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!

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.

It’s 7 degrees, sure I’ll ride to work

except that the Buddy had other ideas. Bundled in a balaclava and neck gaiter, I opened the door to the garage to see the Buddy sitting, ready to go. I unlocked it from its anti-theft devices and slipped the key into the ignition. Flip of the kill switch, pull in the brake, press the magic button.

Crank, crank, crank, cough, silence.

Crank, crank, cough, silence.

Cough, silence.

“C’mon little Buddy, c’mon. You can do it,” I encouraged Franz.

A few more cranks and he started up. I had time for a nice long warm-up. I rolled the scoot out the garage and into the snow-covered driveway.

I walked back into the garage to don my helmet and grab my much-needed heated gloves. As I came out to close and lock the door, I noticed a chocolate syrup-like substance on the ground.

“Oh no, ” I moaned. “This can’t be.” I crouched down to the side of the scoot and there it was…drip…drip…drip. Oil was dripping from a hose, presumably from the oil cooler.

So there I was, in full gear and several layers, standing next to an oil-oozing scoot, wondering what to do. I doubted the DR would start as it hasn’t been on a tender for a while. I whipped out the phone and called the boyfriend to turn around from his way to work to come get me and deliver me to my work. He had my car since his van died yesterday on I-95 on his way to work.

This cold is killing our vehicles, one after another.

When the boyfriend got home this afternoon, he checked the Honda Elite to see if it would start up. What a surprise. One magic press and it started right up. Not even on a tender.

Friday is a Honda Elite day. Bring on the single digits!

The Perfect Light

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2012/02/22

Riding home tonight I came up to the 5-way light at Eagle Square. There was a line of cars in the “going straight” lane, but none in my “left turn only” lane. The light turned green for the “go straight” crew which means that I would now have to sit through a full cycle of lights. This is a 5-way so it takes a few minutes to cycle through.

I slow as I pull up to the stop line and then, as if the Fairy of the Traffic Lights reached out her magic wand, the red arrow melted into green. I actually did a double-take. As there was no traffic on the opposite side (headed toward me), the light sensed me and gave me the right-of-way.

So friends of Providence, there is at least one light in the city that responds to traffic flow.

On a completely different note, I checked the air pressure in the scoot on Friday evening after I installed my new Yamaha C3 mirrors (the boy looks hawt!). The front pressure was a bit low so I filled it up; rear was good.

Genuine Buddy scooter with Yamaha C3 mirrors

Genuine Buddy scooter with Yamaha C3 mirrors

Fast forward to Tuesday. I pull the scoot out of the garage and it feels really heavy, like it doesn’t want to roll. I checked both tires, played with the brakes, everything seemed ok.

Little Ronnie was home from school (with big brother Jasson watching out for him) and he threw open the window to watch me gear up and get ready to ride to work. He distracted me a bit so I didn’t really think much of this.

About a mile from home and I notice that the rear tire is almost flat.”Dahyum!” I carefully ride the scoot on my commute route and roll it into one of the gas stations along the way.

$1.50 for air! Are you kidding me? All I had was three quarters so that wasn’t going to work. I continued on my route and rolled into another gas station. Seventy-five cents; that’ll work. I push the three quarters into the machine and it clicks on with a giant groan.

I pump up the rear tire, having no idea how much air I’m putting in as there’s no gauge on the machine and I don’t have a gauge with me. Grrrrnnnhhhhh sssssppppppissssssssss. Done.

I ride the last little bit onto campus and hope it’ll hold for the ride home.

It seemed fine, and again sorta ok this morning. When I got home tonight I stopped at the house and waited for the boyfriend to come out. “Take it for a ride. Something is off.” “But I have no idea what it’s supposed to feel like.”

Needless to say, the tire pressure was below 10! Yikes! The boyfriend messed with the stem, a Schrader valve, by flipping the cap and tightening it. Lemme tell ya, I had no freakin’ clue that the valve had a name, no less that it was this über-complicated thing.

Let’s see how the commute goes tomorrow.

