Sunday, 22 November 2009

Motorcycle ride

We went for our first real motorcycle ride today (Sunday). There is a group that rides every weekend. Lately they have been riding on Saturdays, which doesn’t work out since Austin has flag football games those mornings, but this week they did Sunday too.
In true Italy fashion what could have been done in a few hours lasted the entire day. That’s not bad, it just is…
We got on the road at about 9:30. From the Support Site, where we live, we went to a Harley shop in Avellino. Harleys are even popular in Italy. People don’t make nearly as much though so there are not a lot of them. We met up with a few more Italians there. All in all there were about a dozen of us, about half American, half Italians. From there we went to… somewhere east of Naples (up towards the mountains)…Bagnoli area I think. After looking at Google maps, maybe Lago di Laceno. We didn’t bring our GPS; we just followed. Nice gentle curves on the way up. We went through a few small towns on the way. It was foggy until we got up in elevation and through a tunnel, then it was instantly 10 degrees warmer and clear. Just in time for some nice views. We stopped at a “lake” to take in the view and ultimately eat lunch. The lake was more like a big pond. In the spring though it gets a lot bigger as the snow melts. From there we headed back down to the coast to Salerno. Very curvy roads through here. It started to get foggy again as we went down but there still were some nice views. We also saw lots of random animals. Horses, cows, pigs… Just along the side, or in, the road. From Salerno we caught the highway back up home. We finally got home at 5:10. Long day but fun. A learning and skill building experience (more on that below). The group was very friendly and happy to have someone else riding with them. Definitely worth doing again, and again.

I’m pretty sure in one of the early posts I made note that the roads out here have marble in them. So much so that some, a lot actually, have a polished look to them. Until today though I had never really gone through a lot of curves on the roads. They are slick. Nothing bad happened. At one point I hit a patch of sand or something and the back end broke loose. We recovered without incident and we slowed down a bit. Still, for the next 45 minutes or so I was starting to get worried I was loosing air in my back tire. As we were going through corners I kept having to slow down even more because the back end felt squishy/ shifty. Or even like Carey was shifting her weight on me. Once we stopped I was talking to a couple of the other guys and they said, “No, the roads are just that slippery…” That being said I will look into a sissy bar for the Yamaha for Carey. She still wants to ride on her own but after today we both agree riding alone on a real ride will take a while. It really does take some experience out here. Like I said the roads are slick. Lane sharing is not only legal but expected if you are on a bike. So you often find yourself side by side with a car in the same lane. Passing on a two lane road even if there is on-coming traffic… The cars just move to their right a little and the bikes take the center line. Highway or city street, its all the same. Just closer on the city streets… They’re not the best situations to throw a true beginner into.

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