Monday, December 31, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
|Waiting patiently (my photo, not an entry)|
Well, I've not exactly inundated with entries for the photo contest but I guess that will make judging easier. So far I've seen a Suzuki V-Strom, a Yamaha, a Royal Enfield, and a weather vane. Whomever sent in the photo of themselves in a Bultaco jersey and with no pants on, thanks. I've put your photo in the macro photography category.
None of the women amongst my twelve regular readers have attempted via fetching photos of them on their bikes, to lure me into giving them the $50 prize from motorcycle accessory site Jafrum.com. I am saddened by that. No one has included a corgi in their photos. That may be more to a dearth of corgis in the world than desire to not get the easy win. Webster commented that he doesn't carry a camera when he rides. Webster, lad, your history is slipping away! Paul, Jr. of OCC fame cruised by and declared it a "great contest idea" so I know I'm on the right track, at least.
I've thought about bumping the prize list to include and autographed picture of me or an official 40on2 t-shirt but I never had the t-shirts made.
So here I sit nursing a bad cold and waiting, waiting...tick, tick, tick...
Saturday, December 01, 2012
As I pondered the possibilities I decided the most fun would be to give away the gift certificate to one of my twelve regular readers. How do that? A photo contest!
Summer riding season is over for most places this side of the equator and I figured you guys would have a favorite picture from this year's riding adventures and that it ought to be shared with the world so here's what I offer:
You must be an amateur photographer, no pros.
E-mail me me your favorite photo from a 2012 ride you did. The image must be at least 1024 pixels for landscape format or 900 pixels hight for portrait format and include a motorcycle or an obvious part of one. Please use your name as part of the file name so I can keep things from getting too confused.
Only one entry per person. The person submitting the entry must be the photographer.
No nekid or bikini stuff, this is a family blog, more or less.
|my pal Gromit. 2010|
Bonus points if you include a Corgi in the photo. I love Corgis.
With your submission please include the usual who/what/where info and what camera/lens you used to take the shot.
The photo cannot have been published anywhere else previously except your own blog or website.
If you have a better camera than I do I won't hold it against you but I may ask to borrow it.
Entry deadline is midnight December 31, 2012.
Entries are limited to the first...uh...200 submissions? 200? Yeah, that should cover it a few times over.
My e-mail address is at the bottom of the page.
|Ansel Adams' camera.|
Don't put a huge watermark on your photo. Automatic F for that.
The winner gets the $50 gift certificate (on-line order code). Those not picked will have to console themselves as best as they can. It's only fifty bucks, not life.
I will not send back any files, that would be silly.
I'll post the winning photo with photographer credit in a blog entry on or after January 1, 2013 and e-mail the gift certificate code to the winner.
Such legal stuff as I can think of at the moment: The photo belongs to you, you give up no rights to it. You do give me permission to publish here in the blog anything you submit. I'm not responsible if something of yours published here gets ripped off by some other site or company (it happens).
I reserve the right to cancel this contest for any reason I wish whenever I wish, or change, add, and delete rules on a whim. If no one enters I reserve the right to spend the gift certificate on myself; I could have done that anyway but I like you all and thought it would be nice to share like Mom taught me to. If my brother enters he won't win.
By submitting a photograph you thereby agree to the above rules.
Friday, November 16, 2012
|I started with one of these, a 60cc Yamaha|
Too often new riders are told their first bike should be at least 500cc or 650cc. To an experienced rider a 350lb - 500lb machine is nothing, to a new rider it's darned heavy and awkward, a choice that intimidates and makes it more difficult to develop the instinctive reactions needed to survive on the street. Experienced riders have long forgotten how confusing it can be to coordinate clutch, brake, throttle, and seat position in an endless number of riding scenarios. Adding too much weight and too much horsepower to the equation only makes it more intimidating and difficult, if not more dangerous.
Long ago many of us started on cheap 50cc or 100cc machines and developed a skill set that wasn't tied to lots of weight and horsepower. As our skills grew, the size and performance of the bikes grew and we were more amenable to the higher costs.
|My second bike. To me it was big.|
"Don't buy a 250cc machine, you'll be bored with it in 6 months."
