Okay, down to business. The shine has come off the first few days of commuting back and forth to work. Not because I am unhappy with my Connie — far from it — I am smiling ear to ear. No, now I am experiencing the reality of the daily commute on a motorcycle: wind, noise, road debris, people trying to kill you…you know, the usual stuff.
Mind you, I don’t have to commute on my bike, I want to commute on my bike. I’m reminded of Dennis Quaid’s great line in the movie, The Rookie: “You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.” Well, for me, “I get to ride a motorcycle twice today!” Even with the nuts on their cell phones trying their hands at vehicular manslaughter, it’s a great deal. Especially with northern California weather on the world’s most beautiful freeway, Interstate 280.
I’ve done some experimenting in the past week riding with the luggage on and off. I am happy to report that the rear luggage is essentially invisible from a riding perspective. I couldn’t detect any difference at all. Now, I don’t split lanes, and I haven’t been dragging my knees, either. I would imagine the width of the luggage could compromise either of those activities a bit. But for normal commuting, I’m glad I don’t detect any difference. It’s very convenient that the side luggage will hold a helmet and a lot of other stuff as well. I do admit that I prefer the clean lines of the Connie sans luggage. But realistically, on any trip longer than a Saturday morning romp, having the storage is really a necessity.
I’ve also compared the stock windshield against a taller/wider one (custom-made) given to me by the previous owner. Although I plan to address windshields more thoroughly in a future post, I can tell you that I like the stock windshield best. This may seem counter to the prevailing sentiment amongst other Connie riders, but here is my rationale. Most of all, I don’t like looking through a windshield while riding. If I wanted to do that, I would drive my car. I might change my tune on an extremely long tour, but for twisties or commuting, being able to look over the windshield to ride is very much preferred. There is definitely more wind noise with the shorter and narrower stock windshield, but I think rider’s comfort level all depends on where they are coming from. If they are Gold Wingers at heart, then the stock windshield is probably little more than a underperforming bug screen. But, if they come from the world of naked bikes, then the stock Connie fairing/windshield is pure luxury.
After a few days shaking out the cobwebs commuting at 70 miles per hour, I accompanied my brother-in-law Rich on his brand new Triumph Bonneville T100 on a Saturday morning trip through the twisties to Alice’s Restaurant and then onwards to the coast. My Connie handled like a dream — smooth as silk and held back more by my still-conservative riding style than from any inherent limitation. I donned her sporty persona: no luggage and the stock windshield.
Amidst the various superbikes arrayed in Alice’s parking lot, my Connie and my partner’s Bonnie may have looked a bit misplaced without one bit of carbon fiber or titanium between us. But the only sentiment that I could muster was, “It’s all good!” — especially Alice’s breakfast.
Continuing on to the Pacific took us through the misty coastal redwoods on Highway 84 ending at San Gregorio followd by a quick trip up Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay and then the final jaunt home on Highway 92 to San Mateo.
So the first week on my Connie was a resounding success. I know my machine better than I did at the beginning of the week, and I know myself better, too.