I miss my old commute so much!

The Condo has been sold, and just last weekend we did one last look at it and I moved the last thing we had up there.

My Wife’s Monster.

We don’t really have much parking space where we are living now, it’s all street parking for now. So we left it safely in the covered parking garage at our condo for as long as we could. Now that the condo has a new owner it was time to move it, and so I went up and rode it to my parents home. It will live there for the winter while we find it a nice new warm garage for it.

Riding it down the San Francisco Peninsula to my parents house and basically mirroring my old commute I had a interesting realization. I found my self thinking that my new commute really does suck compared to my old one. Highway 280 is gorgeous even on bad days, and riding down it after the really big storm we had last week it was in all it’s glory. With heavy clouds still in the sky, but with the setting sun shining around them, it was just beautiful. I had one of my motorcycle moments.

 

I took this earlier this year. I was so spoiled.

I took this earlier this year. I was so spoiled.

One of those moments when I’m so incredibly glad to be alive, and so in the world, struck nearly to tears being amazed at how amazing it all is. The air was so fresh after the recent rains. I really wanted to stop and take a picture and try and capture it to share with you all, but it was getting dark and I had time restraints.

My new commute is nothing like this bliss. It’s often an effort to stay alive and get home in one piece. The Fremont hills are pretty when I get to see them as I crest the Dumbarton Bridge. But I rarely get to look up and see them, since I’m normally too busy scanning the road for the next thing that can ruin my day.

It’s funny how much I relished taking the Long Way Home, not realizing that my “normal” commute was nothing of the sort.

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This is Important

There is so much to be said on the topic of Lane Sharing (or Lane Splitting or Filtering) that it’s hard to know where to start. The fact that most of the world allows it and the USA doesn’t is just another example of how differently motorcycles are perceived here vs. most of the rest of the world. Toys and not real and legitimate modes of transport.

This is something that I would like to change and given how bad traffic congestion is in our major cities it needs to change. I do think this Petition is a good step. It’s working to make Lane Sharing legal in all Fifty States.  Check it out, and sign it, if you’re on the fence maybe you should look at this latest study from UC Berkeley.

Not the most fun way to get home.

Not the most fun way to get home.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/allow-motorcycle-lane-sharing-all-public-roads/qP86QbjN

http://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Press_Room/2012/doc/2012_MC_Lane_Splitting_Survey.pdf

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Finding Time For Motorcycles

Life just doesn’t stop. It keeps rolling right along and you just have to keep running to keep up. I (naively) thought that once we had packed up the house and gotten it on the market that things would calm down leaving me more time for the things I love.  These things being (besides my amazing wife) riding motorcycles and writing about them.

Between the Holidays and me being struck down by a nasty bout of the flu it means that Sadly the monster and I have only spent time together going to and from work. Which is about the least fun you can have and still be riding a motorcycle.

I’m still dreaming though, thinking about riding which has made me start work on my official motorcycling “bucket list”. Which is harder than it might sound to figure out. There are just so many cool things one can do on a motorcycle, and I’m trying to keep it to a reasonable amount.

Hopefully I’ll have it done soon and I can share it with you all. While your waiting I’d love to hear your ideas for the bucket list. Go ahead and leave them in the comments below.

The Centopassi by Ducati sounds like it would be pretty awesome.

The Centopassi by Ducati sounds like it would be pretty awesome.

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Comfort, Risk, Danger and How I Was Reminded How They Are Connected

So with my new commute I am in moderate to heavy traffic nearly all the time. Compared to my old one which was light to moderate most of the time I find myself dueling with cars more often.

Basically I find myself doing things on the road often that I would consider questionable… just always after the fact.

Last year I wrote a guest blog on Ride Apart about this very topic. How easy it is to become comfortable with every day danger, and sometimes how that be to our detriment. If you haven’t read it you might want to check it out.

Then it all came to a head when I had a near miss just a few days ago. This definitely made me reflective.

Just to be clear that regardless of how it might read below, I realize that it was completely my own fault.

I had just gotten on the freeway and was trying to get into the carpool lane. I was riding at the flow of traffic, but very close to the SUV in front of me. As it turns out I was too close.  I was watching my mirror looking for a gap to get into the next lane, but sadly my mirror was slightly off so I had a pretty large blind spot. So I had to make a big check to make sure no one was next to me. When I looked back in front of me I see that  the SUV that I was following has slammed on their brakes and I’m headed right for their left rear bumper. I did not think I had time to break so I dodge toward the carpool lane. Which had room for me since I had checked.  (and something I was planing on doing, but with a lot less urgency) However, I was too close and did not quite make it. I clipped the rear of the SUV with my arm and my mirror at the end of my handle bar. Hard enough to throw me a bit out of control, and at 40-50 mph I was pretty freaked out. I was also now headed toward the center divide.

It is amazing how much goes through your head in just a few seconds.

I saw something fly up and away when I hit the SUV, I was worried I hurt their car. My arm hurt, and I was heading toward the barrier. I imediately went into let’s not crash if we can avoid it mode. I countersteered and swerved back in to the middle of my lane.

