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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It's time to ride update

So far this year I've been out on Kimmie maybe three times.

Sunset - ignore the date it's a mistake
Over the last couple of days she would not start, a coughing spattering sound was heard as she tried to turn over.

Then yesterday....she started.

Susan elegantly stated "I guess the bitch doesn't like the cold."  I grumbled at both of them and started off down the road towards work, stopping to fill the tank with some high test gas and thinking that it probably would not hurt to either get a battery tender or other such device.  Being the geek I am I go internet diving for an answer but don't find anything that was truly helpful to me.

The ride was thankfully, uneventful.

Although I started to cramp up and my bike started to bother me on the way in.  Not so much on the way home.   I cursed myself, I've been off the bike to long.  I also wondered when the last time was I gave Kimmie a bath.

Bok Tower
I have plans for this year.  I hope to visit the Keys and Conchscooter.  I'm planning on possibly meeting Bill and Rocket sometime later in February.  I understand that David of  the infamous Life on two wheels blog  might be making a trip down my way as well.  I needed to be in top riding shape to keep up with these legends of the blogging world.

Rides are planned to Bok Tower, St. Petersburg and other places I've been to and visited but not by bike.  Other places I hope to revisit by bike again, or go for the first time.   Places like the Manatee viewing center and the Sunken Gardens.

Florida has a lot to offer if you know where to look, and little surprises when you look beyond the the corporate facades of Disney and Universal.

I promised myself I was going to get out more this year, and come hell or high water I was going to do it.  Now comes the hard part....actually doing it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

It's time to ride

I knew going into the month of January that riding would be an uphill battle.   Just the way the calendar fell with meetings, my job, routes that I had to run and other things would make getting out on Kimmie tough.  The cold snap and subsequent bout of winter flu I had did not make the situation any easier.

So here I am pouring over the forecast at like it's a proverbial treasure map, trying to determine if and when I can do any riding over the next three days.  The temperature was perfect today although there was a high chance of me getting wet going in.  Over the weekend the temperature would be falling but it appeared to be dry.

It was not so much the cold that scares me as the chance of rain.  Sure, I've ridden in rain before and this being Florida, I would again.  With a bit of a hacking cough and memories of my last accident still in my mind riding is less than ideal conditions concerns me.

It's funny how something that happened just over two years ago still plays in my head.  The accident exposed some other problems that I'm not going to go into.  It was nothing life threatening or overall that serious...but it did remind me that I am, in fact, mortal.  That little accident kept me off the bike till May.  Susan's ongoing medical issues have played into that as well.

In 2015 it was a combination of bad timing, bad weather, bad decisions that kept me off of Kinnie.  I was not going to let the new year start off the same come hell or high water.  Plus I wanted to build up to some longer rides planned for later in the year.  I needed to ride.

It's time to ride.

**EDIT**  I didn't get out Friday or Saturday due to previous commitments.  Now the bike is not turning over.   I'm hoping it's related to the current cold snap.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bundling up because it's Antarctica outside (winter in Florida)

I knew that I would not be able to ride for a week or two at the beginning of the year.  We had routes to run and meetings to attend.

December and January have been thin months for me paywise due to the holidays and me missing some work.  So when the beginning of the week rolled around I was looking forward to jumping on Kimmie and doing my commute.  Only the temperature fell by 23 degrees overnight.  When I left for work it was only 47 F (8 C) and when I left work it was only 42 F (5.5 C).

I know I should not bitch.  After all my hometown was looking at a high of 12 F (-11 C).  I should be used to "fall like" conditions right?  After being in the south for six odd years my blood thinned out.  Days like this are a shock to my system.

So here I am, prepping like it's sub zero outside...freeze out jacket, freeze out gloves and I'm considering putting on my new neon yellow windproof and waterproof Bilt gloves.  I'm also thinking to myself how ridiculous I'm being.

"It's cool outside," I tell myself, " it's not Antarctica freezing."  Yet my soon to be 50 year old bones want me to bundle up.  I think about my fellow Rounders and how they must be having a good laugh about this.  However if I'm going to ride more this year, I'm just going to have to buck up and do it.

So I make it to work and back, the only part of me that got cold was my neck which a balaclava would fix and I have to curse myself for riding in anyway because I can feel a tickle in the back of my throat and it is that time of year.  We do have a Free Country jacket at the house that would protect the neck if I pulled the zipper all the way up, I've not worn it on the bike because it does not have any protective armor in it.  

I've ridden in colder weather than this and I remember pulling over sometimes at two in the morning to pull on a pair of sweat pants to protect my legs.  I didn't have to do that on Monday but it was still a brisk ride in and out of work.

The good news is that for the rest of the week it's supposedly going to warm up and make riding all that more comfortable.  Expect for Thursday where we are expecting (depending on which TV station you trust) a 70 to 100% chance of rain.

So hate mail can be sent to me at:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First ride of the new year

I had a couple of options Saturday, I had the chance to do a group ride.  A chance to meet up with an old friend for lunch.

Instead I decided to spend Saturday working on the house first, taking care of some business second and "taking a ride" was actually fifth on my to-do list.   One nice thing about waking up really freaking early on a Saturday is getting 1 - 4 done pretty early.

I left about 11:00 AM.  It's finally starting to feel like fall/winter in Florida as the sky's were overcast with a 15% chance of rain.  The temperature was about 62 degrees F (16.7 C) when I took off.  I did have a destination in mind...but was not really concerned about getting there.

Every Saturday Ybor City has a farmers market.  It's small and really not that interesting but would serve as a good excuse to point Kimmie's tires in that direction.  I have recently acquired a taste for hard cider from Cigar City Cider and Mead as well as being turned on to a little coffee shop called Joffrey's.  You can thank one of my work mates for that newest addiction.

I was also thinking about riding along Bayshore Boulevard, which would provide some wonderful views of both the waterfront and the city of Tampa itself.  I had my camera with me, and one of the goals I have for this year is to take more pictures when I am out and about.  There are just to many interesting pole barns and lonesome cows out there that need a little photographic love.

However I love Ybor.  I found myself wondering about on foot and finding some interesting little stores.  I ran into a friend from work and chatted with him for a bit.  A phone call from my brother meant that I soaked up the new warm winter sun for a half hour or so as we talked about my mother and his daughter.  I meandered over to the Ride Factory which I've been told has the best mechanics in the city.  Like nearly all dealerships they had mostly low milage Harleys in stock, but their bay was as big, or bigger, than their showroom floor.   There was a early 70's Honda on one of the racks looking like it was off the showroom floor.  Another bike, which the mechanic guessed was an early 1940's BSA, was being lovingly restored.  Frankly I could not take my eyes off it.

Sadly I had let time slip away.  I had to turn back, so I pointed Kimmie's wheel back north towards home.

That's okay though, it was a warm day now, the sun was at my back and I started back taking the long way.  I've been thinking about Ybor a lot lately because I've been kicking around a business venture in the area.  It's an up and coming area and their are parts of the city that can be had for a song.  If I and my partners do this right that is.  That however is another project, another song.

I pointed my wheels north and thought about how the New Year was full of promise...and what I would have to do to make those promises become fulfilled.

Riding Kimmie today was a good start, sadly starting Monday there was a damn good chance I would be off her for two weeks.   Ah, business..