This weekend I got to get back on the bike for a good long day of riding for the first time in nearly two weeks between kids and weather. Not even the frigid sub-20 degree temps would keep me from riding :-).
180 & 60 in Suches, GA
This is the third winter of riding for me, but it still shocks me the number of riders that park their bikes as soon as temperatures dip below 50 degrees. Anyways, last week was a bit of a wash for my commuting, not because of the weather, but because of the schedule of my kids.
While I may choose to ride regardless of the weather, I am not going to force them to do so. So, in the interests of shuffling the kids, I spent 4 out of 5 days last week in the car. That just means that by the time the weekend hit, I needed a ride. Unfortunately even that was limited to taking the bike over to the shop to leave it for a couple of days of service that I just don't have the time to do this month.
You see, I've been overwhelmed with stuff the past month. By 'stuff' I am talking about a lot of things, and it's probably about time I shared.
Those of you that know me personally probably already know this, but I am a serial entrepreneur. At any given time, I will have three or four projects going professionally, and a couple of more around the house. I don't watch television outside of my Falcons games and the occasional movie. This personality defect means that sometimes I hit stretches where I'll go weeks at a time with no 'free' time. The last month has been one of them.
Fall is such a neat season for me. Watching nature change her wardrobe from summer greens to reds, yellows and browns with so many colors in between. As a rider, it is also a season that presents new challenges. Leaves on the road, an exploding deer population, and other seasonal hazards are all things that have to be watched for. Traditionally here in Atlanta, fall is also a very dry period of the year. Unfortunately, we are so desperate for rain, that we cannot really afford too much dry. So it was that this morning, when I rolled out of bed to get ready for work, I find myself in the odd position of being all too happy to drive the car as the pitter patter of the rain on the house could be heard.
So here I sit at work, happy to drive, which for me is a very unusual thing.
After a couple of years on a scooter, it seems strange, but uneventful is a good thing. Two weeks of rides with nothing in the way of 'events' is a very good two weeks. No close calls, no knucklehead driver situations. Unfortunately, two weeks is as far as I got without any knuckleheads. Saturday evening, I had to deal with a knucklehead, of the 70mph right side passing variety. You know the ones, when your 55mph in a 45 isn't fast enough and they whip past you (illegally) on the right. Unfortunately, I was looking to get into the lane he decided to pass me in. Fortunately, I saw him coming and didn't get into trouble, but it is just the kind of situation that scares me, because these drivers present such an enormous risk to riders, both new and old. A little fatigue, or a mild distraction and even an experienced riders could miss the hints that you have a knucklehead incoming.
Add to that the case situation in Atlanta (I won't go into details, just think Mad Max the Movie and you aren't far from the reality of gas in Atlanta right now), and you have an increasing volatile situation between efficient scooters and fuel sucking SUV's.
One of the biggest hassles for me about my scooter(s) is tires. While I can easily do most of the maintenance on the scooter, changing a tire really isn't one of them. So in order to get my tires changed I have to take it in. That's where I get frustrated. Right now, the shop I work with doesn't have the equipment to do the job on site. They have to take the wheel to the sister shop to get the tires done. That means leaving the bike. I hate leaving the bike, because I hate being without it.
Yeah, school is back in session, so I get to ride pretty much every day, and I don't want to give up the bike for even a couple of days. Sad. I need a life :-).
Oh well, on that note, I was considering going with the Pirelli's this go around, but it appears that the price is almost double for the Pirelli versus the Michelin. Since I've seen no compelling evidence that the Pirelli is really that much better a tire, I think I will go with the Michelin again. That is a 12,000 mile commitment since I seem to wear out 2 rear's for each front. I guess we will see.
Community is a big part of the scooter world, and that is a good thing. When I first started riding a couple of years ago, I really didn't "get it". It took a while to understand how valuable hooking up with the local scooter community can be. These are other people sharing both the experience and the risks. When there is a problem, they are the ones there to help, be it getting a broken bike picked up from out on the road to bringing a gallon of gas for those occasions when we forget to fill up.
It works at both the worldwide and local levels, and the values of those communities cannot be readily quantified. This is part of the driving force behind what I want to accomplish with Two Wheel Junction, because the shared knowledge of a community is far more than the knowledge of an individual.
For me, I find that there are several levels of communities that are important for me. First there are the online venues like Modern Vespa, but then there is the Scooter / Rider blogging community. Folks that have never met face to face, yet share so much of their lives with us. And of course there is the local communities.
Well that was a long weekend :-). We really didn't plan anything for the weekend, just the usual bits. Saturday I worked over at the shop (Scooter Superstore of America in Norcross). However, after work, I had to go to see my daughter's first game as a cheerleader. The problem, the game is on the other end of the world. Welcome to Atlanta. It is 68 miles from the shop to the game, from Norcross to the far side of Kennesaw. It doesn't help that home is in between the two, about 10 miles north, and that the games starts at 7:30PM.
