Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Joy Riding

It’s never too late to discover the fun of cycling



Kawasaki Vulcan

The motorcycle itch—almost every red-blooded human has had it. You see a couple of buddies leaning their sport bikes through the twisties on a bright summer day, or a couple out on that big old cruiser. Or maybe you just catch Easy Rider on Netflix. And you think, “yeah, but—”

But nothing. We’re here to tell you from experience that itch is worth scratching—and with today’s friendlier-than-ever bikes, it’s easy to do. With a little training and vigilant riding, it’s pretty safe, too.

We went bike shopping for you this past December at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, at New York’s Javits Center. We were looking for bikes suited for grownups who were either first-timers or what the industry calls “Chapter Two riders”—midlife empty-nesters who hung up their wheels years ago to raise a family. If that describes you, manufacturers have you in their sights. After years of jockeying to build the biggest, baddest, tire-shreddingest beasts, they realized their future belongs to people like us, who just want to have fun.

So we set out to find bikes you could feel confident riding, even as a newbie. Our three criteria: Under 1,000cc. Comfortable riding position. Available anti-lock brakes (ABS) or traction control. The good news—there are almost too many bikes to choose from, and most of them are reasonably priced.

Let’s start with a toe-dipper: The Honda Rebel (pictured left) Older riders may scowl, recalling the underpowered, underloved 250cc Rebel of the ’80s. But the new 2017 model is a real motorcycle. Bypass the 300cc model for the 500cc—a half-liter bike with real attitude. With its responsive parallel twin engine, upright riding position, light weight (408 pounds wet, i.e., with a full tank) for easy handling, classic styling and available ABS—not to mention low seat height—it is the ideal starter bike. In fact, even for experienced riders, it might be all the bike you need.

Want to dip just your pinky toe? Check out the funky Suzuki Van Van (pictured right.) With its modest 200cc single cylinder, it’s not for the highway. The balloon rear tire and wide, plush seat promise stability and comfort, even on gravel roads or fire trails. They call this lightweight runabout (282 pounds) an “urban commuter,” but it’s also a suburban commuter. It lacks ABS, but are you going to go fast enough for that to matter?

Admittedly, you’re not going to make much of an impression parking your Van Van among the Harleys outside the coffee shop on Sunday. Here are two bikes that are both image- and rider-friendly:

The 1,000cc Indian Scout 60 (pictured left) is a detuned (by 22 HP) version of the acclaimed Indian Scout cruiser. The iconic Indian brand was resuscitated in 2011 by Polaris. Made in Spirit Lake, Iowa, the Scout is real American Iron for those who can’t buy into the whole Harley gestalt. It’s big and moderately heavy (555 pounds wet) and not cheap ($9,999 with ABS)—but think how great you’ll look.

If you’re more Tom Cruise than George Clooney, you’ll want a sport bike (aka “crotch-rocket”). The Kawasaki Z650 ABS (pictured right) has sport-bike attitude (it’s based on Kawasaki’s best-selling Ninja 650), but with a low seat height and more upright riding position. At 410 pounds wet, it’s a nimble carver of country curves.

But who needs roads? The BMW G 310 GS (pictured below) is a great entry-level adventure bike. Its  313cc single provides all the power you need for the single-track. With its higher seat height and ground clearance, you can go anywhere. And standard ABS helps stop anywhere, too.

Which bike is for you?

Ultimately, one that fits, and manufacturers are increasingly adding options that adjust seat height and reach. As Kawasaki spokesman Kevin Allen points out, “Comfort is the shortest route to confidence—which is the key to having fun.” Kawasaki’s innovative Ergo-Fit system lets you build a Vulcan S 650cc cruiser practically to measure.

Today’s rider-friendly bikes are a blast, and there’s no reason to hold back. Get your motorcycle license (see sidebar), find your dream bike, and meet us at Starbucks this Sunday at 9. The road beckons. 


Take it easy, rider

When you announce your intention to gear up, everyone will have a second- or third-hand horror story to tell you. But riding can be a lot safer than many other recreational pursuits, if you:

  • Get anti-lock brakes. ABS reduces fatalities by 37 percent.
  • Wear a helmet. In 2014, helmets saved 1,669 lives.
  • Ride sober. Nearly 30 percent of riders who lost their lives in 2014 were over the 0.08 limit.
  • Slow down. A third of riders involved in fatal crashes in 2014 were speeding.
  • Get a motorcycle endorsement on your license. In 2014, 28 percent of those involved in fatal crashes had no valid motorcycle license.
  • Take a class. You’ll learn not only the rules but everyday bike-handling and safety skills. Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all offer multiday state training programs that conclude with an evaluation, and ultimately an endorsement, waiving your road test.
  • To put it simply: How safe is motorcycle riding? That’s up to you. 

