A 10,000 Mile Year

Over the last two summers, I have been riding motor cycles.  Starting out with a Honda VLX 600, and moving up to my dad’s Honda Shadow Spirit.  My first year I put probably 2000 miles on my VLX, and the proceeding year I probably put another 2000 miles on my dad’s old (my new) Spirit.  I actually rode less my second summer even though i accomplished roughly the same number of miles, because my riding season started earlier my second year of riding.  I got my VLX in the end of June, so I lost a whole month my first year to riding.

This year I decided on a goal. 10,000 Miles.  In 2015 I want to put on 10,000 miles on my motorcycle.  This is two times more than I have done in my previous two years.  At the moment I am writing this, I”m not sure exactly how many miles I currently have on my bike, but I will be sure to make another post letting everyone know what I start out at.  I will be telling you my stories on the road, and giving you plenty of updates throughout my 10,000 mile year.

Now I understand that this might not be a lot to some people, but living in Pittsburgh, there is pretty crappy weather for most of the winter.  Even if its not bad weather, it is cold or there is salt on the road, so I don’t feel comfortable riding.  I could get some cold winter gear and ride more in the winter, but at this time I don’t have anything for suitable longer cold weather rides.

Feel free to ask me questions if you have any, and I’ll be sure to answer them to the best of my ability.  I might be planning a few trips, and I would really like to get into some motocamping (more mild locations, such as National Campgrounds and such, and not full off roading and then camping).  I’m hoping I can rack up some good miles and enjoy each and every time I hit the open road.

Remember, keep the rubber side down, and the shiny side up.


My New Bike

I started out riding on a black and yellow (very good colors living in the Pittsburgh area, Go PENS/STEELERS/PIRATES) 1997 Honda VLX 600.  My dad rode a white 2002 Honda Shadow Spirit VT750DC.  He was afforded the opportunity to get a really nice blue Kawasaki Vulcan 900.  He took this opportunity, and by doing so, presented me with the opportunity to take his bike.  So now, I am happy to say, that I am a proud owner of a 2002 VT750DC.

I can’t wait to get home and put on some serious miles on my new baby.  I hope that the weather holds out so I can put a few hundred miles on in the first week or so of my summer vacation.  One can only hope…


Until next time…

Convincing Your Parents: Tips for Younger soon-to-be Riders

Getting my first bike at only 20, I guess I could say that I’m in the relative minority of those who actually convinced their parents to let them get a bike. I may have had a slight advantage, being that my dad already had a bike, so he already knew the joys of riding. More than anythings, the thing that I had to convince my parents the most was that I wasn’t going to be an idiot on it.

At first, as well as with most teenagers I think, I wanted to get a supersport bike. You know, the base models of that all those GP riders use. The Kawasaki ZX6R, the Honda CBR 600rr, the Yamaha R6, and the Suzuki GSXR600. Well, anyways, I was dead set on getting one of these motorcycles at first. I wanted to be that “cool” rider. I found that convincing my father to getting one of these was extremely difficult and extremely hard to do because he was 100% against sport bikes. He didn’t like the aggressive riding posture, the speed at that could go, and the stereotypes that followed sport bike riders. After trying to convince him on letting me get a sport bike, and him repeatedly saying no, I decided I would broaden my search horizon to cruiser type motorcycles. This has turned out to be the best decision that I have made.

I convinced my dad to let me get a cruiser motorcycle. I ended up getting a 1997 Honda Shadow VLX600. I loved that bike more than anything. I loved the freedom I got from riding, I loved being able to go out on it and let all my problems just wash away while riding. Now how exactly did I convince my dad, you may ask? I did it showing him a few things.

Firstly, and one of the biggest things, I convinced him that I would be a safe rider. This, in part, was due to the fact that over the previous four years of driving a car, I had been a safe driver. I knew that all my dad really cared about was my safety. So by showing him that I had been a safe driver, it could correlate over that I would be a safe rider. Another thing that went along with the safety, was him knowing I wouldn’t be on a supersport. He thought, probably correctly, that I would be a safer rider on a bike that wasn’t build for pure performance. Those supersport bikes are all about speed. They were built for speed and that is just what they like to do. So by getting a cruiser type motorcycle, he was put at ease just a little bit.

Secondly, which still goes along with safety, is I did everything I could do to convince him I wasn’t going to be an idiot on a bike. I had the luxury of showing him that I wouldn’t be an idiot by riding his bike. Before I was allowed to even begin thinking about getting a bike, I learned to ride (on an old KDX 175), and then took my dad’s bike out around the neighborhood. I rode around my neighborhood over the course of a day just making loops back and forth for probably over 40 miles. I then got him to let me take it out on a secluded route. He followed me in his truck the whole time, so he could see how I was riding, that I was using the bike properly, and making sure I was staying safe.

Thirdly, which once along goes with safety, (HEY! Safety was a big factor in his decision, couldn’t you tell?) is the fact that I was going to take an MSF course. Being from Pennsylvania, these courses are offered free to residents with a motorcycle learners permit. These courses provide valuable information to new riders on everything from the basic starting/stopping a motorcycle, to how a clutch works, to how to properly turn a motorcycle and so on and so on. Even if this course wasn’t free (I know some states you have to pay to go to them) I would highly suggest taking the course. I learned neat little tricks during the course that I didn’t know beforehand, and tricks that I carry with me today.

Another thing that I had to do, was set up some ground rules with my dad. A big thing was that he was not going to be financially responsible for anything. I would buy the bike, I would pay for the maintenance, I would pay for the insurance, I would pay for the gas. I would pay for everything. This was something that I easily agreed to because I didn’t want him to be responsible for anything. I wanted this to be my first main purchase, something I did on my own, and that’s how it happened. He had to take me out on a ride to approve my riding and to test my abilities. He choose some less than maintained Pennsylvania roads to take me on to see how I handled the less than superb conditions.

So these are the steps I took to get a bike, and convince my parents to let me get my very own bike. So, take some tips from me, and use them towards your situation, to convince your own parents to let you get your own bike. Get out, and enjoy the freedom of the open road.

Getting Started…

Hi everyone!  I’m starting up this blog in order to share my experience (or lack of) on my motorcycle.  I want to be able to grow with this blog as a grow as a rider.  What my goals are for this blog is to share what I do, as well to give any tips that I can figure out throughout this process.

To start, I began riding at the end of last June on a Honda VLX600.  (I’m trying to put up a picture but not sure if I did it the right way, I’m still very, very green to this whole blogging thing).  From the end of June to about September, I put roughly 2500 miles on my bike.  Since September, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to ride, so my bike hasn’t racked up too many miles since then.  Most of the riding I did was just around the area I live, to and from the West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania area.

Heading into this riding season, I have now moved up to a Honda Shadow Spirit VT750DC.  This was my dad’s bike, but since he moved up to a Kawasaki Vulcan 900, I’m moving up as well.  What I am trying to start doing this year is going on some longer day trips, where I will be out riding most of the day.  I hope to put multiple thousands of miles on during the summer, and starting this year, I also want to start to get into some motorcycle camping.  My plan is to start out smaller, and eventually end the summer on a multiple day trip, riding several hundred miles on that trip alone before it is all said and done.  Nothing is set in stone yet, so we shall see.

I guess I will wrap this up now since this is just my starting post.  Anyone that reads this please feel free to comment and let me know what you’d like to know, and anything I can improve on.


Until next time…

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