Sunday, March 22, 2009

First ride of Spring

I posted a group ride on a local forum to meet at the coffee shop for the first day of Spring ride. All week I refer to several weather sites and closely watch the predictions of a warm, sunny weekend change to showers with possibility of a thunderstorm and hail.
But, if you don't ride in the rain in Oregon, you don't ride and I set off anyway.

I don't know if the weather frightened off other riders, maybe because it was the first day of Spring break for students or the honey-do projects and Spring cleaning chores beckoned but only one other rider showed up. Well, two showed up but Rick's Connie is leaking oil and he is waiting for a seal he ordered to show up, but he was nice enough to come see the two of us off. Thanks Rick.

Doug is a great guy and rides an '06 Yamaha R1, which can be somewhat intimidating seeing that 'angry wasp' fairing in my mirrors.

(stock photo, not Doug)

Until you see him one hand his bike through the turns as if on a leisurely ride...and it was. The pace was a little faster with only the two of us than it is with six or eight bikes but it was a nice change. Doug wasn't into a focused ride and stayed back, never crowding and allowing me to enjoy the ride.

I was able to look around and check out the scenery, bask in the sunshine and take note of the Spring blooms. The cherry trees were cherrying, the daffodils were daffodilling and the pussy willows were pussying.

We rode out to the coast for lunch in Waldport, up to Newport and back inland. It was a warm sunny day, no rain and yup, the ocean is still there.

Traffic was light, it was a good ride and sometimes you just have to go with your instincts and ride anyway.

- à tout à l’heure


Friday, March 20, 2009

My favorite day of the year...


Today is the first day of Spring, get out and ride!!!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Come h3ll or high water...

After two days of rain, I wonder what I will encounter tomorrow on my morning commute. This past week I have ridden to work in unusually cold temperatures for this time of year of 26º to 28º. This unfortunately limits me to Speedway 34 for my commute as my tree lined country backroad is much too frosty to use when the temps drop that low.

I appreciate the rain as it brings warmer temps but it too can restrict my route of travel due to high water.

I have braved the high water on one occasion and rode my bike through very slowly and cautiously. The water had just crested the shoulders of the road and was not very deep. However, I have been forced to turn around before when I could not see the road for the water and didn't dare risk the current, mud and unknown debris.

The last major flooding we had was 2006 when the Willamette River crested it's banks and flooded the major route in and out of downtown.

We were living in Lebanon that year and commuting to Corvallis, it took us 3 hours to get to work that morning. I think that was the year it rained right through til June.

Yes, it rains in Oregon, but come h3ll or high water, I'll still ride.


Thursday, March 5, 2009


I am somewhat of a do it yourself guy, I've remodeled the bathroom and kitchen of our house. I've replaced windows and doors, built decks and pergolas, pretty much a home DIYer. It gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I did it myself and I save a lot of money in labour costs.

With the economy the way it is, we are becoming more of a do it yourself society rather than paying someone else to do it. Landscapers are being let go, anyone can "mow d' lawne" (French for 'cut the grass'). We don't need Starbucks, we'll make our own mocha-latte-frappa-whooies and as motorcyclists we get to pump our own gas. Oregon and New Jersey are non self service states, except for motorcycles and I believe diesel.

I have realized that I have been somewhat lacking in the DIY of vehicle maintenance. I used to do a lot of my own vehicle work like hanging upside down under the dash installing stereos. I've busted knuckles dropping a transmission to replace a clutch in my first truck and I've replaced the spider gears in the rear end of my mom's car after learning how not to do a burnout. I used to replace starters, alternators and radiators myself, but I was young and broke, now I pay someone to do it, I've done my time.

I still change my own oil and filters, clean and lube the chain and I have installed all the accessories on my bike from heated grips, lighting and horn to saddlebags and removing baffles. But for some reason I procrastinate when it comes to downtime with my bike, not that I don't know or am not willing to learn how to tackle a carburetor rebuild or valve adjustment. I just can't be without my bike for more than a day. I'm afraid that I'll get it apart and something will come up and I won't find the time to get it back together for a week or two.

I dragged my feet through the cold months because of the possibility of one sunny day midweek that I could ride. I think there was a two week stretch in December that I couldn't ride but the garage was too cold and a kitchen remodel was a priority on my honey-do list. If I get the honey-do list cleared through the winter that means more time to ride in the summer.

Now Spring is around the corner, I've been riding all winter and I need to address a few things on my bike. I could pay someone to do it, but I somewhat miss doing it myself. One item on the list is to replace my front tire, I have a new tire in my garage and I could pay the local shop $20 bucks to swap it out and speed balance it, but I want to do it myself. It'll cost me more for the spoons, rim protectors and to build a jig and bead breaker but then I'll have everything when I replace the rear tire, except for the big compressor to set the bead. One of the guys at bike night last night discussed setting the bead using gasoline, now this sounds like a recipe for disaster. "Oh it's easy" he says, "it inflates to about 50 psi and then immediately deflates".

I think I'll use the ratchet strap method, and if that fails I'll take it to the local tire shop and use their compressor. But wait, the bike shop is closer and since I'm there anyway, maybe I'll have them balance it too. So much for do it yourself.

Meh, what's 20 bucks?