And all this fine, fine weather (highs in the mid-50s!), I really have an itch to take Elsa the DRZ400SM. But I’m waiting on a set of taps to re-attach the Lynx fairing. It’s all loosey-goosey right now. Waaaah! I feel the need to shift!

Genuine Buddy scooter with Yamaha C3 mirrors

Genuine Buddy scooter with Yamaha C3 mirrors

10,000 miles by scooter

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2011/12/20
9,999.9 miles on Franz Biberkopf, the Buddy scooter

9,999.9 miles on Franz Biberkopf, the Buddy scooter

I don’t know why this was such a big deal for me, but the Buddy turned over 10k today, December 20, as I arrived into work. This is the only bike I’ve ever purchased brand new. I put every single mile on this thing, and it’s primary use is for commuting, 8 miles round-trip. Two years, 7 months. Either I work waaaay too much or those “I’m going to take the long way home” meanderings really racked up the miles.

Either way, I love the Buddy. Reliable. Cute. Requires next to nothing in maintenance.

10,000.0 miles on a Genuine Buddy St. Tropez

10,000.0 miles on a Genuine Buddy St. Tropez

A special THANK YOU to Paul for walking all over campus to take pictures. You’re such a good guy.

My commuter Buddy in more ways than one at 10,000 miles on the odometer

My commuter Buddy in more ways than one at 10,000 miles on the odometer

Pre-Thanksgiving Tradition: Solo Ride to free the mind and the body

Tentative Route

Tentative Route

My employer closes one day early for the Thanksgiving holiday, granting all of us the Wednesday as a paid holiday in lieu of Veteran’s Day (which is duly celebrated on the day as we’re the only ROTC campus in Providence).

Waterproof Ghetto GPS (ziploc bag and index card cut in half)

Waterproof Ghetto GPS (ziploc bag and index card cut in half)

Last year I went on a long ride to Twisted Throttle and through the Arcadia Wildlife Management Area. This year, I got up in the morning, sat in front of my computer with a cup of coffee, and started mapping a route with my friend, the Google. Despite the very, very crappy weather (rain, rain, and oh yeah, more rain), I worked out a ride toward the west/northwest of little Rhody that would take me through a Wildlife Management Area and a state campground.

I decided to take the Buddy and not the DRZ400SM because I figured, quite rightly, that I’d get into less trouble on the scooter. It did make for tough going on some of the trails and through some of the puddles and, oh yeah, on the ride home on Route 7, but all in all, I’d probably still be in the woods if I was on the DRZ. That bike makes me do very stupid things.

Genuine Buddy on Elmdale Road, Scituate, Rhode Island (just off Route 6)

Genuine Buddy on Elmdale Road, Scituate, Rhode Island (just off Route 6)

Veering off Route 6, I meandered through the woods and past some houses in a sparsely populated area. A short time later I found myself in a secret neighborhood of beautiful, old houses overlooking a pond. “Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind living here,” I thought to myself, especially at the road turned to dirt.

Oh oh New England (thank you Jonathan)

Oh oh New England (thank you Jonathan)

I stopped along the nicely groomed dirt road to take off one of my jackets, have some water, and a pee. I was trying out my new Joe Rocket Dry Tech Nano trousers that I got on super-duper closeout from Motorcycle Gear (formerly NewEnough) because I wanted to see how they would handle the rain. What I thought was a nice option, the suspenders, complicated the pee break. I actually had to remove my riding jacket, my rain jacket, my insulated jacket, and one of my wool shirts. Try doing this, in the rain, in the woods, as you’re searching for a suitable log for peeing. Lesson learned, put the suspenders over all the clothes.

Easy puddle (no pics of the soul-sucking, over-the-boot slime)

Easy puddle (no pics of the soul-sucking, over-the-boot slime)

Looks are deceiving...I look at this pic and thank god I didn't bring the DRZ as I would have gotten into much, much, much more trouble

Looks are deceiving...I look at this pic and thank god I didn't bring the DRZ as I would have gotten into much, much, much more trouble

Now the fun was to begin. My nicely groomed dirt road turned into a puddle-infested and rock-strewn path. I was having a difficult time seeing as my visor was fogging and it was still raining. I was trying to guide the scooter through these huge, slimey, slippery puddles and up and down the rocky trail while wearing rubber rain over gloves and with my visor up as the rain covered my glasses.

