Leg three of our trip – 2 weeks on the bike riding to Jasper and Banff in Canada and then back into the US to Denver via Yellowstone National Park.
Leg 3 of our trip starts today and I must say I was feeling a bit apprehensive. This is our first big group ride and there is so many unknowns – unknown group dynamics, unknown riders skill level, unknown general speed of the group, and unknown around riding in a group of this size. I think overall its just not knowing what to expect.
Why a group ride I hear you ask after I’ve said in a number of previous posts that I’m not a fan… Well that’s a very good question and one I was asking myself again today! A number of times. There are two reasons – one, this ride came up and it was the perfect timing for us and went where we wanted to go, and secondly this is Deb’s first real big ride and I thought it may be fun to do it with a group. I guess time will tell.
Our group is from all over the world covering Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, USA, England and Argentina.
We are on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide. Originally I had reserved a Honda Goldwing as it was a good chance to test one and they are meant to handle more like a sports/tourer than a touring bike (ie more my style). I also wanted something comfy for Deb. However recent changes at EagleRider meant that the Honda’s were no longer available. I was very disappointed as I was not keen on riding the big HD as they are just not my style of bike at all…
I just hope the bike is going to be okay as we will be covering over 5,000km together over the next two weeks.
Today started off with all the process of getting the paper work and bikes organised. This seemed to take forever. Hurry up and wait! We finally got underway at around 9:30am.
This morning in Seattle if was quite cool and wet, the first rain they have had in awhile so the road are likely to be a bit slippery. Not a good start to a big ride on an unfamiliar bike, in an unfamiliar country, exiting an unfamiliar city, with an unfamiliar group. We were certainly baptised by fire with everything being thrown at us – rain, traffic, and uphill stop/go traffic for many miles – my clutch hand sure got a workout. The big HD is big and ungainly – nothing like zed.! It feels like the front wheel isn’t connected with the handlebars and just wants to do it’s own thing. The whole thing is very vague, a real contrast to a sharp sportsbike. If you start off pointing the big HD the wrong way it is an effort to straighten. I really struggled to come to grips with the bike.
Once we got out of the traffic I was able to settle into the ride and assess the group to figure out who I want to ride around. To ride close to other riders with a very different style can be hard work as they upset your natural rhythm of riding. Pretty quickly it was easy to spot less experienced riders and those with very different styles to mine – mental note to self…
By the end of the day and with a couple of hundred miles under our belts I have become more comfortable with the bike. However I can’t say that I like the bike.
Initial observations (other than the bike) – we have great guides who are really easy to get along with, and the group overall seems really good with quite a mix of people and a lot of couples. We should have a great couple of weeks getting to know everyone.
Here are some of the photos from our first day on the bike. Today is only the start, the warm up to what’s to come. This should be a great trip.!
We get our passports out tomorrow as we are off to Canada!!