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.
The yearly mileage update is a good way to evaluate how much we rode last year. Unfortunately, sbahn wasn’t sure how to get to the odometer on the Husky TE610 because it has one of those new-fangled digital TrailTech Vapor gauge thingies. She put thousands of miles on that bike alone including riding it all the way up to Providence from Key West (and not the quickest way either). I’ll try to do some research on what the mileage was when she picked it up and update with my findings.
As far as everything else, here we go:
2008 Genuine Buddy St. Tropez 150 scooter
Total miles for 2014: 1,208.8
1995 Suzuki DR350SE
Total miles for 2014: 2,206.6
1986 Honda Elite 250
Total miles for 2014: 2,161.6
2006 Husqvarna TE610
Total miles for 2014: TBD
1999 Suzuki DR350SE
1/1/15: 1,460 + 5,280 = 6,740
Total miles for 2014: NA
1971 BMW R75/5
Total miles for 2014: 898
1989 Honda Transalp
Total miles for 2014: 5,724.8
sbahn’s mileage for the year: 5,577 + Husky mileage
My (cheesebot) mileage for the year: 6,622.8
We definitely succeeded in surpassing last year’s mileage (Obligatory New Year’s Day Post — Welcome 2014) and that’s even with her missing out on the last month of riding in 2014.
At the services last Friday it was pointed out to me by one of sbahn’s coworkers that her last picture added to flickr was oddly coincidental. I’d been so busy with everything else going on that I didn’t even realize.
Yeah, it’s a little spooky in retrospect but the explanation is that she went out looking to grab a tag on advrider. She was unable to locate it but, as always, documented the search nevertheless. For the record she was cremated (as per her wishes) and not buried in a cemetery. I just remembered how we always pronounced the word “buried” very differently. She pronounced the initial “bur” as in “burrow” but I said it like “berries”, as in “berried”. She picked on me for it – she’s probably right. I always let her win anyway. We both have linguistics degrees so who can say.
The memorial service given by Providence College was way beyond anything I could have expected. The outpouring of emotions and sympathy was overwhelming. The chapel was standing room only and it was obvious how many people had been affected by this loss. Personally, it was a whirlwind of emotions and activity and I am having trouble remembering it just a week later.
I rode Franz and enlisted our good friend tmlee to ride the new Husqvarna to the services.
I got permission to park the bikes on either side of the entrance to the reception following the memorial service.
I got the feeling that everyone appreciated this. She was known on campus (and on this blog) for riding her bikes to work year round. As soon as the service ended both bikes were surrounded by friends and family; touching, examining, remembering.
As I said, I can hardly remember much from that day. We, the family, went out to Trinity for dinner the night before where they had introduced a new stout.
and I successfully exposed my much younger brother to the finer points of single malt Scotch whisky.
I just wish she were here to see all of this – I know it’s a cliché. I hope she would say I was going a good job.
I cannot thank everyone enough for the kind words I’ve been given. Whether in writing, in person, or over the telephone (I hate the phone) it’s evident how important she was to everyone. Whether you know both of us, her and not me, me and not her, or neither of us personally (the internet is a funny thing) I hear and read your words. I know there are various threads on several forums. You have my thanks.
I don’t know where I’m headed or what the future holds for me. I’m going to do my best to lead my life as she would have wanted. I’m going to keep riding, finish the various unfinished ride reports (I know, right?) because I was usually there, and continue this blog as best I can.
On that note; my commute is a bit different than hers. My job is twelve miles from home and since I usually have to hop on the highway for a bit I don’t ride as much as she did during the cold season. I apologize in advance for this. I did have to buy a new car and I’ll probably be using that for a little while but whenever I take a bike I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it.
Please be careful out there and give thanks for what you have, every day.
This is cheesebot posting, I haven’t made a post on scootcommute in a very long time because sbahn took over and made it her own and has done a wonderful job. I am the “boyfriend” that you see mentioned in many posts for the last fifteen years. I’m sorry to announce that sbahn will not be posting any more.
The day before Thanksgiving Siobhan (her real name) was killed in an automobile accident in Foster, RI. Icy road conditions caused her to lose control and collide with another car coming from the opposite direction. Anyone who reads this blog knows that she almost never drove a car so the absurdity of it all is mind-blowing.
If you’re local to Providence, RI feel free to come to the memorial service at Providence College:
The Memorial Mass will be Friday, December 5th 11:35am at:
St. Dominic’s Chapel
Providence, RI 02918
The reception, afterwards (around 12:30pm) is at:
The Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies (opposite the chapel)
Providence, RI 02918
The address for the college is: 1 Cunningham Square, Providence, RI 02918
Please ride if you can – there will definitely be other riders there.
In lieu of flowers we’re requesting that you instead make a memorial donation in her name (Siobhan Ross) to the Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL)
We’ve always had a brood of cats from shelters or straight off the street and PARL was on our yearly charity tax-dodge list. Thank you.
Feel free to post any comments with stories or opinions, I like hearing about what she meant to people.
I would like to ask if you readers of scootcommute would like me to attempt to continue the blog on my own. I will not have the same voice she does and I could never replace her but I experience the same frustrations and idiot Murano drivers and can still write about dumb cats and various flavors of alcohol. Let me know.