I was hot, sweating, and breathing hard as I guided the little Buddy up and down each hill. I didn’t want to turn around, and ooooops, there goes my foot into yet another puddle that was over the top of my boot. Again and again water poured over the tops of my boots, soaking my wool socks.

Sand pit or a bit of south Jersey in the Rhody woods! I cannot wait to go back on the DRZ with knobbies

Sand pit or a bit of south Jersey in the Rhody woods! I cannot wait to go back on the DRZ with knobbies

If I'm sane enough to take a pic, the puddle ain't that bad

If I'm sane enough to take a pic, the puddle ain't that bad

At one point there was a clearing to my left, a large, sandy field. I just had to see what was the deal, so I swung the Buddy into the soupy sand. I paddled the scoot through and found a very nice trail off the sandpit. A visit for another day as I didn’t want to get so lost that I would never get to the store in time to pick up some butternut squash (the only thing I still hadn’t picked up for Thanksgiving dinner).

What was I thinking bringing 10 inch wheels and zero suspension on this ride?

What was I thinking bringing 10 inch wheels and zero suspension on this ride?

Rain, rain, go away...all you do is leave slimey, slippery puddles in your wake

Rain, rain, go away...all you do is leave slimey, slippery puddles in your wake

Now the tough stuff started. I obviously didn’t register how difficult the terrain was with the scoot as I returned a few days later with the DRZ and a bunch of other riders and insisted it wasn’t that bad. I do remember my brain screaming “When will this end? When?!” and glimpsing the headlights of a passing car ahead. “Aha! A road that a car can travel on! I’m free!”

Log crossing! Blip the throttle and up and ovah!

Log crossing! Blip the throttle and up and ovah!

Finally off of Gray Squirrel Trail...never did like those critters

Finally off of Gray Squirrel Trail...never did like those critters

So I found myself on some tarmac but no idea where I really was. I decided to go to the right and yep, that’s right, wrong direction. I turned around after I realized I was headed south (I really do need a compass) and was dumped onto a major roadway, the road I was looking for as I was across the street from the campground that was on my itinerary.

George Washington Memorial Campground, or wear orange or you'll be shot!

George Washington Memorial Campground, or wear orange or you'll be shot!

I headed into the George Washington Memorial Campground park which is currently closed for camping for the season but open to the hunters. Yah! Hunters! Kill those silly deer that insist on jumping out in front of me or my boyfriend when we’re riding. Bambi be damned!

Olney Keach Trail, Washington Memorial Campground

Olney Keach Trail, Washington Memorial Campground

Puddles and rain...what a way to spend a holiday

Puddles and rain...what a way to spend a holiday

Center Trail or what a freaking blast that ended with a stern "No motorized vehicles" sign

Center Trail or what a freaking blast that ended with a stern "No motorized vehicles" sign

My handwritten directions had me on a route that didn’t exist (well, it was blocked with lots of boulders and a sign declaring the trail to be the fibre optic line) so I just sorta wandered around and eventually made it out of the park.

No idea where I was but this was across from a sign declaring the Voss Burrilleville Land Trust

No idea where I was but this was across from a sign declaring the Voss Burrilleville Land Trust

Scottish Highland cattle in Burrillville, what the hell?

Scottish Highland cattle in Burrillville, what the hell?

It was getting late (read: darkness was settling in and it was getting coooold), but I still continued on my original route to find a way through yet another WMA, except,  oh, it’s not vehicle-friendly. Oh well. I actually decided I had had enough and instead of heading into Massachusetts to check out a few other roads, common sense ruled and I pulled out my map.

Huh?

Huh?

How to get back to Providence? Barrelling through Burrillville looked to be the easiest route which would lead me to Route 7 / Douglas Turnpike / Douglas Avenue upon which I knew, as I entered into Providence, there was a Shaws in which I could warm up and acquire butternut squash.