Weather was good, but the ride really showed how bad the face shield on my trusty SyMax has gotten over the last 2 years, I got there just in time for kickoff. But whew, that was a tough ride, in traffic, on some of the very worst roads in terms of poor driving and a lot of threat analysis dealing with alot of incoming roads and traffic. Personally, I find in-town driving with many lights and intersections to be less stressful than 45-55mph roads with many ingress/egress points, but few lights, and a left turn lane in the middle. Too many points of threat to monitor easily.
First let me apologize for the detour yesterday, it happens sometimes.
Ok, that's all done with, let's talk about scooters. Like many scooter owners I frequently get questions about what other people should buy. Well, yesterday Nathaniel Salzman put together one of the best wall of text blog posts a person could ask for regarding the currently available options in the US. The order of the content is a little reversed for my tastes, but he pretty much nails the modern scooters. Even if you have been riding a while, it is a good read for information about the current products.
Nathaniel actually mentions one of the bikes that I'm the most curious about in all of the announced 2009 lineups. The Sym CityCom 300i really looks like one of the best compromises between form and function to be available on the US roads. With a 268cc engine and a 2.6 gallon fuel tank, I am expecting a real world top speed just shy of 80mph (they claim 79.5, I'd say that 75-78 is probably GPS accurate and sustainable). Considering the weight, and engine size, 65+ mpg seems quite realistic (the reported 94 mpg, not so much).
This week and next are all about politics here in the US. Generally, I detest politics, so I rarely will go there. Unfortunately, this years race is really starting to hit a hot button with me. Like most people in the US, the economy is a worry, the war in Iraq (and Afghanistan) is an issue, but one that is unlikely to win or lose the election. The economy is ultimately going to be the issue central to this election, as it should be.
The problem is that our economic problems are deeply rooted in several other issues yet it appears that the politicians are unwilling to talk about the fundamental problems, just the impossible solutions. These fundamentals are things we have to deal with, not the fluff.
I think what rubs me wrong is that fact that so much of the issue is that we can't say what needs to be said without committing career suicide for the politicians. We cannot continue the vicious cycle of raising wages to cover the cost of living. Every time you raise wages, you raise to cost of goods or force jobs offshore. Yet, that is the political solution, raise wages, adjust taxes. Interestingly, this also relates to the 'energy crisis'. You see, the US has forgotten how to live frugally. We have come to use our gas guzzling automobiles as a part of our self image. Those of us that have chosen to ride scooters, often for entirely different reasons, have found out how much that self image issue is. We hear the ridicule all the time. It is just another aspect of the bigger is better culture that is so prevalent.
First, the Kymco People is sold. After a couple of weeks on Craigslist, it went to a nice lady and her sister. I really hope that they enjoy it as much as I did. So what did I replace it with? well, that's short answer with a long story; nothing.
After a couple of long conversations with my wife and some friends, I've put the proceeds from the People into the bank to join the proceeds from the ads here and any extra money I come up with so that sometime this winter I can replace the People with something interesting.
After long thoughts, I've decided to add a Vectrix electric scooter to replace the People. I know I said I was going vintage, but the more I thought about it, well, I just concluded that if I want to set an example to my kids and neighbors, I need to really go the other way. Considering the price of the Vectrix, I have a good ways to go before I have the money to buy one, but I'll work on that through the winter and see where I am in the spring. With $2500 in the bank and a $9000 price tag, I've got some saving to do, but I really do like the idea of the Vectrix for running to and from work. I am also researching a small solar charger to have at the office to charge it while I'm in the office.
This is a subject of more than ample debate among motorcyclist around the world. I don't know that I have strong opinion about the subject, as I don't know that I would personally feel comfortable doing it on a regular basis. Of course, I don't actually spend much time on roads where it is relevant, but the few times I have found myself in a situation where it would be appropriate, I have to admit that I would like the privilege.
I think what bothers me about the whole thing is that as a rule, drivers don't get it, though they do it all the time. I've lost count of the number of times I'll be first at a red light and have a car squeeze past me on the right to turn right on red. Under Georgia law, this is failure to yield and they are clearly in the wrong, but is commonly practiced and largely not enforced. Meanwhile, if I were to 'filter' forward past them for the same reasons, the same drivers get angry and antagonistic.
The same holds true of lane sharing or 'whitelining' in traffic. It makes sense, and as a rider, the safety of moving forward, not sitting in a position where it is like inviting a rear end accident. I am convinced that if most drivers could, they would. Look at the number of them ducking and weaving in traffic as it is.
One of the most fascinating aspects of riding in my experience has been the people that will just walk up and start asking questions about the scooter and riding. The frequency of imparted, but unasked for wisdom about how dangerous they are is also funny.
This morning is a good example. I stopped to pick up some breakfast (BB's Diner on McFarland, great NYC style diner with excellent bagels). This gentleman walks out to ask the usual questions; how fast? how many mpg? how much?. He then tells me he doesn't ride anymore because it's too dangerous because people do dumb things around bikes. So I pull a little more out of him. He had a bike, he took the BRC, but doesn't think it helped much because his accident was 'unavoidable, the guy stopped short and I had nowhere to go'.
