Simon’s street ride.

Simon recently took a very short street ride on the DRZ. He was calm throughout the ride so it was time to advance his training with a longer street ride. The plan: Hook up with some friends in Fallbrook and visit the twisty north county roads.

Although a street ride lacks the bumps of a dirt ride, we could at least determine if Simon could tolerate a full day in the backpack and hours of random movement.

The ride was going great up to one point: We were on a twisty low-to-medium speed road behind a woman on a cruiser. She blew a right-hand curve just as a car was approaching and before I knew it, I was watching her slide on the ground. I could tell she was sliding back into my line and my first thought was SIMON!!!! Today was most definitely NOT the day to get pitched off The Tard. I held my line and stayed on the throttle and watched as her gloved hand slid under my left footpeg. While I dodged her to the right, Wayne, just behind me, had to cut left to avoid the vague kaleidoscope of man and machine moving across the ground.

We pulled over and went to assist the woman. Her bike had come to rest pointing in the reverse direction of travel and she had slid all the way back to the right edge of the road. She appeared to be in her late 50s and while she was in some amount of pain, nothing appeared to be broken and I don’t think she had a head injury — as far as crashes go, it was a smooth lowside. I don’t know if this was her first ride, but she seemed fairly new due to her gear: jeans, hiking boots, hooded sweatshirt, and brand new dirtbike gloves. We made her as comfortable as possible and then we split when the ambulance and CHP showed up.

We stopped every now and then to let Simon out. He was always happy to get back in so that was an excellent sign. On our way home we dropped into Dudley’s Bakery. Non-service dogs aren’t allowed in eating establishments, but I wanted to see if anybody would even notice the snout pushing out of the bag. We bought a sandwich, sat down at a table, and went unnoticed by any of the employees. This semi-stealthiness could be handy if we want to sneak him into a diner while we’re on the TAT.

By trip’s end, Simon did 200 street miles. He passed his first major hurdle in punching his ticket for the TAT.

Next up: Dirt.

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