Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ride to Work Day?

Every year, an organization called "Ride to Work, Inc." declares a summer day "Ride to Work Day." In 2007, that day will be July 18. (As far as I can tell, the only reason for the group's existence is to promote the day. Their website is http://www.ridetowork.org .)

Their mission statement says they support the use of motorcycles for transportation. Novel concept, huh? And evidently the day they promote is a "show of force," if you will. They hope a lot of people will ride, and the non-motorcycle-riders will take note and be envious, and maybe consider what losers they are to be sitting in cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs.

I only rode my motorsickle to work 2 days in 2005. One of 'em was "Ride to Work Day." I was joined by maybe 30 other riders at the office building where I work. It was actually pretty cool - we lined the scooters (of every variety) up on the tarmac, out front of the building. A bunch of us went on a lunch-time ride to the Crow Inn... a little place just far enough from the office to make the ride interesting.

The other 2005 day I rode a motorcycle was in October, when I spoke at a funeral. I had to wear a suit, and didn't want it to get all sweaty as I rode my bicycle to the church.

I rode a bicycle on the rest of the days (as I've done on most days since 1985). I also missed Ride to Work Day in 2006, and will likely skip 2007... the bicycle is my chosen ride.

Can you "make a statement" by riding a motorcycle to work one day a year, on Ride to Work Day? I'm thinking not likely. But it sure beats going to work in a car!!!

(My motorcycle is in the top photo, directly behind the lamp post.)

Friday, February 9, 2007

January - 9 miles

Pretty pathetic. 9 miles total for the month of January.

Some people "winterize" the scooter. And, I s'pose if there's snow and ice on the roads in your neck of the woods for months at a time, that makes good sense. (Insurance companies also write "winter layover" insurance policies, for people whose bikes are retired for several months each year.)

But... proper winterizing is a hassle. You should drain the gas tank, and change the oil and filter, and a bunch of other stuff. Put the battery on a trickle charger...

I'd rather ride all year 'round... at least a few times each month, to charge the battery, and circulate the fuel, etc. So I invested in an electric vest instead of a battery charger.

But still, it's hard to get up the gumption, when it's overcast and below freezing. When the sun is shining in a blue sky, a cold day somehow doesn't seem as cold. (And - it is NOT good to use the motorcycle to go on a 5-minute errand on a below-freezing day. You need to ride long enough to let the thing warm to normal operating temperature. Otherwise you end up with condensation in your crankcase, exhaust system, etc. It needs to warm up enough to evaporate all that water vapor.)

9 miles is the lowest monthly total I've had, in at least 10 years. (I started keeping track, month-by-month, in 1997, because I'm kind of obsessive about such things.) February should be better, and March better yet.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Are Motorcycles Dangerous?

There's a general perception that motorcycles are a dangerous, daredevil pastime. In fact, I've heard that squirrels are the Hells' Angels of the animal kingdom; their motto is "Live Fast, Die Young, and Leave a Furry Patch on the Highway."

My nephew asked me that question a few months back; HERE is my reply. (Posted on my more general-interest "Idaho Spud" blog.)

Please post your own thoughts on the topic.

Click HERE for information about motorcycle rider skills training in Idaho. (HIGHLY recommended.)


Have you felt the soul-stirring that comes with aiming your packed motorsickle down the road for a multi-day adventure? There are few feelings that can compare.


I've been riding since 1966 or thereabouts; my daddy had a 120 Suzuki "scrambler" that I started on, riding the foothills north of my hometown - Boise, Idaho.

My first motorcycle was a 1973 Yamaha RD350 - a 2-stroke twin road bike. I bought it lightly used in 1975; I haven't been without a motorcycle since.

My current "main" motorcycle is a Harley-Davidson FXDX, purchased new in 2000. It's a fantastic machine; comfortable for around-town putting, but fully capable of over-the-road touring. I've averaged about 6500 miles / year since. I also have a 1978 Yamaha SR500 "thumper" in mothballs; I hope to make her once again roadworthy for her 30th birthday.

If I were a rich man, I'd have a garage full of motorcycles of various shapes and sizes, and I'd spend many a blissful day aiming 'em down a road or a trail.