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The Saturday ride was a memorial ride, and started off poorly. Once we got up to Route 23, I was reminded how lousy of a rider Jean is. He almost killed us all with his overbraking. Luckily all the pantywaists bailed out early, and we got serious. Coming back through the Hawk's Nest, I finally ripped it up, my third round trip through their so far.
Even better was near the end, when Sandy too the lead. This was some guy on a new Goldwing, wearing a bunch of Vietnam Vets Against Kerry paraphenalia, who surely noticed the anti-W sticker on my fender. Anyway, he tore up Clove Road, a delightful rollercoaster of a road in Montague. It was work keeping up with his giant bike, complete with passenger. We also went through High Point. Previously when I've been there, I entered from 23, and it was nothing special. Coming in from the other side is much better! Anyway, when we stopped, the first words I hear are "Howdya like them roads, Suzuki?" Well, I like them very much Sandy!, making shifting impossible. Using my materials (really guys, carry zip-ties with you!), they managed to rotate the ball-joint and tie it so that he could kick down to upshift, and somehow use his hand to downshift. I don't get how he did it, but the guy made it home.
Ridin' that bike, man...Here every 5 minutes
Yup, that's the two snippets of conversation I heard from the Sunoco gas jockey talking to his coworker after I fueled up yesterday. I'm guessing it was in reference to the 30,000 mile AMA Long Rider sticker that I have on the bike's tail.
Admittedly, I have filled up at this station before a weekend afternoon ride only to stop and refuel on the way home a few hours later more than once, but I don't think I ever saw the same guy twice in one day.
I drove to work this morning, and everything was going fine until I hit this horrendous pothole and heard a big bang. My intitial thought was that I'd blown a tire, but the smoke inside the car let me know that the jolt had set of the passenger side-impact airbag. I bet that's expensive. The front left tire also has a bulge on the sidewall. Hopefully the rim isn't bent. Why does crap like this alwaYs happen the instant I get some money in my pocket?
Team America, World Police
As best I can tell, the creators of South Park have done a Thunderbirds-style stop-animation movie that lambastes Bush. Sounds good to me.
Motorcycling as seen on Veronica Mars
Yeah, I've watched both episodes of this show so far and it seems that Weevil, the leader of the unnamed motorcycle gang is a regular, shown in the opening credits. Last night they did some product placement on his Victory (aka Polaris) Vegas with the factory 'custom' paint. Kudos for showing a real motorcyle and an American one at, but this is an odd choice seeing as how the rest of his always helmetted (in no-helmet law California) gang ride sportbikes.
A Justification for Lanesplitting (as though one were necessary)
Ever since Labor Day (presumably because of horrid soccer moms toting kids to school ands back) traffic has just been unbearable. Luckily on the majority of days, I don't have to bear much, as I am smart enough to ride a motorcycle and skilled enough to safely manouver it between essentially parked cars. Some people, in my opinion the people most responsible for traffic, don't like this practice. Because it illustrates how dumb they are for driving a giant cage around.
Last Friday I was faced with 'cage constipation' and I have decided that bike will flow at a minimum of about 20 mph, regardless of what conditions are. So I'm coasting through taillights and I think some arm reached out a window. I don't know, I don't care. I'm past them now. Haha! Anyway I pull in front of a vehicle that has left a giant space in front of it, you know, just to illustrate that he is not following close enough, and I get stuck there for a minute and the other lane picks up and along comes some miserable shrew with her ugly head out her window screaming "YOU DON'T BELONG ON THE ROAD!" presumably because of the lanesplitting. I'm also assuming this was the arm that failed to contact me before. Of course I ripped out next to her, made a kicking motion and hollered back to her before proceeding down the centerline.
Now really, the cause of traffic, the definition of traffic, is too many cars. If I am on a bike, I am suffering for something that I am not responsible for, as I am not in a car. This is wrong. Besides, the civlized Europeans all lane-split and to go back further, I doubt that riders on horseback ever trodded dutifully behind wobbly stagecoaches.
For once in my life, I am not letting the prime fall motorcycling season slip past me. I am riding every chance I get. It helps that I hate my car. Actually this article sums up why I pretty much hate all cars made in the last fifteen years or so.
SIM card copying
My cell phone recently has had problems powering on and recognizing the SIM card. I seem to have temporarily fixed this by wedging a cardboard shim between the battery and the card, but I needed an excuse to buy a SIM card copier anyway. I found a few on eBay, and bought one. I hope this works...
If you try to run, I will shoot you!
Finally did a Monday night Airport Plaza ride last night. Impressive in that 40+ bikes show up, however it was a sort of squiddy/stunter crowd. Sped up the GSP and 287 to some industrial area and watched guys do wheelies and stoppies. Then the cops came. I have to give credit to the group that they kept cool and didn't run. It was hilarious when the megaphone of one of the coralling cruisers uttered 'if you try to run, I will shoot you!" Anyway the group was told to disperse with a threat of running plates to see who was unregistered, etc. Yes, I am a little old for this and no, I doubt I'll go back anytime soon, but it was worth doing once.
