If you’ve ever wondered what a typical ride looks like, here are a number of pictures, generously donated by Eryn. Our destination was the restaurant at Rancho Nicasio…known for it’s huevos rancheros. At least, that’s what I was trying to sell my companions on. Along with regular riders Denise, Paul and some old faces (actually much younger than mine), Brad and Elizabeth and Eryn and Dan, we braved the heat on the back roads out River Rd. to Olivet and then to Hwy 116, where we picked up Stony Point and into Petaluma. Then a right on D Steet and we were on our way into the countryside and our destination.
After a sumptuous brunch (guess what I had) and the swapping of numerous stories, we headed back out…some to go home and others to head out to the coast and back up into Sonoma County. Good company and a great ride.
Join us some time!
Greetings, Road Riders:
Unfortunately for all of you (one…maybe), I will not be riding on Sunday. My other calling, that of a historical reenactor beckons me. I’ll be participating a s a 13th c. archer at an event at the Castello di Amorosa in the Napa valley the day before and will be using Sunday as teardown for our equipment from that event.
Do look for me to ride on the next date…and don’t forget, we now meet at Bad Ass Coffee.
See y’all soon!
Just a short note, this time. Don’t forget, we’ll be meeting at Bad Ass Coffee from now on.
See y’all on Sunday!
Missed me? The reason is that we moved from Santa Rosa to Windsor. We’re still unpacking, but I finally have access to the motorcycle again. That means that I’ll be riding on Sunday for our trip to the Russian River Pub for brunch and onward afterwards. Looking forward to seeing all of you again.
On another note, I’m considering changing our meeting place to the parking of Bad Ass Coffee, southwest corner of Old Redwood Highway and Mark West Springs (River Rd.) to make it more convenient for some of our riders. Please let me know if you have an opinion by dropping me a note, here. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll make the change for the ride on May 11th. I’ll also post the change on the Ride Calendar and on this page at that time, so please make a note.
See you all tomorrow. The riding should be fine!
Addendum: It’s raining in Windsor (this being Sunday morning) and the weather calls for intermittent showers. So, that being said…no ride for me, today. I’ll use my time to continue the unboxing process at our new home.
Well, the weather is cooperating for a change. I WILL be riding tomorrow. And, there might be some changes afoot at BCMCT. We’re moving back up to Windsor, CA. I’m contemplating moving the start point to our rides up there, so if you have an opinion on that, email us here at email@example.com. We’ll look forward to your comments. The move should take place early next month, so I hope you’ll let us know what you’d prefer…a Santa Rosa jump off or Windsor.
See y’all tomorrow…at the Santa Rosa start point. We’ll be riding north to the Hoffman House for brunch and after that we’ll figure out a further destination for the day’s ride.
It’s been a while since I’ve commented on Exhaust Fumes. Been recovering from over-eating during the holiday season, ending up with the Super Bowl. Now, it’s time to lose the excess poundage and think of motorcycle riding again…in between the raindrops. Are we ever going to have Winter? Anyway, I wanted to mention a letter the BCMCT site received recently. It’s about a young man named Andrew. You might find it of interest.
My name is Andrew and I am with a high school club called “Teens 4 Safety”. I hope I’m not bothering you, but I just wanted to take the time to send you a quick thank you note for providing the resources on your page: http://www.barbarycoastmct.com/resources.php
This month we are focusing on motorcycle safety. Our goal is to help spread resources that we think are informative. We found a page that we think would be very useful to your site visitors. The page is www.carinsurancecalculatoronline.com/motorcycle-safety/
We’d appreciate it if you could help us spread the word by putting this link on your site. It helps explain motorcycle safety better than anything we have seen so far! Let us know if you think this is a good link or if there are better links that you think we should take a look at instead.
Andrew, thanks for writing and sharing your information. I hope this helps our younger motorcycling brothers and sisters, or those who are new to riding. I’ve placed the motorcycle safety link on our Resources page. Check it out if you have some time. Interesting information there.
…and assuming it’s not raining, I’ll be riding on Sunday!
Just a quick note today. I will not be riding on Sunday, December 8th, as I will be helping at my wife’s booth at the Santa Rosa Dickens Fair, held at the Finley Center off College and Stony Point. If you’re so inclined, stop by and see us. She’s an amazing artist and will be selling her work there on both Saturday and Sunday.
MMmmm…..Mexican food for breakfast, huevos rancheros to be exact…and one of the best places for motorcycles. They even have designated motorcycle parking. I’m talking about the Ren Hen Cantinain Napa, of course. So, get your feedbag on, saddle up your ride and join us!
Welcome to Friday, the 13th! To all of you who are superstitious, my condolences…as 13 is my lucky number. No, I haven’t won the lottery yet….but I have hope. Of course, I do need to play to make it happen, I guess. Anyone want to loan me a buck. I promise to return your investment 200%. Ok, now that we have that settled…on to other things.
Sometime reader and writer Brandon, mentioned this to me the other day:
Something happened the other day that made me think of your readers.
So I got the bike back from the shop, (new front end, rider error, but I was ok) and I’ve been doing a lot of early commute riding from Windsor to Santa Rosa at 5am because it’s been so nice and dry.
A few days ago I noticed a strange sound, so I gave her a good once over. It seems my mechanic forgot to tighten down the locking bolt that keeps the front axle on the forks! Happy that I caught it, I decided to give the entire bike a little polish. Windex and clean rag in hand, last night I went over the entire bike, chrome, blinkers, frame. Top to bottom. I didn’t find any problems, but I did wonder when the last time someone wrote (on the site) about the importance of the “weekly once over.” After all, it’s better to catch a problem before it becomes a big problem.
A word to the wise, brothers and sisters…preflight your machines!
Now, it looks like I will be missing the Sunday ride again. Not because of back issues or mechanical failures, but I have a scheduling conflict with my other hobby, historical reenactment (if you’re interested, click here for more info on that). We have a paying gig on Sunday…so no ride for me this weekend. However, I do intend to ride on the next ride, two weeks from now.
Nothing like back pain to remind one that they are alive…and there’s nothing like continual pain to keep one in the “moment.” Anyway, I guess the point of this entry is to let my fellow riders know that the pain has subsided for the moment and I will be riding on Sunday. We have a nice, easy ride out to Rancho Nicasio in Novato for brunch and for those that wish, afterwards, a journey from the restaurant to the west end of Fairfax and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and then a ride back up the coast onto the terrible roads of Sonoma county. If you think your machine can handle it, join us!
Well, my birthday has come and gone, but there were a few folks that braved the dirt road to the Cazsonoma Inn for a sumptuous brunch last Sunday. Unfortunately, I had to ride in my cage, as my back has been giving me problems for the last week. I’m hoping I’ll be healed up by the time of our camping trip in August (see below). Worst case scenario, I’ll be driving the sag wagon. Best case, the wife will be driving it and I’ll be on my ride. So far, I’ve had commitments from at least one other couple…I know there are more of you out there. C’mon, it will be fun! Day trip to Mendocino, walk around town, hit the local pub…what more could you want. Just wait, we’ll probably have a heat wave in Santa Rosa and you’ll be glad you went for a weekend camping trip.
August 4th, we’ll be going to the Cape Fear Cafe in Duncan Mills…tasty food and a nice ride down the coast afterwards. See you then!
6.1.13 Upcoming Camping Trip
Looks like we’re going camping. I’ve confirmed a site at the Manchester KOA for August 9-11th. If you’re interested in joining us, I’d suggest you make your reservations now. See the weblink in my previous post for phone number and other info. Our site can hold 4 people and one of our other riders (and his girlfriend) has spoken up, so he gets to share the site with my wife and I. We’ll be in site T69, if you’re looking for us. This is an off weekend from our regular ride, so we won’t be missing anything. I encourage all of you riders to join us. It should be fun!
Anyone interested in a motorcycle camping trip in August? Leaving on a Friday and returning on the following Sunday. To avoid having to make reservations months in advance and one whose wife appreciates hot showers and toilets that flush, I’d like to recommend we go to the Manchester KOA, north of Pt. Arena and an easy 1/2 hour ride to the town of Mendocino. Chances are we can get in if I can get a head count early enough. This is a beautiful site, with coastal redwoods, beach access and all the amenities (even a hot tub and pool for soaking your monkey butts). They are motorcycle friendly, as well. Here’s a link to their site: http://www.manchesterbeachkoa.com/. There’s a general store about a 1/2 mile south of the site, so normally we don’t pack food and just buy it there.
Here are three weekends in August that one of our riders suggested:
August 9 – 11
August 16 -18 (Ed is less good on this weekend, but it’s still possible I can make it)
August 30 – Sept 1 (This is Labor Day weekend, and the likelihood of getting a space or two is almost nil.
So, drop me a line here with your suggestions or different dates/locations and I’ll collate and post them here. You can email the site at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s an article from one of our regular riders, Jeff Rothman. He raises an interesting issue:
Emergency Contact Forms
I was on a weekend trip to Eureka recently and half way through the first days ride, one of the riders mentioned he was a diabetic. I asked him what I should do if he had any type of reaction and he explained, and I can’t remember exactly, that he carried some type of candy or sucker in his pocket. This information should have been shared before the start of the trip. This got us talking and one of the other riders mentioned he was allergic to bee stings but didn’t carry an EPI pen. The point is, someone in the group should know if you have any medical issues that would require an immediate response, what that response should be and how to accomplish that response. We are not getting any younger and many of us do in fact have medical issues.
I’ve attached an Emergency Contact form (Click here for the download link) for anyone’s use. It is formatted for double sided printing on standard business card stock. I bought mine at Staples where you can also have it laminated after you fill in the information. I will also be handing these out at various meet ups so be sure to hit me up if you want one. I ride with a number of different groups and individuals and because I’m fairly new to riding, I don’t know most of the folks I ride with. If any of us were to ever have an accident or medical emergency, emergency contact and medical information would be very important.
Note from Ed: I’m also going to place the link for the Emergency Contact Form in the Resources section of the website.
