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Monday, February 27, 2012

More MPG goodness

2 Stroke Buzz put up some interesting numbers about MPG the other day.  Now you need to remember this does not take into account things like the cost of your ride, insurance, tires (really $100 for one tire Great Googlie Mooglie!!!) or other things but it's still interesting.  It's interesting to note that the money we think we are saving in gas may not be what we believe it is. Thanks to Scootin' Old Skool for finding this.

The comments are interesting reading as well.  I know for me, gas is probably the biggest expense in my household budget right now.  Of course, being in business (see here and here) for myself  means that my household is not always typical.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Technical Issues

Due to the fact that my mother board blew up, the site will be down for a few days for repair.  We hope to be back up soon.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Scooter Cannonball

A few people have written about this already.  I got to admit I would love to try it but know it's probably never going to happen.

I feel like I'm stealing Scootin' Old Skool thunder here.  :P

Here is the official website for the Scooter Cannonball.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Night riding

Every night I ride home from work at about 12:30 AM.  I enjoy this night ride because often I'm the only bike - hell, the only vehicle - on the road.  The miles just roll under me, the deer looking from their grazing with dull bored eyes, I don't think about them as long as they stay on their grassy knolls...I hug the left lane and do keep a look out for them (in the battle of a motorcycle vs a deer I fear the deer would win).  One close encounter was enough.

Often it's just me and a few stars.  Sometimes a big moon rising in the Eastern sky and I ride straight for it.  That was the way it was the other night, the moon was so huge in the sky and was reflecting back the Sun's light in such a way that only the bottom half was lit.  It was if God himself was watching my progress with one tired and dreary eye.

Still the miles fall under my tires.

I suppose a better rider could describe the feeling.  That feeling of isolation without being isolated.  A feeling of being connected to everything and nothing that only riding a bike can give you.  I've been a hiker for years and have felt that deep connection to the natural world before, on the bike however it's different.  Maybe it's the speed, maybe it's the increased awareness you have while driving a bike.

Maybe it's just the cool night air running across your body.

Who knows what causes it, what forces act upon you.  For me, the ride home at night wakes me up, makes me forget about the stresses of my day and job and brings all my senses into play.  I listen to the purr of my engine; I catch the smell of swamp water and heather as I pass through the woods.  I see the meteors streak through the blue black sky.

It's easy to understand why even the roughest of bikers wax poetic about riding.  On a night like the other night, I do too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tires and some other randomness

Just like that I'm at 15,000 miles.  

The rear wheel, showing some wear.
I need to replace at least one of my tires.   The rear is looking worn and well used while the front still has some tread on it.
Normally I don't think about tires, it's just part of the normal maintenance of owning a vehicle.  I put air in them, I change them out when the tread is gone or I start to slip.   Of course, in my car or Jeep the tread is a different story, the performance will be affected if one tire is an issue but not as much.  A little spin on a bald tire in the rain is not really an issue as long as the other three catch.
On a bike, it's another story.  A spin can kill you.  Not gripping the road surface correctly can cause an accident.  Riding has made me very aware of what can and does go wrong.  I've asked around and everyone points to the Pirelli Diablo as the tires to get.
When your riding any sort of 2 wheel motorized monster I suppose you realize just how close the road is beneath your feet.  

I used to very interested in hiking and Orienteering.  It was a wonderful feeling to get out into the woods for a few hours, sometime with just a map and compass and my own wits and knowledge.  Well I was not a serious orienteer I did enjoy getting out into nature and walking about.  Being out in the woods brought me a peace I rarely find in everyday life.  Nature recharged my batteries and cleared my head, no matter how bad the day or depressed I was; spending time out in the woods was the best thing I could do.

Running around on my bike does the same, but their are differences.   I commute, I've used my bike for a route I run...only rarely have I've been able to get out and enjoy a ride where I can get lost for a bit.  To see what is down that road, or to the left where I usually make a right.  Working the way I do the chance to get out and do something different for a few hours is wonderful.

