A Day of Firsts

A Day of Firsts

The glorious blue machine pictured above arrived in late December, a few short days before Christmas. It replaced my trusty Vespa which I hope has found a new home and attentive owner. The BMW R1200GS is a workhorse bike meant to be ridden on all types of road surfaces in all sorts of weather. Although I loved the Vespa for what it was, it was not meant to be ridden long distances on varying road surfaces, and it offered little protection against wind and inclement weather. I’ve been yearning to ride off-road a little and, with the acquisition of a home with a garage, it was inevitable that I’d get another full-sized motorcycle.

I bought the GS from Max BMW in Connecticut. I could fill volumes with praises for the organization, from the lengthy test ride they provided to the outstanding final delivery of the bike in my own driveway. I kid you not: if they sold groceries, I’d drive the 75 miles to their shop to buy my food! Every merchant should strive to be as excellent as Max BMW.

I’ve been riding the bike since I took delivery, thanks to the mild winter. Good thing there is no such thing as climate change. Yesterday, however, was a day of firsts for me and the bike. It was my first trip out-of-state on a motorcycle. I rode back to Max BMW to attend a workshop. Although I had a motorcycle in the 90s, and more recently the Vespa, I’ve never ventured much further than Manhattan. I’m not sure why. Maybe I wasn’t that confident of my abilities or the ability of the scooter to make a longer trip.

Which brings me to the 2d “first”: first trip across a major bridge on a motorcycle. I cannot recall ever crossing a major bridge on the Harley I had in the early 90s, probably because I have an unreasonable fear (phobia) of crossing bridges on two-wheeled vehicles. I have no basis for the phobia, but I always fear I’ll be bumped into and thrown over the side! The fact that I’m writing this means I survived, though some arsehole tried to squeeze me into the wall on the approach ramp of the Throgs Neck where it goes from two lanes to one. No hard feelings. Next time I’ll just take up all the lanes to prevent that from happening. And I should add that the Throgs and Whitestone bridges can be outright intimidating if there is a moderate wind blowing perpendicularly across them. You wouldn’t think that wind could influence a 510  pound bike with a 200 pound rider atop of it, but it can.

Onto the 3rd first: first use on my EZ-Pass on a motorcycle. Yeah, big deal. I know. But it represents the freedom to leave my little part of the world without worrying about having exact change or waiting in line for the other sheeple at the toll plazas. I have my pass in a pouch on my handlebars. It worked flawlessly on the Throgs Neck and I drove right through. On the Whitestone, I had to stop for it to register, probably because I was in the center of the lane and should have been lined-up in the left half of the lane closer to the sensor.

First long ride. Not by Iron Butt standards, but long considering how long I’ve had the bike and my schedule. The 146.7 round trip miles are the most I’ve put on the bike in one trip. The GS is made to ride. I realized that while cruising up the highway to Connecticut. It’s happiest-as if a machine has emotions- being ridden fast, not the stop and go nonsense that I put it through commuting to work.

First trip back to the dealership. I intend to have the servicing done at Max, if for no other reason than the shop looks like an operating room and the staff are friendly. So it is good to know I can get there and back without any problems. That’s my GS parked under the Max sign in the picture at the top of this post. It’s a treat visiting the shop because there’s always other riders to talk to and bikes to drool over. There are quite a few vintage bikes, restored to perfection, in the showroom.  I’ll be heading back in the next couple of weeks for my 600 mile servicing.

And now I am looking for other “firsts.” First overnight, first organized ride or tour with other riders, and so on. I’m even considering a 1000 mile ride in June. So many firsts to accomplish and so little time.



About robertkerner

Educator, registered nurse, attorney, inquisitive mind
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