Well, yesterday was the big day. I’ve been considering getting a motorcycle for over a year. Seen some ladies riding around town that have really been inspirations. Everytime I’d see one of them, they’d bring a smile and a determination to join them on the road.
So a few months back I started browsing websites and cruising showrooms. Didn’t take long to realize I really wanted a Harley-Davidson. The other makes are nice and have their strong points, but perhaps I’m a sucker for the hype. I just wasn’t going to be happy with anything but a Harley.
And give the marketing folks at Harley their due. They were running a promotional deal called “Ride Free” where if you bought a Sportster model, you could trade up to a bigger bike within a year and get the full amount you paid for the trade-in value. I think they had me in mind when they wrote that one. The entry-level, smaller, lower-cost Sportster is the gateway drug to the rest of the line. For me it’s going to be a great bike to learn on and get comfortable with riding. I suspect it won’t be long before I’ll be thinking about that trade up though. (Already have my eyes on the Street Bob.)
Anyway, the deal was supposed to expire on March 31 and my personal life and finances are in limbo at the moment, so I reluctantly watched that deadline and deal slip away. Was kicking myself severely for that. About a week later I was cruising my favorite dealer’s website and they had a small blurb that indicated the deal might still be available. Couldn’t get to the dealer right then, but got in touch with them and ran out there (it’s 100 miles away) as soon as I could. I had originally been looking at the Sportster 1200 Custom, but after taking the Rider’s Edge course, I thought the smaller version would be a better choice. I would be okay with a silver, blue, or black bike (in that order of preference) and knew I wanted a windshield. Other accessories like a backrest, luggage rack, or saddlebags were optional. Well when I walked in the door of the dealership, there was a blue Sportster 883 Custom with windshield, backrest, and luggage rack. Mine! Cut the deal as quick as I could. And apparently I cut it close. I think I slipped in by a back door with 2 hours to spare on the Ride Free deal.
After a couple of weeks of waiting for them to deliver the bike to me, which they would do for free, the weather got nice and I got impatient and hitched a ride out to pick it up. Great day to do it too. Was sunny and 65F in the afternoon. I was travelling east, so the sun was behind me. The only negative was a fairly strong wind out of the north that was a bother most of the trip. Looks like it was about 25 mph, gusting to 36 mph. Figured I better get used to that as that’s pretty typical around here.
I’ll be the first to admit I was nervous about getting out on the road for the first time. Farted around in the parking lot for a bit to get used to the brakes. Tooled around the nearby state hospital grounds to practice shifting and then hit the open road. And was the road open. Never been down that way on Hwy 46 actually. Good, smooth road. Very little traffic. And darn nice scenery, even though I was too preoccupied to fully appreciate it. Hit a closed, flooded section of the road as expected, so took Hwy 18 north up to Casselton. Took a break there. Wasn’t sure I was going to be able to peel myself off the bike. Stopped at Subway for some chips and pop, and found out I broke a tooth somewhere along the way. Really don’t know how or when that happened. Sat for a half hour to wait out some of the rush hour, then stopped at a different gas station in Casselton to top off. And had the first person come up to me to ask about the bike. Kid on a bicycle. Could have talked all night I think. Found a back road into Mapleton and then Fargo. Was really trying to plan a route through Fargo/Moorhead to avoid traffic, lights, etc. I think I picked a good one. Really wasn’t that bad. Worst part was the mud on the road from the trucks. Got home at 6:45, but I didn’t keep track of when I left Jamestown. I do know I did 50 mph most of the way to baby the engine. Could feel it break loose around 35 miles and it just got smoother after that. And the weather was perfect, except for the wind. Not too cold, not too hot. I love my leather.
All in all, a good first ride. Put 142 miles on the bike, so the engine should be well on it’s way to being broken in. I look forward to my next ride. Perhaps Sunday morning when traffic, and hopefully the wind, is light.
Odometer: 149 miles