Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Perfection is Boring

I miss my Harley. I miss my old Ducati. I miss the Yamaha XS 750 triple that I rode in high school. I miss all of the dirt bikes I owned. If you couldn’t tell, there’s a theme here. Every motorcycle builds its own character as you ride it. They all have their own idiosyncrasies that you get used to. They tend to have their own feel.
Two motorcycles that are the same make, model, and year can feel totally different. Maybe one owner lives on a dirt road, while the other lives in a city, which could totally change the wear on the suspension. One owner may have aftermarket exhaust or suspension. Over the course of time each bike will become unique.
It’s that unique feel that makes a motorcycle belong to you. That is its character. The character is what I miss the most of all my past bikes. The thing that made them unique. This is why I tell riders to not fret over every scratch or ding on their bike. These types of things tell its story. Perfection is boring.
“Perfection itself is imperfection.” - Vladimir Horowitz

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

My Drinking Team has a Motorcycle Problem

It seems that everytime I get together with my old friends, two things happen. One is that we drink beer. The other is that we talk motorcycles. It seems inevitable.
Last weekend, one of my friends was having a birthday party for his daughter . While our wives, kids, and other guests were inside eating cake, opening presents, and doing all the rest of the standard birthday party stuff, a bunch of us snuck outside and cracked a few cold ones. After that, it didn’t take long and motorcycles were the topic of discussion.
This time the subject was trials bikes. We complained about how expensive and unavailable they are (the used ones). Then we started scheming on ways to travel south, where there are many more trials motorcycles available, to buy a bunch to resell at home. By this time, the amount of beer that was drank was driving the schemes more than anything else!
It’s definitely a little crazy that I can go months without hanging out with these guys and when I do, we end up doing the same thing, drinking beer and talking motorcycles. I think I wouldn’t want it any other way. “
Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.” - Kinky Friedman

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Embrace the Suck

October is usually the last month of riding season here in the upper Midwest. About once a decade we’ll have a snow free November, but I’m not counting on that happening. Before we know it, motorcyclists will be longing for Spring.

Recently, I’ve been dabbling in jiu jitsu. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it dabbling. It’s more like fumbling my way through it about once a week. As a fairly large guy, I wasn’t really used to being thrown around and getting twisted like a pretzel, but I am now. It’s pretty humbling to have a much smaller person submit you over and over and knowing that they are actually taking it easy on you!

A jiu jitsu coach that I follow on Instagram and YouTube was asked a question about going through rough patches of training. His response was to “embrace the suck.” In other words realize that the bad things make the good things so much sweeter.

I think we motorcyclists should take this approach with Winter. Embrace it! Know that the wait to ride will make it so much more awesome when it actually happens. Also, make the knowledge of how much Winter sucks force you to enjoy these last rides you have right now.

“You go with it, man. You embrace the suck. You’re gonna have the peaks and you’re gonna have the valleys. You can only have the peaks because the valleys exist. You can only have the sweet because the sour exists. So, even though you don’t like it, it’s just a part of it and, honestly, down the road you’ll be glad you went through it” - Nick “Chewy” Albin

Here’s the jiu jitsu coach’s social media I was discussing. Check him out if you are at all interested in jiu jitsu.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Father and Son Trail Ride

I did exactly what I set out to do in my last blog post. Last Saturday, I loaded my son’s XR 70R into my pickup and drove to my dad’s lake property for some riding. It was an awesome time and we are definitely going to have to do it again.

My initial plan was to ride the trail that I rode hundreds of times as a kid that leads to a local dam and fish ladder. My plan was derailed as we got about halfway there. A huge storm washed out a portion of the trail this summer. If I had a larger bike, was by myself, or felt like getting wet, I would have chanced crossing this washout, but I wasn’t about to do it with my son. So, instead we rode on some of the side trails that broke away from the main one.

These trails weren’t without obstacles either. Some small trees had fallen across in some spots, but we were able to ride over them fairly easily. Then we had to drop into a ravine on a steep decline. Loose rocks and sticks littered the trail and it was pretty difficult to maintain control, but we rode it out without incident. Then, we had to ride over a large berm. As I reached the peak, I unexpectedly wheelied. I was still in control, but it was a bit of a surprise. My son shrieked! Then, after the front wheel returned to the ground he shouted, “This is the greatest time of my life!” I decided that was our cue to head back to the truck. Our ride couldn’t get much better than that.

Like I said before, it was a pretty awesome experience. I hope we get to have some more rides before winter.

“I don't think quantity time is as special as quality time with your family.” - Reba McEntire

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fall Fun for All Ages

The first day of Autumn is very near. I was about to write about the fact that Autumn is probably my favorite season until I looked back at my blog posts in the past. For three years straight I posted a blog about my love for the season and how I need to get some extra riding time before Winter.
While these posts weren’t exactly the same, they were similar enough. After reading these, I guess I was reassured that the fall is my favorite time of year. However, I don’t want to repeat these past posts, so I’ll try to put a little different spin on this one.
If I think back to when I was 11 or 12, all I had was a dirt bike. This time in my life is where I think I got my love of riding in the fall. I can remember riding through the woods seeing all of the Autumn colors and smelling the cool crisp air. The great thing about back then was that time didn’t seem to go by so quickly. The Autumn season didn’t seem short at all.
In that spirit, I think I’m going to try to spend some extra time riding trails with my kids. I just bought a truck (I know I said I was going to wait a while to get a new vehicle, but I found a good deal), so I can hall their dirt bike to trails that they’ve never been on. This, hopefully, will make a memorable season for me and them.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” - Albert Camus

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Cyber Apocalypse

It’s here! BMW Motorrad has created a motorcycle that rides itself. Oh, you don’t believe me? Check this video out. All I have to say is, leave it to BMW to bring on the start of the cyber apocalypse! Cue the terminator music.

All kidding aside, while this is awesome and has huge implications for rider safety, seeing a riderless bike is kinda creepy. I doubt many of you have seen them, but a long time ago some freestyle moto guys would make videos “ghost riding” an old street bike. This meant jumping off of a moving motorcycle and letting it coast by itself. This looks a lot like that, without the crash at the end. It just has an eerie feel.

Even with the creepy factor, the engineers at BMW deserve tons of credit for advancing this technology. This has some serious implications for the future of motorcycles. I’ve stated before that an uptick in safety regulations could derail the industry, but advancements like this could definitely help us continue to ride far into the future.

“Listen and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead.” - Kyle Reese in The Terminator

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Self Inflicted Wet Ass

Earlier this year I mentioned that, even though I made myself ride to work everyday, I had not needed to use my rain gear. Fast forward to this week. I sold my car over the Labor Day weekend, so I am literally forced to use my motorcycle for the commute. It has rained every morning since then. Let’s just say that I’m sick of using my rain gear!

On top of this, my gear, especially the pants, is starting to lose its waterproofing. My bike tends to shoot a giant rooster tail of water behind it on wet roads and doesn’t have the largest of rear fenders, so I’ve arrived at work with a wet ass. This is the fourth year of using this rain gear and I use it fairly often, so I think I got my money’s worth.

I know I shouldn’t be bitching, since I put myself in this situation. The only reason I am is because it’s been multiple days in a row that I’ve had a wet butt and I’m growing tired of it. I just needed a bit of a venting session. With that being said, I think I’m going to delay buying a new car so I can continue this forced riding situation. 😉

“Self-inflicted pain has a calming effect; it clears the head, diminishes one's fascination with the ego, and most important, gives one the sense of having taken some real action against the everyday foolishness of the body and of the vagrant, willful, heedless imagination.” - Valerie Martin