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Old 08-22-2012, 10:50 AM   #1
sgio OP
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Shake down cruise to the Adirondacks

After reading ride reports here for a year, I decided that motorcycle touring is not just a spectator sport and it was time to try this thing out. The Adirondack's were about the right distance away for a shake down cruise and I planned a three day trip.

A little background here. I got my first street bike a year ago and got my current bike, a Honda ST1300 in June. I commute on the bike and have made a quite a few day trips around the Finger Lakes, but this would be my first extended seat time. Oh and I need to mention that for the last couple of months, my wife has started riding with me. She also thought a short motorcycle tour sounded like good fun.

So our goals were to test out bringing a fraction of the stuff we normally travel with, see how we and the bike hold up to motorcycle travel, to see some sights and have some fun.

The route was planned out.

The bike was loaded up.

We were ready.

We hit the road. Our ride was uneventful and after a few hours of riding through upstate New York hills and farm land, we made to the Adirondack Park.

Crap I blew right by the Adirondack park sign and missed the obligatory picture. This IS my first ride report. I will try to do better in the future.

Anyway, it is starting to look like the Adirondack's.

Our home base for the this short trip was Long Lake. We got to our Motel and settled into a couple of the area's namesake chairs and enjoyed the sunset (and a couple Saranac Pale Ales).
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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Day 2

Day two

The plan for today was to climb Whiteface mountain! Well, neither if us is in any kind of shape do mountain climbing, so we were gonna rely on the Honda to haul our butts up the mountain.

The threat of afternoon thunderstorms got us up and on the road early. We awoke to a beautiful morning and 52 degrees.

We headed east on 28N and when we got to Newcomb, there was a very nice park with an overlook of the high peaks. This is a great place to stop with picnic tables and public bathrooms. I even got a decent photo of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the park.

Back on the road to the highlight ride of the trip. Blue Ridge Road connected us from 28N and route 9 in the east. What a great road! Great shape, curves and hills. Like a paved roller coaster! My wife reports that the views were nice as well. I was too busy to notice.

We headed up Rt. 73, which is fairly busy as it is the main access to the high peaks area. It wasn't too bad on a Monday though. We stopped at a parking area and found this view.

Panorama view

Climbers on the mountain

From there it was on to Whiteface Mountain. After paying our toll ($16 for two of us) , we headed up the mountain. The road has some serious woops, so with two up, slow and careful was the plan.

Lots of great overlooks

A view of the castle at the upper parking area.

We made it!

We took the elevator from the parking area to the observation area on top. You can walk up if you want, but we chose to ride up and walk down. Worked for us!

Dark clouds were coming in, so we headed down and got caught in a downpour in Lake Placid. That was okay, it was lunch time. We stopped for lunch and some free WiFi to check the radar. It looked like we might hit another storm on the way, so we geared up and headed back to the Motel. The gear worked great. No rain at all!

It cleared up and we got to enjoy another beautiful sunset (why is the camera always up in the room at these times?).
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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Ever since I saw a documentary about the Adirondacks, I've wanted to visit the area. The idea of a 90-mile canoe race through connected as well as unconnected lakes seems like lots of fun.

Those are some great views!
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:36 PM   #4
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Its been years since I was up there. I forgot how beautiful it is.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:41 PM   #5
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Day 3 - Homeward bound

Day three.

We were up early to head back home. We decided on a detour to Auburn to check out the Bass Pro Shop there. Luckily, the bike was full of gear, so my wife couldn't do much shopping. Okay, you got me. This was Bass Pro Shops! It was me who was most likely to damage the bank account.

The last stop was at Stewart Park in Ithaca. Since is was a beautiful day, there were lots of boats on Cayuga Lake.

We made home after riding 625 miles in three days. Not impressive by ADV standards by any means, but a good start for us. What did I learn?

