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2000 miles in 60 days
By Tom Neel – Halcyon #568
I have never been the “climb Mt. Everest type”. You know, to have a goal of subjecting myself to something just for the sake of saying, “I conquered it!” So on the face of things, racking up miles so early upon delivery of my Halcyon would not really be considered part of my wheelhouse. Why then?
Let me first get out of the way that 2000 miles in 60 days of ownership is not a ridiculously lofty of goal. Plenty have crossed this country in short order and blown through my 2000 miles in just a few days, though few have done so on a Halcyon. But their purpose was different, more of the Mt. Everest type of challenge, as many others have taken their time doing the same trip. For me, all I first set out to do was to get the first service out of the way quickly. In one week to be precise. 500 miles in a week is one thing, the fact that I did it in temperatures between 38 and 45 degrees wearing no heated gear, is quite another. It was January cold, frigidly so.
I think a couple of things were triggered during that first 500 miles, though. First of which was the forming of a robust smile. So wide was my grin, that what began as a nice first ride continued for over 100 miles. That first ride was so fun, the numbing cold could not stop me from riding again five times in a row. With the first service behind me, I needed to take a test ride, and son-of-a-gun if I didn’t do another 100 miles. Folks, I’ve been riding motorcycles nearly 50 years. I’ve owned a bunch of them bikes and ridden many, many more. The Halcyon quite simply was a very fresh riding experience.
Yes, I’ve owned motorcycles with very little on tap at the throttle. Yes, I’ve owned a rigid frame. In fact my last one (in 1978) didn’t even have a sprung seat. Yes, I’ve owned motorcycles that you can both kick or use an electric start. I’ve even owned light-weight motorcycles, but this package was different. How so? Well, I’ll start with saying that of the many bikes with cushy seats and suspension I’ve ridden, few have been as comfortable on my bottom end as this thing. I opted for the wide seat, even though I’m neither wide or tall myself. I’ve also spent time on my friend Shane’s standard Halcyon seat and would make the same claim. The seat is comfortable, though it is worth noting that it pays to place your butt back on the springs rather than forward on the hinge.
Past the seat, there’s the Halcyon’s happy 250 engine, especially when it frees up with additional miles. Honestly, it’s not in this little engine’s DNA to give up, even when confronted with a reasonable elevation change. Instead it does its best to hold its own. On the delicious country roads I gobble up here in North Carolina, I’ve had so many joyful experiences slaloming down one twisty hill, heading up the next with the speedo at 60mph. Right where you think exhaustion would take place, it’s actually gaining a mile or two. Could you kill it by throwing a wall at it? Of course. But it wants to please. In fact if the Halcyon was a dog it would most certainly be a Fox Terrier. They may be little, but they have loads of fight and play in them. You would have to explain to a Fox Terrier that it’s not a big dog, but it wouldn’t do you any good to do so, because they wouldn’t listen anyway. So goes the Halcyon.
The Halcyon’s wide bars and light weight are a flickable combination, almost comically so. I’ve caught myself actually laughing while riding this motorcycle. Remember that Fox Terrier I was talking about? If you want to have fun with one, you don’t throw it a ball, you throw it a squirrel! That’s what the Halcyon feels like rippin’ through the countryside. Which brings me to those miles. You don’t crack off big miles quickly while sitting at traffic lights or stop signs. I avoid both like the plague (I would say something else, but it’s too soon to mention it). Instead, I was blessed with the long winding roads found in this state. Some go 20-30 miles before you even think about where to go next. Just one turn after another. Bliss! Yes, I took it on a “sort of” highway twice for 5 miles or so to explore top speed, which in my case was 68 confirmed by my Garmin NAV. Really, all of my riding was just out where the rural scenery is endless and stories could be imagined.
This may actually be the Halcyon’s greatest asset. It’s ability to make you feel like you are riding a story. I’ve called it a time machine, but it is more. It is styled from a different era, yet it ironically makes me feel younger riding it. Even though its ride is so engaging, for some reason it makes me vividly aware of my surroundings and the lives lived in each little house I pass by. Remember as well that these are pandemic miles. Miles where freedom aboard a motorcycle feels like its own form of vaccination. But bring the Halcyon to a stop for a sip of fuel and you will surely experience its celebrity. People simply cannot help themselves. They just have to ask what it is and snap a photo. You feel like you’re the best friend of a star.
I’m at a gas station trying to figure out if my credit card needs to be put in and removed quickly, or left in for approval. All the while I’m still helmeted with earplugs in. I faintly hear what sounds like yelling. I look around and quickly notice an old pickup truck with an even older man hung halfway out the passenger side window hollering at me….. “Hey!!! Is that an old Harley!!!?” “What?”, I holler back. “Is that an old Harley?!!!!!!!” “No”, pointing at the tank logo, “it’s a Janus!!!!” The verbal yodeling goes on as the light he’s at turns green and his buddy, the driver, moves on. I’ve come to know this is normal for the Halcyon and its owner, and in 2000 miles I’ve happily been a mobile salesperson for the chaps in Goshen. The bike should come with a brochure rack.
My constant FaceBook Owners Group postings were graciously supported, especially from those helplessly snowed in. I found myself riding for them too! I thought for sure 1100 miles in the first 30 days would be enough to settle my amusement park attitude towards this fun machine, but this was not to be the case. Even as temperatures did their best to warm and precipitation dampened my outings, 100 mile days continued to be enjoyed. I simply found myself on the Halcyon again and again until I found myself within 350 miles of a new target. 2000 miles in 60 days, which I took care of in 4 rides. That last 50 miles or so was left for the last day. Day 59 actually, and along the way I stopped to snap a photo of mile number 1955, my birth year. Hum, born in the month of May, what number will I see on the Halcyon’s speedo by then? Who knows, but with its 2000 mile service already behind me, rest assured there will be many more happy miles to come!