The problem? I just couldn’t see a damn thing. It was dark and there was so much moisture on the inside of my shield that I just couldn’t see. Route 7 is posted at 40-45 mph and I opened up the throttle to keep up with traffic, using the taillights of the car in front of me as a guide.

I seriously could see nothing. I was using the movement of the taillights in front of me to determine where bumps in the road were located. I noticed I was breathing really, really hard, probably having a freak out but not even aware of it. Then I thought, “I wonder what it feels like to hit a deer at speed?” Happy Thanksgiving!

I somehow made it into Providence and pulled into the Shaws off Douglas. I actually parked the scoot in a regular car spot because, shockingly, the parking lot wasn’t totally going off. I walked into the Shaws and there were exactly two buttnernut squashes left in the display. Two.

I grabbed them both and headed to the check-out, where the self-check proved to be fastest. Standing there, having many, many people stare at the girl with the blazing pink cheeks and dazed, glazed eyes, I rustled through my wallet looking for my Shaws cahrd. Total purchase: $1.87

At this point, I had given up trying to wipe down the inside of my shield and I was only about four miles from home, so I rode with the shield up despite the mist in the air. I got home and it was only about 5:00 pm.

After pulling off my riding gear, I immediately grabbed a bunch of firewood from the back hall and started a fire. Shortly after my boyfriend walked in and found me sitting on a pillow in front of the fire, staring at the flames and mumbling about my left foot being dead. Soooo cold.

All in all, a ridiculous way to spend a day off but upon reflection, a helluva lot of fun!

Genuine Buddy scooter out for a ride in the woods of Rhode Island in the rain, in the cold, the day before Thanksgiving

Genuine Buddy scooter out for a ride in the woods of Rhode Island in the rain, in the cold, the day before Thanksgiving

The Lost Days of August

Doe standing along Old Coach Road somewhere in South County, RI

Doe standing along Old Coach Road somewhere in South County, RI

Normally August is the month that slowly winds itself up into the craziness that is always the start of semester. Not this year. This year, it’s been crazy since I got back from my ride up to Québec province in June. While I can’t complain because the August weather has been great (great as defined by me which means not 95F every day), but everything else has been ridiculous.

Parking Ticket

Franz Biberkopf, the Buddy, received his first parking ticket two Fridays ago while I was at the dentist having more torture performed on my mouth. Really? A ticket on a scooter carefully parked at the back of a full car spot? Providence, do you need my 15 bucks that badly? I’m still so livid that I haven’t even opened the ticket. It’s sitting in the pet carrier. FU Angel.

Pulled Teeth

I had two teeth pulled two Thursday ago (see a trending pattern here with why I haven’t been posting). Dental work sucks. I’m already exhausted by this process and I still have years to go. Looking forward to getting braces on the bottom teeth later this week. I look like someone beat the crap out of me or I was a junky and lost adult teeth. Way to greet the new faculty.

Leisure Drive gravel pits

Leisure Drive gravel pits

Meeting in South County

Oh woe is me, poor baby had to ride down to Wakefield for a half-day meeting hosted by one of our nicest faculty in her absolutely beautiful seaside home. It’s a crap ride down when in a rush but I had mapped out a nice ride for after the meeting adjourned in the late afternoon. I had to take I95 and then onto Route 4 with all the beach traffic. I’m hanging out in the slow lane, keeping to just above posted, when I notice a Prius behind me. As I pulled up to a red light at the corner of Route 138, I turn around and see a purple parking hang tag. I give a thumbs up; it’s one of my work colleagues playing block.

Route 1 went down to one lane due to construction and dozens of cars roared past in the left lane up to the last moment, but not one cut in front of me. Who’s gonna mess with the girl on the black & pink dirt bike? You got the balls?

After the meeting and a tour of the guest house, I headed out with my sad little paper GPS. Apparently others think I should carry a cellphone, GPS and paper map. I thought my written directions and a couple of Google maps print-outs would do me. I did make it home…eventually.

