A Sunday Morning Thearpy Session

A Sunday Morning Therapy Session was originally published 10 March 2002. A lot has changed since this was written. The Kings Highway Bridge no longer exists as well as other changes. I don't have the little CBR anymore either; but, I have continued to pursue my Sunday morning therapy sessions in the very same places. Now-a-days at a much more subdued pace.

I managed to slip off Sunday morning; no going to work, or working around the house, no moving furniture. I wasn't going to do any of the things that had been consuming my life; it was time for me to decompress from life's pressure with some therapeutic riding time. I disappeared from the house before anyone could make a demand for my attention or time. I intended to make it to breakfast with a bunch of my riding friends over at Kristy's restaurant. However my getting up late didn't allow that. I quickly rerouted myself and headed off for a solo ride in the countryside.

The last time I was able to ride "the little bike" (1990 Honda CBR 600 F3), I discovered it very badly needed a new clutch, and some new tires.

Today was my first chance to test the new chain, clutch and just scrubbed new Dunlop "Sportmaxs" I just recently installed. I had been riding on the new tires commuting to and from work for about two weeks; I figured they were ready now for a full test.

I rolled out of my neighborhood slowly and quietly so as not to disturb none of my new neighbors. I couldn't help myself after I came to a stop and turned right onto Harpersville Road I snapped the throttle revving the engine up to about 7 or 8 grand on the tachometer and put the neighborhood behind me rather fast.

Jefferson Ave was busy for a Sunday morning, but the traffic was still light. I managed to get to the James River Bridge without attracting the attention of Newport News' finest. I don't know how. I was testing the new clutch's improved grab on just about every gear change…

Once past the bridge and on the causeway headed south toward Carrollton and the rest of Isle Of Wight County I noticed my speed had picked up to the 90 mark. The little 600 feels the same at 45 mph as it does at 90 mph only the wind rush in my helmet and the sound from the exhaust change. The D&D performance exhaust gets louder the harder the little engine runs, but most of this sound was drowned out by Aerosmith playing in my walkmans headset.

I slowed down to the 55 as I came off the bridge causeway in case one of the troopers or county police cars might be hanging around the old tollbooth. Once on 17 and heading south a quick left on Brewers Neck Road and then a left on Benns Church Blvd I made my way toward Chuckatuck.

After turning on to Benns Church Blvd I made a down quick shift and a little more throttle; a zig and a zag got me around some offending slow traffic and opened a clear road ahead. The tachometer needle kept a steady upward movement. I looked down at the speedometer and was surprised to see the 105 mph mark disappearing under the needle. Before I could react and slow down; a little old lady in a big black American car blew past me as if I was standing still, remember I was still doing 105….

After granny blew past me I slowed down to a more reasonable 65mph and continued on; although I was feeling a bit humble now. I started out my little ride thinking how fast this little motorcycle is, but granny has shown me the error in my thinking…

I slowed down to the double nickel down shifted and braked for a right hand turn, putting me on the road which will take me to some of the best backcountry roads to ride. I passed through a neighborhood of fairly new houses at 40 once again trying not to disturb the neighborhood. After the neighborhood the road starts to snake its way along. Turns, twists and switchbacks galore, I was in motorcycle heaven.

I am still learning the feel of the little bike, and I haven't been out on these roads for several months; keeping my speed down was prudent as I made my way down Longview Drive (602) to Burnt Mills Lake.

I covered the distance from my turn to the lake in pretty quick time; even with my subdued speeds. The grass areas around the launch ramp at Burnt Mills were full of pickup trucks attached to empty boat trailers; it seemed like everyone was fishing today except me. I made a mental note to dust off my fishing tackle and do some fishing this summer.

Longview Drive (602) turns into Kirk Road when you pass Quaker Road (654) rolling up to the last intersection I turned right. Now on Everets Road (603) and headed westerly I crossed over the bridge separating Burnt Mills from Western Branch Lake.

I noticed the spill way was running heavy as it always does at this time of year. No shortage of water in Burnt Mills.

Up the hill and left hand sweeping speed turn, which becomes a right hand sweeper, then the road straightens out and comes to a tee intersection with Lake Prince Drive (604); there are farm fields on all sides of the intersection giving you clear visibility. A down shift and touch of front brake another down shift and then a push in the left handle bar and I am headed down Lake Prince Drive toward the lake the road is named for.

This road was widened, banking the new road surface in the corners a few years ago. The immediate section in front of me consisted of a good straight away then a drop down into a nice right hand turn, a left and then another right. I down shifted to 5th gear, pushed the right bar, slid over to the right on the seat and enjoyed the grip of the Sportmaxs and the pull of the engine at 8 grand. Only fighter planes can match the thrill of a good running sport bike.

An intersection comes up fast and a populated area; I slow down to 45 mph and sit up with a big grin on my face, oh how I love to ride this little bike.

After the houses the road narrows and then crosses the lake after a quick right then a quick left downhill banked turns. The little bike is laughing through the corners; everything is running perfect. I run over the bridge separating the two halves of Lake Prince and then slow for the uphill left right switchback turn which leads into a blind entrance to the lake's launching area.

