Friday, May 30, 2008

Santa Maria Overnight Ride

Tomorrow my buddy Brian and I are doing an overnight to Santa Maria and back, to enjoy some of the roads up and down that way.

We're coming from the Riverside area, which is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. We'll take the freeway until we get past Los Angeles, and from there get on the back roads.

The good riding basically starts in Santa Paula. Then follow the route you see below, towards Santa Barbara, stop in at Cold Springs Tavern, and then up to Santa Maria.

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The next day head east on Highway 166 (this is where James Dean was killed), and out east to a tiny mountain road called, "Cerro Noroeste", which is what I think is one of the best riding in Southern California.

Take a stop in Pine Mountain Club for a break, and then continue down Lockwood Valley Rd, to Highway 33, another great road for riding.

Take another break at The Deer Lodge, and wind our back down into Santa Paula.

I've done this ride a couple of times before.

If you like to ride the mountains and canyons, give this route a serious look.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When Gas Hits $10.00 a Gallon

ride to live, live to rideSo will you still go out for joy rides on your motorcycle when gas hits $10.00 per gallon?

Right now, at $4.00-$4.20 a gallon, here in Southern California, it's costing me about $15.00 to $20.00 to fill up my Electra Glide, depending on how empty it is. If it goes to $10.00 a gallon, I may be spending $50.00 to fill up.

I just don't think I can go joy riding spending $50.00 at every 180-200 miles, and doing that 5-10 times per month. I could certainly run errands on my bike, since that would be cheaper than driving. I could certainly take my wife out to dinner on the bike, since that too would be cheaper than driving.

But spending that much money for no other reason than to combust fuel in a fun and exciting way, begins to be ridiculous.

I suppose playing golf is more expensive.

I suppose gambling at the casino is more expensive.

But then again, people who do that stuff have money to burn.

I was talking about this with some guys in our riding club, and we reasoned that we'd just go on shorter rides, or spend more time at the destinations. We joked that we could always start a Vespa club, and hang out at coffee shops.

I'm seriously thinking of buying a scooter for the wife, at least.

I've looked at them, and the thing that strikes me right now, is that none of the scooters are designed to carry a lot of stuff. You've got a compartment underneath the seat, not much room for anything else.

If gas does indeed hit $10.00 a gallon, the scooter that can carry the most stuff, is the one that people will buy.

And if gasoline does hit $10.00 a gallon, I'm going to buy stock in the company that makes bungee cords.

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Riding A Motorcycle Too Fast Into A Corner

Here's an interesting question...
what to do when going into a curve to fast on a motorcycle
I found this in my website statistics. Someone searched Google for these words, and apparently, it lead them to this blog.

Lean it hard.

I'm assuming that you're already into the curve, and you realize you're going too fast for what you're accustomed to handling.

In this case, you might crash in one of two ways, by going out of your lane and into the side, or opposing lane, or, you can lean the bike over too hard and create a "pivot point", causing you to lose traction with the rear tire. There's actually a third way to crash, which I'll discuss below.

But if you think about those two, you'll realize that the latter, leaning the bike hard, is the least likely to cause a crash. The former, which is not turning enough and going out of your lane, is more likely to cause a crash. Therefore, take your chances by leaning the bike as hard as you can, and hope the rear tire won't lose traction.

By leaning the bike hard, you're going to hear your bike scrape the road. All bikes can scrape the road without losing tire traction. However scraping too hard will eventually create a "pivot point", which is when the rear tire lose traction with the road. But still, every bike has a range of lean angle where you can safely scrape the road without creating a pivot point.

You should ALWAYS prepare yourself to hear the scraping sound so that you won't be startled by it. Too often someone will hear the scrape and become so startled by it, that they straighten up the bike and ride into the path of oncoming traffic, or the side of the road.

If you're going to lean the bike hard, you may feel your feet being squeezed up against the engine, due to the ground pushing the pegs or floorboards upwards. In that case move your feet off of them, or else you'll end up creating a pivot point too early.

Using the rear brake is something you can use, if you use it lightly. If you're going really hot into a curve, I wouldn't use it at all. Your chances are still better by just leaning it hard.

Downshifting can also slow you down, but it's very dangerous in the middle of a lean. When you downshift, your bike will lunge forward, causing the weight to come off of the rear tire, and thereby losing traction with the road.

Downshifting, and using the rear brakes are things you can do if you can do them before you enter the curve. Most people usually are already into the lean by the time they realize they've bitten off more than they can chew.

