When I was a kid, there was a horror movie about this fog that enveloped some town and scared the shit out of everyone. I only recall the bit about the people trapped in the grocery store, wishing they could go home, but The Fog would git them if they tried to leave.
feels soooo good to get out and stretch my baby’s legs! Big Bend, TX is the perfect place to blow out the cobwebs on an R1, that’s for sure. Soft sweepers and big long straights and nobody around for miles. I thought about going into Mexico, even stopped at the border and asked if it was a good idea. The cop couldn’t tell me whether to go or not, but did choose to mention the day’s murder rate as an indicator. It was 1 today and 1 yesterday. Probably a tad higher (per capita) than LA. So I said “Is that due to the drug war we keep hearing about?” and he gave a very professionally noncommittal answer that suggested I was jumping to the right conclusion. So I turned around and headed into Big Bend park, thinking I’d do this fun little loop I saw on the map. Yeah. Like they do anything little in Texas…
Here we are, with some Spanish chicks who had the good sense to bring along a giant American flag! Well, I brought the Gigsville cowbell at least. Every Texas boy needs a cowbell, no? I hope next year they have even more Ben Spies fans in Spain. Bummer about the crash, but he did a good job in race 2 on his B bike. Still need to inject that boy with some charm for his podium speeches, he’s so dry. But he definitely smiled when we made a big racket for him!
one of the many fine views I enjoyed over the weekend at Valencia. Those long concrete strips leading up to the Ford billboard are actually steps. That’s where they put all the bad MotoGP fans who thought they bought tickets, then had their tickets revoked and didn’t figure this out until 2 days before the race.
As you can see, there are not nearly as many WSB fans in Spain as there are MotoGP fans. Only about 43,000 people turned up, so the cheap seats were totally empty. And I could hobble up the day before the race and buy one of the good seats. Sure felt good being able to do that.
OK, compared to Butters, this will be amazing. http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/bmw/ride-report-2003-bmw-f650cs-scarver-1641.html
"the F650CS excels in slow twisties. The CS loves being thrown with abandon into hairpins and other mountainous stuff, while the suspension keeps things in check remarkably well considering they were calibrated for quieter action. It’s the kind of bike on which it’s easy to search for your limits."
wootwoot! I was all nervous about renting such a puny bike to go any real distance (the agency insists it’s only good for one rider) but then I read this review and though, hmmm. It can go 110mph, so I won’t get rear-ended on the freeway, and it’s fun in the twisties. what more do I need to cruise along the cote d’azur, and poke around in the mountains near Nice? 🙂 All that for half the price of a Multistrada.
turned the go-fast screw all the way to the right today, and it was pretty cool how fast it wanted to go! wouldn’t even sit still! Had to hold the brake to keep it from creeping forward at a stop, so I backed it off a tiny bit. but only after getting up the hill, need all the get-up-and-go that thing can get to make it up Tibidabo.
UPDATE!!!! I WAS WRONG!!! Or rather, the hack BMW paid to write those LIES was wrong. WORST bike I ever rode!!! And not just because I crashed it. This bike is so unrideable I think BMW invented it with the sole purpose of making new riders hate motorcycling so much that they run out and buy BMW cars. Or Volvos even. It was horrendous at any speed, wobbly around town, pathetic on the highway, and worthless in what few turns I took it through.
If you are a new rider, DO NOT buy this bike!!! Buy something that’s fun and moves the way a bike is supposed to move. Now I know why so many US riders start out on 600cc race bikes. Because they WORK. Seriously, the GSXR 600 I rented to go from SF to LA last summer did it all for me. It blew my mind with it’s braking technology (completely panic mid-corner proof) and of course its awesome power. When a dumbass slammed on their brakes in front of me then, I instantly chose to lanesplit to avoid hitting them, and continued on my way.
It was my mistake for not thinking of that in Nice, when I was a drowned rat thinking only of how desperately I wanted to be dry, but still. I think if I’d been on a bike I could respect, I probably would’ve been less interested in crashing. A shiny new 848 rode slowly by the cafe where I supped Monday night and I told my new Nice friends- "see, if I’d been on THAT bike, I would not have crashed."
Wow! So I’m catching up on my horoscopes, and this is amazing. I actually followed Brezny’s advice without even realizing it. The dogma was that I am too cool to ride a scooter. I finally relented and rented one (with a nudge from Britt, if she hadn’t suggested it, I might not have done it). And what’s changed about my worldview is that I can actually enjoy getting from point A to point B even though I am the slowest guy out there. While some of you have survived being passengers in a car driven by me, none of you know what goes on inside my helmet at a red light. I filter to the front, thinking nasty thoughts about what a bunch of tools these cagers all are, especially the idiots in North Carolina who honk at me as I neatly cut through the lanes. Losers. And I am appalled beyond belief at just how excrutiatingly slowly people pull away from a light, especially in North Carolina. In Barcelona, of course, people drive the way people should drive the world over. Fast. No dilly-dallying. So I thought I would need to be on my fast bike to enjoy riding here. But I’m on the slowest thing ever, and I’m actually digging it. AND I actually arrive calmer because I’m not freaking out over how slow everyone is the whole way there.
