Scoot Commute

Pressure Drop

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.

Pretty obvious who it is now!

Pretty obvious who it is now!


A Wintry Mix

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Campus by cheesebot on 2015/01/20

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.

The Biohazard and Franz at PC, Dec 5th, 2014

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:

Lynne Fraser
Institutional Advancement, Harkins 412
Providence College
1 Cunningham Square
Providence, RI 02918

or you can donate online at

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.

2014 in Mileage

Posted in BMW R75/5 (Mackie Messer), Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf) by cheesebot on 2015/01/01

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

1/1/14:  15,231.0
1/1/15:  16,439.8

Total miles for 2014:  1,208.8

2008 Genuine Buddy St. Tropez 150 mileage 1/1/15

1995 Suzuki DR350SE

1/1/14:  11,074.7
1/1/15:  13,281.3
Total miles for 2014:  2,206.6

1995 Suzuki DR350 mileage 1/1/15

1986 Honda Elite 250

1/1/14:    7,979.8
1/1/15:  10,141.4
Total miles for 2014:  2,161.6

1986 Honda Elite 250 mileage 1/1/15

2006 Husqvarna TE610

1/1/14:    TBD
1/1/15:  5,393.0
Total miles for 2014:  TBD

2006 Husqvarna TE610 mileage 1/1/15

1999 Suzuki DR350SE

1/1/15:  1,460 + 5,280 = 6,740
Total miles for 2014:  NA

1999 Suzuki DR350SE mileage 1/1/15

1971 BMW R75/5

1/1/14:  86,138
1/1/15:  87,036
Total miles for 2014:  898

1971 BMW R75/5 mileage 1/1/15

1989 Honda Transalp

1/1/14:  42,128.8
1/1/15:  47,853.6
Total miles for 2014:  5,724.8

1989 Honda Transalp XL600V mileage 1/1/15

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.

Heavy Rains … and I see another scooter rider?!

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2014/11/25

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.


The Saga of the Spark Plug

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2014/09/17

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.

What a day

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?

ATVs in Providence

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2014/08/19

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!

Power Out on Atwells: Red Light Crisis

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2014/07/03

To my lovely Jeep this afternoon, struggling in the confuse-a-cat traffic at the intersection of Dean and Atwells, who thought it appropriate to yell out the window “fuck you!” when I scooted between the gridlock…shoulda thought about that initial purchase, eh?! Haha!

Urban Explorin’

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Pleasure Ride by sbahn on 2014/05/05

We had our first motorcycle fatality of 2014 in Rhode Island on Friday evening. I spent some time looking at the Google street view of the location and just couldn’t figure out what happened (22 year old on a GSX-R that he purchased in March of this year, at least that’s what I sussed out from his Facebook profile). The street surface looked smooth and the stretch of road looked straight. It was bothering me enough to make it the aim of my ride this evening (after stopping at the Aldi, the credit union and the house to drop off the groceries).

Now, it is well-known by those who know me that I am hopeless when it comes to trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B without intensely studying a map and writing very specific directions. But for some reason, I decided to just wing it.

Buddy on Cadillac Drive, Providence RI

Buddy on Cadillac Drive, Providence RI

And here’s the crazy thing. I actually found the street. I had never been there, a street that parallels I-95. I kept coming upon dead-end after dead-end as the highway was cutting off the surface streets. But I persevered and kept heading in what I thought would make the most sense. For once, I was actually right. I couldn’t believe it when I was stopped at a red light, and felt like I should make a left, when I spotted the street sign. I found it!

I rode down the street a ways and spotted the accident scene easily as a makeshift memorial had been set up (I don’t get these roadside candle and flower tributes, but it did make it easy to find). I wanted to continue on the street to see where it went, so I rode on. It got kind of creepy with gates and fences everywhere. There was a dirt road that paralleled the railroad tracks but I couldn’t figure out a way to get to it as the river was inbetween where I was and the tracks.

Wellington Avenue, Cranston RI

Wellington Avenue, Cranston RI

At one point I stopped and walked down into what appeared to be a spot where people dump crap and found two rib cages. There was a bunch of rope and a couple of 5 gallon plastic pails. I think I know what I found, but I don’t really want to think about it. It kinda creeped me out.

Ribcage skeletons, rope, 5-gallon buckets -- nice place for a picnic off Wellington Ave, Cranston RI

Ribcage skeletons, rope, 5-gallon buckets — nice place for a picnic off Wellington Ave, Cranston RI

It was getting to be about dusk so I turned back up the road and tried to ride it thinking like a 22 year old guy on a Gixxer. Naturally I wasn’t very successful in this endeavor. I still don’t get it. There was a slight turn to the road before the place where he hit the pole, but it was so much before I can’t see how an over-correction would have gotten him into the pole. The only thing I can think is he lost control earlier, looked up and saw the pole, and target-fixated. Nothing else makes sense. It’s just so sad. If only he had gone off the road 5 feet earlier or later, he’d probably still be here as it was a huge lawn.

I continued along the street until I came upon a bridge over I-95. I had no idea where I’d wind up, but I swung a left and rode down the parallel street on the opposite side. Lots of little kids out, riding bikes, playing. At least three gave me a thumbs-up. At what point do little boys go from thinking scooters are cool to scooters being, ahem, not cool.

Little Buddy, big Cardi equipment overlooking I-95 on Wellington Ave, Cranston RI

Little Buddy, big Cardi equipment overlooking I-95 on Wellington Ave, Cranston RI

Astonishingly, I eventually wound up on a street where I knew where I was. It was as if I somehow acquired a sense of direction overnight. I still don’t know how I figured out how to find the street and how to get home. Maybe my knowledge of Providence is really getting to be good, as if I’m approaching the Knowledge.

Oh, and this showed up last week on campus.

BMW R90/6 on campus

BMW R90/6 on campus

Bikes, Bikes and More Bikes

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2014/04/07

Today wasn’t a particularly nice day, but I saw lots of bikes out and about on my commute, probably because I didn’t take my regular commute as I had an appointment in the morning.

  • girly on a Yamaha Vino scooter
  • hardcore commuter on a Honda CRF230 or 250
  • some random 90’s thing parked on campus with fake BMW roundels
  • a tiny glimpse of a sportbike X2
  • and finally, a nice, unmolested early 1970’s Yamaha