Tuesday, March 29, 2011

She's back...

I got the release from Eddy last week to pick up my bike, he had the racks finished and was sending them out to be powder coated on Monday. We took our time at coffee on Saturday so I knew we weren't going to make it up there at a decent time and decided to go South to Eugene for the day instead. I was looking for trailer wiring for the car so I could rent a trailer in case the weather was unfavorable Sunday and didn't want to ride. Erik wanted to take his bike up to Eddy to see if he could fabricate racks for the Scrambler.

Erik and his bike 'Hilts'

I thought I would trailer his bike up and both our bikes back but the closest wiring harness was in Klamath Falls, 214 miles away and I'm sure UHaul won't release a trailer without the car being wired. Oh well, Sunday was supposed to be the better day for weather so we headed north to pick her up. After running a few errands in Portland and picking up a few things we headed to Eddy's and waited for Erik to arrive.

The racks looked fantastic even sans powder coating. I can only imagine how well they'll look black.

They are designed to lock and unlock on the same mount as my hard bags. I can switch from hard bags to soft bags in under a minute with a turn of a key and two clips per bag.

Eddy does nice work and met the challenge.

I have room on the left side to make an ABS pipe tool tube or two (Wee-Strom style), which I'll mount to the rack itself for quick removal.

No lane splitting for us.

Sure looks nice and I'm happy to have the Tiger back.

Not that the Gladius isn't a great commuter, but it doesn't have the fairing and windscreen the Tiger has to protect me from the rain and wet, grimy road spray.

I did however notice when I hopped on her in Eddy's driveway how hefty she is, after riding the nimble 650 for a couple of weeks the Tiger is a tall bike. It took me a couple of miles to adjust and get familiar again but when we did I was singing in the rain... all the way home.

Somehow I don't think Erik was enjoying the rain as much.


Sunday, March 27, 2011


Yeah, we all learn it in motorcycle training but I have no idea what S-I-P-D-E stands for. Scan, something, something, something and Execute, I think. It doesn't matter to me that I don't remember what it stands for or that I had to Google it just to find the acronym.

The motorcycle SIPDE strategy consist of following 5 basic steps:

Step 1: Scan – Constantly be scanning ahead for hazards.

Step 2: Identify – Identify potential hazards quickly.

Step 3: Predict - Predict what may happen with the potential hazard.

Step 4: Decide – Decide your best course of action to avoid hazard.

Step 5: Execute – Execute your plan to avoid hazard.

What matters is that it instinctively came to me when I needed it Saturday afternoon.

I was driving South to Eugene yesterday to shop for a few things and visit Rod's shop. The weather was indecisive so we took the car and drove the leisurely route down Bellfountain Road to avoid traffic and enjoy the drive. The local riders all know the route and the long straight stretch and hill approaching Airport Road intersection. As we climbed the hill a white Toyota Corolla came Northbound over the crest of the hill and started crowding the yellow line. It was enough to raise concern but we have all seen it before and I hit my high beams, which normally causes the driver to correct. Normally. Then when that didn't work and my horn proved ineffective I didn't even have to think about it. I never even considered the brakes, I somehow kept my foot into it while keeping both right wheels on the shoulder and out of the ditch while the oncoming car just cleared my left rear quarter panel, hit the ditch and down to the next culvert, mailboxes and street sign. I swear they were going to clip us and put us into the ditch or put our car into a spin. Neither of us slowed down, Trobairitz and I watched the accident unfold in the rear view mirrors.

I got the car turned around and before I could ask Trob to call 911 she mentions that it's time to put our training to use. The elderly woman driving the car was already getting out of the car by the time I got to her and what I thought was talking to another person. Fortunately she was the sole occupant but a little disoriented and had no idea what had just happened. I asked her to sit down and kept her calm by talking to her and answering her questions while trying to keep her still.

She was alright, the airbags had deployed and broke her glasses but when I explained that the airbags went off she asked why would her chest only be sore on one side.

Oh shit, better send an ambulance, thankfully it wasn't a heart attack. Her car hit the culvert and bounced out and took out the sign. We never saw her brake lights.

Once off the phone and assistance dispatched, Trobairitz came over and talked to her to set her at ease while waiting for the ambulance. I thought I'd better get some photos for the police and insurance company before the home owner came down his driveway and started cleaning up. He was so concerned about getting his mail and cleaning up the gravel until the Philomath police officer arrived and told him to stop. I got our car moved off the road and made room for the ambulance, firetruck and two Sheriff's cars. Wow, must have have been a slow day for them. They took our statement and sent us on our way, but only after a fireman told me I looked cold and asked if I wanted a blanket. I was simply in a little bit of shock so I declined and said having a car come at you head on just scared the shit out of me.

