I definitely didn’t ride as much this year as I had in previous years for various reasons but I’m not making any excuses and just here to post the facts as tradition dictates. Pretty much all of this is from commuting and a couple of short day trips.
1971 BMW R75/5
Total miles for 2015: 507
1989 Honda Transalp
Total miles for 2015: 306.4
19xx Mystery Bike (more on this coming up)
Total miles for 2015: 118.7
My (cheesebot) mileage for the year: 932.1
Wow, I didn’t even break one thousand miles. Now I’m angry – that’s pretty sad. I promise to ride more this year. I’m not going to beat myself up about it but, yeah, I am going to beat myself up about it. This year went by very quickly and I did spend a lot of time in the garage. It’s very therapeutic for me to be in there and fix things and there’s nothing more rewarding than hearing a bike roar to life after sitting for thirty years. I was in there most weekends this summer instead of out riding.
I’m reposting this from my facebook page because I know not everyone who reads this blog is my facebook friend:
It’s been a while since I mentioned Siobhán’s Memorial Fund at Providence College. I’m bringing it up again because on Saturday, September 26th (3pm-5pm) we’re having a fundraiser in the downstairs pub at Trinity Brewhouse in Providence. For only $25 you will enjoy appetizers, a free Trinity beer, raffle prizes, and the pleasure of spending time with Siobhán’s friends and family.
Raffle prizes include a couple of gift certificates from Whole Foods and a bottle of Laphroaig single malt (Siobhan’s favorite) from Standard Liquors.
All proceeds will go towards the Siobhán Ross Memorial Fund at Providence College with the goal of providing aid to Providence College undergraduates from the city of Providence with financial need.
I will be selling tickets at the door for cash or checks so if you know you’ll be coming just pay at the door when you come.
If you can come – great! If you’re not sure you can make it please consider making a donation to the fund. You can print out this handy-dandy pdf invite (landscape format and fold over) and mail it back or, if it’s more convenient, you can donate with a credit card online at http://givetopc.org. Select “other” in the contribution category and add Siobhán Ross Memorial Fund.
Thank you for your time and I hope to see you there.
I didn’t ride yesterday because there were tornadoes (!) predicted in the area and I’m somewhat sensible. I did ride today on the BMW and it’s obvious that my mind was elsewhere because I forgot to turn off my turn signals after almost every turn (hey, at least I use them) and twice I forgot to downshift into first gear at traffic lights. I did pass some guy on an old Tengai on I-95 (going the opposite direction) and I think I’ve seen him around West Warwick too where we’ve done the wave. Oddly enough I didn’t see any other bikes this morning despite it being 70F and dry.
So yeah, I’ve got a lot on my mind. I haven’t really been on my own in twenty years or so and I’m trying to figure out what my plan is or even if I have a plan. I’m sure it’ll sort itself out and in the meantime I’ll do my best to do things that I enjoy.
And to change the subject I was messing around with Google Earth yesterday and found a much better Street View featuring Siobhan.
Oh, another thing I noticed in rereading this blog: all the run-ins with Casby’s dumbass poodle (this, for example). I have had plenty of my own incidents with this stupid dog and many times got to witness Casby’s minivan version of walking the dog (driving alongside it as it tears down the street).
Longtime readers of this blog may be happy (or sorry) to hear that last month Casby has sold his house and moved away with his giant poodle. So there will be no more internal combustion fueled doggie exercises nor random canine sneak attacks from that section of the street for the time being. Best of luck to his new hood…
Recently I started reading through this blog back from the beginning (chronologically) and it’s been very interesting to watch Siobhan’s (and my own, to a degree) evolution from the beginning of this in March 2009. It’s great that I have this record of events to remind me of some of the tiniest stories and her recollections.
A post from right before Thanksgiving 2010 hit me hard though. I’ll just link it here: Tomorrow is Today
Go read it and come back if you like.
