First off, it has been way, way too long since I’ve reported on my travels through Second Life. I’ve come across some really fun places too, like a fantastic 80’s nightclub and a fun little clothing optional beach. Both of them have posts in the hopper – I just need to get off my lazy posterior and get some photos done. That and I need to stop finding new places to ride, which brings us to…
In my first life, I’m scared to death of motorcycles; a few horror stories passed around during Driver’s Ed way back when took care of that. In Second Life, however, I have come to the realization that I love them. I love the way they look, I love the way they sound, I love posing on them, and I love driving them. This means I’m always on the look out for good riding sims, and one of my favorites is also my first: Route 101.
The landing point for Route 101 drops a potential rider in a parking lot surrounded by poster and billboard ads and vendors, as well as a small club where bikers can hang out between rides. If you forgot your bike or are thinking about an upgrade, there are vendors here, as well as biker gear available at wall vendors spread about the landing area. This means shopping, the siren song of this girl right here. The clothes themselves are perfect biker chic: lots of leather with heavy jackets, pants, and boots for the gents and tiny leather vests for us girls that don’t do a very good job of covering…the girls. It’s the biker equivalent of the chainmail bikini, and while it is deliciously trampy, it’s not very practical. (Just the same, I totally would’ve bought one if they had appliers…maybe layered it over a black long-sleeved tee.) There’s also a handy teleporter to points of interest on the route.
Have you ever seen the Tim Allen tour de force ‘Wild Hogs’? The film features a group of middle-aged city slickers going on a biking adventure across the States, and the ‘fish-out-of-water’ hijinks that ensue. I felt a bit like Allen and his co-stars at first; the other riders were clad in perfect biker couture and seemed so relaxed and comfortable with their bikes, whereas I was a bit nervous and still getting the hang of riding. After greeting one of them, I was really pleasantly surprised by how friendly and open they were. It was obvious they loved riding, and were happy to share that. They recommended a few places to stop along the way and one made a really helpful suggestion about tweaking my transmission controls. I was expecting Sons of Anarchy or Hells Angels and got just some really cool Second Lifers. The more I immerse myself in this world, the more I realize my preconceptions about people in Second Life are rarely true.
So before we hit the road, I feel like I should talk about my ride. I’ll be the very first to tell you I know precious little about motorcycles. They have two wheels, handlebars, and bikers, regardless of gender, who look confident on them somehow magically become super dreamy – here ends my knowledge on the subject. I own an evolution2 by OAM. I demo’d a lot of bikes before buying my e2, and while many of them were just gorgeous and rode well, I felt very comfortable on the one I purchased. That and it was only 900L, whereas many of the other bikes I had tested were well north of 2,000, some closer to 3,000. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with another bike to which I’ll eventually upgrade, but not until I’ve done some saving.
OAM stands for Officine Alipandi Motorcycles. I have no idea what that means, but I can tell you they make a good-looking, easy-to-ride bike that has been great for this neophyte. I don’t want to sound like an infomercial for OAM, but if you’re thinking you might like to dip your toe in to riding, OAM has a free demo of the evolution2 available on the Marketplace, and I really like mine a lot. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that many other less expensive, or even free, bikes are available both in world and on the Marketplace, but please take a demo out before dropping any Linden on them. I read a forum post proclaiming that some gorgeous, L$2,000 bikes drove ‘like mules’ whereas some L$99 bikes may not look as nice, but handle like a dream.
(See below for an update on my motorcycle status!)
One of the first things I noticed and really liked about Route 101 was the signage. Clearly marked at the beginning of the route and at every junction or turn-off were green signs to help a biker navigate the road. It kept this very navigationally-challenged rider on the right path and lent such a great feel to the ride. I really came away feeling like I’d gone for a ride on one of America’s old highways through undeveloped parts of the country.
The road is a nice, comfortable ride, with no “dead-man’s-curves” to challenge a new rider. It also has ‘rails’ on either side to prevent a rider from flying off the road. Route 101 is very new biker friendly, which I greatly appreciated. It features lots of long straightaways to allow for really putting the throttle down and enough twists and turns to keep things interesting without getting too hairy.
The scenery went from great views of the surrounding sim and the ocean beyond (lots of great vistas where I stopped for some photos) to a wooded forest. As I continued up the road, the wooded forest gave way to a snow covered mountain. It was here I came to perhaps my favorite part of my ride – the ice skating pond.
Right off the road in the mountainous area of Route 101 is a small ice skating pond, complete with everything a rider might need for a short break on the ice. A nearby stand provides free ice skates, and the pond includes poseballs for couples to skate together as well as singles who want to skate solo. I tried both, bringing the lovely and super fun Cinder Roxley along to put the pond through its paces. Not only did we have a great time skating, we relaxed at the nearby benches and enjoyed the cheerful fire with some hot chocolate (also provided by the nearby stand) before getting back on the road.
There are features of Route 101 I’ve yet to try. So far I’ve passed by an underwater course, numerous race tracks, a playground (with swings and all, natch), and lots of great photo spots. Higher up on the course is an area where automobiles are welcome as well, and I’m told traffic gets busier when cars are in the mix. I have a feeling I’ll be continuing to explore Route 101 long after this post hits my site.
Since first riding Route 101, I’ve discovered a number of great riding sims. Many Second Life motorcycle clubs have open roads for the public to enjoy – I’m a big fan of the courses run by the ‘Hell on Heels MC’ and the ‘Rockin’ Rollers MC’ (that one’s a bit challenging, but really fun). I know there are many long, open roads over the Second Life main continents as well which I’ve yet to ride. I will, however, always come back to Route 101; it’s where I fell in love with riding in Second Life. If you’re a rider or looking to try out motorcycling in Second Life, I hope you’ll give it a try.
Remember the bike I had fallen in love with? The one I was wrestling with purchasing, but just couldn’t quite justify the L$2800 price tag? Well…a few nights ago I purchased the Lady Intruder from CC Custom Choppers on the Route 66 sim. It was a long and difficult courtship, fraught with concerned looks at my Linden budget until I finally decided there was no denying love…of virtual motorcycles.
And now, the requisite photos of me lounging about on/next to my motorcycle wearing sexy, but impractical, clothing in a sultry and suggestive fashion…
Spendy? Absolutely. A little extravagant? Sure. Gorgeous? Gosh yes. All that and it rides like a dream, sounds fantastic, and has a list of options for cosmetic appearance, poses, and security as long as my arm. I wouldn’t make this your first bike; L$2,799 is just too expensive to ‘give riding a try’. However, CC is definitely worth a look for your second or third.