In Case of Get-Off, Pull Here.

Miss Busa’s How-To:

Installing a Tether Kill Switch

on the

2010 BMW S1000RR

RND: Research & Delirium

PMR Stealth Tether Kill Switch Combo (finished setup)

PMR Stealth Tether Kill Switch Combo: The finished install.

I’ve googled myself to death trying figure out what type of switch I needed for the S1000RR and how to hook it up. A tension headache, one 800mg Ibuprofen, and a nap later I was still pretty much clueless. What little information I could dig up was conflicting and not very useful. Heck with it, I can figure this thing out myself. The biggest pain was trying to ascertain whether the S1000RR utilized a “normally closed” or “normally open” switch for the engine kill. Blech. Apparently nobody knew. The one reference I found on a certain S1000RR forum turned out to be wrong. Not that I gave much credibility to the thread, since it sucked and was no help to the people who wanted to know and were wanting to install a tether kill on their Double-R. The more I googled the more confusing it became. I finally found a reference on Pingel’s website that paired the words “normally open” and “magneto ignition” and “normally closed” and “battery ignition”. Magneto? I didn’t really know what exactly that was, but I’ve heard the term before in reference to old junk. So “normally closed” is what I put my money on. Off to buy a switch. My bike was in the shop, so I couldn’t look at it and couldn’t recall the information needed from memory. I really liked the PMR setup. The kill switch housing replaced part of the brake master cylinder bracket and it came with optional switch options. An extra switch? Always good for likely future upgrades. But I couldn’t recall if the S1000RR had a Nissin setup or not, so I decided to err on the safe side and bought an MPS switch, which was only half of an inch wide and fit 7/8-inch bars. It later turned out that I didn’t have the ½ inch to spare to cram that sucker onto the bar. Damn. I should have gone with my initial instinct. Oh well. Anybody want to buy a brand new MPS switch? Hit me up. ☺

PMR Switch Housing

The PMR Stealth Switch Combo housing replaces the front bracket on the Nissin front brake assembly.

Pingel has decent looking switches up for grabs, however I definitely don’t have room for them on my clip-ons and the panel-mounted option just didn’t fit the bill for me. I wear one-piece leathers. I have nowhere really to clip the tether other than making a wristband which will also keep the lanyard out of my way. I stole the wrist strap idea from the Pingel site, so kudos to them. ☺) I didn’t want a setup that would reach across bike or body parts. The Pingel switches to me look more to be made for cruisers or Harleys, not that I would have had the room for the bar-mounted ones anyway. I really wanted something a little more subtle and sporty.

Those are the only three viable options that I came up with in my research. There are other choices out there, but I dismissed them for various — now forgotten — reasons. I’m sure some of them were due to looks, design, price, or workmanship. I’m picky when it comes to my bike. I get the best I can afford and I want the stuff to last. The Pingel switches probably would outlast my bike. 😉

Slapped On The Wrist!

Yes, I could have just bought Pingel’s ready-made one, but I wanted to save some money and it would be kind of cool to make my own. I had most of the stuff already lying around from various other projects. I went to Joann’s to get a parachute buckle. 1-inch wide red canvas strapping, black retro-reflective iron-on ribbon, a 1-inch metal D-ring, the purchased $2 buckle and a sewing machine did the trick. I opted for white thread to do a little “contrast stitching”, but I should have just used red because my sewing skill leaves room for improvement… lots of wide-open room.

Exploratory Surgery

My difficulty finding a tether kill switch and trying to figure out how to install it stems largely from a lack of sufficient knowledge of electrical circuits, switches, basic wiring, and how ignition systems work. I had to beef up on long-forgotten high school physics subjects and educate myself in the application of the fine art of soldering wire joints. Basic Electrical Wiring 101 with a little something thrown in about relays, switching and simple circuitry.

Armed with a multimeter, Torx screwdrivers in various sizes, a clipboard, pen and my BlackBerry I got up close and personal with the Pirate. I took the engine switch/mode selector control pod apart and had a peek inside to figure out which one of the wires is the one the tether kill switch gets spliced into. This should also confirm whether or not the S1000RR employs a “normally closed” or “normally open” circuit. I had read somewhere that a good way to distinguish one from the other is by the number of wires that come out of the engine stop switch: two wires means “normally closed” and three wires is a sign of a “normally open” switch. I took the thing apart. I was presented with five wires hanging out of a keyed plug and a small PCB sporting three push buttons. Five wires? Great. I should have known. Why was I even thinking this could be as easy as following the one coming out of the stop engine button to note its color for later reference? I looked at the circuit board closely. I could definitely make out the paths of the circuitry. The pins on the plug are numbered. I also saw tiny numbers printed on the PCB. That made things a lot easier. The keyed plug also helped with keeping the orientation of things aligned correctly. It was time to draw a wiring diagram. After having studied the thing for a while it dawned on me that there is a place left for an option. A very faint cutout line on the switch’s front housing, an indentation on the PCB for an additional button with all the necessary circuitry in place, and three open slots in the keyed harness plug. Noting that, the whole mess became a little less confusing. Four functions, namely: Mode, Engine Stop, Engine Run, and Engine Start; one common connection to them all; it adds up to five wires. This started to actually make sense.

The multimeter proved useless, since the probes are too thick to fit into the harness plug and the entire circuit board is encased in some sort of clear plastic — to weatherproof the whole affair, I’m sure. So I ran my findings by Mr. Slow, but he refused to get involved, claiming lack of knowledge on the subject. I mulled it over in my head off and on for a few hours and then ended up sleeping on it.

Kill Switch Wire (Black with Blue Stripe)

Found it! This is the wire to the Engine Stop function. This is where the tether kill switch needs to be spliced in.

I need a method to test my findings nondestructively. I don’t want to cut into a $1500 wiring harness on a hunch. I need some way to connect the male end with the female plug in isolation to engage in a little simulated wire snipping. Test leads. I could make myself little test leads to jump the pins. The female end is easy, but the pins on the male side need insulation to keep them electrically isolated from each other. After scrounging around for supplies I come up empty, naturally. I had, not too long ago, relocated my “computer graveyard” from its home in a closet to the neighborhood dumpster. It never fails. Hang on to the shite for years, not finding use for a single thing and as soon as you throw the crap out to make room for new junk you end up needing something from the pile.

