This Blog Would Write Itself

This blog would be so much easier if I could write down ideas as I rode the motorcycle.

Most days I probably have at least one good idea about a topic to write about or an insight to something I’m already writing about as I commute to and from work. The problem is that by the time I get to a place that I could write them down I have forgotten completely what these brilliant ideas (or so they seemed at the time) were.

Of course lately I’ve also had trouble finding time to write since the priority right now is getting my house fit to live in. This means even more time spent on the motorcycle going back and forth.

I need  a headset and a record function on my phone or something!

Until that happens I expect that I’ll be posting a little less than I would like.

First Motorcycle in My Garage, My friend was super happy to have it be his bike.

First Motorcycle in My Garage, My friend was super happy to have it be his bike.

 

 

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

My Rules for Lane Sharing

Any discussion about Filtering, Lane Splitting, Lane Sharing, or whatever you call it will certainly divide a room. People definitely have an opinion about it, and I do sometimes get sick of talking about it with non motorcyclists. With my commute beintg much more intense these past few months I’ve been doing a lot more of it, and while doing so I’ve come up with my own rules for Lane Sharing. These are my personal rules, ones that I follow because I think the are a good compromise between progress and safety. By no means am I suggesting that this how it has to be done. (Just that it is the best way since I do it)

  1. Don’t lane split when cars are still going ~45 mph or faster. Really it’s way more dangerous and won’t get you home that much faster.
  2. Try and keep your speed differential between you and the cars to less than 25 mph. At 25 mph things are moving about as fast as you can reasonably react to them. Many people (including the CHP) say slower but anything less than 15 mph is really quite slow.
  3. Don’t speed. If the speed limit is 55, than that’s the fastest you should be going while taking advantage of our awesomeness. And like I said above it really makes things so much worse the faster you are going if things do go pear shaped.
  4. I also really try to not start lane splitting until the cars are stacked up so they are right next to each other in lanes, making it much less likely that they will change lanes. If there is a gap, there is a good chance someone is going to try and fit their car into it.
  5. Use your highbeam (full beam) to let people know you are coming, don’t rev your engine. I’ve had better luck with people seeing me coming with my high beam, plus your much less obnoxious if you just make your self more visible than assaulting everyone’s ears. Plus your headlight shines forward toward where you want people to notice you and your exhaust points backward to people you’ve already passed.
  6. Treat the space between the cars as it’s own “lane”. Which means look for other motorcyclists before entering it, and watch for those who might be riding faster than you and move over and let them pass.

Those are the most important ones, I might think of more later. Feel free and critique or add your own in the comments.

Not the most fun way to get home.

Not the most fun way to get home.

Posted in Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Motorcycles: Because They Make Me Happy

I wrote just a few weeks ago about having one of those moments on a motorcycle. Not one of the “oh my god I’m going to die” moments that we have sometimes when some inattentive driver is trying to kill you, but one of those “this riding a motorcycle thing is the best thing ever” moments.

It’s those moments that are why I ride. Moments of pure joy and happiness. It’s moments like those that make you glad to be alive. There are several things in my life that give me this feeling, the first is my wife, which is good since we do spend a lot of time together. It seems that at least once a day she does or says something that just makes me feel good about life. Which makes me fall back into love with her again, pretty awesome after nearly 13 years of marriage.  My Family and good Friends do this too, it is why I spend time with them. Motorcycles do this as well. Yesterday I was getting ready to leave my parents house and I was walking up to the motorcycle and just looking at the bike brought out good feelings and memories. There are so many times that I have been riding that I’ve just felt happy to be alive. In the moment and glad to be there.

I believe people should do things that make them happy, and that is why I ride motorcycles.

This was all the motorcycle had to do to remind me of many good times together.

This was all the motorcycle had to do to remind me of many good times together.

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

Keeping Me Away From the Keyboard (But not the Motorcycle)

Life.

It’s been getting in the way of my writing. I suspected this might happen once we bought a house but I did not expect it to happen quite this soon.

Luckily for you and me there are motorcycles involved so it’s relevant to this blog!

First a little background. Our new home was built in 1940 was still using a fuse box and only had 30amps coming into it from the power lines. We needed to fix this and redoing most of the electrical is a top priority. So we hired a professional to do the first part which was putting a new box in and getting 200amps to the house. This involved me riding up to the house and letting people in, and then going up again to let inspectors in etc. Every day I did this meant riding 100+ miles, often coming home in heavy traffic. All this riding takes a bit of time, time that I usually use for writing.

Wednesday was when it got especially insane. BART went out of service stranding my Wife in San Francisco with no easy way to get back to our current residence in the East Bay. Luckily for her I was in San Bruno at our new home, and we had already moved some of her motorcycle gear to the new house. Solution: Husband and motorcycle to the rescue! I met her with her gear and we suffered through horrible rush hour traffic home to Fremont.

We made it safely, and I think the trip has reinforced with my Wife the idea that I do need another motorcycle, one more comfortable for passengers!