The ST1300 is much better at this than us. Not a hiccup the whole trip and got 45 miles to the gallon for the trip. The seat limits both of us to less than 1 hour of ride time. This time got shorter and shorter as the trip went on. I don't think I am ready to pony up the $ for a Russell Day Long seat, so maybe I will try an Air Hawk and see if that helps.

I also had numbness of both hands that limited my time between breaks. There is very little vibration in the grips, so I think its either the seams inside the gloves or the small diameter grips. Stretching out my fingers seems to help as does the cruise control. Not many of the roads we were traveling are cruise control appropriate. I think larger diameter grips and better gloves are the next step there.

Thanks for following along!
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:36 PM   #6
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nice report, great photos
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:53 AM   #8
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Nice part of the world up there. I need to explore it more.

Butt burn is tough to solve. For me the breaks every hour or so start about hour 6. The best solution I've discovered is wearing synthetic compression undershorts from Nike or Under Armour. The difference wearing those vs. boxer's is significant. Plus on extended trips you can wash them at night anywhere and they'll dry by dawn.

I also use a sheepskin, but an airhawk might be better. I think its the latent vibration that causes the burn. Any seat that can reduce it probably helps.

For your hands you might try a $25 pair of MX gloves. But you'll need something better for weather. My rain and cold weather gloves are Black Diamond mountaineering gloves purchased at REI. They are medium weight with thin palms and totally waterproof.

You must be gripping too tightly, though, because you shouldn't have hand problems with a bike like that.

Anyways, it's a good time to experiment with gear options before spending a bunch on a new seat. I had a seat fitted with a gelpad once, and that worked too, but still, after 6 hours or so, I stopped for 5 minutes every hour.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:19 AM   #9
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Go with the beaded seat option. cheap and actually works. I remember when these where not sold in black and with bungee loops. I used to get a cab seat cover from walmart and cut it lol.

between the corbin/several shorts/get/sheepskin i have tried i use it on warmer days.Pretty simple you do not get hot with air circulating to cause burn.Also , i found a few yrs ago Gold Bond is awesome. I got one of those bad burns even with the beads after 2500 miles in 5days with temps 100`s. I tried it and made the 6 day 500 mile ride home .....

i have a corbin for over 30k on my fz1 but still on 500 + days when its warm i use these.

I really want to return to the adirondacks but last 2 attempts ended with a uncharacteristic VM from wife in tears.She never ever cries. Both the time it turned out she was pregnant and her hormones where off.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:47 AM   #10
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Nice first ride report! That's a beautiful area to do it in, too. Congratulations on your first multi-day two-up ride; I hope both you and your wife enjoyed it!

I'm with Pantah and Satz, above, with their comments on COMFORT. If you aren't comfortable you won't be doing much of this regardless how fun the actual riding is. In my experience, what kills your butt are two things: moisture and sitting on uncomfortable seams.

For moisture control, I always remember the old addage about cold weather outdoor gear - cotton kills. It holds moisture and keeps you chilled; works great if you're sweating in the desert, but not in cold or humidity. When you're wearing cotton undies (just say NO to whitey-tighties! - they hold moisture and the seams are in all the wrong places) and cotton jeans and sitting on a plastic seat in even modest humidity your butt will get wet and stay that way. Baby powder helps, but not enough and you'll eventually develop the dreaded Monkey Butt (it's like diaper rash) which is very uncomfortable and can take days to get over. As suggested, bicycling shorts or other compression shorts are made of wicking synthetic and have a wicking pad where it counts most. They can be worn under jeans and are a vast improvement, but when worn under synthetic riding pants they're even better, and they do NOT have seams in funky places that will irritate your tush. Keep your bum dry and uncrinkled and you can happily ride many many miles in comfort.

I've looked at airhawk seat covers and think they might be an improvement, but they're still made of rubber and won't help completely with the moisture control issue. I've successfully used sheepskins for years and found them to relieve all the moisture issues plus add some cozy padding to seats that sometimes don't have enough. If you're handy with a sewing machine you can buy a sheepskin and make one for yourself for pretty cheap (you need to sew on a strap to hold it on the bike). Or, try Alaska Leather, they have pads custom fit for every bike, they're unfazed by weather or washing, and they really work.