In keeping with my relatively new policy of updating the site on a more regular basis, I present to you recent photos from a couple of our rides. One set is up to the Hoffman House, past Cloverdale and the other is to Downtown Joe’s in Napa. Needless to say, we’ll go anywhere for good food…oh yeah, and nice rides. I mean, who is going to complain about riding in Sonoma and Napa counties. If you stay off the highway, you have the opportunity to ride some of the most beautiful roads on the Left Coast. So, without further ado, here are the pix, and I encourage all you riders that join us to submit pictures and even articles or food/restaurant review for inclusion here. There’s no pay…but you’ll get a byline…and maybe a minute or two towards your fifteen minutes of fame.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t place this here or really anywhere else on the website, but this is from a friend whose father passed on and was the original owner of the machine. I told her that I’d try to help her sell the bike, so here’s my contribution…
For Sale – 2005 Harley Davidson – Dyna Low Rider
It has the Screaming Eagle package, new pistons, new heads and is punched out to 95 c.i. (stock is 88 c.i.) It includes a tool bag, windshield, forward controls, chrome horn, sissy bar, luggage rack, bike lift, trickle charger, and travel black suitcase bag.
Well, the bi-weekly ride is over. Just as well. I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary yesterday. Also played “pack animal” for my wife, who was in an art show. So, sore back…hence the shortened ride. I did ask if anyone wanted to go longer…you always have that option when riding with us.
As it was, we had 8 motorcycles of various makes on the tarmac at our departure time of 10:30am. My old buddy “Zeke” and fellow website founder, showed up to play ride captain for us. He lead us on a merry chase to KC’s Downtown Grill in Windsor. A first time event for us…we were seated immediately. I can’t recommend this place highly enough. The food is great, the service is good and the pricing is reasonable. I even have a new menu favorite, but I’m not tellin’….go and peruse the menu, yourself. You’ll find lots that you’ll like.
After brunch, we meandered up to Healdsburg and then over to the Alexander Valley, riding south to Calistoga where we turned back in toward Santa Rosa. The original plan was to go through Calistoga to the Silverado Trail and ride south to the southern end of Napa and then back to Santa Rosa. It’s a great ride and we’ll reschedule it for another time when my back isn’t acting up and we have more riders wishing to go a longer distance.
See y’all in a couple of weeks!
Occasionally, we get letters to the BCMCT website. With the author’s permission, I’m sharing this one, as it embodies my thoughts and the purpose of Barbary Coast and this site.
To the Editor:
You guys seem to be the only local group I can find that isn’t HD specialized. I love your website, follow it a few times a month, and now that I’m starting to get more confident with my riding, cruising with you guys every other Sunday is a goal of mine (plus I just love good food, I’ve had chicken fried steak in every state, over the years).
Well…it would seem that we are “rained out” for today. For those of you who celebrate Easter, this might be a good thing…now you don’t have to choose between riding and family/religious pursuits. Anyway, see y’all in two weeks…we’ll be riding up to Windsor and KC’s Downtown Grill for a sumptuous brunch. Then perhaps, a meander up to Healdsburg and over to the Alexander Valley for a ride down to Napa on the back roads.
Something new under the sun! A new look for our website. This was forced on me, in that when I travel, it’s impossible for me to update the site as the digital information resides on my harddrives. With this new platform, I can make edits or add to the site “on the road”, assuming of course, that I have my trusty laptop with me. Actually, I’m looking more toward the future, where I might be able to update via a tablet. Less is more, right?
Regardless of how the mechanics are handled, I will continue to update the ride calendar and add your pictures and articles when available. I expect to see lots of those real soon now, as good riding weather is upon us. Last week, we had 8 bikes and 11 riders. We also had an outstanding brunch at the Hoffman House just past Geyserville and a ride on the back roads of the Dry Creek valley afterwards. It was fun!
You can have fun, too…by joining us every two weeks. Also, if you don’t like my brunch locations, I’m always interested in new venues to fill my gut!
See you on the back roads!
Damnation! Here it is, first riding weekend of 2013 and I’m not riding. Why, you may ask? I’ve incurred an old shoulder injury that prevents full mobility to my right arm. So, if I can’t move it well and support weight with it, I probably should not be riding. Look for me in two weeks…and assuming the weather is not bad, let’s ride!
Here’s wishing all of your a happy and healthy 2013! New Year’s resolutions: Wash motorcycle, polish chrome, change oil, check tire pressure, perform mileage service items, find new roads to ride, find new places for brunch, find new riders! What more could I ask for in 2013? Oh yeah…keep on riding! By the way, the new ride calendar is now online.
No riders on the last ride. What’s up with that. Let me guess…you’d rather stay home and watch football. Well, so would I, but the air is fresh, it’s not cold and the roads are dry. That sounds like ideal riding weather. Assuming it’s not raining on the 11th, I’ll be riding. Hope to see you out there.
Back from Normandy…and I’m riding Sunday. Who’s with me?
Finally, an upcoming Sunday I have no “extra-cirricular” activites scheduled. I’m riding! Gonna check the tire pressure, internal fluids and maybe even wash the machine. Oh yeah, not to forget the trickle charger on the battery and topping off the gas. I’ve missed riding…can’t wait to get out in the sun and the wind. And, even see some of you other riders. Join me?
Well, I’m screwed again. I was hoping to ride on Sunday, but there’s another historical reenactment venue that requires my attention. Unfortunately, they’ve managed to post my ugly mug in their advertising. So, I guess I have to show up. I shoud be able to ride on the next calendar date. Looking forward to seeing all you riders again.
You’re gonna have to ride without me this weekend, as I’m off playing historical reenactor at the Scottish Games. No, not a Scot…a Viking. If you’re curious, drop me a note. See you all in two weeks.
Well, my back seems to be better, so I’m going to take a chance and ride on Sunday. We’re going out to Occidental for brunch and the a leisurely ride out Coleman Valley Rd. to the coast. It’s one of my favorite rides! You’ll see old farm houses, cows, sheep, rolling hills and a view of the Sonoma County coast that’s breathtaking.
You really should make it a point to join us on this one.
So…where are our riders? Has the cost of gasoline prevented you from riding? Consider that it’s cheaper to fill your m/c’s gas tank than your automobile’s. The weather has been cooperative. Ride now! No more sleeping in, no more excuses…get out and enjoy the scenery, the company…and, if you’re lucky…a damn fine brunch.
Yep, we’re still here…and still riding. The weather is great, so join us some Sunday. Of course, it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, so if you want to bring Mom, it’s ok….or if you want to spend time with Mom, you can do that too….preferably on your motorcycle. Take her to brunch. She’ll like that…what, you say she won’t ride on your motorcycle…what kind of mother would not want to be with their offspring on Mother’s Day. Give Mom a thrill for Mother’s Day…the pillion position is available.
See you both on the highway!
It’s raining!!! Finally!! OK, that’s good, but don’t let it dissuade you from getting out on your machine and riding a few miles in between the drops. I’ve seen conflicting weather reports for Sunday. If it’s clear, I’m riding to the Red Hen Cantina in Napa (wear your feedbag or bring your appetite, as they serve an over-abundance of food), then up Hwy. 29 through winery row (or the Silverado Trail) and a possible stop in Calistoga, or farther up in Healdsburg and then back home for the ’49ers – Giants football game. If you’re not worried about raindrops on your precious beast, then why don’t you join me. If Napa’s too far to ride (rain coming early), there are closer food venues available…and we’ll still be back before game time.
See you for brunch and on the road.
Wow! Another year shot in the backside. Time really does travel faster as one becomes older. Yeah, i’m older…and not happy about it. More aches and pains….and more things going wrong with my body. I’m just not the man I used to be.
At least, I can still straddle a motorcycle. I’ve got some a surgery scheduled in late January, so i’m going to try to make both of the January rides. We’ll see how long it takes me to recover aftwards.
Since the weather seems to preclude rain these days, I would expect more folks to be riding this winter. C’mon, it’s not that cold out. You can always layer up or go electric. Lots of innovation in clothing for warmth these days.
What I’m trying to say is get out and ride…even if I can’t make it, the Sunday brunch rides are already scheduled on the Ride Calendar through the end of 2012. Let’s see how many of you can join us. Also, that Ride Calendar is not set in stone. If you have suggestions for rides or places you might wish to visit for brunch, let me know and we’ll swap out a date or two.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road!
Happy Veterans Day to my fellow veterans. Thanks for your service to our country. Now, if you’re thinking about riding on Sunday, we’re headed out to Calistoga and the Cafe Sarafornia for brunch and then a mellow ride down the Silverado Trail and back into Sonoma County again. The food’s good, the company’s better and you definitely need to ride!
Well…looks like I won’t be riding tomorrow either. My sciatica has me in it’s grips and I’m unable to sit or be in any position of comfort for very long. Since I like to take something for the pain, I won’t get on the bike while I’m encumbered with drugs. So….have fun and hopefully, I’ll be in better shape in two weeks.
Don’t look for me on Sunday. I’m not riding this weekend. Gonna play with my historical friends at the Pleasanton Scottish Games. I’m part of a Viking reenactment group called the Vikings of Bjornstad. We’ll be in the Living History Village at the Games. Stop on by and watch us perform “The Viking Art of War”. Hopefully, I won’t damage myself as we do live steel combat as part of our presentation.
The Ride Calendar still shows a ride, so go ahead and meet your fellow riders on Sunday and have fun.
See you on the road in two weeks!
Where are all the motorcycles? I’ve been riding the last two rides and sad to say, only one other rider each time. Is it the weather? The economy? Me? Hey, I shower every day…so it can’t be that. So, maybe it’s the rides themselves. Well, that’s pretty easy to fix. All you have to do is email me and let me know of a specific destination you’d like to ride to. Mostly we’ve been riding to restaurants we like. Perhaps, you know of others we should try? Well, let’s get those cards and letters coming in. Also, maybe you think the rides are too short. Let me know about that, as well. Just because time constraints on some of us preclude longer rides, doesn’t mean that we can’t set them up and then leave earlier, right?
Speaking of rides, we do have one this Sunday. it’s the “annual” Cazsonoma Inn ride for brunch and the coast afterwards. You can see the particulars on the Ride Calendar page. Hope you can join us.
Arg! Finally back on the BCMCT website. Didn’t realize I’d been away for so long. Must be a product of all the rain we’ve had. I know I haven’t been riding very much….so little that I’ve had to put the charger on my motorcycle’s battery.
Anyway, to bring you all up to date, I’ve recently had minor eye surgery on both eyes….like on Monday past. So, I will not be riding this weekend. I do expect to be out in two weeks, however. If you are planning on riding, do meet at the appointed time and place so you can have the benefit of riding with your motorcycling brethren. Your destination is the Northwood Restaurant at the golf course just past Guerneville. Of course, if you all decide as a group to go somewhere else, that’s fine, too.
Keep the shiny side up and I’ll see you all in a couple of weeks.
…and now, for something completely different…
Our sometime restaurant reviewer and occasional ranter, Brian turned me on to this. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had something like this to make cage travellers more aware of us?