I just smiled all the while thinking, he's right. He has no business on a bike if he's unwilling to attribute the fault where it belongs and unwilling to listen to instruction. He was a nice enough fellow, but wow. I cannot comprehend any situation where someone stopping short would ever be at fault in a rear end accident...
Not that I really grasp the concept of NORMAL, but with the kids going back to school this morning, my commuting patterns are returning to normal. For the first time in 3 months, I knew I was commuting by scooter. I was so excited, I was awake and ready to go a full 30 minutes early. Yes, I really do enjoy the ride that much.
This weekend was good though. Atlanta is getting it's annual 'fall teaser' right now. Saturday, we went from highs in the high 90's to highs in the low to mid-80's with a wonderful breeze. This is mother nature's way of telling us to look forward to October, because she's about to blister us with a few 95+ days with 90% humidity :). Yes that is facetious, but not far from the truth.
Thanks to the weather, I did ride out to the scooter shop where I've been working Saturdays selling scooters. It is a good time, and the shop I'm at everyone that works there rides scooters, most of us own more than one. The ride itself is a nice ride of about 25 miles each way. The problem is that it really isn't enough to 'get a fix' when you've been caged almost all week. So Sunday, it was up early, mow the lawn, only to realize it was the last day of summer for the kids. The only ride I got in Sunday was a run up to my brothers to drop something off for him.
So the summer has been really tough for me blogging. The issues have been many, and varied. The most disappointing one is that this summer, I've spent more time driving than riding. This has been entirely due to children's schedules and not preference. Add to that work stuff and it all adds up to less seat time. For that last 2.5 months, i've been able to get in 2 days riding a week rather than the 5-6 that I usually get.
It has been very frustrating.
Not helping has been the ongoing battle with my teenage daughter about riding on the back. You see, 4 days a week this summer, I've been taking her to gymnastics on my way to work, it makes sense since it is on my way to the office. Unfortunately, she refuses to ride on the scooter. Her reasons are not well thought out or justified, and it's not fear that is the issue, at this point it is just plain pigheaded teenage girl.
Oh well, that's life :-). Come next monday, it will no longer be an issue, school starts on Monday, and my commute will be mine again (que evil maniacal laugh here).
This is my Kymco People 250 that started my scooter adventure in earnest. While this was not my first scooter, it is the first one that I put real miles on. In truth, selling it is harder than I expected, simply because it holds some great memories. This is my Kymco People 250 that started my scooter adventure in earnest. While this was not my first scooter, it is the first one that I put real miles on. In truth, selling it is harder than I expected, simply because it holds some great memories.
That said, I am selling it. The reason is simple, I want to replace it with a vintage project scooter to keep with the BV500. I am just not riding the Kymco as much as I might wish, and I'd rather see it go to a good home.
So, with a clear title in hand, the People is up for sale, the sooner the better. It is a 2006, with 8700km (5400 miles). It has been well maintained with frequent (more frequent than recommended) oil/hub oil changes. It is very capable both around town and around the burbs. With a 250cc engine, 16" wheels and a large storage area, this is a great commuter with it's 65 to 70 mpg and 1.7 gallon tank.
So I've been here a couple of days, but with work, I've been so busy that I have not been able to find time to post. So you get a late post.
The ride up was uneventful, but hot. Unfortunately, the heat seems to have effected the idle on the BV, we'll see how it does tomorrow and later in the week. The crowd for AV has started to show up in large numbers, probably 60 scooters already in the parking lot. I'm grabbing the camera to get some pictures to post shortly.
Well, once again my work schedule works out that I get to do another Chattanooga rally. This year, my schedule will have me in Chattanooga the entire week leading up to AmeriVespa, so I think I'll stay on for the rally. Should be interesting.
Since I am riding up Monday though, I'm thinking about taking the long way and spending the day in the mountains. Should be fun, and now, I'll be spending the rest of the weeks lunches planning routes on google maps :-).
Alright, in a moment of serious hardcore WTF! this cyclist (and his many commenters) prove conclusively that they really don't get it :-). You see, I too am a cyclist, I've ridden both road and mountain bikes for the better part of the last 20 years. I've probably got more seat time on a bike than a scooter or motorcycle, and while some of what he says is true, he fails to see the same problems coming from his own brethren. The folks pulling 20 year old bikes out of storage to 'ride to work' for the same reasons many are adopting scooters.
Perspective is a bitch, and I personally wish people like this gentleman would buy some. Then again, I don't live in NYC. I live in suburban Atlanta. One of my chosen activities is to walk, run or rollerblade the 'greenbelt' in a nearby creek basin. This is a 12 foot wide concrete trail through the wetlands / floodplain next to a creek that runs through the heart of the business and shopping district of the area. It is a great place to skate and walk, if it weren't for all the inconsiderate cyclists that are busy rolling at 20-30mph in full gear riding like they are training for the Tour de France or Giro d'Italia. I've watched 2 of them take out children on training wheels because they were traveling too fast and couldn't avoid the situations. I've had 2 others throw water bottles or trash at me because I intentionally blocked the path to force them to slow down. But hey, they are down here because it's safer for them than mixing with the cars on the road.
