Labor Day Ride: Out to the Coast

I woke up early yesterday morning, not unusual for me I get up for work at 5 am most days, so getting up at 7 was relatively easy. I threw on my gear and was out the door and onto the Ducati Monster, heading to some good roads. I did not have anything specific in mind just a general idea that I would head to the coast.

Typical Northern California Beach weather. Fog.

Typical Northern California Beach weather. Fog.

It was a great ride, not too long, but I spent two hours zipping out to the coast and back. Ninety miles of motorcycling nirvana. By the time the world was really waking up I was safely at the coffee shop with my wife planning the rest of our day.

I’m glad I got out early and before traffic got too heavy. There is nothing more disappointing for me than having great riding road ruined by poking along behind someone who is lost, or just admiring the scenery. I love the redwoods as much as anyone, but I’m up here all the time so no need to gawk.

There was lots of sun back that way.

There was lots of sun back that way.

Coast mirror Coast Monster Tank

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What an Experience

I got to ride a Yamaha R6 for most of last week. I have to say that it was quite the experience. I’m still trying to get it all down and making sense, which is hard with a bike of such extremes.

I commuted on it for four days and took the “Long Way Home” twice. Look for more on it in a couple of days, for now a couple of pictures.

It looks fast doesn't it.

It looks fast doesn’t it.

It is fast.

It is fast.

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The Monster is BACK!!! Bigger and Better than Ever

The wait is over, yesterday I picked up the Monster from the always amazing Nichols Sport Bike. It’s grown up a little, now with a lightly used 695 engine in it. They did have some issues with getting it all working, mainly with the ECU being non standard and much more difficult to reprogram than we all hoped. I was just happy to be riding my bike again.

I love my Monster.

I love my Monster.

I haven’t noticed any real difference in power yet, but I did spend the last week riding a Yamaha R6… which is another story. It took a little to adjust back to the Monster, it’s a radically different bike than the R6 in just about every way. It’s the most fun I’ve had riding home in traffic in a while.


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You Should Never Drive (a car) to a Concert: Motorcycling to Shoreline Apitheater

I was lucky that my friend loaned me his bike.

I was lucky that my friend loaned me his bike.

I don’t go to concerts as often as I used to. Mostly because it is hard to find extra cash for every cool band that comes to town. So the last time I went to a concert I remember the hours it took for us to get out of the parking lot and consequently we didn’t get home until very late making going to work the next morning pure torture. I remember sitting there watching all the motorcycles work their way past us and kicking myself for not riding.

So Sunday night when we went to see Nine Inch Nails and Sound Garden at Shoreline Ampetheater in Mountain View we rode the motorcycles. (I borrowed a friends)

It was perfect. We arrived right before the first opening act, rode past everyone waiting for parking and were waved into the VIP parking area. We didn’t have to pay and parked right in front of the gates. Ok, not right in front, we were along one side near some Porta-Potties… but very close.

Going home was just as easy, we had to wait a little while to get out of the parking lot, mainly for pedestrians crossing the road as everyone else hiked out to their cars. I’m pretty sure I was home in bed before a lot of people were even out of the parking lot.

It was a perfect ending to a great night.

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Motorcycle For a New Rider Under $3000…

You probably know my brother got his M class license just a little while ago. He’s been wanting to ride with me for a while, but as a new teacher hasn’t had a lot of time (or money) to move forward with this dream. I gave him a bit of a push this spring when I organized some friends and we all pitched in for the MSF class for his birthday. He’s spent the summer learning how to ride and now he’s got a pretty good handle on it. He was with me practicing when my 620 engine gave up on me.
Well he’s truly hooked, and he’s really looking hard at saving up for a first bike. He’s wondering what makes a good first bike and while I’ve written in the past about what I think makes a good first bike, I never had to actually shop for a motorcycle specifically for a new rider.

It’s here that I’ve come up a bit at a loss.


So many different bikes to chose from.

So many different bikes to chose from.

The problem is that most of the new riders I’ve been talking to only really can afford to spend $3-4000 on it. Since you should be spending about $1000 on gear that only leaves $2-3k for the bike. This negates a lot of the advice I wrote about. There is no way you’re going to find a new bike for that little, which means nothing with ABS, it simply wasn’t on motorcycles that much until a few years ago. In general there were very few motorcycles made for new riders sold in the USA until recently.  Which is very frustrating when you’re shopping for a used motorcycles about 5 or so years old.

It really comes down to the Ninja 250R if he wants something small (unlikely)

Or the Ninja 650R or Suzuki SV650(s). (and of course my beloved Ducati Monster 620)

That’s it. Really those are the only fuel injected bikes sold between 2000-2010 that made less than nearly 100hp. Insane… Why this is/was the case is a whole different topic, which maybe I’ll take on later.

Right now I’m busy trying to find a used 2004 SV650.


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Motorcycleless for a month and I’m dying.

I’ve been with out my motorcycle for a month now. I’m surprised at how much I miss riding my bike.

I have been riding my wife’s monster, but I’ve already discussed why it’s not the same. Her monster is also getting very close to needing a 6000 mile service, which means it needs to go to the shop, so I really can’t ride it much more.

The wife took this right after I found out I wasn't getting the bike back anytime soon... I'm brooding on how I'm going to make it through the next few weeks.

The wife took this right after I found out I wasn’t getting the bike back anytime soon… I’m brooding on how I’m going to make it through the next few weeks.

The near future is looking a little less exciting than I normally like it. All I can do is wait. I’ve contacted my mechanic and he’s trying to get to it, just they’re a bit behind schedule with how busy they get in the summer time.

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The Ultimate Urban Motorcycle?

I’m not there yet, despite not having kids I’m not able to have two motorcycles of my own. Someday I hope to be there, but I’m not quite there yet. Luckily a big part of the reason is that my wife has a motorcycle too, and really while I have multiple motorcycles they aren’t all mine. If you have to ask permission to ride something (even if you know the answer) it doesn’t count.

But it’s nice to dream right? What would that second bike be? Right now it would be this:

For the Zombie Outbreak

For the Zombie Outbreak

It just looks like it would be so much damn fun!

It really excels at tackling urban traffic, small, light and fast with a upright riding position for a good view of the road. I can’t justify one as a primary motorcycle, I ride too many miles on the freeways everyday on my commute. If I lived and worked in the city I would get one immediately.

Plus if I throw some off road tires and gearing on it, it will be the perfect bike for the zombie apocalypse…

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