Ride Number 4 – Santa Cruz to Boulder Creek to Davenport

I went on my fourth ride with my girlfriend over the weekend. The rides keep gettin’ better! This was my first time planning the route and it looked something like this…


View Larger Map

Pretty cool, eh?? We met at a friend’s place and headed up Soquel San Jose Road and over to Boulder Creek via Summit Road and Bear Creek Road. I’ve only driven Bear Creek Road, but riding it was much more fun!

We stopped at the Redwood Keg for some tri-tip sandwiches! YUMMMY!! ^_^

The original Route was to ride up Big Basin Highway and through Jamison Creek Road to Empire Grade, but we modified it so the bigger bikes would have an easier time. So we headed down Highway 9, cut across to Felton Empire Road, up Empire Grade and took Pine Flat Road / Bonny Doon Road all the way to Davenport where we stopped at Whale City Bakery on Highway 1 for some coffee. ^_^

I wish I had more photos… Man, I really need a helmetcam!!

Gear I Bought for our First Roadtrip

Though I’m on a budget, I invested in new gear (in order of importance):

  • Communicator
  • A.L.I.C.E. Pack
  • Cargo Net
  • Riding Boots
  • Cramp Buster
  • Toolkit

Communicator

Cost: $116.97 (including shipping)

If there’s ONE thing I HAD to have, it’s the Communicator! Holy f__k, I don’t know what our trip would’ve been like without it! To travel with someone over hundreds of miles and not be able to discuss the route, traffic, detours and missed turns is one thing. But to not be able to talk about the guy picking his nose in the next lane?? Yeah. Get communicators! Our ride would’ve been frustrating beyond belief without them!

A.L.I.C.E. Pack

Cost: $70.43

My everyday backpack would’ve burst from over-packing! The A.L.I.C.E. Pack was large enough for my essentials and then some. I filled it about 1/3 full to keep it light. (C’mon, we’re staying ONE night in a freakin’ CABIN!) It was über-comfortable with its frame and all. Can’t wait to take this thing on an actual camping trip!

Cargo Net

Cost: $??.??

I strapped a small backpack onto my luggage rack and held it in place with this nifty cargo net. I could’ve easily packed all that stuff in my A.L.I.C.E. Pack, but why ride around with a heavier backpack AND an EMPTY luggage rack? Yes, this thing is both light, utilitarian AND fashionable. I’m going to find a way to wear this to ::THE BOX:: (Goth-Industrial night at the Blue Lagoon). ;)

Riding Boots

Cost: $108.61

I’ve needed a new pair of boots for several years and this was my excuse chance to splurge and get some! They gripped well and made me a whole inch-and-a-half taller! Timing was less than ideal since I only had a day to break them in, but still, I felt extra cool with the road passing beneath my brand new pair of boots!

Cramp Buster

Cost: $?????

I should’ve used this thing more… My hand cramped, but without the Cramp Buster, it would’ve been worse. I wish there was a sore-ass-buster because my ass was worse off than my hand after hours of riding.

Toolkit

Cost: $73.59

Had I needed it in case of a breakdown, this would’ve been top of the list… But that’s like saying I didn’t need my helmet ’cause I didn’t crash. So I’m glad I got it, if even for peace of mind. In fact, I was hoping for a breakdown just so I could bust the thing out on the side of the road and get to work! Ok, not really, but you get the point.

Total Damage:

asdf

Well, this all added up fast! O.o

At some point, I’ll get around to reviewing each of these individually, ’cause I got some pretty cool s#!t for this roadtrip!

Today, I Learned “Buffeting” is a Thing

Pending a possible long-distance ride, I attached my windshield to my bike. I wanted to test it out ’cause at highway speeds, I feel like I’m being pulled off  the bike from the wind and I’ve read windshields make a world of difference. Well,… they do! When I bought my Virago 250, the first thing I did was rip the freakin’ windshield off! The thing was dorky! Removing it increased coolness factor by 93%! That said, I never experienced riding WITH The windshield on and just assumed anyone riding fast are at odds with the wind to hold on or be blown off.

So, tonight, I got curious and put my windshield on and went for a ride! WHOA! It does make a difference! A HUGE difference! I no longer feel like I’m holding on with a death grip! In fact, sitting was quite comfortable… except for one thing: Mt head was shaking! o_O

What the hell?? I could duck down below the windshield or sit up extra tall to keep my head from shaking, but right in the most natural position, some kind of TURBULENCE was shaking my head!

It turns out, this turbulence has a name… BUFFETING! By the time my 3-minute stretch on the freeway was done, I was dizzy… as if I was getting a headache. Apparently, this is common. I googled information about windshield installations and it turns out, buffeting is a problem worthy of many a forum topic.

http://web3us.com/drupal/content/buffeting-solved-windshield-angle-trick

http://www.hdforums.com/forum/dyna-glide-models/371955-windshield-height-and-angle.html

http://faq.f650.com/FAQs/Buffeting.htm

http://www.hondashadow.net/forum/72-technical-discussion/100548-windshields-helmet-buffeting.html

I read the suggestions and adjusted my windshield and did two test rides. I’m still feeling the buffeting, either way. =/ I think one position (windshield angle matching the fork angle) worked best, but the bars that attach to the bike get in the way of the clutch cable, making my already heavy clutch even more difficult to squeeze.

So, for now, I know what “buffeting” is and am gonna keep experimenting with windshield positions until I find a good one.

Ride Number 1 – My First Group Ride!

Did my first group ride EVER this weekend! I admit, I was pretty nervous about it, but TOTALLY excited as well.

Here’s the route we took (as best as I can remember).

View Larger Map

Yeah, the ride was freakin’ AWESOME! Seven riders starting off at a friend’s and took off through the back hills Santa Cruz! Scenery was beautiful, roads were a bit twisty at times, but manageable on my Virago 250. The Harley rider had a tougher time with the turns. Made a stop at Coralitos for lunch and headed back home.