I didn’t know what those “test leads” were actually called, so googling the subject proved to be coma-inducing, but eventually I hit on the name of the thing and once you can name it, you can find it in 0.0289 seconds. They are called jumper wires. They are used in robotics and prototyping to easily and quickly connect header pins on breadboard setups. They’re cheaper to buy than to make unless you have the stuff already lying around. I still would just buy them… trying to get those little fragile crimp pins onto the stripped end of a teeny wire sucks! I scored a pack of 10 6” male-to-female ones for about $4.

A Kick in the CANBus

With five jumpers in five different colors I set out to validate my thoughts on the kill switch subject. I dismantle the control pod once more, this time it only takes me a few minutes. I pull the plug out of its socket and use my spiffy wiring diagram to jumper the pins. After double-checking my work, I turn the ignition on and the RR begins its initialization. The RPM needle executes its customary sweep through the entire range of the dial, all LCD segments are displayed at once and all LED lights come on and blink off. The DTC and ABS indicators remain lit and blinking, as is expected. After the POST is complete, I put the transmission into Neutral and push the Engine Start button, the bike comes to life. No faults are tripped. All is as it should be. I pull the black wire that connects Pin 4. The engine dies instantly, just like it would if you had put the kickstand down while in gear. Still, no faults are thrown. I turn the ignition off and back on and try to start the bike again. Nothing. That too, is as it should be. I reinsert the wire to Pin 4, start the bike and press the Mode Selector button repeatedly to scroll through the four DTC modes. Again, all functions as expected.

I would have been so wrong!

Just for giggles, I yank Pin 5’s jumper wire out and nothing happens, the Pirate keeps on idling sedately. Pin 5 is the other half of the engine stop switch circuitry. Pin 4 is the connection that is common to all of the functions. Pin 5 is the wire I would have cut with a shaky, clammy hand had I have been on the bomb squad, sweating bullets with three seconds left on the ticker. Aren’t you glad I’m not on the bomb squad? I am. I am also glad that I took my time with this one and did it right. On the Hayabusa I would have spliced a wrongly cut wire back together. On the Beemer, the fear of the almighty CANBus and its renowned bitchiness saved me from myself.

The Pirate Is A Dead Man Girl!

This is a walkthrough of installing the PMR Stealth Kill Switch Combo. If you have another bar-mounted switch the install should be fairly similar.

  • Remove the two-part housing of the right-side control pod. There is a small Torx-7 screw on the bottom part of the control pod’s housing, use firm, steady pressure and a precision screwdriver to remove it. Pull the front of the housing down and towards the front of the bike, until the plastic hinge on top separates and the two halves are free of each other.
  • Unplug the harness plug from the top portion of the housing and place it out of the way.
  • Use a Torx-27 socket or screwdriver to remove the two bracket bolts that secure the front brake lever assembly. Hold the assembly with one hand while you switch out the OEM bracket with the PMR switch housing and use the supplied #5 Allen bolts to fasten it to the bar. Don’t torque the bolts down just yet you still need to be able to move the assembly around a little.
  • Route the wires of the tether kill switch to your liking and determine where you are going to splice them into the OEM harness.
  • Once the position of your splice has been determined, cut the rubber tubing that protects the wires from the elements and from chafing. I used hubby’s nail scissors from his grooming kit, which are extremely pointy and razor sharp (shhhhhh! Don’t tell Mr. Slow.) Be careful not to nick the wires’ insulation. Once separated, cut a horizontal slit into the sleeve. This makes it easier to pull it out of the way and will also accommodate the added thickness of the bundle due to the newly spliced-in wires.
  • Pull, then push-roll the tubing out of the way to expose the wires where you will splice in your tether kill. Give yourself plenty of space to work here.
  • Snip the black wire with the blue stripe. That’s the common. IMPORTANT: If the colors of your harness wires do not match mine, you’ll have to find the wire that is connected to Pin 4.
  • Strip about ½” of insulation off the ends of the four wires.
  • Slip heat shrink tubing over the wires before you twist them together. I used 3/32” diameter tubing for the v-joint and 1/8” diameter for the straight joint. This way you won’t have to bend any wires and they’ll lie nice and flat against the harness bundle. It doesn’t matter which of the wires get paired, as long as you make the circuit whole again.
  • Twist the wires together then solder the connections.
  • Position the heat shrink over your solder joints and use a heat gun to shrink them down. Be careful where you point that thing, you don’t want to melt any of the S1000RR’s tasty bits, such as your brake or throttle lines.
    [Alternatively, you can use crimp-style butt connectors, solder or crimp in quick disconnects, or use gel-filled 2-wire IDC (Insulation Displacement Connectors) butt splices but they will make your harness bulky and unless you can hide them somewhere, extremely visible.]
  • To test your work crank up your bike. If it doesn’t start recheck your connections. Pull the plug out of the tether kill switch and your bike should die. If it doesn’t, in my best guesstimation I can’t help but assume that you screwed up somewhere… big time. I’m washing my hands of that one right now. *nods then turns and walks off quickly* “Gotta go!”
  • Carefully pull the protective sleeving back into place. You might have to slit it some more to accommodate the new wires without bunching.
  • Use electrical tape to wrap the spliced area tightly. It’s best to do it at a 45-degree angle and keep the stuff taught as you wrap the bundle.
  • Follow up with friction tape to keep the electrical tape in place and from gumming up the works first time it gets hot and dusty. I also secured the ends with smallish cable ties to prevent them from unraveling.
  • Go for a test ride. Don’t skip this step, it is VERY important to the entire process. It bears repeating: Go for a damn ride!

My work here is done.

Miss Busa Goes To The House Of Hook

I’ve been planning on going to the drag strip for quite some time now, ever since my earliest Hayabusa days, but never made it until now. This, in itself, is a shame. Mr. Slow makes fun of me: “What is wrong with you? You rode a drag bike like a flick bike and now you’re taking a flick bike to the drag strip! Seems backasswards to me.” What can I say? I run what I brung. Heh.

PLD Racing

Go fast. Ride Hard. Dream Big.

The day finally arrives and we decide to meet at my place of work, since it’s on the way to Jackson, SC, and would save us some time. I’m commuting to work in full race gear (how else am I going to get the junk there?) and my security officer, who meets me at the gate as I am badging in, takes a step back, sizes me up, then exclaims loudly: “Damn, baby! You are looking hawt this fine morning! How come I’ve never seen you wear that before?” He circles me halfway and checks out my backside, “Mmmmm… mmmmm… mmmmm!” He nods appreciatively and I give him a dismissive wave with my hand and let myself through the gate. T is harmless. He’s my partner. We got each other’s backside. Any other dude would have been dropkicked where he stood.

As the day progresses my nerves are starting to get to me. I think of all the people that are going to be watching me and I am really not so sure I want to go anymore. I finally call hubby, but hang up before he can answer. I am so tempted to call the whole thing off. In addition, my workday isn’t going all that smoothly either. I’m a little frustrated and still haven’t shaken my sleepiness from staying up way too late the night before. Mr. Slow knows me too well, he calls me around noon and pretty much tells me he’s not taking no for an answer, that he is going to take pictures and if I don’t want to race, that’s fine with him, but we are going. And that was that. Yes, he knows me. He knows that all he has to do is get me there. I’d be watching the bikes make a few passes and then I won’t be able to take it any longer and jump right in.

At the gate we pay our $15 per person to race and are assigned our numbers and are both slapped with wrist bracelets. After unloading our stuff and leaving it with Larry and his son Dean in the bleachers, we make our way to the staging lanes and get in line. We wait a little over forty minutes for our turn, since there is some sort of issue with the track and they are performing maintenance on it. This gives me plenty of time to get bored enough to quit being nervous. Our turn finally comes and one of the crew asks us if we want to run together, to which we both nod in unison and tell him that yes, we would. He then asks us if we want a “normal tree”. Normal tree? He starts explaining something to hubby, and I can’t understand a word he is saying over the running engines of our bikes and the background noise of burnouts and PA announcements. I’m getting anxious, I pipe up and tell him that I have not a clue what’s going on, that I can’t hear him over the noise and that it’s my very first time ever to a drag strip. Someone else steps up and takes me under his wing. I think his name is Roger. He asks us if it would be ok to do the first pass individually and tells me to follow him and he’ll walk me through it. I nod and follow him to a little water-filled depression in the concrete that runs the width of both lanes at the beginning of the track. He motions me to stop and goes on to explain that this is what they call “The Groove”, this is where you do your burnout. He asks me if I know how to do one. I tell him that I know how, but never actually done it. He asks if I want to try. I shake my head. He tells me that’s cool, don’t have to if I don’t want to. After the track clears, he motions me forward and points to a set of parallel white lines at the edge of the track. He explains how the sensors work and what the lights on the tree mean. After assuring himself that I am ready to try my very first pass, he closes my face shield, steps aside and I am thereby left to my own devices.

Pass 1:

Run 1 (Race Mode)

Time Slip: Run 1

My nerves return. I swallow hard as I ease the clutch out and let the bike roll forward, watching the lights on the tree up ahead to my left. I feel nauseated. The first bulb lights up. I ease forward some more, the second light comes on signaling that I am in position. Here we go. I feel my heart hammering the inside of my ribcage as I assume the top half of a race tuck. My breathing is shallow but controlled. As the first light comes on I realize I am still squeezing the front brake lever and remind myself to let go to save time during the launch. The second light comes on. I find myself doing a little tippy-toe dance, like a cat about to pounce. The anxiety dissipates and is replaced by focused concentration. I roll on the throttle to start bringing up the revs as the third light illuminates. I dare not avert my eyes from the tree. My attention is riveted, muscles tensed, waiting on the cue; focus narrowed and all else forgotten. I faintly hear the bike scream under me, feel its buzz in my hands. The green light flashes on and I spring into action. Or rather my muscles do, since all thought seemed to have vacated the premises for the moment. I don’t know how high in the RPM range I am when I release the clutch, my vision is focused forward, way down the track. I feel the back tire spinning slightly but it grabs almost immediately and the S1000RR flings itself forward. The front tire lifts off the track’s surface at about the same time as my shift light starts flashing insistently. 9,000 RPM, I muse. My wonderment is immediately followed by: Oh shit, I am still in Race Mode! I stick my toe under the shifter and snick it into second gear. I blip the throttle out of habit. The bike continues barreling down the track, gaining speed at a stupid-fast rate. I know I am too tight on the bars, since my throttle control is uncharacteristically jerky, as is evidenced by the bike’s front continually lifting off then setting back down. I just can’t seem to find the sweet spot between power wheelies and maximum forward velocity while keeping both contact patches engaged. I can’t see anything either. Not my gauges, not my surroundings. I have not a clue where I am on the track. I am lost. All I can make out is the orange glow of a street lamp in the distance. Everything else seems smudged into a grey oblivion. I am not scared. I am actually rather enjoying this all the while wondering why the heck I can’t see shit. I hit third gear around the time it occurs to me that I should be hauling it down, that I have reached the beginning of the run-off. I have reached the orange glow at the end of my tunnel. As I decelerate my vision opens back up and color drains back into the well-lit darkness. I can’t help but grin like an idiot inside my helmet. Well, there… that wasn’t too bad. As a matter of fact, this was fucking awesome! Woweeeee! I turn left (more like a u-turn really) into the return lane and end up next to a booth. There’s a dude standing there holding something out to me, so I stop. He hands me a piece of paper. Oh, yeah! Time slips! I forgot about those. After I get back to the staging lanes, I take a peek. I knew I didn’t bust my personal land speed record, which is currently at 151 mph, since I managed to glance down at my GPSr when I realized I had crossed the quarter-mile mark. And it barely read 130-something. Also, the number in the “Max Speed Attained” field still stands at 140. What a bummer! I either need more road or I need to get faster at accelerating out of the hole. More road is not an option, so I guess I’m going to have to work on those race starts and keeping the wheelies to a minimum. I look at my slip which has all these numbers listed and at first the whole mess doesn’t make sense. I finally locate the number I am looking for, my top speed: MPH … 133.80, above that, it states ¼ … 11.417. Mr. Slow on his Samsonite Missile obtained a whopping 73.85 mph and it took him 16.850 seconds to do it. I waste no time pointing out to him, that he does that on the Interstate and it doesn’t even rate a speeding ticket. He eagerly points out that I suck off the line. He has no evidence of that, since next to his R/T (reaction time) the mysterious code “LB3A” is printed, whereas my slip sports a nice and relaxed 0.953. Hmmm… did he red-light that mother or did he win some sort of prize? [A little googling, as I write this, shows that “LB3A” stands for “Left Before 3rd Amber”, meaning he left so early the computer didn’t even bother to treat him to a red light. Who sucks off the line now?]

Pass 2:

Run 2 (Sport Mode)

Time Slip: Run 2

Before we know it, it is our turn again. This time I actually have time to switch the GoPro Hero HD helmet cam on. We are staging together. There is another issue with my lane on the track, so our start is delayed. I have occasion to ask the track dude what all this stuff on the time slip means and how far off the suck-scale I am rating. He says I’m doing well for my first time. I don’t buy it. He’s just being nice, I’m sure of it. But what kind of silly question is this any way? I don’t even know why I’m asking it. Silly girl! It’s my nerves. I get blabby when I’m anxious. Stupid blabby, too. Didn’t I just read about an S1000RR doing a quarter mile in like 8.49 seconds at 153 mph? Given, it was stretched, had a full exhaust upgrade and a custom FI map, but damn! You would think I could do this in the 10s at least. And don’t ask me where I got that figure either. Mr. Slow yells at me from his side of the track: “What mode you’re in?” I yell back at him: “I put it in ‘Sport’.” I also reset my shift light to 13,000 RPM, my redline is at 14.5K. When we get the go ahead, we pull up to the line. I’m feeling slightly nauseous again. What the heck? I survived the first pass, what is it now? On the video I can hear myself say: “I’m so nervous I could just puke.” as I pull up from the center where I was parked during cleanup. My launch absolutely sucks. Whereas the first one was pretty decent, this one is choppy as hell. Like I’m afraid to let go of the clutch. Which makes it worse. The bike wants to go, but I’m riding the clutch, but not smoothly either. The end result is fairly evident in the video. It does make the skidding worse, too. Sport mode is not really preventing front wheel lift-off either, or is it? The bike rides like a jet ski skimming across shallow waves. I don’t remember the track being bumpy. Choppy throttle? Suspension setup? I sill can’t see shit either. Extreme tunnel vision, which is surprising since I have hauled speeds faster than this, but that was during daylight hours. I’ve never accelerated this aggressively either and I’m still not at full-throttle. Who knows? I would like to know if the DTC indicator is flashing. Before I know it it’s time to slow down again.

Pass 3:

Run 3 (Sport Mode)

Time Slip: Run 3

I pull up to the line, stage myself and then realize in the middle of the tree’s “countdown” that I left my shield open. I slap it down and have no time to settle back in before the light turns green, no time to think just go! This was my best run, my best launch with the smoothest throttle action so far. Even though I did forget to shift once and bounced it off the rev limiter. What I do not understand is how I can have the fastest quarter mile time with such a low top speed. Must be in the launch and the speed I wasted not upshifting when I should have. Dare I say it? I might just be getting the hang of this? If I quit over-thinking and instead just start doing.

Pass 4:

Run 4 with Larry (Race Mode)

Time Slip: Run 4

I put it back into ‘Race Mode’. I just wasn’t happy with the way ‘Sport Mode’ felt. Looking back on it, I wanted to see if I could keep the wheelies under control. Hell, I wanted to do some on purpose. This is, after all, the proper place. This felt like the best run so far, but it really wasn’t. I managed the fastest speed at the eighth-mile trap, but something must have happened after that. I remember the launch not being all that great. Larry actually had me off the line. I remember telling Mr. Slow that if the clutch lever “hadn’t stuck to my finger tips” this would have been one awesome pass. Everything else must have fallen into place because it felt like it should have been the best. I never did get around to doing wheelies on purpose, though. I’m too competitive and there was going to be a printout at the end and using the back wheel only slows you down and I was here to break a personal top speed record. Which intellectually I knew was impossible, at least at the quarter-mile trap. Even if I delayed deceleration it would have been problematic at best. There is no way I could reach 151+. Not with my Level 1 drag racing skills nor with the bike’s current setup, which isn’t going to change in the direction it would need to. I am a knee dragger not a drag racer. It would be way too much of a hassle to have two setups and switch between them depending on whether I’m going to the drag strip or the track. But emotionally, setting a new personal best is what drove me to try harder.

Pass 5:

Run 5 with Larry (Race Mode)

Time Slip: Run 5

Another crap start due to not letting go of the clutch properly. I actually lost traction this time and fishtailed it out of the hole. Arrrgh! This is starting to frustrate me on a serious level. Not to mention that it looks stupid and it makes my ass jiggle. Another worthy entry for the “Girls Can’t Ride Chronicles”. I am convinced that if I just stop thinking about it, I would have these launches nailed. Wouldn’t know it by watching me carry on, but I do have pretty decent throttle and clutch control. Damnit! This run was just Blah! all the way around. That is all.

Pass 6:

Run 6 with Larry (Race Mode)

Time Slip: Run 6

Same as the last pass, pretty much. I must be getting tired or something. I’m also getting slightly frustrated overall for the lack of continued progress. Even small improvements will do it. I need an ego boost. I really do. I barrel down the lane, and I can actually feel the weight transfer to the rear before the front gets light, but I do not react. Screw it. Of course, before I know it, I’m popping a power wheelie. Right in front of a little crowd that has made (what I’m guessing to be around the eighth-mile point) their home for the night. Cool. I tuck my foot under the shifter, since it’s about time for an upshift, as the shift light’s rapid flashing is urging me to do. For some reason I slam the front end down (I’m assuming jerky throttle action, since I am way too tight on the bars, have been all night) and consequently my foot gets dislodged from its position and it glances off the lever while in the process of shifting and I find freaking neutral. I recover and put it in second gear. I hope nobody saw that. They probably didn’t, but they damn sure heard it! The telltale high-pitched whine of a missed second gear upshift. How embarrassing is that?!? Mr. Slow tells me later that the perceived baby wheelie was quite the monster, since it garnered the attention of the tower. Dude commented on it over the PA system. Now I know THEY didn’t hear that missed shift. Hahaha…

Pass 7:

Run 7 with Larry (Race Mode)

Time Slip: Run 7

The last pass. It’s almost 11 o’clock and they’re about to close the staging lanes. We won’t be able to make it back for another one. I have to make this count. My launch was awesome. The best one yet. I am not counting the little hiccup I introduced because I was thinking I left too early so I momentarily squeezed the clutch back in, before I could make a conscious effort to arrest the movement. It was one of those subconscious reactions. Which in itself isn’t good. This almost falls into the realm of “survival reaction” and must be avoided at all cost. Recognized. Halted. Corrected. I have done this before though. When leaned over in a corner and I decided to shift into second gear as I was accelerating out, and missed it. I pulled the clutch in then, like an idiot because free-wheeling like that freaked me out. I chewed my own ass for that one. Needs work. And here I thought I had those pretty much under control, too. Given, I haven’t had occasion to practice in earnest. Should be on the menu for the next track day. Definitely.

Even though I wasn’t satisfied with my performance during my passes, I had a freakin’ blast. I kept telling myself that this is what it’s all about. I’ve been having some shit days at work, and a little irresponsible fun was quite what the doctor ordered. It rebooted my system, reset my attitude towards my job, and lifted my mood back into its normal range of “happy-go-lucky”. Two-wheeled therapy does it every time. Whether it be on the track dragging knee or making an ass out of oneself hauling an unmodified supersport down a drag strip. It’s all good. We shall have some more fun come next Saturday.

Lessons Learned:

  • The rev limiter is a really just a reminder to grab the next gear at one’s earliest convenience.
  • Knee pucks at the drag strip will come in handy when a fishtailing expedition goes way out of control and you find yourself stuck to the wall. Think of them as directional guides. ;P
  • Mr. Slow goes to the drag strip, pays $15 to do a little Interstate riding. That is the definition of (a really short) toll road… Just sayin’
  • I do suck off the line. (Psssssst! Don’t let hubby know…)
  • So does Larry. 😉
  • I am the only girl in Jackson who drags two wheels. There are four others, but they prefer cars. I need to do better to represent! LOL
  • Best $15 I’ve spent in a while.
  • Burnout? I don’t need no steenkin burnout! *rolls confidently through the water box*
  • This is harder than I thought it would be.
  • Drag racing is like standing in line at a theme park to get on the roller coaster. You wait and wait and wait, you finally get on and it’s over in a flash. Then you get back in line, just to do it again.
  • Drag racing, albeit fun, is not my thing. Land Speed Racing, on the other hand, would totally do it for me. I don’t really find my groove until I’m over halfway down the track. I want to go flat-out, at top speed, give it all she’s got and enjoy the rush. Next stop: The Maxton Mile (once I get this quarter-mile thing down).

The Need For Speed: A Girl On A Mission

I have been quiet for a few months. Too quiet. Partially that was due to working way too much, not having the brain for writing because other things were preoccupying and distracting me. Then there is life. It happens. Always does. But if it were easy to follow your dream, it wouldn’t be a dream by definition. It takes hard work. Can’t just sit around and wait for a knock on your door. You have to get off your bum and reach for it. Give chase. Be tenacious. Be persistent. Be it. And not take no for an answer. Ever. If discouragement rears its ugly head in whatever form it choses, give it the finger, push it aside and refocus your efforts. It’s hard. It’ll throw you off your path. It will detour you. No matter. Take the detour and find your way again. If one door closes, another is surely to open. But those freshly unlocked doors are hard to find because most of the time one is too disappointed to even pay attention. It’s just easier that way. At least it is for me. So convenient to fall back into the old routine (because it isn’t really all that bad) and forget what really drives your passion. What really feeds your soul. In my case, as many of you already know, it’s racing. What kind you ask? Simple. Whatever. As long as it’s two wheels on asphalt. LOL I like pavement. I feel at home there. Dirt is a foreign entity to me. Besides, I hate getting filthy. Can’t stand it. No. As fun as that is to watch, not my bag. No ma’am. Give me drag, road, and land speed racing. That’s where it’s at for me. =D I have a love for the rush that is hard acceleration and flying down a straight stretch of road as fast as you dare. I’m addicted to acceleration.The arm-stretching torque, the slight lift of the front wheel as the weight shifts rear, the approaching red line as is evident by the engine’s overwhelmingly loud roar, the upshift, the way the motorcycle reacts to your inputs, then settles in, does its thing. One with the machine. Nothing else matters; at that moment the world stands still. Something about pure straight-line speed. The violence of the air rushing past, the roar of the turbulence, the tunnel vision, the thought (stuffed way back in the corner of your mind) that one little mistake could probably be the end of life as you know it. The danger zone. I have said it best the first time I dared it on the Hayabusa: “At 147 one is closer to God.” I also like to lean. I like curves. More so, I like a succession of them. The dance that is when you find the road’s song, hear its music through the sound of your bike’s engine as you flow through the turns as one. The unfamiliar road, not knowing what will await you around the next apex. Being ready for anything; anticipating, realizing, deciding, executing. The exhilaration that is honing your skills in the relative safety that is the race track. Memorizing the layout, studying turn geometry, prepping your bike, the nervousness you can feel as butterflies in your belly when you first get there; finding your line, gently pushing your limit, practicing, experimenting, learning. The after-action review. The mental processes required to observe while executing, then evaluating and applying the result appropriately in your next session. The constant drive to do better. The focus required to do well consistently. The measure of your success by the clock, the feeling that you could have gone faster, braked later, leaned harder, accelerated earlier. It should be frustrating, but to me it is not. Maybe it is the “one thing at a time” mentality you get to embrace on the race track, but is eschewed in our daily working lives of hectic stressfulness in favor of the much-overvalued and mythical ability of the human brain to multitask. No wonder so many of us do track days to relax. ;P It never seems to get old, there’s always something else to reach for. Something else to work on, either on yourself or your machine. Prepping your bike, wrenching on it. Changing it, fixing it, making it truly yours by tweaking it to compliment your own riding style (and of course to go faster.)

There is so much work to be done before next season. Learning. Riding. Writing. Racing. And my favorite: Fundraising. Not necessarily in that order, but one way or another I need to do all of them to varying degrees. Looking at this almost insurmountable mountain of tasks and subtasks, I want to tuck tail and run. Who needs this? Some of this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m shy. I’m an introvert and a tad bit of a loner. Well, girl, it’s your dream. The answer then is: You do. I have goals I want to reach. In the great scheme of things, they barely even matter, but accomplishing them would mean the world to me. They stand as a test(ament) of my strength as a woman, my propensity towards mastery of a subject, my journey as a survivor. I am emPOWERed (by 999cc and 193 horses =D)!

Do or die trying. Because a life not lived to its fullest is no life at all.

I think I just gave myself a pep-talk… Huah! But so it goes when you sit down to do something without a concrete plan nor discrete preparation. The fingers interpret what is on the not-so-conscious mind. And there you have it.

First Thoughts on Becoming an Official Fastass

The 200-MPH Club: What do you mean there are rules?!?
I’m bored at work, it’s Super Bowl Sunday, which I couldn’t care less about and I feel like something new… I’m tired of the same old stuff, I need something fresh on my brain, but it has to be information that will be useful to me at some point in the future… let’s see here… oh, yeah: Land Speed Racing. Let’s grab the rulebook and get comfy, because joining the 200-MPH Club is on my New Year’s Resolutions List. I need to know what’s involved so I can plan my strategy. Not that this is going to happen this year anyway (so much for that resolution), hubby blew all our money getting me a date with Kevin Schwantz as my birthday present this year.

Apparently there is more to joining the 200-MPH Club than finding myself a long stretch of asphalt, rip it open until I get to the required minimum forward velocity, slow my ass back down and slap a sticker on my bike. Dream on, sista! I suppose I could do that, but I want something official; I need a time slip. Then I thought I’d get the entire mile to do it in. Wrong! Your speed is measured and the time slip printed at the ¼-mile mark. Now that small, but important, detail is bound to make things interesting. Here I thought I could take my sweet-ass time to get it “up there”. Not! I see a lot of practice of full-throttle quick starts with impeccably timed upshifts and excessive rear tire usage in my future. Ugh! Not to mention trying to keep that front wheel on the ground. But oh, what fun to be able to rip through the whole sequence without having to worry about the cops bustin’ your chops at the next red light. But I never had to do it ‘as fast as I possibly could’, I just made sure I kept my front end down and was faster than everybody else, which isn’t really all that difficult to do when you’re the only 120-pound chica on a ‘Busa. The weight differential alone gives me an edge. 😉 This changes things also. A whole new level of difficulty… one which I think requires massive amounts of practice on my part. Time to work towards that goal when the rear rubber nears the end of its useful lifespan in a deserted parking lot somewhere. See if I can’t at least practice rippin’ it from a dead stop before I even go to the drag strip. I’m kind of nervous about going there, since I’ve never been and I don’t want to embarrass myself. When you’re a girl on a Hayabusa, you can bet your sweet ass that everybody and their damn dog will be watching your every move, to see if that silly girl’s got what it takes to play with the big dawgs and if she even deserves to own a ‘Busa, let alone ride one. I’m going to be prepared. Because that is how I roll. I rather lose it in a deserted parking lot without an audience other than my hubby, then at grudge racing night at the local drag strip. Do NOT want!

And here I thought going extremely fast in a straight line is boring. Well, I used to think that. I used to say that going fast in a straight line is something any idiot who can manage to get his ass out of first gear (without the bike walking out from under him) can do. The damned thing pretty much rides itself as long as you don’t want to change direction. I have, however, changed my mind on the ‘boring’ part. I’m a speed freak, I love going fast, although I enjoy the dance on curvy roads much more. It’s a different animal. I need my speed/acceleration fix. And the only way I can get that (safely and to the extreme) is in Land Speed Racing. And now that I know there’s actually a healthy amount of riding skill involved it has become a challenge. I like challenges. Where do I sign up?

Joining The Club: A Nightmare In Logistics
I have the bike that’ll do it, pretty much stock with a few tweaks. Now I need to ramp up the safety factor and get the Popo off my tail. Aside from an empty parking lot for some initial practice, I need a place to work on the whole sequence. Not the top-speed issue, but more the technique required getting there. We have a drag strip not too far from here, in Jackson, SC: The House of Hook. They’ve got something going on Thursdays. Hubby works on Thursdays, I work every other Thursday. I don’t want to go by myself, so I’ll either have to get over going alone or find somebody who’s willing to go with me. I can’t really ask Manx to take off every other Thursday just so I can feed my speedy dream of fastass grandeur, besides I’ll need the money he’s hauling in on that day. That turbo charger doesn’t buy itself… j/k =D

It seems to follow that after practice on the ¼-mile drag strip, I’ll reach a point where I’ll have to play in the actual arena, the place where my 200-mph attempt will be made. The closest facility for Speed Trials seems to be the ECTA’s (East Coast Timing Association) Maxton Mile in Maxton, NC; a 424-mile round trip for me. Yeah, this is already looking to be one hell of an expensive proposition and I haven’t even started considering the cost in tires, parts, and whatnots. * sigh * But I suppose that’s why they’re called dreams. If it would be easy, we would never experience that deep satisfaction we derive from beating a challenge and it would mean so much less. Maybe I should just do it my unofficial way, it’d be a lot cheaper (even after bribing the Popo out of the inevitable ticket) if I just show everybody my GPSr while pointing to the ‘Max Speed’ field in the corner.

The Class Of Fast
A precursory scan through the ECTA’s 2008 (the only free one I could get my hands on before having to leave for work) rulebook reveals we have three main classes motorcycles can compete in: Production, Modified, and Altered. Production sounds cheap; that’s the one I’m going to probably go with, since I’ll be spending all my money on tires and traveling. So let’s focus on that.

Upon closer inspection of the rules, my gear meets the standards set for the 175mph+ trials and The Fat Lady is pretty much good to go on all requirements, except:

  • I’ll have to run the stock foot rests. Bummer.
  • I also need to run the stock windshield, since modification of shape is not allowed in the Production class, which my Double Bubble clearly violates. Further, I’m also not entirely convinced that the Zero Gravity windscreen is actually shatter-resistant (another requirement), chances are it’s not.
  • The OEM triple tree clamp has to be put back on, too; which means I would have to run the front at stock height. They don’t mention requirements for the rear, so I do not know if those Brock’s lowering links are in violation or not. However, the rules do mention ground clearance: “OEM Specification for minimum ground clearance must be met.” I need to look into this, too.

The only other modifications required are safety related, such as safety-wiring certain parts, getting a metal chain guard and battery holder, removing the mirrors and passenger pegs, adding an ignition kill-switch lanyard, and disconnecting and taping the headlamp. No biggie, there.

I’m still confused about which CC class I would be running in, they have a 1000CC and 1350CC class listed. The Gen 2 Hayabusa has 1340CCs. I would assume that’s considered part of the 1350CC class, but the rules read ambiguous to me. “Displacement must be greater than the maximum allowable for the next lower class.” Seems that by letter of the law, I’d actually be in the 1000CC class, but that seems unreasonable to me. I need to get confirmation on that from the ECTA, since nowhere in the rules does it state a CC range within a class, which is clearly indicated by that statement. However, it would be sweet to be stuffed into the 1000CC class, since the record there is lower. LOL

I would have to hold off on that Brock’s full exhaust system since that would definitely move me into the Modified Production class, without an easy way to revert to stock; however, I could keep my stinking rearsets and my new top triple tree clamp installed and my suspension setup intact. The record to beat in the Modified Production class (M/G-1350/4) I then would find myself in is 185.490. No way, that can’t be right, can it? Set way back in ’04? The record for the M/F-1350/4 class stands at 203.438, set in June ‘09. The only difference between the two classes would be the fuel used. The G-class uses event gasoline. Well… I have to think on that some. I have more questions to ask the peeps of the ECTA to get the necessary clarification in order to make up my mind in which class to do my Record Trials in. I have all my stock parts, so prepping the bike to stay in one class over another is not a big deal, as it stands now.

The records for the two Production classes, according the ECTA website are as follows:

  • P/P-1350/4: 202.465 set by Marc DeLuca in October 2005.
  • P/P-1000/4: 190.464 set by Marc DeLuca in October 2007.

The classes are designated by a string of numbers and letters, as such: [Frame Class/Engine Class-Displacement Class/Engine Cycles], the Fat Lady’s class then would be P/P-1350/4 or P/P-1000/4, depending whether they round up or down. Soooo, in either case, Marc DeLuca is the man to beat if I also want to get my name on the books in addition to joining the 200-MPH Club, which in the 1000CC category would happen concurrently. I want to be in THAT class… would make things a lot easier. 😉 Marc, hang on to your testies, because you’re gonna (eventually) get spanked by a girl. =D I now have an outline of a plan and over a year to see it through and work out all the juicy details. I feel the need for ticket-free speed (and for being the fastest girl at the Maxton Mile * giggles *)

PUG Riding Revisited and Ton Up, My Squiddies!

PUG: an acronym that I’ve borrowed from the MMORPG online gaming scene, meaning ‘pick-up group’. A PUG refers to a random and informal collection of people, who usually don’t know each other, getting together for the purpose of achieving a common goal, such as the completion of a mission objective or quest. In motorcycling I obviously use it to refer to an impromptu, informally organized ride by a bunch of bikers who are more or less strangers to each other. PUGs mostly happen at bike nights or well-known biker hangouts.

Ah, Tuesdays. It’s that time of the week again: it is bike night at Hooters. Why do we keep winding up at this particular venue? Because we are such classy individuals, that’s right. Classy and addicted to fried pickles. Actually, it’s the only bike night around here that is on a day Manx isn’t required to grind gears for the sole purpose of hauling simple carbohydrates to Point B. Our schedules pretty much suck that way. We’ve joined a riding club early this summer and we have yet to make it to a meeting. They never seem to be held on a day when we both have the day off. They may have given up on us it’s been so long. But I digress.

The Hooters Parking Lot

It's Bike Night at Hooters!

We show up and are promptly greeted by Goose. We park and make our way to their table on the deck. There are a few new faces, too. Sammy, the resident speed demon and drag racer starts referring to me by what is printed on my cookie sheet: ‘Miss Busa’. I wonder if he forgot my name? There is no time to eat, the boys want to play in traffic and off we go. Same as last time, somebody needs go-go juice.

This time it’s a bit more organized. We do their usual loop, which heads out of town towards the dam, where they stop on the SC side to shoot the breeze and then to downtown Augusta to finish out the night at a joint called ‘The Loft’. I really like this joint, I get to ride on the sidewalk. LOL Anyway, I’m at the back of the pack with Manx and Paul behind me. I’m trying to watch the level on my Squid-O-Meter, since Paul is an MSF RiderCoach, and I really don’t want to make a bad impression. Gawd, I’m a weirdo! Nah, it’s probably more along the lines of not wanting to give the ‘Hayabusa-For-Experienced-Riders-Only’ proponents ammo for their argument. Then there’s that whole fear-of-embarrassment-in-public thing. And if somebody can see the kinks and screw-ups in your riding, it’ll be a motorcycle instructor. This makes me a little nervous. However, I’m proud of what I have accomplished since I’ve started on two wheels. People are surprised when they find out how long I’ve been riding. Not that I advertise the fact, but I’m not going to lie if somebody asks me straight up. And the reaction is always the same: They’re amazed at a ‘little girl like’ me handling ‘such a beast’ and when they find out that I’ve only started a little over a year ago, it’s instant kudos. Sometimes it’s good to be a girl.

I’m so glad that I don’t have to defend my decision to buy a Hayabusa (as my second bike) iRL. It is what it is to most folks. I’ve come across only one negative reaction, and that was before I actually owned one, from a sales rep at a local dealer. Needless to say, I bought mine at a joint where they offered me a killer deal, were friendly and supportive of my decision and where they treated me like ‘one of the guys’. They acted like they actually wanted to sell me the bike I had already picked out for myself and made the process as enjoyable and smooth as possible. It was an awesome experience. I would highly recommend these peeps. Would you like to know more? It’s all in ‘The Busa Report’. Recommended reading for all you girls out there wanting to ride your own, but too scared to do it. On that subject, you may also want to read ‘The First Year: 13828 Miles & A World Apart’ where I talk about my fears, worries and insecurities about being on two wheels and how I learned. I’m getting sidetracked again. But it’s all good; I do eventually find my way back to where I’m supposed to be. Eventually.

And this is where I’m supposed to be: After fuelling we head on out of town to the dam. It is an enjoyable ride, less squidly and more relaxed than last time, too. Maybe that’s due to having ridden with most of these peeps before. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I have Mr. RiderCoach breathing down my neck with a watchful eye? I soon forget about ‘The Man With The Patch’ and settle into my groove. I do cross an intersection on ‘cherry green’ and leave Paul and hubby waiting at the line. I don’t know why I did that, other than wanting to stay with the group. I wasn’t even the last person and I knew where we were going. Stupid. STOOPID! Calamari, it’s what’s for dinner.

At the dam we stop to hang out. There is a lot of talk about farkles and mods from the Connie crowd, which is now up to three, thanks to Paul. Hubby is getting ideas. Can’t really say anything in that regard. I have done 23 mods to The Fat Lady so far, and I can’t seem to stop. Somebody warned me about this, but I didn’t believe it. At least I’m not ordering swingarms and fat tires and sending various bits off to get chrome-plated… in other words, it could be worse. Definitely.

Somebody comments on my riding style, how I seem to be one with the bike, how well I tuck in and ‘go with it’, how smooth my movements are. And, of course, how teeny I look on that ‘big ass bike’. Naturally. Compliments and attention make me feel awkward, and I’m glad it’s dark, so they don’t see me blushing. I smile and give thanks, as it would be rude not to; but on the inside I’m high-fiving myself and doing the happy dance. “Uh-huh. That’s right. Girl’s takin’ care of her business. Yeah. Uh-huh. You said it, brother.” Gawd, I’m such a dork. LOL

We get back to town, and it seems that half the crowd is in the process of unleashing their inner squid. We’re sitting at a four-lane intersection. The light is red. Four of us are stopped at the line. Sammy is at the far right and I happen to be at the far left. We take up both lanes. The rest of the crowd is behind us, with hubby directly behind me and to his right, Goose. There’s a lot of revving going on in the first string. I turn to give hubby a questioning look. He smiles and nods. He yells something, but I can’t hear him over those loud-ass chopper pipes and the blipping of throttles. Yup. Apparently I assume correctly, I’ve read about this. Red-light-to-red-light (illegal-as-hell) drag racing. I think to myself that there’s no way, they’re gonna do that. They’re just playing. Not on freakin’ Belair Road in the middle of town. It is late, but NOT that late. The light turns green and off they go, screaming into the night. I sit there astonished for a split-second, then collect myself and grip it and rip it, I have some catching up to do and I’m on a machine that’ll do it. The Fat Lady’s made for this! She purrs contentedly and then roars to life. The docile kitten turns into a ferocious lion. I inadvertently lift my front wheel off the ground (in my first ever baby of a wheelie), but gracefully correct that little lapse in clutch control with a bit of throttle modulation. By the time I catch up with them I’m doing somewhere in the neighborhood of 120. Holy frakking mother of pearl (splash white)!!! In a 45. In the middle of town. In a stinking 45! I slow my squidly group-thinking ass back down and decide to stay behind them (still going well over the posted speed limit) until we all come to a stop at the next red light, grinning like jackasses. Weeeeeeee! That was fun I have to admit. Riding like idiots. Loads of fun, good gawd! What a freakin’ rush!!!! I can’t do that any more. No ma’am. Holy crapola! And here I thought drag racing was boooooring… Since it lacks curvature. I need to get my adrenaline junkie self to Jackson, to the strip, where I don’t have to worry about felony arrests, complimentary body cavity searches and turning myself into a pedestrian for a predetermined length of time. But maybe that was part of the rush? I’m such a heinous criminal… We take it slow until the group is back together and I take up my accustomed and preferred position at the rear of the pack, riding sweep. We, more or less, keep it under control for the rest of the ride. Although two more incidences of redneck drag racing do occur, they’re just not quite as… umm… felonious. The speed limit is also not being observed too strictly.

I asked Sammy later when we were hanging at ‘The Loft’ how fast he was going, since I still couldn’t quite believe what had transpired. He wouldn’t say. I told him what I was doing just to catch up with them, he just grinned and remarked nonchalantly: “My bike doesn’t go that fast. I probably did around 70.” My ass, buddy, my ass!

Realizations & Lessons Learned:
I still don’t like PUG riding. I mean, I do love the social aspect of riding with a group, but I’m not sure the added safety concerns and elevated risk are worth it. I know I will (and would want to) ride in a group on occasion, but there are a few things I have to consider, and I have to be honest with myself here:

  • I’m too competitive to keep it legal.
  • Although I stay well within the limits of my riding skill, it doesn’t take much for me to get caught up in the ‘showing off’ and/or ‘keeping up’ mentality that can so easily happen during informal group rides.
  • I don’t like taking responsibility for other people. I cannot control their behavior, mostly don’t know their skill levels, their riding attitudes or their attitudes towards safety. I can control what is in front of me, by being proactive and reactive (if need be), hence I like for all the unknown variables to be in a place where I can keep an eye on things.
  • I’m too much of a control freak, that’s another reason why I prefer to bring up the rear. I love to ride sweep. That’s where I feel most in control and most comfortable. It also helps me to keep the right wrist under control. However, one’s position in a PUG is at best dynamic, and you’ll eventually find yourself elsewhere in the pack.
  • It would be too hard for me to have to tell someone that I don’t want to ride with them anymore for whatever reason (I find unacceptable to my own level of risk acceptance), so it’s best just to say no. I’ll spare myself being put in that awkward position of ‘having to be blunt’ with someone later.
  • Crap happens when two or more are gathered. The only person I really feel 99% good about riding with is my hubby, Manx. I trust him. I know his skill level. I know his attitude towards safety and his level of risk acceptance. But even then, I mostly let him lead. Unless we’re in the twisties, of course; he’s too damn slow. ;P We have an understanding, however: We don’t keep up with each other. We ride our own rides. The person in the lead will wait patiently (at a safe, visible location) for the slower half to rejoin, so there is no pressure to outride our respective comfort zones.
  • Although I can, and will behave myself and adapt to the common consensus of what is deemed ‘acceptable riding style’ to a particular group and adhere to their rules, when things get spirited, you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll be in the thick of it. When Ms. Squidlypants hears the call, she will gladly listen and come out to play. Another reason for me to keep away from PUGs. It’s a weakness that’s difficult enough to keep under control when riding alone.
  • One has to know one’s limitations and work within and around them. I’m a prime candidate for a therapy of regularly scheduled track days, so I can keep certain things where they belong: at the racetrack. I can get my speed and aggressive cornering fix in a safe and appropriate place, so I have an easier time to keep it civilized on the public roads. Redneck racing only gets a girl so far.
  • A group ride is NOT a place to practice one’s (drag) racing techniques.
  • If you have a tendency to fixate to the rear (worrying about what happens behind you), you don’t belong in a group ride. Ride your own ride. That doesn’t mean you should be completely oblivious of what’s going on behind you and neglect your mirrors or head checks. You still have to maintain your full awareness to all sides. You can’t control the front (or your own safety) if you ignore what’s going on behind you. I have a hard time with this one, but I’m learning to relax about it. Again, another reason why I like to be last.
  • Riding SAFELY in a group takes more skill, more concentration, quicker reflexes, more self-discipline, and demands you be in full control of your machine at all times, or you will put yourself and others around you in jeopardy. Newbie riders have no place in a PUG ride until they have become comfortable with their own skill sets and have freed up enough attention (from the controls and executing basic riding skills) that they are but second nature and require not so much as a thought to execute. This will help ensure that riding with others is more fun and everyone is safer doing it.

All Things Considered:
PUGs are not for me. Period. Organized rides? I’d probably give it a shot, when the right opportunity presents itself. Riding with one or two friends? Check. Going riding with a bunch of people I just happened upon? Hell, no! This ‘Busa doesn’t play well with others. 😉 Would I go to a bike week? I don’t know. To me that just seems like asking for trouble. Too many people who don’t know what they’re doing in too small an area. Add to that the cagers and the people milling about on foot. Don’t think I would want to put myself through that.

Famous Last Words:
Ride it like you know what you’re doing. The rest of the time, when the inner squid comes out to play, at least be respectful and responsible about it. Take the lives and wellbeing of the people around you seriously. Just because you like to dance with the devil on occasion, doesn’t give you the right to force others to join the music (unless they’re cagers [on cell phones], then all bets are off. Ha!)

Would you like to read about my first group riding experience? Check out PUG Hooters Style