Sunday, April 23, 2006

Thundering Hearts practice run

Sunday turned out to be another gorgeous 70° day - blue skies with puffy white clouds, an occasional breeze. I was getting ready to head out to Milford for the first practice run of the Thundering Hearts Ride when a co-worker from Children's Hospital, Mike Jansen called to go riding. Mike rides a VTX 1800, Honda's biggest V-twin. I headed over to Mike's place and we rode on some nice back roads to Milford. Most of the riders, about 50 in all, were there because they will be road captains on the day of the Thundering Hearts ride and need to be familiar with the route.

Riding in a large group is very different from riding solo or in smaller groups. There's the "rubber-band effect" when the group tends to get stretched out or broken up due to traffic or stop-lights. Then there are the hand signals that need to be passed to the back. But mostly, the group moves as a single unit, a sea of bikes moving in sync. Its an awesome sight to see and even better to be a part of. While a group of 50 is impressive enought, the organizers are expecting close to 1000 bikes for the actual ride on May 20th! There will be a police escort and they will be blocking traffic at the intersections with the help of the road captains, so that the group can move together for the entire ride.

At the ride, we met a wonderful couple, Jimmy, an ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, and his wife Pat, who took some great pictures and was kind enough to email me some.

At the meeting point

Ready to roll

At a stop

On the move

Mike's on the right and I'm on the left

Chatting with a couple of veterans

Jimmy, Mike and me

Jimmy and Pat


Anonymous jello said...

Lovely pics. I always loved watching bikers riding in groups.... I'm sure it would've been more fun being a part of it. Lucky you :)

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Gigi said...

Jello, you'll have to join us sometime now that I'll have my own bike! You'll get the experience of a lifetime! ')

5:48 AM  
Blogger Praveen said...

nice rides vinod, must be awsome riding in such a big group in formation. but real curious of the disctances covered and speeds with that kinda canvoy.:)

the biggest group i have been in is round 14 bikes, was was real fun in the night in the narrow ghats around ooty. where u could see the tail lamps of the bikes ahead serpant around in pitch darkness.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Vinod said...

Praveen: It was an 80 mile ride. Speeds varied from 35mph(56Kmph)through towns to about 65mph (104 Kmph)on highways,strictly within speed limits. On yesterday's ride, the rubber-band effect broke up the group several time, but on the day of the actualy ride, hopefull all 1000 riders will be able to move together with the help of the police escort.

I lived in Ooty when I was a kid for several years. I bet riding those windy roads was fun!!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Deepa said...

Looks like it was fantastic ride..... Pics make me so envious.... :)

Watching a group of riders thundering down a road is simply awesome.... I wish I could atleaast see it .. if not be a part of it.

I shall echo Jello's thoughts and say "LUCKY YOU"!!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous jello said...

Gigi I'll take you on, on that one :) I'm pretty sure it'll be awesome!

1:01 PM  
Blogger The Dream Ride said...

I only hope my ride can be as successful. And I'll settle for just fifty riders. (shameless plug for the DreamRide)

The pictures you have here on the rides are great. I can almost smell the smells and feel the breeze.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous dp said...

Amazing man! Got to learn a few things (esp. for non-bikers like me): the rubber-band effect. Now only if you can elaborate a li'l on the "hand signals that need to be passed to the back" :-)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

hey Dp, here's a link with pictures of the hand signals used in group riding:

9:20 AM  
Blogger Biker Betty said...

Vinod, I look forward to reading your blog when the ride's over. Be sure to get lots of pics. You do a great job writing up your rides. I've ridden in a group of 7 and that was a lot of fun. I can just imagine the lump in my throat with riding in a group of 50 and then the possible 1,000!!! AWWWESOMMMME!!!

Safe Travels, Betty :)

6:09 PM  

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