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Offline Aggie95

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Riding the Ozarks
« on: November 08, 2018, 04:54:33 PM »
Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!  :152:
Awesome scenery, awesome twisties, awesome bike!!

A few weeks ago I posted that my son bought me a lightly used '14 'X to ride after going bikeless for 45 years.  We made a couple of short local rides right away; exhilarating and saw some of Texas I've not seen before, but somewhat mundane.  A couple of weeks ago, I posted that we were going to northwest Arkansas to ride the Ozarks and I promised to post some pics.

A little background, my parents were raised in NW Arkansas and live there again.  So, I have experienced the Ozarks much of my life.  Many times, I have watched bikers ride by on Hwy 7 and envied them this experience.  And, there are many, many awesome roads through the Ozarks; I have driven some of them on four wheels and longed to ride them on two. 

Friday was my son's birthday, so he took off work so we could go riding.  We rode Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The previous Thursday had brought a lot of rain, so the roads were clean for fast riding, though they were still drying so we had to be a bit careful in places, especially where the sun doesn't shine much.  Each day we plotted a trek of about 150 miles with alternate shortcuts, in case I got too tired, or we ran out of daylight (FYI, I'm 65 years old and back on a bike after 45 years off).  We calculated that these trips, with plenty of stops for "points of interest", would require most of the day, and the first two days we didn't get home until well after dark.  (Riding the Twisties after dark is very nerve wracking!  especially with oncoming traffic and a fogged up visor! got to fix that)

These pics show the typical scenery.  Arkansas is beautiful in any season, but especially in the fall!  We were about a week early for the most colorful fall display, but the turn was well underway.


A view from on top of the Ozarks from a scenic overlook, near my Grandparents home.


Another view from a spot on the way up the mountain.


Haw Creek Falls.  One of many points of interest we stopped to see.


My Grandparents' Home, on top of the mountain!


Our Trusty Steeds!

But, the main reason for the trip; The Twisties!!


Oh, the Twisties!


Incredible Twisties!!

Once on Friday's ride, and again once on Saturday's ride, I failed to negotiate a curve!!  Both times, I went into a curve too hot and couldn't get the bike to lean over enough to make the turn.  The first time, it felt like I was leaning against a wall; I could not get the bike to lean any more!  As I went through the curve, I drifted out to the edge of the road and just before going off the road, I stood my bike up and applied both brakes.  I went off the road a few feet but slowed enough to turn hard, through the gravel and grass, back onto the road.  The shoulder was not very sloped and there was enough space to make the maneuver; Very Lucky!!  :005:

After calming my racing heart, and cleaning my pants, we stopped to analyze my error.  My son pointed to his head and said the "wall" was all in my head!  Of course, I knew he was right, but that wall felt so real!  I was not even close to leaning on my peg and the tires were holding tight.  I just got spooked!

On Saturday, I made a similar mistake.  This time, however, the shoulder was quite steep and fell off into disaster!  Fortunately, again, there was just enough room to maneuver back up onto the road!!  My son didn't see this mistake, but it was discovered when we stopped a couple of miles later and there was grass hanging from both of my pegs.  :034: I rode a little puckered the rest of the day, using the back brake a lot.

On Sunday, my son suggested I take the lead so I could "ride my own ride".  He noticed right away I was using the brakes way too much when entering the curves and suggested I not use the brakes at all; he urged me to use only the engine to brake into the curves.  I told him that would slow us down too much, but he insisted. 

I took his advice and at first was riding quite slowly; entering the curves too slowly, leaning over too much, and accelerating hard out to keep from falling over.  However, as the day progressed, I got to reading the curves better and got more and more aggressive and faster.  I rode most of the day in fourth or third gear (have I mentioned the awesome bike? with awesome torque and plenty of power? Wow! The dream bike of my youth!) 

Near the end of the day, I entered a curve marked 25 mph at about 45.  My son was behind me, watching, and thought, as did I, I am about to lose it; big time!  But, I leaned over hard, rolled a little out of the throttle on entry, and then back on the gas as I passed the apex. We were both surprised and impressed when I shot out the other side under power!!

We saw a lot of awesome scenery, many places and points of interest we had never seen before, and rode some of the best two-wheeler roads in the country!  On Sunday, my wife and my parents followed in their van; my parents are 85 and 90 and enjoyed the day out. Great weather and "a good time was had by all".

We're back in Texas now.  Roads near home are mostly boring after 500 miles, and three days, in the Ozarks.  I'm still riding a little puckered, but I am determined to put lots of miles under my but.  I'm confident I will get more relaxed with experience.  We intend to make many more rides throughout the country.  My son is urging me to put 7K miles on my bike before next June, when he wants to go to Prudhoe Bay and ride Alaska.  Whoa, that's ambition!  Can't wait!  :046:

Offline ewryly

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Re: Riding the Ozarks
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2018, 08:45:46 PM »
Nice write up and nice picks.  I haven't been in NW Arkansas, but I did some bicycling in SW Missouri, and what I remember is hills!  As for feeling like you have hit a wall trying to lean the bike, that becomes even truer when you feel like you are going wide and start fixating on where you don't want to go.  I try to remind myself of a few things before every ride:  1)  Stay within myself--this should help me avoid coming into to a corner too hot, 2) the bike can handle a lot more than I am willing to demand of it--this should encourage me to make that lean past my comfort zone when I have forgotten #1 and need to push my (but not the bikes) limits, 3) keep my head up and look where I want to go, and 4) keep my arms and shoulders relaxed.  When you are riding behind someone and trying to keep up or in front and feeling pushed, it is easy to forget #1 and #4. 

Looking forward to the Alaska pictures and stories!

Offline Trailrunner

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Re: Riding the Ozarks
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2018, 09:00:43 PM »
 Aggie95 Great post thanks for sharing I am so happy you got to do this trip with your son. My next bike will be wife and son a bike to ride it a tuff call she is 5'1" and he is 6"4" but I dream of taking a ride with him like you had the pleasure of.

Offline ThirtyOne

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Re: Riding the Ozarks
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2018, 10:29:42 PM »
Great share. Glad that you got some confidence up. Just take it in paces and keep racking on the miles. You'll become more and more comfortable.

Keep the posts coming.  :821:
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 10:30:33 PM by ThirtyOne »

Offline UnmzldOx

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Re: Riding the Ozarks
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 05:48:20 PM »
Great trip review and pics. So glad you had that time with your son. Learning to push the inside bar to get the bike to drop in on time will come. I had a few similar moments starting as a 50 yo first time street rider wit my 2014X. It's not what I expected, bUT so much fun now..

 


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