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Saturday 7/12/2011: US 70, attentive drivers and smells

Today I decided to see what lay down US 70 and finally ride a road I'd been wanting to try for a while.

As usual, I started out around 8am since there's less traffic at that time. It also seems that there are better drivers at 8am on a Saturday. As I approached intersections and cars preparing to turn into traffic, I noticed that people generally noticed me. My theory is that more responsible/attentive people are driving at that hour on a weekend. 17-year-old Becky and Chad aren't going to go hang out with friends or go to the mall at 8am. Kids probably won't get up that early so there aren't as many distracted parents on the road, either. Also, most people aren't working so they aren't driving while distracted by thoughts of work or the stress of work for that matter. On the main roads it could have been that there were vehicles around me and the drivers simply noticed the larger vehicles first, then noticed me in front. Whatever it was I didn't get run over and that's always good. :)

I rode US 70 from Raleigh to Durham on a 75 degree morning with clouds and sun. It was definitely more scenic and enjoyable with the great weather!

In Durham, US 70 intersects with T.W. Alexander, a road that I thought would be so much fun on a motorcycle! Meh, it's aight. There's only one good curve you can enjoy going the speed limit. You'd have to be going way over the speed limit to really enjoy the road on a motorcycle. It just seemed so much more curvy in the car lol. Oh well, its still a nice road and I enjoyed riding it.

So I rode Alexander until Miami Blvd then decided to head back to Raleigh. Here, I encountered the dreaded motorcycle-unfriendly traffic sensor. I think I rolled over that thing 5 times and I still got skipped over in the light sequence twice. I'd decided to give it one more cycle and after that I'd have to make a left turn on red, even if the Sheriff was sitting right at the intersection. I'd just have to explain that I'd been skipped in the cycle 3 times. Luckily it didn't come to that as eventually a car pulled up behind me and tripped the sensor.

Speaking of Sheriffs, there was a lot of law enforcement happening on 70 today. I saw three people pulled over and about 6 law enforcement vehicles between Raleigh and Durham. Not sure what that was about. Leftover "Click it or ticket" campaign from the 4th?

Anyway, I made a new discovery about smells today! On a motorcycle they are more pungent than in a car! I know, duh, I'm not enclosed in a vehicle so I can smell everything, but I never really thought about it until today. There were good and bad smells on my ride. The first was swamp rot you sometimes smell along NC highways after it rains. It's not pleasant at all, but I've smelled it all my life and it's natural so I don't mind it too much. The second smell was oh-so-good: coffee, toast and baked beans (I think it was baked beans). I don't know where it was coming from, but someone, somewhere was having an excellent breakfast. And finally, I had to stop at a light next to a giant pile of manure/mulch...yeah...that pile was taller than me.

All in all, it was a fun ride on a beautiful morning! But I still have to practice more. Some areas of improvement are stopping quickly, smooth throttle in turns and smooth shifting. I still need to apply more front brake to stop quickly, I've been using too much rear brake and sliding the rear tire. As for turning, I think looking through the turn more instead of looking at the curb I don't want to hit will help me feel more confident and allow me to smoothly roll on the throttle. I did have a couple of smooth down-shifts where I guessed correctly about matching the gear to engine speed (yay me!).

Oh and a Harley rider didn't wave at me today. It's ok we still cool.
 

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J great story, I know how you feel about the new sensory experiences that come with riding. Sounds, smells, feeling all are heightened. Riders know why dogs stick their heads out of car windows. Thats why some guys ride without helmets it is even more of a rush. Happy riding!
 
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