The third way to crash when riding too hot into a curve, is when the bike wobbles out of control. All motorcycles have a point at which they wobble when riding hard into a turn. Harleys tend to wobble at slower speeds than most motorcycles. So, if you lean a bike hard into a turn, it could wobble uncontrollably, and throw you off like a bucking bronco.

But, you're still better off taking your chances with a hard lean, prepare yourself to hear the scrape, don't let that scrape startle you, and hope the tire holds.

Even if you do go down, you're better off going down in a hard lean (low side), than by going down any other way.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Cold Weather Motorcycle Riding

borrego springs highway s22 motorcycleAfter last weekend, with 100+ degree temperatures, this Memorial Day weekend was cold, and raining in some areas.

Three of us went riding last Thursday, and got rained on. It wasn't raining when I left home, and as long as it's not raining at my house, I'm good to go. But as we left the staging area, rain started to fall. So we high-tailed it to an irish pub in Fallbrook for chow, and then it really started pouring. We waited it out for awhile, and just when it stopped falling, we took off.

And no sooner than we took off, it started raining again.

Saturday, a few of us went riding. We headed out to Borrego Springs, a tiny town in the Colorado Desert area of Southern California. The main attraction is a road called, "S22", otherwise called, "Montezuma Valley Rd", which winds its way down a mountain into the desert floor. It's very twisty, but mostly with sweeping curves, and it snakes its way down like a sidewinder. It's an absolute joy to ride (if you're into that kind of motorcycle geekdom).

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Here's some photos of that ride...

We liked it enough that after having lunch in Borrego Springs, we headed back up the S22, and then we rode it back down again.

While Borrego Springs was warm and sunny, it was cold and soupy out towards the coast. We had to ride back that way, but stopped at the Stone Brewery for some free beer. Can't beat that.

And then today, Memorial Day, there was another three of us that took a ride to Carlsbad, for some eats at the Harbor Fish Cafe, a cool little outdoor cafe by the beach. I tried to get some other people to ride, but nothing doing. One guy in our riding club said he couldn't go because he was having a BBQ at his place (I guess he must be having trouble calling me, because I didn't know about the BBQ until I called him this morning).

Again, it was cold and crapping when we left this morning, but we got out to the coast, it was warm and sunny. There were plenty of near-naked chicks laying out on the beach.

The moral of the story is that when it's supposed to rain, and when it looks like it's going to rain, there's a 2 out of 3 chance that it won't. You just get on your bike and find some nice weather.

Technical Note: I moved this blog to Blogger's server. I had previously had it on my server, and had Blogger upload the files and images via FTP. But these days, it seems Blogger's support for "FTP blogs" is sorely lacking, and was having trouble getting new articles and comments posted in a timely manner.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wind Chill Motorcycle Myth

Wind Chill Motorcycle MythThis past weekend, Southern California had its first taste of triple-digit temperatures, reaching 101 degrees in Temecula on Sunday, and 110 degrees in the Coachella Valley.

There's this myth that when it gets really hot outside, it's good to get on a motorcycle and let the wind cool you down. Wrong.

Wind chill only works when the air temperature is about 73 degrees F or less, and that's based on riding a motorcycle at 60mph, and based on the newer wind chill formula. Once you hit 74 degrees F, at the same speed, the wind no longer feels cool.

Using the same formula, and the same 60mph scenario, a 100 degree air temperature results in a "wind warming" of 111 degrees.

As your body moves through the air it comes in contact with more air molecules, and when those air molecules are warm, they heat up your body as you hit more and more of them in lesser time, resulting in a dehydrated body.

Riding in triple digit temps is actually stupid.

But my brain has never had much effect on my heart's desire.

Days like these are when a windshield becomes your best riding partner. Drink a bottle of water at each stop, and keep a bottle of water in your saddlebag.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tired of Poker Runs

"I'm tired of poker runs". That sentiment seemed to play out as a theme this last weekend.

If you've read this blog for awhile, you'll know that I pretty much stopped going to them, along with bike shows, rallies, benefit rides, and such. You've seen one, you've seen them all. For me, paying $25-$50 to ride some roads that I've already paid for with my tax dollars, doesn't thrill me. However, there's still one children's charity event that I'll keep going to, which I'll tell you about someday.

