Monthly Archives: July 2018

Get Off My Lawn.

Ready to be shocked? I’ve been motorcycle shopping. I know, you’re thinking, “Haven’t you been working on your bike for, like, months now?” Well, yeah, I have. I’m looking for something different. An adventure bike. With Harley-Davidson’s recent announcement of their first-ever adventure bike, plus my recent off-road adventures in the Jeep, it’s got me thinking again about how awesome it would be to have an adventure bike. This is a bike that’s street-legal, but is just at home on the trails. I suspect the Harley is gonna be hella overpriced, and besides, it’s not out for another year or two. BMW makes some great adventure bikes, but I’m not sure I want to spend 10 grand or more on something I’m going to take into the woods and bounce off of trees and sh*t. (UPDATE: I did.)

himalayan

Then there’s the Royal Enfield Himalayan (above). This is an odd little Indian bike (like, the country, India), but it’s inexpensive (about 5 large), and surprisingly, my local speed shop carries them. It’s a little bigger than 400cc (my Phantom is 750cc), so that’s enough power for what I want to do, and that is poke around in the woods. So, used BMW or similar enduro, or a Royal En. Not sure. But I’m watching the CL; you never know what might show up.

grom

Maybe I should just get a Grom. No, if you ever see me on a Grom, you have my permission to kick me squarely in my cash and prizes, even if I am pulling dank wheelies. Tiny, stupid looking little bikes. And 125cc? That’s just sad. I expect to see lots of them on the Dragon – I think there’s a rental place there or something. I’ll show ’em what 750cc and straight drag pipes can do.

apes1

Now, in the aforementioned poking of Craig and his List, I’ve seen some things. Not just there, but in all the reading and research I’ve been doing turning my bike from a normie to a rocket. And there are things I just don’t get. Look at that picture above. That’s the same model as my bike. Now, bikes are made to be customized, I get that. What I don’t get are those ridiculous handlebars. They’re called “ape hangers“, and they are about the dopiest thing I’ve seen. Motorcycles are inherently dangerous in the first place, and the fine folks at Harley-Davidson, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, et. al. had their most skilled engineers design handlebars that were comfortable and (relatively) safe. Then some squids come along and put the most unsafe, uncomfortable handlebars they can find on the bike. I don’t get it. Get off my lawn.


Then there’s highway pegs and/or forward controls. These are footpegs that are far forward of the “normal” footpegs, with the intent being that when on the highway and shifting and braking are less frequent, you can stretch out. Jesus Christ, look at that video. Ape hangers? Check. Forward controls? Check. A face-bandana as if he’s about to stick up an old-timey train carrying the silver mine payroll? Check. Does that look even remotely comfortable? It’s like the Marquis de Sade designed a motorbike. On top of it being stupid uncomfortable, you’re also going to throw off the center of mass of the bike, and have a much longer reaction time to potholes, road gators (that’s what we cool people call truck tires that have come apart and are laying in the road – and they are death to a motorcyclist) and other obstacles. But hey, at least you look (allegedly) cool, right? Screw those engineers that designed your bike for the optimum riding position. And get off my lawn.

saddle

Lastly, in the video and the photo up top, what else do you see? May not be as obvious to a non-rider, but it’s clear to me. The saddle. Both of those bikes have what’s called a “solo saddle”, for obvious reasons. Hey, the whole reason you learn to ride a motorbike in the first place is to meet girls (well, unless you ride a Grom). Seriously, don’t give me that, “Oh, it’s all about the freedom” or any of that bullshit. It’s girls. You know it, I know it. They know it. You’re just embarrassing yourself if you claim anything else. So, what’s the point of meeting them if you can’t take them for a spin? Seriously, that I don’t get. In the photo immediately above – that’s my bike – you can see that not only do I have a passenger seat, I replaced mine with that crazy-ass-expensive one that’s dramatically more comfortable than the stock seat, and even added a backrest for comfort and safety. It’s like the Dooney & Bourke of motorbike saddles. So, line forms to the left, ladies – just stay off my lawn.

And in something unrelated to anything – but cool, nonetheless – A Flock of Seagulls just reunited and re-recorded their 1982 hit Space Age Love Song; one of my favorite tunes from the New Wave. It’s awesome – a full orchestra makes almost everything better. I want this played at my wedding. Or funeral. Something.

Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub.

Too busy. Too much going on. I’m not even sure I can cover it all here, so I guess this is just going to be the abridged version. You’re welcome; no one wants to hear me babbling anyway. But we’ve got kayaking! We’ve got mountain biking! We’ve got motorbiking! We’ve got Jeepin’! We’ve got it all, kids, courtesy of me, the Most Active Person You Know™.

Nightfall

Finally got to hang out with the cool kids.

Maclellan Island

A little paddling (the first actual paddle of the season), and a first-ever flight here.


Links:
North Shore Paddling Photo Album on Facebook
North Shore Paddling Map on MovesCount

Williams Island Paddle

Two days, two paddles, two islands.


