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.
Lucky for me, I lived through that little highside. It was a cold, dark night in West Hollywood. I’d just had a lovely dinner with some friends, both old and new. But I was wary about going to the Abbey. It had never appealed to me. Once we were inside, I couldn’t wait to leave. I lost my friends in the crowd and left, looking forward to my bed. I rode down Robertson and went to make a left turn onto some road, maybe Beverly, maybe 3rd. All I remember is rolling on the throttle like I normally would, not in any rush or anything, and the bike wobbling violently side to side. Although I don’t recall being spat off like a bucking bronco shakes off a rider, that’s what happened. I came to naked under a sheet in the nearest hospital, so I was out for some time.
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.
I’ve had 5 concussions. The last 3 would’ve been negligible if I’d been wearing a helmet for the first 2. The first one felt like “no biggie”, as most injuries do to a teenager. 40mph into the side of a Volvo? Whatever, stop asking me how my head feels, I just wanna see my scooter. How’s my scooter? And why does this ambulance reek of piss, don’t they ever clean them? Oh. right.
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.
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?
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.
After 25 years on 2 wheels, your perception of danger changes. What would have terrified me years ago often presents nothing more than a minor annoyance. Just as it’s rare for me to actually crash nowadays (usually in the rain on a bike I hate.) It takes a LOT for me to feel like I narrowly escaped death. Today it happened.
I was grumpy, cold, tired and generally annoyed that I’d had to leave LA so late. I don’t like finishing a long ride after dark, it’s harder to focus when you’re tired. But there it was. I wasn’t going to rush up to SF the fast way, because there really is no “fast way” when you have to stop every five minutes for gas anyway.