Well on Saturday, some friends and I rode to Swallows Inn, a popular biker hangout in San Juan Capistrano for their annual chili-cook off. It's a sanctioned chili-cook off, and if you're like me, you love chili. There, I ran into a guy who's a VP in another riding club. I asked him why he wasn't at the poker run over at Biggs Harley-Davidson. He said that he didn't like poker runs anymore. He said they're all the same. He'd rather get some of his friends together, and just ride some roads, or find someplace new to go to. I didn't realize that he had been thinking like me.

Then on Sunday, I rode down to Lake Sutherland, just outside of Ramona, CA, to join another club on their annual picnic. I ran into a guy there whom I had ridden with a couple of times before. In addition to this club, he's a member of another one as well, but hasn't ridden with them in a long time. I asked why. He said that all they do are poker runs and benefit rides, and don't really go riding for the sake of riding.

He further explained himself with an anecdote, describing a moment of bliss, where he was riding his cruiser east along Highway 76, just before you get to the first Palomar Mtn turnoff, where the series of 30mph sweepers are. He caught up to some sportbike riders, who were riding a moderate rate of speed up to this point, and crept up behind them. Approaching the first curve, he leaned the bike all the way to one side and dragged his floorboard across the full radius of the curve.

He said he could see the sportbike riders jolt and look behind them in a "WTF?" response, as their concentration was broken from some blood-curdling screech that resembled something of a winged-dinosaur swooping down to snatch up some squid.

He chuckled as he finished his story, and I smiled and nodded my head because I understood what he was trying to tell me.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why People Ride Motorcycles

scooter crash accidentTo answer the question of why people ride motorcycles, you really have to ask why you shouldn't ride one.

Dale writes today about a subject that I tried to address before...
There's a old biker saying, to the effect that, "If you ever throw a leg over your bike, and you aren't just a little bit afraid, it's time to hang it up." That's good advice, really, because if you are riding on the street, and don't still feel the incentive to ride as if you were invisible to everyone else on the street, you'll get overconfident, and bad things will inevitably happen.

But, the opposite is also true. When you throw a leg over, and your first thought is, "I hope I get out of this alive," then you should probably stop riding, too.
I tend to agree with the last sentence.

In other words, if you're very concerned for your safety, then you shouldn't ride a motorcycle. It's inherently dangerous, and despite how skilled or cautious a rider you are, most such crashes are the fault of drivers who didn't see you.

If you can accept that, then you can free up your conscience, think more clearly, and enjoy the ride.

Perhaps you thought about buying a small motorcycle, or scooter, to save money on fuel, or because you have this altruism to reduce your carbon foot print. Well, you had better fully register this thought before skipping gleefully to your nearest scooter dealer to jump on the bandwagon.

You may end up reducing your carbon footprint to zero.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dead Man's Curves

Road sign found along Highway 49 in California, just west of Sattley...

Dead Man's Curves

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The photo found on my "About Me" page was taken along the same road.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Motorcycle Group Riding Differences

Motorcycle Group Riding DifferencesLast Sunday I couldn't find anyone who wanted to ride as it was Mother's Day, and I guess they were all busy. So, I rode south and hooked up with another riding club.

This club was relatively new. They're actually a sportbike club. But this particular chapter has an even mix of sportbikes and cruisers. I met some of them when they came up to ride with us months ago.

I hadn't tagged along with another club in a long time. I got to witness the whole group riding experience from the viewpoint of a hang-around, and see how they did everything differently from the way our club does things.

First, they spend a lot of time at the staging area, about an hour. Our club usually spends between 15 to 30 minutes.

This club was actually quite loose, similar to our club. They all seemingly knew each other well, and knew their place in the group.

Along the ride, the road captain, who was the VP of the club, often pointed at road signs to remind riders of road conditions. That's something our club rarely does.

They rode quite a bit slower than our club usually rides. I don't know if the speed they rode at is the same speed they usually ride at, or if it was just the guy who was leading them. I don't know if that guy always leads their rides or not.

They also seem to make more stops than our clubs does. The destination, which was Idyllwild, CA, was only 100 miles away. Yet they took a gas stop at only 42 miles into the ride, and then a butt break at another 35 miles after that. I couldn't figure out why they needed to make that first gas stop. Our club would probably have done the second stop however.

Because this club is a mixture of sportbikes and cruisers, the members all have varied riding styles. The sportbikes wanted to take a slightly a different route that involved more twisties, so that they could rip up some pavement and ride at a fast pace. The cruisers, however, wanted to take a more relaxed ride. Both routes would end up at the same destination. When we reached the point in the ride where the sportbikes wanted to take the alternate route, I decided to try my luck with them, but stayed in the back.

