|Posted on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 02:09 pm: ||
To start off, no I did not compete, I volunteered as a motorcycle driver.
This was my first time to volunteer so I was not sure what to expect. On Friday there was an 8am meeting to discuss safety and meet our respective riders. Lots of good information, coffee and muffins.
At 3pm those of us who wanted to met out at Old Airport Beach park (The old airport runway that was turned into a state park) for the slow speed safety course. There we met four retired motor sergeants who now teach safety courses and they gave us lots of good instruction and tips for slow speed maneuvering.
There were two courses: A figure 8 box for u-turns and a slow speed course with cones that looked like piece of wet spaghetti thrown on the floor.
Now for the record, I used my 2007 Harley Road Glide for the volunteering since I was going to be carrying passengers.
So I did the figure 8 box a few times and did pretty well as I expected but the slow speed course was difficult on the Glide. First few times I knocked over 3-4 cones but that was ok as I knew I would anyway. The guys kept giving good advise and encouragement so slowly I felt more comfortable and got better. I had 2 runs without knocking over any cones. Then we stopped for a group talk and then went back out and ran the course going the other way.
I did better than the first passes going forward and the guys started giving me a few more advanced tips.
Afterward I was talking with a few of the instructors and mentioned that I had a Ulysses and they all got excited about how they loved Buells and one guy has a an XB9, so I turned him on to BadWeb.
Saturday, day of the race, left the house at 5am and got down to the Kailua-Kona home base near the transition areas. We had a meeting at 6am, with more coffee and breakfast sandwiches, and waited for the start. About 7am we loaded up on the bikes and headed up the main road, Hwy 19, lined up and waited for the cyclists. I was driving a gentleman named Lars who worked for Ironman.net and was a spotter for the race. His job was to post pictures and blog about the race live. He knew all the top ten men by name and would talk to them about times and positions.
So the competitors went by and we took off. We would hang by a guy taking pictures and talking to him and then move on to the next guy. I had to always pass anyone on the road on the left side and get permission from the course controllers before moving on past certain points. There were photographers in helicopters all around. We then would sprint forward and get into position so Lars could take pictures and get split times on the competitors.
Felt a bit like an outlaw going North in the Southbound lane, doing 80 mph passing police cars.
So we did that all the way up to the turn around and back to Kailua-Kona. Lars thanked me and then went to go cover the run portion of the race.
My next passenger was a road marshal, whose job it was to make sure the cyclists were not breaking the rules, like drafting and littering. So we hustled back to the course and down to one of the volunteer lunch tents to grab a bite. Then it was back out on the course all the way back to Kailua-Kona at 10 to 20 mph while pacing different bikes. Finished that up about 3:30pm.
I was planning on being done but there was a CBS photographer who wanted to find an actress that was still competing on the bike course to take some video and pictures. (don't remember her name) So I agreed to go and off we went. We found her about 13 miles out and paced her while he took pictures and video. Then we leapt forward so he could lay on the ground for more pictures. He finished up and got back to home base about 4:30pm. Turned in my access sticker, got my pay and headed home.
So all-in-all was on the bike off and on from 5am to 6pm and put 189 miles on the bike, excluding to and from home. I am definitely doing it again next year.
And I will be bringing the Ulysses to the safety course so I can have some fun with it.
(Message edited by big island rider on October 14, 2015)
|Posted on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 03:42 pm: ||
Sounds like a ton of fun.
Post some pics if you have any.
I'm a MSF instructor and "volunteer" to work the MSF tent at the Superbike races at Mid-Ohio.
We get to escort the fan parade lap and then turn a lap or two on our own.
Its always a good time.
I would love the chance to haul a photographer around and chase bicycles all day. Consider me jealous!
|Posted on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 05:10 pm: ||
Take a vacation to Hawai'i around that time next year and it could be you. They are always looking for more riders. Were 52 bikes this year. I even know of a place you could stay.
|Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 01:24 am: ||
Sounds like a really cool experience. That kind of stuff is fun to be involved with. On of those things you will never forget.
|Posted on Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 02:36 pm: ||
Sounds like a great time, thanks for sharing the experience with us!
Just curious. Do you think the Uly wouldn't be optimal for carrying a passenger? Is it suspension or just passenger accommodations? I've seen footage of reverse mounted pillion riders from some of the big cycling races in Europe over the years, lots of them on BMW GS's and such.
My STT was a blast on the MSF test course, so much easier to ride than my M2 for smooth power and tight handling. I'd like to take a motor's course some day on an XB or EBR if I ever get to that.
|Posted on Saturday, October 17, 2015 - 12:31 am: ||
Several issues specific to Toothless, my Uly, that led to my decision. My back tire is getting low on tread and while I have no issue with riding on it as it is not dangerous yet, not comfortable 2-up. Also I have an intermittent wire issue that causes a hiccup.
As for rider comfort, I think it would be fine but the "fender couch" on the Glide can not be beat. In fact the marshal said it was the best ride he has had in years and specifically asked to be paired with me again.
I also chose the Glide because I have many years in the saddle and am very comfortable with how it handles.
|Posted on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 11:58 pm: ||
Big Island Rider,
It's always nice to get paid for riding your MC. And of course when you have passengers there's that need to exercise a ton of responsibility. That's why I'm sure you'll appreciate this video of someone who gets paid to ride a MC responsibly as part of a full-time job.
BTW you live on one fine island! On my bucket list is riding a Buell/EBR on the twisties between Kailua-Kona and Hilo—discreetly of course. Kokua Hawaii.
|Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 04:36 am: ||
Wow, I do not have that much skill or stones to ride in that situation. Major props to that guy.
Have a buddy who had riding a Ulysses on his bucket list. So he flew over for a week and we had a great time.
So there is a precedent set, if you know what I mean.
|Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 09:09 pm: ||