I’m Still Riding: Just Not Writing

I don’t know where the time has gone, but it has been nearly a month since I’ve posted a blog.

Too long. I’ve been doing lots of other things and maybe I’ll post up about them if you want, but this a blog about motorcycles so I’m going focus on that and share how that has been going.

On the motorcycle related front there has been forward movement on my new Aerostitch and I hope to get an post on that up when I finally get it. As far as riding the motorcycle I’ve mainly been racking up the miles commuting to and from work, but not doing anything really exciting on the bike except the occasional long way home.

The only riding I’ve done besides commuting was a nice ride on my birthday last week. I grabbed my brother and rode out to Pescadero and back. I wanted to do something longer, but I wasn’t feeling that great in the morning so decided to cut it a bit short. We instead rode Tunitas Creek Road for the first time. Which is somewhat funny since it’s so close to me. For a long time I wasn’t sure where that road went, and most of time time when I pass it I’m already headed somewhere else. Recently I looked at it on a map and found out where it lead and decided that someday I would ride it. Well that day came and it was fun. It’s only one lane and despite the decent pavement it’s not something you’re ever going to go that fast on. It’s very pretty, and I’m bummed I forgot to stop and take some pictures. Not that I was doing much of that.

Truth is that if we didn’t stop to get some artichoke bread in Pescadero I probably wouldn’t have anything to show for the day except for good memories and narrower chicken stripes.

Pescadero in July, Love the California Coast.

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Time for a New Roadcrafter

I got my aerostich early 2008, since then I’ve ridden easily over 100,000 miles in it. I have other gear, I almost never wear it. The Roadcrafter is just too easy to wear and is generally more comfortable than other options. Which means I wear it on average five times a week. Which means I’ve worn it for over 2,000 rides (or twice that if you count going to and from work).

It’s weathered a couple of minor incidents with the pavement with no complaint, and when I really needed it in 2010 it did it’s job, keeping my skin intact and leaving me with only impact injuries.

The miles have taken their toll though. The only good thing is that I look like I’ve ridden tons of miles since the suit is nicely faded. The red ballistics are now pinkish and orange. However, it’s showing it’s age in some less cool ways. The stitching in some areas is beginning to come out and the fabric is worn in many high use areas. I’ve had to replace the zipper pulls on the main zipper two or three times, and the leg zipper at least once. They just wear out with daily use. The snap on the cuff of the right leg finally gave up a month ago.

Snap is done, and it’s definitely looking a bit ratty.

I’ve been talking about getting a new suit for ages, and as silly as it might sound the snap breaking was something of the last straw.

A new suit would be nice for many reasons. It will fit better for one, I’ve lost about 20lbs or so since I got the first one and I ordered it with hip pads which needed extra room to make fit. Those hip pads though were super annoying though, so I haven’t used them in years, without them in the suit is very baggy. A new suit would also be more waterproof, not only have they improved the design, the Gore-Tex and waterproofing have simply aged to the point that it just doesn’t shed water like it used to.

With all that being said, I have decided to actually get a new Roadcrafter Suit. I bit the bullet and ordered a new Aerostich R3. I went for a more durable and classic look with black on black. Not the most visible but what can I say I’m a slave to fashion.

Ordering a custom suit is a bit of a process, once I’m all done and get the new suit I’ll post pictures of it and talk about how it went.

The scuff mark from my crash in January.

The stitching is going and the fabric is wearing out.



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Tire Life on the Hyperstrada

I March I put new tires on the Hyperstrada. I chose to go with the Bridgestone BT-023’s that I’ve use in the past on the Monster.

I hope the life that I got out of them isn’t going to be the new normal for the Hyperstrada, because just over 6,000 miles isn’t going to cut it. I got close to 10,000 miles from these tires (different size) on the FrankenMonster, so getting only about 60% of the life was disappointing.

It’s down to the wear-bars already!  Those Chicken Strips are huge too…

I’ve been thinking as to why I got such poor mileage and I can think of only a few reasons.