Carolina Management Area, South County, Rhode Island

Carolina Management Area, South County, Rhode Island

I was lost a lot of the time, but that’s nothing new. I had a chat today with Molly, the student who is currently working for me, and she said she doesn’t like to be lost. I replied, “I don’t mind being lost as long as I don’t have to be anywhere.” Even in that situation, she said she didn’t like it. I have to work on her.

Carolina Management Area ferns

Carolina Management Area ferns

One of the big destinations was the Carolina Management Area. I don’t understand why two of the trails were gated (and not posted) so I happily went around. My absolutely favorite kind of riding is easy double-track on grass and pine needles. No rocky death. No over-complicated path that requires so much thinking that you can’t figure out how to get home. Just a nice ride through the ferns and deciduous trees. I still have no idea if this was a no-no or not, but my map showed the trails as open roadways. I’m thinking the gates are opened to regular cars/trucks during hunting season. Whatever the case, it was extremely relaxing and the air was perfectly cool.

Birds on a telephone line

Birds on a telephone line

Of course there was drama. At one point there was a largish tree across the track, but there was a slightly beaten down go-around, which leads me to believe I’m not the only one to go around the gate. The problem with the go-around was that is was super-spongy moss and fern decay hiding slippery broken branches underneath, just like the “incident” in Canada earlier this year. This time I got off the bike (without it falling over, huzzah!) and dragged the hidden limbs out from under the cushy ground so that I could safely get back to the packed ground.

New England Stone Wall, Gallup Road, Connecticut

New England Stone Wall, Gallup Road, Connecticut

I continued on toward Yawgoog Boy Scout camp, not getting lost per se, more like, “oh, that Dead End sign is telling the truth”. The camp was packed with boys and they were great, all waving, shouting “great bike!”, and being much more friendly than any other time I’ve ridden through. I think it’s good for the boys to see a girl on a motorcycle in the woods. I feel bad that they’re stuck with their archery and knot tying.

Gallup Road farmland, CT

Gallup Road farmland, CT

I eventually made it onto our regular Pachaug route, which are the dirt roads in and around the campgrounds. No way in hell I’m going to “ride Pachaug” on Avon Distanzias, alone, at 8:00 pm, after working all day. I just wanted a little farmland before I headed back into Rhode Island.

It occurred to me that it was getting late as I watched the sun sinking ever lower on the horizon. And I was in a completely different state! As I rode up Route 49, I remember that there is a turn into the Green Falls campground in Pachaug State Park at a metal tower. I took the right and rode up until I came upon a major road. I thought I had been riding on James Road, but I was on Green Falls Road, and the crossroads was not Route 165 back into Rhode Island, but Route 138. While 138 also would take me into Rhode Island, it was dragging me southward, away from Providence.

Farm on Gallup Road, Connecticut at sundown

Farm on Gallup Road, Connecticut at sundown

In desperation, I took a left onto an interesting looking dirt road over the Rhode Island border. Now, you have to understand. The sun has set. It’s actually COLD for August and I only have a mesh jacket and pants. It’s in the low 70s and upper 60s which is COLD when you’re moving (gimme a break, I’m a skinny chick!). And it was late and I was 1) hungry; and, 2) had to pee.

The road was great! I think it was Grassy Hill or something similar. But it was dark. I was no longer worried about deer, and I just wanted to get home, so I was booking it (for me). The DRZ has an aftermarket headlight and I had both the low-beam HID and the high-beam halogen lights on. All of sudden this thing comes flying right at me. I can see its furry body and stretched-out, paper-thin wings.

Narragansett Indian Church Tribal Burial Ground

Narragansett Indian Church Tribal Burial Ground

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” I scream. I don’t want bat guts all over me. I lean down and to the left and manage to avoid contact.

“I have got to get out of here and back to a normal tarmac road,” I told myself.

Eventually I made it back to 138, and even with the construction, was able to get on I95N at Exit 3 in Rhode Island. I kept talking to myself, saying “It’s not that far, it’s not that far,” but I felt so invisible in the black Rukka jacket and messenger bag without any type of 3M reflective tape (as of yet).

I pulled onto my street just after 9:00 pm. Overall, a long and very fun day at work!

Cows on Gallup Road, CT

Cows on Gallup Road, CT