Washed the 'stich
Yes, my hi-viz lime yellow Aerostich Roadcrafter jacket was more of a drab mustard color thanks to all the road grime (rain riding behind trucks is great for this). I washed it and now I feel lemon fresh. OK, it's not as clean as new, and I'm not sure I put the armor in right, but do-it-yourselfers don't expect perfection.
Last night the new registration for the bike came in the mail. So I had to put the sticker on my license plate, which took longer than it should because the license plate frame covers part of the sticker (I wanted to take the old sticker off and put the new on one under the frame). Add to that the fact my license plate bolts are in fact fruity LED's wired to the brake light, meaning that I can loosen, but not remaove the frame.
Retightening the LED bolts, I figured I should check that they were grounded properly, being that they're rusty and had been moved. Sure enough, half of them needed work. Only later did I use the front brake instead of the rear and find that...it didn't work. The scary fact was that I had a spare front brake light switch in my apartment and was able to quickly find it and swap it out. Yes, I am truly a geek. The reason I have a spare is that I bought it to replace the failing original which was brought back to life after I dried it out in the toaster oven. Last night I even tried popping the old one apart to see if it was salvagable, but had no luck.
Riding into work today a guy on a new Katana 750 pulled alongside me. Judging by the cautious riding style and the street-clothes he was wearing I assumed he was a new rider. I was in the right hand lane behind typical slowpoke cagers, and had a chance to rip ahead. For some reason I thought I would be a role model to the newb and stay where I was.
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
This morning I learned that Bilko and his wife had a head-on collision on that new bike of theirs on Sunday. Bonehead illegally passed and drove right into them. From what I gather, he broke a toe, and she has a few broken ribs. There is surely a lot of road rash, as they are t-shirt & jeans motorcyclists.
9-11 Day falls on Saturday this year, so the malls will surely be extra-crowded. Call me nuts, but 9-11 day is just too close to Labor day, and they both seem like contrived holidays. Anyhow, my Saturdays for the next month straight are booked with motorcycle events, so I'll hit the 9-11 sales and get some new clothes.
Well, I picked my bike up on Friday, and as usual Bay Cycle did a superlative job for less money than I expected. They deemed the rear sprocket re-usable, noticed ball bearing missing from the clutch (it now shifts much better, but neutral is harder to find), safety-wired up my busted lower radiator mount, and put on a new front tire, front sprocket, drive chain and clutch cable.
Is Dick Cheney dead yet?
Dick Cheney is still alive as of today.
How not to adjust a drive chain
On Tuesday when I rolled into work, Bilko (being a veteran biker) heard my chain slapping around and pointed it's looseness out to me. I tightened her up at home, albeit it was dark and I was out on the street due to lack of parking. Well the next morning I heard an even wierder rythmic clicking coming from behind me on the ride in. Checking it last night, I found that the left side wasn't moving, and once everything was unbound, their was an entire indexing mark discrepancy between the two sides of the swingarm. Well, I starightened it out, but have apparently ruined the chain. Which is ok since the thing has like 25K on it.
August 25, 2004 is my bike's 3rd birthday
Anyhow she has stuck with me for three years and thirty thousand miles, and all that she has asked for in return is scheduled maintenance and a clutch switch or two. To celebrate the big day I got her a set of spark plugs and tightened her chain. Well, actually I realized both were way overdue, but it's the thought that counts. I hope I spend many more happy years with her.
Yes, I still fondly remember the nefarious train/bus/walk route I took through the streets of Newark, and how when I finally got there, she was parked out on the sidewalk, all shiny and new. I walked by and thought That's my bike! and was the happiest little boy in the whole world.
Back from the Buffalo Roast in Virginia!
and what a trip it was. Went to Bilko's house, and waited for someone else who was riding to the area. He showed up with his bike packed in a tragicomical manner with all sorts of junk bungeed and lashed to the bike. In fact the taillight and license plate were covered when he pulled up.
The actual riding was quite nice. Straight two lane highway, smooth with no crosswind. Stopped for lunch in PA and Bilko called to check on other members of his club that were riding down. Upon announcing that one of them had a charging problem on their bike, the first question was "What does he ride, a Harley?" to which Bilko gave a look that said "Is the Pope Catholic?"
Eventually hit Shenandoah National Park, and rode thru Skyline Drive. Great road, like a slower, tighter, more hilly Palisades Parkway. The view was terrific, but very similar at every lookout point.
Bilko had said that he had secured a cabin at the campground, and then started using the word 'caboose' which I dismissed as odd use of language. Turns out the cabin was literally a renovated train caboose. Beats a tent.
