Friday, October 30, 2009

Influences

This month's issue of Motorcyclist Magazine had a series of articles on first motorcycles. The special section was called "Roots" and it looked was an interesting trip through some of the staff's first riding experiences. It detailed who influenced them and how they came to be involved in our great sport.

It got me thinking about my first bike. I'm not exactly sure who influenced me into my interest in bikes. My earliest memories of motorcycles are of my Dad's cousin Jack and Evil Knievel. Jack had been in the Air Force and travelled all over the word, which is obviously very exotic to a four year old. I remember one summer he road into town on a bike and how much of an impression it left on me. I never saw him on a bike again and he never really came around much as it was. I don't know what brand of bike it was it it didn't matter. It was the epitome of two wheeled freedom and adventure.

The other formative influence was probably Evil Knievel. My dad was never a motorcyclist but he loved watching Evil jump. I have the image of Knievel's unsuccessful landing at Cesar's Palace burned into my memory. Every Saturday I saw it at the beginning of Wide World of Sports.

Of course there was the t.v. showThen Came Bronson. I think it was on two seasons when I was a kid but it's impact went on long after that. Or there was the Batcycle Adam West piloted, you know, the one with Robin's rocket sidecar.

Who knows where my love of motorcycles first started. It seems like all children have an instinctual fascination with motorcycles. I remember being stopped at a red light in Salinas, California a few years ago. I looked over and there on the sidewalk I saw a mother leading her daughter along by the hand. The little girl looked to be three years old and about the tiniest little thing I've ever seen. She looked over and saw my Vmax and stopped right in her tracks. Her mom started tugging her along but she stood there, pulling back, mouth agape and eyes wide. It made me laugh out loud and I remember thinking even then, "There goes a future motorcycle rider".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Around Town

I was riding around town today doing chores and thinking about how great riding around town is. I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind that I had planned on writing here. Thoughts about how great it is to be able to zip around town easier and faster than in a car. The ease of parking, the savings of gas and so on. Today of all days has been a great riding around town day. The temperature was 56 degrees but it was sunny and I had a long sleeve shirt which kept my comfort level perfect. Like I said, I had a bunch of stuff to write about but if you are already one of those people that makes up an excuse to run down to the corner store or would rather pay utility bills in person on a hot summer day then you already know the joys of riding around your city and there's nothing more I can add except go out and ride to the 7-11 on the other side of town for a Big Gulp.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mt Evans Ride

29 August 20
224 miles

I finally got to take a ride I’ve been wanting to do since 2004. I lived in Denver for that year and my wife took me to the Mt Evans Road. It’s a fourteen mile road in Mt Evans State Park that winds its way up the mountain to come to a stop at 14,130 miles high. It’s what is known as a 14er to people who hike or climb. There are over fifty 14ers in Colorado which makes it the state with the most. Of those 50 some, two have roads to the top, Mt Evans and Pikes Peak. Mt Evans’s road is the only one that’s paved, which makes it the highest paved road in the U.S and the one easiest to climb on my street going 2001 Yamaha FZ1. One of the things I used to like to do in my other life as a contractor on the road was to visit the highest point in each state I visited if possible. As you can imagine, in a state with over 50 mountains including the second highest peak in the continental U.S. it’s a little hard for me as a non-climber to make that trip. As a result I’m willing to settle for the highest road.

I rode up to Idaho Springs on I-70 just west of Denver. Idaho Springs leads to the Mt Evans Park and also happens to be where my brother-in-law, Chris, lives with his 2007 Aprillia RSV4. I got to Idaho Springs in time to catch my nephew’s soccer game (which they won) and then it was off with Chris. It had been lightly sprinkling all day and just on the cool side. I had decided to wear my Joe Rocket mesh jacket and leave my rain suit at home, so while I wasn’t too worried I was hoping the rain would hold off. It did for the most part.

