My trusty Icon Variant helmet was getting a little long in the tooth. Holy crap, last week I realized it is almost six years old. I determined my head shape leans towards the long-oval which limits the helmets I can wear. There are a few intermediate-ovals on the long’ish side I can wear but most int-ovals, including the Variant, give me too much forehead pressure.
After taking my buddy up to Azusa Canyon, we hit up the Southern California Motorcycles Open House. Lots of bikes, a few friends I haven’t seen in a long time, tried on some helmets. I thought they’d have food, but just ice cream and a food truck, so we didn’t stay too long. But, I mean, I did take time to get a picture with the pretty girl….
My buddy Robert had never been to Azusa Canyon, and I hadn’t been on a pleasure ride in.. months.. since before my bike broke. What? Since May of last year? Holy Crap. The weather has cleared up and been beautiful the last couple weekends, but I’ve been busy. I cancelled some things so I could have a weekend for myself, wife had the little one at a dance workshop. Called my buddy, and we rolled out nice and early. We hit the Southern California Motorcycles Open House after and called it a day.
I’m back to highway riding again after getting my bike back. As I was commuting the other day, I had to remember all the highway skills I’d picked up over the years. With the news from other states talking about legalizing lane sharing I thought I’d hit the highway riding and lane sharing subject again.
One small clarification before I start – When I’m talking about ‘highway’ I mean the ‘superslab.’ That is, three or four lanes each direction of relatively straight concrete. As usual, these aren’t the only tips, the top tips, or the best tips for highway riding. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. These are my tips to you or someone you know who might benefit from them. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Should be picking up my bike today. Here’s your Saturday Morning Metal.
Almost there … If you’ve been following along, my bike has been dead for a while now. After dicking around with it for several weekends, I finally gave up and resolved I was in over my head. I had to manage a ride to the shop, but handled that finally around Christmas. Good news though, my mechanic has brought it back to life.
For those who aren’t familiar with the particulars of Ducatis, the key has a chip similar to many cars. The chip talks to the dash, which turns off the immobilizer, which tells the ECU to start the bike, and they’re all paired together. The dash, the ECU, and the key are all matched as a set. One Monday morning after an uneventful Friday commute my bike wouldn’t start.
My bike is still in the shop so I’ve been driving to work in my car. Today the traffic was terrible in the afternoon. I left work late, and it was worse than normal. About 5 miles into my commute I see a stalled truck is causing some of the problem. Older guy, white hair and beard, stuck in his F150 in the #4 lane.
We’re all kind of creeping around him and suddenly I see a guy who looks like young Marine cut across from the shoulder, walk up to his window, say a few words, then go to the back of the truck and start pushing. He’s young, barely old enough to buy a beer, wearing full BDUs and the 8 point cap, I think it’s called. And not faking it, his trousers were bloused properly and everything.
‘What the fuck?’ I’m thinking. ‘We’re on a hill, no way is he going to get that truck moving.’ I’m a few cars back and I’m thinking “OK, I need to get out and help.” I know how dangerous it is playing on the freeway, but this is guy will hurt himself and the truck isn’t moving.
As I’m looking for a way to pull to the shoulder and help, and I see a young Hispanic guy, 20’ish run out and get behind the truck and start pushing also. Pretty soon they get it moving, and it’s picking up a little speed. The little car behind them shielded them as they pushed the truck over to the shoulder while we all yielded and waited for them to get it to the shoulder.
As they finish, I see the Hispanic guy and the Marine shake hands and wave. Hispanic guy waves to the old white guy in the cab. The Marine goes up to the cab and started talking to the driver, while the Hispanic guy ran back to his car, smiling. For that small fleeting moment, it wasn’t a white guy, a green guy, and a brown guy out there in the road. It was three American dudes trying to help each other get out of a shitty situation and find a better end to a shitty day.
I’m sure there’s a moral or something in here but I’m too dumb to string together enough words to make it meaningful, so I’ll just say: Look for opportunities to help a stranger. Find someone who needs a kind word. The sun will rise and together we can win.
Mechanic and I have a plan to get my bike running again.
In the meantime, here is your Saturday Morning Metal
Whatever holiday you celebrate, or none at all, remember what’s really important.