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Monday, December 04, 2006

Toys for tots and long wheelies

On Sunday a few rider friends and I went on the Toys For Tots ride. It was cool, although us sport bikers were outnumbered about 20:1. The ride sadly was a bit lame. Stop and go on the freeway, and no fast curves. Even getting up to speed on the freeway was a bit dull with 500 hogs cruising up to freeway speed right ahead of us. But hey, it was for a good cause.

After the ride there was a barbeque and sodas were served. It gave me an opportunity to meet some previously unknown sport bike riders, a few of whom also happen to be stunters. The are a group known as the 'bako boyz'.

They have a website that has some pretty wild video clips. Their tutorial "Guide to Wheelies" is a tongue in cheek howler.

The guy we got talking to, named Chris, was quite friendly and outgoing. Toward the end of the gathering, he said "I feel like doing a wheelie". I said "I feel like watching that!" So we all got on our bikes and got the tires warmed up for a few minutes, then he took it out on the freeway, slowed to 45 mph, and popped it up on one wheel and rode for about half a mile. Then he did a stand-up wheelie for us. Cool! Chris BTW is in the video link above, riding the lime-green bike.

Then he told me to do one. So I did a little one - there's a point (well shy of the balance point) where the front wheel really starts lifting quickly, which is where I always back way off and let it drop. He suggested that I back off less and try to find the balance point. And I said, well it's the consequences of not getting it right that scares me the most :) He laughed and we agreed to meet at one of their gatherings soon. Nice guy - really outgoing and likeable. Engaging and fun.

He did mention that once you learn to ride a wheelie you won't be able to stop doing them... He's probably right. I find myself getting bored commuting to work and wanting to blast off real fast or take a corner or something... anything. There's something about having a 400lb vehicle with 150 horsepower that makes you want to use it in excessive ways.

Speaking of which, at one point I was riding quite tamely in heavy traffic, but letting the bike rev a bit over 5000 RPM (about half of what it's capable of), when this little Toyota next to me apparently thought I meant to race. So he stomped on the gas and lurched ahead of me. I didn't bother to snap the throttle open, as I was laughing so hard I nearly peed myself. Unless that Toyota sedan was able to go 0-100 in 5 seconds (something that Ferraris can't do), then he was wasting his gas.

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