It’s actually fourteen miles of scenic twisty road to the entrance of the park. At about the 7 mile mark I glanced down at the gas needle and was quickly reminded that I needed to fill up before leaving Idaho Springs. Oops. Oh well, I was sure there would be at least one gas station somewhere around the base of the mountain. With that thought I motored on in happy, ignorant bliss.

The road to the park is really a great joy. It’s lightly travelled for the most part with quite a few passing zones for those times when there is someone in your way. It’s almost all uphill so it’s easy to go into the hairpins a little faster. If it has one drawback, it’s that it’s so scenic it can be dangerously distracting. Conifers and Aspen trees lined the road with plenty of breaks to look out over the valleys and the numerous mountains in the Rocky Mountain range. The air was fresh and crisp and getting crisper as we gained altitude. I can’t think of a more intoxicating feeling then riding a motorcycle through the mountains of Colorado.

Once we got to the entrance to the toll road I realized there would be no gas fill up for me. Trusting in the familiarity with the limits of my bike I decided to press on. That could have come back to haunt me, fortunately it didn’t. More on that later. There was a line of about seven cars ahead and the same number behind. There was a bright green Kawasaki Ninja and a Harley a few cars behind us so we weren’t the only bikes on the road. I paid the three dollar toll for motorcycles and found it so cheap I paid for Chris too. Cars are ten dollars which makes for one of the best motorcycle discounts of this type I’ve ever seen. The first part of the road continued along like the stretch from Idaho Springs but that didn’t last long. Before I knew it I was climbing out of the tree line at 12,000 ft and into an alien terrain one doesn’t often get to experience. The traffic was building a little and moving slow. This doesn’t prove to be too much of an obstacle though. The twisty bits have, by this point, developed the nasty trait of dropping off hundreds of feet nearly straight down. You really get to notice the little things going twenty miles per hour also. For a place that looks desolate, dry and hostile there are a slew of flora and fauna. I saw a fat marmot making use of what sun there was lounging on a rock.

At the 11 mile marker there was some severe road damage in an area that had the same problem in 2004, when the wife and I were there. It looks like it’s a result of a low lying marshy area. It’s quite a roller coaster but the FZ1 handled it with aplomb. On one of the final switchbacks there was a group of 4x4 vehicles with light bars and mountain rescue stickers parked on the corner. In a field was a group of guys in climbing gear and a stretcher. I never did find out what happened, you often see search and rescue teams practicing mountain rescues and I was hoping that was the case this time. A few turns later there was a group of cars stopped for a happier occasion. There was a bright white mountain goat chewing some thorny mountain shrub.

After roughly 45 minutes we made the top. The last two miles I had been feeling the effects of the thin air and was starting to get a little nervous. Once to the top I drank all the water I had brought with me, having suffered altitude sickness twice before. I didn’t have any problems (except shortness of breath) the rest of the time.

The view from the top was as spectacular as I remember. You really do feel as if you’re on top of the world. The sky was amazing. Some spots were clear, other spots had huge, towering gray and white clouds and snow was coming our way. It did snow briefly but after putting on the polar fleece sweater I had packed with me I was comfortable the rest of the trip. The Harley and Ninja pulled in behind us and the guy on the Harley was not as fortunate as me however.
He decided to not wear his gloves. Doh! Despite that they loved ride. Chris hikes the 14ers and has several already under his belt. He was excited to add another so we climbed the last 250 feet or so to the geological survey marker to make it official then headed back down. With no real traffic ahead of us and a downhill trip we made it down a lot faster, even with a stop to get a bad photo of some mountain sheep. It was almost a flawless trip from then on except for two problems. The first was the appearance of my low fuel light with about 21 miles to the closest gas station. I did a lot of coasting. The other, more serious issue was a brief attack of altitude sickness Chris experienced about half way down. We stopped a few times and Chris finally recovered. Even someone experienced is susceptible to altitude sickness.

