BMW F650 GS Riding

6/27/2010 Ride Report

Motorcycle Ride - 6/27/2010

My wife granted me the entire Sunday morning to go riding and I decided to go west again, with my rough destination being the area around Inks Lake. I have a Texas State Parks pass so I thought I might visit the park for a break before heading back home. As usual, I left the house at around 7am. The sun is coming up earlier now so I can head out the door probably by 6:30 soon. I like riding when it’s dark out, but it’s pretty dangerous around here because there are lots of deer and other critters active in the early morning hours. Instead of making coffee at home, I went to the local coffee shop and had a double-espresso and a banana. I figured that would get me going and I would pick up something later on to eat at Inks Lake.

It's a Grind

After fueling up my body and bike I rode up Ronald Reagan Blvd to Highway 29, then west past Liberty Hill and Bertram. I stopped to take a photo of the little train station in Bertram and almost dropped the BMW while going over some gravel and rock. Well, it wasn’t that bad but it got a little squirrely.

Ronald Reagan Blvd.

After that I kept heading west, enjoying the cool morning air and light Sunday morning traffic. My new dark faceshield is excellent, by the way. Really clear and improves vision quite a bit.

Buchanan Lake

I took a right at Hwy 690 and took that lovely curvy road along the north shore of Buchanan Lake. But the curvy road soon had signs that indicated “Loose Gravel” which kind of freaked me out, so I turned around and headed back to Hwy 29 and then further west. I passed the Buchanan Lake Dam and for some reason kept going all the way to Llano. That stretch is not too interesting, but there are a couple stretches where you can really open up the throttle (if you are into that sort of thing).


In Llano, I gassed up again then backtracked to Buchanan Lake and then took the road to Inks Lake. That road to the park is really a nice ride, with some 30mph hairpins and elevation changes. I saw a few other motorcyclists on this road, all having fun it seemed. When I got to the entrance to the park, I didn’t really feel like stopping (I was having too much fun) so I rode past until I hit 1431 near Kingsland. I found a scenic overlook and pulled over to have some water and take a few photos. The view was really nice.


After that short break I went through Marble Falls, then did a little loop around Horseshoe Bay and saw some really nice homes and exclusive neighborhoods. It was about 11:30 by then (time flies!) and I started back home. Taking 1431 from Marble Falls to Cedar Park was great fun as always. It’s like being on a rollercoaster, and I kept the bike in 4th gear and the RPMs from 4,500-5,500 the whole way. It was a blast. I think for a future ride out that way, I’ll pack some food and have a little solo picnic. Maybe even pack a fishing pole!

GPS Data

BMW F650 GS Riding

6/13/2010 Ride

6/13/2010 Ride

The ROT Rally was this weekend but I didn’t go. Maybe someday I will head downtown to check it out. Just not this year. Instead, I went for a really nice ride on Sunday morning. When I left my driveway, the ground was wet with a recent light shower but then just out of my neighborhood the roads were dry and the sky was filled with puffy white clouds. I topped off the tank at the gas station (averaging about 63 mpg now) then headed down 620. We drove down to Lakeway the previous weekend, so the route was still fresh in my mind. I knew it would be really fun to ride 620 on the bike and it didn’t disappoint. The downhill by the Oasis and Steiner Ranch towards the dam was really enjoyable, and there were hardly any cars on the road. I kept it at the speed limit which was I think 65mph so not too slow. I rode all the way past Lakeway the took a right at Bee Cave and took Highway 71 northwest. It’s funny but while riding it seems like the time just flies by. The ride down 620 seemed like it took only a couple minutes, but I’m sure it must have been about 20 or more. Anyways, 71 was a nice stretch also and before I knew it, I was at 281 and heading north into Marble Falls. I wish I had extra time to explore that town on the bike or even find a nice coffee shop, but I knew that the kids were probably awake and waiting for some breakfast. So I started east on a stretch of road that is one of the best (supposedly) in Central Texas. There was almost no traffic the whole way from Marble Falls to Lago Vista and the sun was high enough that it wasn’t in my eyes too much. The stretch of 1431 between the nature preserve and Lago Vista is so much fun, I cannot wait to go back and ride it again. Driving it in a car just cannot compare to riding it on a motorcycle. So far this ride was the most fun I have had on my bike.




One more mile!

BMW F650 GS Riding

Two BMW F650GS in Si Sawat, Kanchanaburi

Nice video of a ride in Thailand.

