Returning to the Motorcycle Commute

About six years ago I found out I was going to be a father. This complicated my life and I worried that Motorcycles would become something in the past. My wife assured me that she did not want me to stop riding, and I was hopeful that I would be able to continue.

Then my amazing daughter was born and the realities of being a parent soon began to hamper my riding.
Since it is illegal to ride with a baby on the motorcycle I ended up commuting by car since my job was close to where my parents live who could watch her a few days of the week. We managed to have other caregivers for a couple of days a week, but that was the beginning. 

For nearly five years I’ve been able to ride to work only two days a week on average, and getting away on a trip or a weekend ride is much harder. Especially since I do very much love my wife and daughter and enjoy my time with them. I don’t regret this, I’ve had a completely new set of adventures and I suspect that my days of weekend riding are still going to be way in my future.

However, I am getting a chance to get more riding in. My little girl starts Transitional Kindergarten in a week and that means I will no longer have to take a car to work. I can drop her off at school and then take the motorcycle to work!

I’m pretty excited about this and I look forward to enjoying two wheels much more often.

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Spring Cleaning

I had a productive weekend at least in terms of finding motorcycles in my garage. I was mainly planning on digging out FrankenMonster and seeing if I could get her running again, but while I was down there I realized I should really get my wife’s Monster ready for a ride since it’s been sitting for a few months.

I was pleasantly surprised that things went relatively well.

My wife’s bike is on a battery tender so it did start with relative ease. After checking the tire pressure I took it to the gas station via the scenic route and filled it up with fresh gas. Then once back home I checked the chain tension again.

The FrankenMonster was a bit more of a challenge. First I had to find it in the garage. It was under a pile of empty boxes and other random stuff. The garage in general is still full of baby things we have yet to get rid of.

This picture makes me sad

Once I uncovered her I tried to syphon as much fuel out as possible. I struggled with this for a bit when I realized that there wasn’t much in it at all. I then put in a new lithium battery and filled her up with fresh gasoline. I then took a look at the belts.

Even though everything looked to be in good shape I was really nervous when I went to try and start her. Thankfully she got going on the second try.

What’s next?

She needs a good cleaning and probably an oil change. There is a lot of oil that has leaked all over the exhaust so she smokes once that gets up to temperature. She also needs new mirrors and the brake lever is broken. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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FrankenMonster is the New Project

Just over a year ago I reclaimed custody of my first motorcycle. She’s been sitting in my garage unloved for that long and it’s time I changed that.

Sadly the first step will be to find it under the crap that’s been accumulating in my garage for the last year. Made worse as we’ve been transistioning our daughters room from toddler stuff to preschooler.

I’d be happy if we got back to this, but I’m tempted to maybe do something more fun since I have another motorcycle to ride while I work on this one.

Plus a big part of this is wanting to ride a really cool looking motorcycle occasionally. I love the Hyperstrada, but it has nothing on the extremely classic lines of a monster. First step will be to see if she needs any mechanical work. I got a new lithium battery to put in her. Hopefully we can get her started easily. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

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Spring Ride 2022

About six years ago I started doing an organized spring trip. The first few I headed north, and after the miserable cold and rain made the second less than perfect I started heading south.

This year the tradition continued and When I orginaly planned the trip it was going to be just a two day trip, but since I really wanted to ride the coast it wasn’t looking like much of an adventure. So at the last minute. I found a campsite in Pismo Beach for two nights and made a three day trip of it. The first and third day were just going up and down the coast. I saved all of the insanity for Friday in which we rode about 500 miles and I worried for the last 75 miles or so that I had driven my poor brother to the brink.

The roads were amazing. I wish it was just a little bit easier to get down to Malibu Area the Santa Monica Mountains are filled with great roads.

However I did have the best time of the trip riding up Hwy 33 from Ojai. It was lovely and no one was out there so I could just ride

We should have gotten and earlier start, but we made it work even if the last half hour was after dark!

The ride home was good. We got up at 5 AM which was a bit rough but it paid off. After fighting through the fog for the first hour of the morning the sun finally fought through as I got to the coast. Which was great since I had the road to myself. A great finish to a fun trip.

Homeward bound
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Thunderhill West

I don’t write or post like I did in the past. I wish I could find time, but the amazing small child in my life still needs attention. This year was filled with a few cool motorcycle things one of the coolest is that I did two track days this year. They were lots of fun, the first was so much fun that I almost immediately booked a second when I got home.

Both times I went up to Thunderhill Raceway and did the West 2 Mile with Zoom Zoom. In general they put on a good event, though the first one was better presented than the second. It had been a very long time and many street miles since the last time I  was on a Track. It was in 2009 and it was on the BMW F800S, yes the bike that a year later tried to kill me. That day was fun. The days from this year were much better.

