just around 15, so it is promising that the issue will be resolved with the new part.

  82. Day 98. Last night, I installed the new tail lamp assembly. It came with a bulb. The Snap On butane soldering Iron I purchased back in 2003 fired right up and I got the wires soldered without any problems. My soldering skills are also still sharp.

    Once it was done, I took the bike out for about an hour. It was like being set free to be back riding again. No dramatic skies last night, but the ride was beautiful nonetheless. The bike was happy to be out, the engine happy to be running.

    When I got home, I checked the voltage. I was dismayed to find that the last time I measured, I was looking at the wrong scale on the meter (it's been a while since I've used one), and the bike's charging system was only putting out about 12.5 volts.

    In spite of that, I opted to ride into work today. I still haven't put the bags back on, so I am putting my faith in the Heavenly Father and a request to hold back the rain on my ride home.

  83. Day 99. With the new lamp and the new meter, I did one final test on the voltage regulator. It appears to be good, which leaves only one culprit: the stator. I really wanted to ride today. It is cool and would have been a great day, but I don't want to run the battery down to where the bike won't start.

    The stator is located inside the primary cover and involves draining fluid. It doesn't look like an overly complex repair; just more complex than if it were external like a car alternator. Looking at battery tenders also.

  84. Day 100. This is my last entry on this post. At this point, I will try to post something new each day, but I will no longer be recording the rides of each specific day.

    As the final entry of my first 100 days, I was very pleased this morning to find that the bike fired up willingly and quickly settled into a relaxed 'potato-potato' idle. Riding in was a pleasure with the cooler weather and beautiful skies. The sun shone in the east and the moon in the west. The beauty of the earth was all around, life evident in the green of the trees and grass.

    My one hundredth day will bring me to 115 hours of riding. A year ago, just getting the bike was a nebulous, 'it will happen within a year' commitment. In April, it became a reality. Now riding is as much a part of me as being a dad, driving, kendo & fencing, taekwondo & hapkio, and many other parts of my life.

    In a way, it takes me back to when I cycled literally everwhere and literally everyday. But it isn't a going back, so much as it is a bringing forward something good, some part of me that was special and had been left behind, to the present.

    I remember when I used to love hanging out at the bitcyle shop, always checking out the new bicycles and the new parts that would come in, strategizing the changes that I would make on my own bike. I would go everyday to the Bicycle Place on University Boulevard (Dorsey and his crew were much more personable than the Schwinn shop across the street) and on the weekends, I would visit Georgetown Cycle Sport, which later became Olney Cycle Sport. That was a special and magical time, one that I had thought gone. But here it is again, back and just as special as it had been, though now, instead of the bicycle shops, it is the motorcycle shops. I don't visit daily, as I simply do not have the time, but I do visit weekly and ride daily once again. I still bicycle and still love the bicycle shops, but I also now have the wonder of the motorcycle shops, which combines the unique experience of engines and car parts with the charm of bicycles and riding.

    Everyday, I find myself thinking of what I want to do with the motorcycle and plotting out how I will do it. As with bicycles, the project may go in directions that I hadn't orginaly planned but which present themselves as things unfold.

    Also, I have a convention of naming my vehicles. I christened the motorcycle, "Commet" like the reindeer from The Night Before Christmas. Commet is proving to be a lot of fun. I am very much looking forward to the next hundred days!

    Rock hard & ride free!