Sunday, March 22, 2015

Inspiration from a Townie

Sonja posted up photos of her Quest for Spring, but it was her Townie bicycle that inspired me to take my Electra Deluxe Relic 3i out for a bicycle ride today. Thanks Sonja!

I love the older style bikes and follow Rat Rod Bikes with admiration for the work these fabricators do and share.

So I thought I'd strip off the modern reflectors, forgo the helmet and go get some photos of my ride with the idea of making a modern bike look old timey. It helps to have an old timey university nearby.

I love this bike, it reminds me of the bike my dad had and how he would take us for rides on as kids.

A simpler time.... a simpler time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rider Skills Practice

Spring is just around the corner and many of you may be anxious to get out on your bike, if you haven't already....

So, is your bike ready?

You've tested the levers and controls, checked that the headlight, the brake light, signals and horn are all functioning properly. You made sure to replace and top up the fluids. You adjusted and oiled the chain, checked the tires and set the pressure. All systems go!

Now, are you ready?

Edmonton Journal photo
Duh, of course! You just spent most of the winter online shopping for new gear, waiting for the snow to melt to try out the new duds.

Okay, but are YOU ready?

How are your skills? Remember, it's been a cold, dark winter. Many of us haven't ridden for several months and those of us who've managed to sneak in a ride or two, our rides have been short and probably less than stellar. I know my rides have been tense, as I shrug and hunker down to keep the cold air out.

Spring is the perfect time to sign up for a Rider Skills Practice (RSP) course. These courses are great for dusting out the cobwebs of your mind, polishing up on those skills and restoring that muscle memory we've neglected all winter.

I sign up and take a rider clinic every year, whether it's a RSP class or an ART course (cornering and braking clinic) to hone my skills as a professional motorcyclist and instructor.

Rider Skill Practice

Rider Skill Practice

I highly recommend every motorcyclist to do the same, if not every year, at the very least every other year. 

Advance Rider Training

Advance Rider Training

In the classroom of our Basic Rider and Intermediate Rider Training courses, we ask students for their expectations of the course, and most reply with a less than enthusiastic "to get my endorsement". It is my job to surpass that expectation and have the students finish the course with so much more than "just their endorsement", but a life long skill set or foundation to build upon.

 A foundation to build upon.

BASIC Rider Training 

So practice the skills you've learned today, then come back next year and take the Rider Skills Practice. You have your endorsement so there isn't the pressure of taking a test or failing.... whew!

This is about you and building on that foundation, but in a safe environment and the familiarity of your own bike, with the benefit of professional coaching to make you a better, safer, more proficient rider.

So before going out and tearing up the streets this Spring, sign up now for a motorcycle safety course.

And special thanks to Princess Scooterpie for inquiring about the RSP and inspiring this post.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Name of the Game

I've decided to change my blog title again... as in life, the only thing constant is change.

I started my blog as Troubadour on a Triumph, Brandy gave me the name 'Troubadour' as they would travel afar to tell stories of their adventures and sing song, I added 'on a Triumph' because I fell in love with Triumph motorcycles the moment I test rode and purchased my Triumph Sprint ST. Since then I've owned my Triumph Bonneville America, Brandy bought her Triumph Bonneville and there's my current Triumph Tiger. The last name change was to Troubadour on a Tiger, thinking I would always own a Triumph Tiger, no worries, I'm not selling Lucy.

However, a recent move by Triumph toward our smaller local shops has me questioning my loyalty. It seems that Triumph wants to market themselves much like another certain brand, with larger, brightly lit, sterile, boutique showrooms where they inventory more bikes, T-shirts and Motor Clothes Triumph gear.


Rod at Cycle Parts Triumph received the same notice as Hansen's, as did many other small shops across the country.

This is unfortunate and I'm sure a hard pill to swallow for these mom and pop shops. Rumor has it that Ducati may soon do the same.

I can appreciate the worldwide marketing plan behind "The Brand" and their non-conformist, uniform clothing line (although I am against leather); but Triumph has always been to me the other hundred year old motorcycle company. Triumph was everything that "The Brand" wasn't, every Triumph shop I've visited has been small, family run, service and repair type shop where you could sit on the bikes and talk to the owner about the weather, never feeling obligated to discuss finance rates, payment terms or fill out paperwork. I was never blinded by bright lights reflecting off acres of chrome, and either escorted through the showroom by a sales representative hovering over me from the moment I walk through the door or just blatantly ignored.

Will I buy another Triumph? Probably not, I'm disappointed in Triumph, they filled a niche and I hope they realize their mistake of money and profit over customer service and loyalty.  I'll frequent and support Cycle Parts, wishing them, Hansen's and other small shops well in their new venture.

A fork in the road

With Triumph going in one direction, I'm taking this opportunity to go the other.
My interests have changed and so will my blog. 

Love for the range

I still enjoy motorcycling and I love teaching new riders, I'll continue to write of our travels, adventures and rides; but I've always used my blog as a journal and limiting myself to motorcycle content, I feel it has limited my posts lately.

Poor, unsuspecting souls. Tomorrow is Traffic Interaction.

I'm no longer focusing on street riding, because well, that's a whole other rant altogether. 

I'm pursuing more solitary activities such as dual sport rides, hikes, mountain bike rides, off-roading in the Subaru and even reading.... gasp! I really like what Trobairitz has done with her blog, so I've changed the title of my blog to Troubadour's Treks and I'll be leaning more toward hiking and biking.

So if you don't mind reading about dirt, mud, forest hikes and mountain bikes, I hope you will please follow along.

- Troubadour

Monday, January 19, 2015

Belated New Year 2015

Now that we're nearly 3 weeks into the New Year, I can look back on 2014. My blog posts reveal a measly 8 posts which evidently relates to the measly mileage on the Tiger. I normally record and post my annual mileage, but for some reason I failed to do so last year. So much for New Year resolutions, maybe I made a record of it on Fuelly...  yep!

  56807 miles at the end of 2014
- 50325 miles at the end of 2013
    6482 miles traveled in 2014

Wow! Only 6482 miles ridden last year. So how does that compare to previous years?

Miles in 2011 = 10538
Miles in 2012 = 8653
Miles in 2013 = 7098
Miles in 2014 = 6482

That puts my 2015 mileage trend/goal at 5130 miles. This of course doesn't include miles that I put on the XT250 and the TW200, or the Team Oregon training bikes, my lift truck at work, the 26+ miles on my mountain bike or the many miles of trails logged in my hiking boots.

Speaking of logged, in anticipation of Spring, we went out scouting out some local BLM roads to ride when the weather dries out. It got us out and plotting potential hikes, camping spots, mountain bike trails and I enjoyed a bit of "Subaruing" while my trusty navigator read maps and told me where to go.

We made mental notes of landmarks and turns so we're not always stopping on the bikes and dismounting to consult the maps at every turn and intersection. I've been mapping a couple of routes from Corvallis to Cape Perpetua so off we went.

We didn't anticipate the debris on the road from the previous night's windstorm so we had to stop a couple of times to clear the road.

Unfortunately, one branch I ran over kicked back and dented the driver's door.

Posting so I remember 6 months from now where the dent came from.

We didn't get a photo of the log we both got out to move, but it took the two of us to move it. I think I may need to put together a kit containing gloves, a tow strap, and maybe a pocket chainsaw.

However, even with a decent kit we still wouldn't have made it through this bad boy.

We're going to need a BIG chainsaw for this one!

Brandy did find a way around, had we been on our bikes.

"Log blocked" only 4 miles from our destination, forcing us to back track 15 miles.  

We turned around, headed back to the main road and managed to find Yachats River Covered Bridge for a photo before driving over to Yachats and Highway 101.

Then it was north to Newport for a Starbucks Chai Tea and try to make it home before dark.

Happy New Year everyone!

~ The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 21st Winter Solstice 2014

Happy Solstice, Season's Greetings and Merry Christmas

Ring Out Solstice Bells ~ Jethro Tull

"Please accept, with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.
May you also experience a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but  with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country, or is indeed the only “America” in the Western Hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or choice of computer platform of the wishee.
(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)" 
~ Author unknown