BTW, I rode last weekend. Great weather and only 3 riders….come on, folks! It’s time to get the old scoot out of mothballs…
Well, it doesn’t look too good for a ride tomorrow. Lots of rain. If there’s a break I might sneek out, but I think we should consider the Sunday Ride cancelled for tomorrow.
OK…my real excuse is that I have to do my taxes…but, I’d really rather be riding. So, what’s your excuse for not getting out? We’ll post the 5 best ones here. So drop us an email.
It’s winter, it’s raining, it’s cold! The litany of the “fair weather” rider. Well, having said I was a wuss in my previous comments, I now retract them. I miss my motorcycle. I miss riding. I miss the camaradarie of my motorcycling brethren….and I miss those brunches…especially the huevos rancheros ones…so, look for me at the appointed place tomorrow/Sunday. I’ll be riding.
I don’t care if it’s winter. I don’t care if it’s raining. I don’t care if it’s cold. I’m a motorcyclist, dammit…and that is my passion.
See you on the road!
Alright, I’m a wuss. I’ve had the stitches out in my hand for 5 days and I’m stretching my fingers as best I can. The clutch only needs two finger to operate. I could do it…but I’m a wuss. Not because of my hand, but because it’s too damn cold! Yes, Mr. Icicle pants doesn’t want to ride in 42 degree weather. I’m getting old, I guess. So, for all you stalwarts out there who choose to meet at the appointed spot…Rancho Nicasio has a great breakfast…good luck and keep warm. That’s what I’m going to do…next to the fireplace.
See you all in two weeks…if it’s a bit warmer outside.
Chrismas aftermath…10 lbs. heavier and clutch hand in a cast. Finally had surgery to repair the “sword” finger that wasn’t working (if you don’t know the story, ask me sometime..I’m happy to repeat it). I will be starting physical therapy shortly after the first of the year, when the stitches get taken out. I hope to be riding shortly after that, as it only takes two fingers to operate the clutch on the bike.
There’s a new Ride Calendar for 2011, so you can plan your rides with us. We’ll make changes as necessary to keep up with restaurant openings/changes, etc.
I’m also hoping to get into a re-design of the website for the new year. It’s been around for a while and I’m tired of the “look” of it. It’s not a resolution, but I’ll give it a shot in the first quarter.
Goals for the new year…more riding and more camping. Once we have a camping trip planned, we’ll put it on the Ride Calendar…you’re all invited to come camping with us…on your motorcycles, of course.
Finally, a Happy and Healthy New Year to all my fellow motorcycle riders. Stay safe and keep the shiny side up.
More rain on the way….called my to riding partners….no takers! So, it’s another Sunday stuck in front of the tube watching football. I’d rather be riding.
Cross your collective fingers for two weeks from now.
Stay warm and dry.
Rained out twice for the last two rides. I may have to break out the rubber duck suit. Keep checking the weather and let’s see if we can make the next ride happen.
Geezer in The Wind
Well, I think I’ve finally hit geezer status. Jesse and I did our ride up to Loyalton last weekend. Turns out it was a bit farther than I expected, around 240 miles or so, and about 40 minutes from Reno, in the Sierras.
Anyway, back to the geezer thing. This being bestowed upon me by my “much younger” friend. Ok…I’ve got him by 5 years. Turns out I’m not the man I used to be…or at least I wasn’t while riding up to our friend, David Horowitz’ home. Had a serious case of “monkey butt”. You’ll know it, if you’ve ever had it. Also, discovered I was greatly fatigued by the end of the ride. My back hurt, my shoulders hurt…just about everything hurt…including my hands. Well, those are another story…for another time. So, upon arriving at our friend’s home, I immediately made a beeline to the couch and assumed “the position”, from which I did not arise until it was time to go to dinner.
Having somewhat recharged my batteries and looking forward to an impending meal of south of the border food, we clambered into David’s truck, with me in the jump seat behind the passenger area. Now, being of above average height, I found the experience less than desireable and discovered that I also don’t fold into places as I once would have done in my youth. Upon arriving at the restaurant, I was left to extricate myself from the rear compartment, with comments being made about my “geezerness”. I wish I had a dime for every instance I was reminded of my new moniker last weekend.
Regardless, dinner was a good as advertised and we came away with full and distended bellies, further evidence of my old age. Then, back to David’s house and further talk of motorcycles and geezerness. I think I retired earlier than normal…falling asleep on the couch, while my two other friends continued to talk. I awakened late in the evening and finally rolled out my sleeping bag and then crawled into it.
Next morning, revived and showered, an executive decision was made to skip going to our original destination, and instead head to Reno for Street Vibrations. I found this somewhat amusing as I had been to Street Vibrations two years previously and decided that it did not warrant another trip. To sum it up….it was a whole lot of mileage for nuthin’….poorly attended, no major vendors and about half the size. I think the economy has finally caught up with the biker crowd. At least the company was good…and I finally picked up that commeratve t-shirt. A quick ride back (David likes to blow the carbon out of his pipes on occasion) and we spent the evening watching the Giants lose in overtime and a commedian on HBO. Pretty pedestrian, eh? Shows you how geezerish I am. At least I stayed up with the boys til the end this time.
Up early with coffee, out for breakfast, and the prospect of another ride in blistering heat back down to reality. David rode part of the way with us. I managed to get a bug in my helmet and went into the oncoming lane trying to drive it out. Fortunately, no other vehicles were headed my way. Oh, the bug died! Score: helmet 1, bugs 0. We bid David goodbye and had another 140 miles to go. I wasn’t kidding about the heat. I went through three bottles of water, some of which I dumped on my person to use as evaporative cooling. It works!
Got home late in the afternoon, feeling pretty good. I think I’ve got my sea legs back, to borrow a phrase. Now, If I can just get Jesse to stop calling me a geezer….
Finally, a long ride this weekend. No, I’m not talking about the BCMCT ride on Sunday. Jesse and I will be doing a 3 day ride up in the Sierra foothills, so neither he nor I will be in attendance on Sunday. Hopefully, one of our regular riders will be willing to lead the ride to the going to Stree Vibrations, there will be a brunch ride to the World Famous Hamburger Ranch & Pasta Farm just north of Cloverdale. Sebastopol Paul says the brunch is great. So, take advantage of his discerning palate and make the run up there. We’ll be back in our regularly scheduled riding format in two weeks.
See you all then…and for Pete’s sake, keep upright!
Guess I’ve been AWOL from the site recently…both literally and figuratively. I messed up my back on a camping trip, hence no motorcycle riding…and no content to share with you readers. I did go out two weeks ago by car to brunch with some of our regular riders. I even missed the motorcycle camping trip that Jesse and I had planned.
However, I think I’ll be able to ride this weekend. I’m having motorcycle withdrawal symptoms…like missing the wind in my face and the bugs in my teeth (ok…that was a cheap shot…I’m really hurting for content here).
We’ve a fine ride planned to a great restaurant in Forestville for brunch and a meandering ride through the back roads of the West County afterwards.
If you haven’t joined us before, now’s your chance. We’re good folks, love riding and are nice to each other…most of the time.
So, we know the weather is going to be good, the roads will be dry and there’s gas in the tank.
You have no excuse…
Sometime stuff just happens. Sometimes it just happens to other folks. One never wishes it to happen, but sometime it just does.
Sure, there are usually reasons for stuff happening. Here’s an example. I’ll let you decide if it was just stuff…or something else.
The weather conditions were perfect; sun beaming through the woods, the smells of heated pine filled the air. Three riders ahead and one behind, we were cruising up hill through winding back roads.
I was taking the turns with ease, but then I’m not sure what happened. I was headed into a left bend blind corner, which I cut wide due to possible on coming traffic. My bike lagged. It was too late to downshift. I could not make the turn. I was headed for the 90 degree drop off and I was filled with anger and frustration. This is going to ruin the ride for all the others. That thought was quickly replaced with fear. Am I going to hit the tree, the barbed wire fence or just plummet to the bottom of the hill??? The bike laid down just inches from the top of the road, buried in soft soil. I was spared, escaping with just bruises and scrapes, my bike was not so lucky.
Then the thoughts of quitting went through my mind………but if I quit now who is going to pace these guys!!!!
I want to give my sincere thanks and gratitude to the guys who made this lesson a good one!!! Thank you for all of your encouragement and understanding. The next beer is on me!
So, what do you think…was it just stuff?
Keep the shiny side up!
Ed ( FYI…it wasn’t me that went down, but one of our regular riders )
Back on the road again after rain and a mishap with my oil level sight glass. Make sure you’re able to see the level in the glass and know the capacity of your machine in terms of how much oil it can hold. Otherwise, you’ll make the mistake I did…overfilled the engine, rode and smoked out the riders behind me. I got lucky…no damage done, other than oil pouring out every conceivable port on the motorcycle. Nice mess it made, too. Thanks to Deke who lent his filter wrench and hours of maintenance on his own machine (technical expertise) to inspect and help with replacement of proper quantity of oil and new oil filter. If you saw me last Sunday, you know the Nomad is running just fine!.
Speaking of which…I can only hope that our “regulars” haven’t been showing up because of a little rain. Well, boys and girls…the good weather is back. So, come on down and join us for a ride. Next up is River Rock Casino. Food’s good and there’s a great ride afterwards. Join us!
Rerun time….we get to finally do the rescheduled Hy-29 Cafe ride. Check the ride calendar or below for particulars. The weather is bright and sun-shiny, the roads are dry and I need to put air in my motorcycle’s tires and check the oil. Don’t forget to do a “pre-flight” on your machine, too!
See you at the appointed spot…it should be a good day.
Today’s ride is canceled due to rain. This is a “goodie”, so look for it to be rescheduled.
We’ve got a great ride for this weekend on Sunday, April 11, 2010. It’s a brunch ride to the Hy-29 Café, out in American Canyon. There will be a longer ride afterward through the Napa Valley and around Lake Berryessa, stopping in the town of Winters for libations. Meet us at the CVS/Pharmacy (Long’s Drugs) parking lot, corner of Yulupa and Bethards Dr., Santa Rosa at 10a.m. The ride leaves at 10:30 a.m. and of course, rain cancels. Call Ed@799-8036 for more info.