I split from Chris back in Idaho Springs, got my gas and headed home toward a spectacular Colorado thunder storm in the distance. After a quick call to my wife to reassure myself that I wasn’t driving into a landlocked hurricane I was able to enjoy the beautiful light show the rest of the way home. Nine hours and 224 miles after I started the trip I was home, safe, dry and thoroughly satisfied.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Honda Gold Wing Bulldog Bobber


Honda Gold Wing Bulldog Bobber

Posted using ShareThis

What a gorgeous bike. Thanks to my brother for the link.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Meet The Nicest People On A Honda

Including John Travolta delivering your mail.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wish My Dog Would Do This


dog on a motorcycle
Originally uploaded by atomly

It would make getting her to the vet a lot more fun and a lot easier.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday Ride From Denver To Sedalia


This was a short fun ride. I met up with my brother-in-law, Chris, at about the half way point. He lives in Idaho Springs and I live in Colorado Springs so we met at the mother-in-law's place in Littleton. It was sunny and clear when I left at about 8:00 in the morning so I took my Joe Rocket mesh jacket and left the rain suit at home. Of course this being Colorado, I would eventually end up wet (but just a little). We took off toward Deer Creek Canyon at the end of Kipling Blvd. There were several bicyclist's going up through the canyon, I'm not sure if this was a normal thing or if they were having an organized bike event. Colorado is a big bicycle state and the canyon seemed to be popular with bikes as well as sport bikes. As soon as we headed up the road several sport bike riders gave us the slow down sign. Cops ahead. Sure enough as we rounded a lovely tight corner there was "the Man" with a radar gun pointed right at us. Chris was in the lead and had the good sense to stick to the speed limit. Apparently the road is such a popular place for sport bikes it's a prime spot for Johnny Law too, we passed about three speed traps in less than four miles of road. While I don't advocate breaking the law or excessive speeding I do think that the speed limit in that canyon is set way to low to test even a beginner's skill. Before we even got through the end of the canyon I was promising myself I would be back on a week day when it's not so busy. We passed a lot of frustrated CBR, Ninja and Ducati riders.

Eventually we popped out on 285 and headed south toward Pine Junction. From here we headed down County Road 126 towards Deckers, site of my last ride. This time we were headed in the opposite direction. This road was less crowded and less heavily patrolled by the Police. We were still keeping the speeds reasonable. Chris just got a new Aprillia RSV and was getting use to the feel of it. CR 126 is a beautiful stretch of sweeping curves, long down hills and beautiful views. As you would expect, we passed whole buffalo herds of bikes, everything from more Ducatis and Ninjas to Harleys and Goldwings and several BMW dual sports. I like riding on the weekends for the feeling of community you get.

We made our way to Deckers and stopped for a few photos then headed for that stretch of dirt road that connects CR 67 to Sprucewood. It's a short four miles on decent graded road, treated with manganese to keep the dust down. Waiting for us on the other end was a decent meal at the Sprucewood Inn. It's a little hole in the wall diner catering to the trail riders that pass by on a popular dirt trail that runs right in front of the inn. There were several dusty families with satisfied looks on their faces coming and going for some pretty decent mexican food.

By the time we ate the clouds had rolled in and we took off a little faster. We got to Sedalia and split, Chris for Denver and me for home. As I topped Monument Pass I got a little rained on but had such a good ride I didn't mind. It's nice to have someone to ride with. I like to ride alone most of the time but it's always good to have someone that can share in the experience of a great ride.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Huh?!? Whu?!?

Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a typically incoherent statement suggested people sell off their motorcycles to help pay for food for their children. A better idea, especially in sunny California would be to sell their cars. The LA Times article is here. And a response letter to the Governor with some well thought out opinions is posted at the Iron Works blog, here. I, for one, am tired of hearing every stupid politician's opinion on how we should live our lives and this is just one more example.

4:34 PM | May 26, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been talking a lot about how the state’s leaders need to live just like ordinary citizens do: within their means. To that end, he has proposed addressing billions of dollars in projected deficits by selling off state landmarks, cutting off healthcare to children and adults, closing parks and more.

