Monday, September 8, 2008

Writings on Motorcycles and Rides (Updated 1/27/09)

I've been riding motorcycles since 1976. Wait, let me rephrase that: I got my motorcycle license and actually bought my first bike in 1976. Before that, I fooled around with friends' bikes. I have fond memories of Vic's Sears Allstate QA-50 scooter, simply because it was one of the best wheelie-popping machines around--all I had to do was sit on the back seat (easy for a guy with long arms and legs) and dump the clutch, and hi-ho, up she goes. Then there was Dave's plum-crazy-purple Yamaha 175 "Electric" (no, not an early two-wheeled Prius, a bike with an electric starter--something completely unnecessary on a 175cc two-stroke). And the Honda 90 step-through with the top speed of 35 miles an hour, downhill with a tailwind...

But anyway... Yeah, I've been riding a long time. I don't count miles too carefully, but figure I'm pushing the half-million mark. In all but three of the last 33 years I've taken some kind of long, cross-country trip (some years more than one). I've had thirteen road-ridden bikes (plus a couple dirt bikes), one sidecar, one chopper (which I built myself; I still probably have pink bondo dust in my lungs from molding the frame down in my basement), a bunch of touring bikes (not all of which were intended to be touring bikes, like the Yamaha XT500 thumper and the Buell S-1 Lightning with the skinny bicycle seat)...

Anyway, this part of the site is for stuff about riding. I'll add links as I find tales to tell that at least I find interesting. As always, your mileage may vary. Professional rider, closed course, do not attempt and all that.

Stories and stuff:

Adventure Touring, 1981-Style
(updated, expanded, and still not completely finished 1/27/09, with many, many new pictures)
Today, people go around the world on all-purpose bikes with yards of suspension travel and grippy-on-anything tires, satellite navigation systems and phones, and bike-mounted digital video cameras for the inevitable DVD. Back in the old days, you modified a "dual purpose" bike, strapped your stuff on where you could, and hoped that when the film came back from the drugstore, the pictures would look like something you remembered from your trip. And if something went wrong, if you broke yourself or your bike... you'd likely end up buzzard food. Even here in the Good Ole U. S. of A.

My minutes of fame as a Kilted Harley Rider
Or, how I made Paul Harvey retroactively honest.

The Unauthorized "Scott Free" technique for changing Buell isolators
If you don't ride a tube-framed Buell, you probably won't find this interesting... unless you're an anthropologist studying folk-art methods of vehicle repair.