Route planning: Leave Santa Rosa, take regular route through Bennett Valley and Glen Ellen, down Arnold Drive and turning left on Hwy 12 just west of Schellville. Right turn on Ramal Rd., follow Duhig Rd to where it connects back to Hwy 12 at Domaine Carneros (nice little side-trip that bypasses the construction on 12). Follow Hwy 12 to the stoplight where it connects with 29 south, then south to the Hwy 29 café. After brunch, head north on 29, follow Silverado Trail to Trancas/Hwy 121. Turn right, follow 121 north to 128 Turn right, go east to Winters. For the return route, we follow 128 all the way back to Silverado Trail, up to St. Helena, and then over the hill on St. Helena Rd and return to Santa Rosa via Calistoga Rd.
P.S. I’m out playing Viking again on the Saturday before the ride, so if you don’t see me on Sunday….well, check the local hospitals.
Just a note…I”m off playing Viking this weekend, so look for me to ride in two weeks.
Long time no type. That’s because I got my finger whacked, playing Viking. I’m a part-time historical reenactor (see this link if you’re curious) and managed to get my finger broken back in the beginning of October. I’m just now getting the typing back to what it used to be. Wish I could say the same for the finger. At least I can still grip and squeeze the clutch on the motorcycle.
And, yes…I have been riding, between the rainstorms. My scoot needs a bath, too. Maybe I’ll wash it on Saturday, and of course it won’t start afterwards. Such is the life of a weekend rider.
Speaking of riding, we’re going to try to do longer rides this spring and summer, rather than the short ones that seem to be the norm lately. Some of our regular riders have suggested some new rides and places to eat. You’ll be seeing them in the ride calendar very soon.
See you on the road, or rather on your machine, on the road.
Give me a few more weeks to recover as the cast on my left hand just came off and it’s difficult to type. I promise the story will be a good one.
Reality Check: Sometimes we need the input of others to make changes in our lives. My old buddy, Deke Tailpipe and I were having brunch today and he said he wasn’t going to be riding with us every week. He likes to go fast. I don’t. When he leads the rides, he’s responsible enough to keep the speed comfortable for all our riders. He’s younger. I’m older. And, truth be told, I no longer have the reflexes to ride like that anymore. That’s a good thing, I suppose.
Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that effective immediately, the BCMCT Ride Calendar will only show rides on a bi-weekly basis. Of course you all can ride as much as you want, but Deke won’t be there and neither will I, on the off weeks. Deke will be riding every weekend, because that’s what he loves to do. Can’t fault someone for their passion, right? I, on the other hand, will be spending more time watching Sunday football, working on my other hobbies, spending more quality time with my wife and maybe attending to that long list of household chores that never seem to get done. Oh, and it might just free me up to take some longer rides with Deke and our old tourmaster, David on occasion. Things we used to do…before I got old.
So, starting next week, we’ll be riding to Corks at the Russian River Vineyards for brunch and then tour the West County area for the balance of the ride. After that, we’ll see you in two weeks. Check the calendar.
Riding in a blast furnace is not fun. Especially when you’ve just ridden back in from the Sonoma coast where it was shirtsleeve weather, and just a tad on the cool side. Sunday’s brunch ride was attended by 7 riders, three of whom were ladies. The balance of the group was composed of us “male ruffians”…however, we did behave and the ladies seemed to enjoy our company, and vice versa.
Prior to the ride, while waiting for stragglers to show up, we discussed the various merits of each others’ machines and how to prevent “monkeybutt”. If you haven’t experienced it, well…you’ll know when you have it. Consensus seems to be aftermarket seats, gel pads, water seats and maybe a sheepskin cover as remedies. They all work to varying degrees. However, do avoid the “water” seat if you’re traveling in climates that freeze over night. If you don’t, you’ll be riding on a brick…a very cold brick. Of course, if yours truly had thought to fill the bladder with anti-freeze of alcohol, I wouldn’t have had cause to complain. But, that was about 33 years ago…and this is now. There’s all kinds of new technology out there to alleviate pressure points. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary…as to how long you can ride before the dreaded monkeybutt makes it’s appearance.
Brunch this time was back at the Cape Fear Cafe in Duncan’s Mills. After our orders were taken and cooked we were delighted to see huge plates full of food being delivered to our table. I won’t go into a review, as I leave such things to our resident reviewer, Brian, who might just have to revise his last review of this establishment. Anyway, the food was good, filling and kept me from re-engaging my appetite til way past the normal dinner hour.
From Duncan’s Mills we headed out to the coast and then down to just above Bodega Bay, where we turned in on Coleman Valley Rd., a favorite road for it’s varied scenery. We then turned south on Joy Rd. and met up with Bodega Highway and then into Sebastopol where the digital temp gauge on the building on Main St. read 96 degrees. This at 2pm. Time for home and a very cold shower.
I can’t tell you all how much I’m looking forward to Fall and the return of cooler weather.
It was a great ride. Come join us next time. The food’s good and so is the company of our motorcycling brethren.
Ruminations: Been away from this area of the site for too long. Combination of ennui and other interests taking a priority. It happens sometimes. I do miss riding and will be out this Sunday, dirty bike and all.
Speaking of riding….and eating, we need some new food venues to try out. So, if you’re inclined. Drop a note or tell me in person of an establishment you’d like for us to try for our weekly brunch rides.
I won’t be gone too long. Well, maybe gone over the weekend. Turns out I have other hobbies besides motorcycles and it’s time to play elsewhen. OK, did you catch the “time change”. Truth be told, I’m going a-viking…or to be more precise, I’m going to the Dunsmuir Scottish Games , where I’ll be participating as a Viking in their Living History area.
Historical reenactment has been a passion of mine for over 30 years, initially with medieval England and Wales, then the Normans (I was a participant in the 940th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Hastings, in Battle, England. 3,200 reenactors: 200 calvary, 170 archers, the balance infantry. 25,000 spectators. We made some noise!
Now, I’ll bet you didn’t think I’d be able to weave motorcycles into this bit of prose…but, a number of years ago, I saw a movie called, “KnightRiders”, starring a then unknown Ed Harris. It was a bit of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism…another reenactment group), a bit wandering minstrel show, and a bit of motorcycle flat track/dirt bike racing. Except for one thing. The riders were riding toward one another, with lances….in armor. So, maybe they weren’t street bikes or cruisers, but then in olden times, it was all “one horsepower” steeds.
So, next time you’re out on your iron steed, just imagine carrying about 60lbs. of armor; a sword, lance and shield on your person. Sounds like real fun, eh?
Have at you, sirrah….and enjoy your ride!
We have a guest editorial from our resident restaurant reviewer, wherein he takes aim at a few folks/things, etc.,…hope you enjoy it! – Ed
A Long Overdue Rant
After having returned to motorcycling six years ago, I have noticed some new forms of road hazards that did not seem to exist in the past (or did I just not notice then)? I do not mean such things as gravel or wet Eucalyptus leaves strewn about the road at the apex of a sharp turn, these are human (except for the occasional low flying vulture) generated hazards that are not visible from afar, nor do the hazards exist until they suddenly do. Only a keen sense of survival and alertness can keep you from becoming a third page article in the local fish wrapper, and probably an article about how another obnoxious Harley-Davidson rider got what was due to him. Remember, all big V-Twins are Harley’s in the eye of the public and press, even if it says Kawasaki or Yamaha on the tank. Every one of the hazards I mention has happened to me or I was an eye witness to. I am sure some of them have also happened to you too.
There are many hazards that have lane switching as a common factor, both when we do it and when the other idiot does it.
1. “Gotta talk to the girls and tell them I will be late for the weekly Chardonnay appreciation party.”
Multilane road, probably urban with traffic signals every block. You do not want to make the mandatory left hand turn so you need to ooze to your right. You look in the rear view mirror and all is clear except for that SUV about 10 car lengths back. As you start to ooze over (signaling of course) you take a quick look over your shoulder and see that the SUV is doing about 60 MPH or so. You hit your breaks and the SUV goes barreling by, just missing your front wheel and blows through the red light in front of you. You see that the driver (middle aged Marin County Yuppie) has a cell phone plastered next to her ear.
2. “Gee, the slow lane is going faster.”
You are on a two lane each way road, urban setting and in the right hand lane, which as you know is often the faster lane during commute times because invariably someone will want to be making a left hand turn and comes to a stop to wait for traffic to pass. Of course, two dozen people also have to come to a stop behind the turner while the ‘slow lane’ zips along efficiently. It is bumper to bumper on your left, all at a stop and there is a 6 inch curb on your right. Suddenly the soccer mom in her van three car lengths ahead of you decides she will avoid the minor delay by switching lanes. Unfortunately, unlike the previous example, she does not bother to actually look for oncoming traffic and suddenly yo see her fender start to move into your lane as she cuts right in front of you now two car lengths ahead. Your options are to brake and slam into her passenger door, swerve and try to jump the 6 inch curb (impossible) or accelerate full throttle and hope to squeeze past her front bumper and the curb as the gap closes, sort of Indiana Jones style. It is amazing how fast a Harley can accelerate when in 2nd gear too, and they will let you and the entire neighborhood know that you are in full throttle acceleration mode too. Loud obnoxious motorcycles…
She followed behind me by about 50 yards or so, knowing full well what a mistake she made.
3. “Ma and Pa Kettle are taking in the sights.”
A variation on the previous scenario but all too familiar. You and your buddies are crusin’ down Hwy. 1 (one lane each way) and the terrain is rolling hills with almost no opportunity to pass, much less safely pass. Up ahead are a dozen or so cars and two other motorcycles, all going sloooooooooooow and you slow down behind them and wonder what the obstruction is about. You crest a hill and are able to see ahead and it is nothing more than a slow driver who is oblivious to the traffic that is stacking up behind him. The law is that if there is five or more cars, he must pull over and let them pass has not entered his mind. The road ahead is clear of traffic and the two bikers ten cars ahead of you whip over into the opposite lane and punch it and probably are doing 80+ as they approach the pokey tourist. Just then another car driver sees his opportunity to pass and swings out into the opposite lane, never realizing that there are the two motorcyclists just behind him also attempting to pass. Your heart stops as the two bikers swerve to the far left and pass the car now attempting to pass the tourist. They had no other choice but to pull off this maneuver or rear end the car trying to pass the Sunday driver.
4. “I know my turn is here somewhere…”
Rolling curves in the countryside near Lake Sonoma and up ahead is a car going rather slowly and no opportunity to pass so you follow behind for a while. Maybe they are looking for a particular turnoff? Your hunch is soon affirmed when they signal for a left turn but fail to make the next available turn. Now they go even slower and your impatience grows thin.
