Mid-Week Rides: July 1st ride
Wednesday, Jul 1 2015
Pictures start here.
Alberto’s explains what he learned from WWWobble here.
I arrived at the Dipsea Cafe at about 08:40 and saw Joe and Alberto’s bikes in the parking lot. We were soon joined by Major Wobble, and breakfast occurred. At about 09:20 we mounted up, as no other riders had informed me that they would be joining us. We headed out on Shoreline Hwy aka Hwy 1 and made the left at the light with a couple of Hardleys ahead of us. Only problem was there was a car in front of the Hardleys. After a few slow miles, the car politely pulled over, and we all passed him. The Hardleys exhibited unusual speed and handling on the twisty Hwy 1, and were soon out of view.
The rest of us continued onto Panoramic Hwy to begin our day’s adventure. After a few miles, we came to a fork in the road, and I saw a white Ford pickup coming downhill from my left. We weren’t going very fast, but the truck was - he must’ve been a local. It became apparent pretty quick that he wasn’t going to yield right-of-way, and he cut in front of me and he kept going downhill on Sequoia Valley Rd. I followed him, not realizing that I was missing the correct left-hand fork to stay on Panoramic Hwy. Oh well, it was a nice little curvy road, and we got to see some multi-million-dollar Mill Valley homes. The magic of GPS led us back via a small Wendy on Edgewood Rd and Molino Ave, and we were back on Sequoia Valley Rd backtracking to Panoramic Hwy.
After a few beautiful miles on Panoramic Hwy, we turned right on Pan Toll Rd. and found a scenic viewpoint to take pics and offload coffee. Alberto decided to go on up the hill to see if the spectacular view was more spectacular 500 yards further away. I could hear him making new friends with some tourists. I’ll let his pictures speak for themselves.
Since Wobble had already frozen in the fog on the way up to Mill Valley, we decided to avoid more fog and continued inland on West Ridgecrest Blvd to Bolinas-Fairfax Rd., then down to Fairfax and then to Pt. Reyes Station.
I’m pretty sure Ridgecrest Blvd. is one of the roads that is often seen in the Honda car commercials - beautiful views down to the ocean, wide-open meadows, green forests. We didn’t see any ocean because of the fog, but it’s still a nice road. Had it to ourselves, no other bikes or cars.
We took Bolinas Rd. East down to Alpine Lake. We stopped again at the lake, just because it’s gorgeous and because we had to offload coffee. A couple of other bikes passed us, and we all waved. We went down into Fairfax, and turned left onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd (aka SFD). The paving is really good on SFD these days, and we had it to ourselves, except for cyclists in spandex that shouldn’t be wearing spandex.
We went through Samuel Taylor Park and got up to Pt Reyes Station, and stopped for a minute to see if anyone was hungry. We decided to keep going to Dillon Beach and get something at the Cafe there. More beautiful road, now we can see Drakes Estero/Tomales Bay, no cars in front of us, sunshine, no fog, good times.
We get to Dillon Beach and the Cafe is closed. A guy comes up to talk and says he’s the owner of the place, and he’s only open Thurs-Sun these days. He also says he doesn’t charge motorcycles for parking at the beach itself, so if any of you want to come up to Dillon Beach and park at the beach for the day, you’ll save some money.
So we head back to Pt Reyes Station and the Pine Cone Cafe for lunch. Got a table outside in the shade for the old guys, and had a nice lunch. Wobble and Alberto headed home via Hwy 1 to avoid the inland heat for as long as possible. Joe and I got fuel at Pt Reyes and I went home via Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Rd. to 101 and 580.
Pictures from Randy
Pictures from WWWobble
Pictures from Alberto
The rest of the story.
Very technical and complicated. You all forgive me. But this is important to all of us.
While at Dillon Beach I had asked WWWoble concerning technique, specifically to curve-riding by use of the knee on the tank, and weight shifting. Also how soon upon entering a curve do you initiate the turn. Early or late.
It had been my understanding that a “late” entry gives you a better controlled exit. Something that I had been practicing and successfully avoid either side of the edge of the road at exit , or worse, cross the double yellow altogether, something that had been plaguing me as of late. The late entry had a side benefit, forced me to enter the curve at a slower speed but at a highly desirable line.
WWWoble proceeded at first, in his sense of modesty, reluctant, and then in his generous manner, open up the knowledge-faucet. “Alberto (he never said my name really), I ride with knees hugging the tank at all times and I weigh the inside peg when on a curve. But listen, there is more. When in a curve you must also use the throttle to help you either lean the bike or make it more upright”. Huh? I had heard this before, but did not have the ears to recognize the import of such words. Requesting clarification, he continued.
Bob continued. On a curve, approach the curve throttle-neutral at whatever speed you deem appropriate, as soon as you become committed to the turn - throttle-up, or down, gently and discover two things: 1) throttle up. The bike will be “push” outward, on the curve and with it become a little more vertical. 2) throttle down. The bike will “lean into the curve” and move closer to the inside curve. Of the two, you are better off throttle-up and use your rear brake to bleed off some of the speed. But in your BMW you will eat the rear brake pads in a hurry.
This sounds like a mouthful to sort out all at one time. Not really. Break it up into sections and you will see a logical sequence.
1). Hug the tank at all times. 2). Weighing the inside peg automatically forces the outside knee into the tank. 3). Control speed at all times. 4). See the curve. Select the point of commitment and gently throttle-up.
Item 1, 2 and 3 have been practiced steadily… The only new data here is 4. Easy to incorporate. Not easy to do, but YES easy to incorporate.
There it did not end. Bob and I took off. It was evident that Bob was about to show me what he meant.
We traveled relatively slowly on all straight roads, but at any winding road, Bob…. Leaned a little, Throttled-up and exited the curve. The three stages easily seen from behind. I was soon to test all this. My first attempt had me with too much throttle, but felt the outward push of the bike. Great!! The second attempt the throttle was good, but had little or no awareness of the point of commitment to the entry of the curve. Not that good. The third attempt included all elements… 1, 2 and 3 were present and 4, well it was a natural action. Soon, thereafter I found myself perhaps a little too thrilled to contain my enthusiasm.
I have little awareness of the roads we took. Lucas Valley Rd, San Ignacio Rd… Whatever! As you all know me, hardly care where I go… So long as I go. I have a favorite saying that could sum up my place or road awareness: “Remember, wherever you go… That’s where you’re at”.
This last Friday I went to Alice’s, hoping to see some of you. No luck. The truth, I wanted to practice… Alone. At my pace. Practice at a slow-pace, aware of all portions of the technique. Incorporate all 4 elements. Up Highway 9, down Page Mill, up Hwy 84, Skyline…. Home via Hwy 9.
“Remember, Bob said, ” I do not ride fast, I am quick, but not fast”. Also, “never ride any faster than what you can see ahead… A bicyclist, a tree, or a whatever on the far side of the curve, and come to a stop”.
A word of caution: DISCOVERY, this is far more easily done when following a leader showing the road ahead. Not the same when you are alone.
Thank you for reading.