Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whidbey Island Ferry

I took this picture on January 15th on the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton. I think this ferry is a great deal - the fare for a motorcycle and rider is $3.15. The fare for a walk-on passenger is $4.20, and $7.20 for a car and driver. During the peak season - May 1 to Sept 30, the motorcycle fare goes up to $3.95 (a dime more than last year), but still a good deal.

I don't know who those people are but they thought my motorcycle was really shiny. I don't ride that Harley when it's sloppy out very often. Without a windshield or fairing and with an open-face helmet it's not the best setup for wet weather. Those rain drops start to sting a bit above about 50 mph.

A lot of times it's drier on Whidbey than in Everett, but it didn't work out that way on this Saturday. It started to rain a little on the ferry ride over and I had to put my rain gear on just outside of Clinton. If you stay off the main road on the island it's a pretty interesting place to ride. I stopped at Useless Bay Coffee in Langley to warm up and have a latte. That's a nice coffee shop - pretty surroundings and lots of room for a variety of people to hang out to hang out, eat, drink coffee, visit. There were quite a few little kids with families, old and young people, dogs - so it's a nice atmosphere.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rocket Sidecar - Seattle International Motorcycle Show

Photo from the International Motorcycle Show in Seattle December 11, 2010. I don't know what kind of motorcycle this is but the little boy in me really likes the sidecar.

I got to see Jason Britton doing some stunts at the show. The one that impressed me the most was a sliding dismount that you'd have to see to understand. He was going at a fairly good clip - started sliding his bike sideways, put the kickstand down, and jumped off - parking his bike all in one motion. I can't find any videos of it on the web - so you'll have to see it in person.

I listened to a presentation by Lee Parks author of Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques. It was interesting but there's only so much you can learn about riding techniques by listening or reading. I might check out his book to see if anything sticks.

At another spot a mechanic was talking about adjusting valves. For Ducati owners he suggested not trying to adjust desmodromic valves the first time before watching someone else do it or asking someone who knows the procedure to help you. Reading things like "when you take out the closing shim, keep in mind that once the shim comes off, the valve is free to drop into the cylinder if the piston isn't at TDC" makes that advice sound pretty good. The engineering behind those valves is pretty interesting but unless you are willing to learn to diy or pay a dealer 700 bucks or whatever every 6000 miles to do it you might want to consider the cost of ownership of that sweet looking Ducati. On the other hand - I suppose a person who buys a Ducati 1198 isn't concerned with maintenance costs.

I think the saying is fast, cheap, reliable - pick two. Not so sure there aren't some exceptions where you end up picking one - fast, expensive, unreliable or none and end up with a slow, expensive, unreliable machine.

I picked up a pair of ROK™ Adjustable Straps for Motorcycles from a vendor at the show. I'd read some good reviews for those straps in various places on the web and needed some new straps for a waterproof bag I use to carry stuff on the rear rack going to and from work. It was nice to be able to see the various sizes and pick the one that worked for that application.