Another potential turnoff goes by and they are still tootling along. Fed up you punch your brand new Harley Davidson Road King with the custom metallic cherry paint and ghost flame paint scheme. Just as you are parallel with her rear tire she decides to turn left after signaling for the last two miles. The Road King is now Road Kill and fortunately no bones are broken. The bruises and pain will take weeks to go away.
So what is the common theme here? All scenarios involve a lane change, either by you or the idiot in the cage. A transition in lane, though not hazardous in its own right can be fraught with problems because it can involve another vehicle, the driver of which does not recognize you as existing. Cruising in a steady state is not particularly hazardous, but when the state is changed, one becomes vulnerable. Ask yourself as you ride along, is someone in the next lane going to pull in front of me? Do they see me or even anticipate me? No cage jockey ever anticipates a motorcycle…
We all know about and have experienced the driver in the opposite lane who is signaling for a left hand turn, but another and in some ways more insidious hazard is the driver who is waiting at a ‘T’ intersection on your right to enter your lane or cross it to go in the opposite direction. Two cases in point.
“No hablo Ingles.”
Cruising along a suburban road (Sir Francis Drake in the town of Ross) and on the right side of the road is a beat up pickup truck with a full load of yard trash with a Latino driver and passenger. There are two cars about 30 yards in front of you and no one behind you. You wonder to yourself if they are ‘illegals’ and even have a valid drivers license and you instinctively cover your brakes.
Good thing to, because they pull out in front of you and their poor overloaded truck accelerates slowly and you hit both brakes and manage to avoid T-boning them as your swerve around behind them. Probably no insurance either and you are glad that you are not an article in the local paper.
This exact scenario has happened to me twice. This time you are following behind another car along Old Adobe Road in Penngrove. There is a woman waiting on a road to your right to cross traffic, probably one of the local meth amphetamine addicts. She sees the car in front of you (you are looking at her and she is NOT looking at you) and as soon as it passes, she pulls out into the road, then she sees you and stops 2/3 the way into your lane. Rapid counter steer and you swerve around her front bumper avoiding a collision. She gives a friendly wave, and you would flip her off were it not for swerving back into your lane to avoid oncoming traffic.
These are another set of examples of lane transitioning where eye contact may save your bacon. In the first example the inexperienced driver misjudged your position and the performance of their vehicle (and their ability), in the second example, the driver was not thinking or anticipating that there could be another vehicle behind the one she was looking at. You have to do the anticipating. Always.
There is a reason I do not like to drive at night and that is Deer. These crepuscular creatures become active at dusk and during the night and have no road sense. They will leap out of the bushes at the last moment right in front of you and when you see one, SLOW DOWN! as there will probably be more to follow. I was making a climbing right hand turn on a dark road one night and damn near hit one broadside. I would not have been seriously hurt as I was going quite slow but deer can be fatal to the motorcyclist if hit at speed. I have had three of them hit by cars in front of my house in one year (thank goodness it was not a biker who removed them from the gene pool) and sadly, one was hit by a corvette which had extensive front end damage. Cops had to shoot the badly injured deer. You cannot anticipate what they will do if you do see one, so always assume the worse.
This is without a doubt the worst and most hazardous animal encounter you can have. These bipedal morons, unlike stupid deer, can be counted on to become a hazard when traveling in small herds. I refer to the spandex covered Euro-trash wannabes on road bikes who enjoy their weekend (usually Sunday) rides along the country roads of Marin and Sonoma counties. Often found along Marshall-Petaluma, Pt. Reyes-Petaluma, Nicasio Valley and Wilson Hill roads, they can be assumed to populate any narrow winding country road. Stop signs do not apply to them, road courtesy is something for you to show them and ‘Share the Road’ is a one way concept for you to exercise for their benefit. It is usually the male of the species that is the most problematic.
Cruising along the Nicasio Valley Road one Sunday morning I came upon a herd of a dozen or more of these large animals, not all of which were wearing spandex, so immediately I knew some of them were new to the herd. We were coming to where Nicasio Valley Road intersects the Marshall Petaluma Road and I intended to make a right turn and head towards Petaluma. Most of the ‘rectal sphincters on wheels’ were turning left but about three or so left the main pack and set off in my intended direction. Nice courteous guy that I am, I signaled my turn well in advance and came to a stop at the intersection. I waited for an SUV to pass me and then commenced my right hand turn, giving the three riders ahead of me wide margin. I was no more than maybe 50 yards up the road and just about to pass the three bicyclists when the lead Rectal Sphincter decided he was going the wrong way (like duh! Didn’t you notice everyone else going left???) and made a U-turn right in front of me. Never looked, never signaled, just turned and half way around he saw me bearing down on him so he stopped in the middle of the lane. I guess he never knew I was there, an amazing feat of obliviousness considering my pipes are not, well, quiet…
Panic breaking, rear end starts to fishtail and in that amazing fraction of a second wherein your brain can calculate your changing velocity and direction, I realized I was probably going to broadside this idiot and all that ran through my mind was “OH S%#T! I AM GOING TO SCRATCH MY CHROME!”. My front wheel stopped within a dollar bills length of his thigh and all he did was give me a dirty look. If I had been in my car I would have hit him just on general principals.
You can count on these herd animals to almost intentionally do something to jerk your chain. Often several will be encountered riding side by side and occupying the entire lane and they will NOT give way and safely let you or any other motor vehicle pass safely. They will even do this on tight blind curves. Count on it. They are out there! It is also important to know that I have also have been riding a bicycle for 20 years now (on dirt, avoiding asphalt like the flu) and I wear spandex when I do ride. However, as far as I am concerned, if Roadie Clowns want to do their Lance Armstrong imitation, I would be most happy to accommodate them in furthering their ambition by performing a minor surgical procedure with my Buck Knife. Might solve a lot of problems along the road…
On the other hand it is sort of fun to pass them at full throttle and see how close you can come without actually clipping one.
Brian Agron enjoys setting off car alarms
in Kaiser’s garage when he rides his
motorcycle to work and knows first hand
that chrome is a very addicting drug….
Yawn….too little sleep to think of something pithy to write. Go see Peggy Sue’s Cruise this weekend in Santa Rosa, if you like custom automobiles. You won’t be disappointed. And, if you’re not doing anything on Sunday, think about joining us for our ride. You’ll have fun…and I promise to stay awake.
The heat has fried my brain. Perhaps I’ll be able to put fingers to keyboard next week and have something of real importance to say. So, in the interim, get outside, go dig in your garden or better yet, throw a leg over your chromed and painted iron horse and hit the backroads. That’s what I’m doing this weekend!
Don’t sit in front of your computer reading this drivel.
The weather’s too good, the roads are dry and your motorcycle is calling you. Can’t you hear it? It’s that throaty roar, eminnating from your dual after-market pipes as the throttle is cranked way up. It’s the feel of the saddle, as you straddle it with the weigh of almost half a ton of chrome, steel and gas, balanced precariously between your legs. It’s the promise of fresh air and wide vistas as you roll down the road. It’s the lure of undiscovered highways, yet unridden.
Now, tell me why you’re still reading? Go out and sprinkle some water on your machine to knock the dust off. Break out the chrome polish. Check the fluid levels. Pack your self and your spouse/significant other on the saddle and go ride.
See you on the road,
It’s raining! That’s good. We need it around here. I’m not looking forward to rationing water. On second thought, my wife would have to give up her bath and shower with me. That’s a good thing. Ok, least I continue in this vein….I want to make sure all you folks who are riding in this stuff know a couple of secrets I’ve gleaned over the years, riding in inclement weather.
First, if you can avoid it, don’t ride. Yeah, that’s what I said….don’t ride. You’re a rolling hazard. Cars can’t see you, they probably can’t hear you and your reflexes are slower in cold, rainy weather. That means you probably don’t stop as quickly as you would on dry pavement. So, save your life…..and don’t ride when it’s raining out.
Of course, some folks have no choice. Their motorcycle is their primary mode of transportation. Given that, a couple of things come to mind. If you have a windscreen, put some Rain-X on it. You’ll be able to see through it…and do both sides. Same if you’re wearing a full face helmet with a visor or goggles. It’s a life-saver….and no, I don’t get paid for the testimonial.
If you’re wearing leathers, think about waterproofing them. It will help to keep you dryer. Ditto for riding suits/jackets. There are sprays available that work well, Scotch-Guard being one of them.
If you’re wearing boots, waterproof them, too. Don’t forget, if you have leather soles and heel, the tendency to slip on rain-soaked surfaces is greater than if you have rubber on the bottom.
Lastly, if you have a bright vest or yellow or orange rain jacket, put it over whatever you’re wearing. Pants, too, if you have them. The reason for this is conspicuity. You want people to see you. It might keep someone from running into you.
On the other hand, it might make you a great target….
Superbowl Weekend…what’s on your TV, Sunday? Don’t be looking for me to ride…I’ll be too busy stuffing my face and laughing at the new commercials. Who did you say was playing in the game? I forgot.
Hmmm, maybe it would be better if I did go motorcycling…less cars on the road today. Too bad, I’ve got a previous commitment to be at a “Superbowl” party. If nothing else, the company is good.
Enjoy your day. I will!
Happy New Year!…I think. I guess time will tell if it will be happy or not. The world is in a fix right now, from riots in Oakland over a shooting that should not have happened to conflict between Israel and Hamas that should not be happening. To borrow Rodney King’s phrase, “Why can’t we all just get along…?” A good question, for the most part, and one that deserves some deliberation.
Let’s face it, people are different…hairstyles, clothing, colors, beliefs…but the overiding factor is that we’re cognizant human beings, with varying degrees of intelligence. Unfortunately, some of us choose not to utilize said intelligence. in a perfect world, we’d all be getting along, there would be no strife and everyone would have everything they need. Well, the world is not perfect and we are, indeed, just human beings. So, someone please tell me why it’s easier to launch a missile or pull a trigger rather than sit down and try to see things from the other person’s perspective?
Once we grow up and realize that it’s not all about having things or stuff, or that no one way is the right way, we might just become more human or more humane.
That’s what I like about motorcycling, one gets to meet a variety of folks, all colors, creeds and unique styles of dress…but we all agree on something….that riding on two wheels brings us together….like a brotherhood.
Too bad most other folks would rather dwell on the differences, rather than the similarities.
Do something this year to make yourself more human…and exercise your intelligence. Try to make the world a better place. You’ll like it.