Heart pounding and arm smarting I imediately began to think about pulling onto the shoulder so I could talk to the driver. Still very freaked out. I start changing lanes, but the shoulders are nearly non existent on this part of the freeway. I looked all over to see if I could spot the SUV, but with the heavy traffic I had no idea where he was. I rode in the slow lane as slowly as I could for a while hoping (sort of) to see someone pull up behind me waving franticly, but this did not happen.

My exit was coming up so I get off there hoping that maybe through all of that the other driver might be able to see me do this and follow. Hopefully not thinking I ditched him on purpose. Once of the freeway, I wait for several minutes calming myself and wondering if there is anyway to find the driver since this wasn’t working. Straightening out my mirror on the end of my bar and find that the glass has been knocked out. So that was what I saw fly off when I hit the car.

I am lucky to have managed that bit of idiocy without crashing. I’m upset with myself for even putting myself in that position.

You need to be comfortable riding, but comfort and confidence can get you into situations that you shouldn’t be in. I still have to ride smart. My mantra right now, is slow down and be more patient.

Coast mirror

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It’s Winter: New Gloves Making it Tolerable

I was at the International Motorcycle Show a few weeks ago. Normally I just wander through all the gear vendors, occasionally looking at new helmets, and keep going. This year one of them caught my eye since it was Racer Gloves, the people who made my favorite pair of gloves. (Which sadly they’ve discontinued)

So I stopped and spoke with them a bit, and in the midst of talking about gloves I realized that winter was coming and that the last time I used my “winter gloves” in the wet, the leaked and I was cold and wet. So I asked which were there warmest glove and he gave me these.

Winter Gloves

I liked the fit and they seemed plenty warm and with the show discount not too expensive so I got them. A bit of an impulse purchase, but so far they’re great.

I’ve worn them every morning since getting them and I’ve been pretty impressed with how warm they are. It’s now a bit colder in the mornings with the recent onset of fall here, and warm hands are important for a tolerable ride to work in the morning. They are a bit bulky in the warmer part of the split, but that is to be expected with a winter glove, with out getting heated gloves they only way to get warmth is with at least a little extra bulk.

This have a split layer where you can chose to have warmth all around, or just on the top of your hands. Perfect for when you have heated grips and want the warmth of those to get to your hands, or times when you want a bit more feeling for the controls of your motorcycle.

After a bit of expermentation I’ve settled on just using the warmer option. I’ve gotten used to the extra bulk, and they really are warmer than the more feel option, and I hate having cold hands!

http://www.racerglovesusa.com/advance-goretex-glove/

TL,DR:
Pros: Warm, comfortable fit.
Cons: Pricey, Bulky
Verdict: I’m pretty pleased with them. I’m not sure you can get a winter glove with out the bulk, and these work well. I’ll update once I ride to work a few days in the low 40’s.

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Thanksgiving: Making it happen on two wheels

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s been a crazy last few weeks for me. I was taken out by the flu for nearly all of last week, and then when I got back to work this week I was playing catch up at one of the busiest times of the year for us. I’m still struggling to completely recover from the flu, but I was up and riding to work this week. I did this mainly to avoid traffic, because otherwise feeling as off as I do driving would have been easier. It is also easier to get everything home for Thanksgiving in a car, but I was determined to avoid traffic and get home all the fixings… on the motorcycle.

I’m pretty impressed that I managed to do it, Including the nearly 19lb turkey!

When I was planning this I thought the turkey was going to be the tough one, surprisingly it was the pies that were the biggest challenge. It takes me about 40-45 minutes to get home, and I did not have space to fit them anywhere on my bike flat. I was worried that they would slide out of the shells and be ruined. With a co-workers help I got them into my backpack at about a 45 degree angle, then I rode home, hunched over my bike in a racing crouch to keep them as flat as possible. With all the city streets I have to ride, it was not the most comfortable way to get home. We all make some sacrifices for the holiday.

I made it work.

I made it work.

However, the Turkey was much more painful. My backpack/back are not designed to carry nineteen plus pounds for 45 minutes. My back is killing me as I type this about an hour after I got home.

Everything else was easy, yams, onions and the rest easily fit in my tail bag and backpack on Monday.

I’ve definitely earned my Thanksgiving dinner the hard(ish) way!

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My Friends All Ride Motorcycles?

It’s happened, the thing I never really even wished for, and dared not hope for. My three closest friends all have M class licences and can ride motorcycles with me!

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The least likely friend to ride started following me around earlier this year.

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My brother finally is done with parking lots and hopes to be on the streets soon.

 

I'm the best pillion ever, look how much confidence my wife has in me. Enough to give a giant thumbs up!

I’m the best pillion ever, look how much confidence my wife has in me. Enough to give a giant thumbs up!

Not cool, just awesome people

This is the guy who has been riding the longest, he’s been dragging me along the whole time.

I’m a little surprised that it took me this long to realize this, and maybe it’s because my brother doesn’t have a motorcycle yet, but it’s pretty awesome. I can’t wait to go on a ride, all four of us together!

The first step for this awesome event to happen is to get my brother a motorcycle, and then get him up to speed on it. He’s past the parking lot phase, but still needs many miles before he’ll be ready to ride to (enter far off land of our choice).

However, even the idea of this being possible has me very happy.

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