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!

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Longshot Kick De Bucket

Posted in BMW R75/5 (Mackie Messer), Daily Commute by cheesebot on 2015/06/08

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:

sioblog

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.

Buffalo Stance

Posted in Advocacy, Daily Commute, MSF RiderCoach by cheesebot on 2015/03/31

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.

2014-09-23 18.51.49

Encouraging the next generation of riders going in a counterclockwise oval.

2014-09-23 19.34.11

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.

How my Buddy almost killed me

Would I love to say it was an uneventful scoot commute today, but it was anything but.

Ride in was the usual, no other bikes.

It was such a nice day today (70s) that I didn’t want to come straight home. I know we’re low on toilet paper (down to 1 spare roll, no wonder I had chest pains and had to go to RIH last week), and I decided a nice run up to Target in Smithfield, then a leisurely scoot down Route 5 to Bald Hill Road and then onto Tollgate to meet Erik at the library. I thought it’d be a nice ride and a nice surprise.

Ghetto GPS from Smithfield to West Warwick

Ghetto GPS from Smithfield to West Warwick

Naturally I GPS’d the route with the assistance of Google Maps. Where would I be without the “avoid highways” option and the ability to drag-and-drop my route.

The ride toTarget was actually quite good considering I was on 44 at 5pm. Traffic wasn’t too backed up and I was able to get a free pump at the Hess. Here is where my problems may have begun. I filled up the tank and it went a little too high for my liking. I’m terrified of the dreaded Buddy “vapor lock” issue which isn’t real vapor lock but some kind of messed up evaporation system on the Bud to allow it to pass CARB in California.

In the Target I just couldn’t resist a quick look at the girls stuff…now that Isaac is gone it’s not the same but there’s still a few cute things. I tried on a pair of trousers (size labels mean nothing ladies, we know that) and the girls in the dressing room, geez, no wonder all my friends are men. “I look horrible in this bikini!” “Oh no you don’t, you have a stomach like you’re supposed to have…don’t want to be too skinny ‘cos anorexics look bad in bikinis…and trust me, I’d tell you if you were fat.” Seriously, on and on and on.

I got the pants and two pairs of argyles for Erik (and yes, I did get toilet paper), and strapped everything in nice and securely. I headed down Route 5, following along my directions and managed to get all the right turns. The posted speed is 35 and 40, so it’s a good cruising road (and at one point it becomes 4 lanes for no reason at all as the road is in the middle of the woods). A bunch of bikes along the ride and every single one waved.

There’s construction near the Route 295 overpass so the traffic was backed up (and the pavement grooved which I like almost as much as metal plates), but it wasn’t too bad and I got to see a giant dumptruck pouring tar. It stunk but was cool looking.

As I close in on the junction of Route 5 and Route 2, the speed limit picks up. I realize where I am going to merge into Route 2 and open up the throttle. No problem. Then I split off onto Route 2 proper where it gets going 50-60 mph and the cars behind me are at an appropriate distance. All of a sudden, nothing. I’m getting nothing from the bike. No acceleration, no coughing, no noise (but it hasn’t cut out). I’m FREAKING out. I manage to pull over onto the gravel-filled shoulder and the bike is still running. I open the gas cap but no whoosh. I wish it was an easy fix. I wait until there is no sign of any traffic and take off again. The stretch I’m coming into is slower (posted 35 but everybody goes 45-50) and it’s running ok. I see a clock at the mall announce it’s 6:18 and I’m hoping I can get to the library before Erik leaves.

I turn onto Tollgate and head into West Wa-wa. First time I’m seeing the new roundabout at the Royal Mills (nice). I get to the final light before the library and the guys are all turning around staring (I’m wearing my pink Corrazzo and pink FF) so I wave. I at least get them to give me a smile.

I turn into the library lot and see the Vespa. Awesome, I made it in time. I go into the library and tap on the “Reference Office” door and Erik answered. He was surprised! He was ready to go so I met him at the scoots (he had to go out the back way as the Vespa’s new Michelin S1s had arrived and were in the mailroom). We rejigged the packages and I wound up taking the tires in my crate. I told Erik about the weird lack of speed issue and he said there was only one small section where we’d need to go over 50.