Aftermath…the dining room table’s a shambles and the kitchen looks like a ground level nuclear burst. We survived another Thanksgiving. Typically over-stuffed (me) and not the turkey. Wined and dined and skipped dessert. Basking in the surfeited glow of family and friends who attended. Lots of work cleaning and cooking. Kudos to the wife, who pulls it all together. And, thanks to the cats for keeping us all on our toes and them away from the big bird. Next year, more of the same with more family and friends. That’s how it should be.
Now, least you think I’d given up on riding due to my temporarily heavyweight condition, I fear I must disappoint. As they say, it’s time to saddle up this Sunday for another ride through what many consider to be one of nature’s prettiest parts of California. We’re talkin’ Napa valley, here….and to the Red Hen Cantina (yes, they serve breakfast/brunches). Afterwards, a ride up thru winery row on Hwy. 29, in to Calistoga, and then back around to Santa Rosa.
Should be a good ride….so, join us!
Well, it’s raining….the bane of any sane motorcyclist. I can only hope it clears on Sunday. Of course, the logical side of me says “pour it on”, as we need all the rain we can get to prevent a possible drought next year. Now, if it did clear and I went out, I’d be sure to take my “rubber duck” suit. Foul weather gear to you. Only to be used in case of extreme precipitation. Otherwise, the leathers work pretty well. And, there’s an advantage to getting stuck in the rain…it cleans one’s motorcycle. I don’t dare wash mine, as it has a nasty habit of not starting after it’s been washed. I think the plug wires ground out or the plugs get wet (!?!?). In any event, if it’s still rolling hot, I think I’ll be ok. Funny, I never had this problem with the Beemer. Rode in all kinds of torrential rain in Europe on it with no problems…and this was back in the late ’70s. So, the moral of my story is…keep your powder dry and your scoot in the garage when it rains!
There’s hope for the world…or at least the motorcycling world. One of our semi-regular riders has stepped up to the plate and offered a mini-review of last weekend’s brunch stop. Head over to “Grub” in the menu bar and check it out. You know, this wasn’t intentional, but count the number of “food” related words in the previous couple of sentences. Says a lot about our group….we like to eat….and we like to ride. If you haven’t joined us, you should…if only for the heartburn….ok, just kidding there.
See you at the next food stop…on your ride.
Come ride with us. Make some new friends. Re-aquaint yourself with old ones. We don’t bite…well, some of us don’t bite. Just look out for the ones that want to make a withdrawal…of your blood. Yeah, it’s October…my favorite month and my favorite holiday, Hallowween. It’s the only holiday that doesn’t seem to have overtly commercial underpinnings. You can take a pillow case and dress up in funny clothes (click here) and go door to door. Maybe you’ll get a treat….or maybe you’ll get a trick….no, not that kind…or at least I never have. Have fun and be safe….don’t eat the poisoned apples!
Camping under the stars…or fog, if you’re in Mendocino.
Well, we finally got a camping trip together, as evidenced by the accompanying pictures. Our intrepid duo left Santa Rosa about 1:30pm on Friday, the 22nd. We headed north on 101, blasting up the road in high temperatures….from the sun. We rolled off the highway in Cloverdale, as our whistles needed wetting….and Ruth McGowan’s was the place for said activities.
While sipping our drinks, my associate chided me on not taking the coast route to our destination. My reply was that the inland route was “easier”. Of course, he immediately questiioned my logic….and sanity, as it was roasting outside. I was concerned about the load distribution on my bike, with all the camping gear, and it’s poor handling at low speed. There were just a few tight switchbacks on the inland route and they were easily handled with the heavier load of camping gear. We’d done this route many times, so I was sure of my opinion.
Drinks finished we rode up to the turnoff of Hwy. 128 and our immediate destination of Booneville. Of course we had to stop at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a sample of their craftwork. My associate flirted with a couple of babes (literally), while we we quaffing our drinks. He’s a grandpa already….I’m not quite ready….yet!
We left Booneville and took the Mountain Home Rd. turnoff that would drop us just south of the town of Manchester, near our destination. It’s one of my favorite rides….redwood groves filtered with dappled sunlilght, cool switchbacks with fern strewn shoulders, hills and valleys and that air, so fresh and vibrant….it’s easy to get lost in nature out here.
As we approached the coast, the temperature dropped measurably, causing us to stop and put on a bit more clothing. In fact, as we reached the turnoff to Hwy. 1, the area was socked in with the more than frequent fogbank. No sun for us on Friday.
We rode up to the Manchester General Store and I stopped to get a guilty pleasure….Cheetos, something I’d not had in a long time. Yummm!
Next stop, our campsite at the Manchester KOA.
After setting up our tents and unpacking the saddlebags with our cooking gear and food, we broke out the “cold ones” and toasted the rewards of getting away for the weekend. One thing I might add at this point, is the comfort in which we camp. Our gear includes 10′ x 10′ x 6′ high dome tents, where one can easily stand up, double height queen size air mattresses with rechargeable air pumps, sleeping bags for any temperature, multiple ground cloths…one inside the tent and one outside, collapsible easy chair/recliners, soft sided coolers for holding cold food/ice/etc., propane double burner camp stove, coffee pot, canteens/water holders and a propane BBQ for cooking steaks and hobo packs. We don’t lack for much….and it’s all carried on the bikes. Of course, my partner has a trailer he tows….he can throw in lots more goodies. I haven’t succumbed…..yet!
Our days consisted of reading, napping, talking, reading, napping, walking and hanging out at the campfire, trying to solve the world’s problems in the evenings. It’s a rough life….and someone’s got to do it. If you want to do some more riding locally, the town of Mendocino is about 20 minutes up the road, if you’re inclined to have a day ride while camping.
Meals consisted of breakfasts with eggs prepared to order, sausage, Canadian bacon, potatoes and toast. Lunch was of the liquid variety and dinner on Friday was Hobo Packs, consisting of sausage, potatoes, onions and carrots, wrapped in aluminum foil and set on the BBQ or in a fire for about 15 minutes on each side. Mouthwatering! Dinner on Saturday was BBQ’d steak and green beans. We don’t lack for good food…and everything tastes better outdoors, right?
We picked the KOA because we like the hot showers, hot tub and pool. But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t do more primative camping. It just depends on the mood and the moment.
Join us, sometime.
First off…a great review of the Cazsonoma Inn Restaurant by Brian Agron. The usual amount of arm twisting came into play as I cajoled him into writing another review. Needless to say, he came through in splendid fashion.
We did a “birthday ride” last month with yours truly as as the celebrant and rode off to Cazadero for brunch. The resultant festivities and restaurant review may be viewed here .
The importance of friends….new and old. I washed my bike last week because a veneer of detrius had embellished the surface of the paint and bugs had befuddled the glitter of the chrome. Too dirty…even for me to stand. So, I sprayed and washed and dried…as I thought to myself, “I hope it starts”. See, I had done this once before (yes, I’ve now washed the bike twice in four years). Needless to say, it did not start. Now, it’s about 10:15 and I’m supposed to be at the appointed place to meet our other riders. So, I called my associate, who was late in leaving and apprised him of the situation. He said that he’d wander over to assist if I didn’t show up by 10:30.
At this point, I’ve run down the bike’s battery and am looking for my jumper cables. Found them and was just starting to hook up the batteries to my car and the bike, after removing the seat. In the distance, I hear the sound of motorcycles. The rumble of assorted exhausts seems to be getting closer. Rolling thunder is in my driveway. Not only does my associate appear, but all the other riders, as well.
If I wasn’t embarrased before by not showing up on time, I am now. After apologizing profusely to all, I hunkered down with my two wheeled beastie and tried the starter again. No go! One of the riders, either Paul or Jesse suggest that I pull the plugs. After searching for the appropriate tool and finally borrowing David’s sparkplug socket, I do so, only to find that they are fouled. So, I begin to clean them and Paul helps with the others. Once cleaned and replaced, I try again…and finally after much coaxing the Nomad rumbles to life.
I’m not sure of the time we actually left, but no one bailed. All were helpful and some gently teased me about my “motorcycle issues”.
From now on…I’m keeping the Nomad in “rat bike” configuration…no water shall touch it’s surface, unless it’s raining.
And, a big thanks to all who helped me to get the bike started. You know who you are…my new and old friends.
Ruminations on getting older. It’s my birthday tomorrow. I’m still riding. My body is getting stiffer in places I don’t want. My gut seems to be expanding of it’s own accord. My hair is turning silver…at least I’ve still got it. Retirement won’t happen for a few more years, thanks to the economy. My friends are beginning to look much like me…more gray, more wrinkled. More excess pounds. Can’t wait to see what the next birthday’s going to be like. I may have to get the Beemer running and throw a sidehack on it…just in case I can no longer hold up the Nomad. Hell, I may have to carry a supply of Depends with me.
Getting older sucks…but, consider the alternative. One of the two sure things in life…death and taxes. I’ll take taxes any time!
Sitting around thinking of one’s advancing years is pointless…it’s going to happen whether we want it to, or not.
My solution: Go motorcycle riding! You won’t remember how old you are or whether your teeth are falling out.
Not much going on…missed the last couple of rides due to other activities, but…I won’t miss Sunday’s ride. I just need to figure out where that will be. Maybe it’s time to take a run up to Salt Point on the coast, have a late brunch at the Salt Point Lodge and then come back on Scaggs Springs Rd. That will drop us into Healdsburg and a stop at John & Zeke’s for something cool to drink. Sounds like fun….check the calendar and see it that’s the ride or if I decided on something else. Of course, any of you reading this are more than welcome to chime in on destinations for our rides. You can contact us via the Contact page.
See you on the road…or rather, on your ride on the road…
Reflections on Sunday’s Ride…one of the things that amazes me is the instant familiarity we, as riders, seem to have with each other when we ride together. Case in point, there were 4 new riders waiting for me at the appointed spot (see the ride calendar for that) when I rode up at 10am yesterday. Introductions were made, with the newbies recognizing your’s truly as himself…(how’d they do that?) and my learning the names of our intrepid new ride-mates. Since we’re in the same “club”, so to speak, we spent a few minutes asking each other if we knew so-and-so. Then we talked about our rides. Then we talked about where we were going to ride. Then we talked about food. Gotta keep our strength up for the ride, right? Then we talked about my periennially late associates, who showed up about two minutes before we were due to leave on our ride. And, then…we rode. We fell into a natural feeling group, staggered in formation, with the tourmaster in the lead and himself tagging along at the end, because I have a tendancy to let my mind wander as I ride. I was forever trying to catch up with the rest of the group. That’s what happens when you get old…you slow down, your mind slows down and so do your reflexes…at least in my case.
