routes

Cyber Monday Motorcycle Deal

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Cyber Monday is almost over. I just bought this 50% off deal from Rever. If you’re looking for turn by turn directions, and a reason to get rid of your Garmin, try this app. You have to purchase the premium version to get the best features, but based on what I’ve read and other user’s feedback, it’s worth trying for $30 for a year rather than $400-$600 for a gps device.

https://a.rever.co/

Cyber Monday Code: BlackFriday2018

As much as I love using my other app (iPhone only) inRoute , I’m excited to try something different, since it was made specifically for motorcyclists!

InRoute, a way to navigate with your iPhone and Sena!

Finally, what I've been waiting for. A reason to replace my Garmin Zumo. Which may not happen immediately, but I foresee this as a really, really great tool.

I know, I just published my Garmin Zumo 390 review but now I found what I have been searching for! An iPhone app that lets me import the GPX file I need from Furkot and then it reads the turn by turn directions into my Sena SMH10R.

This iPhone app is called InRoute Route Planner. It's a free app but it comes with optional upgrades, which I'll gladly pay for. The free version allows for up to 24 locations in a particular map I think. It's $2.99/month or $24.99 for the year if you want up to 100 locations per map. So I went ahead and bought a year. Why not? 

If I can successfully use this app for all my turn by turn navigation, then adios Garmin! Fingers crossed, as we leave for Port Jervis in the morning on a quick overnight :)

Update August 2016

I've now been using the InRoute app exclusively for the past two months. It has definitely done its job and very well, I might add. 

There are two things that I've wanted my phone to do for me; navigate and then give me turn by turn directions through my Sena SMH10R Headset so I don't have to look down or check to see what the display is showing.  Although it has some minor issues to resolve, overall its the best navigation option I've ever used. 

Back in June my husband and I ventured north to Port Jervis, NY. We left early Sunday morning and then headed up to the border as far as we felt like going. Then we grabbed a hotel for the night once we got into New York. 

Opening GPX Files

The photo above is the ambitious ride route I laid out for us. You can download a copy of the GPX file here. :)  All you have to do is either create a route on a website such as Furkot.com, save it as a .GPX and then open it easily on your iPhone (there are others I'm sure, just use whatever site or software application you want to create the GPX). (Or, alternatively you can create a route on the fly right inside the app. We'll get to that part in a bit, so keep scrolling if you want that part.) 

I use iCloud Drive (in addition to Google Drive) so all I have to do is open my file. Once you create the GPX on your desktop, you could also just email it to yourself too. Once I've found my file, I just tell my phone how I want to view it. 

inroute_openingfiles

In this instance, I want it to "copy to InRoute". If I already have another route or map open, it'll ask me if I want to Restore Route. I Choose Restore. 

inroute_restore

And then voila! I have my ride route. All I have to do is hit GO and we're off. My Sena starts talking to me and I'm ready to ride. 

Creating Routes on the Fly

However, sometimes you just need to make a quick route without a computer nearby. This is my favorite feature. I can instantly create a route, tweak it and then share it with my husband so he can also lead part way. It's as simple as putting your finger exactly where your destination is. As soon as you do, it asks you if that's going to be your Start, a Waypoint or your Destination. For this example, I choose Destination. 

inroute_shamokin

But I really really really don't want to take the turnpike there. And this map much like other maps might assume you do. No Thank You. Maybe I want to visit the infamous stretch of road where I lowsided last year to see if they patched up the entire roadway or not. So I place my finger at on the road and it drops a pin. I select Waypoint.  

Now, we have a decent route!

Inroute_143

But let's just say that I want to make another stop along the way, just for fun. 

Crap. Now things are in the wrong order. No problem :) Click on the little 2Way Sign in the upper left corner. 

Now you have this handy option to Optimize Waypoint Order. SO handy. You can also rearrange points manually here too. If you select a particular point you can then delete it. 

Now that I've rearranged the order, I have a proper route. 

Then when it comes to sharing this route with the man, I just text it to him like any other image or file on my iPhone. 

