This past weekend I had another ride on the schedule here in the Hudson Valley to do. The local HOG (Harley Owners Group) was running a benefit ride for Shriners Hospital out of Kingston. At the last minute I discovered that the run was a self guided tour with a cue sheet for the route to take. Past experience indicated that a nice flat surface would be needed to secure the directions where they could be read. Since the Helix clone has a step through frame it was immediately disqualified. Hmmmm, which motorcycle to take.
The big Kawasaki is usually the first choice when riding in a group of 100+ cubic inch V-Twins and it has the gas tank right under me. BUT, since I was going to ride on my own, setting my own pace, cubic muscle would not be required. The 250 Nighthawk now became the front runner. It has an easier to read and more accurate speedometer to stay in phase with the direction sheet mileages and is a hoot to ride briskly through the countryside. Not to mention it gets better gas mileage.
After signing up, securing the route sheet to the gas tank and gearing up, off I went. There were two routes to choose from and I opted for the shorter 77.1 mile route over the 96.2 mile run. As expected it led into the Catskills and, while I was expecting to be spending time in second gear on a steep climb, that never materialized. Mostly it was some ups and downs that never challenged my fifteen cubic inches. What I didn't notice was that the ups outnumbered the downs until I got to the town of Hunter, NY famous in these parts for the Hunter Mountain Ski Area. I had been there myself decades ago and forgot the ravine descent on Rt. 23A. I suddenly found myself doing a downhill run with countless curves and a few tight hairpins at a pretty reasonable angle of descent. A steady line of cars going up slowly were on my left and on many occasions a steep drop on my right just the other side of low steel railing. Usually I challenge the curves in the road and revel in keeping up my momentum. Here I resorted to safely riding through the bends in a survival mode manner.
After that the roads became more sedate and I continued on letting the bike sing contentedly. For an entry level sized machine it does quite nicely at State Road speeds. When I arrived at the finished I noticed two things. First, there were few bikes in the parking area most of which were there when I left. Second, despite the diminutive size of my engine no one had caught or passed me on the route. Even more amusing was the looks I got when I pulled in as if to say, "How did he get back here so fast on that?"
There was food available for the price of Entry and I enjoyed nicely prepared cold salads and barbecued items. It was a great day and a good way to make a charitable contribution. Even the ride back home from Kingston was nice. The leaves are in full-turn mode and the road back to the house is a two lane highway with farms, forests and streams with few homes or strip malls to mar the scenery.
Next week there will be a longer event and taking the scooter is preying on my mind.