Links:
Williams Island Paddling Photo Album on Facebook
Williams Island Paddling Map on MovesCount

Tennessee/Alabama Cycling

The Jeep had a mystery noise (turned out it was a drive shaft bearing; new drive shaft installed under warranty), so while it was being mended, I rode from South Pittsburg to Bridgeport to New Hope. Not a bad ride.


Links:
Tennessee/Alabama Cycling Photo Album on Facebook
Tennessee/Alabama Cycling Map on MovesCount

Enterprise South Mountain Bike Ride

38 miles from ESNP to Harrison, my old neighborhoods, and points beyond, plus some actual MTB trails. Side note, there’s a pretty interesting article about the munitions plant that was where Enterprise South and VW currently reside – read it here.


Links:
Enterprise South Mountain Biking Photo Album on Facebook
Enterprise South Cycling Map on MovesCount

Insurance Bluffs

Some driving around in the woods at the PCSF, plus some good flying at Insurance Bluffs.


Link:
Insurance Bluffs/PCSF Photo Album on Facebook

That was a pretty succinct recap, even for my hydro-electric squirrel factory.

bike-filtered-622

There’s been other stuff, as well. Notably (to me, anyway) is that I finally got the lighting working the way i want on the motorbike. I think I mentioned that I was going to have to replace the bucket to install LED lighting; well, I did it, and it worked better than I could have hoped. In conjunction with the LED light bar I installed, when I hit the “bright” switch, I can be seen from space, which was the exact goal. My motorbike peeps wanted a detailed how-to, so here that is.

I’m sure there’s more, but really, most of you have probably nodded off by now, so I’m just gonna call this “updated” and leave it there. Lots of activity coming though – watch this space.

Fixing a Hole.

I’ve been busy. Not with adventuring, but with adventuring-prepping. As I’ve mentioned, a trip to Deal’s Gap is in my very near future (where, sadly, there has been 3 motorbike-related deaths in the past 2 weeks). So, I’m missing the hiking trails, and I’m really missing putting the boat in the water, but this stuff is important. To me, anyway.

click for larger

click for larger

You’ll recall that part of the plan was to put a new hitch on the Jeep, so I could trailer the motorbike. Well, it’s done. And surprisingly, no major screw-ups. It was a project, though. Step one, I bought a tent, so I could work in the shade, or if one of the frequent pop-up showers occurs. Smart move. It didn’t rain (although it threatened), but the shade was awesome. Worth the 80 bucks.

Then, I had to take the entire back of the Jeep apart, and remove the factory bumper and the aftermarket hitch I added last year. Not a huge deal, just methodical. What was a huge deal was cutting a hole in the bumper fascia – you know, a big-ass hole in my still-practically-new-Jeep. This was one of those “you get one chance to do it right” things. Stunningly, I did it right. Not even a lot of swearing. After adding the new hitch, and putting everything back together, just a matter of doing the electrical work. Also not especially hard, just time-consuming. And, like the adding the hitch, everything worked on the first try – it was a chore, though, requiring taking apart much of the interior and dash in the exact right order, and putting it al back together in the exact right opposite order. Since I had to go to all that trouble anyway, I went ahead and did the wiring for a rear-facing dashcam, just like the one I have up front. The new camera will be here tomorrow, but I have no reason to think that won’t work.

I’m still toying with the whole brush guard & winch thing. I’d like to add this, but it’s just so flippin’ expensive – right around 2 grand, including installation. I may never actually need a winch, but that one time, it could save me if I’m deep in the woods. I dunno. Gotta kick that around some more.

cherokee-kl-front

I did go ahead and order some mudguards for the Jeep, as well. It’s one of those things that’s been on my list. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of variety out there, and it looks like they may be a little bit of a pain to install, but I’m all cocky now, so I’m sure I can handle it.

I art things.

I art things.

Then, there’s all the work on the motorbike. I’ve done so much recently, I can’t even keep it all straight, and the UPS/FedEx/USPS people must all think I’ve either hit the lottery or lost my mind (here’s a hint: I haven’t hit the lottery). The Mustang saddle, the Road Burner pipes, the luggage rack, the LED glow lighting; it never ends. My most recent additions have been the Kuryakyn floorboards (awesome), and I’m working on the forward lighting. I replaced the driving light bulbs (the small lights on each side of the main headlamp) with more powerful LED lights. I also added an LED light bar below the headlamp (not pictured), which I wired up to come on when I hit the “bright” switch. Really cool, if I do say so myself. Then, of course, things got complicated. I intended to add a very powerful LED light in the main headlamp, but the thing wouldn’t fit. LED mains have a heatsink, a fan and a ballast, and all of that wouldn’t fit in the Phantom’s bucket (the headlamp assembly). So, I have a new, larger bucket on order; everything will definitely fit in it, and it looks cool – it’ll just be a matter of whether or not I can figure out a way to mount it. We’ll see when it arrives.

There’s been a few other things – building out my tool kits (so I don’t get stuck on the side of the road), tinkering with my GoPro mounts, adding some leather brake/clutch covers. There’s one or two more things I’d like to do before the Dragon, but really, nothing else that’s necessary. So, within a few weeks’ time, I’ll be heading north – hopefully, not to become another statistic.

Link:
Jeep Hitch Install Photo Album on Facebook