The only downsides of the app that we've discovered are:

  1. It uses the Apple Maps Engine. For some reason, and I'm not quite sure why, it won't interrupt my intercom conversation with my husband to give me the directions. I have to toggle back to my phone to hear it. I'm ok with this for now, because it's a small sacrifice to have a much better app interface such as this. Google Maps and Waze don't do this, so it's definitely possible and most likely a feature they have to program into the app (something about APIs to tell the phone that it's an incoming phone call, not just music - per my mobile app developer expert husband). 
  2. The Northeast is full of roads and highways with multiple names. Look at this one for instance. You can see that Route 143 is also known as "Ontelaunee Trail". It might tell me one or the other, so I have to trust it when it tells me to turn somewhere. It doesn't always do this, but often enough that I try not to worry as much if I'm turning at the right point. 

A couple of fun features is that it offers temperature, humidity and a few other details along your route, super handy. 

Those are the main features that I use on the app. I'm sure I'll discover more as I use it further. 

Other than those two details, I don't foresee going back to the Zumo anytime soon. The only thing I still might need is a waterproof case which is easy to come by.

In order to have my phone easily accessible on the bike I purchased this Ram Universal X-Grip cellphone holder. All I had to do was take off the Garmin Mount from the Ram Arm and swap it for the X-Grip. 

 

 

 

 

 

First Ride 2015 on My Triumph and Navigating with Garmin

triumph street triple R motorcycles riding pennsylvania Ahhh that was a great ride. This was my first official ride with the Philly Moto Girls (only women can be members, but significant others are always invited to join rides).  And my first long ride on the Street Triple !!

I mapped out this ridiculously insane route, but sadly, my written maps have failed me yet again. I seem to get lost on every adventure because these are all new roads for me!

I've been trying to figure out a way to navigate on my iPhone and have found a few apps that do this. Unfortunately I have found them to be clunky, with the interfaces being rather difficult as to allowing me to import my google maps. But even if they did let me do that, I would have to pull over, take my phone out and pull off my gloves. And if you know me, I don't sacrifice protection for convenience. I'm not going to give up my incredibly protective riding gloves for something that has touchscreen-ability. I love my gloves!

So I bit the bullet and on a friend's suggestion (Thanks Anthony and Kate!!) I purchased a used Garmin Nuvi 765T, the car edition. It was $80 on eBay, and I have the option to return the sucker if it lets me down. I NEED the ability to import routes, and although I could maybe do it on Navigon, that doesn't eliminate my need to remove my gloves to use the iPhone even if it's mounted on my bike.

garmin_nuvi_765T

The other benefit to this particular model is it was less than $100 and it does essentially everything the Zumo does but for less! I'll need to figure out mounting options but I just didn't want to invest $500 in something that I don't *really* need. For $80, I couldn't pass this up.

I will do a couple tests next week and post a mini review. I can't wait to use it on my trip on the 13th! I'll be heading to W. VA (weather permitting) to visit my friend Tamela Rich so we can ride together through the mountains. Yippee!

I just have to say that I LOVE this bike. It's everything I'd imagined and I just can't wait to go riding again with her. She's smooth, powerful and just perfect. We even rode some dirt together!

me_dirt_pennsylvania_triumph

 

One thing that I really love about this bike is the handling. Every corner, stop and start is smoooooooth. The throttle doesn't twitch nearly as hard as the SV and is far more smoother when accelerating and decelerating. I can't say enough good things!

I'll be doing a more comprehensive review after my long trip next week.

Learning to Ride All Over Again, Almost

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There's nothing like riding a taller, heavier bike to help you remember what it was like to learn to ride a motorcycle for the first time...  A few months ago, my husband bought this beautiful bike; a 2007 Triumph Speed Triple. It's completely stock, as far as the suspension and it's totally set up for his height and weight (5'10", 210lbs). Definitely not designed for someone of my size!