Alright so last week I took a vacation. For the first time ever, I decided to take my scooter along on a vacation, so I would have some flexibility if work cropped up and the family could stay. Turns out, I didn't need that flexibility but it was fun to have the scooter. We have close friends in Destin, FL (they own a great little toy store in the Destin Commons), so we went there to visit them and some of the best beaches in the world.
Leaving early on Monday, I rode the BV500 with my wife in the car with the kids trailing along. We left about 6am, and the weather was just perfect for a ride. I could have easily made it in just 3 stops, but we had a couple of extras in there for kids potty breaks. The first leg, from Alpharetta to breakfast at Chic-Fil-A in Columbus was almost entirely super slab. The BV handled that marvelously, cruising at an indicated 80mph most of the way, which worked out to 73mph on the GPS (in the car). Filled the tank (58mpg), and prepped for the second leg, Columbus to the south side of Dothan, AL for a gas and potty stop. This stretch is mostly 4 lane roads, with sections, particularly from Phenix City to Eufala of 2 lane. Speed limits are 45-60, so it is still a fast stretch of road. Again the BV handled great, but at the end of this leg I was running into a problem. The pants & seat had seams that where working against each other to try and chafe, so I pulled a towel I carry from under the seat to add a layer. This seemed to solve the issue. Next up was the final leg. From I-10 down to US 98 is one of those dangerous roads where the speed limit jumps around alot, and in some cases will go from 60 to 55 to 45 to 35 in the space of a mile as you go through one of the old little towns, so it is a slower ride, but that's alright because it is also quite scenic. We arrived safe and sound in Destin at about 1:30.
Yeah, I know, it has been a a quiet couple of weeks. For me, it has been a tough couple of weeks. Because it is the summer, the kids schedules have dictated that I ride to work less, because 3-4 mornings a week, I have one of the kids with me on the way to work. At this point, they won't ride. Partly for a lack of proper gear, I'm having a tough time finding a mesh jacket small enough for my 85lb daughter, but also in part because she's very nervous about the act of riding. This is fine, but it hinders my riding.
Fortunately, I still get a couple of days a week, plus on the weekends I'm doing a couple of days a month at one of the local shops as a 'filler'. Sometimes I'm prepping bikes, loading them or selling them. No matter what, one thing is for certain. It is BUSY right now. The dealer sells both Vespa and the Genuine products, and to say that the Buddy is hot would be a gross understatement. Just wow.
Anyways, if you haven't been keeping up, I recently started a major rework of Two Wheel Junction, and will soon be adding some new features there, and that is absorbing quite a bit of time as well. I hope everyone doesn't mind, but as I work those changes, I'll be posting some of the details here.
Below are all of the archived posts form the blog as they go into the wayback machine.
Now that the frenetic days leading up to the holidays are done, and we are in that quiet week between the christmas holiday and the New Year, it is a time for a bit of recovery. Personally, I find this week the best of the holiday season because it offers a relief from the stress of getting through the holiday, but hasn't returned to the normal workload.
Of course, I am at the office today, but it is a quiet day there as well, so I'm getting caught up on some other things. One of those is a backlog of camera pictures. Hopefully some will be worth posting, but I won't know that for a little while longer. Somehow, I accumulated enough pictures to fill up 3 8gb CF cards. They are downloading into Aperture now. I'll dig through them next :-).
I did however have a scooter adventure to talk about though. Saturday I had to get a new battery for the BV500. I'm not surprised, it spent half of it's first year sitting gathering dust on a Dealer floor, and then spent a couple of months in someone's garage before I gave it a daily riding home. The original battery never got any care and after 6 months of abuse, it was really starting to struggle on cold days. So off to get a replacement, which turned out to be the easy part. The BV500 comes with a 'wet'cell lead acid battery which requires and overflow tube for draining away any excess/overflow acid. On the stock battery, this is on the left side and the tube is already there. The replacement was on the right side though.
I once saw someone reference this time of year as the silly season. At the time, I thought it was funny, but did not really think about it. The events of the past couple of days have brought some of that back to the forefront. Silly is one of those words that has many meanings, and in this context, it can mean most of those.
The reason, is that people seem to act a little more silly during this season than most. What scares me, is that much of this silly behavior exhibits itself in the form of anger on the roads. A couple of days ago, someone that a I barely know, posted a terrifying story that sounded earily familiar on one of the message boards I frequent. The synopsis is simple. He was riding his scooter just a little over the posted speed limit. Car behind him rides is rear wheel until oncoming traffic eases and then races around the scooter on a double yellow line. Car and scooter meet again at the next stop sign, where both are turning left. Car turns left, scooter checks traffic, begins to turn left, only to find that the car has come to an abrupt and unnecessary stop in front of the scooter with malicious intent. Scooter rider attempts to panic stop, but damp pavement in the middle of an intersection sees the scooter hit the ground. Car driver then speeds away.