I pulled into the lake's launch area. It's time to stop and regroup a chance to absorb the day, the lake and fresh air and most of all rein in my excitement. One of my favorite trees are in bloom, the Dogwoods are exploding with their snow-white flowers contrasting against early spring's still gray colors. At this lake the lot is full of parked pickup trucks attached to empty boat trailers, the parking area isn't completely full but it's far from empty. Everyone is fishing on this sunny day.

With no one to talk to, the stop is short, one cigarette and I am off again. I make mental note never to leave home with just one tape for my Walkman. Pulling out of the launch area and out the gate, I turn right and head south on Lake Prince Dr.

I have never taken the little bikes' engine to redline, so I figure this is as good a place to try it. The road is straight for a mile or so with no cross streets or homes just forests on both sides. A smooth quick shift out of first, throttle snapped wide open in second gear to redline, another quick shift into third and to my surprise I feel my arms take a small jolt, the front wheel is airborne. The little bike carries it's front wheel for about a hundred yards before I roll off just enough throttle to set the little bike's front wheel back down; then stab the shift lever down with my toe twice and brake for the next turn.

A hard left gets me on Girl Scout Road (633). The little bike accelerates quickly all the way to the next bend. Now you have to have big steelies (balls of steel), the road surface is rough very rough and it tests the bikes suspension. The little bike is eating it up and I don't feel out of control as I have on my other bikes. Still my speed and the rough road induce some unsettling real wheel hop in that first bend. In mid corner I can feel the rear wheel stepping out sideways. Coming out of the bend I ease off the throttle a little to lose some of the speed and once again the little bike settles down.

I passed the Girl Scout camp, then down the hill past the pumping station being careful to avoid the bump, which doesn't happen. The little bike absorbed the bump with a good bounce but settled down quickly allowing us to make the left turn which will carry us across the spill way. I let the bike slow down. I have Lake Prince to my left and Western Branch on my right, I didn't see anyone fishing. They must all be working the shallow wind protected coves.

The entrance to Western Branch Lake is coming up on my right and I can see the sand spilling on to the roadway from the lakes' access road. I pass the access road entrance and turn left and up the hill, I slow down for the bicycle riders giving them plenty of room. Once I'm in front of them it's a quick downshift and wide-open throttle to red line again, this time there's no wheelie, but it's an E ticket in anyone's park. Girl Scout road joins Milners road and carries you past farms and churches.

The little bike and I complete a very fast right hand turn and then it's hard on the brakes for the stop sign. I wait for two pickup trucks to pass by and make a right. I am now back on Lake Prince Drive headed north, back the way I came. I slow down to let the trucks get well ahead of me but by the time I finish enjoying the next two switch back turns I close up on them once again.

Both trucks turn left and I go right back on Everets road. The exhaust sound coming from the little bike is a scream as engine rpms reach the 10,000 mark, accelerating the bike ahead in blur of sight and sound. I up shift and set up for the next series of switchback turns; downhill once again and across the bridge. My speed settles down and I pass by two young men standing out front of Owens Market; they stop their conversation and watch me go by at 105.

I slow down to the posted 45 mph and pass the church keeping the exhaust song from intruding on the service. I come to Godwin blvd which is Benns Church Blvd renamed after it passes through Chuckatuck. I head back toward downtown Chuckatuk I bear right at the intersection and head off on Kings Highway.

An old slow moving, oil-burning pickup truck is in front of me and he turns right as I do. We creep through the 35-mph zone at 25, past the firehouse and into right hand turn, which is almost a complete circle. The road opens into a short straightaway. The white lines break into a passing zone, I down shift twice, open the throttle and pull out of the pickup truck's blue cloud of burning oil exhaust smoke and get around the pickup. Once again I'm enjoying clean air and open road. The old pickup truck very quickly disappears in my mirrors, a few more switchback turns and the bridge will be in sight...

I pass two motorcycles headed the other way on the bridge. Harleys, the riders surprised me with a wave, and I hurriedly wave back as we cross over the bridge and head off on our similar adventures.

I set up for the slow sweeping left hand turn, down shift and push the left bar, the little bike leans over at will without effort, I find myself sliding on the seat to get my knee bent and I'm leaned over in the turn.

Coming out of the turn I up shift with the engine at 8,000 rpms the engine sings and the bike settles in at 80 mph. I slow down for a residential area, cross over the intersection and enter the straightaway. This section is arrow straight and is bordered on both sides by swamp. Twisting the throttle full open and tucking in, the little bike's exhaust note is a scream. I look down and the speedometer is indicating 135 mph. Amazingly the little bike feels the same as it did at 90. I roll off throttle and touch the brake lever with a little pressure on the rear brake to scrub off the little bikes speed and bring it to a stop at the light.

The brakes on this bike are awesome.

Under my full-face helmet my cheeks are pressing hard on the helmet liner, no one could have a grin this big.

Now I pick up traffic, I fall in and cruise on to 17 and then on to 664 and head toward my sister's new house to help move the new fridge and washing machine. Once there I can't stand still, my adrenalin is up and I want to keep on riding, the fun is back.

I get home with 70 miles on the fresh tank of gas. Rolling into the barn and parking I make some mental notes for next time. I have to learn to down shift more, the little bike seems to pull no matter what gear it's in. But to exit the corners quicker I have to carry more speed, I have to move around in the saddle more to get in corners deeper, but then, I was still happy it ran well and all the repaired parts worked perfectly. It would have been nice to share the ride with someone, but then I just did….

Back to the Index of Stories