When I set out for a long day ride on Sunday, I had to forego riding my trusty steed, because it wasn't holding any air in the rear tire. I found a couple of cuts on the surface of the tire so I was worried that it wouldn't be very safe for an 8 hour ride. I was a little worried about taking his bike out since it was only my 3rd time riding this Speed Triple. The first time I took it I only rode to work which was a 15 minute ride to and from home. The second time was a few miles further to the Suzuki dealer for an oil filter. Piece of cake compared to an 8 hour, 270 mile day ride.

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This bike is 1/2" taller than my SV (31.5" v. 32.1") that I have to wear my Daytonas, which give me maximum vertical height. It also weighs another ~30lbs so it's more top heavy as well. I definitely wanted to have as much stability as possible since I hadn't ridden his bike this much before. Due to the way the bike's engine is situated, I find myself sitting up much higher too. It reminded me of driving my dad's '82 Suburban back in college when I was used to driving my little '90 Honda Accord.

It definitely reminded me of the first time I rode our first motorcycle, a 2004 Kawasaki Ninja 250. It felt heavy, awkward, and tall. Ha! If only I could travel back in time and tell the woman in this picture what she was was in for:

2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250

I found myself doing things a little differently so that I could maintain control of the bike at all times. (I was terrified of dropping it, I just knew that my husband would be *very* sad if that happened) So I tried to be extremely strategic and conscious at all times of how I was riding, stopping and parking. Since I can only flat foot with my left ( I can barely get two toes down), that meant extremely smooth braking and making sure that I didn't stop on any weird slopes that my left foot couldn't reach. I also found myself using curbs to my advantage, especially at the gas station for filling up. Left foot on the curb, right foot on the rear brake. For some reason, I kept forgetting to kick back my sidestand before shifting into 1st gear. Rookie move!

2007_triumph_speed_triple

I also had to jump off the bike every time to park it since it was a little harder to back up with one foot due to the extra height. Fine by me, since I do it all the time with my SV unless the pavement is perfectly flat. There were also a couple times where I couldn't just follow my friend Brian into the parking lot. The first pic above, for example, I parked the bike there after he rode into the parking lot to the right which was *all* gravel. Although, later in the day we met a brief gravel road and I miraculously made my way through it.

So my natural inseam is 28.5". This bike is 32.1" inches; almost 4 full inches of additional height than my own inseam. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone was SO worth it, I had a blast and CAN'T WAIT to go riding again with it. (although my husband may disagree.... heheh).

After awhile, I felt far more confident, and more importantly I was having SO MUCH FUN. Damn, this bike is evil. Because all you can do the whole time is scream in your helmet; "Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!" I can't be trusted on a liter bike, so I'll definitely be getting new tires on the SV soon to make sure I keep my driving record as clean as possible :D.

If you're looking for a fun, semi twisty route outside of Philly, take a look at the route my friend and I took to Shamokin, about 275 miles round trip.

 

Ride Report: Central Pennsylvania

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Our first road trip through Pennsylvania. Having just moved from CA, I knew that finding worthy twisty roads was going to be a challenge.  

Almost ready to go!

The Gear

We loaded up the bikes, each of us carrying 20L of Kriega Packs on our backseat. Because look at those backseats, they're tiny! Since we were preparing for hot weather, we both packed ultra light. (3 nights, 4 days in 20Liters; not normal for me. I usually need all 40L). On the Speed Triple, we have 2 US-10 Liter packs and on the SV I have one US-20. I offered to carry all of it but someone was being chivalrous. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between having just one or all 3 even fully loaded!

As far as myself, I wore my hybrids, Revit Galactic and Gear 2's, which were perfect for the 70s-80s that we were riding in. Looking back I should've worn my Schuberth C3ProW but decided to go with my Arai Vector-2 since it flows so much more direct air. I was expecting a really hot weekend of riding so I opted for the lighter option. It was my first time riding a considerable distance on my new to me ride, without a fairing and windscreen. We also spent a lot of time on more scenic roads and the winds were pretty miserable. I know the Schuberth would've been quieter and a bit more stable at speed; and since it was cooler than I expected less wind in my face!

dreibelbis_covered_bridge_pa

For the man, we picked up a new mesh Dainese Air-3 jacket (Euro 54; 5'11", 210lbs) for him, which he says flows an incredible amount of air. Definitely too much for 70s-80s but perfect for the hottest riding conditions. A pair of Alpinestars GP Air gloves  followed him home as well, a really nice pair of summer gloves with a nice balance of protection and ventilation.

dainese air 3 jacket

Sidenote: this jacket is available all the way down to Euro 44 / US Women's 6. If you dont have a huge hip differential (more than 2-3 inches between the difference of your waist and hip measurements) then it's a great option for women too.