Finally, we arrive at our destination and are seated at our table for brunch….all of us jabbering away like long lost relatives. That’s what I like about motorcycling…you have an instant new family every time you ride with someone new.
One entry a month…how hard can that be? Well, hard enough when you’re out doing things….some of which are not motorcycle oriented. Yeah, I have other hobbies that consume my time. I won’t go into detail about them here, but suffice to say that they take me back to about 793 A.D. and I get to wear funny clothes, wear chainmail, a spangenhelm and carry a sword. If you have questions, drop me a line at the contact page…but, I digress….I should be talking about riding that steel horse of mine. If for no other reason than it gets better mileage than my 4-wheel cage. Even with $4.00 a gallon gas.
So, my words for today are to do more riding, save more gas and spend less….(unless you’ve got more than I do)……good luck!
P.S. Our funny “friend” on Craigslist is still kicking off our ads for our Sunday rides. If you should run into him, see if you can convince him of the error of his ways.
Good grief! Look at the date…almost a whole month of no posting. Sad, but true…I do have a life outside of riding the bike. Actually, I’ve recently returned from a number of days in Oregon. Very pretty state…and looks to be a great place to motorcycle. I did some serious riding up there in the ’90s with a couple of my cohorts. Great roads and even better places to camp. The roads are still in good shape and I assume the camping is still good, as well.
As we were trapped in a 4-wheeled cage this time, I could only observe the number of riders, their bikes and equipment. It would seem the preponderance of bikes were Harleys with a fair amount of Goldwings thrown in. Most bikes were being ridden two-up, which says much for the “togetherness” of Oregon, in my mind. Also, most folks were in full leather or riding suits. Perhaps, a comment on the mercurial weather conditions. Ya never know when it will rain on ya.
Anyway, that’s the report from Oregon…now I gotta go update the ride calender. See you on Sunday….riding!
Oh, one more thing…I’ve recently been posting ads on craigslist in the hope of attracting more riders to our Sunday outings. However, some nameless individual has been flagging our ads, thus getting them kicked off the online community. My comment to you, sir or madam, is that in a free world with free expression, there is no place for such activity. These ads do not defame you, slight your religion or prohibit your ability to pursue the enjoyment of your life. If you should read this, I ask you to please refrain from your activities. You’ll make the world a better place by doing so.
Time for another stab at updating the site with a little bit of new information. Look for a new article in “Ride of the Month”, where your editor will expound on the virtues of brotherhood, this involving the usual suspects that always ride with us and some new friends…with pictures compliments of Luis Martinez de Pinillos. You’ll find out who he is in the article. Also take a quick peek at “Resources”, as there are a few new links, with more to come in the future months.
Well, that’s about all the news for now…check back in a week or so, as I might be willing to stab the keyboard once again.
Keep the shiny side up!
Update: A few pictures from our friend in the north, Michael Thorne. These were taken two weeks ago, when Michael showed up to ride with us on our usual Sunday jaunt. So, without further ado, here are a few of Michael’s pix. Great riding with you, Mike. Come back down from the frozen north, and we’ll do it again.
Well, it looks like riding season has begun. The weather has cooperated, the road gods have smiled…and we’re puttin’ on the miles. Last Sunday, we were joined by Mike from Toronto, Canada and Phil from Petaluma…they had just missed another riding group and saw ours, waiting at the Long’s parking lot. They rode over and introduced themselves…and in short order, off we we went. Down the “back way” to Petaluma and from there out to Rancho Nicasio for brunch. After a leisurely repast, where we shared riding stories, we took off back up Hwy. 1 to the Dillon Beach overlook for a look/see at the coastline and the flock of sheep in the pasture below the rock. Then it was off to Bodega Bay and a stop for a brew. Most of the crew continued up the road to Goat Rock, and then back inland. All I can say is that it’s nice to be “on the road, again”.
Don’t forget to wave when you pass me by…going the other way.
Ryder aka Ed
Happy New Year! Yeah, looks like time has flown by again. So, no resolutions this time. If I write something, I do…if I don’t, hopefully it means that I’m off riding somewhere. In fact, that will be my new new year’s resolution…to go riding more.
You do the same!
Ryder aka Ed
Oh, oh…I’ve done it again. Started something and left it hanging. Such is the press of life. Somehow we all get caught up in it. Yes, I’ve been riding…but not as much as I would like. Seems like there’s just not enough time to do everything.
Does the lament sound familiar? I gues we can all make excuses for not doing things….my favorite is “life intrudes.” What’s yours? I really did have every intent of keeping up on the site and making sure that my associates would provide editorial and photos, and that I would have something pithy to say in “Exhaust Fumes.” Seems like I have much to say elsewhere, but not here. So, let’s hear it for procrastination. OK, that’s no excuse.
Here it is…well into 2007 and there have been no changes to the site other than my keeping the calendar alive. I hope to change that, with a site re-do and add additional copy and photos….maybe even look into taking in some outside writers, as I can”t seem to get the boys going on their computers…natch, they’d rather be riding.
So, the order of the day…get on top of Barbary Coast again, with more copy, more articles and more pictures. Maybe even a ride description or two.
Now, excuse me…I have to go change the oil on my motorcycle…it’s long overdue.
Well, seems I’ve been away from the Barbary Coast site for too long, as I’ve been neglecting my duties as resident editor. I think it’s something about Summer. With the heat comes a certain amout of lethargy. Imagine me basking in the sun with the great white underbelly absorbing all those ultraviolet rays. Not me, I says! While I confess to not having lots of steam when the sun is about, basking is no longer in my vocabulary for fun-in-the-sun activities. My speed runs more towards a cool drink sittin’ in the shadows, with my feet propped up. That’s with motorcycle boots off, by the way. There are two ways for me to cool down. One is to take off all my clothes…which is not done in any kind of polite company (see comments about great white underbelly). The other is to remove said boots and let the toes dangle. Even better to stick them in some cold water. Hmmm, that sounds like a great idea and since our roving reporter/guest editorialist Brian Agron has favored us with yet another “heartfelt” article, I can leave my keyboard in it’s place, turn down the lights and go get a cool one….for my toes.
TORQUE AND/OR HORSEPOWER
how not to get ‘torqued’ over the differences
We all know the definition of torque… don’t we? How about horsepower? That it seems is a little more vague to the average rider if you try to pin them down as to it’s exact definition. I was a little shaky myself, but it is definitely a subject I wanted to understand as should everyone who rides a motorcycle. After all, we all like to wrap our legs around that large, hot, rip-snortin’ motor and go cruising around the world… or travel through some scenic countryside on our way to the next rest stop (read: “bar”).
This all started when I realized I had enough chrome on my ‘Beast’ and had to come up with another indulgence for my baby. ‘The Motor Company’, being the all American capitalist pig (Hog?) corporation that they are, has you covered and they are very willing to provide you, the customer, with just about anything you may desire. For a price of course, and if you have ever done business with ‘The Motor Company’, you know that HD not only stands for Harley Davidson, it also stands for ‘Hundreds of Dollars’. Besides, Shelly, the absolutely wonderful, friendly, tall, leggy (and somewhat motherly) babe who works behind the service counter at Michael’s Harley Davidson ( michaelsharleydavidson.com ) is more than willing to part me with my hard earned money in exchange for some motorcycle part or service. So what better way to celebrate the start of summer and the peak of riding season than to have ‘The Beast’s’ cylinders replaced with something larger along with larger pistons to raise her displacement from just 88 cubic inches to 95 cubic inches (that’s 1,550 cc to you metric folks), a new SE-203 cam to inhance ‘low end torque’ along with a corresponding increase in horsepower. There is no replacement for displacement as they say. I handed Shelley a signed check for over two weeks worth of take-home pay. She smiled sweetly…
A week later I got ‘The Beast’ back and was frankly amazed at how she had been transformed. Now when I twisted the throttle, instead of getting the response I was used to, I found myself accelerating at a much higher rate, in fact it felt like I was being pulled along with a lot more vigor than I expected. Wow! I was one happy camper! Was this due to torque or horsepower? The Beast had been transformed into THE BEAST and had been dyno tuned and I had the print out of the torque and horsepower curves. We have all seen such printouts in various publications, but what is the relationship between torque and horsepower?
Torque is the ‘twisting force’ of a shaft, expressed in units of foot-pounds. Thus 50 foot-pounds of torque is the force required to move 50 pounds out on a (weightless) lever one foot long. Or move 25 pounds on a lever of two feet.
Great. The Beast now puts out 92 foot-pounds of torque at 3,5oo rpm, up from the stock 70 foot-pounds of torque which explains why she accelerates at a much higher rate than before. But what about horsepower, and what is horsepower anyway?
Horsepower is the rate at which an engine produces torque and is a function of the RPM of the engine. There is a formula here and fortunately it is simple.
Horsepower = Torque x RPM
Seems simple enough, horsepower is just torque multiplied by RPM divided by the ‘fudge factor’ of 5252. Torque is the amount of work that is done by the engine, horsepower is the rate at which that work is done. Plugging the beast’s dyno run numbers for peak torque into that formula what you get is
92 x 3,500 = 61.5 horsepower
The Beast produces her maximum horsepower of 72 (and change) near redline, though the torque being produced is now in decline, it is not declining as fast as horsepower is rising. If you look at the formula carefully, you will see that when the engine is running at 5252 RPM, then the torque being produced is equal to the horsepower being produced. Just happens that The Beast produces her maximum HP at just about 5252 rpm and her torque is 72 foot-pounds at that point. In reality, her HP output is pretty flat from that point all the way to redline, that is because the torque is dropping as fast as rpm is rising. Check out the dyno run printout.
Horsepower is the rate at which an engine works (how fast the sucker can put the work out…) while torque is the measure of the work it can do. If I can lift 100 pounds four feet up onto a table, then that takes 400 foot-pounds of torque, no matter how long it takes me to accomplish the task. If I do it in 6 seconds, I am putting out 0.76 horsepower. If I do the task in just three seconds, I am putting out 1.5 horsepower. Same amount of torque, just in half the time. Of course if I can only put out 200 ft-lb of torque, that 400 lbs. is staying on the floor, no matter what.
An excellent example of this is given in an article on torque and horsepower written by Bruce Augenstein and available to read at http://vettenet.org/torquehp.html .
