~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Someday" Might Slip By



June 25th marked the 3rd anniversary of Forty Years On Two Wheels. Concerning that momentous day I saw no headlines in the NY Times, Cycle World, or The National Enquirer and no congressional committee subpoenaed me to testify (I'd take the 5th anyway) so I guess my plan to become a world famous and incredibly wealthy moto-blogger is behind schedule. No matter, I'm having a pleasant time with all this, mostly, and you twelve regular readers seem to enjoy it also judging by the e-mails I receive.

Sometime back Angry Bob over at motorcyclebloggers.com offered up the question "Why blog?" and then answered it from his always interesting perspective. My answer to the question would be that I have some basic compulsion to write, to sort through my my thoughts and then see them in front of me, and blogging gives a better forum for that and a longer half-life for the words than what they would get in a typical motorcycle forum.

Things I've noticed about moto-blogging:
  • Starting is the easy part.
  • Many times I've thought of quitting (today, for example) but I'm not a quitter.
  • Trying to come up with something semi-unique to say that has not been said a jillion times is tough. The world doesn't need another piece on helmet fit or tire changing.
  • Taking and selecting the pictures for the blog is often times the most fun part.
  • Putting a mildly risque picture in a post will get me in trouble at home.
  • Writing about farting gets me lots of e-mails.
  • The Triumph Scrambler entries draw more interest than the Harley entries.
  • Blogging anything about Steve McQueen makes the hit counter jump.
  • I don't have a lot of regular readers but the ones I have, judging by my e-mail, are a pretty interesting lot, including the once famous, the never famous, and the likely-to-be-infamous (Jeff at the late great, "Iron Livered Goon" blog).
  • Meeting new people is the best part of blogging.
  • When I started blogging in '04 there were perhaps a dozen motorcycle blogs I could find and now there are more than anyone really knows or could possibly have time to read.
  • I only read about five blogs regularly now. I won't tell you which ones.
  • Hardly anyone actually cares what anyone else thinks on any given subject.
  • If it's not entertaining you're dead so never take yourself too seriously. There is a reason why Peter Egan is published and we blog.
  • My favorite punctuation mark is the ellipsis...
  • I can write a blog entry, edit it to death, re-read it a dozen times, and then find a typo thirty seconds after I hit the "Publish" button.
Onward.

I didn't ride as much in late 2006 and early 2007 as I did in previous years. Some would say that getting married cut into the important things in life but that's not entirely true. Being well past 50 years old now means that the body, long abused by motorcycle racing, riding, hang gliding crashes, and other socially unacceptable activities, seems to let me down more often than it once did. There are a lot of really cool things about getting older but an aging body isn't one of them.

Back in early 1975 I had the misfortune to crash while flying an Icarus V hang glider. The confrontation with the earth left me with three fractured vertebrae in my back. Ask the fattest rider you know to stand on your back while wearing high heel shoes and you'll know how that feels. Be sure to get a picture too.

After laying around the house recouping for three months from the crash I did the only logical thing I could since I was also then out of work: I got on my BMW R90S and rode from California to Colorado to see what was there.



600 - 700 mile days were the norm as I set about riding all the highest paved passes I could find. It hurt but hey, I was young and tough...or thought so. These days, 30+ years later and long after the bones have healed but the arthritis the doctor predicted would happen has set in along with assorted other aliments, I'm pretty sure that one 600 mile day would be tough and doing several back to back would be my last foolish adventure.

That kiddies, is one of the reasons it is important to ride as much as you can when you can, because there will come a day when you cannot. Take the rides, push the days, buy the bikes. Do what mere mortals or financial managers say is crazy because one day your own body will begin to show it's own mortality. Don't do anything stupid, but do ride when you can and don't put it off thinking that "someday" you'll take that big trip or do that track day. "Someday" might slip by and become "never" and you'll truly be poorer for it.

If it sounds like I'm giving up riding you'd be dead wrong but I simply cannot ride as much or as far as I once did and frankly, that sucks. But reality is what it is and I'm really glad that I did that ride to Colorado and all the other crazy stuff over the years. But maybe because I did it I don't feel as much need now to venture off and flog myself through endless days on the road or prove anything to anybody. Good thing.

Speaking of pictures (nice segue, eh?)...

As you wander about riding, seeing the sites, taking in the rallies or doing whatever it is you like to do on your bike, be sure you STOP often and take pictures. And just as importantly, take pictures with people in them and YOU in them. The years will go by and memories will fade a bit and those pictures will mean the world to you when you're old and gray.

I've always been prone to taking pictures but like most people I took scenic shots without people in them. I've usually ridden alone which will in part explain the lack of people in the photos but beyond that, scenic shots are nearly worthless after 10 or 20 years. Unless you're a real pro photographer scenic shots look pretty dull because they never capture the reality of the moment. Take pictures of your friends, your bike, their bikes, and YOU. Turn the camera around because I guarantee you that in a decade or two you will get a big kick out of looking at pictures of yourself. That's not narcissism either, that's just the inherent human trait of trying to place our self in time, where we are now vs. where we were then.


Then and now. I have not changed a bit and I still like red bikes.

Sadly, for all the pictures I've taken over the years, almost none have me in them and most of the people were people I didn't even know. I've tried to do better the last ten or twenty years but that whole thing of turning the camera on one's self is somewhat intimidating for most of us. Do it anyway, you'll thank me someday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Department of Silly Things I Want


Thank goodness they didn't do another Harley engine
You'll probably read about this on lots of other motorcycle blogs and news sites but I couldn't resist putting in here. The SolidAlliance company has introduced a new item that is truly silly: A USB hub styled to look like a motorcycle engine complete with sounds. I like it!

