Thanksgiving: Being Thankful for Every Day I can Ride

I’m always thankful for the stuff everyone is. Family, Friends, a nice place to live, etc. I really do appreciate those things. I know that everyday is a gift, but everyday that I can ride is even better.

Making 30mph look as fast as possible.

Some nice falls colors.

Looking forward to doing that riding thing soon. Hope you had a good Holiday.

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Leaves: The Danger of Riding in the Fall

People worry about riding in the wet, but if I had to choose between that and a heavily leaf strewn street I’d take the wet.

I generally love Autumn. It’s cooler yes, but the colors and smells of the season are great. It’s too bad those leaves end up on the streets where I might have to ride over them. Riding over leaves is bad because they are slippery, really slippery.


I’ve been caught out by leaves in a couple of different ways over the years. Most commonly when leaving my parents house and going to push the bike upright off the kickstand, and having my foot slide on leaves. The worst time however was when leaving work and going down an alley that is lined with trees. I was going maybe 15-20 MPH and when adjusting my lane position when coming to a stop sign I ended up low siding. weather this was because of locking up the front, or because my admittedly aggressive swerve I’m not sure, I just know that I was on my ass pretty damn fast and quite surprised by the fact.

So, when you see a pile of leaves, maybe you should remember that diving head long into them is something best left for those on foot.

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Gear Area 2.0: Making Progress on the Garage

Shortly after posting about my gear area, I moved a lot of stuff around in my garage and replaced the shelves along the uphill side, which was the side my gear area was located on.
Doing all this meant taking down all the old shelves and moving the entrance to the crawl space under my house.

Since I had to take it all down anyways to get my fancy storage shelves in I took the chance to redo my gear area somewhat, and this is what I have now.

Gear Area 2.0 Gear Area 2.0 2

Compared to what I had, I’m pretty happy with it so far, I still need an area/shelf for my boots, but it works pretty good, and it now has room enough for all of my wife’s gear to fit.

I do want to do more, and move all the camping stuff to shelves that it fits better on. The garage needs a lot of organizing, something that will keep me busy in the cold wet days that are in my future I’m sure.

One thing that I’m super happy about is that the motorcycle dolly in combination with the new shelves allow me to put the wife’s bike over here out of the way. Now all I need is one for my friends bike and I’ll be all set.

Hiding under junk already... The wife's bike is safely out of the way.

Hiding under junk already… The wife’s bike is safely out of the way.

Oh and lights in the garage… I need lights. It’s dark in there.

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New Rider: You Must Be Getting Better

We don’t ride together every morning any more. Mainly because I have to get to work so much earlier than he does that it’s hard for him to get out of the house on time, which in his defense is before six in the morning.

However, we did ride together on Monday a week ago, and it was great. It did rain on us though, and it was his first time riding in the rain. Luckily it was all in a straight line and for just a few minutes. Later when we talked about it he was not very concerned about it, saying that it wasn’t raining that hard.

I realized later that week that I forgot he was behind me a couple of times, which I felt bad about, but does show that I’m not obsessively worrying about how he is doing. This is a good thing, and it is because he’s got enough miles under his wheels that I feel he’s no longer the biggest danger to himself. He moves along pretty good, and it’s pretty awesome. I think it’s close to 6,000 miles he’s traveled already. He’s going to be needing to service that bike before he knows it.

Good times together.

Good times together.

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To Ride or Not to Ride: Figuring out the Weather

Riding a motorcycle makes you an amateur weather forecaster.

In the months from October to May I check the weather at least twice a day, once before leaving for work and once before heading home. Often this is just to double check how warm or cold it is outside to make my final layering choices, but once it starts raining it becomes a bigger deal. I am somewhat a fair weather rider. I will ride in the rain, but I prefer to play it safe when it really starts coming down.

My rational for weather to ride or not is this: If I can get to work reasonably dry and have a nice ride home I’ll risk going to work in a little rain. However working in wet anything sucks so if it looks like rain all day or a crappy ride home I’m driving. This often means I do get caught in heavier rain than is fun to ride in, but it also means I rarely get stuck in a car on a nice sunny afternoon.

When there is rain in the forecast I have a very specific way of checking the weather before I decide if I’m riding or not.

It starts the day before. Almost every evening I check the weather and look at the hourly forecast and see what it looks like for my morning commute.  I never make my decision then, but I know what to look for the next morning.

Every morning part of my morning routine is checking my email etc. Of course if I hear rain on the roof I know my chances of riding to work are low. For most of my weather checking on the computer I use I’m not endorsing them, I have a love hate relationship with, however I find them to be pretty accurate and I know the site. I would suggest using whichever site you find the most accurate.

I spend a decent amount of time every year looking at this site.

I spend a decent amount of time every year looking at this site.

I typically use the hourly forecast to decide if I’m going to be able to get to and from work dry. However if it is currently raining, or supposed to be raining soon I use the radar.

Where exactly the rain is right now.

Where exactly the rain is right now.

This helps me figure out where exactly the rain is. Figuring out if it will pass soon or if I’m doomed to drive etc.

Of course all this electronic stuff still does not show you everything as I’ve discovered. The radar does not show fog or heavy mist. For some things you still have look outside and see.

Last but not least is a good weather app for your phone so you can do all these things while on the go, or just when you are too lazy to get up from the couch. In this regard I actually do have a strongish opinion. I’ve tried several and so far I really like the Yahoo weather app.

Weather App2

Radar just a bit smaller.

Weather App1

Everything you need.

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Cold? I’m Weak and I Know It

There are so many things I love about the Fall, the Holidays, the changing of the leaves (even here in NorCal) and the shortening days. It is a time of year that I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid. This all comes with a downside, I’ve talked about this a lot, and every fall it surprises me and literally sucks the air out of my lungs. It get’s cold, and the magic number is 50 F.

So this week was the week, it dropped below 50 and I was really glad for the extra layer and thicker gloves.

Which is kind of funny when you think about it. All I do when it get’s cold it put on a long sleeve shirt and wear my warmer gloves. Of course it does make a difference. Just keeping those fingers a bit warmer for a little longer can make all the difference.

I have no idea how I’ll survive once it goes below 40…

This is how I felt after that ride in to work.

This is how I felt after that ride in to work.

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Like a Pheonix: The Birth of the FrankenMonster

My monster has had a long and crazy history. As would any motorcycle with nearly 90,000 miles on it.  It was born out of the disaster that was my “new” ducati 695 engine (that I journeyed to LA in one crazy day to get) and the luck that is the awesome Ducati community.

It was one year ago, that I first rode out of Nichols sportbike in Milpitas, on what I later dubbed the FrankenMonster.

Why call it the FrankenMonster?
Three different engines have contributed to it’s heart. My original 620 engine, the internals and covers from the short lived 695 engine, and the amazingly donated cases from yet another Monster. Even if that wasn’t enough to be FrankenMonster, it has wheels from two different bikes, a dash from yet another Monster, front brakes from an 800 Monster, and countless other minor parts that are no where near original. In fact if I was pressed to name the original parts, the only thing I can swear are original unmodified parts are frame, and swingarm… that’s it.

I still love the bike and it’s been a great year together. Just the other day when I picked it up from the shop my mechanic commented on what a blast the engine was. He’s right, it really is tons of fun.

I didn’t think of it at the time, but the FrankenMonster name is also very appropriate to the day she was brought out into the cold harsh world, it was one year ago today.

On Halloween.


The FrankenMonster had 42,000 miles on the odometer when we put the hybrid engine in.

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