But I’d do it every weekend of the year if I could. I’d even do it on a higher level if I could. But I’m just not that fast. I’m fast enough to get to the racetrack in a reasonable amount of time, but can’t get around the track nearly as fast as the pros. So I watch them, and enjoy the show. Making it even more enjoyable, I write about what I see for Gas2 and when there’s no electric races to cover, RideApart. Or even Jalopnik. Sometimes I also write for CleanTechnica, like this piece about the rad solar farms I saw being built on my favorite back road en route to Laguna Seca.
When my friend Jenny said “I’d like to visit Portland for my birthday” I said “Let’s go!” I’d only been once before for the Net Impact Conference, and had a great time. Since then I’d gotten deeper into pedal-powered bikes, so I wanted to explore the country’s Bicycling Capital. We made a stab at getting bikes from friends, but wound up just renting these single speed hooptie city bikes. They were painfully slow, geared to handle most riding for most people, so we didn’t really get much of a workout. But we rode all over Portland for a few days! It was rad.
Like I am with bikes, I dove right back in the deep end. I’ve been a fairly good patient these past 9 weeks, following doctor’s orders, babying that pelvic fracture to the point where I’m overusing the cane. But today I couldn’t take another minute of it. London had dried out, and I had to get from the Waterloo tube station to the Tate modern- a considerable distance for someone who’s supposed to be “taking it easy”.
There they were, proudly waiting right outside the station, whispering “take me! I’m yours! I’ll get you there swiftly, safely, and with far more pleasure than any other mode. take me, I’m free!” So I did. Got on a bicycle for the first time since April 6th. Wearing the same pants I wore that night too. In London, a city I was so terrified to ride my motorcycle in I’d only ride on weekends and usually at night or in the burbs. I’ve ridden in lots of cities, American and European, but the whole left side traffic thing makes it a little too exciting. Especially on a bicycle. One which I can’t be bothered to figure out how to change gears. And without a helmet. I felt safe enough cruising around Barcelona without a helmet, but there’s a lot less traffic there than London and it’s all on the right side. Perhaps it’s also that I drive/ride more like a Spaniard or an Italian than a Brit. It felt so wrong to be riding without a helmet and with only my purse for hi-viz, but London was good to me, and I also rode slowly on the sidewalks when traffic was too scary. Looking forward to getting the official go-ahead! from the Doc June 20th…
Now I’m near Silverstone, looking forward to volunteering with Riders for Health this weekend. More about that later…
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.
The past week has been such a blur, I can’t even recall if I blogged about this. Don’t think so, and due to the pinheads who control our access to the interwebs, I can’t check right now. But I’m pretty sure my last post was about riding in Texas. Which was awesome, especially when I scoffed at the Tesla guy at the Maker faire. He told me the top speed was a measly 125mph, I scoffed and he asked “when’s the last time you went over 125?” I had trouble remembering what day of the week it had been, and was clearly struggling to recall. So he said “Tuesday?” and I was like “yes, I think it was Tuesday, it must have been since I drove from Marfa, tx to Indio, California on Wednesday.” 😉
So the prize. The prize is a pearl white Ducati 848, because I am no longer a size queen, and am interested in more rational types of motorcycles. Unfortunately, no pix with this one, but I will attempt to give this sexy beast justice with mere words. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, with a (termignoni-assisted) voice that rumbles to the very depths of my soul, making me want to do whatever it takes to ensure she’s got a lifetime supply of sweet crude… She’s also tons of fun. I dropped by Ducati Beverly hills to say hi to my friends, and they immediately escorted me out the door onto their demo model. Well. The 848 was ecstatic everywhere, lanesplitting up la cienega, posing on sunset plaza, racing the fancy cars down sunset to Beverly glen, crawling up Beverly glen with rush hour traffic, even sitting at an interminable red light. The heat dissipates almost entirely to the crotch, so it’s a great bike for guys who want to be extra sure they’re not getting any surprise babies. Which is better than the R1, which literally cooks my legs.
The only problem was mulholland, where her excessively stiff factory setup made the endless bumps unbearable. But hey, that’s a $20 fix at the first track day.
So I’m a bit behind here, that was Thursday and since then I’ve driven to San francisco, gone to the maker faire, and am 2 days into the conference that may very well lead to the job that will enable me to run right out and buy this sexy beast. But don’t tell my R1 that. She did a great job getting me here, we had soo much fun. And she’s so good to me, even though I ignored the tow away zone sign and left her on the street in LA. It was bad enough to leave her on the mean streets of downtown LA all night, but then to subject her to the indignity of being schlepped to the pound for my mistake… Poor baby, I left a Ducati for her, and now it’s looking like I’m about to leave her for a Ducati.
