September 30th, a day that I will never forget

I know there are better things to think of every September 30th, but for me the first thing that I think of every time I hear the date is my leg, and injuries I sustained when my BMW tried to kill me 4 years ago. If you want the details you can find them here.

Every year I always make an effort to be on a motorcycle for at least a little bit of the day. Mostly because I love to ride, and thankfully I still can ride, but also as part of making a personal statement, about continuing to do something I love despite it’s obvious dangers. Even if it is only riding back and forth to work it’s great to be out on a motorcycle, and I’m glad I’m still around to do it.

He' more machine than man now...

He’ more machine than man now…

 

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Shameless Self Promotion: You Should Follow Motocynic on Instagram

I ride motorcycles and I write about it. I also happen to take pictures of my motorcycle in cool places. You can see some of them below. If you feel like it you can always follow me on Instagram.

It is hard to believe this was nearly six months ago.

It is hard to believe this was nearly six months ago.

Is there anything better than Camping on a Motorcycle?

Is there anything better than Camping on a Motorcycle?

On 299 looking back on where I'd been.

On 299 looking back on where I’d been.

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I was almost home yesterday evening, but I had to stop and get this picture.

I was almost home yesterday evening, but I had to stop and get this picture.

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Motorcycling: Keeping Me “Sane” Through the Crazy

There are times in life when things seem to all of a sudden go into overload.

That’s where I am now. Just a lot of things that by them selves would be stressful piled up into one crazy month, that promises to bleed into the next several months.

It’s time like these that I’m so grateful for the fact that my motorcycle takes so much attention to ride home. Getting home through traffic takes nearly all of my focus, and leaves me no time to think about pre-approval letters, or what I need to pack next at home, or if I can afford to fix my motorcycle while we’re trying to buy a new home.

I get home feeling if not relaxed, than at least not as stressed as when I left work.

Just another reason motorcycles are awesome.

Doesn't feel slow.

Doesn’t feel slow.

The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind

Posted in Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

It’s good to be back on a Motorcycle

I picked up the freshly service Silver Ducati Monster this Weekend, otherwise known as “the Wife’s Bike”.

I put new tires and brake pads on it since they were getting very old. I also had them look at the chain, and in the continuing saga of chain drama, they found that the master link was put together with the wrong clip and was a bit “jury rigged” to keep it together. I have no idea what my local guy was thinking, he always treated us with respect, but he wasn’t treating our motorcycles with the care I think they need.

I also got the bike serviced so it’s ready to go for another 6000 miles! Which hopefully will include a trip to Death Valley in a month or so.

All I had to do before using it to commute to work is put a couple of my mods on it.

 

The Mount for my iPhone in its Lifeproof case.

The Mount for my iPhone in its Lifeproof case.

I need my Tail Seat Bag, otherwise it's nearly impossible to get groceries home.

I need my Tail Seat Bag, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to get groceries home.

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A Beautiful Place to Die: The Trip that Broke My Heart er Motorcycle

I got up really early, hours before sunrise, since that was the point. I wanted to ride to somewhere cool and watch the sunrise and this was the day to do it. I felt like I needed to do something on the bike that was a little adventurous to break in the new engine and I decided this would do.

I spent sometime searching the internet the night before looking for a good spot to see the sunrise from. After reading through endless places that can only be reached by hiking I found a recommendation for a place in Livermore that was off a barely used road.

It also was off of Mines Rd. which I know I’ve been down once a long time ago in my MINI Cooper S. It was time to do it on a motorcycle.

So there I was, at the local coffee shop at 5 AM filling my insulated bottle with Chai Tea. I then headed down to the local donut shop for an Apple Fritter to eat as I watched the sunrise.

I was all set and on the road to hopefully beat all the Bay Area traffic as I headed East to the foothills. I made good time, rarely needing to be a motorcycle to do so, since I was heading away from the peninsula.

Panorama Sunrise Sept 2014 with Monster

I got to the spot and broke out my breakfast.

It was beautiful.

I was there for about a half hour as the sun slowly rose over the distant hills. I felt recharged and very alive. Almost as if I was saying good bye to something.

It was beautiful.

It was beautiful.

Posted in Ducati, Ducati Monster 695, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Photos | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Short Term Plan: Make do with what I have

I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that my bike is out of action. After months of looking forward to having that new engine put in and waiting for it to be done I had it for just a little over a week before it was killed by a evil chain.

Adding insult to injury I’m driving to work. This sacrifice is necessary since I need to have a service done on the wife’s monster before I start commuting on it. So we took her bike to the shop this past weekend and once that’s done I’ll ride her bike for a while.

The Wife on Her Ducati Monster

The Wife on Her Ducati Monster

I basically need to decide if I want to fix my bike or move on. Money is not abundant so it will be very hard to buy a decent new or used bike. However, throwing even more money at the bike that is pretty worn out is tough.

Nichols Sport Bike thinks that the best possible answer for the least wallet pounding is to use the cases from my 620 engine and move all the innards from the 695 to the old cases.

There are two potential problems with this plan. One is that the old cases… are old and that engine was leaking oil pretty bad, we really don’t want to put a glorified oil sieve back on if we don’t have to. The other problem is that this would be fairly labor intensive, they think it will take 10-15 hours. Which at the hourly shop rate won’t be too cheap.

What to do… what to do?

Roads like this demand being in control, otherwise what's the point.

Roads like this demand being in control, otherwise what’s the point.

I’m just glad I’ll be on two wheels again soon.

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How My Monster Died: Bad Luck and Bad Mechanics

Having a chain break is one of those things that can happen on a motorcycle, but with maintenance and no bad luck it shouldn’t ever happen.
Now I’m not amazing when it comes to chain maintenance, but I do keep any eye on mine, and do what I can with out having a proper garage to take care of it really well. Generally this means they don’t last as long and I end up replacing them every 10 – 15k miles.
Since my usual Ducati Mechanic (Nichols Sport Bike) is so far away I have just gone to my local motorcycle shop to get new chains. For the first several thousand miles this wasn’t much of a problem.
However, on the chain before this last one I got a call from Nichols while doing a service on my monster. The wanted to tell me that the clip on the master link was missing and wondering if they put the chain on, they were quite worried about it. I said that they had not and that my local shop had put the chain on. Nichols said they would fix it and put some silicon on it to make sure it did not come off again.
Thinking this was a once in a lifetime mistake from my local shop I went there again a couple of months ago to get another chain. Honestly it was about a year between the missing clip and getting new chain and I didn’t think of it. Especially since it ended up being a non event with Nichols finding and fixing it.
Sadly, when the same thing happened again I wasn’t so lucky and it ended up costing me a brand new engine. The chain was in good condition, just missing the master link, I looked for it on the side of the road, but did not find it. I’m not sure what to do, I’m sure it’s the chain that failed and since something similar already happened to me I’m pretty sure it’s my local shops fault. Nothing I can prove, but…

Looks like we found the weakest link.

Looks like we found the weakest link.

Needless to say I won’t be going back to my local shop for a new chain ever again.

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