Hopefully, if you've found me, you also read Steve Williams Scooter in the Sticks. Recently a good friend and riding partner of his was involved in an accident. Well, John is headed into surgery, and rather than I explain it all here, I give you Steve's post with John's words. Though I've never met John, his positive attitude and mindset towards riding are such that he seems to be the type of person I would call friend. So let us all include him in our thoughts and prayers.
Yeah, so last night riding home at 6:00PM it was just a touch under 40 degrees, windy and dark. Wearing the same gear I wore this morning, I was cold, headed towards uncomfortable. This morning however, it's 32 degrees, and I used he same level of gear and was comfortable. The difference: sun and a lack of wind.
This week Steve Williams over at Scooter in the Sticks is talking about how he's recently been forced into the the intimidating thoughts of risk and regret due to a friends accident. Unfortunately, every person that chooses to ride, rather than drive has to make this evaluation. But to me, it is an ongoing choice. One that we have to make for ourselves every day. Suit up for the ride, or jump in the car. Either way complacency presents our greatest risk.
Personally, I've taken the position that life is risk, and that the risk of riding is the same as that of getting into the car, or climbing in the shower. So, I choose to ride most days, but that is my personal choice. But like Steve, I'm battling some aspects of that choice right now. You see, a friend of my wife's is currently laying the hospital with broken legs and pelvis as well as other injuries. At this point, the life-threatening parts are more or less done with, but she's facing 2-3 years of rehab to get her life back. She was hit by in an incident where a driver in a car crossed double yellow to hit her head on. The other driver was not DUI, and as far as we have heard, there was no cause for him to cross the line. But here is the rub for me; she was driving her *safe* Volvo tank, and she did nothing wrong.
First, I need to send a thanks to Dave over at Scooter Cast for the mention this week. I'm an avid listener, and love what Dave is doing over there. If you haven't given his podcast a listen, take a few minutes to jump over and add it to your podcast playlist.
Of course, this week is also Thanksgiving. Thanskgiving is a strange holiday for me, I look forward to it every year, and in many ways, it is the holiday that has been the least commercialized of any, yet in many ways, it is the ultimate target due to it's secular nature. Given it's roots during the early settling days of America, there are certainly puritan overtones to the celebration, but even those have been tempered in the intervening years. What is left is a celebration of thanks; thanks for our families, our lives an all of the little things that so many of us forget to be thankful for throughout the year.
Me, I have to take a few moments, to be thankful for so many things, but most of all, my spouse. I have been truly blessed by the support of my wife of 13 years in everything that I have done. While my parents, brothers and children are all very supportive of the choices I make, none is there, day in and day out, supporting me as my wife. Beyond that, there is my health, and the health of my family. There is the protection the young men and women that have given up there holidays and are separated by thousands of miles from their families, making sacrifices for the freedom and peace of others as well as mine. There is the business, there is this website and the readers, there is the fresh air we breathe, the food we eat. The list goes on and on.
Today, I'm taking a diversion from my normal discourse to talk about a few things sorta scooter related. One, which is the title of todays post is to another web forum that truly get what my riding is all about. They call themselves the "Rounder's". These are folks that ride year round, and while the majority of them are more 'adventure' type riders, the description of the Marshmallow Butt ride so completely covers how I feel about riding in general, that I simply cannot sum it up any better. There is alot to be said for riding on the shoulders of those that came before us when it comes to avoiding some harsh lessons.
You see, riding all year really boils down to preparation. Making sure that you have the right gear, and mindset to be ready to ride when it's 100+ or -2 with a -40 windchill. Here in the US, the number of riders that ride all year is much lower than in areas where motorcycles make up a larger percentage of the daily commuters. Here in the states, the vast majority of motorcycles are used for recreation or hobby, not as an every day conveyance.
Yeah, so Sunday it was 76 sunny and gorgeous, Monday, the low was 45, the high in the 70's. Tuesday, the high came around the same time as the sun rose, somewhere in the 50's, and by the time it came time to head home Tuesday night, the temperature was in the high 40's with nasty winds. By wednesday morning, it was down to 26 degrees, and it has been lows in the high 20's and low 30's since.
This really isn't unusual in Atlanta, the running joke for as long as I can remember has been that if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it'll change :D. It does however teach one to be prepared. So I've had most of my 'Cold Weather Gear' stashed in the pannier bags on the BV for the last month or so. Fortunately, that foresight means I haven't frozen, but I think it's about time to do some shopping. I need a pair of good overpants, and perhaps a good winter riding jacket.
I'm perusing NewEnough, but if anyone has any suggestions, please, drop me a note!.
