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.
I never see anyone riding on my commute. Well, maybe on a beautiful, sunny summer day. But not now. Not in the cold, the dark, the rain, the leaves, the road construction.
Yesterday morning was torrential rain. As I was riding up my cut-through by the El Tiburon bar, a guy was barreling down Harold Street on a scooter. Thing is, he wasn’t wearing a helmet or any kind of raincoat. He was wearing a Dumb Donald (of Fat Albert fame) woolie cap. Not sure how that was helping alleviate the pain of rain stinging the face.
I gave the lobster claw fist pump, and he gave me several toots on the horn.
How a normal person buys a spark plug
- Goes to auto parts store
- Tells clerk make & model of bike
- Clerk looks it up
- Clerk locates correct plug
- Normal person pays
- Normal person leaves store with the spark plug
How I buy a spark plug
- Pull old plug and note number
- Confirm fitment in manual
- Go online to confirm what plugs fit
- Write everything down on a sticky note
- Go online to check what auto parts shop in Providence will have the plug
- But still go to the shop I prefer even though the website showed nothing
- Guy at the shop wasn’t particularly nice when telling me, “We don’t have it. I can order it.”
- Get annoyed
- Go to the gym
- Stop at auto parts shop closer to home
- Get in sorta line as folks aren’t very good at lining up at this shop
- Wait as the two guys in front of me have the clerk (Isaiah) try to find a matching hose to the one they brought in
- Watch as a guy attempts to make a return, only to be told that only the manager can do that
- Watch as clerk yells for manager, Dustin, and receives no response
- Watch as returning guy just sorta stands there, not knowing what to do
- Laugh when clerk, after about 5 minutes, announces that Dustin must be outside
- Watch as Dustin walks through the shop door
- Clerk yells to Dustin to help the returner customer
- Dustin yells over to me and asks what I need
- I yell back I need a spark plug
- He tells me to get in line behind returner guy
- I don’t know why since hose guys are almost done
- Oh, I failed to mention, this is all happening in Spanish, except when I’m spoken to
- I get behind returner guy
- Hose guys finish so Dustin tells me to go to my original clerk, Isaiah
- I tell Isaiah the plug is for a motorcycle and he gives me a concerned look
- Dustin tells Isaiah to cross-reference the number
- It appears Isaiah doesn’t know how to do this
- I point on computer screen at where I think he should click
- He looks at me, and Dustin yells over that I’m correct
- Success! Isaiah finds the cross-reference number
- Unsuccess! Plug is not in stock, but it is at another store
- Call the other store and confirm that yes, indeed, the plug is in stock
- Leave the store and saddle up the Buddy
- Get ready to ride down the curb into the parking lot
- Front tire lands on the ground just as a red scooter with a “Buddy for Mayor” sticker drives speedily into the same spot, ridden by a guy with fabulous dreads and earbuds
- He yells over “We’re sharing a spot” as I bust out laughing
- Head down to yet another auto parts shop, not the sister store of the one I was just at, but one that showed the plug in stock online
- Watch as Casby’s poodle hurdles across traffic-infested Elmwood Avenue
- Continue to watch as Casby casually strides behind said dog into traffic
- Arrive alive at the third auto parts shop
- Stride in and immediately have the clerk ask me what I want, in a nice way
- He looks up the plug information
- Success! They have it in stock
- $5.50 later, and after a “we stock a lot of motorcycle and scooter plugs because there are a lot around here”, I leave the shop with plug in hand
- Spin Buddy back toward home
- Notice a dirt bike riding behind me in rear view mirror
- Move over to the left of lane as dirt bike appears to want to pass
- Receive a flash of a smile and peace sign from guy riding an 80’s Honda XR 200
- Honda XR continues to pass a bunch of vehicles in front of me before turning down a side street
- I eventually make it to my street in one piece, spark plug safely tucked away in my left jacket pocket
Why, why does it take stopping at three shops, an excruciatingly long wait in one where it felt like I was in a Central American airport with all the different accents, to purchase one lousy plug for a Suzuki DR350? Why?
I thought living in a city was supposed to make things MORE convenient.
This post doesn’t really have anything to do with scooters, except for the fact that I did, indeed, commute on the Buddy today.
One of the IT guys was over in my office today because I couldn’t get the stupid network printer to show as online. Apparently I gave a lot of the Help Desk folks a good laugh with my ranting description of the issue, including “yes, I did turn it off and on, and that did nothing.”
Anyway, he’s a really nice guy, and has been working on the campus for a long time. He’s been diagnosed with ALS. Young guy, probably late 40s/early 50s. And he’s really angry about it. We had a long talk as we both struggled with getting this stupid printer to work.
Later in the day I met with one of the profs, who happens to also be a Catholic priest, to go over some of his image content for a histology course. Often in my meetings with professors, I get a little lesson on the content (they can’t help themselves…don’t get me talking about semantics ‘cos you’ll get a little lecture, too).
He opened up a slide with an image of a slice of a cockroach eye. He says to me, “Look at God’s brilliance. Look at how beautiful that is.” I looked at the image, then at the prof, then back at the image, and finally muttered, “Ya know, it is very beautiful. Such a perfect design.”
At the end of the day, as I’m riding from the gym (oh, there was another scooter parked at the gym so I’m not the only one!) into downtown to go to the credit union, I just started crying. Why can’t I just work at a normal place?
Casually riding home home tonight on the Buddy, three ATVs, three abreast, scream around the corner onto Sprague near the rehabbed brick factory on Dexter. Thing is, a car was also coming down the street. I don’t know how a collision was avoided; car, 3 ATVs, scooter. Wild ride and it’s only a 4 mile commute. Why don’t the cops do something about the ATVs, most likely stolen, riding around city streets. And Angel wants to be Rhode Island’s gubner, ha!