Archive for January, 2007

Jubilation!! I Was Able to Ride Today

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

My record is intact! I was able to overcome the snow gods and ride today!

We’ve had six snowstorms in six weeks and when I woke up yesterday and it was snowing I thought I had finally lost the game. I ride both bikes at least once every month but there it was January 27 and it just didn’t seem possible. Fortunately the snow ended and the sun came out and melted all the snow that had just fallen. Kind of like what Colorado is usually like. But that didn’t change the fact that we still have six inches of snow and ice on our street. The asphalt is finally starting to show through but only in spots. The answer for me was the sidewalk.

I had been looking for days at the sidewalk. Everyone has shoveled their walks, but melting snow has formed ice here and there and cars parked on the streets keep some places from getting sunlight. But mostly it was clear. I got up this morning and saw the sun shining and immediately went out with sand and salt and checked out all the trouble spots. A little later I went back with a spade and scraped and chipped as much away from the trouble spots as I could. Then I sanded and salted them again. Then came back with the shovel an hour later. One more sanding and salting and once more with the shovel and by about 1 pm my way was clear. There were still 15 feet of snow and ice to cross to get to dry pavement down at the cross street but that’s manageable.

I suited up and rode down the sidewalk. My wife helped me carefully walk the bike across the ice and I was on my way. She thought I was crazy and suicidal. But I had a nice ride and came back and took the other bike down and did it again.

So for 18? 19? I lose track of the years. For however long I’ve had the CB750 I have ridden it at least once every single month, no matter what. And in the eight years I’ve had the Kawi Concours I’ve done the same with it. Sometimes you grab the opportunities. Other times you just have to make your own opportunities.

More Flying Object Tales

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

This is too good not to come back to. I told last time about some flying objects I’ve encountered and the whole topic was raised by a posting I saw on a motorcycle forum. Here’s a link to that forum. You’ll find it just as fascinating and entertaining as I do:

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

I would have to say bats. Three of’em so far, #1 hit under the right edge of the bill on my MX helmet. #2 hit me dead center of my full face, almost went down on that one. #3 hit my left mirror then slid down the post and just sit on my hand hanging on for about 1/4 mile before it fell off.

1. an entire pallet of canned Coke in the fast lane when I lived in China.
2. a bale of straw in the fast lane on 287 around NYC at about 70 mph.
3. a front bumper off a 78 T-bird in the middle lane of 287.
4. a guy taking a dump beside the road in WVa. He was in the apex of a real nice curve…
5. another rider… I was working thru traffic, passing buses, etc in the Alps. I thought he saw me, but he didn’t. His helmet caught my hand gaurd on the GS with a slight tap. His eyes were about as big as saucers. I shouldn’t have been in his lane, but I thought he saw me. Assume….. makes an ASS out of U and ME.

I was riding south on I-77 behind a pickup truck when the mattress that was in the bed of the truck flew up and over my head. whew!

1) A live turkey, back roads, Austell, GA. Spun me around but I did not go down.

2) Aluminum Ladder, I-285 Atlanta. Kinda jumped it, should have wrecked but didn’t.

3) A steel nut, about 2 inches in diameter, straight to the chest (thought it stopped my heart it hit so hard) I-285 Atlanta

4) Muffler and attached exhaust pipe, 575 near Canton, GA. No wreck

5) Water melon, I-75 near Valdosta. Almost, and I mean almost but no wreck.

6) Wooden pallet (empty) East/West Connector, Austell, GA. Scared me shitless.

7) A helmet, unstrapped and blew off another rider in front of me, Daytona. No wreck.

8) German Shepherd, near Bo-Bo’s house. No wreck but torn up a guys fresh grass stopping it.

Weirdest I have heard, guy from Earl Smalls Harley Davidson in Marietta, Ga was headed to the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantawith a group of bikes. I-75 south after dark. He hit an upside down wheelbarrow tub that already had the wheels and supports knocked off. Was almost a perfect ramp. Said he was about 8 feet off the ground, got some good distance and landed without crashing. LOTS and LOTS of damage to the bike.

OK. You get the picture. Go check it out!

Motorcycles and Flying Objects

Monday, January 15th, 2007

Every one of us who ride motorcycles hits or gets hit by things. Bugs are an obvious one, and if you ride without a helmet at times you’ve certainly been smacked in the face more than 101 times. Sometimes, as unlikely as it seems when you consider just how perfect conditions have to be, you’ll even end up with a bee or wasp getting scooped right up your sleeve. That’s one time when you stop and get off in a real hurry!

But what about other objects in the air? I encountered the question recently on a motorcycle forum that I frequent and figured I’d share here what I posted there.

Just last year, my friend Bill and I were coming down into Kremmling over Rabbit Ears Pass and a bird dove in close to his front wheel. Well, when we got to Kremmling and stopped for gas we found the bird stuck in right at the pivot on his kick stand. Extending the stand pinched it in and made it impossibe to remove so I had to hold the bike while he removed the oozing mess. This was not even the first time Bill has hit a bird. I’ve never done that.

Another time we were heading north from Laughlin, NV, and I was in the lead. We were pulling up on a semi and about the time I got close enough to think about passing one of his tires exploded. Big chunks and little pieces were flying everywhere but no one got hit by any. Very loud bang! Very scary to see big chunks of tread in the air.

Here’s another. John and Bill and I are the original three of our group, the OFMC, who first started riding. John and I were in Denver, heading over to Bill’s to start out on one of our very first week-long summer trips. On the way we were passing a golf course when a golfer hit his ball off the course in our direction. I was behind and I watched while it bounced off John’s rear wheel, right back onto the course. He didn’t even know it happened.

How Much Do You Ride?

Monday, January 1st, 2007

A year ago I decided I was interested in tracking how much I ride my motorcycles. So, on New Year’s Day, I jotted down the mileage on both bikes and my car as well. Now it’s January 1, 2007, and time to see what the year was like. Here’s the scoop.

I started 2006 with 76,820 miles on my Honda CB750 Custom. This is the first bike I ever owned and I’ve been riding it for about 17 years. I put 2,410 miles on it in 2006, ending at 79,230.

I started 2006 with 18,515 miles on my 1999 Kawasaki Concours and at the end of the year that was at 19,011. That’s barely 496 miles for the year. It would have been more — and the Honda less — except that I took the Honda on our trip to the Sturgis rally this year. Still, I’m surprised that’s all I rode that bike.

For the sake of comparison, my 1988 Honda Civic car started the year at 196,093 miles. At the end of the year it had 206,173 miles, for a total of 10,080 miles in the year.

Altogether, I drove or rode 12,986 miles in the year 2006. Of that, 2,906 miles, or 22%, was on my bikes. So although I didn’t put nearly as many miles on my bikes as a lot of people do, or as I would have liked to do, the bike/car percentage is still pretty good. What it really comes down to is that I don’t cover that much ground on or in anything. I know there are plenty of people out there who put a minimum of 20,000 miles on their cars each year.

This year will probably be different. I now have a job that is quite a bit further from home so that overall figure is likely to go up by at least 50%. What I really want to do is make sure that the bikes get their fair share of those extra miles. Therefore, my new year’s resolution, if you want to call it that, is to ride my bikes to work more often. They say people who establish goals accomplish more than people who don’t, so I’m looking to put at least 2,000 miles on the CB and another 2,500 mile on the Concours. And I hope to limit my car mileage to no more than 12,000. I’ll check back in in a year.