I remember clearly when this was happening and how maudlin Siobhan had become. And I’m really glad I found this because she’s the person whom I’d most want to talk with about what’s happened and what I should do. So there it is right there; instructions of a sort that weren’t intended for me but end up freakishly appropriate. I have been sort of doing what she says anyway. I’ve been working on the house because I want to be more comfortable and free up some space (this Winter was particularly harsh) but I’ve also been going out and trying new things and places in this fabulous city. I’ve been making new friends and spending time with old ones. I’m doing my best to balance being responsible with fucking off for the day, but isn’t that what most of us do?
Oh, and I also continue with this blog partly to let her mom know what’s going on.
I promise I’ll get back to writing about commuting soon.
On a lighter note, here’s one of my favorite posts from the past: What Would Jesus Do?
And I’ll end this with a pic of O’Malley, for Siobhan
I’m just going to start this with a congratulations to American Pharoah and I’m sad that Siobhan didn’t get a chance to see another Triple Crown winner. She so loved her ponies and would’ve been thrilled at the news.
The amount of time Siobhan spent on the computer working on this blog and other stuff (ADVrider ride reports and reviews, paying bills, selling and buying on eBay, etc.) was a massive amount of our time spent together. As long as we lived together we shared an office with our computers back to back so we could converse while working or playing. This was my typical view:
My point is that writing is a lot of work. Especially for a perfectionist like me who has to carefully chose the exact word, make sure there are no misplaced commas, and doublecheck my doublespacing habit.
Siobhan had to be constantly doing something and that was probably a good influence on me because it forced me to go out and do things atypical of my character. We also always gave ourselves extra work for some additional income. When we started out I was a caretaker at a nature preserve on Long Island in addition to my full time job at the university library. She sold on eBay (a lot) in addition to her full time job and helping me with the caretaker job. At the end she was teaching the MSF classes along with her job at Providence College (by the way, this write-up that PC did describes her job much better than my attempts) and we both were also managing rental apartments in houses that we own on our street.
Everything is up to me now and it’s a lot of work. On our rides and trips Siobhan was the documentarian and photographer so I got the privilege of sitting back and enjoying the ride. I’m too accustomed to experiencing and not recording so I won’t be as good at reporting.
Wow, that’s a lot of words to apologize for my lack of updates – see what I mean?
Anyway, I have been riding to work but, as I’ve said, my commute is mainly on the highway and so is far less interesting and dramatic. The coolest thing is that I get to see elephants on the ride home because I pass the Roger Williams Park Zoo on I-95 (I promise to snap a pic as soon as I remember to grab the real camera).
For as long as I’ve owned the BMW R75/5 it’s had a sticky throttle and I thought this was kind of normal; or at least an effect of the throttle tube binding on the narrower-than-stock euro version handlebars that I have on there. I grew used to it and I kind of liked how I could use the sticky throttle as a cruise control of sorts and use my right hand when necessary. However, getting stuck in traffic the other day it just became unbearable and even a little dangerous because it got to the point where I had to use some force to bring the idle back down each time and I decided that it was time to open up the thing and figure out what was going on.
When I took the throttle assembly apart back in the garage, lubed everything up, and got it all back together it stopped working normally. I took a look at the cam thingy that the throttle turns and noticed that the gears were pretty stripped.
I ordered a new one from Hans along with a spare clutch cable (can’t have too many of those) and some springs. This weekend I had a chance to put it all back together and, OH WOW, it feels like a totally new bike. The throttle is so smooth I just want to ride around for no reason whatsoever – and I did.
I still have to figure out what my vacation trip will be this year. I have a lot of time I need to use up and right now we’d typically be preparing for our big camping couple of weeks. I’m think about taking the BMW this time though.