Why so much better? The biggest change of course was I wasn’t on the East track with the blind entry and corner of corners 4 and 5… I’m still not sure I could do those fast. 

Thunderhill West 2 Mile Track

The West Track doesn’t have anything like that, which meant for me I could just go fast. Well… as fast as I could with so many other slower riders on the track. The first time I went with my brother in C group and I spent the first half of the day learning the track and trying to not crash/be slow in turn 4. I enjoyed the last two sessions when there were less people on the track, but my problem both times was being held up by very new track riders. Ones just like my brother. He’s been struggling to get up to speed on his Suzuki VStrom 650, so I decided we would do a Track Day together. I think he learned some things, hopefully more than just how to get passed by people going fast. 

Joking aside I think it was a good experience. I just with there was a way for my relatively slow self to ride with out all the very slow new riders.

The biggest problem with most new riders on a track is that they ride like they ride on the street. Which means entering corners by rolling off the throttle and braking gingerly into corners. Which is great on the street, it’s not the fastest way around the track though. 

Next time I’ll make sure to get an instructor to follow me around the last session of the day, and let me know if maybe I’m fast enough to join the B group. 

Whatever happens, I’m definitely doing another Track Day. It was fun.

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Motocynic on: Track Days to get Good

In 2009 after owning the BMW for 6 months I went to the track for the first time. I’d always wanted to go, but the Ducati Monster just didn’t have the ground clearance for me to feel comfortable on it.  I’ve wanted to go back since then, but since I was back on the Monster for a long while I once again didn’t feel comfortable. With the new motorcycle I would have loved to have gone, but shortly after having a new baby made it hard to justify the cost.

Then after having crashed my motorcycle a year ago and watching my brother struggle to be comfortable on his new motorcycle I decided to use part of my government stimulus money and take us both out to the track. Both my brother I needed to be more aware of the limits of our motorcycles and ourselves.

The Track is really the only place you can safely grow your skills as a motorcyclist. If you mess up a corner on your favorite back road how much room do you have to fix your mistake? Not much as I discovered painfully just over a year ago.

It is also a ton of fun.

I had a good time, unfortunately it took me a while before I was pushing hard enough to feel like I was learning, and that was towards really the last couple of sessions. I was finally braking into the faster corners and leaning a bit more.

It was definitely worth doing, learning stuff plus having fun, can it get better? 

Turn 9…. I need to work on consistent body position.

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One Year Ago Today

Once was too many times, twice is just sad… and yet, there I was picking myself off the road. My wrist hurting and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pick the bike up and ride home. In fact it was hard to try and call for help. Eventually one of the people who stopped did call 911 and get me an ambulance to take me to the emergency room. I’ll admit to freaking out a bit when I saw blood, it was the first (and hopefully the last) time I have seen blood when I crash, I wear so much gear that it’s really hard to get blood, but you can smash your wrist bad enough that your bones break skin…

I ended up with a plate and nine screws in my wrist, holding everything together mostly. Apparently I mashed it up pretty good.

Oh I’m still riding, but I do question the wisdom of it more often. Trying to slow down, but that’s hard for an adrenaline junkie like myself.

I’ll just try and keep it rubber side down from now on.

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Spring Ride 2021

It was a long couple of days.

My brother and I rode over 700 miles, and it was tough, tougher than I expected. I knew that it was a little ambitious, but we ended up cutting off 80 miles of the second day. I guess we are both a little out of motorcycle riding shape, though my brother more so than I.

We rode from the San Francisco Bay Area, down via backroads to McKinnick and then out to Oakhurst to Angels Camp. That’s where we gave up and headed home. I had planned to go all the way up 49 to Auburn, but we weren’t making great time so we decided to head home early instead of getting home super late.

It was a nice couple of days, we should have camped instead of getting a hotel, but that would have also changed the trip significantly. I also didn’t know that the weather was going to be so great when planning. 

I’m looking forward to our trip in the early summer, it should be fantastic!

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Spring Ride!

Motorcycles and I are having a bit of a Renaissance, I am planning a Spring Ride for the first time in a little while. My Brother and I hope to ride over 700 miles in two days. Just a weird big loop inn Central California.

I’m very sad we won’t be riding down the coast, since the Central California Coast in the Spring is amazing. I’ve done it several times and nearly every time I’ve had my breath taken away by the beauty of it all.

However, we will ride some new roads and see some new sights. I’m sure it will be beautiful and a good ride.

I can’t wait!

Spring 2019.

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Looks Who Back in my Garage


After having some amazing adventures with my friend, my Monster has come back home to me. No not the child, the motorcycle. 

Due to some unfortunate circumstances she needed a new place to call home, I had some room in my garage (not really) so I went and got her. It made a fun daytime adventure with my little girl.

We made her right at home while I get some parts and get her back on the road.

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