Much has happened in the two years since Kristen and I came home from riding our BMW motorbike for almost 30,000 miles through North and South America. We have attended weddings and funerals and baby showers for some of the most important people in our lives. We moved from my birth town to a new city across the state. I've played loads of music with my best friends and Kristen has grown tremendously as a metalsmith and jeweler. We've also done our best to cram in as much travel as possible; Costa Rica to Tonga to Hawaii to Israel.
But through all that time, the same question has hung heavily in the air between us:
"When are we going to get back on the bike?"
As of June 3, 2015, Kristen and I will have been married for 10 years. 10 years! As that realization was coming to its weighty fruition several months ago, we knew we needed to do something meaningful in celebration. Nothin could be more honoring of our marriage that to continue our trek across the globe via sidecar.
On June 1st, after Kristen broke in her new Biltwell helmet in the airport lounge, we boarded the longest direct flight in the world. It takes between 16 and 17 hours to fly from Dallas, TX to Sydney, Australia. In a very manipulative move, the in-flight computer immediately lied to us about the duration. I'm on to you, Skynet...
After apparently traveling to the future, we arrived in Sydney on the morning of June 3rd. There is no amount of science or math or voodoo that can explain to me why or how we lost a day. Im nearly 33 now and at this point, I think all I can do is accept it.
After grabbing a cab to a hotel at Coogee Beach to drop off our stuff, we couldnt help but immediately head over to meet Roland and our new bike:
Bit of a plug here: Roland and the guys at Better Bikes were complete champs. There is a reason why he is running the oldest Ural dealership in Australia. All my questions and the entire purchase of the bike was done completely through email, which is both amazing and terrifying. Either way, they really stepped up and made the whole thing easy for us. Roland even put the initial miles on the bike so that it could be put through the first service before we arrived. Cheers, fellas.
There will be plenty of time to talk all about the new bike and the significant changes that Ural has made since 2007, but first we should discuss physics. Every rig I have ridden has had the sidecar mounted on the right side. This results in the bike pulling to the left when braking and pushing to the right when accelerating. As you may have noticed, our new bike has the sidecar mounted on the left, therefore the physics that I have come to know and respect are backwards. (!)
This revelation was compounded by jet lag, Sydney traffic and the mind-bending reality of riding on the opposite side of the road. As much preparation as I had done to ready myself for the changes, our first ride was a bit harrowing. And by harrowing, I mean terrifying. And by terrifying, I mean Kristen compared it to riding on the tiny mountain roads of Peru.