Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two Wheelin'

I spent the majority of the weekend on two-wheels on Route 8.

Saturday was the Mods vs. Rockers rally. Scooters and motorcycles of all shapes and sizes - vintage, café racer, Vespa, Triumph, three-wheelers, aggressive looking eat-your-family-bikes, and those that looked rode hard and put away wet.

But mine was the coolest.

You like my new pinstripes? Ray got them for me for Christmas and put them on last weekend so I'd have them for the rally. It gives the Baby Blue Angel a whole new vibe I think.

But if I had to chose second place, these two would win.

For one thing, that bike looks menacing, like it was an extra in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

But the little guy who rode side-car was the real highlight. He rode the entire rally with his Doggles on, taking it all in like a boss. He was the coolest rider out there. His owner told us: "The bike is his. He just lets me ride him around."

Saturday was a beautiful day to spend with 400 of my closest scooter and motorcycle riding friends, and at about 1 pm we all broke-up into groups to head through rural Kentucky.

Both sides of Plum Street downtown were packed with scooters and motorcycles. The Baby Blue Angel soldier'd up and got in line.
She says 'what up.'

I hadn't spent much time on the blue highways of Northern Kentucky before this weekend and wow, what lovely stretches of road. We went over hills and through valleys and watched the hay bales rise up on the sides of the foothills. We zipped past farms and churches and outpost gas stations and broken down cars.

An adorable little donkey (redundant: donkeys are always adorable) watched us ride past, along with a couple of gigantic white horses.

Also pretty excited to see us were the cicadas, who I think were attracted to the sound of our motors. They came buzzing out of the tall grass and trees, pelting us with their rock hard little bug bodies. If you haven't taken a cicada to the chest or face shield at 50 miles per hour, really you must. One hit me in the rib and I thought I'd been shot.

'How many cicadas did you eat' was a legit question by the end.

We rode every bit of 90 miles round trip, all the way to Augusta, Kentucky. On the way there we took mostly rural backroads and I had no idea where I was or where I was going. And that's the beauty of a group ride, you get to sit back and follow the other scooters.

We cruised into Augusta about 3 pm and it was already packed with scoots and motorcycles and town-people, all there for a little art gallery walk.

Todd and I in Augusta. His scooter inspired me to get pinstripes.

Funny thing about Augusta, Kentucky - there are only 1,190 people, and yet they have a little 'downtown' packed with restaurants and shops. For such a small place, they've got patios and food and ice-cream shops and cafés on lock. Ol' Augusta has life figure out.

And you really haven't seen it all until you watch a bunch of tatted-up motorcyclists and scooter enthusiasts eating ice-cream cones in what looks like Mayberry. Because nothing says bad-ass like a twist cone bent to your face by an arm with a tattoo sleeve.

On the way back we followed the river exclusively down Route 8. Unfortunately, the ride back was way too fast, much faster than I prefer and I was silently complaining into my helmet that I was 'hanging on' rather than enjoying the ride.

And sure enough, on one of the hilly S-curves, a rider went too wide and ended up driving off of the side of the road and crashing his scooter.

I saw his bike lying on the side of the road (I was about 2 seconds behind him) and my heart went into a tailspin thinking he might be seriously hurt and that I might hit him, his bike or something else.
Fortunately, I saw him come up out of the mud so I knew he was at least mostly ok, but it scared the hell out of me. We all pulled over and called 911. He was mostly ok but pretty shook up.

Lucky for him he landed in the mud and not the road or gravel or a pole or a car, but it was scary and a reminder for me that I don't need to go any faster than I feel comfortable, regardless of what the 'group' is doing.

Needless to say, Todd and I moseyed on back into Cincinnati at a much more leisurely pace.

I got to experience the exact same scenery and cracks in the pavement on Route 8 on Sunday morning. Ray and I were up bright eyed and bushy tailed and early for the Ride Cincinnati for Breast Cancer Research.

I just realized that Ray and I kind of match. Sorry about that.
I absolutely love this event. There are so many walks and runs in Cincinnati, literally every weekend is packed with them from spring through fall, but there are few biking events. Ride Cincinnati is one of them.

Riders could choose between these distances down Route 8:

62.8 miles
45.2 miles
27.0 miles
18.4 miles
8.2 miles
and a 1 mile kids bike rally

Guess which one we chose? The 1 mile kids bike rally!

There was a clown. Actually, there were two "lady clowns," which Ray noted that "Nothing is scarier than lady clowns."

We actually did the 18-miler, but it turned into 20, so technically, we went way above and beyond. I haven't ridden more than 10 miles on my bike in about ohhhh, 10 years, so no surprise that my legs felt like jelly after about the 11 mile mark.

Thankfully, my trusty new steed got me through. (And there were animal crackers and Gatorade at the turn-around point. I hadn't eaten in at last 20 minutes during that bike ride.)

It's a Trek 7.4 FX if you're in the market for a bike that weighs about 4 pounds, has brakes,
handlebars, some aluminum and some carbon on it and rides like a dream.
I got a new bike this spring and have been bonding with it at Lunken and Armleder Park. And after Sunday's ride, we're officially a team. I also really love that it doesn't weigh 50 pounds like my old bike and that the gears actually change when you tell them to.

The bike practically rides itself; I can put it wherever I want it.

(I also realize that all of my modes of transportation are a shade of blue. The Blue Angel, The Baby Blue Angel and my as yet to be named Trek. This wasn't intentional, but maybe I have a transportation 'type'?)

The rides made the weekend seem longer and more fun, which is always the goal. But let me tell ya, I don't care if I see another scooter or bike anytime soon. I'm happy to be back in my car where there is a windshield to keep the wind and sun and cicadas off of me.

Now I need a weekend from my weekend. The normal kind, where I sit at the pool and read magazines books and my biggest 'activity' is either walking three blocks to Graeter's or driving to the Newtown Dairy Corner.