Despite chilly conditions, I used Saturday afternoon to take my first “real” motorcycle ride of 2020–my traditional season-opening run to Beaverdam, Ohio. While the ride over mostly flat terrain was cold and unimaginative, the shakedown cruise went smoothly–spare realizing I had forgotten to reinstall a couple small parts–and Jadzia the Yamaha FJR1300 is now ready to start touring in 2020.
The route I chose has been my season kick-off route since 2015. I bought my 2003 FJR1300 in January of that year, and when the salt was gone and it was warm enough to ride, I chose the run to Beaverdam as my first ride on the new bike. I chose the route because it allowed me to head north from Delaware, Ohio (where I lived at the time), and ride the bike at expressway speeds for about a full tank of gas on roads that don’t see a lot of traffic.
I’ve made the trip to Beaverdam every year from wherever I lived–except for 2018. I bought my current FJR1300 from a dealer in Rochester, N.Y., so my first ride that year was the trek from Rochester to Columbus.
I’ve thought about finding a new first ride route for a couple years now, especially with where I live on the east side of Columbus now. A run to Taco John’s in Athens, Ohio would probably work just as well as the ride to Beaverdam while skipping the stop-and-go through Lewis Center. But I decided to keep the tradition going for this year.
I started my trip by taking Interstate 270 north from the Broad St. interchange to U.S. Route 23 North (exit 23). I stayed on Route 23 to Upper Sandusky, Ohio, passing through the commercial strip in Lewis Center and the small cities of Delaware and Marion. Route 23 duplexes with U.S. Route 30 in Upper Sandusky, beginning at an interchange on the east side of town and splits off at another interchange on the northwest side. At the second interchange, I stayed on Route 30, taking that to the expressway’s exit with the former U.S. 30 alignment, which doubles as an indirect interchange with Interstate 75. The Speedway I stopped at is in between the Route 30 and Interstate 75 exits.
The route home was the reverse of the above route description.
Miles Ridden: About 220
Temperatures: Mid-40s to low-50s
Conditions: Partly cloudy/overcast, windy
While there wasn’t much new to see along the route–and the coronavirus closure made an eat-in stop at my favorite Columbus eatery (Freddy’s Street Food in Delaware) impossible–the trip was a success. Other than discovering I had forgotten to reinstall a couple fasteners and reflectors, the bike ran nearly flawlessly. The accessories I installed over the winter (terminal blocks, Bikemaster heated grips, voltmeter) worked fine, the new braided steel clutch line gave better clutch feel, and the brakes felt the best they have on this bike. I now feel ready to tackle my first tour of 2020, whenever that may be.
To say it was a chilly ride is an understatement, and the wind was gusting pretty good along the mostly flat, open central Ohio terrain. I could’ve made the experience a little more pleasant had I used my extra layers, Alpinestars rain gloves (which are well insulated), and neck gator. I had decided to wear my new Fly-brand riding gloves and use the heated grips to break them in. By the time I made it to Beaverdam, I had to wait about 15-20 minutes for my hands to warm up.
For the ride back, I changed to my Alpinestars and used the neck gator, which made the slightly warmer temperatures much more bearable.