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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Equinox to Equinox rally

Historical marker - Check!
I have a problem.  When ever I get on the internet I have this strange desire to learn.  So a link on a buddy's page takes me somewhere interesting.  That strange word takes me over to another page.  That odd picture leads me somewhere else.

It was this "aimless but interesting" meandering that brought me to  A "Girlie Motorcycle blog" without a pink unicorn or pair of house slippers in sight.  So I start to read a little and I'm taken with the idea of a virtual rally,   A virtual rally is basically a treasure hunt.  Your supposed to take pictures of your bike in front of various landmarks and other places and things.   The contest runs between March 20 (the Spring equinox) and Sept. 22, 2013 (the Autumnal equinox).

This rally is being sponsored by the Pace Podcast, which I have to be honest I've never heard of until this rally, but they seem like a fun bunch and have earned a new listener.  

I am number 096 and stole how to place my rally card from Ms. Fuzzygalore.  My initial enthusiasm for the rally has waned a bit however as I think about when I how I will be able to do this.  I work 40 hours a week at one job, own my own business on the side that takes up an additional 16 - 20 hours a week.  Well many of the "treasures" are easy for me to find and take photo's of (you think it was designed that way), there are a few that aren't (you think it was designed that way).  You can see the list here

City Hall in Zephyrhills - points obtained!
The whole idea however is to get out and ride.  Win, lose, it really doesn't matter.  I just need to get out when I can (I feel that I can rack up a lot of points in one day if I can actually just spend it riding).  Somehow I managed to get a few points just by riding around town for a bit.  More points to follow I'm sure...and while I sure in hell I won't win, I would like to get a top 25 finish.

Static train car - points obtained!

I've a few more photo's, a few more places to go and some more places to go.  Some major points to obtain.  On those trips I might see some things and that is the whole point of the rally isn't it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A review of the EMGO travel trunk

Sitting on my stoop this morning was my brand new EMGO travel trunk.  I picked it off of Amazon for under seventy dollars and have been wanting some sort of top case for a while.  One of the major issues, and I really do think the Kymco corporation missed the boat on this, with my bike is a lack of storage.  The Kymco, or "Kimmie", is a nice bike and frankly she's surprised me on how quickly she's stolen my heart.  She is still not at the level of my beloved and much missed Burgman...but she's growing on me more and more.

  I commute nearly every day on her, taking my lunch bag at least and maybe a pull over for that cool ride home at 12:30 AM.  With my former bike, I had storage for my riding jacket, full face helmet and pull over...all waiting for me to slip on and head home after a hard day of work.  With the Xciting, I can place my helmet and pull over away...but nothing else.  So I'm lugging in a few things every day.

 My hope is that the EMGO travel trunk would solve some of that.   Lucky for me, it was simple to install.

Kimmie's previous owner had a top case installed before, and the grab bars were solid enough to hold the travel trunk as well.  The entire set up consisted of a hard thick plastic bottom plate which already had several holes pre-drilled into it.  I would just have to affix the bottom plate to the existing luggage rack area with four mounting screws.

Sadly this took some drilling as the previous owner's top case holes did not match up with mine.  

The bottom plate installed.

It only took me about an hour to do.  That simplicity I liked and EMGO gets kudo's from me because of this simplicity.  After all, I'm a monkey with a gun when it comes to anything mechanical.

The travel trunk itself is 12" by 16.5" by 11" (or 30.48 by 41.91 by 27.94 cm) so it's roomy enough to hold a full face helmet at least and various little odds and ends.  I'll probably make it a habit to carry my rain gear, gauntlet gloves and pull over under the seat.  My daily "needs" of lunch and place to store my helmet will go into the trunk.  It looks like my jacket will have to go inside with me for now.

The case is actually a half inch (0.5" or 1.27 cm) in thickness.  It has a dual ridge "locking" system so when it's shut it should be waterproof.  Always a nice thing when your on your bike and since I've used my bike to make the occasional delivery  the size and convenience of the box will work nicely for me. The locking mechanism is hinged, so it locks the top to the bottom.  The entire case can be locked into the bottom holder as well, and with a push of a button, released to take inside.

I was a bit worried about the case either blocking the rear lights completely or hanging over them so much as to create a shadow.  I didn't need to worry at all as the case does not interfere with the lights at all.  I've been considering adding LED brake lights to the license plate or to the top box itself as a safety measure and may have found the perfect solution, that is for another post however.  In the meantime some reflective tape should help make me a little more visible.

Overall I'm happy with the box and can't wait to take it out on the road.  I'm assuming that it will affect the way I ride, after all it will catch the wind and effect the over all balance of the bike...but that should be easy enough to overcome.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

To cute not to share.

I could not resist.  Even though I consider Disney to be evil in the end I am a fun of animation.  The broad brush style and cheery colors is a nice contract to the computer animation that is so prevalent today.  Plus its nice to see a cartoon not trying to sell toys today.  Although it being Disney they do briefly show some of their products.

Croissant de Triomphe on Disney Video
Special thanks go to Scooting Old Skool for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Farkle season begins now.

It's been an odd few weeks for me as my business has undergone some changes, not all for the good.  My regular job has undergone some changes, again not all for the good and my riding life has been reduced to riding back and forth to work again.

In this daily grinding commute I have become more and more convinced that I needed a top box.  I have something in mind that I feel would work, but I'm unsure about it.  I tend to over think things, worrying and worrying about something till I actually do it.  Then I wonder why I didn't do this before.  

