Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motorcycle Links

I've been immersed in reading about motorcycles lately - magazines, books and online.

These are some of the links I've bookmarked.

General Interest -

Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum
Horizons Unlimited
MicaPeak dot com

Sportster / HD Specific -

The International Portal for Sportster and Buell Motorcycle Enthusiasts
The Sportster Home Page
V-Twin Forum
Harley-Davidson USA
Home Page - Sound Harley
Washington Motorcycle Dealer - Eastside Harley-Davidson
Harley Davidson Maintenance - Harley Davidson maintenance tips and advice.
How to change transmission oil in a sportster
Poor Man's Sportster Service Maintenance Guide
Self Help Information and Tips - Harley Davidson Community
YouTube - Harley Davidson Motorcycles : How to Do an Oil Change on a Harley Davidson Sportster

Equipment -


The most interesting link for me right now is the first one - Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum. It has stories from a guy who rode a Harley hard-tail chopper around the world The WRONG Way Round.... on a Chopper! - ADVrider and one about a young man who rode a moped from Australia to London Sydney to London on a moped called Dot - ADVrider

Nothing new about boys wanting to have a motorcycle adventure as you can see from these early 1900's Online Books at MicaPeak dot com. I haven't read them but they look amusing and it's interesting to think about what young men in 1906 were reading.

MicaPeak dot com also has Motorcycle Registries where owners leave their impressions of motorcycles they own or have owned.

Horizons Unlimited looks like a good site if you want to ride your motorcycle across the Sahara Desert or something like that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2000 Miles

I've put about 2000 miles on my motorcycle in the last 5 weeks. I've been going in circles a lot and haven't gotten much more than 100 miles from Everett. If I would have driven in a straighter line I could have driven to Juarez, Mexico or Madison, Wisconsin. Maybe next year.

It's interesting to think about what makes a good motorcycle and why people buy motorcycles and ride motorcycles. I've been lurking around the Harley forums and some owners like to modify/customize their bikes not so much for riding as for the aesthetic pleasure. That's cool - you see some real works of art.

Other people like the speed factor. That's cool too - but when you get to be my age enough speed tends to be something quite a bit less than it is when you are younger. Before I bought this latest motorcycle I was thinking about putting a motor on a bicycle, but I wasn't sure if it would have enough power to pull me up a hill. So my sights (powerwise) were set pretty low.

Some people like to belong to a club or define themselves by what mode of transportation they use. That's not really my cup of tea - I'm happy riding a bus, bicycle, train, airplane, subway..walking etc. But I don't think of myself as a member of the occasional bus riders club. I'm not really brand or mode sensitive when it comes to transportation.

My definition of a good motorcycle is one that runs. I like all sorts of motorcycles but I'm especially pleased when I see some old beater type bike that someone keeps running and uses to commute or for touring. There's just something about the functionality and keeping something old running that appeals to me. Not that a nice decked out BMW, Gold Wing or Harley isn't cool too.

I was thinking about putting on a different seat, shocks and saddlebags but the more I think about it I think I'll just leave my bike as it is and see how long I can keep it running without having to take it to a mechanic.

I just have to stop looking at other motorcycles on Craigslist...there's a 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250 with various upgrades and 2900 miles on it for sale in Ellensburg for $5900. That looks like a nice bike and a good price - but it doesn't make sense to have two motorcycles sitting in the garage over the winter. Maybe next spring...


That's a picture of the back of the stock seat at the top of this post. I like the stitching that says "Sportster Since 1957" - it looks sort of old fashioned and reminds how long this particular Harley model has been around.

Harley Davidson motorcycles have a long history, having been around since the early 1900's.

My maternal grandfather John Williams had a Harley in the 1940's, and he and my grandmother belonged to a motorcycle club that would go on rides around Wisconsin and stop to have picnics and socialize. He was a machinist and quite mechanically inclined - he built my mother and her sister an electric car and built his own speedboat, among other things.

He was killed riding his motorcycle when a car load of women who had been drinking stopped to make a U turn in a blind spot in the road. I'm sure it was very sad for my mother, her sister and mother to lose a father and a husband. My grandmother was an independent sort and worked as a school teacher for many years, after moving back to Montana from Wisconsin, where she'd worked in a defense plant during WWII.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Katsura This Fall

Katsura This Fall
Originally uploaded by Jack Crossen
This Katsura tree has done well in our front yard. It has a nice shape and delicate leaves that really get bright in the fall. I used to pinch off the ends of branches when it was small to stimulate more branching, and prune the crossed branches - but it's doing fine on it's own now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ferry Then Motorcycle Ride

I took the ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey Island on Sunday and this motorcycle was in front of me in the ferry line. It's a Suzuki 650 that looks like it's been around the block a few times - including Alaska. It's a functional bike with the metal saddle bags, large rear rack and GPS. The guy riding it lives in Seattle and was meeting his friend who got on the earlier ferry. I hadn't thought of a 650 as a touring bike but reading through reviews at it's obvious that owners really like the Suzuki DL650 for distance riding and lots of other things. It's got a big gas tank (5.8 gallons), top speed of 115 mph, 0-60 mph in 3.98 seconds and there's a new one on eBay for $6000 (MSRP is $7500).

The fare for a motorcycle is $3.05 and you get to get on and off first. You have just enough time to drink a cup of coffee on the run from Mukilteo to Clinton. You get to park your motorcycle on the front of the ferry on the main deck at water level so you get a nice view too.

I rode the back roads along the water up Whidbey Island to Langley, over to Fort Casey State Park and then north over the Deception Pass Bridge and dropped down to La Conner where I sat by a fireplace in a bookstore and drank a cup of coffee.

These are a couple of pictures I took at Fort Casey of the water and some tame deer that were hanging around.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bad Driving - Kills People

Riding a motorcycle makes you hyper-aware of how bad some drivers are. You learn to drive defensively - look ahead, plan ahead, anticipate what may happen based on what's ahead, never assume someone is going to do the sensible thing and leave yourself an escape route for those times when you need it.

I was driving East on Madison last night at about 9 pm. At the intersection with Broadway the light was red. The light turned green right after I stopped and no one was behind me so I wasn't in a big hurry and sat for a couple of seconds after the light turned green getting ready to enter the road. I was wearing some goggles that force me to turn my head to see to the sides, so that added some time as well.

A guy in a full sized pickup talking on a cell phone blasted through the red light. He would have hit me if I would have entered the intersection as soon as the light turned green or if I would have arrived a couple of seconds earlier and went through the green light. The speed limit on that part of Broadway is 35 mph and he wasn't going any slower than that. He apparently had no intention of stopping since the light was red for several seconds before he drove through it. I don't know if he didn't see me or just assumed I saw him and would stay out of his way.

I followed him for a few blocks at a distance because I was curious to see if he was drunk or just an idiot. He got out of his pickup at what I assume was his house/apartment and was still talking on his cell phone standing on the porch.