But the movie star turned governor clearly isn’t one of the ordinary Californians he is talking about. Before giving a speech about the budget crisis in Sacramento this morning to small business leaders, he took a few seconds to banter with an audience member about making a deal to buy some new motorcycles.

“And so I heard even there is someone out there that is from a Harley-Davidson shop in Orange County. Who is that? It's you? OK, I'm going to come to your table very soon after my speech and we'll make a deal to buy an extra few hogs, because I love motorcycles and I ride them every Sunday, OK? So it's good to have you here.”

Later in his speech, Schwarzenegger spoke of the people in the state who, unlike him, are unable to afford the motorcycles they already have.

“This is something that businesses have to do and individuals have to do in California. When they are in financial trouble they have to sell off their motorcycle or their boat, because they know that it doesn't make any sense to have a boat at the dock when you can't feed your family.… And that's exactly what California has to do and this is why we are having on the block today for sale San Quentin, Cal Expo, the Coliseum and the list goes on and on and on.”

-- Michael Rothfeld

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Colorado Springs>Trumbull>Castle Rock

Had a great ride today that thanks to Google Maps turned into a bigger adventure than expected. I mapped out a 123 mile circle from Colorado Springs to Trumbull Colorado on Colorado Route 67 and on to Castle Rock. The plan was to jump on I-25 for the last leg of the journey.

Everything started out innocently enough, the ride through town to CR24 was routine. The weather was 62 degrees and perfect. The stretch from Manitou Springs to Woodland Park was the usual, a twisty spot allows me to escape the pack of cars that always coagulates half way up the mountain. I started getting excited once I hit CR67, new untravelled road, my favorite kind. The first sign out of town placed Deckers 23 miles up the road. I remembered from the map (which I forgot at home) that was the area I was headed. The first part of this stretch was pretty high speed and straight with a few long sweepers and light traffic. There were just a few cars to pass and plenty of places to do it. After a while the curves started to tighten up and it really got fun. Most of the road was down hill so I got the speed up a few times and the corners really got my heart thumping. People always compare that kind of ride to a roller coaster but I've never been that thrilled on coaster.

I got into Deckers, a small fishing spot on the left of the road and a coffee shop, liquor store and bait shop on the right. I pulled in for a bottle of water and ended up getting a hot dog too. While I was sitting outside an older gentleman pulled up on a pristine '79 BMW R65. We talked for a little while and he gave me some advice about the route. If I had gone the way I told him I was headed it would have been more accurate advice. He was justifiably proud of the bike, it had one previous owner and a mere 35,000 miles on the odometer when he bought it. It was garaged and well tended to and had quite a few miles more on it by now. After sharing the remains of my hot dog with the neighborhood dog I was off.

Deckers is actually at the crossroads of where I should have turned. I decided to follow Goggle not the directions of the motorcyclist obviously familiar with the area. This led me across some more great twisty road but also to Platte River Road. For the next 17 miles I was making my way down a very twisty, very dusty dirt road. Fortunately it was a well maintained dirt road, one that I had been down a few years ago when my wife and I were looking for ghost towns. The bike actually handled the washboards better than her Tacoma. The ride was scenic as all get out and I stopped and took several photos. I eventually ran past this creepy old abandoned hotel Lisa had taken me to before. I finally came out on paved road. It turned out to be the road I would have taken if I had followed the local's directions back at Deckers. The road sign said Deckers was ten miles, I had gone about 25 extra miles, 17 of them on dirt. I guess there are two ways to look at it, I had to go 25 extra miles or I got to go 25 extra miles. Anyway, after getting the bike up to speed and just getting back in the groove, I came to my next turn - back onto gravel! This was an interesting road with some steep inclines and narrow stretches hanging on the side of the hills. It struck me as a logging road almost, albeit nicely maintained. I passed a few SUVs and received a few curious glances as well.
This stretch of dirt turned out to be a mere four miles and I popped back out on CR67 and headed north to Sedalia. This section was another cork screw dream come true. It felt good to be leaning at extreme angles on smooth pavement again. I took a right at CR150 and there the tale basically ends. I rode into Castle Rock and got an angry stare from some short little guy on a big custom (apparently because I had the audacity to be in the lane next to him during a red light). But that was about it. I-25 was I-25 but by this time I didn't care, I was tired and thirsty.
All in all this was an exceptional ride. I couldn't help but notice while going down the dirt road how I was in a state of zen (not to overuse that term). After a while my speed started to pick up and I started to learn something new about the bike I've been riding for the past seven years. And here I thought I knew it inside and out. I also learned a little something about my own abilities. I surprised myself by not turning around from the unknown. This ride gets a ten out of ten. The ride was a total of 168 miles when it was all said and done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Daily Commute