—RG & DG

Add your comment:

Connect With Us    

Sign-up for our event 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

April 2018

Earth Day with The Wildlife Line FREE admission ~ You’re invited, to come and celebrate ( : Sunday April 22nd, from 11-4, at beautiful Harrybrooke Park, in New Milford, CT. Live...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Harrybrooke Park
100 Still River Drive
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Harrybrooke Park
Telephone: 860-799-6520
Contact Name: Billy Buckbee
Website »

More information

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

Please join the Litchfield Historical Society in welcoming author Nadine Strossen for a lecture on Sunday, April 22 at 3 p.m. Debates on free speech and censorship were widespread in the 18th and...

Cost: Free for members; $5 non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

Mark Pillsbury, Orthopedic Doctor of Physical Therapy at Sharon Hospital, certified in vestibular rehabilitation with a focus on balance and related issues will be at The Litchfield Community...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week session exploring the History of 20th Century American Literature in 5...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

The Five Points Gallery Annex will be showing selected works from Ian Roche's Pastel on Sheetrock Series II beginning April 19th.  The 4'x8' pieces are based on people...

Cost: Free

Where:
Five Points Gallery Annex
17 Water Street
(2 Doors Down from Main Gallery)
Torrington, CT  06790
View map »


Sponsor:
Telephone: 917-301-4397
Contact Name: Pamela McCann
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

For her senior project, Shepaug Valley High School student and artist Sierra Soletsky researched art rehabilitation programs, a topic that reflects both her love for art and her interest in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Curious about meditation? Come experience an hour of guided meditation and sound healing aimed to help you release tension, sleep better, and cultivate overall happiness. No prior experience...

Cost: 15.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

Curious about meditation? Come experience an hour of guided meditation and sound healing aimed to help you release tension, sleep better, and cultivate overall happiness. No prior experience...

Cost: 15.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

For her senior project, Shepaug Valley High School student and artist Sierra Soletsky researched art rehabilitation programs, a topic that reflects both her love for art and her interest in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

The Five Points Gallery Annex will be showing selected works from Ian Roche's Pastel on Sheetrock Series II beginning April 19th.  The 4'x8' pieces are based on people...

Cost: Free

Where:
Five Points Gallery Annex
17 Water Street
(2 Doors Down from Main Gallery)
Torrington, CT  06790
View map »


Sponsor: Five Points Gallery Annex
Telephone: 917-301-4397
Contact Name: Pamela McCann
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

For her senior project, Shepaug Valley High School student and artist Sierra Soletsky researched art rehabilitation programs, a topic that reflects both her love for art and her interest in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Fine Line Art Gallery in Woodbury is excited to announce its annual event, Connecticut Artists’ Spring Show, on April 27, 28, and 29.  This exhibition draws crowds from the tri-state...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

For her senior project, Shepaug Valley High School student and artist Sierra Soletsky researched art rehabilitation programs, a topic that reflects both her love for art and her interest in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

Spring is the season of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. A time to renew our body and mind. It is never too late to begin healing. We must begin caring for ourselves in a way that will promote...

Cost: 15.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

Interested in growing your own potatoes? Join us for an informative session! Experienced organic grower Holli will go over prepping, planting, cultivation, and harvest. Each participant will leave...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

Our 95th Anniversary Celebration begins with a circa 1923 Roaring Twenties Cocktail Party from 2-6 on Saturday, April 28 at the opening of our Spring Juried Show. Guests are being asked to come...

Cost: suggested donation of $10

Where:
Kent Art Association Gallery
21 So. Main St.
Kent , CT
View map »


Telephone: 860-927-3989
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Empty Bowl is a community fundraiser in support of the New Milford Food Bank. Gather to share soup & bread provided by the generosity of local restaurants, bakers and caterers and served by...

Cost: $20

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Litchfield Jazz will team up with (and at) the Litchfield Distillery and its community-minded founder, Jack Baker, to put on Spring Spirits, an evening of drink, food, jazz and a select...

Cost: $75

Where:
Litchfield Distillery
569 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join your community and enjoy an evening of live music performed by four singer songwriters in our spacious community room! Donations are graciously accepted, and snacks are available for...

Cost: Free - donations graciously accepted

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

Fine Line Art Gallery in Woodbury is excited to announce its annual event, Connecticut Artists’ Spring Show, on April 27, 28, and 29.  This exhibition draws crowds from the tri-state...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

TownVibe Green Awards 2018

Litchfield Out & About May/June

All That Glitters

A visit to the fairy-tale workspace of master gilder Carol Leskanic

What’s All the Buzz About?

Mason bees make great neighbors––and how you can help add them to your area

Flowers

Bringing them inside
Edit ModuleShow Tags