7.02.2006,10:35 PM
Two Wheeled Texans on Parade
248 miles later………

Yesterday was my first group ride. All of us members of the Two Wheeled Texans forum, I was the last to join the group, meeting them all at the end of my road. They were all parked off the road in a dip of gravel and sand which serves as a pull-off for a fireworks stand.

I made a grand entrance and a very bad dismount. Not sure which was more embarrassing: this incident or the time a stubborn lazy Arabian I was jumping fences on put the brakes on right before a fence and I went flying over his head and over the fence alone. Neither were pretty dismounts. But you get back on the horse, flesh or mechanical, and try again, no matter what.

Whee slid in the soft dirt while attempting to simultaneously navigate a decline and turn: down we went. The right front signal broke off but amazingly still worked. Riders on the V-strom forums warn everyone that the signals are always the first to succumb. Whee proved them right.

The engine guard did its job, but the plastic fairing above suffered some deep scratches. I took the brunt of the fall on right shoulder, jamming my clavicle into my sternum. One of the riders came to the rescue with some Advil and another made a road repair on the signal with some electrical tape (also known as ‘100 mph tape,’ so I was told). I assessed the damage of the bike, then myself. My right upper trap tightened immediately and collarbone/clavicle weren’t moving right, but ya get back on the horse and go on.

I did smile, after my bruised ego settled down a bit. And then noticed the other three V-stroms in the group, admired the two Beemer RTs , a pretty red Honda Super Hawk, the silver Honda VFR and noted the lone cruiser, a pretty white RoadStar. A fellow TWT rider from Oklahoma rode the three hours down to join us on his yellow V-strom 1K.

In short order, nine bikes and 10 riders mounted back on the highway towards FM730. We headed into Weatherford and around the courthouse, stopping at a gas station for a few of us to fill our tanks before heading out on the country roads. While filling my tank I was asked if I was okay and wanted to continue. I assured them I most certainly was going on!

Riding FM51 thru Granbury and on to US67, we rode east into Glen Rose and through town. Rounding a curve I saw traffic backed up and flashing lights in the distance. Then we all noticed smushed ‘roadside apples’ on the road and I caught the faint smell of horse whiffing under my face shield. We stacked in behind slow moving cars and then saw the horses and flags ahead - we were riding the tail of a parade! Some kids and their parents even waved to us.

Turning down FM144, our lead rider, Stephen on one of the Beemers led us through some up-and-down tight twisties. Although I had to keep my eyes glued to the road nearly the entire time, I could tell we were in the northern hill country of Texas. I caught a few glimpses of fabulous views from the elevations we rode. The narrow roads and sometimes tight corners (did I say tight, tight?) were an adrenaline rush despite my conservative riding. Last week a rider went down on this same route and was rushed out by ambulance. I can see how that would be a common occurrence on these roads.

We rode back east on US67 and had lunch at Hammond’s. Before going in, we mingled in the parking lot and gawked at each other’s bikes. Curious, Warren sat on Russ’s yellow hornet of a V-strom and was smitten!

I barely ate my grilled turkey sandwich, but drank two tall glasses of iced tea. The others eating the bbq ribs smacked their lips, an indication of a good meal. From there, several riders of the group split into their respective routes home for family obligations and I followed the leader and the rear rider back to Fort Worth area. We were showered on a few times which felt refreshing more than anything.

Whee did fine traveling at highway speeds of 75-80 mph, especially on the last leg back when I broke away from the others to hit the Suzuki dealer in Richland Hills. I bought the last R front turn signal assembly in stock and will install it later. Since I plan to put a decal on the fairings, one will hide the scratches on the right fairing until I replace it at a later date.

I then rode to the nearby CycleGear to pick up a tank protector. There, Tim teased me about spilling my ‘scooter’, as he calls my lowered Wee-strom, and I teased him about being tall as a tree. We talked bikes as we always do and he mentioned selling his Beemer 1150GS to pursue a V-strom. I warned him that he would then be Assimilated into the Collective (as we V-stromers say). I picked up the latest issue of the UK Bike rag, Tim urged me to have the collarbone checked and I rode out.

I spent the next 2.5 hours at Care Now for x-rays of collarbone and clavicle. Good thing I picked up the latest issue of Bike at CycleGear. No broken bones, but acute soft tissue sprains/tears and bruised clavicle and sternoclavicle joint. Taking superdooper anti-inflammatories and arm is in a sling to remove the pull on the trap and clavicle, but I’m still riding (doesn’t hurt to ride, just any adduction or abduction of R arm/pecs).

And I got that iced mocha from Starbucks after all.

Made it home after the pharmacy stop 12 hours and 248 miles after I left.

I did learn several things yesterday:

    • * soft sand/gravel, right turn, decline and short legs don’t mix well.

    • * Whee is so very different from the small cruisers I’ve been riding. Sometimes the handling is the converse (cornering, my U-turn on Whee was awful, what’s with all these gears?, cool - don’t have to muscle this thing, throttle is like a feather rather than a hand water pump, why won’t my heels touch the ground?, my back is much more comfy, twisties are like flicking rather than push and lean, get seat shaved down asap!, where’s reverse?!?)

    • * my first group ride. All of the riders were courteous and mindful of every member, and I especially thank Chuck for his patience (what happened to elusive first gear on that one turn? -scratching head) riding behind me and Stephen for leading us all into temptation. The twisties were fun.

    • * I met a group of fantastic folks and I hope to meet and ride with them all again, hopefully with no disastrous dismounts next time. In fact, most of us are meeting for dinner on the Fourth.

Thank you all!!
posted by Macrobe
Permalink ¤