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Friday, March 19, 2010

First Ride - the good and the very, very bad

A great day for a ride in rural CT. Warm weather and a chance to see how the CB650 runs on the roads after the recent problems. I'm happy to report that except for a bit of seepage under the head gasket, common for a bike of this age, the 650 ran beautifully. It's a sit back and enjoy the scenery kind of bike which is very different from my other bikes. Eye opening and enjoyable.

One of my favorite destinations is Zip's Dining Car in Dayville, CT. This is a diner in the most original sense of the word. It makes no attempts to be retro or trendy. It's simply about the food and the service. The food is blue collar fare with no pretensions. If you're looking for artisan, organic, or au courant go elsewhere. And yet, all the food is hand made a plate at a time. The food is from local farmers whenever possible and is fresh from the fields. The mashed potatoes have lumps and the whipped cream on the strawberry shortcake is made in the milk shake mixer just for your order. Rt 12 & Rt 101 just off I-395 exit 93 east. Look for the sign that says "EAT"

The ride back was leisurely, a straight shot down Rt 44 to Rt 32. Or so I thought. Just past UConn 4 Corners traffic was suddenly diverted onto a side road. At first it was a comedy of errors as traffic played follow the leader into the grounds of the old Mansfield Training School. This is a 100 acre campus with ~30 buildings. Cars were going up one road and down another to either meet up again going the other way or end up at a dead end. Since I knew a bit about the lay of the land I decided to head cross country to get out of the silliness. Then I saw this:
It became instantly clear why the road was closed, two bikers down. Word from one of the employees was that they were both dead but at that point one was actually still alive. Some 74 year old geezer in a Volvo had crossed the center line and hit the bikers head on. The Hartford Courant story is here.

It certainly put the rest of the ride in a dark mood. When I got home I sat down and wrote a message to my state legislators asking when they were going to make testing for drivers over 65 mandatory. I'm at that age and I'm willing to take the time to get some of the aging incompetents off the road. It's only going to get worse now that the Boomers are arriving at this point. They will fight it all the way but it has to be done. NPR once did a series on aging drivers. I remember one saying, "I always drive very slow so that I don't hit things very hard." 

Take a moment and write a message to your representatives now. Riding is dangerous. Reality is out there waiting to bite. As it is written, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour ... "

Ride Safe.