Our motorcycling started off in 1993. Keith hadn't thrown a leg over
a motorcycle since a friend's dirt bike in high school, and
Katie had no experience whatsoever, but we came across a deal we
couldn't pass up -- a 3-month-old, '93 BMW K75, with fewer than
2000 miles on the ticker, at well below market price. The K75
is a smooth and powerful bike; a shaft-driven, 750cc, in-line
3-cylinder job in a beautiful metallic, charcoal black color.
Keith got a motorcycle endorsement for his license, and we were
At some point Katie started thinking she would
like to try a bike of her own, rather than ride pillion all the
time. So, we found a really good deal on a nice little Yamaha 250
single-cylinder street bike that was perfect for practicing. Both
of us attended the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's three-day course
for beginning riders (which we highly recommend for all
motorcyclists, regardless of age or experience -- Keith has since
attended the MSF's Experienced Riders Course, as well). After
Katie got her own motorcycle endorsement, she was pretty soon hitting
the showrooms looking to trade in the little bike on something new.
Katie ended up getting a new, gorgeous red-and-white '95 Yamaha Virago,
a fairly large 750cc V-twin cruiser with lots of chrome. It's a very
reliable, shaft-driven bike with good power. It came fitted with
saddle bags, a wind screen, crash bars, and some other various little
chrome knick-knacks. Katie rode it around for a year or so, but
eventually decided that, all in all, she had more fun riding as a
passenger on our outings. So, she sold the bike to our brother-in-law,
who now accompanies us on some of our rides. Katie's back to riding
pillion with Keith.
The K75 was a great bike for commuting, and for riding around the
local countryside. As a "naked" bike, however, even with a bunch
of minor farkles we added, it wasn't truly set up for any serious
long-distance riding. So, in early 2003, we sold the K75 to a
riding buddy, and purchased a new K1200GT. In metallic silver-green,
our GT was a new BMW model for the 2003 year, trying to fill the
void between the big K1200RS sport bike and the K1200LT luxury
touring model. It pretty much does the job, but the
fall closer to the RS than to the LT and, overall, the GT is a bit
sportier than what those who were waiting for a "K-RT" model might
have wanted. In effect, it's a K1200RS with a wider fairing, a
heated seat and grips, a taller, adjustable windshield, electronic
cruise control, and color-matched system bags. It loses the
adjustable handlebars of the RS, but the fixed position is pretty
close to the RS bars in their rear-most setting.
At least for us old pharts, the GT is scary fast -- accelerating, turning,
and especially stopping (via its "whizzy brakes" system). It steers
effortlessly, compared to the K75, and the forward-leaning riding
position, about which Keith was a bit apprehensive, actually is
amazingly comfortable for extended times and distances. Katie
especially appreciates the GT's heated seat. Of course, as farkle
addicts, we've made some
additions and modifications
to the basic bike, to improve comfort, utility, and conspicuity.
The original K-GT model has been supplanted over the last few years by
three successive versions, each lighter, quicker, and more powerful
than the previous, but the old "brick"-type horse still gets us where
we need to go with a minimum of hassle and a maximum of fun.
Our typical riding has evolved over the years. At first, we did a lot of
couple-hours to day-long trips around Ohio with a local club. Saw a
bunch of neat stuff, and had some great lunches with fun people.
Keith fell in with a few folks who were not at all afraid of some
long-distance hauling, though, and our riding has leaned more and more
in that direction as time passes. Now, a ride of several days to two
weeks is more common, covering thousands of miles and double-digit numbers
of states (or provinces -- and, five countries in Europe). The
BMW MOA International Rally
is a pretty-much regular destination, now, as is the
IBMWR's Blitz to Branson
every spring. We usually get one or two long-distance, personal-destination
trips in every summer, as well, like the Texas hill country, Key West, the
Blue Ridge and Natchez Trace parkways, the gulf shore, the New England
The Top Ten Cool Things About Having a Motorcycle
That Goes Faster Than the Speed of Light:
10) Sleep 'til noon, still get to work by 8:00am!
9) Doppler shift makes red traffic lights look green.
8) Breaking the laws of physics is only a misdemeanor
in most states.
7) You'll be so thin while riding that you can even
wear horizontal stripes.
6) That deer in your headlights is actually behind
5) Traffic enforcement is limited to cops with PhD's
in quantum mechanics.
4) You can make a fortune delivering pizza with the
slogan, "It's there before you order or it's free!"
3) Your custom license plate reads: Me = mc2
2) Cigarette butts don't hit your helmet-- they land
in last week!
And The Number-One Cool Thing About Having a Motorcycle
That Goes Faster Than the Speed Of Light Is ...
1) Stephen Hawking keeps bugging you for a ride!
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