Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Wheels in the Sticks

Kissell Motorsports owner Craig Kissell has given me the keys to the candy store. Or so it seems to me.

Craig has offered me whatever I want to ride from his fine establishment and treat them like my own. At least temporarily. A chance to try some other machines in the sticks. Or maybe he was getting tired of seeing the Vespa all the time in pictures. I've been turning things over in my head since we first discussed this back in February and just recently decided to give it a go. Over the coming weeks and months you'll be seeing periodic posts bearing the title New Wheels in the Sticks with stories and photos reflecting my experiences with motorcycles and scooters that are not my Vespa GTS250ie. I'm not sure what to expect but am open to the adventure.

A few words about Kissell Motorsports.

You can find the dealership in State College, Pennsylvania on West College Avenue. It's the kind of place that has a lot of things I like.

Unless I have a specific reason to be there I tend to follow the same pattern in the store. Walk in and absorb the energy, scan the place for familiar faces, and then walk over to the Vespa section. After almost 5 years on a Vespa scooter they have not lost their luster. And Piaggio continues to deliver interesting machines. And colors. Like the Vespa GTS300ie in this picture.

On to the Triumph section, a quick look at helmets and then either a visit to a Kawaski KLR or off to the back where the pre-owned machines live. I'm predictable.

Things get dicey from this point. I glance furtively at the Ducati's for fear that I will be identified as unworthy of entering that section of the store. The Ducati's sit there oozing power. They are seriously imposing. I believe this to be true. I also believe that doughnuts or ice cream are fine for breakfast. I need to make some adjustments and modifications in things.

So Craig and I have worked out an agreement and we are embarking on a new project. Not only is he supportive of me riding his wares he's leaving it up to me to write what I think. I almost feel like a junior moto-journalist. More likely a moto-essayist. As I embark on this journey I'm curious as to what I will find out about myself and motorcycles. And how my obsession with the Vespa will fare in comparison. I'm also going to use this project to reach beyond what I usually do on the scooter and talk to people who ride other things. Find out what makes them tick.

The journey has begun. This past Friday after work I picked up a 2009 Triumph Bonneville. A not so secret love. I'll be posting reflections from four days of temporary ownership soon. And I'm already thinking about what I want to ride next.

16 comments:

John McClane said...

Or even a photo-moto-essayist?

Coop said...

Steve, I'm really looking forward to this. I own numerous machines and have ridden dozens but I'd be a bit intimidated by the opportunity.

Can't wait to get in on what you discover!

Bryan Edwards said...

Man, I am envious. I would love to have a dealer that would let me try out his bikes.

matt~ said...

I don't ride, but even I know that's one cool looking bike.

Kimberli said...

Very cool. I've come to expect that from Kissell. Look forward to hearing and seeing the New Wheels in the Sticks posts.

They have a 300 in?!?!?!

Charlie6 said...

You lucky dog!

Brian Clarke said...

Very Nice! Sounds like a GREAT store that I will be sure to stop by and visit if ever thru the area.

I would love to have a shop that looks so well stocked and approachable like that down here in my area.

I think you will ride the KLR next. You know it's just a matter of time.

KarinaJean said...

I can't wait to see what you say - I'm happily driving my partners "spare" SV650 but have been eying the triumphs (and some dual-sports) as my first bike purchase!

Steve Williams said...

John McClane: Photo-Moto-Essayist. That rolls right off the tongue.

Coop: It is sort of intimidating. I've met riders who own a lot of motorcycles but for me it is a departure from my rather pedestrian ownership pattern. Already though I feel I should have a second one.

Bryan Edwards: I guess you need to keep your eyes peeled for those factory demo days. And bring your friends who own motorcycles doughnuts until the say the magic words "wanna try her out?"

Steve Williams said...

matt: The Triumph is definitely cool. I'm working on my first write up about the first evening I had with it. It only took minutes to be smitten...

Kimberli: Yes, Kissell's has a nice white Vespa GTS300ie on the floor. When you look at it you can tell it has extra power. Like my GTS on steroids or something.

Charlie6: I still consider you one lucky dog to have all the rides you do out in Colorado!

Steve Williams said...

Brian Clarke: The KLR is definitely on my must ride list. I have always liked their utilitarian nature. And I'm tall enough to not be overwhelmed by the seat height!

Karina Jean: There are a lot of motorcycles there to look at. In addition to the Bonneville I'm hoping to try out the Scramble and the Tiger. Both fine choices.

MissScooter said...

I am a very jealous girl right now. You are so lucky Steve!

MissScooter
www.smshelmets.com

Sojourner rides said...

Wow! Starting off at the top. Congrats on this new venture. One's perspective is always good to get a bit of a challenge not and again. What a fine bike!

There is something about pressing one's knees tight around the tank and feeling that power...waiting to see if and how this may shape and/or influence your perspective.

Steve Williams said...

Miss Scooter: I too feel fortunate that this opportunity has come along. I'll try and provide a vicarious experience for you through words and pictures!

Sojourner Rides: I'm curious also to gauge my reactions to the different machines. I've always felt I was adaptable to various situations. Now's my chance to test that hypothesis...

Tinker said...

Would his kindness extend to a Speed Triple? Because a Speed Triple plays a large part in my personal dreams/nightmares.

Steve Williams said...

Tinker: I'm sure he would give me one if that's what I wanted. I've been interested in the Tiger but haven't thought much about the Triple because of the leaned over riding position. I'll take another look....