BMW F650 GS Riding Uncategorized

1431 to Gloster Bend

At Gloster Bend

I had a couple hours free on Saturday morning before we went camping so I took a ride out on 1431 east from Cedar Park. 1431 is supposedly one of the better motorcycle routes in Texas and the many times I’ve driven it in a car I have seen tons of motorcyclists. I knew I didn’t have too much time so I figured I’d just ride a little bit of it until 8:30am, and then turn around and head back home.

My weekend morning rides have been lots of fun. There aren’t a whole lot of cars on the roads, but I do see a lot of other motorcyclists which is pretty cool, Usually they give a wave to me and I’ll wave back. Everyone is enjoying the morning! 1431 just past Lago Vista changes from four lanes to just two and is filled with lots of twisties and elevation changes. As a new rider, the curvy roads are pretty exhilarating even though I’m not traveling too fast. Usually I keep a little below the speed limit. It’s still really cool to lean into the turns.

I turned off 1431 and followed a sign to the Gloster Bend Recreational Area. I’ve never been there before so I thought I’d explore a bit. The road was narrower with a speed limit of 40 and decorated on the sides with the occasional mailbox. I only saw one other vehicle on the road, and they were just cruising along at around 30mph, and I decided to do the same. It’s so relaxing to just ride and take in the sights (while still keeping an eye out for deer or other critters) especially after the faster riding on 1431. I eventually found the recreational area, which looked like just a boat ramp and some nice picnicking areas. I stopped and had a drink of water and took a couple photos, then headed back home. It was a really great ride and I cannot wait to ride farther on 1431 to Marble Falls at some later date.


Distance: 50 miles

BMW F650 GS Gear

Makkuro Kurosuke Keychain

Makkuro Kurosuke Keychain

I needed a different keychain for the bike’s key. The first one I used was a little Japanese charm with a bell on it. It was great, but you could hear that bell jingling when riding. Next, I used a pokemon bulbasaur, but it was too big and would get stuck in the little space between the ignition and the handlebars. This one is perfect because it’s soft and compresses so won’t get stuck.

BMW F650 GS Riding

Weekend Riding

I went for a couple nice rides this weekend and put 179 miles on the bike. On Saturday I rode up Parmer north past 1431 where it turns into Ronald Reagan Blvd. I had never been up that way before, so it was fun to head out somewhere new. The street was nice and deserted: only a few cars and a lady riding her trike were on the road with me. Soon I found myself all alone riding past older homes on their plots of land and a few sprinkles came down from the sky. The temperature was perfect, in the low-70’s. I rode to the end of that street, where it Ts at 2238 and I took a right and headed towards Georgetown. The low-fuel light came on so I stopped at an Exxon and filled up the bike and had some water.

At the Gas Station

Crossing I-35, I continued on the road towards the town of Weir and then Granger, where I went the previous week. I decided to head around the lake again and I took a little break near the dam.

Granger Lake

It was here that I put in the earplugs to try them out. I only rode a couple miles before I decided I didn’t like the isolation so I took them out. Next I headed down 95 through the town of  Taylor. The winds were pretty strong, and heading south at more that 60mph was difficult and not at all enjoyable. I ended up pulling off the main highway and rode on some county roads, so I could just cruise at a slower 35-40mph speed and take in the sights This was really enjoyable. The people who lived in the houses I passed were all friendly and waved as I rode by. Returning to Taylor and route 79, I headed west back towards Hutto, then Round Rock where I turned south and rode through Pflugerville and Wells Branch near our old house. I eventually made my way to Lonestar BMW/Triumph where I took a nice little break and checked out all the nice bikes. They had a G650 GS like mine there, but it was a police model with sirens and lights. Was kinda cool, but also a bit odd seeing my bike kitted out like that. After that I headed back home via Rutland, Metric, then Parmer. It was a total of 132 miles and a fair share of regular in-town riding.

Sunday morning I struck out west on 1431 from Cedar Park. I only went as far as the outskirts of Jonestown, where I turned right on Nameless Road. This is another road sign that I had seen many times and wondered about. This time, I saw two bikers on their Harley’s leaving Nameless Road, so I decided to go check it out. It’s a pleasant little 45mph two-lane road with a lot of elevation changes and a few twisties to keep it fun. I passed four other motorcyclists on this road, I think they were coming from Leander towards 1431 and then Marble Falls.

