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Riding My Wing, The Wrong Way

On August 11, bright and early, I went to pick up my purchase.  Heather, the finance and insurance director of the Honda dealership, got me an excellent deal on credit, installments, insurance, and everything else I needed to ride the bike out of their garage.  Clayton, in the service department, made sure everything was good to go on the bike, and in no time I was out the door feeling for the first time in a while the exhilarating sensation of the wind pressing against my body.

I have to admit that I was very nervous about riding my new Goldwing.  It was bigger than anything I had ridden before; and with a sound system, I was not used to riding with anything other than wind noise in my ears. Listening to music the first time you ride a motorcycle in a crowded city is not a good idea.  Some five miles after I left the dealership, I was greeted by the loud honk of an 18-wheeler horn I almost cut off on the road.  I am sure that had I not had the radio on, I would have been able to notice the rig approach by vibration, by sheer sound of wind changes, or just by paying attention to what I was doing, but I was jamming to the Black-eyed Peas’ “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and almost got crushed.  Instantly, that song became my motorcycle riding anthem. Note to self: “Honda Golwings are NOT easy to swerve in an emergency.”  This 923-pound hippo is slow to react in an emergency situation. Just the weight itself should have been an indication that I was not riding my 1978 Suzuki 450GS anymore.

DashboardIt is also not a good idea to try to figure out all the fun things your bike has the first time you ride it.  Either stop and try to become familiar with everything, or at least have a good sense as to where the horn, turn signals, and clutch and brake levers are located.  Soon after the encounter with the 18-wheeler, I almost kissed the butt of a moped that was riding too slow in front of me on IH-35 in the heavy traffic of downtown San Antonio.  I was button-and-lever happy. The Goldwing has enough extras, many more than a regular cruiser, to keep you pushing and pulling for a long time without realizing you can get absorbed into all the fun, playing with them like a baby would on one of those fit-the-shape-in-the-hole toys.  If you pull this lever, it will start the driver-passenger communication system.  If you push that button, it will engage the cruise control.  If you turn this thingie to the left, it will zoom into the GPS map, if you pull this other one to the right, you go from one radio station to the other.  If you move this control down….. ooops, I just killed the motorcycle with the kill button (duh) right when the light turned green.

Fortunately, I made it home safely and without any mishaps.  Truth is, that just on the short trip home I realized that the Goldwind is an unusual piece of machinery, a very fine and unusual piece of machinery that deserves all the respect it commands, all the skills you can accomplish, and all the care you can afford to give it.  It is nothing like any other motorcycle I have ever owned and I learned that even though I bought it as my grown-up toy, it is a toy to be reconned with.  If you decide to adopt one of these gentle ladies into your life, you will be guaranteed to have a lot of fun on it and have a successful relationship with it if you treat it like a real lady.  At the writing of this post, I have learned that “Goldie” and I will be traveling together for a long time to come.

Sep282009

Published by at 1:07 PM under Uncategorized

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