An Interview with a First time Road Tripper

As I mentioned in the last article, one of the folks I just traveled with had never done a multi-day bike trip. I thought it might be fun to ask a few questions. The responses were lightly edited for grammar.

Q: What did you first think when I approached you with the idea of this trip?  A: Honestly I didn’t give it much thought as it wasn’t likely my wife would give me a pass. Once she did I was excited for the most part, but things didn’t sit in until a week prior. With my job change this trip was a need to have so getting to go was wonderful timing.

Q: How did your family react when you told them you were taking a 5 day motorcycle trip?  A: My wife has many trips a year for her own personal reasons. When asked she immediately said go for it you need it. My mother in-law said I deserve it!

Q: What gear did you buy for this trip that you hadn’t previously thought of?
A: I bought a cell phone external power source, a towel, a jacket, rain gear, highway pegs, & sunscreen

Q: Was any of the new gear surprising for you?  A:I hadn’t thought of the power source, my bike has outlets, but it’s still a good idea if your not near your bike or power and need it.

Q: Do you wish you’d gotten anything else, and was anything you got a waste of money?A: I really wish I would have bought a proper mount for my phone and water bottle, they are both now in pieces at the side of the road or in the garbage.

Q: Were you nervous about turns, speed, mileage, expense, anything?
A: Most certainly turns and speed were the largest frustration of this trip. While the boys I was with have 10’s of thousands of miles on two wheels I have had more miles on a bicycle than a motorcycle. I was constantly cursing to myself: “Why do we need to go 20-25 mph over the speed limit in a work zone?”, along with white knuckling the turns trying to keep up. So much so my fitness watch said I’d completely my daily workout by 10am (heart rate and what not).

Mileage wise I discovered my comfort point is 100 miles at a time before I need to stretch my legs and move about off the bike to feel fresh for the next leg. There were 1 or two times we did 130 or so and I was in rough shape after those.

In the beginning of the trip I was worried about the biker stigma of “you’re not tough” or “your a pansy” but the guys kept telling me to “Ride my own ride”… If I really did that they’d be waiting an extra hour at the destination for me to catch up lol.

Q: You lost a saddlebag north of Indianapolis, what was going through your mind those first few minutes, what about the next day after you’d had some time to think about it ?A:The first few minute were “flight” feelings and “I just want to go home”… After realizing we were safe, and especially after finding my ID, and credit cards, I had started joking about it as if it was meant to happen. Overall I’m just pissed HD wont do anything to help in the matter.

Q: Thursday you went through the tail of the dragon, the moonshiner 28, Oscar Blues brewery, and we ended the day at a B&B, in front of a bonfire, telling stories. with beer, bourbon, and fireball. Can you share what some of your thoughts and feelings were at that time?  A: The Tail of the Dragon was honestly, well, disappointing. I grew up in some of the most beautiful parts of this country in New England. We have quite a few twisty and turny roads similar. Maybe not as dangerous, or consecutive, but anyway. Mostly I felt like I was in my back yard with a bunch of idiots going too fast for their britches, surrounded by photographers to make sure they caught you being an idiot to post for public shaming. I’d still like to go back and do it a few hundred times just so I get to know it and gain more confidence in my skills, but it’s a bit overplayed if you ask me.
Moonshiner 28 on the other hand, this is a hidden gem for Motorcyclists. This 103 mile stretch is wonderful. It is calm, technical, and not overplayed. This was by far the height of the trip for me.
As for the stories and brotherhood, this reminded my of many nights with my fraternity brothers back in the day or a camp-out with good friends. I enjoyed not worrying about the next day’s plans or really any worries that night.

Q: As a husband, friend, and father: what did you learn about yourself from this trip? What surprised you most?  A: It has been a while since I’ve been able to hang out with complete strangers. I miss being able to do that as if we’ve been friends for decades. In terms of learning most certainly I’ve learned I need to work on my technical skills and confidence in riding prior to taking another one of these trips. From a family standpoint I’m glad to have such a loving family at home willing to let go for a few days so I can relax.

Q: What advice would you give to veteran riders, during trip planning and during a trip, to make a newer rider feel welcome?  A: Pick a small technical part of the ride and let the newer riders lead to get an idea of their speed and comfort. Perhaps not to ruin that part of the ride for the veterans, just to give an idea.
Get an idea of comfort over breaking the law with speed limits in and out of work zones.

Q: What advice would you give newer riders when contemplating a 5 day trip?
A: I don’t think the 5 days is an issue, it’s 12 hours on and off a bike for 5 days. A newer rider should do at-least one of these prior (100+ miles 8+ hours.)

Q: What are your plans for future multi-day trips now that you’ve had this experience?
A: It’ll be a while just due to work and family commitments, but I’m looking forward to what ever is next!

Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: Thank you to the boys that pushed me and gave me a great experience!

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