Our "bigger is better" attitude is holding people back because faced with the idea they might be bored with a major purchase within 6 months or spending even more on a bigger, more intimidating machine they opt to not enter the sport at all. Telling them they must also have another $500 - $1000 in bizarrely colored, special riding gear adds to the idea that motorcycling is just too expensive when they are still uncertain whether or not the sport is for them.
The perceived bar to entry has been raised by the people within the sport and I believe it's keeping people out of the sport.
|image via Honda.|
I contend that the sport would be better off if we'd get back to starting people on 100cc motorcycles and letting them grow from there -- except that the bike companies no longer sell such machines in the USA (save as dirt bikes for kids). 100cc machines are fast enough, easier to handle, and less intimidating for many new riders for whom motorcycling is still quite an adventurous and "crazy" thing. There are still lots of small displacement scooters being sold, why not small displacement bikes? Bigger is not always better. Starting small is a better, more logical way to get into the sport of motorcycling. Back in the days of "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" it got millions of people started including me.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
There seemed to be more booths this year and more attendees but less interesting stuff. Lots and lots of miscellaneous and largely uninteresting bike parts and very few older bikes for sale. I got this notion as I walked around that in the down economy a lot of people have already sold off their good junk and are down to selling their junk junk. On the other hand, prices seemed a little silly, a badly painted and now very rough Sportster tank for $300? A primered and weathered Triumph tank for $400?
The guys manning the booth looked positively clean cut and beyond their colors not much like the guys that used to frequent the gas station where I worked when I was 19. Things change even in the 1% world. While faux "bikers" around the world try to look bad the real bikers are looking almost corporate. I'll guess that corporate is only skin deep just as "bad ass biker" is often only t-shirt deep.
Behind the Red & White booth you could buy "The Ultimet Riding Bandana." I resisted buying one even though there is no helmet law in Arizona.
I contented myself with wandering about struggling to find interesting things to point my camera at, things that wouldn't turn suddenly away and ask "Who ya takin' those for??"
I find myself drawn to photograph old saddlebags. More than many parts of a bike, worn saddlebags seem to hint at a story.
I thought this tank looked interesting with it's damaged '70s style paint scheme. Looks like someone tried paint remover on it and failed. I thought it would look cool in my house and with some flowers poking out of the filler neck but lost interest when the seller quoted me $300.
More photos to come...
Friday, October 05, 2012
This trend to make bikes uglier and uglier each year can be seen in the more polished but still butt ugly 2013 BMW R1200GS.
Really, how do trained designers come up with this stuff? The GS looks like a farm implement - a 2 wheeled hay bailer - more than a motorcycle.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
|indoor / outdoor thermometer above my desk|
I'm sitting here eating a popsickle. A banana popsickle, my second most favorite after root beer popsickles. Motorcycle friends in the colder climes often say to me "You're lucky, in Arizona you can ride all year round!" Well, you can operate a motorcycle all year round in Arizona but when it's summer and 116° outside and 83° indoors with the A/C on I'll skip the operating because it's only a form a torture, not actual riding. People can talk all they want about cooling vests and such. Sorry, not buying it. It's miserable riding in this kind of heat and all the gadgets short of an air conditioned car only make it less miserable -- but it's still miserable.
The V-Strom currently sits in the garage, connected to the BatteryTender, and awaiting new rear brake pads. It's 94° inside the garage. I'm probably getting soft in my old age. Oh well. Maybe next month. In the mean time, the freezer is still full of popsickles.
Friday, July 27, 2012
For me, having some one pull out or cut me off barely raises my heart rate after so long in the saddle, a well developed set of instinctive reactions are my friend when surprises come along.
|(image source unknown)|
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Some how some way it seems that I have now completed eight years of blogging here. I like to think it's a testament to my persistence, the volume of words in my head, the constant adulation of the teeming masses who read my sage writings and lionize me, but in fact that's all nonsense, I just can't seem to quite stop writing.