Saturday was drizzly the whole day so there were no grand rides. Around noon we headed out to a convenience store and somehow got hijacked into Rags stopping at a laundromat to dry his socks and boots. I only saw it once, but the claim was that a local sheriff car drove by six times because, you know, five bikers were invading the town.
I missed out on the first ride because BJ comes circling around on his old Shovelhead in a t-shirt and overalls in the rain asking if anyone wants to go on a ride, and a few seconds after trying to figure out if he was serious, I see Mike starting up the hill on his giant BMW K1200LT, going a tad fast. He fishtails wildly, looks like he's made a nice recovery, then the thing slides around on him and drops. AmazinGly no damage was done.
Later the rain had subsided and I headed out solo to the southern portion of Skyline Drive. At the park entrance, the odometer was at 29999 miles, so I took before and after pics. It was foggy as all hell and the roads were still wet, but I got myself together for some decent corner carving on the way back. I also stopped to take picture of the sign for Route 666 and the town sign that said 'HOOD' in true Beavis and Butt-head style. In doing so, some Mennonite (I'm guessing that was what the women in the grey dresses and little white hats were?)lady asked me for directions and another guy asked if I was from Jersey.
The buffalo was good food, and there were more shenanigens that night. We rode back up with uh, two people whose names I forgot. The woman was in front of me through most of Skyline, and was not comfortable on the corners. I'm sure me swooping up in her mirrors didn't help. I asked Bilko why we were going about 40 mph instead of 50 like we did on Friday. His answer was that enforcement is heavier during better weather, so I was glad I hit the place alone when it was dreary out.
Finally got to Front Royal and ended up eating at The Village Idiot, which appeared to have one androgyne working there. I did not know that a birdcage at the door of a restaurant/bar was code for a gay-friendly facilty. Anyway, lunch took longer than expected.
At about 4 PM we realized there was still about 240 miles to go. Snippet of conversation:
Bill: We could go 95...
Rags: Are you kidding? My mirrors will fall of at 95!
Yes, they meant 95 mph, and obviously someone rides a Harley. Anyway, we remembered we were in PA when we hit construction traffic on 78. I got sick of it after a while and just took off doing the lanesplitting thing. One ass in an SUV with a trailer (betcha there was a HOG inside) kept trying to block me, and I gave his vehicles a few kicks. My foot hit the trailer wheel while it was moving, proving that non-grippy motorcycle boot soles are the way to go.
I got home around 10 PM, and left a message for Bill saying that I got back safe. An hour later they called back saying they had just got in. Lanesplitting rules! They also informed me that I was the hot topic of conversation on the CB radio: "We got a yellow bird buzzing through here, watch out for him!" Which explains why some of the trucks were parting like the Red Sea as I approached. 875 miles total.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Tomorrow I'll be heading out to Virginia for a sober Buffalo Roast. Yes my shock is crud, and yes I loves to drink, but I also want to click the odometer past 30K in an interesting place, and Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park seems like a good place.
This should be interesting, as the place will surely be littered with stereotypical bikers, and I will be on my l'il SV650, wearing a yellow Aerostich suit
Rear Shock, Busted!
When I got that new Metzeler Roadtec Z6 rear tire mounted, I was concerned that I'd bent the rim out of round by, well, riding in New Jersey. The people at JDS Cycle assured me that the wheel was true. The Z6 did not particularly impress me.
But thanks to Jeff pointing out the clunking noise coming from my bike on Saturday, I realized that the ride was crap due to the shock being dead. Yes, I failed to notice the pogo-stick bouncing, somehow. I am sure it has been busted since before the tire was mounted, and those idiots failed to notice it also.
Anyway, I've been wanting to upgrade anyway, and I'll have the people at Bay Cycle do it, since they know suspensions and don't do shoddy work. I also am past due on a valve adjustment, and need to get a third clutch cable to start stretching out. But the bike has been a good girl, and is at 29,350 miles or so, ignoring the 3K or so when the odometer wasn't working.
Unfortunately I am planning on leaving for a weekend trip to Virginia on Friday (Skyline Drive in the Shenandoahs AND a Buffalo Roast? YES!! No Alcohol? well, I guess I'll survive...) so I guess I'll be doing a lot of miles on just the rear spring. Should be interesting.
Hawk's Nest ride 8/14/04
This was a good day overall. Fine points included:
* Having my suspicions about the effectiveness of scotch-taping the corners of a printed-out map to a motorcycle's gas tank confirmed when a plethora of pages fly off on Route 22 at 65 mph or so.
* A group that somehow thought the only person who knew the route should ride near the back of the group, hence resulting in seing him point in vain to the missed exit sign as the lead rider passed it. I think I saw this happen about three times.
* A relative newbie low-siding his 600RR on some gravel and landing in some nice soft dirt, unharmed. Hell, didn't even damage the plastics. Of course he had a coolant leak that later had to be patched up...
Anyway here are a few good pics:The group, the bikes, the view.