Versys-newbie in Colorado
Hi, my name is Val Gregory, and it's been 3 hours since my last ride.
I started out with an MSF class in 1983, rode hubby's RD250 until 1986 when the birth of my son (second child) made riding one of those things I had no time for, other than the occasional pillion with hubby on his GS750ES. Fast forward 5 years, The Boy is a long legged moto-crazy youngin', Dad wants to do a charity ride, and Mom (me) and The Girl (age 7) have a Girl Scout campout the same weekend. "Let's see if The Boy can reach the pegs on Suzi!"
That lost me my pillion seat, and something Had to Be Done. So the next spring, hubby talks me into this 2-year-old 650 (650!!!) Honda Hawk GT, and I sign up for another MSF BRC to get back into the saddle. Guys, when you say you wish your significant other enjoyed motorcycles as much as you do, be careful. You might just get your wish. I started out commuting, then making careful forays into the mountains with hubby in the lead, then a buddy at work tells me about this electronic mail list thing that has all sorts of interest areas, including motorcycles. That was my introduction to rec.motorcycles, and eventually a founding lister position on the Hawk GT mail list, which is still going strong. They call me Auntie Val there.
Fast forward again to 2007; The Boy is a year from graduating college, I've put close to 80K on the Hawk, I've got a couple of California Superbike schools under my belt, and I've trucked and ridden the Hawk to rallies in Georgia, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Arkansas. The one I rode to had hubby scared - wifey's out doing 750 mile days on a maintained-by-amateurs 16 year old moto solo across Kansas? Yikes! Oh, and the Versys was introduced. I'd gotten to borrow a Pegaso for a weekend in Georgia a few years before, and knew that this was the sort of bike I wanted to supplement the Hawk. But not the Pegaso - Aprilia quit exporting it to the US shortly after my weekend in Georgia, and I'd heard too many stories indicating that parts were being rowed across the Atlantic by little old italian fishermen. But first we've gotta finish putting The Boy through college. Oh, and pay for a new driveway and garage floor.
A good buddy from the Hawklist gets a Versys and starts telling me about how much fun he's having, what farkles he's adding, "there's a forum for the Versys", etc. (Hi, Peter! <waving>)
So now it's 2009. The Versys comes new in blue and green, nobody's selling used ones. Hubby suggests I wait for a red one. That's the second mistake he's made with me and bikes! Another good buddy from the Hawklist who lived in Albuquerque is looking for a good DS for his new home in Baja del Sur, runs across a Craig's List ad for a 2008 red Versys, and remembers his Auntie Val. Numerous phone calls and emails later, we're in New Mexico with an envelope full of cash and my gear in the van.
So that's me. I take turns commuting with both bikes; the Hawk gets the nod for canyon carving, and the Versys for long days on straighter roads (don't worry, it'll see the twisties, too). The plan is to have two other good friends from the Hawklist restore that bike mechanically and cosmetically sometime in the next year or so, now that there's a stablemate to take up the slack.
I read through the "thing I hate most about my Versys" thread this morning and I think I can help with riding in crosswinds. My commute frequently features crosswinds of 40mph steady with gusts in excess of 60 mph in the spring, and it was a windy day coming back from New Mexico, too. Lean into it. We got caught with a gust in NM that shoved our little van onto the shoulder; when hubby looked back to make sure I was okay, he said I was leaned 30-40 degrees from vertical, still on the inside edge of the outer third of the lane, just like they taught me in the BRC. I remember that as a "whoa!" moment, but not all that scary. The other trick I've learned is to let my head flop over into the wind, so I'm not straining my neck trying to hold my head straight up. A good Beemer buddy discovered sticking your windward knee out can aid stability. But the most important thing about riding in crosswinds, especially gusty ones (and I got it from hubby) is simply this: Relax. Your. Arms. Don't fight it, lean into it. It's like dancing! I look forward to those windy days now, they're fun!
AMA 466527, DoD 1258
'90 Hawk GT
Tell the truth, explain to me, how you got this need for speed?
She laughed and said, "It might just be the next best thing to love."
- David Wilcox, "Eye of the Hurricane"