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June 2016

Front Royal motorcycle ride

The showers of May have passed.  But by last weekend, the heat of summer had slipped into Virginia.  But not before I took my Harley 48 out Saturday morning for a long ride.  I've been wanting to see how it handles on the open road besides the 30 minute commute it takes every weekday.  It didn't disappoint.

After topping off my 2.2gal peanut gas tank, I left town on interstate 66.  It was mid morning, temps around the 80s, with a bit of wind in the air, just enough to keep me cool in my new mesh jacket and textile/mesh pants.  My destination - Front Royal, VA, about 60 miles from my starting point.  Most of it would be on 66.  

The ride on 66 was excellent.  Traffic westbound was light to medium.  The bike felt great and sounded great.  With the 48, your posture is different than if you're using ape hanger handlebars or on a crotch rocket.  The handlebar is short and straight, the seat sits low, forcing you to lean forward, and causing your boot heels to angle about 45 degrees from the road. In my opinion, the 48 is similar in looks to a bobber style bike, with the exception to the fenders, seat, smaller tank and a few other features.

Cycle styles

48 classic
Harley Davidson Sportster 48

As you can imagine, the 48 is not very comfortable for long rides.  This forced posture will take it's toll on the back and shoulders.  But for my ride, I felt fine by the time I turned off 66 and rode the rest of the 5 miles or so to Front Royal.  My gas indicator light had yet to come on, so I kept riding towards Flint Hill after passing through FR.  At 65 mi the light had yet to come on.  I pulled over to check Gas Buddy for the nearest pit stop.  FR was about 5 miles back but Flint Hill was southbound about 4 miles away.  The indicator light came on as soon as I started rolling again, so the highway miles were definitely an improvement to my city miles per gallon.  In Flint, I had used 1.4gal out of the 2.2 tank and traveling 70 miles.  So I could have pushed it for another 20 miles (90 mi total) or so before it would start to chug along.  Normally, I'm running to the gas station when it hits 60 miles with mostly city driving or I'll end up pushing the bike by the time it hits 70.  I made a mental note to get a gas canister that I could throw in my side bag for the next ride.

I made it back to Front Royal and stopped by Soul Mountain Grill & Cafe to get lunch.  Great service with a simple but pleasant atmosphere. I had a Soul Burger with a couple sides that didn't break the bank.

FR SM1

Soul Mountain Burger meal
Soul Mountain Burger meal

After lunch I walked around the small historic city center and checked out some of the shops.  The whole time I was in town, you could see and hear different biker groups passing through.  

FR st1

FR a2

FR park

The ride back home was just as nice except for a little congestion around the 495 beltway.  Aside from a little fatigue in the hands and my back, it was a great ride.  I'll see how I do on a longer one next time.  

Total miles round trip = 130mi