The deputy that took our statement told us he will require her to take the DMV test. We walked back to the car and we were on our way. I had to stop a couple miles down the road and check the quarter panel for white paint. Had I braked instead of accelerated it would have been a lot worse. Motorcyclists do make better drivers.

We did make it down to Eugene and to Rod's shop to check out the new Triumph Tiger 800.

It is much nicer in person than it looks in the magazines.

I didn't have my gear with me to test ride it, I'll wait for a sunny, dry day... if I can wait that long.

- Addendum:
Courtesy of Corvallis Gazette Times
Saturday, March 26

INJURY ACCIDENT: 1:17 p.m., Bellfountain Road and Shamrock Lane, Philomath. Harriet Shivers, 78, of Newport, struck a row of mailboxes and a street sign while driving her 2004 Toyota Corolla before coming to a stop on the west side of Bellfountain Road. She does not recall her speed at the time of the crash. She had chest pains from the force of the deployed air bag, and was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring

Finally, we make that transition from Winter rains to Spring rains. It is a different rain, cleaner, crisper, fresh... warm rain. Who am I kidding, it's still rain. The real difference is the sunny breaks between showers, during the Winter rains the skies stay gray and monotone where we get periods of blue sky and teasers of sunshine with Spring rain.
The roads are still wet, but dry much quicker now. The chance of snow has passed, at least on the valley floor, which means the street sweepers will start winning the battle of keeping the roads clean of gravel and debris.
Riders will be pulling the battery chargers off their bikes and out from under cover, checking the tires and eager to burn off that old fall gas and fuel stabilizer. Be careful out there, if you haven't been riding all winter you're going to be a little rusty with your skills until you get back into the rhythm.

I am installing heated grips on Trobairitz' Gladius this morning as the warmer days of summer are still three months away. The weather this morning is indecisive so it's a good day to tear the bike apart for a little wiring job. It shouldn't take me long unless I run into some sort of distraction.

We drove to coffee yesterday morning as we didn't want to ride two up on the Gladius and I wasn't too keen about riding on the back. A friend and fellow rider just got back from New Zealand, he was in Wellington helping to restore motorcycles for the museum. He said he passed the Triumph dealer everyday to and from his work and thought of me. They were out of shop T-shirts but he was kind enough to pick up a key-fob for me. I thought that was very kind and thoughtful of him, thank you David.

I better get out to the garage and get on those grip heaters so I have time to give her bike the hand wash that BobSkoot so kindly mentioned in her blog comments. Thanks Bob, I though we were pals.

Happy Spring Equinox and keep the shiny side up.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

These Eyes...

These eyes cry every night for you.

It has only been overnight but she isn't home, she isn't here with me. It is all my fault, it was my own doing, I pushed her out the door. The hardest part is knowing she is with another man. What did I do? What was I thinking?

We spent the morning together, had a bath, went to coffee and we were playing, laughing and having such a great time. We went to Portland and talked all the way up, enjoying the sunshine and scenery.

But then I tricked her, she didn't know it was coming; I feel like such a heel, she didn't deserve this. I'm sure she just thought I was visiting a friend, but then I got in the car and drove away without her...

I knew she'd be okay but I also know she was scared, I couldn't look back to see her crying or show her my not so brave face.

Although she's with another man, I know she's safe and this will be better for her. She has a friend and she'll be warm and protected for the next week couple of weeks while she gets a new rack. Not that was anything wrong with the rack she had, this new rack will be much bigger.

She is at a friend's house who created SBKomponents and builds rack for sportbikes. Eddy's is the Honda CBR 1000RR, the friend she is staying with.

I bought a set of soft bags for offroad adventure riding and I didn't want to use the stock panniers in case she wanted to nap along the way. I also didn't want the bags to swing loosely and get caught in the wheel or chain and sprocket. SBKomponents is going to make a set of racks that will utilize the mounts from the hardbags to accommodate the softbags. I will be able to switch back and forth between the two with the simple turn of a key. It will be something new and a challenge for Eddy as it is different from the other stationary racks he has built for other bikes. I am excited to see the finished product as Eddy is meticulous in his work and uses stainless steel fasteners and powdercoats all of the hardware.

I have seen two of the three bikes on his website (the R1 photos are two different bikes) and Rick just had a set made for his ZZR.

So I'll be without her for two weeks, but if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

Yeah, I am the Troubadour.