So yeah, we got a bit of frost this morning. Low was 31 according to the household thermometer. Yeah, my faceshield gets foggy quicker but that's about it. This is the first really cold weather time I've spent with the BV500. The wider flyscreen makes quite a difference in terms of keeping warm. Surprisingly, my legs get more cool air than on the People 250. It's not unmanageable, but it will mean that I wear my wool socks more often on colder days.
Anyways, it remains all about the ride, and the sights to be seen. Last night I finally got around to getting a couple of pictures that I've been wanting to shoot, but the weather and lighting just hasn't worked out until last night.
Both are now in the 'favorites' gallery,
The first, is a horse barn that is the focal point and centerpiece of an equestrian neighborhood. This massive barn is nice, but it sits on a great piece of land, with rolling hills and a great hardwood stand that will most likely be bulldozed for the neighborhood. The loss of the trees behind this barn is the kind of development that just breaks my heart.
So we finally get some fall like temperatures a couple of weeks ago, and here we are with winter like lows appearing. With this morning's commute being in the 40's and windy being a mild preview to tomorrow's 30's and first frost, it feels as if winter has arrived a bit early. Not that it changes my riding, I rode all winter last year and plan to do the same this year.
The thing I learned last year, is that the difference between happily riding in the cold and freezing is 100% about gear. I don't use heated gear, but the old tried and true layers method of staying warm. Take this morning for example. Long underwear under my jeans, wool socks in my boots, long sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, regular riding jacket, and I switched out to my Tourmaster winter gloves. The air was cool, but not cold and the ride was pleasant and comfortable, despite gusty 30mph winds and 43 degree temperatures (according the local bank sign).
Actually, I look forward to this time of year. For some silly reason, riding in the cool winter mornings makes me feel more alive and appreciative of the place I live. It provokes me into taking the long way and seeing the sights.
Now won't you stay a while? Yeah, for a scooter commuter, that may sound backwards, but in all honesty, I'll happily deal with the personal discomfort associated with being a scooter commuter (although I have the car today since I have to pick up some flooring from Lowe's tonight) for the greater benefit of the rain we so desperately need. I don't know about other riders, but I find that being out in the elements on the scooter, I am even more keenly aware of the impacts of the draught than I have been in prior years in the car. It's not that the scooter makes any of it that much more noticeable, it's that I'm out in the air more. There is a definite smell to the clean 'just rained' air that's been missing for months around here. But for today, I get to miss out.
Tomorrow looks promising with another 60% chance of rain. Maybe I'll get lucky and get way tomorrow too.
Between the kids schedules and work, this past weekend was the first time I've been able to get out on group ride since the Hill on Wheels rally in Chattanooga. Sunday, however, I ended up leading a ride from Roswell up into the mountains, through Amicalola Falls and over to Dahlonega before heading back to Alpharetta and Roswell. A 160 mile total day in what can only be described as perfect riding weather.
The roll out at 10:30am was in mild 55 degree air. As we worked our way into the mountains, the air warmed up, but as we were climbing, the temperature for us remained pretty constant. It wasn't until we stopped at the top of Burnt Mountain a little before 1pm that it had warmed enough to remove the hoodie from under the jacket. It hit the mid 70's as we rolled into Dahlonega around 2:30pm and was just approaching 80 when we got back into town around 5pm, all with very little breeze.
As for the ride itself, well, the route was through some of the best roads south and west of Helen's Richard B Russel and Hwy 129, and though there was quite a bit of color in the trees, we haven't really hit peak color, nor do I expect as rich coloring as we normally see. The lack of rain this year will most likely mean that we won't get as full a season as normal. Somehow, I don't think that will stop the two wheeled community from enjoying the area.
In typical Atlanta fashion, fall arrived this week with a rather abrupt hello. Specifically, it was lows in the 60's and highs in the high 80's on Monday. This morning? 42. That's chilly without proper gear :-). Fortunately, I had actually heard the weather forecast so I was sorta prepared. The hard part for me is these 'tweener' days, where the Icon Pursuit gloves aren't enough and the Winter gloves would be way too much, and then by noon, it's in the high 60's. For these days, I've been using a pair of UnderArmor lycra gloves for about a year now, but unfortunately, I've torn the seam in thumb and forefinger area, so they aren't usable and I can't seem to find a replacement pair. (If someone has a source, let me know, I need a large :-)).
I do love riding in this weather though. Something about the cooler air. At the same time though, I do find the fall depressing as the trees drop their leaves and the grass goes dormant. It's like mother nature is closing up shop for a couple of months while old man winter brings his grumpy and cold self around for a couple of months. Obviously, I don't stop riding then, but it does change *how* I ride. For now though, I get to enjoy the weather and the last few weeks of summer like temperatures.
Stange bedfellows in the topic I suppose, but it is what it is. Yesterday, being a federal holiday and bank holiday meant a half-day at work. So around lunch yesterday, I took off to meet my wife for lunch before heading home to do some things around the house, but along the way, I was noticing some of the sad signs of the sever drought that we are in.
