SCRC Loudoun VA Featured Member - July, 2008

Name:   Chris Merrill

Nickname:   SpeedBraker

Marital Status:  Married (to Mongo)

Location:  Centrevile, VA

Hometown:  Berlin, PA

Children:  2 (Alex - 17 and Lauren - 22)

Age:  41

Occupation:  Systems Engineer

Current motorcycle(s):  2001 Honda Shadow VLX 600 (black)

How did you hear about the SCRC and when did you join?
Tom and Julie Geery

How long have you been riding?
I have been a passenger for many years; I started riding on my own last year, but it didn't go so well,

Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course?
Twice, passed both times!

What was your first bike?
My Shadow

How many bikes have you owned?

Why do you ride?
I am actually not sure I like driving; the jury is still out on that one. I really like being a passenger because it is great one-on-one time with Kevin. I also really enjoy just looking around and daydreaming, it is very relaxing.

Have you ridden with an organized group before?
We have participated in Ride for Kids events for many years.

What modifications have you done to your bike?
Modifications, well it has new lights, mirrors and pegs since my little ‘parking lot mishap’. I bought the bike used and actually took a lot of the extra lights off.

What accessories do you want to add to your bike?
None, I like it just the way it is.

What is your dream bike?
I don't think I have one. I really like the Suzuki S-40, but am too cheap to buy it.

What kind of riding do you like to do — straight-aways or twisties?
I like a nice combination of both, I get bored easily.

If you have a nickname, how did you get it? Tell the truth!
Last spring, on our wedding anniversary, I had taken the bike out for a little practice round in the parking lot. I cut a corner too sharp and jumped over a curb and into the air. I landed the jump but was pretty freaked out and wanted to stop. I managed to get throttle and brake at the same time (hence Speed Braker). The bike lurched and it ended up under the only parked vehicle (a truck) in the parking lot. I ended up with emergency abdominal surgery, a week in the hospital and some ugly scars as souvenirs.

What is your favorite riding route?
Country roads, with little traffic and pretty things to look at.

Do you ride your bike to work?

What is the fastest you’ve ridden?
When I am driving only about 35mph (I have progressed out of neighborhoods and parking lots). When I am with Kevin, well when we are going too fast I just don't look at the I don&'t really know.

What is your favorite time of year to ride?
I think the Fall, I love the beautiful scenery.

Have you ever been down? If so, how were you hurt and what did you learn from the incident?
Oh yeah I have dropped it several times at slow speeds. I learned I could pick it up if I was the only one around and need to. And of course the incident in the parking lot with the truck. I learned a parked vehicle won’t get out of your way and that even though there were at least 5 things to do instead of hitting the truck none of the just ‘came’ to me in a panic; which reinforces the need to practice, practice, practice! And the biggest lesson was let go of the throttle when you apply the brake.

Have you ever done an "Iron Butt" ride?
No and it really doesn't sound like fun to me.

If not, what is the furthest you’ve ridden?
I am not a long haul rider, remember I get bored easily. We made a great weekend trip to the Goshen, Steele's Tavern, Lexington area; that was the longest 3-days of riding for me.

What was the worst weather in which you’ve ridden?
Torrential rain for about 3 hours driving back from Thunder in the Valley (in Johnstown Pennsylvania). I rained so hard you could barely see, water puddled in our boots and gloves; it evened shorted out the radios.

Do you know how to work on your bike?
Kevin and my son take care of that for me.

What is your favorite road song?
80's hair-band music and maybe a few country songs that are fun to sing along (thank goodness for push-to-talk radios, so everyone doesn't have to listen)

What was your most adventurous ride?
The last half-mile down the driveway to the B&B in Steele's Tavern.

What rallies or events do you like to attend?
Anything were there are SCRC folks, you are fun people.

Is there someone who rides "two-up" with you?
I ride ‘two-up’ with Kevin. I do have a little ‘Chim-Chim’ that rides along on my Shadow. It would be fun to take Kevin for a ride, but I am not sure he is that brave.

Off the cuff from...SpeedBraker
I am looking forward to a time in our lives when we can just wake up and take off on the bike to whereever with no plan or agenda and no worries about jobs or kids or dogs or chores, ..ahhhh that would be the life. Ok maybe I'll settle for running a B&B for motorcyclist instead,