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BMW R nineT Pure
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I did another SE Ohio day yesterday, my first since modifying my 2020 R9T Pure's suspension a couple months ago. I've hit some twisty roads in between, of course, but I've been eager to see how the bike handled on more challenging roads. In short, it handled very well, at least by my low standards.

It's fall here now, and the morning temps were in the mid-40s (F), so I waited to leave until it warmed up a bit. I checked my tire pressures, added a few psi, lashed my emergency/tool kit to the rear, and left just before 10 am. I knew departing that late would limit my riding a little for the day, or that I'd have to take the freeway home if I wanted to avoid rural highways after dark, but I'm glad I waited. As it was I could have used one more layer in the morning but it wasn't too bad.

I took 2-lane highways south until I got to OH 800, and took that south all the way to Route 7 and the Ohio River. From there I headed NE to hit my favorite road in the region, Ohio Route 536. OH 536 is only about 12 miles in length, but it is amazing. You really have to watch out for gravel and dirt, and there are a few places where the road changes direction slightly at the top of a short hill, so it's a very challenging road but very rewarding. There is also one very tight decreasing radius curve. Treacherous really, but I know exactly where it is so I'm prepared for it. I usually go up and back on 536, which I did yesterday, too. In my opinion it's a little easier road going west-to-east than east-to-west, or maybe for the return trip back to Route 7 I'm just better warmed up and feeling more comfortable going quick.

Once back to OH 7 I headed south to take OH 255 back to 800, then 800N back to Woodsfield for a break. 255 is another great road, but the road surface can be more challenging than most other twisty roads in that region. It's a bit longer, too, at 17 miles, so it requires a lot of concentration for a longer period of time.

While having a snack during my break in Woodsfield four other riders pulled up at the gas station. It was an interesting group of bikes. BMW S1000RR, BMW R1200RT, Yamaha MT-09, and Yamaha XSR900. The guy on the RT struck up a conversation and we talked about Beemers for a few minutes. He said he also has an R1100S at home. Both he and the other BMW rider really admired my R9T Pure. They had been slaying the twisties all day, and they had been part of a larger group but a few riders had already split off, probably to head home. Also, the guy on the MT-09 was a big guy like me. It's nice to see another big guy on a sporty bike once in a while. It makes me feel a little less than a bloated specimen on a naked bike not really meant for guys like me.

I think it was just after 3 pm when I got back on the road, meaning there were only about four hours of daylight left. I headed south out of Woodsfield on Route 800, and took OH 26 all the way to Marietta. 26 is another terrific road, less technical than some others but very entertaining. And it's pretty long, about 43 miles from 800 to Marietta. Even at a spirited pace it's about an hour's ride. There are a few covered bridges along Route 26, so it's kind of popular with tourists, too.

I stopped in Marietta to fill up my tank and look at my map to plan the route north to get home. I ended up taking I-77 (a freeway/interstate) north to OH 78 to Caldwell and Route 285N. Where 285 ended at US Route 22 I just kept heading north on a couple decent county roads. I wouldn't say I was lost, so I wasn't worried, but these were new roads to me, and not marked as well as the state highways. The road I was on dead-ended into Ohio 258, another good road. As soon as I turned onto 285E I recognized the church on my right. Here's the most interesting part of yesterday's ride...

I took my two kids on a couple 'Ohio history' journeys a few years ago, visiting a few historic places and sites. One of them was in Peoli, OH, an unincorporated village in eastern Ohio. There's a small old church and accompanying cemetery there, right in the middle of nowhere. Of note, for the baseball fans among us, that cemetery is the final resting place of the great Cy Young. As you can see in the photo below, people sometimes leave a memento in his honor. When my sons and I visited the grave a few years ago we left a baseball.

Anyway, even with daylight starting to fade I knew I had to stop and pay my respects again. It took me a few minutes to find his plot, but it was worth it. How amazing is it one of the greatest baseball players of all time rests in a small cemetery in very rural Ohio?!

Once back on the road I took 258 to Route 800 and headed north again. 800 meets up with US 250 near Dennison. But where 800 splits off and goes through New Philadelphia I just stayed on 250W toward I-77. I thought I might split off the freeway on another state highway in Canton to get home, but instead I chose to take I-77 all the way to Akron, then I-76E back home. It was dark already and I'm wary of riding deer-infested roads at night. I used to be braver or dumber, take your pick, but I've wised up a bit as I've gotten older. I got home right around 9 pm. I did 430 miles for the day, all but about 100 of them on nice two-lane roads, and about half of those in some of the best twisties in the state. I'm already looking forward to the next ride, as I've identified a couple more roads I've not explored yet!

