Thursday, August 11, 2011


The peaceful morning of Mohonk Mountain House belied a few hangovers amongst our cadre, although everyone miraculously met our appointed 8:15 'wheels up' time, as we had a little extra motivation: Wednesday was track day!  We had a date with Lime Rock, the Connecticut track which is exclusively a car racing venue, but we had been granted laps by ride sponsor/bike provider BMW, probably because BMW is also a sponsor of Lime Rock.

Our only technical glitch of the week made us a little late, as a loose wire in Grant Reynold's 1300 GS's ignition switch prevented it starting, and he spent the day on a loaner machine.  The landscape as we entered Connecticut grew increasingly lush and gorgeous, with prosperous farms and mammoth horse barns indicating we'd entered the high-rent district.

Arriving at the track, we were greeted with snacks and the news that we'd only get 6 laps with a maximum speed of 50mph...which was certainly not what we had imagined.  A little negotiation bought us 8 laps at 60mph, but the rule was still 'no passing', 'single file', and 'follow the pace car'.  Lime Rock isn't set up for motorcycles, with zero runoff/sand pit area anywhere on the track, and sliding off would mean saying hello to Armco, which literally formed the perimeter of most corners.  Not a 'safe' place to play, especially on a bunch of road bikes with riders dressed for the weather, not the fall.

Still, indulging in 'hang back/catch up' antics meant the flavor of the track, and my RR, could be discovered, and I was delighted to find myself wheelying over the back stretch hill on full throttle, before shutting down to 'not pass' Tricia, and not land on her parcel rack!  Arriving at high speed behind another rider, exiting the track suddenly to the pits, provided my only 'moment' with the RR, as clamping on the anchors and swerving to avoid him produced a curious handlebar waggle while scrubbing off lots of speed.  A very interesting moment indeed.

Our lunch stop was at the Hancock Shaker Village; the Shakers are a religious group who believe in equality and education of all sexes and races, hard work, and celibacy...which is probably why only 3 actual Shakers are left, in Rhode Island.  The first indication that Shakers were not Luddites like the Amish was a huge solar panel array near the entry - an embrace of new technology was part of the Shaker credo, and the Trust which owns the property continues in that vein.

Examples of 19th century Shakertech included a water-turbine driven wood shop; the turbine sits under the floorboards of the shop, and uses 500gal/min water pressure to spin the cast-iron turbine, producing about 3.5hp - enough to belt-drive all the bandsaws, planers, and lathes of their woodworking shop.  Shaker furniture is simple, distinctive, and very well made...and replicas can be purchased at Pottery Barn et al.

A round stone barn from 1826 visually dominated the farm, and the reason for its shape was an example of further clever thinking; a multi-tier construction, carts were driven onto an upper floor mezzanine ring to dump hay into the center of the barn, where 52 cows fed in stalls radiating from the central pillar.  As the barn is round, the carts were driven right back out again without having to reverse.  The cows were milked and housed on the middle level, but the floorboards were removable, and their excrement was swept into a cellar, where it was collected and carted away for fertilizer.  Truly, a machine for cattle husbandry.  Too bad they didn't make steam motorcycles...
Shaker furniture in the laundry room
Chris Redman and Marguerite Moreau crossing our millionth girder steel bridge...
Kiehl's pres Chris Salgardo and Grant Reynolds ham it up on Chris' own LifeCycle...
Chris' patented 'Blue Steel' front of the BMW semi which shadowed our trip; this was the first we'd seen of it.
Helmet renegades; Conrad Leach models his own design of Davida helmet, while Jason Lee prefers his matte black version
Justin Chatwin found admirers on two and four legs...
Paul Cox and his modified polo helmet.  Ralph Lauren?
21 riders, 9 photographers...80,000 photographs to edit.
Travis Shinn imperils his back with sunroof antics at speed.

1 comment:

GuitarSlinger said...

The Shaker Mantra ;

First and Foremost , make it Function

Then , if at all possible , and without losing a single aspect of its Function , make it Beautiful .

Imagine what the World would look like if everyone subscribed to this aspect of Shaker Philosophy .

Everything would function ( rather than hardly anything working as advertised ) and we wouldn't have this mass plethora of Ugly surrounding our day to day lives .

FYI - Let me add my two cents about Hancock Village . GO ! The wife and I spent an entire day there on our way down from Montreal to Lennox Mass. ( concert @ Tanglewood ) Well worth the journey/detour .