Saturday, September 26, 2009

Washington Motorcycle Safety Training

I'm taking a Washington Motorcycle Safety Training class this weekend.

I'm pretty psyched up to learn all I can about safe riding in the morning classes, and in the afternoons we get to ride little motorbikes around a course - which sounds fun.

I'm taking the Novice Rider Course to get all I can out of the experience. It's two days and costs $125 so it's a good deal.

I haven't ridden a motorcycle since I was in the Navy in the 70's and high school in the late 60's/70's - so I'm pretty much a novice.

I started with a minibike, went to a Honda 350, then a Yamaha 750 and now a Harley 1200. I've ridden my Harley over a 1000 miles in the last few weeks; up to the top of Stevens Pass, up highway 410 by Mount Rainier, around the Everett area, and once in rush hour traffic to Seattle.

I'd forgotten how fun it is to ride a motorcycle and one of the best things for me is it gets me away from my laptop and out of the house.

Friday, September 25, 2009

iPhone Repair

I cracked the glass on my iPhone last week. The Apple Store wanted $199, for the repair, which would end up being $217 after tax. That seemed pretty steep considering I paid $199 for the phone (with a two year contract), and the same phone is $99 now (with a two year contract).

I sent a text to Tom at Jet City Devices in Ballard and set up an appointment for that afternoon. Once I showed up he had my phone glass replaced in a few minutes, with a 1 year guarantee, for $95 including tax. Jet City Devices has a shop in Chicago as well.

Monday, September 21, 2009

On The Way Home

Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen
I took this picture of Rachel on our way home from the Grape Stomp at Jack's place in Yakima. It was a fun weekend as always. Great to be with family and friends.

I put the photos Betsy and I took (and some old ones from a grape stomp 15 years ago) in a set called Grape Stomp on Flickr.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meditation on a Bike

I rode a few hundred miles yesterday on a motorcycle. It was a fine early fall day with sun, coffee, forests, shade, smells of cedar, pine, rivers and meadows. Washington State Highway 410 is designated an All-American Road for it's beauty. It's also one of the most popular routes for motorcycle riders, as I learned yesterday.

I also learned to not follow cars too close and how to use my front brake. I was following two cars around a sharp corner near the top of the pass going about 35 mph and the girl driving the lead car decided she needed to make a quick stop to look around. I locked up my back wheel and started to go a little sideways before I got the front brake engaged.

That brings me to the point of the title. When you are on a motorcycle about all you can think about is riding safely. There's no time to think about what you did yesterday or what you will do tomorrow. There's enough time to smell and feel the open air, sun, shadows, the sound and vibration of the bike and engine. You are in the moment.


I've been thinking that when people ask me what I do my answer will be, "I'm a student of the good life with a focus on happiness."

We would all benefit from some introspection on what makes life good for us. There's a distinction between having fun and being happy. There's a lot of ways to have fun. There are a few simple (not easy) rules for being happy. Work hard, love one another, be kind to all living things and yourself.

Tom Barrett over at the Interlude Retreat has a mediation this week on The Good Life.

A pretty good book from Utne Reader on this topic, Goodlife: Mastering the Art of Everyday Living, is available used for 47 cents on Amazon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mt. Rainier Today

I'm riding my motorcycle around the mountain today - it's beautiful.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Worlds Smallest Motorcycle Repair Shop

I've been driving by Randy's Cycle Repair in Everett since it opened in 1985. It looks like an interesting place with lots of old motorbikes, and often the owner, out in front talking with people or working on bikes.

It's a tiny little shop - but big enough.

Randy has a book out called How To Get Your Motorcycle Up and Running - Service and Repair Manual.

I like the practical nature of this video from Randy where he explains you have to have spark, fuel and compression for a motorcycle to run.