Splitting the group into two, and then having each group take different routes, is something our club hasn't done. For the most part, we all want to ride the twistiest roads, and we all seem to enjoy riding the same speeds, so we never seem to come to that. However, on any one of our group rides, someone will want to break away and crank the throttle. Blowing out the cobwebs and tearing up some asphalt is part of the enjoyment of motorcycling.

They didn't seem to pass any slower cars. When they encountered a slow-moving car in front of them, they just dropped their speed and waited it out. It's not like they had an awful lot of bikes, I'd say about 10 bikes. There were some stretches of straight road where they could have done it. But for all I know, these guys might pass up cars everytime with a smaller group.

As far as hand signals are concerned, I didn't see much aside for the usual turn signals. It's not like our club uses a lot of hand signals either. I tend to think that their club members have become quite accustomed to riding with each other, that they can anticipate what's about to happen. The same is true with ours.

Interestingly, everyone in their club wore full face helmets, even the cruiser riders. In our club most of us wear DOT half-helmets, or novelty helmets. In fact, after the second stop, once the temperature warmed up, I took off my sweater and rode with just my t-shirt. The folks in their club kept their jackets on. I certainly don't knock this at all. It's a contrast in riding philosophies.

In fact, a while back I read their club charter, which outlines all their rules and practices. Like any club, safety is an important issue, and they make safety a big part of their charter. So I think it all stems from that.

It's probably good to hook up with other clubs, and witness how they execute a group ride, just to show you things you didn't think about, or perhaps shed light on things you may be doing wrong. It's like what the Road Captain said about there being no book on group riding.

Oh, going back to where I said I rode with the sportbikes on the alternate route. Towards the end of the day, a couple of those riders gave me thumbs up for actually keeping pace with them. I was on my Ultra Classic, and I wanted to prove something to those rice burners. One of them said, "Man, you were really throwing that bagger around! I kept looking in my mirror and you were on my tail the whole way". While they were riding hot through the twisties, it wasn't like they were riding like professional racers or anything. They're just regular guys, with average skill, but with the benefit of bikes designed for speed and maneuverability. I just wanted them to know that they can't predispose a Harley rider.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learning to Ride the Hard Way

motorcycle accident sceneA popular saying among motorcycle riders is, "ride within in your abilities". Meaning, don't push yourself beyond what you're comfortable with.

That statement became a point of discussion yesterday.

Five of us were sitting down eating hamburgers at Nessie's in Bonsall, CA, after a ride around the back country. One of the guys had crashed his bike during the same ride.

I had said that you can't look at it as having damaged your bike, or having injured yourself. But rather, look at it as gaining knowledge. Besides, he needed to come up with an explanation for his wife, who he felt certain was going to give him an "I told you so". And what better explanation than to say, "Well Honey, I'm a better rider now"?

We were on a stretch of road here in SoCal known as "Mesa Grande", in northern San Diego County, and popular with motorcycler riders. The first few miles of this road is straight, with almost no traffic, encouraging people to crank the throttle. Then it takes a hard turn to the left in a 20mph switchback. Many riders have gone down here, with yesterday being the latest.

The bike got the worst of it, but it turned out to be rideable. He suffered only some scrapes and bruises. And despite the CHP, the Sheriff, and the ambulance, we pulled the bike out of the ditch, and he continued on with the ride.

One of the coincidences, is that another guy riding with us made the same statement I made on this blog last month, "There are riders who have crashed, and there are riders who will crash."

The guy who crashed responded back with, "I always wondered what it would feel like, going down." Well, he knows what it feels like to go down easy into a ditch, around 35mph, even though it was still a painful experience. Hopefully he won't experience a more worse accident.

But let's get back to the conversation at Nessie's.

He said "While I should definitely ride within my ability, how am I supposed to improve if I don't try pushing myself?"

This guy had been riding for about a year. I had ridden with him several times, mostly in the past couple of months, but I've known him for about a year. He's witnessed how most of us in our riding club ride, and used us to measure his skill level.

He's always been a cautious rider, riding slower than most people I normally ride with. I can't fault any of that. But I was in the same place he had been in, riding slowly and cautiously, until I started riding with a group. I noticed most of the riders possessed quite a bit more skill than I. I would push myself beyond the comfort level because I wanted to improve.

