Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Long-Distance Bikers

Encountered a lot of bikers in my travels over the past couple of days. Looking at the roads – mostly long, straight, and wonderfully smooth – it’s easy to see how bikes like the Harley or Honda Goldwing evolved to meet a market need pretty specific to the USA: long distance cruising. While I did see a couple of groups of sports bikes, by far the most dominant kind were all in the “big and comfy” category. In addition to easing long hours in the saddle, they are probably more stable in crosswinds, doubtless a significant problem out there on the plains, and you can also seemingly carry a lot of stuff on them and hence be out for days, if not weeks, in a row, something that's not quite so necessary say in the UK, for example!

April provides almost perfect biking weather out here in the desert states: mild enough to be pleasant when wearing leathers and not so hot or cold that the whole experience becomes some kind of torture. And as you can see, traffic jams and lane splitting really aren't problems that get encountered around here very often either!


I said...

This is why american bikes do not have much ground clearance - straight roads!

Interesting that touring is not really a "cool" pastime in the UK. It's mostly about getting the leathers on and hunting down high speed corners and slow moving cars, mostly in that order! That's why the old crotch rocket is the most popular type bike in the UK. This year a popular Suzuki sportsbike has a button that you can select 3 power modes - not sure what that's about!!!

J said...

Presumably labelled "Fast, Scary Fast, and Oh dear, this is going to hurt ...".

Saw some sports bikes but give that these roads are literally hours from anywhere close by, getting there would be most uncomfortable! But yes, they were all wearing leathers, though I'd bet that in a month or two as temperatures climb this won't be the case.

I said...

The other problem with the sportsbike brigade is....regular fill-ups. On my old honda sp-1 v-twin i used to get about 100 miles range on a tank of gas (less if i was really going for it!). Not much really. Now with the beemer i get about 400 mile range!

J said...

Bloody hell - a 100 mile range? That's awful! It's easy to find roads around there where the net distance between stations is over 100 miles! And you really don't want to buy petrol in Death Valley itself. Because they have a captive market of people who are by then desperate, prices at the only two stations in the park are $4.50 a (US) gallon instead of $3.10 elsewhere.

I said...

Thats still cheaper than here....last time i looked it as 96p per litre...i will let you work the math out!