As far as cramping/pain in your hands, I'd guess Pantah is on the right track here as well. Good-fitting gloves are essential, and there are many styles in varying weights (vented, armored, light duty, cool weather, cold weather, electric, etc.) to choose from. I usually travel with two pair in warmer weather, a light weight, short cuffed vented leather glove for hot days and a mid-weight leather/textile rain resistant glove with long gauntlets for cooler or wet days. The cool weather gloves have long gauntlets to go over your jacket sleeves to keep the cold air and rain out, light insulation, and a faceshield wiper built in to get the rain off your visor if necessary. In cold weather I'll travel with the midweight gloves (and heated grips on the bike) and carry heavier gloves or heated gloves (and vest) if it's really cold. All this glove business aside, though, I suspect what was happening to your hands on this trip was that you were uncomfortable (Monkey Butt will tense you up!!) and a little unfamiliar with the whole deal, so I'd suspect you were hanging on to the bars pretty tightly. Also, if the gloves are slippery on the grips you have to hang on tighter and that will surely lead to cramping in short order. All my motorcycle gloves have leather palms that are a bit tacky so you don't have to hang on with a death grip (textile ski gloves SUCK for this reason because they have very slippery palms).

Getting comfy gear will help and more practice riding will loosen you up and build your endurance. I know that every Spring I have to rebuild my endurance after an extended time off the bike over the winter. I also tend to be more "gripped" when I ride with a passenger.

I think you're well on your way to having a great set-up for long distance multi-day riding, but you need to invest in just those few little bits that will make it more comfortable. If it were me, the first thing I'd invest in would be a couple of sheepskin pads; they really do make a huge difference.

And one last thing; you call that bike LOADED? I've had myself loaded up like a moving van before; I'd call yours almost naked.

That was me, alone, going over Lolo Pass in Montana looking like I was moving to a new home. I rode about 3500 miles on that trip from deserts in the southwest to the cold, wet Canadian Rockies so I had every piece of gear I owned plus camping stuff for a two week ride. It was GLORIOUS!

I hope you'll keep working on your long two-up rides, it's so damned much fun it should be illegal. Best wishes to you, and congratulations to your wife for giving it a try with you!

"If it doesn't blow smoke and make noise, it isn't a sport!" - radio ad for shop in Bozeman, MT
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:52 AM   #11
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Nice Report!!


Nice to read a report about people riding in my home area and discovering the best kept secret in America: The State of New York has a vast and beautiful wilderness area big enough to fit all of the most famous parks in the USA in it, and still has about 80% of the 6 million acres left over to discover! Not all of the state of New York is located in Manhattan. What a concept!

When I looked at the photo of your bike I had to pinch myself because my friend Pete from Ithaca has the exact twin to your ST1300. Also, pics of Cayuga Lake and Stewart Park brought back fond memories of my days living in Ithaca and going to college at Cornell.

Keep up the ride reports, and if you want a tour of the "real Adirondacks" give me a call and we'll go for a ride.


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Old 08-24-2012, 07:07 AM   #12
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Thanks for sharing. I am moving to NY next year and I can't wait to tour this area. Looks beautiful!
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:41 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the great replies and comfort tips

I will definitely be investing is some riding pants and some more appropriate riding under shorts. I suspect the normal tightness of jeans when in a riding position is contributing to the discomfort. The beads and sheepskin are great tips. It should be easy to try those out.

The cheap riding gloves have been fine for short trips and commuting. At a lunch stop, my wife pointed out the grooves in my hands caused by the seams inside the gloves. Its easy to believe that is a big cause of my hand numbness.

Thanks again for all the replies!

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Old 08-24-2012, 11:11 AM   #14
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If you want to try riding with fatter grips try these.

at less than $10 a pair you can't go wrong, and they work!
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:18 AM   #15
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Bearcat - Thanks. I ordered some Wednesday!
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