My beloved shovelhead spent the better part of the last four years without its sheet metal, sitting in the garage, gathering dust.  This year I put the parts back on with a new (still blue) paint job, and a new wide glide with dual disk (for most of the over 20 years I’ve had this sled I ran a ’75 narrow glide on it with single disk). 

The change of front forks leaves me temporarily without a speedometer.  I’d love to figure out some mathematically smart way of knowing how fast I’m going, but I’m not there yet, and I really don’t feel like not riding.  So I’ve been riding. 

So far the rides have been pretty short–20 miles at best, while I work out some of the bugs and reacquaint myself with the art of motorcycle mechanics, getting the clutch to work right and getting rid of a funny noise in my forks.  I’ve ridden the grueling 3 mile commute to work a number of times in the last month, and, if I’m feeling particularly bold, sometimes take an added spin in the country to unwind after work, making the ride closer to fifteen miles (yes, I hear you–woooopeee…).

Yesterday I did just that.  I rode south of Hollister on a decent but not heavily traveled road.  When I got  ready to pull back onto Highway 25 to get back to town, I saw what looked like a law enforcement sedan headed my way on the highway.  My biggest concern was riding in front of him (or her) at an unmetered pace and getting pulled over, so I took it easy.

I might easily have misread the car, but the appeared to have stopped  in Tres Pinos since they didn’t emerge around the hill at the north end of Tres Pinos into the sweeping turn that leads to Hollister. 

At that I decided to ride at my own pace. 

The truck in front of me was following a truck pulling a horse trailer. The truck with the horse trailer didn’t appear to be moving along very fast, but I still took a few minutes to catch up to the first truck.  I realized that the speedometer would have pushed me to go faster, considering I’ve always enjoyed a nice quick ride.  If I had known that I was only doing (and I’m purely guessing here) maybe 45 or 50 mph, I probably would have stretched it out and tried to hit 70, probably tried to pass if I could. 

But I found I was having a swell time doing what I was doing at the speed I was doing it at.  I didn’t really care how fast I was going and I was pretty sure I was inside the limit.  It made me wonder about actually leaving the speedometer off, since it seems to connect to my ego somehow and make me think I should be doing 70 or 80 when I can.  Without the speedo (and here I speak of a speedometer, not a Speedo), I seem to go the speed I feel like doing instead of how fast I think I should be going.

But eventually I’ll wind up on 101, in traffic, or in a pack, and that will inspire my throttle more than a speedometer. So in order to keep tabs on my velocity, I’ll have to persevere in working out a solution for a speedometer drive unit.  Otherwise I’m sure someone wearing a badge will be happy to tell me how fast I’m going according to their equipment.