A couple of milestones reached

3000_iphone_2462In case you don’t know the story: I’ve been trying to get to the 3,000 mile mark on my mountain bike for the longest time.  Technically speaking, I’m several hundred miles past it…but due to various speedometer failures over the years I’ve never seen it indicated, and therefore I’ve never considered it “official”.  That is, until today.

With my various medical things going on lately, I really didn’t expect to be out on a bike this weekend.  I did ride, though, without anything unusual, and spent part of the trip pulling over at a park to play catch with my oldest little boy (I had mitts, a baseball, and water bottles in my backpack).   I didn’t do anything aggro, no wheelies or endos, and chose to take it easy. The last time I threw caution to the wind on a mountain bike while still recovering from surgery, I tore my kneecap in half and nicked an artery with one of the pieces.  Serious stuff I’d rather not repeat.


3000_iphone_2495I managed to get out on two of my motorcycles tonight, too, and while giving my youngest little boy a ride I noticed that I was about to reach the same milestone on that particular machine.  A few blocks from home the odometer ticked over to 3000.0, and we pulled over for a quick snapshot of photographic proof.  Awesome.

This “new normal” we’re going through right now seems a lot more normal now that I’ve been able to spend some time on two wheels.  Maybe there will be some camera time ahead, too!

Kudos to ND DOT

As a motorcycling advocate I was pleased to see this sign on I-94 this weekend. During the pleasant riding months we have a lot of motorcyclists in the area, and I’m sure attractions like Buggies ‘n’ Blues (photos forthcoming) and the ABATE Menoken Rally brought a measurable increase in numbers of two-wheeled motorists this weekend. Whenever I hit an unmarked section of chip-seal gravel around Bismarck I tend to think that we bikers are forgotten…but not by the DOT this weekend!

Local rabbits strangely attracted to hyper-expensive race fuel

I’ve always been of the opinion that an empty (or mostly-empty) fuel tank or can is a far greater hazard than a full one, so it was time to set this fuel can outside the Garage Majal. I can’t say with any certainty that it’s responsible for the bunnies hanging out nearby, but it probably can’t hurt.

This stuff smells so AMAZING in the tank or after it exits your exhaust pipe, I’ve always described it as high speed perfume. Spendy, too – I got this drum from the factory Kawasaki team but I don’t know how to import it. I’m of the understanding that at the time it was about several times as expensive as pump gas or even the Turbo Blue race fuel I buy here in town at Racer Performance Center. I guess the local rabbits have distinguished noses!

As you can tell from the lush green foliage, this photo was from a couple of years ago and I just ran across it while looking for something else. I was able to get the can back in the garage before any little hasenpfeffers were able to huff or siphon it. Sadly, I no longer have need for race fuel, although I wouldn’t mind roadracing again someday… *sigh*

No worries, I’m used to getting lots of incredulous stares

After hours of clearing sidewalks around my neighborhood, I couldn’t resist. I went for a brief ride, just long enough to run down to the Capitol and pose for a quick shot.

Yes, I got a lot of surprised stares and double-takes from people in their cars. I’m actually not the most hardcore winter motorcyclist out there; this was a novelty trip for me. I’ve seen other people out over the winter with studded tires on their bikes, clearly running errands or going to work. Now THAT is hardcore.

Knobby tires don’t give much traction in the really messy snow found on roads that aren’t plowed. Most of the roads I took, however, had been plowed and offered sufficient traction. After taking my little joy ride and snapping a couple of pictures with my cell phone, I figured I’d been fortunate enough and skated back to the safety of my nice, warm Garage Majal.

First ride of the year

During many of my bachelor years I’d ride motorcycle year-round. These days I don’t enjoy the same opportunity, but I’ve got other fun stuff to do all winter (ie, toddlers). Besides, I am down to only three motorcycles in the garage these days. I used to use one of my more “spare” motorcycles for spring riding. There are several reasons:

First, there’s the issue of North Dakota roads in the spring: the leftover sand spread in the winter will sandblast your motorcycle. The sand combined with the winter road grime can make for some challenging surfaces. “Cage” (car) drivers are not accustomed to looking for motorcycles. The sun is still low enough in the sky to shine into people’s eyes, making it even more difficult for them to see you.

Now that the weather and roads been nice for a while, I got my license plates renewed, new tires mounted, and I’ve gotten some other things out of the way, my riding season has officially begun. Yes, it’s much later than years past, but I’m not worried. My little boys are old enough to take on short rides now, and my gracious wife makes sure I get time to ride or work in the garage when I express a desire for it. In other words, my life is far better balanced now than it was when everything revolved around my motorcycles!

The coolest custom motorcycle helmet you’ll see all day

My friends at Cycle Hutt are sportin’ some custom lids that are not shy in declaring some popular views held by most North Dakotans! The shop kitties are also prominently featured on this particular helmet. You’ll see them basking in the sun around the shop when you visit.

“Trust in God, not the government!” That goes for Republicans and Democrats. Men are just men: imperfect. Sure, conservatives are far better than liberals, but individual people are not without their occasional flaws.

There’s nothing like a quote from the Founding Fathers to speak volumes. By the way, if you like quotes from our nation’s founders and prominent early American leaders, visit the Wallbuilders website and subscribe to the free podcast!

