One of the things I want to do this year is to go on some dual-sport rides. That means taking my bike on some more dirt roads in addition to street. To that end, I added some handguards (to protect from lever-breakage caused by a fall) and am planning on getting some more aggressive tires. The Metzeler Tourance tires are 90/10 and have worn pretty nicely, but both the front and rear are nearing their end-of-life. I haven’t decided exactly what kind of tires I want, but one choice is Michelin Anakee 2 tires, front and rear, or perhaps a Heidenau 76 rear and 60 front.
The other day I was at the bookstore and came across the Adventure Riding Techniques book by Robert Wicks and Greg Baker. It’s filled with a lot of information on taking a large “Adventure Bike” off-road. My bike is not quite as large, but at 425 lbs is a bit heavier than a smaller 450cc Japanese bike. I’m planning on taking a dirt class this year, and will take my F650 GS of course! But just reading the book and looking at the great photos got me all reved up to hit some dirt trails.
On the Two-Wheeled Texans website there are several good beginner dirt roads listed so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did cuz riding on dirt (even easy dirt) is a blast! It’s so much fun standing on the pegs! I even did a couple small water-crossings. Those were pretty tame, but still a bit hairy.
After riding on the dirt I can say that I agree with most everyone who rides an F650 GS single when they say the stock pegs are too narrow. My feet are only sized 7.5 (US) but even I can tell that the stock pegs need about an inch more width. Unfortunately, a good pair of replacement pegs is $100+ so I might just stick with stock.
As I was approaching where CR-310A intersects with 310, I saw three other riders on the trail, but they zoomed off and I couldn’t catch them. I would have liked to find some more roads to ride on, but I have a list of good ones bookmarked on my computer so I think I am pretty much set.
On Saturday I had the morning to myself so I decided to head out for a ride. It was a bit chilly at 49°F and I made the mistake of putting on my mesh jacket instead of the warmer non-mesh textile one. I did have a few layers on underneath, but it was a mistake I was regretting about 15 minutes into the ride. I did decide to look for the slower backroads that I enjoy so much so the wind wouldn’t totally freeze me and since the morning sun was getting higher in the sky, I figured I would warm up quickly.
The ride itself was enjoyable and I did see several interesting animals, such as roadrunners, horses, cows, and goats. I stopped to take a photo of these goats but as soon as I shut off the motor, the ran away from me! I could only snap a picture of their butts…
Riding the smaller county roads is pretty fun to me. You pretty much only see locals on these roads, since there wouldn’t be any reason to take these roads unless you were going to or from your house/ranch. It’s cool because the locals are very friendly, waving from their yards, or as they pass by in their vehicles. On this morning, I passed a couple of cowboys riding their horses and they gave me a big wave. Yep, this is Texas!
Also in 2011, I did my first Saddlesore 1000. That was a lot of fun and although I said I’d never do it again, never say never! But I realize that I do love long-distance riding. I’m hoping to do another long ride, probably not for any kind of certificate, but I’d love to take a few days and ride to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. I also rode a bit on the dirt. Not a whole lot, but it was still fun. This year I’d like to take an off-road class and get some experience. Hopefully in the summer when it warms up to a nice 110 degrees.
My final odometer reading for 2012 was 10,325 miles for a total of 3,174 miles for the year. And I am going to need new tires soon!