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My Trip to North Carolina on a Motorcycle - Episode 2

Tom Schmuki

I am very pleased to hear many people have read and enjoyed my first episode of my motorcycle trip to North Carolina last week.  This is episode 2 of X and may get a little more interesting, spicy, nauseous, etc.  Get your barf bag out lol.

If you have not yet read Episode 1 of my BLOG you may want to read that first:

Riding motorcycles on a long trip is really not anything like doing a road trip in a car or a flight on your favorite air lines.  You would not dare fall asleap, eat crackers, nuts, popcorn or gulp down a soda while driving 80 miles an hour on the highway….. or would you????

Tip # 1 riding motorcycles

3 Lanes in a lane

There are actually 3 lanes in each lane on the highway, left, middle and right.  Your lane choice must be chosen carefully based on highway conditions, traffic conditions, and weather conditions.  It is common that the left and right lanes have ridges and bumps created by all the CAR traffic.  The middle lane is often the smoothest.  I often choose the lane that gives me the best visibility of traffic ahead.  More motorcycle riding tips may follow.

For those who have not ridden on a motorcycle or even worse yet never ridden a Harley.  Let me describe the experience for you from a drivers perspective.  I understand the passengers perspective may be entirely different.  Harley Davidsons are primarily AIR cooled which means the air/wind from speed create keeps the engine cool.  The slower you go, and the more stop and go traffic may be, the hotter the bike gets, to the point of almost seizing entirely.  Ever wonder why you see motorcyclists driving entirely off the road when traffic is stopped?  Often times it is because they are afraid their motorcycle will seize in the heat because of lack of air flow to keep the engine cool.


Sit back, relax and enjoy the RUMBLE

My Harley, a 2015 Ultra limited special is ergonomically set up to fit my body and arm length.  The highway pegs or some call them forward pegs allow me to stretch my legs out, and most times I ride with my feet on the highway pegs, of course after I have gone through the gears and I am cruising in 6th gear.  I often changes my leg and foot position from the highway pegs to the standard food pegs/boards on the harley.  This gives me multiple positions to keep limber and loose.  

At a stop the Harley vibrates the most, and I am told by my passengers that the vibration is almost unbearable at a stop.  For me as the driver of the bike, I sort of enjoy it.  I really only feel the vibration on my handle grips.  Once I begin to roll on the vibrations reach for me a level of 0 very quickly and I am told the same is the case for my passengers.  Other motorcycles I have owned and enjoyed do NOT have the Harley rumble, NOR the Harley vibration.  You want smooth and quiet, don’t get a HARLEY! My Honda Gold Wings (owned many) were smooth and quiet.

I often ride on cruise control, as a matter of fact every time I get a chance.  This allows me to relax both my arms and even take either hand off the grips to relax and or change my position.  How many of you drive a car with one hand.  Same thing exactly! Stop and go traffic is not only tough on the engine but very tough on the hands and wrists constantly fighting the clutch, maintaining balance at a low speed, etc.

Balance and Weigh of a Harley Davidson

I don’t have the official dry weight specs available, but I believe my Harley weighs with no gas and no one on it between 1,600 and 1,800 pounds. Add my weight (210+) the weight of my gear, and or the weight of a passenger, you could be balancing 2,600-2,800 pounds between your legs.  Balance is only a problem when you are going slow, when you are riding with a passenger who is clueless how to lean and when the curve of the ROAD is opposite the natural LEAN angle of the motorcycle.  The hardest thing to do on a BIG bike is to BALANCE at low speeds, curvy roads, and roads that are slopped the wrong way or any way for that matter. This is the very reason the drivers portion of a motorcycle license test, test balance at a low speed with many turns.

I say publicly I have NEVER gone done on a motorcycle. Only partially true, I have gone down 3-4 times on a BIG bike going less than 2 miles an hour or even at a complete stop no less.

Beware BIG BOYS and GIRLS, if you are NOT an experience motorcyclist, NEVER buy a BIG bike as your first bike for the main reason of BALANCE.  You will lose balance, and you will go DOWN!

Music, Iphone, and texting

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Music I have 4 speakers on my Harley and most of the time I am listening to either Rock and Roll or current POP music.  As the speed of the Harley gets faster and faster my music automatically gets louder and louder so I can hear it with the increased noise level created by the wind.

Don’t text and drive:  I attach my IPhone to the right handle grip of my Harley. I am able to at least see texts or calls come in and determine if I should pull over to deal with the situation.

Well there you have it, the setup of my bike.

Did I mention my HARLEY was so overloaded on this trip I had unsafe front end wheel wobble?   I finally corrected most of this by putting my heavy bag on the passengers seat behind me, which also gave me a back rest.  A very nice position, leaning back on the bag, feet forward stretched out on the highway pegs.  I am almost stretched to my max in that position.  Hey, eventually you look for multiple positions to avoid the stiffness and cramps of long rides.

I left about 7:45 am in the morning, and arrived in Savannah Georgia at about 7:00 pm.  In my next blog I will discuss my disaster with my GOPRO, the RAIN storm from HELL and other things.  

Stay tuned.  Hoped you enjoyed this and learned a little about motorcycling the Schmukiiliscious way!