The first is that I’m now riding a motorcycle that puts about 100 hp down through that rear tire. That’s about a 50% increase in horsepower compared to the FrankenMonster. I can imagine that eating up my rear, though I was hoping the harder compound was going to handle it a bit better.  I might be able to mitigate this if I take it easier on my acceleration. This however is much easier said than done. Accelerating hard on a motorcycle is one of life’s purest joys, I’m not sure I’ll be able to give this up. Though the pain of replacing a rear tire every three or four months might change my mind.

The second thing that might have hurt tire life is that I wasn’t as good a checking my tire pressure as I should have been. I don’t know how much this might have hurt tire life. The pressure never got that low, but I’m going to definitely try to be better on the next set of tires to see if it helps.

Besides those couple of things I can’t think of anything else. If you have tips on getting better life out of your motorcycle tires I’d appreciate hearing them.

I guess we’ll see how long the new rear lasts.

I was out last weekend, getting the last bit of life out of those tires.

Posted in Ducati, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, Motorcycles | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Ride to Work Day

Ride to Work Day is next Monday.

For some of us it’s also tomorrow, next Tuesday and every other day.  Last year I made the effort to do something special and took the long way to work. It was also the Summer Solstice so I made sure I was somewhere I could watch the sunrise.

Skyline is a good place to watch the Sunrise.

This year I plan to do something similar, it won’t be the Solstice, but watching the sunrise somewhere scenic isn’t a bad plan.

I would suggest that you all, make the effort to ride to work next Monday and if it’s something you already do, go the extra mile to makes it something special. The memories are worth it.



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How to Kill a Cell Phone

I’m constantly wrecking my nice things in an effort to hopefully save my readers from doing the same. A few months ago it was my new motorcycle, this time it’s my cell phone.

While it really isn’t news that water will kill most electronics, especially cell phones, it is unexpected when said cellphone is in what should be a waterproof case.  Admittedly a waterproof case that had already lived a hard year, and I knew was leaking just a little…

Apparently the little was enough, as my phone died on me halfway through my workday.

The lesson? Obviously is to make sure that if you are using a RAM mount or any other mount for your cellphone is to make sure you have it in a working waterproof case.

For the record, I’ve been using Lifeproof cases for my phones. I’m very prone to dropping my phone and it keeps it safe though after about a year the corners are shredded and it’s time for a new case.

I just need to replace it before it leaks and means I need a new phone as well as a new case.

Live and learn… Hopefully I’ve saved you a painful lesson as well.

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What I Did on Memorial Day

Memorial Day, a day to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice our troops have made for this country, or go to a family BBQ.

Typically I work, I’m not one of those lucky people who have the day off. This past Monday though I did take the day off. However there was no BBQ for me. I was on the road, heading north to rescue the FrankenMonster and her new owner who had a little adventure in some gravel that ended with a broken collarbone.

My brother and I left earlyish on Monday to go get him and check out the Monster. I wasn’t looking forward to what was going to be a long day. 325 miles up, get the bike and then another 325 miles home. Luckily Highway 101 north isn’t ugly, and there was not much traffic as we made our way to Arcata. We got to catch up, my brother and I hang out a fair amount but it was a really good drive up with him, hearing about all the little things going on in his world.

Even with our small bladders we made good time, and arrived in Arcata around 1 PM. We collected our poor bruised and battered friend and then went to see how the FrankenMonster handled her “crash”.

Getting the bike from the tow company was another reason I had to go. Due to a paperwork snafu the registration is still in my name, meaning they would only release it to me. The only hard part of this was dealing with the highway robbery of what it cost to tow the bike 10 miles. The tow business is good business I guess.

The Monster was looking good as I walked up to her, no puddle of oil underneath her, and all the controls looked good. After checking that she had oil in her I tried to start her up. She roared to life like nothing had happened. Her fast idle cable did take a little fiddling to settle down, but after a short experimental ride I declared her good and we got on our way.

As much as I wanted to just head straight home we first had to go to the Campground where my friend was supposed to be staying and gather his stuff. This was a relatively quick trip. Twelve miles up the road and we packed him up as quickly as we could. I did another check of the Monster and declared her good enough to get home. We decided to meet in Fortuna which was about 45 minutes away, for lunch/caffeine and a final check on how I was doing before racing home as fast as possible.