Round Mountain

I didn’t have too much time so after a little side trip down Round Mountain I turned back and headed to 1431. I knew that I needed to pick up some breakfast tacos so I decided on Rudy’s. I went down Lakeline Blvd south, Cypress Creek, Anderson Mill and then took a quick 65mph run down 620 to get the tacos. After that, I was back home with the breakfast delivery for the family. A nice 47 mile Sunday morning ride in beautiful weather.

A couple things I noticed while riding this weekend:

  • Strong headwinds/crosswinds suck. Not only does it blow you around your lane, but it makes the ride a lot noisier.
  • I don’t like wearing earplugs while riding. Maybe this will change, but I felt that I was too removed from the environment while wearing them. Some people really swear by them, so maybe I just need a different kind of earplug.
  • Feeling my backpack/tailbag hitting my lower back is reassuring. It doesn’t provide any kind of support but it makes me feel more protected and therefore more comfortable.
  • I learned to use my knees to stabilize myself on the bike. Now I can keep my arms and hands more relaxed which is much less fatiguing plus it’s easier and quicker to maneuver the bike when I don’t have a deathgrip on the handlebars. Also, by pivoting my body at the waist, it’s a lot quicker to lean the bike into a turn.
  • Accelerating while exiting a curve is a heck of lot of fun.
BMW F650 GS Gear

Accessory Power

I started following Chris Sorbi’s round-the-world motorcycle trip in support of raising awareness for world hunger. It’s an amazing five-year journey for a great cause. He is riding a Suzuki GS850 and has a couple of really good videos that detail his setup on YouTube. Go check out his site at to follow his journey and donate a little money if you can.
I have an old Garmin eTrex Legend on my bike, but it’s really flaky. It sometimes just turns off by itself, and I’m not sure why. Plus it’s so old that it’s a chore to get the data off of it. I’ve been using my G1 phone in my car and figured I could use it on the bike as well, at least to record my tracks (routes I travel) using the My Tracks app by Google. My bike has the optional accessory socket but I needed to use a Powerlet cord to convert the BMW plug to a generic cigarette lighter socket, then plug in the USB adapter so I can run the cord to the G1.

Accessory Socket
The accessory socket

I originally thought that I would run the Powerlet cable to the handle bars and then attach it using cable ties, but after threading it up, I realized that the socket was too big and since the USB adapter would be attached, it just wouldn’t fit nicely. Plus I am keeping the G1 in my backpack/tailbag, so why should I run the cord up front, when the hardware will be in the backpack? I ended up just guiding the cord underneath the seat where there is plenty of room to put the socket and USB adapter. It’s well protected under there, both from the elements and from any tampering since you need a key to remove the seat. (Click the photos for a larger view at Flickr)

Powerlet Cord
Powerlet plug

Powerlet Cord Routing
Under-seat Routing

Powerlet Cord/USB Cable Routing
More Under-seat Routing

Powerlet to USB
The cigarette lighter socket and USB adapter

Powerlet Cord Going Under Seat
With Seat On

USB Cable
Exiting the seat

USB Cable and Backpack
USB cord ready for the G1

BMW F650 GS Gear

Makeshift Tail Bag

Tail Bag

I strapped on my old backpack to the back of the bike. It actually fits pretty good! Sure, it’s not enough space for a round-the-world excursion, but it will be plenty capable of bringing home breakfast tacos on Sunday morning.


Ride to Granger

Today I rode the BMW to the town of Granger, and then around the little lake there. It was an 85 mile trip which was longer than I thought it would be. I took no photos even though I brought my camera. There were a couple places just north of the lake on FM971 that were really cool-looking, but I was having so much fun riding that I didn’t want to stop. Most of the time I was moving at about 60-65 mph and the bike was just cruising along. It’s so nice to be able to go from 50 to 65 with just a simple twist of the throttle, but also you need to keep watch of the speed since it is so easy to just gun it. I did go up to around 80 on one stretch where it seemed safe to do so. That was a blast. I’m also really enjoying accelerating from a dead stop more smoothly than before. The shifting is becoming second-nature now, and I have raised the suspension up from its lowest setting (where I could balance on the balls of my feet) to the normal setting (where I have to tiptoe at a stop). The twisties are so much fun. I love leaning the bike (even as a noob) to take the curves. So neat to have the horizon tilt like that. It’s a unique and cool feeling that non-riders never experience.

From the GPS:

Total moving time: 1:53
Average moving speed: 44.9 mph
Maximum speed:79.3 mph
Odometer:85.37 miles

Map of Granger Lake

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