Friday May 13th 2011. Is there such a thing as 200mph headlights?*

Oh yay! A herd of bright-eyed buffalo are coming to play with meeee!

I was grumpy, cold, tired and generally annoyed that I’d had to leave LA so late. I don’t like finishing a long ride after dark, it’s harder to focus when you’re tired. But there it was. I wasn’t going to rush up to SF the fast way, because there really is no “fast way” when you have to stop every five minutes for gas anyway.

On that note, I did want to conserve gas, and managed to get my average MPG up to 30 by keeping the revs below 7k. Which was boring, but not unbearable. Besides, what’s the point of riding if you’re not going to have a little fun, at least in the beginning while the sun’s still out. So I got to Paso Robles (the fun way) just as it was getting dark. I stopped for a hot tea and to dress for the cold. Riding into the sunset had not been fun, especially because it gets colder a lot faster than that damn fireball finally sinks far enough to stop blinding you.

From Paso Robles to San Mateo, I just take 101. Boring, but efficient. I was not far south of Gilroy when I hit a bump. This bike is pretty stiff, so I’m used to a bumpy ride. My attention had been focused on a car way up ahead (…is that a cop?…). The bump was so interesting, I looked down to see what was up. I noticed the lane I was in was completely red.

Then I immediately noticed the bigger bump. Which I promptly rode over. It all happened too quickly to even consider swerving or anything. So basically I rode over a Deer carcass. I was clearly not the first, but may have been the first to ride over her head. Poor Deer. But it was nice to know that can be done without incident. Not once did my Pirellis complain, but then I didn’t try make any sudden directional changes in a pool of blood either. That might have been problematic.

I stopped for gas and did my best to wash the guts off my bike, but the water they provide for filling radiators isn’t exactly high-pressure. Eventually the rain cleansed her, as I had to ride from Infineon to San Mateo in wet/dry conditions the following day. And people wonder why I love LA so much more than SF…

Another recent incident involving not braking scared me more because I felt my reaction was too slow…

I let my attention drift for a split second while lane-splitting on the freeway. I was passing a car who had room to move into the next lane, something I generally try to avoid. I saw the wheels move sharply as if about to make a sudden lane change. Then the driver saw me, and waited. My reaction was so delayed and inappropriate I worried that age may be catching up with me. I honked. When I was pretty much past the car. The correct thing to do would’ve been to A) not pass when there’s room for the car to change lanes. Or B) pass but leave a wide berth.

*I was not going 200mph, it’s just that everything else on the R1 is designed to withstand speeds up to 200mph, so why not the headlights? Oh right, that would be blinding. Oh well.

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