Sunday, March 5, 2017
This blog dropped off my radar for a number of years. Writing jobs, side gigs, and personal stuff all conspired to relegate blogging to the list of activities there was no time, or enthusiasm, for. The other day, though, I happened to glance at it and realized it's been so long since my last post that the Bonneville in the photo was long gone. The 2000 VFR800 pictured above is my new ride, and it came to me by means and for reasons that might bear explaining, especially if you're an older motorcyclist.
I injured my back (among other things) in a track crash while testing bikes for Cycle Guide in 1986. It's given me trouble ever since, and more than a year ago it got so bad whenever I rode––a searing pain between my shoulder blades, usually starting just 10 minutes into the ride––I decided to get out of motorcycling altogether. I sold the Bonnie to a friend and left bikes behind––or so I thought. While I wasn't "officially" riding, I still borrowed a bike for the occasional blast on backroads followed by a fistful of Tylenol and a hot shower. Oddly, the bikes that hurt me the least had lean-forward, sportbike-normal seating positions.
Then I heard from a friend who had a very nice VFR800. I'd told him years ago, in an offhand way, that if he ever wanted to sell it he should call me first. Well, he did, and he did. Not long after that it was in my garage. It's not entirely my kind of motorcycle––I can't do justice to any aspect of its performance––but it's well-suited to the kind of riding I do now, which consists mainly of short rides punctuated by long intervals at various coffee shops. The surprise is how comfortable it is. I never would have imagined I could like a sportbike, but I like this one.
If there's anything useful to learn from this it's that if you love riding motorcycles don't let anything stop you. Keep trying––different bikes, riding positions, seats, bar height and setback––until you find what works for you. Even if it's not the kind of bike you think you should have. Even if you feel a little foolish riding it. Because riding is better than not riding.
Posted by Jerry Smith at 4:19 PM