SCRC Loudoun VA Featured Member - January, 2010

Name:   Geoff Gates

Nickname:   Dogfish

Location:  Ashburn, VA

Hometown:  Mt. Laurel, NJ

Children:  One - Age 6

Age:  36, at least that's what I thought until my mom hand wrote "happy 37th" in my card this past year. Now I'm not so sure.

Occupation:  Engineering Manager

Current motorcycle(s):  2008 Yamaha (Star) Stratoliner S

How did you hear about the SCRC and when did you join?
Let's see, it started pretty much the day I started looking for a motorcycle. I was on a motorcycle safety site where I ran into Throttle, who mentioned an SCRC member was selling a certain purple V-star 650 custom which at one point belonged to Fiery. Turns out I didn't end up buying that bike. A few weeks later I bought a V-star 650 (now Buffy's bike), Naturally, I was fairly excited about it, so I posted it on the SCRC Forum. Doc, having read the posting, offered to accompany me on my ride home, or in my case up to the Leesburg DMV where I planned to register it. I figured that was a pretty nice gesture for some folks I had never met, so I joined up immediately. Why not? As I reflect on it, it was a memorable day. As I took the "motorcycle route" home, I came within several feet of a small black bear that afforded me some ad hoc short stopping practice. I even went to skoot school the very next day to do some more.

How long have you been riding?
Not too long, about 2 years.

Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course?
Yep. Father's day weekend 2008. Turned out a bunch of SCRC folks were in the NVCC parking lot for the Solomon's island ride, not that I knew this.

What was your first bike?
See above - Yamaha (Star) V-star 650

How many bikes have you owned?
The Strat is only the second. But if I can continue to average 1 new bike a year that'd be great!

Why do you ride?
It seemed almost like an impulsive decision. However, I believe we aren't as impulsive as we make ourselves out to be. I had a good friend who died only about 6 months before I decided to ride. In Nov 2007, John was loading his Heritage classic that had broken down on the Nimitz Highway in HI with his wife and stepson, and was struck by a hit-and-run driver and died on the scene. John was full of enthusiasm and extremely dedicated to his family, friends and country. So much so, he was posthumously promoted to Lt. Colonel, a promotion for which he was selected just prior to the accident. To this day, they never found the coward that killed him. I swear a small part of him was reincarnated in me and that's what got me into this. Maybe it was an impulse. Maybe not. I do know that motorcycling was not something I aspired to do for very long before I decided to do it. Of course, let's not kid ourselves. It's a heck of a lot of fun too.

Have you ridden with an organized group before?
Nope. I have been a member of SCRC Loudoun almost exactly the same amount of time I've been riding!

What modifications have you done to your bike?
Well, let's see. I've only owned the Strat for 9 months. Since then I haven't really needed to change much by way of performance. Heck, with over 100 horsepower and 120 or so ft-lb of torque the Stratoliner has plenty of power to get me in trouble. I did add some comfort items though. Risers for some pull back, Kury grips, some lighting upgrades, floorboards for my daughter when she rides (which isn't often), a Lindby linbar for alternate footrest position, and I'm sure a few other odds and ends that I'm forgetting about.

What accessories do you want to add to your bike?
Definitely would like to get some communications, maybe a CB. The only other thing might be more storage, but then again when has rider fulfilled their wishlist? I think I will be considered done customizing it the day I sell it.

What is your dream bike?
Hard to say really. The Strat handles so nicely. It does lack some of the features found on a couch rocket, but for now I think it fits the bill. Better to enjoy what I have now than dream about something better. Besides, is there a perfect bike?

What kind of riding do you like to do — straight-aways or twisties?
If I'm riding for pleasure definitely twisties. But riding is a mode of transportation for me too, so straight-aways have a place. Like Breeze says "The journey IS the destination".

If you have a nickname, how did you get it? Tell the truth!
Not yet!

What is your favorite riding route?
That'd be like trying to pick my favorite musical artist. Around here, any routes that encompass some nice twisties and views works for me. Many roads out in the Blue Ridge Mountains would fit this bill.

Do you ride your bike to work?
Frequently. I tend to impose two rules on myself, I will ride in rain, I will ride in cold. I generally prefer not to ride in both at the same time.

What is the fastest you’ve ridden?
You mean I'm supposed to be looking at the speedometer while I'm riding?!?!

What is your favorite time of year to ride?
I'd have to say Spring and Fall are my favorites. For obvious reasons, not too hot, not too cold, scenery is changing.

Have you ever been down? If so, how were you hurt and what did you learn from the incident?
Once. I was coming off a tar and chip road onto 50 somewhere a bit west of Upperville. During a right turn I gave a bit too much throttle, broke the rear wheel free in some of the pea gravel and went over. All-in-all it could have been much worse, but I did suffer a mid-grade MCL tear that still to this day reminds me of the incident when it rains. I learned a lot of things, mostly to keep an eye out for camo-gravel and some tactical knowledge on where it might be prevalent. I actually rode home that day. Granted, the right floorboard bent enough to render the rear brake useless. After the adrenaline wore off, I had a nice limp for a couple months. Several SCRC folks were there to help me through that one.

Have you ever done an "Iron Butt" ride?
Nope. Not to say I wouldn't consider it.

If not, what is the furthest you’ve ridden?
Who knows, maybe 300 miles or so in a day. Not much really. I'd like to go much further but finding the time is always a challenge.

What was the worst weather in which you’ve ridden?
Luckily for me not too bad. Probably just rain and moderate cold with no rain gear. Cold and wet legs and feet.

Do you know how to work on your bike?
Sure do. I work on both the Strat and the V-star 650.

What is your favorite road song?
That's like trying to pick my dream bike. Never know what type of mood I'm in. I think one of the quintessential road songs might be Radar Love by Golden Earring, but I have not yet listened to this song while riding. I could probably think of 5 more that would be near tied.

What was your most adventurous ride?
I'm not sure I would consider any ride I've been on 'adventurous'. Aside from black bear encounters, daily commuting in Northern VA, LOL, everything seems fairly routine. Someday I would like to ride somewhere FAR. Maybe not Alaska, but certainly somewhere out west would be nice. I was there once in a motorhome. Next time I'm doing it on 2 wheels.

What rallies or events do you like to attend?
Anything goes for me. As long as it involves riding or motorcycles I'm in!

Is there someone who rides "two-up" with you?
My daughter has been on pillion a few times. Mostly to the movie theater, the grocery story, etc. The first time she had a smile so wide it filled the entire face shield.

Off the cuff from...Dogfish
I have to say, SCRC is a great club. If I were to go back 3 or 4 years, I wouldn't even have imagined joining a motorcycle club...didn't really even think about it. Not that I was against it or anything but it just never crossed into my thoughts. Now, I can't imagine not having done so.