Pic from a previous post showing Burgman storage.
Kimmie simply has no storage.  In my previous ride - the 07 Suzuki Burgman - I had enough storage for my riding jacket, my helmet and my rain gear (or a sweatshirt) when needed.  Kimmie can hold my helmet, or if I use the hook on the outside of the bike, my jacket fits snugly away.  

I need to take my lunch to work and a place to store my jacket, helmet, rain gear and maybe a pull-over (during those chilly 1 AM rides home from work).  Well I can certainly continue to walk into work with my full gear on, it's just easier to store it on the bike.

Recently I've been looking at a Emgo Travel Trunk.  The one that I'm considering measures 12 in. lengthwise by 16.5 inches wide by 11 inches deep.  That should be enough to hold my gear.  What concerns me is if it fit on my bike, how will it affect my riding and how stable will it be on Kimmie?  I need to take out a tape measure and figure it out.

Assuming it works on my bike, I'll order it later today, install it sometime next week and see what happens.

 It will actually stick out over the brake lights and I'm thinking I will need some sort of reflective stickers or tape on the back of the box.  The biggest disadvantage to this is the lack of a brake light and I'm wondering if it's possible to get some sort of stick on LED brake lights?  I'm paranoid about getting hit from behind. 

I guess we will find out.  I just ordered the damn thing and should have it early next week.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

And the line blurs even more...

When I saw this video for Toyota's new concept car, the I-ROAD, it reminded me of the Piaggio MP3 model only with a roof.  It blurs the line between what is a motorcycle, a scooter and a car.

The biggest difference of course, is that the Toyota's I-ROAD is electric.   It is rear wheel driven and relies on computer chips to counter steer thus keeping the car upright in turns but for all practical purposes it appears to handle like a motorcycle or scooter would.

Now of course this is just a concept.  It may never see the light of day and would have only a limited market in the US but still it's just confirms what I've been arguing all along.  That due to increasing urbanization, fossil fuel scarcity and environmental concerns the future belongs to the maxi-scoot.   The Scooter Revolution continues...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A short post about Spam, Gloves and Neil Peart

SPAM!  We all love it.  After all it recently deserved posts in the "Flies in your Teeth" blog as well as "Find Me On the Road" blog.  Seems like were all getting hit by the same marketer or marketing program.

As of late I've been willing to let a marketer go ahead and post something,  if I got the feeling that the low paid intern or who ever searched out my blog...actually read what I wrote (or so I hope).   So I let a few comments slide by even if the name was just "saddlebags" and the link was to a commercial page.  For example, recently someone commented on a post of mine where I mentioned my interest in urban gardening and included a picture.  They asked me if it was a tomato plant...that at least tells me a live person at least scanned my article.

Yes, that really is my car.
I own and run a small magazine and publication distribution company on the side which provides me with about 1/3 of my yearly income.  I'm to a point where I don't need to advertise my services, but at one time I twisted  every arm, shook every hand I could to promote that business.  Luckily their are only so many publishers and publications and once you reach a certain point your name is all you need.  Knocking on those doors was tough in the beginning...but you got your name out there.  So I can sympathize with these "spammers" although I don't particularly care for what they do.  But make an effort at least.

Recently I had a bad apple ruin it for all the low paid intern's out there, trying to get the product into the public's eye.  Sorry "John Smith" (really?  Could you not have found any name even close to original?)  your comment promoting a bike dealership was really not that interesting or in-depth AND not related to my topics at all.  Nor did the copy and paste impress me as your comment was left on a few of my blog entries. more spam.  I moderate the comments I get now, and will no longer give anyone a free pass. Although I do not see the need to ask you to "prove your human"...yet.

Here in Florida we've been experiencing a cold snap.  People are bringing plants in, there is frost on the ground in some places late at night or early in the morning.  I've been wanting to get gauntlet style gloves for some time because I'm tired of the cold air and rain blowing up the arms of my jacket.  On Friday, I finally got my ugly butt a pair. The only issue I have with them is that they are slightly larger than my hands, I ended up getting the 2X where a simple X size may have worked.   But then again  they are nice and tight again my jacket above the wrist and that is exactly what I was looking for.

They are thinsulate filled and that creates a "less than sensitive"  feel than I am used to.  Considering how I used to wear thick orange hunting gloves on cold nights that protected my hands but did nothing about the wind, this is a improvement.  Those old things provided no sensitivity.

By "sensitivity" I mean the way I feel the throttle and brakes in my hands.  In my regular riding gloves my hands are light and that means I keep a light touch on the throttle and brakes.  Barely moving the throttle as I strive to maintain a consistent and safe speed.  With the thicker gloves, I have to apply more pressure for the same results.

Now I need to find a good, reasonably priced "summer" jacket.

Thanks to
Finally I started reading Neil Peart's "Ghost Rider".  I've just started chapter 6 and so far I'm enjoying it.  It's a mix somewhere between travel log and memoir although so far I feel like Peart is keeping a major part of himself hidden from the reader.   Considering Peart's loss of both his long time common law wife and their daughter within a year of each other you can't really blame the man.  I don't think many men would be able to recover...becoming just ghosts of themselves.  Peart's answer is to this is to run.  Run as far away as he can on a BMW 1100 Adventure into the wilds of America, Canada, Mexico and Belize.

Peart is probably best known as the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush.  Well I have always been a fan of the band, I sort of lost interest in their music sometimes in the 90's, this is the first time I've ever read any of his non-musical work.  It's a light and easy style that deals with a hell of a subject matter and frankly I keep expecting his style to turn dark.  In the early chapters at least he is still in shock and in a deep depression...I'm curious to see exactly where in his 55,000 mile journey he comes to terms with life, loss and returns to art...perhaps the only thing that makes life bearable for him.