For those that don't know much about Atlanta, we are in a bad way in terms of water. So severe that the entire northern 1/3 of the state is under a complete outdoor watering ban, and they are starting to talk about water consumption limits per household. At issue is our water reserves come primarily from two lakes, Lanier (Chattahoochee River) and Allatoona (Etowah & Coosa Rivers). Unfortunately, with Atlanta's normally wet August afternoons having been and gone in a very dry fashion, these rivers are now at their lowest points in decades, and dropping at a rate of 12" per week, the metro Atlanta area is in full on crisis mode regarding water supplies.
So yesterday I spent the day doing something different. First, I bailed on work to go play, specifically to go play with cars oddly enough. I know I've mentioned that my car is a Chrysler Pacifica and that it doesn't get used much. For a while I toyed with selling it, but my wife and kids really aren't as comfortable on the scooter, particularly as the weather changes, so we still need a second car for those not so rare days when we are going in separate directions each with extras. Because of this, I want to downsize the car to something more fun and fuel efficient, but also small enough to keep in a single garage bay with my scooter(s).
So a few months ago, I reserved a spot in line for a SMART so that if it was something I thought would work, I'd have the opportunity. Yesterday, they had them here for test drives, so my wife and I took the day to go drive the SMART and the other vehicles I'm considering: MINI Cooper Convertible, Volkswagen Eos, Volkwagen Beetle Convertible. Oh, should mention that there is a secondary motivator here. Whatever car this is, it will be my daughters in 4 years, so that rules out some of the more powerful options, and they are all convertibles, which is because it's what I want :-).
Cool mornings, gorgeous afternoons, gentle breezes, sunshine, does it get any better?
No, not really. Needless to say, I love this time of year in Atlanta. Mornings in the mid 50's, with highs in the high 70's & low 80's just make for great riding days. Last night after work, I had to run some things up to the storage unit for my business, so I took off at 5:00 for a nice ride up to the storage unit (about 7 miles from the office). Somehow, the road home, a 10 mile trip took over 70 miles.
We'll call it the longlonglong way home. Basically, traffic was stacked up to the left, so I went right and kinda followed the route that just felt like fun. If you are familiar with the area at all, I started up on the south side of Cumming near Castleberry and 141, and headed west across 20, and then roughly south on backroads to 372, and then back towards Milton/Alpharetta across Union Hill, New Bullpen and Brimingham.
This whole area is a strange mix of rural and suburban lifestyles, frequently right next to each other. There are 'equestrian' communities with +1 million dollar homes with a trailer home on a 90 acre farm right next to them. There are 500 home communities butting up to working farms, all set off of roads that are more countryside than suburbia, then you turn and pop up in the heart of suburban living. It make for some interesting riding, and on an evening when work has been difficult and stressful, sometimes, the path of least resistance can make for a path most refreshing.
I think scooter commuters should have to drive a car once every six months, just to refresh how good it is to be on that scooter. Personally, I've had the car out couple of times in the last couple of months, and while it is still a nice car, it is an uninspiring act, driving a car to work. The worst part, I'm not driving because the elements forced it or even that I needed to haul something.
My wife set up an appointment for us to get some family pictures done today, and she wants me to 'look nice' which translates to 'no helmet hair please'. So, no scoot for me.
Next week though, I get to go test drive what is quite possibly my next car, the SMART fourTwo at the Atlanta tour stop. It will be interesting to see what I think of it after getting some time up close with it. Logically, it's a great idea, but there is still some question as to if it fits my needs. If it doesn't, I'll be keeping the Pacifica until it dies, and at 3 years old with only 24k miles on it, it's got a good chance of holding on for many years to come.
As I've mentioned, I didn't become a rider until a little over a year ago. August 5, 2006 was both the day I got my license, and the day I purchased my 'trial' scooter, a chinese built Jonway 150-t 150cc scooter from a local motorcycle dealer that would also do the repairs and maintenance if needed. The whole idea was to have something cheap to see if I was truly willing to ride a scooter every day. That lasted about 800 miles and 4 weeks before I went and bought the Kymco People 250 that was the 'long term' scooter I wanted.
7000 miles and 10 months later, I added a Piaggio BV500 to the stable, and swore I was going to sell the other two. So far, I've only sold the chinese 150. The Kymco, I'm having a hard time letting go. Why? Well, the joy of having an option.
Some days, like this morning, it's just fun to switch out and ride the People. It's quieter than the BV, and since I have all the hard bags on the BV, it has a 'bigger' feel. So today I'm on the People, and I realized why I'm having a hard time letting her go. This is the bike that really made this adventure happen, and she's still a great ride. Sure, she's still got her fuel gauge issues, and the seat is hard as granite compared to the BV, but she's such a joy running around in town, that I'm going to try to keep her.
A couple of weeks ago, I talked a bit about the inherent dangers of riding. Sure, there is risk, simply because of the exposure, but there is reward. Today, I want to address mitigating risk. Every rider has to make the decisions that effect their own safety. Certainly there is the protection aspect, in terms of clothing and helmets, but that's a subject for another day.
