Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oops, there goes another....

We've been checking out small beginner bikes all summer, starting Trobairitz on a Honda Nighthawk 250 then taking a big jump to a Ninja 650R. We considered starting off on something in between but there just isn't a whole lot available in the 500cc range of bikes. When I started riding in the 1980s, a 750cc bike was a big bike and there were plenty of 500cc bikes to be had, but not so much today. In fact when I opened the front cover of this month's Rider magazine I learned of one less 500 in the world.

Here is the 2010 Buell Blast

I am disappointed because I am all for introducing new riders to the sport and there aren't many choices for beginner bikes available. What bothers me more is that Eric Buell's decision to discontinue the Blast and turn his back on his future customer base, may end the Rider's Edge® New Rider Program.
Will they now train on Harley Davidson 883 Sportsters?

We can only hope that other manufacturers see this as an opportunity to fill a void in the new rider, small bike category and create a new line up of 400cc to 500cc bikes.

Come on Kawasaki bring back the KZ440

or the KZ550

Here's your chance Honda, that CB450 was a nice bike.

Suzuki even had a great bike, I used to have a GS550 like this one and sold it to a new rider.

Isn't about time the big bike era fades into memory? At least share the limelight with smaller entry level bikes, or there won't be any new riders to graduate up to the big behemoths.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Branch out ride

In the past couple of years I've met quite a few area riders thanks to a local Pacific Northwest forum. The administrators have divided the forum into regions and invited active forum users to become moderators. I am a moderator for the Corvallis and Albany area, although our coffee club of riders is pretty mellow and don't require much moderating, except when riders from other regions come in and stir the pot. I get to watch the thread either fade away or on rare occasion monitor posts to make sure they don't get too heated.

I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to meet a Portland moderator when I returned a banner we used for the Independence Western Days Ride-In bike show. She mentioned to me her idea of a branch out ride. She would invite riders from Portland, Salem, Eugene and Roseburg to meet in Corvallis and ride to the coast. This would be an opportunity for the moderators and other members from different regions of the forum to meet and ride together. She asked if I would attend, posted the idea with a meet up place and time, mapped out a route and we ran with it. Although the ride was posted with 2 weeks short notice, we couldn't have predicted the weather that far in advance. Yesterday was the prequel to the heat wave we are suffering this week and pushed 96º in the valley. We had 14 bikes show up from as far north as Portland and as far south as Grass Pants, 3 hours away. This added to the 150+ mile ride already planned up Mary's Peak, over to the coast and back inland. To allow enough time for riders to descend on Corvallis, the official group ride didn't start until 1:00, which had everyone eager to ride for a cooler clime. We left and headed up to Mary's Peak hoping an altitude change would cool us off, unfortunately we weren't so lucky.

Everyone huddled in the shade of the restrooms to beat the heat but that wasn't enough so we headed down the hill and over to Waldport.

Being the only cruiser and the only one riding two up, we rode sweep so we didn't get very many pictures so the rest I'll borrow from the other riders who posted on the forum.

Gas stop in Waldport

Another rider bid farewell and headed south for home while the rest of us rode North to Newport.

The weather in Waldport and Newport was beautiful, the sun was shining and the temperature was in mid to high 60ºs. However, between the two points was almost too cold. Seal Rock always seems to be cold and foggy and although I know of a road that bypasses the coast I thought the leather clad riders may appreciate the coastal breeze. Those of us in mesh gear couldn't wait to make the 16 mile journey north to Newport for Starbuck's coffee. Yes, I was drinking a hot coffee not more than an hour after complaining it was to hot in the valley.

A few more riders dropped out and headed for the long journey home while the remaining group headed back inland via tourist traveled Highway 20 to Eddyville. We turned onto Highway 180 to take an alternate route to Blodgett where we stopped for water and drinks. We all decided to part ways as some riders still had a two to three hour ride ahead of them to get home.

It was an honor to play host for the afternoon, meet other moderators and forum members and I look forward to an invite to play in their neighborhood sometime. Let's just wait for this 102º+ heat wave to subside.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy, busy, busy...

It's been a while since my last post, but Trobairitz and I have been busy. We sold her little Nighthawk 250 the Friday of Independence Day weekend, it was too small for what we wanted to do. A great little bike for around town but anything over 50 mph and it would buzz and shake, not very good for inspiring confidence.

We attended the Independence Western Days Ride-In that Sunday (previous post). Tuesday we found another bike she liked and ran up to Vancouver after work to "take a look" at it. If you are driving over one hundred miles after work to look at a bike you best be prepared to ride it and I was and I did....all the way home.

The next day, Wednesday was Bike Night so we went headed downtown to meet the gang for pizza. Another great turnout, several of the riders went for a ride while the rest of us stuck around to BS.

The two of us went out Thursday night to get used to the new bike. This is her 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R, a great little beginner bike that she won't out grow yet big enough that I can use to chase the guys to the coast and as a winter commuter. It looks like a sportbike but it's pretty docile under 5000 rpms where she'll be riding it but will get up and go when needed.

Saturday came up on us pretty quickly and we headed South to Eugene for the 40th anniversary of the Oregon Country Fair. This is not your typical country fair, this is of course, Eugene. There were sights to be seen and sights that shouldn't have been seen, but we had a great time and plan to go again next year. Great entertainment, fantastic vendors and wonderful food choices. Utilikilt was on hand to take my money in exchange for my next kilt.

Irondad from Musings of an Intrepid Commuter stopped by my work last week, good to finally meet the man behind the blog. Great guy and just as nice in person as he is in his blogs.

This Saturday took us to Gresham for the Portland Highland Games, not nearly as well organized as the Country Fair nor as much fun but we got to listen to some pipe bands, saw Rebecca Lomnicky from Corvallis perform and thumbed through the vendor's trinkets, treasures and trash.

The Triumph St. Pipe Band

Rebecca Lomnicky and friends

and the New Westminster Police Pipe Band

and finally back to Corvallis Saturday night to DaVinci Days so we could see Ladysmith Black Mambazo

It's been a busy month and it's only the 19th, there are two rides set up for both Saturday and Sunday next weekend, how much more can I cram in the next twelve days? I am glad that I managed to get a nap in today, maybe August will be slower.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Western Days Ride In

A friend and a member of a forum I frequent put together a motorcycle show for part of Western Days celebration in Independence Oregon. Six weeks ago he had asked me and a couple others from bike night to help him put this together. We helped where we could while still letting him head this event and in my opinion, with little time to plan, advertise and secure sponsors, did a fantastic job.

Here are some photos from today's event.

I think we had close to 50 bikes register, and close to another 30 show up just to hang out.

Sportbikes and scooters were out numbered by cruisers but what they lack in numbers they make up in spirit.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!!!

Just 72 hours ago I was wishing family and friends a Happy Canada Day, today I am wishing family and friends a Happy Independence Day so my long weekend is extra special.

I am fortunate and grateful to be so welcomed by American family and friends.

Thank you.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Mother Ship

In response and a thanks to Irondad's blog, his apprehension of the great glass building is warranted. Had he come a little closer he truly would have been caught.
This is the view from my desk from within the Mother ship.

Although my office isn't up against the window, but just down the hall I can keep a pretty close eye on the fleet of Fighters parked outside.

Dan is crafty, circling the parking lot does make it difficult to lock the death ray on target. We will meet one day my day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day !!!

Wishing family and friends a Happy Canada Day!!!