Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finding The Apex in a Decreasing Radius Turn

Canyon-de-Chelly-motorcycle
I recently reached 50,000 miles after learning to ride my own 2 1/2 years ago! This moment happened as we rolled into Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shay) outside Chinle, AZ. It was the perfect spot for such a momentous occasion!
With my motorcycle fully loaded with gear, I realized just in time I was coming into the blind curve far too hot. My V Star 650 Classic had become such a joy to ride after so many miles, my enthusiasm had a way of getting me into more and more difficult situations on every ride.

Upon reaching what I assumed was the apex of the curve, I realized I was leaning into a decreasing radius turn. A decreasing radius turn is essentially a corner that tightens up. That means that if you take a normal mid apex line into the corner as you might on a constant radius turn, you're going to find yourself running wide unless you have enough in 'reserve' to really lean the bike over.

I didn't grab the brakes; I knew better. I leaned really hard, balancing on the edge of the tire and the asphalt, sliding and hopping closer to the edge into the marbles. Pressing down on the right bar while still balancing the sweet spot in the throttle, covering the clutch, riding that back brake just a little, leaning forward, squeezing those knees, I scraped those V Star floorboards for the very first time.

The apex appeared not a moment too soon and I found my line again, propelling both my bike and myself into the straightaway ahead, howling with laughter and yelping like a rabid coyote.

Our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia was intended to be only 6 months of riding around the country and then returning to San Diego to reestablish a home base. But after 2 years and 6 months on the road, neither my hubs Steve nor I really want to do that. Vagabonding is incredible! We have loved meeting new people, seeing the ever-changing horizons, trying unusual and delicious foods, learning history and geography, seeing old friends and family and finding ourselves along the way. But as the riding season rolls to the end for now, I'm beginning to realize that it's time to hit some straighter roads.

slab-city-california
Mental, emotional and physical exhaustion have been taking their toll. I wake up after having nightmares for 8 hours and wonder what I'm running from, because I'm certainly being chased by something all night. Lately the demon in my dreams is closer than it's ever been before. But every night I must run and hide because I'm too exhausted to fight it.

Initially I ran because I had so much noise in my head, I needed some long roads to sort out the sounds. But riding became an addiction, the pleasures masking the fact that I was indeed running. Each time we stopped for long, the orchestra in my mind tuned up louder and louder and rolling hard on two wheels was the only way to bring the noise to a mellow hum.

So our Road Pickle became not the short, constant radius curve I had expected, but a decreasing radius turn that required me to lean, and lean, and lean in. And as the straight road lies before me, I am tempted once again to take the easier, softer route by settling down in San Diego for a year or two. I can constantly hear the carbs of my bank account sucking in too much air,  needing an adjustment. My ever-learning-spirit needs peace. My nearly-50-year-old body needs rest and reminds me of this every evening in hotel beds. But the child within me frolics about, dances and giggles, full of wanderlust and smooches, excited for each and every new horizon.

I believe I've reached the apex, found my line, and see some straight road ahead. But there is plenty of untraveled road I've yet to see, so this is only a pit stop for now.

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!

rude-biker-chick-lessons-from-my-daddy
sash-walker-rude-biker-chick

4 comments:

  1. Great pic of you on the bike.

    I think if I scraped pegs I'd crap my pants. Them pegs are high on a Gladius.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only peg scraping I've done is just before I've gone down ... Great memory you have for details in the moment: thank you for the teachable moment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can remember the moment i was doing some mean switchbacks and i had my bike leaned over & heard the "sccccrrrrrr sccccrrrr" sound as the peg hit and i was in the middle of the tightest turn rolling out of it and then having to adjust to lean the other way. I was concentrating so hard that all i could think was "Holy hell this is me sitting on the back of this scraping pegs. Sometimes its all about 'lean harder and believe'. There is a parallel to life quite a bit and it makes it interesting. My hub couldn't believe i was scraping pegs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Scraping anything sends an electrical dhock through my nervous system. In my case it's the poorly designed side stand. It has taken the fun out of some twisty left turns.

    ReplyDelete

About Sash


People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)