If you're not a bike nut this would seem utterly stoopid but if you are a bike nut, it's just silly enough to want for your desk until the noise making function gets annoying. Where SolidAlliance really hits a home run for me is that they styled the engine after a Triumph twin and not another Harley V-twin. Even the USB nameplate on one side looks reminiscent of a Triumph engine nameplate. Thank you, SolidAlliance, and please don't tell us you used Lucas electrics for the USB cord and flimsy cork gaskets on the cases.

More info and a video here on Akihabara News.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rumbling Road

The Mrs. and I were winging down the road on the Gold Wing one sunny after afternoon, blue skies, lunch sitting happily in our tummies. Life was good. We chatted and bantered good-naturedly over the intercom about the colors of the old buildings, the shape of the mountains, and assorted aspects of life as semi-newlyweds. The Gold Wing was low on gas but I wasn't.

If you've never ridden a Gold Wing or a similar big bike with a big fairing you may not be aware at how good they are at wind protection, on-coming wind, as in atmospheric wind. That same wind protection creates something of a comparative dead space behind the fairing where resides the rider and passenger. Now, should some noxious odor emanate from the rider, the passenger, given her close proximity to the rider, just might get a whiff.

Now if you've been married for a long time this isn't a big deal, your "humanity" having long since been revealed to your spouse. If you're dating or newly married then that first whiff of your beloved's gastrointestinal emanations can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable moment. He or she isn't perfect after all, as you'd been led to believe. They fart just like other humans do.

Maybe it was the Mexican food I had for lunch, I don't know. It looked harmless enough at the time. A couple of hours into the afternoon ride I began to shift a bit in the seat to get more comfortable and with that slight easing of pressure…well…I ripped one. A big one. The noise was of course drowned out by the sounds of the bike and the road so I thought I would get away with it. No such luck.

Over the intercom came a horrified "Oh my word! Did you fart??"

Seeking to cover my sin, I replied flatly "I think we hit a dead animal or something."

"More likely you ATE a dead animal or something. I'm not fooled!!"

Thinking quickly as we motored along I decided to use the old bromide that "a good offense is the best defense" so I told her smugly "Admit it, you liked it."

"WHAT??"

"It's all perfectly normal, even good" I said trying to sound logical. "Women secretly like men's farts."

"Well I'm a woman and I don't!" She seemed quite emphatic about that so I decided to see if I could wear her down with a barrage of perfectly plausible "historical facts."

"See, my dear, women like men's farts, women are wired that way. It's been that way since caveman times."

"Horsefeathers!"

I leaned the Gold Wing a little deeper into the next curve to scare her a bit and give me time to think. Clearly my little social faux pas was not well received, especially at close range, and I knew that another such a one was on it's way.

"Stop trying to scare me and then explain yourself." The woman is not easily fooled, one wonders how I ever persuaded her to marry me.

"Look" I said, "Women secretly like men's farts. These days it's a subconscious thing but it's absolutely true. It all started eons ago back in caveman times."

"Honey, you've told me about when you belonged to the circus, about human cannonballs, elephants, dead midgets, and being abducted by space aliens outside of Gila Bend. I was happy to accept those stories because I love you but don't expect me to believe that women love men's farts."

"They do, you do" I said earnestly, as if the truth of it all was unassailable.

"Do tell then, explain it all to me…and stop farting, I can tell you still are by the way you shift in the seat."  Oops...

"Women fart too, sweetie."

"No we don’t.  Now explain to yet another cockamamie theory of yours to me "

I decided this wasn't the time to press the point about the universality of flatulence.
"OK, here's the story of why women secretly like men's farts and in fact find them to be an aphrodisiac."

"Oh heavens..."

"It's like this: In caveman times men hunted and women gathered berries and such. A cavewoman with multicolored stains on her face from eating assorted fruits and berries was obviously a good gatherer and therefore attractive to the caveman as she would be a good partner in making and raising cavekids. Hence, the beginning of the evolution of women's make-up which most men still find attractive to some degree on women."

"Oh brother…"

I pressed on.

"Cavemen, on the other hand, had to hunt and kill stuff and of course if one doesn't eat, one doesn't fart. A caveman who farted a lot in the presence of cavewomen was merely showing that he was well fed as a result of being a good hunter and therefore a good provider. This..uh..scent...therefore, was actually an attraction to cavewomen who wanted a mate who could provide well for them and any future cavekids.

In modern times the farting of a well fed man still means that he eats well and in fact subliminally, after thousands of years of social evolution, women still secretly enjoy and subconsciously respond romantically to the scent of a good, manly fart because they know the fellow is well fed and prosperous. Women will deny this but it's true."  I said that last part with a lofty tone hoping to add a bit of gravitas to the concept.

The intercom was silent for a moment and then the Mrs. said "The story of the elephant and the human cannonball was more plausible. Nice try though."

Later on we stopped to refill the Gold Wing's gas tank. My dear bride headed into the mini-mart and a few minutes later walked out of the store and matter-of-factly handed me a package of antacid tablets. I tried to look hurt but she just rolled her eyes and beginning putting her riding gear back on.

So, gentle 40on2 readers of the male persuasion, especially you single guys, trust me and despite what the ladies say, when rolling down the road with the pillion seat occupied by the fairer sex, fart away because it's actually a secret mating call to the ladies who do indeed long to sit around the campfire as in caveman times and hear farts and belches as those are a sign of a truly happy and healthy family man.

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence



An Important reminder from the past:
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