New Bike, Track Bike, Rally, Rememberance

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Let me sum up.

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Ridin’ dirty.

This is my new-to-me 2005 Kawasaki KLR 650. After getting Ricky Carmichael’s advice, I’m finally getting dirty. Most of my dirt riding experience so far consists of crashing from using too much front brake. There are a ton of dirt and class 6 (unmaintained) roads near where I live now, and I want to go exploring. This bike popped up on Craigslist for a super reasonable price, and is already tricked out with all the right mods — suspension, doohickey fix, etc. This will replace my Honda PC800, since I’m no longer touring and I need to keep my fleet small for apartment living.

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Full track prep for my PC800. No, it isn’t much.
But not before having one last romp. I participated in a non-sportbike track day put on by Tony’s Track Days last week. What a freaking blast. I already wrote about it for RideApart, and I’m working on a video including a bit of on-track footage. I learned a ton and made a bunch of small changes and improvements in my riding techniques. Great times. I’ll be putting it up for sale after I finish yoinking a few tweaks off of it that I want to keep.

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Checkpoint Charlie on the Sturtevant Long stage at the New England Forest Rally.
Finally, last weekend I helped with ham radio communications at the New England Forest Rally. I didn’t take many pictures since other people are much better at that than I am, plus I was busy on the radio. To see what I saw, check out Allison’s photo gallery — I worked with her almost all weekend. More good times, and great to see so much of the rally family. This is “The Big Show” when it comes to rally in the northeast.

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The ever expanding memorial at the scene of the crash that killed seven riders.
Our route home from the rally happened to take us down Route 2 in Randolph, NH. That’s where seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club were killed last month when a truck and trailer mowed down an entire line of riders. A roadside memorial has been set up at the scene of the crash. As a fellow rider, I felt compelled to stop and pay my respects. This particular photo, with dark clouds hanging over the peaks of nearby mountains, really captures the mood and the energy of the scene.

Now I have a brief break (yes, returning to my day job really does count as a break at this point) before flying out to Sturgis in a week and a half. Meanwhile, I’ve ordered a thing or two for the KLR, like a Ram Mount ball for the handlebars and a USB charger for my phone, as well as some true motocross boots and true riding pants for myself. I fully intend to hit the dirt, and I’m all too aware that I don’t know what I’m doing, so I intend to protect myself from possible injury the best I can.

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