It was when leaving Fortuna that I experienced a feeling I’ve never had before. I didn’t want to ride. It was four in the afternoon and I had more than 250 miles to cover until I got home, and it was daunting. There is no easy or fun way to do that many miles before it was dark. With as little moaning about it as I could to my wife I got on the bike and got going.

It didn’t take long for me to decide that I was going to be traveling faster than I would normally. I am not one for speeding in a straight line, but the math really suggested that I should maybe push things. I was just hoping that all the good karma I had buy rescuing my friend would hold and I could get home with a license intact.

I’ll save you the suspense and say that I got home by 8:10 PM, managing only to stop once to get gas and use the bathroom. Now lest you think that was slow, a good section of that is on two lane roads, and I had to go through San Francisco.

Most of the trip was a blur. Sadly I had just driven the road up, so the scenery was already a bit stale. I had also just ridden the road home from the spring trip so the novelty was definitely gone. There were some sections that I got lucky on with no traffic and I could enjoy being on a motorcycle.

The biggest joy of the ride was just being reunited with the FrankenMonster. I’m lucky to have gotten to sell her to a friend. We meshed almost immediately, and after a little while it was all back, just me and the Monster against the world.

I rode past this Vista point on the way home from the Spring Ride. I took the time to stop and get a photo with the FrankenMonster.



Misc. Notes

  • Left Fortuna at 3:50PM
  • Got home 8:10 PM
  • Four hours 20 minutes, 263 miles
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How I Rode 100,000 Miles on a Ducati Monster

Looking back it’s crazy. 100k on a naked motorcycle? Who does that and how?

The who in this case is easy, I did it.

The how is maybe a bit more complicated. It breaks down into two parts, how I managed to put that many miles on what isn’t an ideal machine for distance, and how/where those miles got ridden.

Of course many motorcyclists know that the biggest secret to riding a lot, is loving to ride and being able to put up with a little discomfort. The other part of riding a lot is making that discomfort stay little. Which makes the real star of all my miles ridden the Sergeant Seat, which I got shortly after the first time I rode a long trip on the stock seat.  The one other thing is the handle bar risers, getting the riding position just a little more upright. Between those two and I was fine on the bike all day long. The rest as they say is history.

So 105,000 miles, where did they all come from?

This is the current Dash, taken on Monday. The original dash died at 38k. Together that’s a lot of miles.

I’ll start with some basic math. Minus the 2 years lost to riding the BMW means I rode the FrankenMonster eight years, which means about 13,000 miles a year. Most of those miles were commuting to work, and while that sounds pretty boring, we all know that riding a motorcycle is never boring. My commute is also pretty good. Highway 280 is known as the most beautiful freeway in the world. I’m not sure about that, but it is really nice for a freeway. The scenic nature of the Freeway does make my commute more tolerable. For most of the eight years on the Monster it was a 54 mile round trip. Which would be more than 13k a year if I rode to work everyday. Luckily I do have five weeks of vacation of year and sometimes I was weak and I would drive to work (especially if I was sick or it was pouring rain).

While commuting was most of the miles, I also did a lot of touring on the bike. Some just a couple of days, while others were longer. I rode to Portland three times, down to LA at least three or four times, plus several other long trips to nowhere and back just as long as there were good roads between here and there.

So while commuting was the bread and butter of my miles, the rest of them where going places and seeing amazing things. I’ve seen more of California in the last 10 years than I would have thought possible.

The bike held up pretty well mechanically, we did have an issue with the stator, and then the TPS sensor dying on me.  I did replace the engine when the clutch started slipping at about 75,000 miles. Mainly because I wanted longer service intervals and some more grunt. That ended too soon when my chain master link came apart and cracked the case. That’s when it really became the Franken Monster.

Now though it’s moved on. It’s with a new rider who loves it nearly as much as I did. He’s already put another 5,000 miles on it and has hopes of doing even more



Posted in Ducati, Ducati Monster 620, ducati monster 695, FrankenMonster 695, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , , | 6 Comments