Speed up, slow down, come to a temporary stop, but I keep writing, photographing, and twelve or so regulars keep showing up to read. Thank you. Sometimes as life has kicked me in pants yet again a ride on the motorcycle and a couple of positive comments on the resulting blog entry have provided a much needed ego boost. My needs are simple (apart from the incessant motorcycle buying).
For me the pictures have become as important a part of the blog for me as the writing, I normally spend more time fiddling with getting photos to present here than I do the writing. Sometimes that shows. Words are easy to spill out. Good words are a little tougher though. Great words nearly impossible but I remain hopeful that whatever the next entry is, it will resonate and the readers will grow silent as they persue them and then roar with praise as the full impact of finely crafted paragraphs touches them. Uh huh...
Pictures...the one above is a shot that I took at this time back in '04 using a Nikon CoolPix of some sort. Nice little camera but a far cry from my Nikon D90 or Olympus PEN now. I wanted to do a special shot for this blog entry but it's been 106° - 110° degrees all week and I just didn't feel like venturing out on the bike. I am getting weak, I guess. Or smart. So a recent shot, taken with the Olympus E-PL1 to bookend the one above from eight years ago:
|V-Strom 1000 at Coolidge Airport.|
Eight years? Who'd a thunk it? Thank you for your kind attention.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
A little later (yes, I'm tardy in writing this) Bobskoot, the sandal wearing photographer, Master of Eggs Benedict, and proprietor extraordinaire at Riding the Wet Coast blog, arranged another t-shirt for me, this time a select event model from the vintage Cannonball Run coast-to-coast ride for pre-1930 bikes. Bob knew I wasn't much given to the flaming-skeletons-riding-a-chopper motif and selected something properly tasteful and vintage looking for me. Bob's a classy guy. He wrote "I have to make sure you have decent clothes to wear, can't have you riding without some form of cotton protection."
As Bob lives in the exotic and frozen land of British Columbia, Canada, and to make mailing easier since the shirt started life in the USA anyway, he passed the shirt off to Brad at Troubadour on a Tiger blog for mailing to me. In due course the shirt arrived and now graces my manly and newly svelte physique. No, you can't see a picture of me naked but I have lost weight.
One of the very best parts of blogging is the people we connect with through the blogs. I hope one day I get a chance to meet Bob and Brad in person.
Thank you Bob and Brad. You guys are the best.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
This post has to do with motorcycles only in the sense that we all know that life is more than motorcycles. Life is also dogs, and for me specifically, Corgis.
|Four month old Sparkle grabs the camera strap to help steady the shot|
|Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy face|
|Like me, she's into low stress|
|The Three Musketeers|
Gromit, Doug, and Sparkle
Thursday, April 19, 2012
|picture via Frankfurter Rundschau.|
Some people hate Piech, some fear him, many admire him but he may be the ultimate gear head, one who manages to create whole car lines and buy a whole motorcycle company because he loves motor vehicles and wishes to make it happen.
Piech is probably a modern day Soichiro Honda or Count Agusta. Piech has just been re-elected to the VW Board chairmanship for 5 more years but he'll be 75 years old soon and I wonder how long he can last at the top of his game. And when he's gone, did he plan well enough for the empire he's built to hold together? If he kicks it and things go down hill for the VW Group, I predict Ducati will be the first to be voted off the island. Hopefully by then Ducati will be worth enough to fetch a dear price and continue to thrive.
Time Machine: 2006 Triumph Scrambler 900. (photo borrowed from www.advrider.com ) Continuing on with my current fascination for the new...
Gold Wings are known to be sensitive to wobble in the front end, depending on tires, head bearing issues, and other factors, so when my '...
The water temp gauge on a bike tells you how hot the engine coolant is but what about the rest of the bike? How hot does the gas tank get? ...
In olden times when one wanted to ride off road you didn't always have a specialized bike for it as we do now. You simply turned off the...
I decided to put out a few more photos from the vintage bike show while I slog through the bulk of them. Here's one of my favorite bik...
"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:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison