Cheshire: the collective noun for sidecar motorcycles (alternately known as “hacks”) owing to the extraordinarily high probability of generating smiles in the people they pass relative to all other vehicles. Usage: “Upon encountering a cheshire of sidecars one should strongly consider playing the lottery.” or “Wow! There goes a cheshire of hacks.”
We rode the Trans-Massachusetts-Trail yesterday. A series of dirt roads starting at the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts and working its way north to route 2 where it meets up with the start of the Puppy Dog Trail, which winds its way north all the way to the Canadian border (we’ll be doing that one shortly). Near the end of the trip we stopped for a break in the woods to address the “call of nature” and grab a snack.
Today, my last day, started off about a third of the way across New York in Arkport and found me riding through another cloud. This one was just enough to shorten visibility and mist up your visor. Not like the one in Wyoming which left everything dripping. After a while I made my way past the hills that bounded it and found bright blue skies with sunlight streaming down. I was excited.
The thing to keep in mind: Motorcycling is a lot like boating. You can get yourself a dingy that’ll get you around the bay for pretty cheap, but it doesn’t have much in the way of features, and if a big wave comes along you’re going to drown because you don’t have a life preserver. As with boats, the price range (for bikes and gear) goes from cheap and affordable to mind-bogglingly expensive.
There are a few contenders when it comes to High-Viz motorcycle vests, Olympia, Icon, and FieldSheer are the main ones, and all meet military specs for on-base riding. Of those only the Olympia Nova and the Icon Mil Spec are available in bright yellow. If you haven’t seen the yellow in person I have to tell you that photos don’t do it justice. This stuff is so bright it makes you wonder if you’d still be able to see if you turned out the lights.
You’d think it’d be a non-issue, but it is. In fact, it can be a real pain in the ass. Sometimes they simply don’t register. You’d think they’d just wave you through since it’s not your fault, but frequently they’ll make you pay, and digging your money out of a riding suit can be a major hassle, especially if you thought you weren’t going to need it. So, if you’re riding a motorcycle and have an E-Z Pass / FastLane transponder.
I love this city and I thought it would be interesting to see what I could see when the roads weren’t clogged with cars… Overall rating: 2 1/2 stars (out of 5). It’s interesting but not very relaxing. Don’t get any ideas about attempting this during the day either. The traffic would be evil. The Route Note: I’d actually recommend going to the end of Storrow Drive and following the curve around as it becomes the start of Memorial Drive but I couldn’t convince Google Maps to do that.
New motorcyclists tend to spend most, or all, of their pennies on their new bike without considering, or perhaps realizing, just how much it’s going to cost to protect themselves on the bike. Of course, having just bought the bike, there’s no way they’re not going to ride it…. While I covered the items you’ll want to keep you safe in “So you want to ride a motorcycle… and not die” I didn’t cover what it would cost.
Lets be totally clear here. The statistics say that your are roughly as likely to get in an accident while driving a motorcycle as you are while driving a car. The obvious difference being that a car has a safety cage, and a motorcycle has, well… nothing. So, if you have a brain, you’re going to want to take steps to compensate for that missing safety cage. There’s no guarantee any of this will keep you from dying but it’ll seriously increase your chances of survival.