Posted via LiveJournal.app.
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…
remind me never to drink an entire bottle of water with dinner. ouch. but it was such delicious water, and I was so very thirsty after driving from Dallas to Marfa. So I’m a bit behind here. It’s been a whirlwind of traveling, with nothing terribly interesting to report. Except what happened yesterday. Nervous about the long and lonely drive ahead, I did my best to prepare. I actually meditated Sunday morning, which was lovely and must happen more often. It’s likely to, now that I’ve also realized I’m ready to more actively pursue my interest in Buddhism.
So, I then stopped at the awesome food coop across from the Vortex in Little Five Points (We’re in Atlanta now, do try to keep up) and loaded up on all the agave-sweetened chocolate they had (so why the chocolate souffle at the restaurant tonight???). So I’m ready for a day of my absolute least favorite activity- driving a car in the USA, particularly in the South, where everyone just wants to mosey along enjoying the scenery. Well, imagine my delight when I spy a group of hitchikers with a very slick sign proclaiming "Dallas" only an hour outside Atlanta. I was like "Wait a minute…. I’m going to Dallas, too…!" They looked like harmless hippie kids so I safely pulled over about a mile down the road and walked back to let them know they had a ride (OK, not that far, but walking along the highway sure made it feel like a long way). They met me halfway and Aaron told me they were returning home after competing in the great hitchiking race.
My intuition told me they were legit, so they piled in and I continued to drive at first, to better get acquainted with my new chauffeurs before putting them to work. Soon after, I felt comfortable enough putting them in control and did not drive again until I dropped Pinkston off in Dallas the next morning. Aaron’s mom put us all up for the night in Van. A town named Van, not the vehicle. She lives next to some farm animals and an oil rig. Which remind me of the negotiations assignment where I was supposed to be representing an oil company that wanted to buy someone’s land without paying them what it could be worth. Judging by the quality of the homes in the area, nobody was getting cut into this deal. As a representative of the fictitious oil company, I could not lie or even withhold the truth, and let slip that we suspected there was something of value, so wound up giving the seller 10% of whatever we happened to sell that came out of the ground. Which was still below the max $ amount I was allowed to give up, as long as I didn’t give him 10% in perpetuity. I suspect the oil company that bought this patch of land had a much slicker negotiator on their staff.
In any case, the hitchikers were good kids, Emily is working on a master’s in geology, Pinkston is finishing his BA in film, and Aaron has a degree in communication and persuasion, which I’m sure is what’s facilitated his career as a professional hitchiker. I gave them my cards and told them to stay in touch. Then I drove to Marfa without incident. I love driving across Texas. The speed limit is 80 and there’s no traffic.
In the interest of balancing the ledger, I need to tell you what I liked about Barcelona, as there are some things I’ll definitely miss:
Circles instead of intersections. Absolute genius, and I wish there were more of these in the world.
Eating dinner at 11pm
2 wheels RULE the road. Scooters get more respect in Barcelona than any other vehicle. If only I could turn LA into the scooter town that Barcelona is…
Barca! Now I have a football (soccer to most of my friends) team to root for! This is the beginning of the street party that erupted after we won the last semi-final. More team spirit than even Carolina, blasphemous though that is.
Cute shops, funky architecture, awesome public transit, thriving arts scene, my awesome landlord in Raval, Mattia46 scooter rentals, the topography being so much like LA, especially from the mountains.
Most of all- the AWESOME drivers! Spanish people really know how to drive/ride, there’s a reason so many top racers come out of Spain.They drive fast and pay attention. I saw way more close calls and stupid moves in 9 days in Paris than I ever did the whole 4 months in Barcelona. Riding there was a dream.
I think there was something else, but I forgot it.
Since I’m all over the map these days, I figured I’d just run through the schedule here so people who care can keep track:
March 28-31: Nice, France: The new code word for reminding me I’m about to embark on a really bad idea.
April 3-6: Valencia, Spain: World Superbike with Britt
April 8-11: Bilbao, Spain: Guggenheim, crazy Easter parades, Spa with circus people
April 20-29: Paris, France: Shop till ya drop with friends
April 30-May 4: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain: MotoGP!!!
May 7-12: Chapel Hill, NC, USA: Graduation!!!
May 13-20: NYC: beg for work, hang out, etc.
May 22-24: Atlanta: track day, hang out, enjoy springtime in the south
May 25-29: Express road trip to San Francisco via Marfa, TX with Yaron, if he can stand it again.
May 30: San Mateo, CA: Maker Faire with Dave and his critters
May 31-June 4: Monterey, CA: Sustainable Brands International Conference: beg shamelessly for work, make lots of new friends.
June 5-…depends on the efficacy of my begging efforts. 😉