Some notes on yesterday's ride:
  • The suspension mods (RaceTech fork springs and a TFX 140 rear shock) my buddy and I installed on my 2020 Pure two months ago worked great in the twisties yesterday. I had ridden some good roads in the last couple months, but really wanted to test the bike on roads I knew better, and which I know are more technical. The new suspension bits have made the bike handle much better. I used to have to set corner entry speed earlier to make sure the bike was fully settled, and the bigger bumps were really harsh as I think the suspension was bottoming out. Now the bike doesn't rock as much fore and aft, so I don't have to slow as early for turns. And the suspension - while somewhat firm - does a better job of progressively absorbing shocks instead of traveling too far and generating nasty jolts to my wrists and spine. Money well spent! Having said that, my suspension is adequate for me. Some folks would want even better but I'm pretty happy with it.
  • I don't feel like I rode my best the first half of the day. I'm not a really fast rider, and one of my mottos is the old saying, "discretion is the better part of valor." For me that means go quick but not overly fast, and definitely not to the point where I feel out of control. I'm not the most confident rider out there. I go fast for me, and that's about it. But in the first twisty bits I felt more apprehensive than usual. And that's fine. As riders we absolutely need to recognize when we're just not in the zone. Listen to what your mind and body are telling you and don't push harder than you should. I gradually felt more comfortable, to the point where I was going just about as quickly as I'd like yesterday afternoon.
  • Some of my route home was through 'Amish country,' which means watching out for horse droppings from the Amish horse and buggies/carriages. You're generally safe if you stay in the left portion of the lane, maybe a couple feet from the center line. This includes riding that portion of the road through most curves since you can't see around them to spot horse dung on the road. Thankfully I'm no rookie when it comes to riding through Amish country, so while it's annoying it's not unusual. But the bonus is, nothing gets you to practice riding tight lines like the fear of crashing due to horse crap on the road!
  • Thankfully my body didn't ache as much as usual when I got home. Many times at the end of long days my knees ache (especially the right one), my rear end hurts a little from being on a motorcycle seat all day, and my neck sometimes aches if I do many freeway miles since I usually duck down into a bit of a sportbike crouch for aerodynamics. By last night my posterior hurt a little, but knees and neck felt pretty good. When I got home the bike was only 10 miles away from the odometer hitting 12,000 miles, and I was tempted to just ride a little more. But I was ready to be home and for a decent meal, even if my body could have taken a few more miles. Truth be told, my legs are little tired today, but not bad at all. (And the bike will hit the 12k mark this evening after work!)
  • This last point isn't about my ride really, but about riding in general. I don't get to ride great roads every day. If I'm lucky it's a few days a month, and maybe one or two nice trips per year to excellent roads in Virginia, North Carolina, and/or Tennessee. But I love it. This is my favorite kind of ride. I'm fortunate to live in an area where good roads are only about an hour away, great roads are a couple hours from home, and amazing roads are just a day's ride away. I don't know that I'd be an avid motorcyclist if I lived where the roads are mostly flat and straight, and where good riding was 1,000 miles or more from home. Maybe I'd buy a cruiser and just enjoy more relaxing rides, but I don't think so. It's just not for me. I'm thankful to get to go sport-riding as often as I do, and to live where great roads are close enough to home I don't have to ride all day to get there, or to trailer the bike there, missing out on enjoying the journey on two wheels there and back.
Thanks for reading, folks!
Sky Plant Tree Cloud Street light

Plant Headstone Tree Sky Cemetery
 

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Great write up as always Tim. Zanesville's Visitor Center has a nice map of motorcylce routes in the area, including the Triple Nickle.
 

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Every time it’s an adventure read/riding along with you Tim. What a pleasure to leave my world for a bit and ride voyeur-style along with you. Thanks Your word smithing is so pleasant to follow. All I can say is Ride Ride Ride … you inspire me ✌😎
 

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BMW R nineT Pure
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! :)

Great write up as always Tim. Zanesville's Visitor Center has a nice map of motorcylce routes in the area, including the Triple Nickle.
Thanks for that info, @Gene . I'll have to stop in there my next time in Zanesville.

On Sunday morning I did consider riding 555, but to make decent time getting to Zanesville I have to take I-77S to I-70W, and it was just too chilly that morning to be on the freeways for two hours. But I hope to hit 555 before riding season ends, i.e. gets too cold to ride very far. ;)
 

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Really nice write up @TimC

I miss riding those roads of Southeastern Ohio. Especially this time of year as the leaves start changing.

Best,
-Tim
 
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