I highly recommend that you link over to his article and read it thoroughly. He goes into torque and horsepower as it applies to automobiles (Corvettes actually, it is a ‘Vettte site after all). He gives an excellent example of the way torque, RPM and horsepower all interrelate, I am goint to borrow the example he gives in the article. He describes a heavy millstone at a flour mill rotating at 12 rpm but producing 2,600 foot-pounds of torque. Hooked directly up to the drive shaft of a car (think motorcycle here…) it would go from zero to 12 rpm in an instant and the millstone would hardly notice. Ought to accelerate our motorcycle from 0 to 1 mph in the blink of an eye. But what about zero to sixty? OK, so what sort of horsepower are we dealing with here? Just plug it into the formula…
12 rpm * 2,600 ft-lb = 5.9 Horsepower!
A whole bunch of torque not being put out very quickly…
A good analogy is if I take five gallons of gasoline and ever so slowly spray it into the room and ignite it when I start, I will produce a nice small flame. Very useful for say… cooking dinner or maybe heating the house. The amount of power it would produce is rather small for any given length of time. The amount of energy expended over say five hours that it would take to drain the tank is of a fixed amount. Now lets say I spray that same five gallons into the air in the room but this time I strike the match just as the tank is emptied… well, the amount of energy liberated is just the same. The difference is that it is liberated at a much faster rate (like a millisecond) and the effect would be quite dramatic. The power is much higher, needless to say. Instead of just cooking dinner, there would be flaming fragments of house all over the neighborhood.
Same amount of energy (torque) but a significant amount of power increase!
Maybe someday I will replace the pistons again, put in a ‘stroker’ flywheel which will increase the Beasts displacement to 107 C.I. and swap cams for an SE-257 and watch the horsepower equal the displacement. A Beast with teeth…
in Kaiser’s garage when he rides his
motorcycle to work and knows first hand
that chrome is a very addicting drug….
Guest Editorial (’cause Ryder’s too lazy to write)
In Defense of The Harley Davidson
I recall seeing one of those brief movie clips one can download from the internet that I got from some motorcycle site devoted to people who ride Honda’s, big Hondas in fact, and who are forever trying to rationalize what a good choice they made in getting a Honda instead of a Harley. In the movie clip, the unknown director balances a quarter on the transmission case of his multi cylinder, large displacement Honda, starts the engine and revs up the motor and the quarter still remains on edge, balanced on the transmission case. Off camera you can hear the anonymous director exclaim his delight at this, saying something to the affect that you could not do that with a Harley.
I could not agree more!!! Try that with a Harley and that poor quarter would have launched itself into the cooling fins, careened around a bit and bounced onto the floor… and you would not have been able to hear the director over the noise emanating from the mufflers (as they call them) or ‘silencers’ (as the Brits call them) or the pipes (as we Harley guys call’em). Pipes are musical instruments so we are quite committed in our terminology as to what the intended role for ‘pipes’ are for in our life.
Let us think about the ideal motorcycle for a moment. I do not mean the visual design, but what is it that we want when we put’er in gear and let out the clutch? Why do we ride motorcycles at all? Obviously we all, in our own fashion, find pleasure in riding motorcycles, but what is the inner nature of that experience?
I want my motorcycle to be, well… a motorcycle. Many years ago I had the opportunity to drive a Lincoln Continental belonging to my (at that time) father -in-law. He had two cars, the Lincoln, whose license plate bracket said “My other car is a Rolls Royce” and the other car was a Rolls Royce and its license plate bracket said “My other car is a Rolls Royce.” He was truly a total self centered asshole, But I digress… The lincoln had all the amenities, plush interior, superb soundproofing, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power everything. But to drive it was to have no inkling that you were actually operating a motor vehicle. No road feel, no wind noise, no vibration, no sense of even steering the thing. To move the steering wheel was like rotating a stick in a barrel of oil. You were totally divorced from the real world outside the tinted glass windshield. I would never want such a car. I never drove the Rolls by way.
So it is with motorcycles. What is the point of riding a motorcycle that you cannot feel? What is the point of riding a motorcycle that you cannot hear? What is the point of riding a motorcycle that is so devoid of its ‘motorcycleness’ that you do not even have to experience it? (Well, OK, someday I would like to ride a high-end Ducati, but just to experience it.) Geez, can we design these suckers such that all sensory input of it’s ‘motorcycleness’ is removed? Gee, look at me Ma! Riding a motorcycle is just like sitting on my living room sofa! Just as much fun too, no doubt. You can fly in a Boeing 747 which is like sitting in a hotel lobby bored to death, or you can fly in an open cockpit Boeing Stearman biplane. One is not flying, the other one is. Been there, done that, in both the 747’s and Stearman’s. I’ll take the Stearman any day. Get my drift?
My love of riding motorcycles comes from sitting on my ‘Beast’ (that’s what I call her) and when I depress that ‘start’ toggle switch, she always instantly takes in a deep breath and I feel her heart spring to life. Harley’s do have rubber mounted engines, or counterbalanced one’s and they do not vibrate your hands into carpal tunnel numbness as non-Harley riders seem to think. More like putting your hand on your lovers chest and feeling her heart beating beneath you palm. Or his heart beneath your palm if that is your ‘take’ on such matters. Or underneath the wool if you are like one of my friends…
Yes, The Beast is loud and the musical sound she makes (from her pipes) reminds me of the way a contented tiger sounds as it purrs. Not like some enraged bumble bee trapped in a jar or a high revving sewing machine on steroids. She is a MOTORCYCLE, and you know it. It is ‘input’, it is ‘road feel’, it is a real motorcycle and not some smooth as silk, quiet as a Swiss watch, inexpensive import that divorces you from the ‘experience’ of experiencing a motorcycle.
No, I did not choose to buy a Harley because I am a witless victim of corporate marketing (as one ‘unbiased’, non advertisement, motorcycle consumer evaluation publication seems to believe.
I went through my misspent high school and college years riding a Honda 250 ‘Dream’, which was a heavy and sadly underpowered machine, but wonderful in its own right for what it was, when it was. I absolutely loved this little wonder as it was my heart and soul during those early years, and it made me a diehard Honda fan. Unfortunately a wife and the attendant responsibilities thereof necessitated divesting myself of my little sentimental machine.
I had an acquaintance who owned a real chopper (not ‘Old School’ chopper as there was no ‘Old School’ then, this chopper was the real deal!) who took a months vacation at the Gray Bar Resort, paid for and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. He won this little interlude by suggesting to a police officer (during an antiwar demonstration) that the officer had some exotic mating habits with his own mother. So I got to use his bike for awhile.
First time I got on this chopped pan-head, I twisted the throttle just like I always did on the little Honda 250. I flew backwards as the chopper lunged forward, almost off the seat and had to do some serious pulling to get back in the seat enough to get the throttle backed off and the bike slowed down. I knew right then and there that I had to get me one of those when I grew up! It was instant bonding.
However life does have its unexpected twists and turns and I got rid of the wife and got another Honda, this time a 650 Nighthawk. Beautiful styling, fast, sexy and responsive way beyond what I had known before. She was also prone to a high frequency vibration at about 65 mph which just happened to be freeway cruising speed. These were the days when 55 mph was the speed limit. The RPM’s of the engine somehow matched the resonant frequency of the frame at those speeds. This was an AWFUL bike to ride for any length of time. Got rid of it soon enough by selling it to some other poor slob. That high tech, in line, four cylinder overhead cam rice rocket almost ruined my love of motorcycles. Fast forward to the present. Daughter grown up, income at the top of my scale, memories of that old Harley pan-head chopper which was thrilling to ride unlike the other bikes which were, well, nice at best.
Unto each your own. I like my motorcycles to be a positive sensory experience that lets you know you are riding a motorcycle but not being beat up by one. Want to balance a quarter on the tranny when you start, and feel smug about it? Well, I have a URL for you, if that sort of thing floats your boat. Am I a victim of corporate marketing? Hardly. I am too busy fulfilling my lifetime dream and having way too much fun doing, so to really worry about what you think about what choice is proper for me. If you are one of those unfortunate people who equate ‘high tech design’ with ‘better than…’, then have fun riding your smooth, quiet pussycat, it’s your choice after all. Stand there in the parking lot and show the world how cool you are because you bought a bike that you can put a quarter on the tranny and keep it balanced when you start your engine. I bet you can balance a quarter on your wife too when you ‘start’ her up.
Have a nice day while I take my ‘Beast’ out for some exercise.
in Kaiser’s garage when he rides his
motorcycle to work and knows first hand
that chrome is a very addicting drug….
Off the Top
OK…the first editorial from our eclectic editing team…well, only half the team, as I’m waiting for Deke’s comments to arrive “any day now”…one would think that as a budding novelist, he’d have much to say and would want to see himself in print. Yeah, I’m “on his case”, but we’re good friends and I know he’ll have some pithy comments directed toward me, too. Look for his byline, “Road Noise” in the near future. UPDATE : 4.1.05 Deke has given me the copy for “Road Noise”, so I guess I’m “off his case”, now. Expect him to jump in with his unique perspective on the world of motorycling or just about anything else. Deke’s an interesting guy…you’ll never know which one of him will show up. I’m just glad that I get along with all of him.
So, a few comments on our previous two rides. I’m pretty pleased with what’s happened so far. We’ve been able to muster about 10 riders for each ride. I think we’ll get more as word of the website gets out. I like riding in a group, the camaradarie, and the riding dynamic. It’s interesting to see the varying riding styles, and of course, the different motorcycles.
My intention in creating this site was to use it as a venue for communication. I do not have any inclinations toward turning BCMCT into a “club.” We may have cards at some point with the URL (web address) on them, but that’s about it. Way too much responsibility and time involved. If you wanna be in a club, there’s lots out there to consider. Now, Deke may have other ideas, but I kind of doubt it…he’s less of a joiner than I am.
Hmmm, I’m digressing a bit. I was going to talk about the rides. Great job of trip planning by the “Tourmaster”, who may occasionally grace us with a column or two in “Ride of the Month”…or if he feels like editorializing, right here. He’s picked the breakfast destinations, made reservations and only “almost” didn’t get served once. He’s a longtime rider of the Barbary Coast, so I know we can expect some interesting rides from him.
A couple of minor safety issues…guys and gals, please stagger your formation when riding in a group. It gives the rider behind you greater visibility ahead. Oh yeah, and stay off the crown of the road if you can…can you say road oil? ‘Nuff said! Two, don’t be a dweeb and split off from the group precipitously. Give us some warning. Otherwise we might think something has happened to you. Yes, I’m the guilty party this time. And, worse yet, the “tailgunner” of our group. My bad! I’m not suggesting that we all can’t be “rugged individualists”, but our actions can cause events that may affect others. I promise to stay on track from now on.