Yesterday I posted a photo of a locally flown Gadsden Flag. It also has a prominent placement on the top of this helmet. Don’t Tread on Me is a great expression of the spirit of the modern motorcyclist, who has a target on their back just like anyone else the liberals don’t like.

Pro-Life. Pro-God. Pro-Gun. God Bless America! Three of my favorite sentiments, as one of those “bitter clingers” President Obama was talking about when he didn’t think the microphones were on.

The “NOBAMA” thing is gaining a lot of traction as people finally snap out of it and realize who was elected President last time around. His numbers are plunging as eyes continue opening. So much for Hope™ and Change™, eh?

I’ve got lots of various helmet photos (I own seven of them myself) that may trickle in here from time to time. I’m not in favor of helmet laws, but I don’t ride without one!

ND motorcyclists: call your legislator and tell them to vote NO on the government healthcare takeover

I was sitting in Barnes & Noble as I’m known to do occasionally, reading some of those zany British motorcycle magazines that make our American mags look like vegan cookbooks by comparison. I was reading an issue of Visor Down and noticed an interesting tidbit in the “confessionals” section. I snapped a quick photo (above) of the reader’s submitted letter. The part that jumped out at me was:

After a trip in the big NHS taxi, I found myself in casualty, on a Friday night and it was packed. I was walking wounded so I was left in the corridor on a luxury PVC NHS wheelchair. After about 2 hours, and feeling a bit stiff, I decided to hop across the packed waiting room to the drinks machine.

This story takes a more interesting turn, but the fact that this guy took for granted that he could be stuffed into a plastic wheelchair and left in a hallway after crashing his motorycle is absolutely ridiculous. Motorcyclists are known to be a little more freedom-loving (and -exercising) than most…yet this guy, a product of European socialism, has been conditioned to think that his situation was acceptable.

Depending on your monitor size, the text of the article may or may not be legible in the photo above. Let me clarify: he didn’t write to complain about his experience at a government (NHS) hospital. He wrote in to say how embarassed he was that, during the “hop to the drinks machine” he mentioned above, he realized that the crash had ripped the butt out of his jeans and boxer shorts, exposing him to the people in the waiting room. As an freedom-loving American, I would like to point out that his REAL source of embarassment should be his nation’s government healthcare system!

North Dakota has a lot of motorcyclists, especially considering our weather. If you’re one of them, and think that the government won’t find a way to penalize you for riding a motorcycle under its “fair” new health care system, you’re deluding yourself. Call Dorgan, Pomeroy, and Conrad and tell them to vote NO on government health care!

I was discussing this with a nice gentleman from the Cato institute last fall, and he pointed out that motorcyclists should probably pay more for insurance because they present a greater risk. He didn’t state that as his opinion, just as a matter of the business of insuring against such risk. I agree from a business standpoint, because the free market will sort this out just like anything else.

Case in point:, in the 80s it was very difficult to insure a motorcycle like mine. Yet, the sportbike riders were out there, and enterprising insurance companies bucked the trend to shy away from them and be the only ones to offer reasonably priced coverage. Now it’s easy and cheap to insure a sportbike capable of 300kph like mine, even with a $100 deductible! The free market sorts things out and lowers prices like government never could. See what happens when motorcyclists band together?

Once again, I implore you to call Conrad, Dorgan, and Pomeroy to urge them to vote against government run health care. Your fellow bikers will thank you…we’re all in this together.

Mandan 4th of July events featured on Speed Channel, available on iTunes

The folks at KTM Cycle Hutt in Mandan gave the community a treat by inviting Jason Britton of the Speed Channel program “Superbikes” to perform and hang out with the Cycle Hutt gang for July 4th last year. He and his friend Tony rode in the parade, gave multiple shows at Cycle Hutt, trained some local stunters, and took in everything Mandan has to offer on Independence Day. He even tried his hand at bull riding at the rodeo!

I was hired to follow and photograph the craziness, including riding on the parade float. It was an incredible blast, and I’m so grateful to Justin and Tammy for everything they did for me and the rest of the community that weekend. Now you can see how Jason and the Speed Channel crew enjoyed their time in Bismarck-Mandan!

The program is available on iTunes by clicking here or by searching for Super Bikes” in your iTunes browser. It’s $1.99 for the episode. Yeah, my ugly mug appears in there a little bit, but it’s still an entertaining episode.

I still have some image galleries online from the event:

July 3rd – training the locals
July 4th Parade – Two wheeled insanity hits Main Street
July 4th – The prime performance
July 5th – The aftermath

The older I get, the faster I was

I turn the big four-oh this week, and suddenly 40 doesn’t seem so old. I’m still pretty darn fast on a motorcycle, I’m throwing around my toddlers like a young dad, and I just had a tickle fight with my wife Sunday night (which I won). Age is in the heart.

I brought home a 4,000 DPI slide scanner from work to go through a pile of my racing slides from a few short years ago, which is where the above photo came from. I’ve got a bunch more to go, now that I’m done with a mega photo scanning job of old family prints. Slides go MUCH more slowly, even if the guy on them is going pretty fast. Boy, do I miss racing.