The Ramblings of a Cynic

Now with Motorcycles

Last Post
This will most likely be my last post here on LJ. They lost an entire 500 word Journal, and well that was once too many times.

On to greener or different fields

The long way home
Today I took the long way home. Which means instead of getting on 280 I keep going up Page Mill Rd. all the way to Skyline. Page Mill is a good bit or road, very twisty and not very many cars or bicyclists this time of year.
I did this a week and a half ago and it's amazing how much a difference the tune up did. Second gear was just happier and the whole engine pulled better in any gear. I did a bit of in third gear before I realized it was lagging a bit and put into second again.

My poor right leg gets a work out. Since it hurts to put weight down through my left, I end up shifting most of my weight with mostly my right leg. It doesn't help I'm sure that my right is still (most likely) stronger than my left. I really do need to get down to the gym and start working out my left leg and see if that helps. I should really do this soon since I'm planning a longish Moto ride, and I don't want to be too out of shape.

The ride however was good. It was beautiful out, probably in the Mid to high 50's for most of the ride. I was plenty warm in my vest, which is still the best thing for staying warm, even not plugged into the bike.
The best thing about all my gear is that I hardly noticed the rest of it. It just is there doing it's job, or really hopefully not doing it's job since it's made to protect me in worst case scenario.
I had no "moments" even though I was riding at a pretty good pace. It's hard to really know how fast I was going since A. I wasn't really looking at my speedo ,just going from one corner to the next in a fast flowing way, and B I had no one else up there, no fellow riders and I only came up on one car and they were crawling along at 15mph or so.
Just a very nice winter ride through the hills.
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Lane Spliting the Great Debate
I'm a believer, but I live and ride primarily in California. Those who don't might have a different opinion.

Just a good video on the idea. Don't read the Youtube comments unless you like getting dumber.

55k Service
I had the 620 Monster Serviced, and oh man it was a smoother running engine on the way home. I'd let it get to almost 2k miles past it's scheduled service with the Holidays and property taxes eating time and money.
But it's still running strong and made the ride home a stress free blast.

Until the sun went down. Now I don't like to complain about the cold. I know I live in California and I know it's a lot colder elsewhere. But it's been cold (for here) lately and this weekend was a new low. I'd lost track of time while hanging out with some friends, and in the sun it was nice and warm. I started my 50 mile trip home in great spirits. Bike was running great, sun was shining, life was good.
20 miles later the free way curved and took me into the shadows of the Santa Cruz mountains... brrr.
I was shocked how quickly I was freezing. I went from being cool but not uncomfortable to being cold and uncomfortable in 5 minutes. Soon I was crouched over the bike hiding from the wind using my clocks. It was my hands arms and legs that were suffering the most, and another 10 minutes I was really regretting staying so late. I'd not thought about the drop in temperature that the sun going down would bring, and now I was paying the price.
I got home shivering in cold and was very grateful that I'd left the heater on so I came home to a nice warm house. I still shiver thinking on how cold it was.

But in the end, it was still a good ride.

New rear tire
Put another bridgestone BT023 on the Monster. I picked up a nail on Thursday on the way home.
The odo reads 19149.

Riding with a flat tire is strange and this is the first time I've ever had the experience on the motorcycle. Not too surprsing that it felt like the rear tire was wiggling and accelerating was very strange. I had no idea what was going on at first and since it was a slow leak it came on slowly. I'm lucky that it did not really start becoming a problem until I got out of the backroads and onto the freeway. Even luckier that there was a rest stop I could get off on right after I got on the free way so I could look at the bike and figure out what was wrong.

The tire had over 8k miles on it and was due to replaced soon, so another piece of luck.

Fifty Thousand Miles
I'm a little sad that the Monster's Tach etc. had to be replaced. I can only imagine the feeling of watching the odometer turning (clicking?) over to 50,000 miles. I imagine it would have been a pretty cool feeling. Knowing that all of those miles were done by me, and all of the adventures that I've had on the bike being reflected in the mileage. Instead I missed it. Mainly because the new dash is .. well new, and doesn't have 33,000 miles on it, and I don't know really how accurate I am at remembering how many miles were on the bike when I replaced the dash. I know it had over 36,000 since I knew it was over due for a 12k service when it died, so between 37 and 38k.