It was a bit chilly this morning but I decided to ride in anyway. My ride in was uneventful, maybe a bit windy but without any Murano run ins or any other bikes for that matter. On the way home I decided to cut through the Warwick CCRI campus (depending on the time of day it can be a nice shortcut) to see if the MSF classes had started up again. I used to stop and watch and visit with Siobhan if it was near the break time. Tonight I saw a bunch of little bikes going around in a counterclockwise oval with a RiderCoach on either side of the group. I couldn’t tell who the coaches were tonight so I’m not sure if they knew who I was as I slowly rode by and out of the lot. I know that she made a big impression with these people too.
I took these pics in September 2014
About to demonstrate an exercise on a TW200.
Encouraging the next generation of riders going in a counterclockwise oval.
She always loved to share her knowledge if she could help someone. All of her jobs were about teaching in one way or another and I’m sure anyone who got their motorcycle license through her will remember her.
This week finally brought milder temperatures and I vowed to myself to get on one of the bikes at some point (in between bouts of darkness and pouring rain). I only got into the garage a couple times over the winter storms and even then it was just to move the battery tenders around to other bikes, move the snowblower around or grab some tools for something in the house. Due to the mind-numbing snow and cold and grey combined with my occasional self-imposed isolation I managed to get none of the planned projects even started. Whatever, I’ve got some time for that, now I’ve just got to make sure these guys are road worthy.
My usual go-to bike is the BMW. He’s was running a bit rough last time so I wanted to check the timing, plugs, etc.
The timing looked pretty good but when I pulled the plugs…
I probably should check these more often. It’s a good thing I found a seller on eBay with a couple NOS boxes of the correct plugs.
Well, after getting the BMW all buttoned up and fueled up I found the battery was still too weak to get it going and the kickstart didn’t want to wake him up from his winter slumber. It’s probably time for a new battery.
Anyway, I went over to the Honda Elite 250. Turn the key, push the button – vrooooom. Yay Honda. I went over to the Transalp. Turn the key, choke all the way out, push the button – vroooooom. Yay Honda again. I let it warm up a bit, pumped up the tires and checked for any loose thingies.
Finally on Friday the temperatures and precipitation conspired to get me back on the road. I was nervous about hopping back on a bike (it’s been since Dec 5th) but I instantly felt at home – no emotional baggage (yet) and no uneasiness with my skills or balance. I went to lunch at Trinity (typical Friday lunch) and had my mug filled with Siobhan’s Stout.
I apologize for not updating this blog very much yet. I suppose it’s understandable given what I’ve been going through emotionally as well as all the practical and financial things I need to work out. There are some days when I know a nice long ride would relax me at some level but I also dread some of the other feelings that would inevitably arise. It’s difficult to ride with tears in your eyes and thick winter gloves aren’t the best at wiping them away through an open visor. So yeah, I haven’t ridden since the memorial service on December 5th. The cold, wet weather hasn’t helped either – I’m not as hardy (or crazy) as Siobhan.
I did finally go back into the garage yesterday and moved a bunch of bikes around and switched some battery tenders to different bikes in preparation for something. I don’t know what.
Siobhan loved her job at Providence College and they loved her back. We always joked about her starting up a scholarship after retiring for poor sods named “Siobhan” who had to suffer with everyone regularly misspelling and mispronouncing her name.
While not as specific, impractical, and narcissistic as that, we have set up the Siobhan Ross Memorial Fund at Providence College. The intent of the fund is to provide financial aid resources to needy undergraduates who are residents of the City of Providence.
Anyone who wishes to add to this fund should make their check payable to “Providence College” with “Siobhan Ross Memorial Fund” on the memo line. Any gifts or correspondence can be directed to:
Institutional Advancement, Harkins 412
1 Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918
or you can donate online at http://givetopc.org/
Please give what you can, if you can. I want someone to receive this financial aid in the future and wonder who Siobhan was and to go and find out – find this blog, find her ride reports, find her conference presentations, her pictures, her story.
Thank you. I promise I’ll get out riding soon and tell you all about it no matter how uninteresting it turns out.