Monday, June 29, 2015

Pushing the Limits of Stupid

I'm still alive, we just haven't been doing very much lately, nor anything worth writing about. Since I am not chained to a desk for work, I am not on a computer for 45+ hours a week like I used to be when I started this blog. I was told asked to "be available" during my hour long lunch breaks, so I would use that time to read and write blog posts. My current job has me operating a forklift on the warehouse floor so no cell phones let alone computer access, a quick half hour lunch break, and four 10 hour work days. I love my current schedule, however with being so disconnected, my blog has suffered, my apologies.

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I have been using my time off riding my mountain bike, however I've been getting bored with the local trails close to home. Trails too close to town means too many people, too many people lead to too many dogs, and too many people with too many dogs leads to too many dog shits. Not pleasant.

So one must travel further away from town to enjoy the fresh air and tranquility. This means loading the bike onto the car and driving for a half hour or more to get to the good trails. So not only for the fun of it, but to save money and gas, Polar Bear and I load up one car and drive to the trails. This can be better for the environment, but putting both of us together in a confined space for more than a half hour has a tendency to lead to some pretty harebrained discussions and ideas.

Many of our discussions usually start off "What if.......?" or  "I've been thinking....." then before long we find ourselves asking each other "How could we........?"

I believe one of our most recent conversations lead to the very question "What if we could carry our mountain bikes on our motorcycles!?!" We could ride our motorcycles to the trails, ride our mountain bikes all day, then ride our motorcycles home!!!
Wow! To think if so much can be accomplished with one mind, can you imagine the endless possibilities when we put our two heads together? Ummmmmmm yeah, that's a rhetorical question, don't answer that.

Andy managed to get his fat bike mounted first and pulled up to the range one morning just as I was finishing up the last exercise of the day. My teaching partner says to me "Hey look! That guy has a bike on the back of his motorcycle!"

Ha, I didn't even have to look, I knew who "that guy" was and during my break I went over to take a look see. He had the bike mounted on a conventional trunk mounted bike rack, then strapped to his top box, perpendicular to his motorcycle. Pretty cool set up, but it was also pretty wide, so I started thinking out loud of other ways to mounting it.

Wait! Squirrel!!! I had to get back to class!

Photo blatantly stolen from Polar Bear

The other instructor with me that day started asking me questions about what we were doing and why. The "what" part of his question was easy to answer, I couldn't explain "why", although I think he knew. He thought it was cool and told me that he used to work in a bicycle shop so he had extra bike mounts kicking around his garage that I could use for my project. Uh oh, not that I need further encouragement, but by not having any parts readily available to me at least I was able to  procrastinate. Not anymore.

I picked up the parts that night and started mocking something up. My thought was to mount the bicycle on the rear rack, parallel or inline with my motorcycle. Using a fork mount and rail I was able to get the bike up there but it needed a much more solid base mount.

Mock up
Friday of last week I went into town to the local metal recycler looking for a piece of aluminum plate to use for a solid mount. They didn't have exactly what I wanted but I scored a couple of aluminum parking signs for cheap and fashioned a sturdy mount out of those.

I got into the project and was anxious to go for a ride, but not in the 100º heat, I had to wait for the temperature to drop that evening. I got everything bolted and strapped down then went for a ride around the block.

I think this is where fear turned to common sense telling me not to do this, but you know what? "Never let fear and common sense stand in your way" and off I went down the road for a shake down ride.

Shake down was exactly that, shaking my bike, shaking my handlebars and shaking my arms. It wasn't too bad at speed, but coming and going from a stop was disconcerting to say the least. I pulled into a deserted parking lot to attempt some professional maneuvers.

"Kids, do not try this at home. I am a professional rider on a closed course."

No, no, no. No way. Nope. Not going to happen. Forget an offset cone weave, I had a hard time completing a straight line cone weave. A swerve at any speed was sloppy at best, and a quick stop was too risky to even try. Forget it, how would I explain a crash like this to my insurance company?

I needed gas in my bike so I wobbled down to the gas station to fill up. I can say that people do see me, I had people gawking, smiling, waving and taking photos of this crazy idiot carrying a mountain bike on his motorcycle.

I topped up my tank and went to head for home. I thumbed the starter button... rrrruurrr, rrruuurrr, rruur.... dead battery! Well... on an up note, technically, I wasn't stranded... I had my bicycle with me.

I pushed the Tiger out of the way and sat for a minute to consider my options. I could ride my bicycle home in 95º heat, or I could call my ever supporting wife to come get me in the car or to boost me. Hmmm, but the battery is under the seat, which is under the bicycle mount, which is bolted to the rack, and my tool kit to undo the bolts is next to the battery, which too is under the bicycle mount, which is bolted to the rack... (along with my motorcycle registration, not that I would get pulled over. A guy with a bicycle on his motorcycle would never attract the attention of the local law enforcement). I didn't, but I guess I should have brought some wrenches with me.

I'll bet, due to the heat that my radiator fan was on and if I wait 10 to 15 minutes, the bike should cool down enough to start. Photo op while we cool down.

"C'mon Lucy, don't let me down! Good girl! Let's go home!"

I plugged her in for the night and gathered up my gear for another weekend of teaching. One stipulation for using the bike rack parts was that I had to show my fellow instructor the completed project. We just happened to be teaching together so Saturday morning I was off to the range, bicycle and all. He loved it and thought it was so cool, but I had to tell him it was not meant to be and that it was just too unstable to keep. He immediately went into devising another way to mount it, "what if you dropped the rear wheel lower?" and "what about mounting it off the passenger peg?"

Isn't funny how friends encourage you to do stupid things?

Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.  ~George Scialabra