To answer his question, he certainly should push himself. Part of the benefit of group riding is to improve your riding skills. He simply went into the switchback faster than he was accustomed to handling, and scraped his floorboard. Hearing the sound of the scrape jarred his conscience and caused him to straighten up, and into the path of the ditch. He just needs to spend more time scraping his floorboard and getting used to the sound.

You could also argue that Mesa Grande is not the place to scrape your floorboards if you're not used to the sound. Maybe. But then again, I'd argue that roads in and of themselves are not dangerous; it's how hard or soft you ride that makes it dangerous. I think pushing himself on Mesa Grande is fine, he just pushed himself too hard than what he was prepared to handle.

One thing that some of us in our riding club have said, is that we want to spend time doing practices. That's something we didn't do in the other clubs we've been in. Brian and I actually spent some time doing this about a couple of months ago, riding up and down Wilson Valley about three times in each direction, each time practicing how we approached the curves, and each time discussing what we could do to improve.

I'm going to start doing more of those practices in this club.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Myth of Fuel Efficiency

fuel pumpLast week I reported on Biker News Online that DOT Secretary Mary Peters launched her own blog to talk about the business of adminstering the nation's thoroughfares.

Since then, I've been reading it.

While I don't respect Peters' quest to get every state to mandate helmets, I still find her writings enlightening regarding the thought processes of our country's highway planning.

Here, she talks about gasoline taxes, why they are so high, and why they can't be repealed...
The gas tax was originally intended to be a form of highway use tax. Unfortunately, due to the growing influence of special interests, gas tax revenues have increasingly been converted into a political slush fund. When the gas tax was instituted, it was only done so because more direct charging mechanisms were not administratively or technologically feasible.
In other words, gasoline taxes were meant to pay for highway maintenance, but are no longer being used for that purpose, and instead is being raided by our elected officials and lawmakers for political leverage.

The other thing is that she said the reason why taxes were instituted back then, is because at the time, they didn't have the technological know-how to charge highway users in an efficient way.

But even though we could address the technological part now, there's basically no hope in lowering or eliminating gas taxes.

It reinforced the notion that once a tax get instituted it can never be repealed.

The other thing she says is this...
The objective should be to develop an economic model that charges users the true cost of travel.
What exactly IS the true cost of travel? Well, I believe what she's implying is that some people get 80 MPG on their scooters, while others get 15 MPG in their pickup trucks. If they all travelled 100 miles, the pickup trucks would pay far more in taxes.

And that brings up another point.

If Americans as a whole gravitated towards scooters and small displacement motorcycles for their commuting, what effect will that have on local, state, and federal gasoline taxes? Will the slush fund get smaller?

As we decrease our dependence on gasoline, government will have to find another way to make up that loss in tax revenue.

In other words, there really isn't any such thing as "fuel efficiency". In the end, lawmakers will ensure that driving a gasoline powered car for 100 miles will cost us the same as driving a solar-powered one the same distance.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Coronado Trail, US191, Arizona
US191, Arizona, somewhere between Morenci and Alpine

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Joining a HOG Chapter

I guess I'm gonna have to join HOG.

According to Jake Zinsli, who writes for Royal Purple, the campus newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, HOG members get treated like royalty...
The purchase of a Harley is also the membership to an exclusive club. I know that sounds like buying friends, but some college kids are more used to that than other. When you're a H.O.G. member, (Harley Owners Group), you get all the treatments of royalty. There are no VIP members, everyone get the same benefits.
And to think that all these years, I've been getted treated like shit.

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Motorcycle Blogging & Making Money

I just wanted to tell you about a new blog I launched last month...

A month ago, I noticed that Motorcycle Bloggers International has compiled many more bloggers than when I first looked at it a couple years ago. And I know I've seen many other motorcycle bloggers not on there. Blogging about motorcycles is growing at a fast pace.

And since blogging and website publishing is my business and sole source of income, I figured there's probably an untapped demand here that I can get a foothold on. I'm guessing many moto-bloggers are interested in learning how to make some money from their blogs, or at least get some tips on how to increase their audience.

I actually looked around the motorcycle blogging community, and I didn't really see anyone providing a central location for blogging topics, ranging from building an income, building traffic, and blogging ethics. So I started it.

Much of what I've written there thus far isn't necessarily unique to the motorcycle blogging community; it can apply to any blogging niche. But I'll be using motorcycle examples, and will eventually share some tips on what I do with my motorcycle blogs that may be different than what I do with my other blogs.

I've been publishing websites professionally since 1997, and have all that experience to share with you for free on Motorcycle Blogging. If you find it helpful, I'd appreciate you returning the favor by linking to it from your blogrolls.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

The Changing Face of the Motorcycle Community

tokyo motorcycle showWas reading KT DID's post about the Laughlin River Run, that just came and went last week, and about how the crowd was a lot smaller this year than in previous years.

I've said before that I've gotten tired of rallies and runs, and just don't go to them anymore. And I didn't go to Laughlin. But I don't suspect that people are bored of rallies as I am.

In talking to other riders who went there, and some vendors that went there, police presence was really high, and they were harrassing the folks as often as they could. And there was also the heat. I understand it got pretty hot there.

But then again, Laughlin is always hot, and ever since 2002, the cops are always bothering the rally-goers. That didn't stop people last year, or the year before.

You might say it was the high price of gasoline. Maybe. But when you're riding your motorcycle, it really isn't that much more in cost. A car definitely.

I started noticing last year that crowds were thinning down at the smaller events, like poker runs, benefit rides, and bike shows. I was wondering if we had already seen the highpoint of the biker craze, and that now we're on a downward trend.

The news reports suggest that more people than ever are buying motorcycles and scooters. But that's for economic reasons; they're buying the smaller displacement bikes because they're cheaper and get higher gas mileage.

But then, maybe that's what going on.

We're seeing a different breed of biker emerging, the commuter.

The popularity of motorcycles that we saw in the early 2000s was perhaps a fad. And fads are meant to fade away. The smaller percentage of us who found something that connected with our souls have held on to discover our true niches, be it in a riding club, a motorcycle club or just hanging out at the biker bars. The rest of them may have decided to hang up their $300.00 Harley jackets in exchange for some other fashion statement.

In December of 2006, some friends and I took a ride to Long Beach, CA, to visit the International Motorcycle Show, that showcases the newest models in factory motorcycles. Not choppers, not customs, but all the "regular" bikes.

Maybe that's the kind of show that will replace the chopper shows. Instead of bikini-clad hoochies straddling $50,000 choppers, we'll be seeing more conservatively appointed models standing next to cheaper, smaller, commuter bikes.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Weekday Afternoon Motorcycle Ride

Weekday Afternoon Motorcycle RideFour of us met this afternoon for a motorcycle ride into San Clemente, for some lunch at Pizza Port.

Thursday afternoon rides have been a regular occurrence for us for the past several weeks. While traffic is still heavy during the week, there's always a sense that we're taking advantage of something unique.

For one thing, the weather always seems to be at its best between Monday and Friday. Maybe that's what we're taking advantage of.

The popular biker hangouts are not as crowded at this time. You get quicker service, and a pick of the best seating. Maybe that's what we're taking advantage of.

There's also a sense of gratitude, that we have the freedom to get away during a weekday afternoon, and not put our careers in jeopardy. Maybe it's that freedom we're taking advantage of.

Everytime I take a joy ride during the week, there's always someone out there who tells me that they're envious of me, or that they hate me for this freedom. But the fact is that I once worked "for the man", in an office building, from morning to evening, and had to commute along freeways of SoCal. I was like everyone else.

I remember an episode of "Moonlighting" where Bruce Willis said, "your job will never love you back". That statement struck me, and I kept it filed away in the back of my mind. Then during a really bad day at work, I pulled that statement out of the file cabinet, and made the connection, that no matter how I hard work, I'll never get anything more than just a paycheck, and that paycheck will never let me get ahead in life.

At the time, I was dabbling with the Internet, learning how to make websites. I decided I would make a website that folks would find useful and interesting. That was in 1997. I worked two full-time jobs, my "day job", and the other working from about 5:00pm to 2:00am, building this website, and learning how to make money from it.

My wife will attest to the many years of frustration she had with me for not spending enough time with her. For awhile, the only way I knew I was married was by the dinner she had ready for me when I returned home from the office.

But in 2003, at the age of 37, I quit that day job. I tell people that I retired at 37, because I could work at home, and be my own boss.

But the truth is that this wasn't handed to me on a silver platter. I worked my ass off to make this happen. My wife sacrificed several years of happiness to let me get to this point. And now, we can spend all kinds of time together.

I guess if I'm taking advantage of anything, it's the freedom that this country gives us. No one has to be unhappy in this country if they put their mind to it. I wasn't lucky either. And I wasn't born rich. I was just tired of waiting for something to happen.

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About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)