Now that stricter CAFE standards have been introduced my motorcycle is more important to me than ever.  I've long bragged about the muscle car performance with two-thirds the price tag I get with my two bikes.  Mine aren't even two of the hottest performers although the Vmax had his day in the sun.  Now with the hope of buying myself a 2009 Dodge Challenger quickly fading in the rearview mirror I'm really learning to love my bikes.

Since I got the tire repaired last month, I've ridden to work every day but two, which had nothing to do with weather (I'm a rain or shine kinda guy).  My only regret is that the commute isn't a little longer, I'm just starting to get my groove by the time I'm pulling in to the parking lot.  My fellow commuters can present quite a challenge sometimes.  I know people say this to the point of cliché but I think people really are becoming worse drivers.  I don't notice a lot of people on the cell phone these days, maybe that message is finally sinking in.  But despite that one blessing, I see more and more drivers running red lights making left hand turns across traffic, tailgating, not yielding and just more road raging in general.  I may have mentioned it before but I've always enjoyed that element of motorcycle riding to a certain sick degree.  I liken it to a video game.  I enjoy looking in the minivan two cars ahead of me to read what the diver is going to do.  I watch the rearview to keep an eye on the twenty something girl weaving from one lane and back to speed past everyone else.  I always try to remember where she is and calculate where she'll be.

I really believe as I get lazier and lazier in my other pursuits, this is the one thing that keeps my mind active.  It's also the thing that clears my mind for the coming day on the way to work, and brings me down from a stressful day on the way home.  Really if I were to think about it (which obviously I am) I would say that riding is the most important thing I do for my mental health and the reason I have 120/80 blood pressure.  I used to have a t-shirt that said "You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist's office".  Truer worlds were never silk-screened.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cripple Creek

I hopped on the bike this afternoon with the intention of riding down to Garden of the Gods park and getting some photos of the bike in front of pretty scenery. Three hours and 104 miles later I'm pulling into the drive way, hot and thirsty and happy.

I left the house at around 11:30 a.m. and drove through the neighborhood toward I-25. It was around 65 wonderful degrees out. When I hit I-25 I was just starting to get into the swing of it and thought I might ride on up to Woodland Park, not too far down the road. I was almost to Woodland Park when I saw the sign for Divide, which wasn't too much further up State Route 24. And of course as I was going into Divide a sign alerted me to the fact that it was a mere 18 miles to Cripple Creek. Lisa, my wife, and I had been there a couple of times and found it quaint and historic. I thought it might be a good place to get a few photos. Going into Woodland Park a truck started changing lanes into mine, I surprised myself with my horn reflex (for all the good it did). The guy panicked and started swerving back into his lane, then realized there was no longer room there and came back in front of me anyway. Fortunately that was all the time I needed to slow down and get out of the way. The guy waved and since there was no harm I figured no foul and waved back to let him know there were no hard feelings. I try to remind myself that I've done stupid things while driving myself.