I also want to mention this cute little handlebar bag that the man wanted for his S3 instead of a tank bag. It had just enough space to keep basically what you see below; wallet, keys, small necessities. The GiantLoop Zigzag Handlebar Bag, $52.25 on Revzilla.com.

Zigzag Handlebar Bag-1

Friday July 4

I prepared a mighty route, mostly off the interstate/turnpike. Lots of local roads. We spent about 30 minutes on Interstate 76 before reaching 422.

philly2williamsport

The highlight of the route was 125 to Shamokin. It was definitely the longest stretch of a twisty road, maybe 10-15 miles? I figured out how to make a step by step map via google maps! It's 225 miles, about 6-7 hours from start to finish with quick breaks here and there.

Actually a really nice mix of sweepers and a few tight turns. I'd call it more of a beginner road, not really technical. This was one of the nice stretches of open space on 125, just beautiful. After we got to Shamokin, it was late so we decided on a more direct route from 61 West to 15 North and didn't get to explore the route I planned after that point. :(

somewhere in PA

shamokin route 125 pennsylvania twisty

A nice view coming up 125

Budget Inn Williamsport

I would say that most of the roads were very scenic, with some nice sections of twisties here and there. Being a California girl, my standards are high. Probably too high. But it was definitely one of the best roads I've ridden in PA so far. We also made a point to ride it again on the way back home.

However, one thing that did meet my expectations was the motel we stayed in. Motel price, but much much nicer than other motels I've stayed at. It's a family owned motel, very reasonably priced (less than $80/night), non smoking, and pet friendly! We were able to park right out front too

nice, clean motel in williamsport - Budget Inn Williamsport

Since we rolled in rather late on 4th of July we ended up ordering from Little Caesar's Pizza, the only thing open in town. We planned a route for Saturday, pretty ambitious because our goal was to ride as many of the twisty roads we could find. A couple weeks before we left, MadMaps generously sent me a set of maps for Pennsylvania! Check out everything they have to offer on their website.

maps pennsylvania roads motorcycles

Saturday July 5

The day started with breakfast at the Texas Diner in nearby Lockhaven (tasty and cheap!). We decided to ride a few different parts of several different routes. We definitely found some fun stretches, lots of scenic routes that really showcased how beautiful the state of Pennsylvania is once you leave the big city.

somewhere in PA, shot on the new GoPro Hero 3+

Riding with Sue!

Our goal that day was to check out the Pine Creek Gorge, aka Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Our route started out like this out of Williamsport:

220 North --> 44 North --> 144 North --> 6 East --> 362 East

Since Sue was leading us into the park entrance, I'm not entirely sure where we entered. We took the turnoff from 6 and then entered on the North end to Leonard Harrison State Park. There was even free motorcycle parking right in front.

pine creek gorge PA

pine creek gorge pa

Unfortunately my mind is a blur as to what our return route was back to Williamsport. All I know is that we rode about 400 miles that day and it was a lovely ride back. Since we rolled in around 7pm we decided to pick up sandwiches and enjoy a nice meal outside.

Sunday July 6

I don't want to mention breakfast because it was rather sad, not nearly as good as the Texas Diner, so go there! Sunday's route was a little different:

williamsport to punxsatawney

Welcome to Punxsutawney!

After we all got our photos in, we decided to head back. Unfortunately this is where we decided on an improvised route. All I can remember is that we got over to 219 South and stopped at 22 for a gas break. :-(

Monday July 7

The good news, I saved my ride route back home! I overlapped a few roads without knowing it.

Williamsport to Philadelphia

Williamsport to Philadelphia

I basically looked at google maps and picked the twistiest routes I could. Of course, we had to do 125 again. The best part was stumbling upon 2018 and the covered bridge! It was beautiful, just like in the movies. I've never ridden or driven through one before. We found it off 143 just south of Lenhartsville. It's on the left, less than 2 miles south. You need to look for it because if you don't, you'll pass it. We were so excited we forgot to take pics of the front. But here are some awesome pics of the back!

the covered bridge! built in 1896

cool house at the end of a covered bridge

covered bridge hwy 143 Dreibelbis Station Bridge

following someone thru the bridge

Looking at the map, the road behind the bridge looked really fun too.

We hit some traffic on the way back into Philadelphia so the entire day was a long one, leaving at 10am and getting home at 6:30pm. I'd say we were out riding every day from 9am to 6pm. Overall we rode ~1,100 miles and I enjoyed almost all of it, except for my horrible stock seat. We can't wait to send our seats to this guy in Florida: A Great Day to Ride. The riders on the Triumph Rat forums swear by him, and for the price I can't say no. Especially since we can do both of our seats for the cost of one Sargent or Corbin.

sue and gin 2

riding with women

I also have to mention my wonderful friends, Sue and Gin of the Women's Motorcyclist Foundation. Between the two of them they have well over 1,000,000 miles (literally) under their belts from all the roads they've ridden over the years. They won't stop riding even though they technically "should" due to them being at the age of "retirement". Not likely, anytime soon. I've learned so much from these two, I'll never stop riding until I absolutely, positively have to. They're living proof that riding motorcycles keeps you young :)

To sum it all up, I have to rate the riding as scenic, and nothing like the technical riding we have in CA. I know that there were a LOT of roads we didn't explore, because they didn't appear to be fully paved. If we all had dual sport bikes, I know we would've been more adventurous to find out what all these little roads were like. I found a TON of twisty routes in my atlas but none of them were clearly paved. I don't mind exploring every now and then and may do that on my next ride because I don't care if I hit some sand or gravel. If it's too much I'll just uturn. But I feel like there were a lot of potentially amazing roads that just need a slightly different bike...

Next Trip: Either up north to NY mountains or south to VA. Stay tuned!

What Motorcycle Maps Do You Use?

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Where do you get your motorcycle maps? What do you use? On my quest to discover PA roads, I recently acquired these MadMaps with recommended routes, scenic attractions and places to eat along the way!I used to use Benchmark Maps on my iPhone until I moved and discovered that they don't offer anything for Pennsylvania :( So off I went in search of a Pennsylvania Atlas that would show me various terrain, not just a AAA map with highway routes but something that would actually help me determine whether something was paved or not. Here's a quick list of map websites, books and apps that may help you on your journey.

  • Benchmark Maps - mainly Western US, Southwest. Fantastic resource for terrain based maps that show you paved, non paved, etc. Not motorcycle specific.
  • Butler Maps - Butler Motorcycle Maps are prerouted, showing you on and offroad routes, routes are highlighted, rated and detailed providing you elevation, places to stop and eat, and everything in between. If only they had a Pennsylvania map!
  • Delorme Atlas - The Delorme is simply an atlas for you to create your own routes. I just bought one used on Amazon and will be using it to find my own ride routes!
  • Greatest Road (iPhone App) - I've used the Greatest Road app but it doesn't integrate well with Google Maps to give me turn by turn directions. I don't have a Garmin so I can't download the route into anything.
  • MadMaps - Mad Maps have motorcycle specific ride routes, including attractions / food and recreation recommendations. Each route is listed in detail and the maps fold up easy into your tankbag.

If you have a map resource you love using, please add your comment!

Riding Motorcycles in Pennsylvania with Mad Maps

motorcycles routes roads pennsylvania mad maps I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier, but Mad Maps has riding maps all over the country! Of course, they have an extensive offering of maps for the Bay Area, but they have one for PA and NJ. Woo Hoo! Looking forward to checking out these routes as soon as they hit my mailbox.