When I learned about a group in nearby Clearwater, Florida that is doing Geocaching by scooter I could not help but get a little excited.  I am not a fan of Geocaching as such, preferring the older methods of compass of maps - a acoustic GPS if you will.  It would allow me to explore the city of Clearwater and St Petersburg a little more.  It allow me to get out a little more and meet some fellow scooter riders, which is a goal for 2012.

As spring approaches the GF and I are already planning and starting to work on our garden.  A few tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots.  Peppers, basil and of course some wonderful flowers, including some mammoth sunflowers to hold up the fence.
I've been reading some books on Homesteading.   I've been interested in making my life simpler.   The bike is part of that equation.  Growing my own food another.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Putting the scooter to work - Part two

So I finally put the bike to work.  On day a week I have a 40 mile route where I deliver two rather small publications.  I've considered using the Bergie for this before, but finally got the chance this week.  I was curious to know if could be done, after all motorbikes of all sorts are used around the world to deliver food, papers and other other goods.  Why could I not use my bike to do the same?

Going in I had some questions, would I be able to carry all my papers?  How about the returns?  Even though I would be able to toss out the old papers in various trashcans along the way, would they fill up my trunk before to long?

As I loaded up my bike, two older ladies looked over and into my bike's "trunk"..."You have more storage than my car does" said one of them.  I took that as a good sign.  As it happened I was able to fill up the bike's storage compartment with all but one bundle of papers.  Considering how my route would bring me past the pick-up site about a third of the way through this was not a major issue, by then I should have room for the last bundle of papers.  Still though this was an inconvenience which is avoided in the car.   If I had a top case I could have taken everything (hint hint).

A sad and blurry picture of a loaded Burgman
I was interested in comparing a few things between the car and the bike.  The bike would win hands down when it came to gas mileage compared to my car, but what would be my gas mileage while doing the route?  The Burgie has an electronic monitor that gives me an idea of my fuel economy; I filled up the tank before starting and reset the odometers.

In the end the Burgman averaged 44 miles per gallon, My route is 40 miles long, so for a gallon of gas I did the whole route.  Considering how I normally get anywhere from the mid 50's to the low 60's in gas mileage, I can't help but be surprised that the start and go nature of the route lowered the mileage that drastically.

Efficiency was another thing I looked at.  Would it be easier or harder to use the bike for the route?  Would I spend more time getting the papers from the car, or from the bike.

This was actually a lot closer than you might think.  I was able to pull up to the front doors of a few stores, parking just feet away from the entrance.  Once I actually drove onto the sidewalk to deliver to a street box...areas I would never be able to put my car.   Problem was I had to remove my helmet going into a few of the convenience stores I deliver to due to their security concerns (wearing a full face helmet prevents the security camera's from getting a clear picture of me...which I didn't consider till I was asked to remove my helmet in one of the stores).  Although it is legal to ride without a helmet in Florida, I always wear my helmet.  My gloves also proved to be more of a hindrance than a help.  After a few stops they ended up in the glove compartment.  This dressing and undressing took time.

With the car I don't have the maneuverability.  Sometimes I do have to park way in the back of the parking lot but I'm didn't have to go back for additional papers.  I had additional room for the returns and could separate them as well.  Not having to remove my helmet and gloves all the time is a definite advantage.

I give the edge to the bike but just barely.

Comfort was another factor.  My car wins hands down in this category.  The temperature peaked at 85 degrees - which even native Floridians consider hot for February - and although I was comfortable while moving, the second I stopped and entered a building it got hot.  My jacket weighing heavily on my shoulders.  The air conditioning in the car is a wonderful thing.  Plus I've gotten in the habit of getting a coffee and a couple doughnuts about halfway through that then travel with me.  I could not do that on the bike without stopping, and since I normally have to work later in the day; stopping is not always an option.

The jury is still out to see if this becomes a habit.  i will be taking the bike out again next week on this same route to see if can be done faster and better.