A majority of the ride is fairly straight but once you get a couple miles out of Divide headed south on CO 67 it starts to get interesting. I finally got to break in the new tire. At least until I caught up with a guy and his girl on a cruiser. Cruiser riders are, to me, like a liberal family member. You love them but you have to ask, why? I think all motorcycles are great, all brands, all displacements, it doesn't matter. The few times I've rode a cruiser I felt like I was going to be blown off the back. It's just not the riding position I prefer. In addition, I like to go fast around the corners without dragging metal parts.

So I backed off, not wanting to make the guy nervous. I always hate it when someone faster and on a better bike is tailgating me. I pulled off for a few pictures and was able to play catch-up the rest of the way to Cripple Creek. Once there, I stopped for a few quick pictures, made a fast pass through town and headed home. About halfway to Divide my camera's battery died, which worked out for the best. I could forget about scenery and concentrate on the best part, the ride. Once I got into Colorado Springs I saw a guy in a truck do the same thing to a car that the driver in Woodland Park did to me without the apologetic wave. It happened right in front of me and I was thinking twice in one day is twice too many.

All in all, another great ride. And I broke 25,000 miles on the odometer.


View Larger Map

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Patriot Guard Riders

Here's an old old post I just came across, it was saved as a draft and for some reason I never posted it. It's a little out of date. You don't hear much about westboro church any more but I know they are out there still so I thought I would go ahead and post this. Plus, I just signed up for the Patriot Guard Riders

I saw a report on the morning news as I was getting ready for work. It was a story about a group protesting at soldiers' funerals. The protesters had signs saying "Thank God for IEDS" and other non-sense. "God hates your tears", I wonder how God feels hearing that? I was curious who these idiots were so I did a search and it turns out they're members of the westboro baptist church from Topeka, Kansas. Their website, which I won't provide a link or a name for, is full of the filthiest, most vile, hate-mongering b.s. this side of Nazi Germany. I don't have the words to describe my thoughts. My initial reaction was disgust of course, but than it was disbelief. I was sure it had to be a sick joke the kind frat boys, who don't know better yet, would pull. There were statements the sole purpose of which seemed to be for nothing but to provoke a fight. Apparently anyone who has never come out publicly against homosexuality is burning in hell. I'm not violent by nature but I hope some day I come across one of these guys in an alley. Fortunately, it seems to be mostly the preacher, Fred Phelps and his family. Probably inbreds.

On the opposite side are the Patriot Guard Riders. Their story is pretty interesting, they formed over night as an answer to those idiots, the wbc (as they call themselves). They might be a little awkwardly named but on the list of "Who Rides With Us" you'll see several church organizations as well as non-secular groups. I'd like to think that means they are doing it not only for the GIs but because they are against the message of the wbc. Makes me proud to be a motorcyclist. For as depressing as the existence of the westboro baptist church is it's good to know that just as quickly there even more people willing to stand up against these idiots.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Colorado Springs to Ellicott Colorado


I went for a break-in ride which was for me not the bike.  I haven't taken a ride since July 12th, 2008 and am feeling a little rusty.  I thought I would take a nice easy route to shake the cobwebs and get the motions imprinted back in my brain.  I hadn't been east much since we moved to Colorado Springs, all the action and scenery is west in the mountains.  I knew east was pretty flat and the roads straight so I had an idea of what to expect.  Colorado State Route 94 did not dispel my expectations .

I started off from the house cruising through the neighborhood being careful to obeying the speed limit.  Still not familiar with the area I followed the Google Map directions down Powers Blvd to State Route 24 heading towards Limon.  After a couple of miles of busy city traffic I hit 94 and headed east.  After a few miles of some gentle turns I was headed toward Shriever Air Force Base and Ellicott.  I literally saw the road stretched out before me and decided to set the top of the hill where the road came out of the valley as my goal.


The road was free of traffic on a Monday afternoon so I decided to blow the carbon out of the engine.  I usually stay as close to the speed limit as possible but being as it was 65 and I could see about twenty miles of the road laid down in front of me I hit about 85.  I know that doesn't seem like much coming from a bike capable of 130 plus but I would hate to hit a rabbit at triple digits.  I passed through Ellicott quickly.  It was a hard scrabble little community with some house trailers and modular homes at various angles here and there, like someone took a handful of blocks and scattered them on a table.  The main business seemed to be a junk yard on the west edge of town.


