Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Online Dating for Bikers

9:00 pm CST

We met online. I read her profile over and over and looked at her pictures, wondering if they were current. Of course, when we arranged to meet, it was someplace convenient for her, with lots of people around. Our first encounter was a bit awkward, her all cool and silent, me asking too many questions, touching her all over, staring at her jugs like a hormone-crazed adolescent. But I settled down, she warmed up, we shook handlebars and I bought her a new front tire as a token of my good intentions. We've spent the day getting to know each other on a short but revealing 250 miles from Oklahoma City to Weatherford, Texas. I do believe this one has potential!

The R1150RT is a great road bike, built to bite off disgustingly big chunks of highway in a mouthful. It's quiet, torquey as hell, smooth to a fault, comfortable and disarmingly willing to run up to 100 mph in silky silence. And, for me, a big plus is that these bikes are the only ones I've ever found that fit me, right off the rack. I had to adjust the brake and clutch levers a couple of notches closer to the handlebars but that's it. Perfect fit.

The linked, power-assisted ABS brakes will take some practice: they're immensely powerful and unfortunately grabby at low speeds. But with a fine touch they're fine brakes. Oh, and the ABS works. I got momentarily blinded by the sun on the horizon, just about missing my exit onto I820. I grabbed too much front  brake just as the front wheel (with that still-slick new tire) found some sand. I heard the hiss of the sand but felt nothing amiss: the ABS activated instantly, the bike went where I was pointing it and a nasty mess was averted by nifty technology.

So I'm off the road for the night, tired but satisfied. Tomorrow's rain forecast has been downgraded so I may be able to make up some of the miles I lost today waiting for the ice and snow to melt in Oklahoma City.

Speaking of ice and snow, I actually avoided riding on any of it. The incredible staff at BMW of Oklahoma City went out of their way today, making this the best vehicle buying experience I have ever enjoyed. They were friendly, cordial and courteous. They picked me up at my hotel. The paperwork was all in order, including some customs stuff that they didn't have to do but did anyway, including some research on the 'net to make sure they got it right. When the new tire was on, one of the techs took it for a test ride to make sure the balance was right and, while he was out, he filled the tank. Then, they loaded the bike and me and my gear into their transporter van and drove me 20 miles out of the city so I wouldn't have to risk riding on any snowy or icy streets. Amazing service, and I can't thank them enough for it. Go, buy some bikes from these guys, they deserve the business!

See you tomorrow!

Today's ride: