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After a thirty+ year absence from biking, I took delivery of my new LT in August, '07. Easing back into things during the late summer and fall, the first thing I realized is that I had either forgotten everything I knew--or never knew how to ride in the first place. So with that humbling knowledge at the fore, I took the MSF safety course and afterwards, proceeded riding the LT as if I was a complete beginner, which is the flat, unvarnished truth of things.

Now that my pride and joy is tucked away in its CycleShell for the winter here in the Berkshires--surrounded by about two feet of snow--I thought I would pass along a couple of things (just a couple) that I have practiced since getting back on top. We all have our own experiences and lessons learned when starting from scratch. These are some of mine.

First, as I approach the bike wearing appropriate safety gear, I throw everything else completely out of my mind and think only about what I'm about to do. (Sort of like that other pleasant activity...)
Second, I sit on the bike and mull over my internal check list. I'm not very bright and with me also being a beginner, I do not even turn the key for two-three minutes until I am comfortable that my mind and body is now linked with the LT.
Third, once I am underway, I am immediately "on point." There is nothing going on around me that I am not in control of--or can instantly react to, if things get out of hand. If I can't control matters or see things clearly, then I am immediately searching out alternate trip dynamics.
Fourth, with me being from Mississippi, it is not hard to be friendly to strangers; so I wave high to these Yankee auto drivers while pulling up to side streets, and although it surprises them, they know I am present and accounted for--which is all I really care about.
Fifth, and lastly, I never use cruise control because for me (a beginner), it is absolutely dangerous to trust the thing--especially when going into lazy, long curves when my speed is greater than appropriate for the curve. Plus, to me--operating mostly on two-lane roads here in the foothills--cruise control induces an unhealthy mental laziness.

So when the snow melts, I'll be back out there, waving at puzzled Yankee motorists and learning even yet more lessons. And I intend to love and ride my LT until I drop--me drop, that is, not the LT.

-Best to all for the Holidays, Clark
 

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Great post, Clark. And a great attitude. I gotta adopt that mind-prep process more often. Very easy to become complacent when many past rides haven't provided the needed impetus for the 110% awareness; then wham - how'd I let that happen?!?!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Clark.
 

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Semper Fi, Clark..
I, too, was out of it for 40 years and got back into it about 4 years ago. I did the BRC first then bought a Honda VTX 1300. Rode that for about 15 months and then traded it in for the LT after doing a demo ride.
The LT is a great bike and I, like you, intend to ride till I can't as life as I know it now will forever be enjoyable as it is now.
Your approach to it all is commendable. Keep it up and maybe I'll see on one of my cross country jaunts.
 

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Enjoyed your post Clark, must say you have a pretty good attitude, you'll need it.

I never thought of waving to motorists coming out of side roads, interesting concept.
Don't be to surprised though if they wave back at ya and then pull out in front of you anyway.

As far as I'm concerned "they" are all out to kill me,
some intensionally others because they are absolutely incompetent
and probably shouldn't be allowed to operate an automobile let alone a cell phone.

I've been riding continuously since 1967, I don't say that just to sound "superior" only to emphasize my level of experience that taught me to have "the attitude" towards other motorists.
If you give them half a chance to kill you, they will.
 

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First, howdy and welcome!

ClarkUSMC said:
...So with that humbling knowledge at the fore, I took the MSF safety course and afterwards, proceeded riding the LT as if I was a complete beginner, which is the flat, unvarnished truth of things...
Now, for something to look forward to next Spring, plan to go back to the range and ride the BRC course on your LT! There are no maneuvers in the BRC that you cannot do on the LT, and it's a great warm-up to the riding season.
 

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Thanks for this thread. I joined the forum the other day and am spending a good amount of time looking for and reading posts like this.

I am the new owner of a used 2001 K1200LT. I am the victim of two of my friends owning LT's and talking constantly about the bike and their trips.

My problem - never had a bike before!

The bike is in transit from Phoenix to Dallas. When it comes in, one of my friends will be riding the bike to my home so I won't even get on it. Before I use it I will take the MSF course at Sherman, Texas.

In my past I spent years riding bicycles, both road and mountain. So I'm going from 18 lb bicycles to the 825 lb LT machine.

Things I've learned on the forum so far - beware of slow speeds, driveways, parking lots, gravel, any low speed & turning situations. Be prepared for the inevitable 'lay down' and get off, don't try to catch it. There is a video posted that shows instructions on picking the bike up with a behind the back squatting motion - interesting! Another thread about converting the manual stand to a powered one - looks like a 'must do' mod! I'm 5'11" and hoping I have the leg length to put my feet down flat, if not I'll consider replacing my seat for the '05 narrow, lower seat.

Still reading & learning! I appreciate the forum for it's good information :thumb:
 

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"waving at people in intersections"

Nice post and good information. Welcome! I especially liked the idea of waving at vehicles in intersections. Just concerned that they might take that as an invitation to proceed, as you are relinquishing your right of way!

Too many times, on rides in my local neighborhoods, where locals seem to be courteous to a fault, vehicles will stop when THEY have the right of way, to wave someone through, thinking that they are being super courteous, when in fact they are being unpredictable and cause lots of confusion.

Be careful as many are unpredictable and will acknowledge you, see you and then still pull out.....
 

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dandiver said:
Too many times, on rides in my local neighborhoods, where locals seem to be courteous to a fault, vehicles will stop when THEY have the right of way, to wave someone through, thinking that they are being super courteous, when in fact they are being unpredictable and cause lots of confusion.
A man after my own heart. I am quite strict about that and will ignore anyone who flashes lights or signals apparently to me. After all, they may have just spotted Aunt Nelly and expressing a greeting. I pull out and BANG! The fault would have to laid at my door too.
 

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nice.... So, in the spring you'll be a "maggot" again... keep that thinking and you'll have a great year.. (ok, 9 months for you guys)...

Went to the dealer today.. got a fresh "state inspection sticker" (i.e.; hidden tax).. now need to do brake flush and fit new rubber on the wheels... they won't last all "winter" in Texas....

Semper Fi!...
 

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ClarkUSMC said:
Second, I sit on the bike and mull over my internal check list. I'm not very bright and with me also being a beginner, I do not even turn the key for two-three minutes until I am comfortable that my mind and body is now linked with the LT.
Hi Clark welcome to the forum. I like your attitude. It's strange, as a plane driver, I go through a similar type of procedure before I fly - I'll walk across the ramp, and count the wings as I approach the aircraft, but when I get there, still do a twenty minute walkround before I'll fire it up - I know the wings (and other bits) are still there since the last time I parked it up, but it's getting into the 'mindset' of a different, mentally challenging activity. We can all get blasee about theses high risk activity's that we do, but, we need to be aware, because the people arround us are not always.
 

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Prepairing To Ride

Hello Clark, Excellent thread I likewise had not ridden for some 20+ years and started out again on a 05 Sportster got hooked again. After 15 months on the Harley my SO says lets get a Touring bike the LT got the job. I thought I was crazy jumping up to such a large bike but nearly 3 years have proven it was a reasonable move. This bike got my respect right away I have learned and am still learning to utilize its potential as far as riding it safely and having a blast on it. I have become a more spiritualy focused person because I pray for safety and skill to keep it up and in one peice. I do not ride at night if I can help it,I have my wine or a cold beer after its parked and covered. I plan my travels well trying to pick the safest funest roads possible and I try to avoid potentialy bad weather when planing a ride, so far I have been successful and we have had no real problems. I do not ride when I'm angry or tired and eat light when in the saddle for long trips never pushing myself to an unwise degree. May we all always take this sport seriously and that is what I consider it a sport that demands total focus and whole hearted devotion to always being better at it. Many good miles be yours on your trusty steed!
 

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Us Floridians

Clark
Welcome back to the two wheel world, sounds like you have the right attitude and are taking steps to get yourself back into the groove, with care and good judgement it is a very rewarding place to be.
As I read through this thread I noticed a common theme among those of us who live and ride in Florida and I think Silver Buffalo expressed it best when he said "If you give them half a chance to kill you, they will."
I purchased my first motorcycle in 1959 and have not been without one since but out of necessity have adopted the attitude that I am completely invisible and cannot be seen by any other motorist on the highway, that pretense has served me well although I have been proven wrong a few times thank goodness.
The circustances that cause "Us Floridians" to express serious reservations about other motorists are not unique to Florida, they are universal so be careful out there but have a great time!!:thumb:​
 
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