I kept on going about five miles out of town to the top of that darned hill.  It had a kind of siren call on me, I had to see what was on the other side.  The picture above is what was there to greet me.  My curiosity satisfied I turned around and headed home.  The trip back was a little more enjoyable with Pike's Peak giving me aomething to look at besides scrub brush and fence line.  It's top was peeking out of the layer of clouds at the base.  It was a pretty site but hard to get a good picture of.

The ride would have ordinarily been a boring trip but it's been so long since I've been aboard either bike I was just happy to be riding.  Plus this easy drive helped me boost me confidence up a little.  I was afraid that I would be a lot rustier than it turns out I was.  It was a great ride with perfect 58 degree weather and when I got home I had Moon, our dog waiting to greet me.  Not a bad day even though I only went 60 miles.  I'm looking forward to boosting that up tomorrow.

24,635

That's the magic number for the official start of my riding season.  That's the mileage on the FZ1 today.  Unfortunately my season didn't start with everyone else's.  Here in Colorado Springs you can be assured of a few good riding days a month throughout the winter.  We've been catching up on moving from Ohio to Missouri last June and Missouri to Colorado in January so money has been tight.  We've finally caught up with enough bills that I could afford a new tire and tags for the bike.  I'm getting ready to don the leather jacket and gloves (it's overcast and 47 degrees today) and take a short spin somewhere, anywhere, it doesn't matter.  God I've missed the rides.  If you're reading this all I'll ask is why?  Go get on your bike, it's always perfect riding weather (if there's snow or ice on the road I'll give you a pass). 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Subscriptions

I've finally caught up with technology (that's five years old) and registered with Feedburner to make it easy to subscribe to the blog. Now all I have to do is start riding again.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Riding Season

It’s fast approaching. I’m looking forward to breaking the bike out of the garage and heading out towards the mountains. I’ve had a hundred different excuses the past year for not riding. Some have been legitimate, some not. Back when I was single I had the money and time to pretty much ride as I wanted. I bought the best gear and bought whatever accessories tickled my fancy (with no thought to cost). Then in 2006 I got married and a lot of that changed. There was a time in 2004 when I was at the peak of my riding skills. I was probably riding more than 200 miles a weekend without a thought. Some weekends I would ride all day, find a hotel somewhere within walking distance of a good steak house and bar and leave for home the next day. Of course all of that changed with marriage. The last few years have found me looking for a new job and making a permanent move to two different states (from Ohio to Missouri to Colorado all in seven months). Needless to say I could probably make the excuse for sitting a few weekend rides out. Only thing wrong with that is I’ve felt guilty and untruthful with myself. There has never really been a riding season for me. Riding season is whenever there’s not ice on the road. I’ll ride in just about any weather, although I kind of balk when it’s 40 degrees or so.

Shortly before we moved from Missouri I went out on a warm weekend for a ride. I was excited, so much so that like a kid at Christmas I got up before the sun had come up. I grabbed the map and camera and took off. About half a block from the house I noticed the bike was handling hard. I got off and did another walk around and the tire was completely flat. I guess I should have used a tire gauge instead of the old eyeball gauge. With the cost of moving and some other expenses we’ve been incurring I haven’t been able to pay for a new tire yet but I’m determined to get one this weekend and prepare for my first trip of 2009. I’ve already got my route picked out.

I’ve made a pledge that I will get back to doing what I love. Riding has always meant more than just going for a ride. If you know me you know I don’t talk in new age hippy lingo but riding is relaxing in a way nothing else I do or know of is. It’s spiritual. During that time in ‘03 and ’04 when I was riding everyday and everywhere, I had a breakthrough and my riding skills probably doubled (this after close to seven years of riding at that time). I need to get back to that place, I feel like I don’t age on a motorcycle.