So this week, not so good for writing, but there was a lot of riding! I’m looking forward to getting some more words down as I find the time. Including updates on anything and everything in my life that involves motorcycles.

The FrankenMonster is not comfy, and unsuited for passengers for more than 15 minutes.

The FrankenMonster is not comfy, and unsuited for passengers for more than 15 minutes.

Posted in Motocycling, Life | Tagged , | 1 Comment

MotoCynic’s Home Base

*I hope I’m not jinxing myself by starting this before I have the title in hand*

Months of looking and finally after sorting through hundreds of house, going to dozens of open houses, and making over a half dozen offers the emotional roller coaster is over.

I am the proud owner of a Garage! I’m supper excited about this, and look forward to all the things that having a garage means.

  • Even more space to put tools I don’t need.
  • More space to lose those tools when it turns out you actually need them.
  • Space for Xmas decoration storage
  • Storage for things I no longer need

Once all that’s done I hope to have enough space to fit some motorcycles and maybe if I’m lucky enough room to do some chain maintenance.

The FrankenMonster waits quietly outside waiting to come inside.

The FrankenMonster waits quietly outside waiting to come inside.

Seriously though, I have a solemn promise from my Wife that the garage is not to be used as storage and that it will be used to store motorcycles and whatever else I think needs to be in it. Which works for her, since her motorcycle will get to be inside out of the rain along with mine. In addition, if my friend is lucky his motorcycle will be joining in on the fun.

Besides potentionally storing three motorcycles I’ve been thinking hard about how to use my 220 square feet.

Looks rather small here, but then again it is a bit small.

Looks rather small here, but then again it is a bit small.

The Garbage Cans are going to be outside once I build a ramp.

The Garbage Cans are going to be outside once I build a ramp.

My first problem is that if you see how little width I have in the garage you can understand why I was thinking so hard about a lazy susan for my motorcycle. It’s damn hard to turn it around, and not that fun to back down the driveway either. (which I’ve now done a few times)

The very next thing I’m doing is investing in some motorcycle Dolly’s since I need to be able to get the bikes that won’t be in daily use out of the way as much as possible.

For now though I’m still in the planning stage, a kitchen and bathroom remodel are more important to finish in a timely manner since we really can’t live there while these are not working =) And Currently the garage has everything from the storage unit in it since we did not want to pay for that another week.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress, here are a few more pictures to give as complete of a view of my new space as possible.

IMG_4185 IMG_4178 Garage04

http://www.revzilla.com/best-motorcycle-garage-guide

Posted in Garage, Life, Motorcycles | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

My Favorite Tires

I’ve put over 80,000 miles on my Ducati Monster 620 (er 695?) and there is no way to do that with out going through a few sets of tires. The mechanic I was going to when I first started riding immediately figured out that I was putting lots of miles on my bike and that I needed something with a longer life than your typical sport tire.

He put some Continental Sport Touring Tires on and those did ok, as a new rider the grip was fine since I wasn’t pushing much, and the longevity was better at 5 to 6k miles but still not enough since that was only a few months of riding. My mechanic at the time then suggested some Metzler sportec M3 which did even better getting me up to about 7500 miles (12,000Km). This is what I used until I eventually retired the Monster.

The BMW come with some Pirelli something or others, I had a few issues with them to start and eventually they broke loose when I was riding a bit stupid just after a heavy rain. I high-sided off the BMW and that was it for me and Pirelli (I don’t blame the tire for the crash, but I did not like them). By this time I had read a bit more about tires and decided some good dual compound sport touring tires are what I needed so I had some Michelin tires Pilot Roads put on. I fell in love with these and went through 2 and half pairs before the BMW decided we were done with eachother and tried to kill me.

When I came back to the FrankenMonster I was a sport touring tire convert and while the Michelins had not done me wrong I decided to try some bridgestones since at the time they were cheaper for a pair and I was scrounging money to get back on the bike after my accident.

I’ve been pretty happy with the BT 023’s and never really had any issue with them. However lately I’ve decided to try something new. I used to have problems with my rear sliding, but lately I’ve only had that problem in extremely wet or in the gravely bits. Now I’m having problems with the front holding. Also mainly in weird conditions, but I’ve found that I really like having near absolute faith in my front tire since if that slides big there is no saving it.

Bridgestone recently came out with a new sport touring tire the T30, I’ve got that on right now and so far so good. It’s lasted a while but is nearing the end. I’m probably going to replace it with another T30, but go with something sportier in the front for maximum grip.

As far as I can tell you get what you pay for and both Michelin and Bridgestone are big names in motorcycle tires. I’m pretty happy with both of their Sport Touring options.

 

http://www.bridgestone.com/products/motorcycle_tires/products/battlax/t30.html

Posted in Gear | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

What I did This Weekend

I have a garage!

I have a garage!

The Lovely Wife and I closed the deal on this cute home, that has a garage! I’ll be sharing more about my adventures of getting it set up as I want etc., but for now I just wanted to share the good news with all my amazing blog followers!

Posted in Garage, Life, Motorcycles | Tagged , | 1 Comment