I’m glad that Pythagoras’ dogma was shattered because everyone knows mere numbers can’t provide the ultimate truth about reality. pffft.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras is
known as “the father of numbers.” He taught that mathematics provides
the ultimate truth about reality. His otherwise productive career went
through a rough patch when one of his students found that the square
root of two is an “irrational” number that can’t be expressed as a simple
fraction. “Impossible!” said Pythagoras. His system was built on the axiom
that there are no such numbers. Yet he couldn’t refute the student’s
proof. By some accounts, Pythagoras had the student drowned for his
impunity. The brilliant theorist couldn’t deal with the threat to his dogma.
I bring this to your attention, Aries, because you have an opportunity to
do what Pythagoras couldn’t: accept the evidence that your beliefs about
reality are limited, and incorporate the new data into a revised worldview.
OK, so it’s not mine, but I once had a silver Vespa P200E, just like this one. My first and second scooters, in fact. My very first scooter had probably 5x the horsepower my current rental has. Amazing. But fun. It’s certainly (humbling would be the word, but that’s not how it feels, more like pacifying) being so slow off the line I’m better off just staying behind cars than getting up front with all the other scooters and holding up traffic as I goose the throttle to try and get her up to speed a little quicker. Especially going uphills.
So I bought gas, which was a little overwhelming at first. I didn’t want to do anything inappropriate at the gas station or anything. And it wasn’t really any different than buying gas in the US, except you can’t pay at the pump.
So this box. For those of you who gripe about my sleek 4.6 liter Givi box on the back of my R1, well. Stuff it. My Givi box rocks and dammit. It’s not like it’s some 10 liter diamondplate monolith, got it? ;-P I’m gonna flip that bike over backwards on May 7th, after all this time on Butters. Yeah, my scooter’s name is Butters. As in “I dunno you guys, are you sure this is a good idea?” while Cartman unveils yet another devious scheme involving shaming the boy who knows no shame…
yaaay! so after 6 weeks of bitter cold and rain and watching the entire city of Barcelona zoom around on scooters, I finally pocketed my pride and rented a scooter. This is my first time riding a scooter (except for the brief test ride on a death trap in Zanzibar), since the time I rode my Lambretta into the side of a pickup truck at 40mph without a helmet. When Roberto, the rental agent, told me my gloves and helmet were too much for a scooter (everyone wears crap helmets on scooters), I was all “not the way I ride!”
So we didn’t even rent cool scooters, but cheap plastic Chinese scooters, like everyone else rides. Britt found this cool place in our neighborhood, Mattia46.com I almost got a discount for my helmet, but not quite.
Here we are at the top of big mountain I’ve always wanted to scale. My bike’s not in the picture. It was so much fun to finally ride around Barcelona after 6 weeks of walking and taking slow-ass public transit.
It’s so great to not have to walk past all the creeps in my neighborhood, to be able to fly through town! But watching Ben Spies KICK ASS!!!!! in WSB made me really really really want the new R1, if for no reason other than to support my homeboy in WSB.
So I’m in La Jolla for a few days with the fam, helping mom & dad celebrate the big 5-0. I have too many awesome friends down here to not try and get something going, so I called everyone I know south of the Orange Curtain. Zina was the only one who could come out and play, and she really pulled through! Let me borrow her amazingly kick-ass light as a feather Monster SR1000, and we rode way out 94 down by the border. It was a lovely ride, no traffic, very few cops. Except for the border patrol trucks which were practically every other vehicle we saw. They didn’t care about us, but it kinda bothered me to see my tax dollars so hard at work on something I’d rather it not be spent on. I mean, sure, we can’t just have millions of people continue to pour into the country illegally, but why not make it legal and charge them income tax? I suspect the CA state budget would be much easier to balance with such an influx of cash.
Anyway, the ride was great and it felt like a nice taste of the next 4 months, because the landscape is a lot like Spain, and hey, lots of people speak Spanish around here. While savoring my delicious veggie breakfast burrito at the cool sportbiker roadhouse on 94, I complained to Zina that I’m going to a place where everyone speaks Spanish, but there’s not much in the way of Mexican food! Oh and the eye candy at this pit stop was stunning. While I’m sure to find great biker culture in Spain (duh), I cannot imagine seeing as many gorgeous men on gorgeous bikes as I saw here in San Diego. Maybe I should try to find a job at or near Camp Pendleton…