Monday, July 16, 2007

A Ruckus On The Ridge

Okay folks, here's a grainy, unprofessional photo of my favorite riding destination, Hurricane Ridge. The shot above is of Mule at the far end of the parking lot just before the glut of cars, motormotels, and motorbikes. I always park here and hoof it to the lodge, since the tourista's wander through traffic with no attention paid to the moving vehicles. It's safer for both of us to not ride into the mix.

The lodge in the background sits at just above 5400' elevation. This place is packed throughout the Summer months, and keeps the skiers warm and dry in the Winter. This is also where I worked my first job out of high school. Maybe this is where my feelings for "The Ridge" come from. Thirty-one years have passed since I wore my cap and gown, and as the times have changed so much since then, I can always return to this place and feel comfortable as though time has allowed this place to stay the same. Sort of like an alpine comfort zone.

I also used the first 5 miles of the road yesterday as my test grounds for a little comparison between the Helix, and my Big Ruckus. I had noticed that the BR tends to want to hang at around 45 mph on the way up the hill. This got me thinking about the Helix, and since it has the same basic motor, what would it do? I buzzed home and swapped scooters, and headed back up the hill.

Now, the BR likes to throw lots of wind at me from the windscreen when running above 50 mph. Not so with the Helix. The ride on the old "jet-ski on wheels" is nice and quiet without all the wind being forced up the windshield directly into my face like on Mule. The wind seems to channel everywhere but back to me. And it has some "giddy-up and go!" I was quite surprised when on the same stretch of road that I had been on earlier, the Helix ran up over fifty without a problem. I didn't push beyond mid-throttle on either scoot, so it looks as though the sleeker, lighter Helix wins the "King of the Mountain" jersey on this hill.

The other thing I noticed about the Helix, is that the front end feels light and sketchy at low speeds. I don't know what the fork rake is in this thing, but it seems to be stretched out a bit compared to the BR. But...once you run it up to around sixty, it feels much tighter, and handles the corners quite well. I don't know if any of you have ever ridden one of these "old man" scooters before, but you might be surprised at how they get up and run, and handle the highway to boot.

Next time I take a "Back to the Future" ride to the Ridge, I'll take the Helix. We'll see how she handles the twisties!

Have fun,
Bill

5 Comments:

Blogger CodyandMichelle said...

I look forward to the twistie blog. How does Mule handle the twisties?

2:54 PM  
Blogger DaveM said...

I always like seeing a picture of the Ridge and envy your being able to take such a beautiful ride. Sorry we couldn't get together at Amerivespa.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Cody,
Mule does okay, but then again I'm not pushing too hard. The road is a corner carving dream though.

Dave,
I was actually bummed that I didn't make the trip to Amerivespa. I had looked forward to it, and wanted to see you and Orin. I'm still bummed.

Have fun,
Bill

4:38 PM  
Blogger Steve Williams said...

Hurricane Ridge sounds like a great place. I assume it is in Olympic Park right?

I just looked at a WebCam View of the place and it was all wet and foggy. My kind of place.

As far as the comfort of the old man scooters go.... I'm not ready to take up the rocker, I mean long scooter yet.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

11:28 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Steve,
Wet and foggy is right. We're looking forward to "unseasonably wet, and potentially flooding rains" starting tonight and tomorrow. Woohoo!

You know...as cushy a ride as the Helix is, the direction that I want to take next will be different. I'll post tonight.

Have fun,
Bill

5:50 PM  

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