my precious babies safe at home after both enjoying some riding today
Patience is not a virtue that comes naturally to me. I have to work hard to develop it. But sometimes it’s easy.
Riding a motorcycle means I….
On the Freeway
In the Rain
In Los Angeles (where nobody knows how to drive in the rain).
But even I have to draw the line at doing all of the above right after the Superbowl (or any other major drinking event). A simple detour to one of my favorite quiet surface streets made a potentially fatal ride home quite pleasant. Beverly can get you from Hollywood to DTLA just as fast, even faster sometimes.
Today I also got to ride my R1 through sand, out in Joshua Tree. That was exciting. But I kept my speed down (around 6mph!) and didn’t make any sudden moves, and we made the half mile trip (each way) successfully. It was exciting, especially having to turn corners where the sand was actually a couple inches deep. Luckily traffic wasn’t an issue. I am dying to play in the dirt more, now that I’ve learned how to do so through Shelina Moreda’s dirt camp, which I did last year. In case you missed it, the full story is on RideApart.
Winter has finally come to SoCal, let’s all keep the shiny side up!
I’ve been thinking about SIPDE lately. It’s the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s acronym that’s very handy for riding- Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute. They must be done in order. Don’t mix that up. Scanning used to be so automatic is wasn’t even conscious. Then I started riding a bicycle. At 15mph, your eyes can safely wander. You notice stuff you’d never see at 20+mph.
The hard part is getting back to 20+mph vision, which requires consciously ignoring shiny distractions and ONLY seeing the things that matter. Mainly the big, fast things that could kill you. Not much else matters. Not that intriguing billboard. Not that new store that looks like it might be interesting. Not the cute guy waiting for the bus. None of that matters. It’s rather annoying that I have to re-train my brain when switching from bicycle to motorcycle. But there it is. Continue reading Execute! Predict! Scan! Decide! Identify!
FX Marks the Spot
So I’ve got a new love. He’s big, black, and thrusts harder than any of my previous loves. Best of all, he doesn’t have any dirty habits and is totally low maintenance. Read all about him, and our first 180 miles of the honeymoon over at Gas2.
1985: 1981 Vespa P200E
Greatest Memory? Every ride with Cheri (memorialized here), especially the ones where we snuck out at night and rode to the city 20 miles away.
The first time I went for a ride, on the back of Rob Bond’s Suzuki GS550, I knew I had to have one for myself. Sharing was simply not an option. So I spent the next year (until I was 15 1/2) working my parents over. By the time I was old enough to get my motorcycle permit, they relented. Because people (mistakenly) perceive scooters as being safer than motorcycles (it’s the other way around, actually), my parents let me buy a Vespa. I worked all summer in a paint factory to pay for it, but still only had about 50%. So my super awesome dad came up with the other half. The day I turned 15 1/2 I went straight to the DMV to get my motorcycle permit. I passed the test. Back then, you didn’t have to get a car permit in order to get a motorcycle permit. And I hadn’t heard about the MSF, as it was just starting up in 1985. Too bad, it would’ve saved me launching that 1981 Vespa P200E into the bushes across the street in front of my parents and the guy selling it to me.
Continue reading The motorcycles I have owned
Thanks Kevin Rothwell for capturing the photo most like my dream, and sharing it!
Photo courtesy Kevin Rothwell via Creative Commons License
This morning I had the best dream- I was at the Isle of Man TT, which I’m finally going to in 2012. The only downside of the dream is I was also preparing my next project for the class I’m currently teaching on garment construction. But when I wasn’t doing that…
In the dream, there was also a MotoGP paddock, as if the TT were back on the schedule. Somehow I had access to Colin Edwards’ bike. Somehow I knew that if I disconnected the CPU, the bike would run solely on electric power. So I did, then later returned to Colin’s garage and rode off. I wasn’t even dressed to ride, and of course the streets were open to all traffic. But the bike was FAST and so much fun. I careened through the crowded streets and in my dream I was really in some mall (of course), so parts of my short laps were through a clothing store. It was pandemonium but the crowd loved it (as TT fans would). I loved showing them that a GP bike could be fast and fun even without gas. I did 3 “laps” around this little city block, then rode around some real streets.
Continue reading Dreaming of Mecca, aka The Isle of Man TT
Photos courtesy of Andy Woo
I actually sang this, and completely rewrote the chorus to make my point on Sunday morning. The rest of my (all female) team couldn’t understand why I was so unmotivated. Something about having to fold my knees into my armpits in a suit that never seemed quite cut for actually racing might have contributed to my extreme discomfort on the baby bike. Timeline highlights follow… Continue reading I like big bikes, and I cannot lie
I’ve lived and ridden in LA for over a decade. In that time, I’ve seen some messed up driving and survived plenty of threats on my life. (some perceived and some real). I’ve even grown pretty confident on my bicycle in the 5 months I’ve been riding. But the past couple days I’ve seen some seriously crazy shit. And it’s not even a full moon. What is going on?
Last night I rode my bicycle from downtown to Hollywood and back. I had 2 cars almost run stop signs into me. Then a minivan pulled into the oncoming lane to pick his friend up at the corner just as I was turning the same corner. I discovered I can lock the wheels on my bicycle very easily without crashing. two wheel slide! wootwoot! But just the same it scared the hell out of me. That kid’s parents will be getting a nasty letter from me courtesy of the DMV’s letter forwarding system if I can find the link on their new website. Although I fear that budget cuts may have led them to discontinue that service. Continue reading Is LA Suffering an Outbreak of the Crazies?
Here's Fred after he was "Pile" for a few months.
Traumatized By Carburetors
Some people enjoy working on bikes more than they enjoy riding them. I am not one of those people. I hate taking time out of my life to maintain my vehicles. Which is yet another reason I’m so gung-ho about electric vehicles. However, when I lived in NYC, I took an awesome motorcycle maintenance class my friends recommended. Only because it’s so hard to find a decent mechanic in NYC, particularly with reasonable rates, that you may as well do it all yourself. I was lucky because the teacher was really cool, the exact opposite of the ogre who taught auto shop in high school and forced me to study carburetors. On my own, because of some heinous and forgotten crime I’d committed as a student. And every time I’d return to him, convinced I knew every thing there was to know about those infernal devices, he’d ask me the one question I couldn’t answer. To this day, I despise carburetors.
Continue reading Riding vs Wrenching
Memories of Cheri came flooding back when I saw a Vespa go by tonight in Valencia, Spain. The passenger wore black lace tights, like she used to on my Vespa. Practically from the day I got it, before I even had the nerve to shift out of 1st gear, she rode with me.
Or rather, days. Just to clarify, here’s what I’ve been up to…