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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lending a hand

Normally I don't post things like this.  However I know this woman personally and know that she and her family are having a very rough time of it.   After all, isn't it what this time of year is all about?

Cori's GoFundme site

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Time to give Thanks

Nearly two weeks have gone by and in that time I've done very little writing.  Even less riding.

Life has been challenging for the last several months as questions concerning health (mine, the girlfriends and my father's), money (I left a good job for what I hoped was a better opportunity - frankly the jury is still out on that), family issues and business.  All has conspired to act against me but also provide me the chance for growth.  Much of these things I've kept secret.  Partly to protect the privacy of those involved and partly because, frankly, it's none of your damned business gentle reader.

I have a lot to be thankful for in this past year, and if the last few weeks have taught me anything it's to be thankful for what you have.

I've been blessed with a loving girlfriend.  A new niece, two parents that somehow found a way to raise two good upstanding kids.

In a year marred by accidents, deaths, loss of several types...we are still together.  Still finding our way down that twisting road called life.  I'm sure I'll return to this blog soon.  I'll be riding again soon and be stronger for it.

This will be the first holiday season in some time that I will not have family gathered around the table with me in several years.  I'll miss them of course, but I know that they are there in spirit.

Till December my friends!  I'll see you then!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Living inside my helmet - the sequel

I am trying to understand something.

I ride to work nearly every day, I used to ride in what would be considered adverse weather as well (rain and cold).  Lately however, and I blame the hours of my commute now (more 9 to 5ish) I've not been riding in the rain much.

What I'm trying to understand is this.  This past weekend the streets were filled with bikes and bikers.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday rolls around and guess what.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

Oh there are a few lone stragglers, a lot of little 50 cc and 125 cc scooters once I hit the city streets proper; which makes some sense as the little scoots are better designed for city living than the wide open spaces that I normally ride.  Still though...why are the streets full of bikes on the weekends but not on the weekday?

Or, to put it more simply, why don't bikers ride more?  

Now I know this post will not apply for those up north or out west where the weather is nasty.  But hopefully it will give you something to think about for the next riding season.

The first thing that pops into my mind is the number of cars on the street.  All bikers have seen people putting on make-up, looking at their phones, making phone calls, fiddling with the radio and not paying attention.  I get that.  Those people are dangerous.

It's something we all have to deal with and I know that running back and forth from 9 - 5 has sharpened my senses.  I've always tried to practice good safe techniques, now I'm noticing that I push those techniques more to the front.   I also understand that yes, my risk increases riding during the "rush hours."  My risk also increases if it's raining during those hours.

I wonder if gear is not part of the problem.  Gear can be expensive, although generally it's a one time expense.  A good helmet, a good safe jacket (preferably hi-vis), boots, gloves, etc.  It can add up and once again, if your going to ride in every day safety gear is a must.  The more I look around and learn about this lifestyle the more I realize that the people that rack up thousands of miles a year are wearing the best gear they can afford.

Gear may not be sexy, but it's going to save your life.  Which is the other problem I think.  It's not sexy to commute.  No one can see your leather, your girl on back, your shiny chrome.  You have to take the time to clean your bike, your equipment, your oil.

I think we have all been brainwashed some.  Easy Rider, Sons of Anarchy, even the comedy Wild Hogs, and a thousand and one magazines and adverts that show an alternate way to live.  A one that is not mundane.  One that we can escape to during the weekend.  Riding to work every day sort of ruins that fantasy.  Commuting is boring.

Storage can sometimes be a issue.  I understand that too, having bought a top box to carry my lunch back and forth in.  This being Florida, my rain gear is always kept on the bike.  There are ways around storage issues.

Parking can be an issue.  I know at my job for example "our" spot was recently compromised to make way for a travel van turning radius.  Now the various bikers are forced to park in various places.  I've requested a single simple spot with a sign.  At least four, five, or six bikes could fit in that spot, depending on how they park.

Until that happens we are parking in front of the building in a "visitor's" spot.  Some days I'm the only bike there.  Other days there are two or three others.  No one has asked me to move yet.  Sometimes you have to fight for your rights.

As I read the various blogs and forums that I frequent the one thing that impresses me again and again is the passion that people have for their bikes and life choices.  Never in a million years did I think I would have the same love for biking that many of the people that I respect and admire do.  Hell, ten years ago if you told me I be riding a bike and writing a motorcycle blog I laugh at you.  Yet, here I am.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Riderscan...neat idea to good not to share.

What a great and simple idea.  Frankly I will have to look into this.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


They were a little confused on the concept
Lately I've been thinking a lot about community.

Partially because of the time of year.  It's wonderful to see little kids dressed up and being super hero's, monsters, princess and fairies.  Partially because I realize that even though I grew up in the suburbs and lived in city confines most of my adult life, I've become accustomed to rural living.

I like the quiet.  The community where I live is gated but very active with the local schools and charities.  I like being out and about in the area.  I like riding in the cool evening weather.

Finally, last night I was reading the newly revised Riding the Wet Coast blog and it's various tributes that other bloggers wrote to the late Bob Leong.  I never met the man but feel proud to have been included in his little blogging family.  I feel proud to be part of this community.
How you got goods across a pond in the old days

Saturday I had the opportunity to ride with the Plant City/Lakeland crew I rode with once before and want to one day ride with again.  I felt welcome by them.  However the lovely Susan and I had already made plans and we had a bit of running around to do afterward (for example, I have new riding boots).  We attended the Antioch Pioneer Day events.  Antioch is literally a one stoplight town, and it's a blinking light.  The whole event was held on the grounds of the Baptist Church.

In a way it was a step back into time.  I was reminded of old TV shows like the Walton's and Little House on the Prairie.  Mostly because a few of the Church volunteers were dressed like character's out of that time period.  At one time the Church was the center of the community and events like this were a chance to socialize,  A chance to steal that first kiss from that special boy or girl, or smoke your first cigarette.  Oh to live on Sugar Mountain.

All the events were geared to a simpler time.  You could chase a pig about and win a free ice cream cone if you caught one, fish with your kids, ride in a covered wagon.  Everything was free expect the food and that was very reasonable.  

Honestly though the event was not for us.  We have no young children or are we church going people.  Although I was tempted to chase a pig, we decided to head on out.

After that, it was off to run errands and with no place to be or demanding time schedule we took our time wandering about and took in a few yard sales.  We ventured off to Camping World and discussed what were we would like to be in five, ten, twenty years.  Let's just say were saving up for a big tour bus.

A ride back into Zephyrhills found us at the local park for a surprising visit to an unknown event where we listened to some country music and wandered along merchants.  

For the second weekend in a row I stayed off the bike and you know what...I was happy to have not ridden in four days.  Sometimes you just need to be off the road for a bit.

One final thing, get out and vote on Tuesday!