What's the point of all this? I did not get to experience the thrill of knowing I have ridden that monster over it's 50k mark. I am pretty sure I have... but I don't "know" it. I won't really until I put another thousand miles on it to be sure.
Regardless, there is a thrill of riding a Ducati Monster for that many miles. I know in this day and age of 200k mile cars 50k doesn't seem like much, but for a motorcycle it is. I don't know what the average mileage in the U.S.A. is for motorcyclists, but in the U.K. it's four thousand miles a year. So it would take over twelve years to put that many miles on a bike for the average biker. I started riding in 2006. So in the past 6 years I put 50k on my Ducati Monster, and another 28k or so on the BMW, a bit over most averages. (My sister who is also a riding fiend, has 50k on her bike in 6 years.) So I'm averaging 12k miles a year. The question is, have I learned anything? Or do I have anything note worthy to share after what would be a lifetime of riding for some.

I have certainly crashed enough in the past 6 years. Once so badly that I couldn't walk for 4 months, and am still feeling the effects almost 2 years later. I learned something all of the crashes, even if it was only never buy BMW. But most of the things I learned by doing, I already "knew" they just got forgotten in a rush of speed.
Oh, but that rush of speed. I can't get enough of it. The feeling one gets as their innards are pushed back in their bodies, the feeling of acceleration... it's my drug of choice, and only sometimes is it illegal.

But something worth passing on? Not so much. Except maybe that doing something you love is always worth it.

50,000 miles on a Ducati Monster. I love the bike, and I hate the bike. What have I learned about the bike after puting that many miles on it.
It's still a great looking bike. Even as dinged up and dirty as it is most of the time. It's got that something that tugs at my heart and makes me want to ride. The BMW did not have that. It was fun to ride, maybe even easier to ride, but after a ride, sitting at a coffee shop, you did not look at the bike and feel the same. It gets solid gas mileage. It's only a lil 620, so it's not hard to see why it gets 49 ish mpg, but it's nice that it gets into the low 50's on a good long day of riding. With bar risers and a custom seat the riding position is plenty comfortable.
Gripes? Well the ground clearance sucks. Especially on the left side with the kickstand. I would love a bigger tank, 200 miles is the magic number on range. I'd also like a bit more power, and a top case that didn't make the bike look stupid, but hey it's a Ducati. Oh and the suspension is ... just not perfect.

However, it's a great little bike and I've definitely gotten a lot of smiles out of the last 50,000 miles.

Out of time and Space
It's amazing what a three week adventure will do to your year. We're back from Africa, and it seems like somehow I've lost a few months of 2011 somewhere.

Hopefully I'll get back on track soon.

Tire Time
The Monster's Odometer reads 9955 miles, which is really 45k miles in Monster years... or miles or something like that.

I put on a Bridgestone BT 023 sport touring tire. It feels pretty good so far (riding to work this morning) but we'll see how they do after a few thousand miles and handle the rain in the Fall.

Close to 3000 miles
Motorcycle notes:

It's been a busy Spring. I've been riding to work as the weather allows, and slowing getting back in the grove of things. The bike has almost 3000 more miles on it since I got back to riding.

The Monster is running well, and I've been enjoying being back on such a pretty motorcycle.

I did notice a few weeks ago that my chain was getting loose, so I sucked it up and changed it myself. Definitely feeling like I accomplished something, learning how to break the old chain off and then replace it with riveting it back on was quite the adventure.

My leg was numb and sore for a while after, still healing.

Out Back on the Bike
I was back on the motorcycle for the first time since I crashed in the fall. The leg isn't completely healed, but it was good enough.

I spent the morning working on the bike, new handgrips, checking the oil and chain, and putting a new battery in it.

It took a bit to get started, sitting cold and idle for 6 or more months will do that, I can't remember the last time I rode the Monster (I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere, but am too lazy to look), but it's been a while. It did start, and I suited up in my new helmet, gloves and boots, along with my leather jacket and old but better than nothing riding pants. All that for what was most likely a ride around the block, but well I was a bit parinoid since the last time I was on one I spent 5 days in a hospital and 3 months before I could walk again.

The ride was epic. It makes no real sense as to why it was... or maybe I'm over thinking it.

Initially I was very nervous. Making sure the brakes worked, shifting gingerly making sure everything seemed ok and well... "safe". It was only after I'd gone a half mile or so that I could start to relax and only after ten minutes of riding around town, did I get a chance to really focus on something other than the mechanics of riding.

Even with all my gear, the feel of the air rushing past me, and the smell of rain that was in the air (luckly it wasn't raining as it would have ruined the ride) brought me to the now of what I was doing. I was on a motorcycle. I was experiencing the joy that it is to ride one, the oneness with the environment that you don't get in a car. I almost teared up. I had such an emotional response it surprised me.

I wanted to keep going, but my rational self, and the specks of rain on my visor made me head home relishing the freedom that is riding a motorcycle.
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