Off we headed with me following. It’s a nice ride on posted 35 roads. After a few miles we come to the merge with Route 2 that requires some real speed. I have a car pretty close behind me and as we’re pulling up the hill, I feel it again…nothing. No acceleration, no nothing. I look to the left and there’s no shoulder  to pull onto (this is a left-side merge so we’re coming into faster traffic on the right) and I start panicking. The car behind me is really close and it’s dusk and I’m not sure he realizes what’s happening with me. I flash my brake light a few times and I’m also honking on the Stebel to get Erik’s attention as he’s way in front of me. The car behind me gets it and I manage to merge in the right lane and pull into the gravel-covered shoulder. I am FREAKING OUT. The Buddy is supposed to be my “get it, forget it” scoot. I completely expect things to mess up on the Vespa or Lammy; that’s the whole reason I got the Buddy, to not have to worry, or even think, about the machine.

I open the gas cap for a little bit and then head off again toward home. Erik is no where to be seen but at least I know where I am and can get home from here. A little farther up Route 2 I see Erik pulled to the side and we head off again. We both know there’s no other stretch of over 50 between where we are and home.

Tomorrow I’m going to Action Auto Parts on Carpenter to pick up a new spark plug. Let’s hope it’s that simple of a fix.

Arriving home (well across the street where the garage is)

Arriving home (well across the street where the garage is)

Chat with a biker

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2009/04/21

Coming home yesterday I saw a guy on a bike make a right a bit in front of me. He was wearing a half-helmet and a denim/Carhartt type jacket over a hoodie. I thought, hmmm, a guy on a chopper bike riding in this weather? And by “this weather”, I mean, it was going to start raining within the next 3 seconds. It was grey and clouds were hurtling across the sky.

The light turns green and I stop thinking about him as I’m on the stretch of Pleasant Valley that requires moving all over the lane due to poorly-filled-in patches made by one of the utilities last fall. The next light is green and I speed up into my typical position of the left lane (the road becomes two lanes in each direction), and I zoom past him. There’s no one behind me and I notice the bike guy get out of his lane and start zooming up behind me (because I obsessively stare into my mirrors to make sure no one runs me over) and I’m thinking, great, just what I need is a guy on a big ol’ cruiser doing the rev thing.

But to my surprise!, he starts asking me about the scooter. He wanted to know where the gas tank was and how much it held (2 1/2 gallons was his guess). I told him I was surprised to see a bike out given the weather, and he laughed and said he wasn’t going far. He wished me a quick journey home so I could avoid the raindrops and as the light turned green I felt like he was already on Atwells as I was leaving all the cars behind me…man that thing took off at rocket speed. And the tires, delicious. Oh, by the way, it was a Victory.

He turned down Spruce Street toward Bob & Timmy’s and I got stuck at yet another light.

By the time I got to Broad Street there were teeny tiny drops coming (mind you, I had all my raingear but hadn’t donned any of it as it wasn’t rainy when I left campus) and I’m thinking, almost home, almost home. Then some stupid idiot stops short to let another stupid idiot out of the McDonald’s parking lot (out the in by the way) even though there are cars coming the other way (the McDonald’s idiot is trying to make a left into traffic) and there’s no one behind me. Blast Blast with the Stebel and she didn’t go, just sitting there waiting for McDonald’s guy to cut across even though he can’t because there’s traffic coming in the other direction. Raindrop, raindrop, raindrop on my visor. Finally someone stops in the other lane to let McDonald’s guy go (and there’s still no one behind me!).

I miss the light at the Shell where Seth had the smackdown, and I’m getting all hyped up (stop rain!), and as soon as it turns green, zoooooom, bye bye stupid white car. In the end I manage to get home before real rain starts so I’m dry and happy. Time to go weeding and fruit collectin’ in Animal Crossing!

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