Today, I want to talk about the on the bike experience, and mitigating risk through awareness. I'm not an expert on the subject, if you want that, go talk to Gary or Dan. Both have more knowledge about safety than I do. I can only relay my own experience and what I observe from that. The thing is, that between the lessons of the MSF classes, and a bit of seat time, you can learn alot. Now, some of what I do as a rider comes from my driving. In the years I've been driving I've had 4 accidents. When I was 17, I was rear-ended at a stop light, and though the accident was 'not my fault', in hindsight, I could have prevented it had I been paying more attention. That same year I had one that was blatantly my fault (though it was ticketed as a no fault) turning left from a stop sign, I hit a lady that was coming through the intersection. Visibility was poor and I trusted the guy waving me out, I knew better, it was my fault, I don't care that she was speeding, or anything else, I failed to find her visually and that is on me. The third crash came at 21 when I totaled a race prepped Audi Quattro on a race track, again, this is my fault, and it all stemmed from a mental mistake, not focusing on what I was doing and braking too hard, too late and in a bad spot because of that mental lapse.
Well football season has started, the kids are back in school and we've hit the fall side of the Labor Day Weekend. Looks like Fall is officially on it's way. Admittedly, around Atlanta, it's hard to tell it's fall when the temperature is still in the mid 90's well into September, but that doesn't change the fact that it is coming.
Now I'm more or less recovered from the cold that drove me to actually drive the cage to work, but I really haven't done any recreational riding. I am really hoping to change that in the coming weeks, with events like Deliverance 6 coming up, in addition to the various clubs around the city organizing rides now that summer vacations the opportunities to get out with the group are back on the upswing.
I also hear rumor that the AJC is putting together a scooter piece with the upcoming Deliverance rally, which I hope to get some exposure for the OTP clubs running around the area.
But all of that pales, because with the fall comes the October foliage in the mountains. This is my favorite time of the year. I love to grab my camera and go out and shoot all the fall color, and there is no better way to do this than from the scooter.
No one in their right mind would describe the act of riding a two wheeled vehicle in traffic as an inherently safe activity. Then again, neither is getting in a car, or taking a shower. But the advantages to riding a scooter or motorcycle are significant, as you probably know if you are reading this. The problem is that most car drivers still don't understand, and don't care.
In the last couple of weeks, I've seen the questions of safety and gear rise on every forum, mailing list and message board that I participate in. The questions really are surprising to me. I simply don't understand how it's even a question. When I look at riding, particularly what I ride since I'm in that middle ground where what I ride is both motorcycle (power, weight, wheel size) and scooter (step through design, upright seating position, engine on the swingarm). Having chosen to ride, I recognize that I there is a risk, and that my only chances of mitigating the risk are to wear proper gear, make sure I'm visible, and to ride responsibly.
Alright, so for just the third day in the last year, I drove the car to work. It felt very strange, but the truth is that I felt it was the safer choice. Somehow, I managed to get either a serious allergy related head cold, or just a good old fashioned sinus cold. Either way, my head is swimming a little bit from sinus pressure, and riding just didn't seem to be a safe choice, particularly when you add a 60% chance of thunderstorms. So, I left the scooters at home.
Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow. The one thing that these day hammer home is that I really don't enjoy driving the car. I miss the smells and sounds of life that you get outside the cage.
The hardest part about a week like last week is the return home and the catch up work. Having taken off mid day on Wednesday of last week, and spent Thursday and Friday at a customers office doing some work for them, I knew that my email and normal office work was piling up, but that was to be expected. Taking saturday and sunday off, meant that the personal things piled up too. Then monday was the wife and I's wedding anniversary, so no catch up on Monday night. Then tuesday was a workout day, so only minimal catch up. Needless to say, it's been a busy week. But, it looks like things are almost back to normal.
I did get the 'Web Communities' section of Two Wheel Junction up and running, though I need to populate content into the site. Next is the 'Events' section. It will probably be a week before I'll get time to iron that out. I just got the rest of the Hill on Wheels pictures off the camera today, they have been posted along with this update.
In addition, last night while riding to meet the wife and kids for dinner at a local pizza place, I got the sunset shot you see above that I've added to the 'favorites' photo album and made available on Zazzle.
The opening night meet-n-greet went smoothly and there was a good turn out of attendees. Most importantly, checkin was well organized and the location made it easy for everyone to mill about and truly meet and greet. At 9, the night time ride through a busy downtown Chattanooga made for a pleasant (if still 95+ degree hot) ride. Particularly since this friday was also a downtown concert and there were probably 3-400 other motorcycles in downtown, along with a couple of thousand people, giving the whole thing an almost festival or parade like feel.
This morning, breakfast is planned, along with the long ride, so I'll be heading out shortly.
Well it was a hot, but nice ride up, and I only missed my turn twice! Seriously though, the door to door ride distance was 137 miles, 4 stops (1 for gas, 3 for water and leg stretch), 3 hours 15 minutes. I came up from Milton/Alpharetta using mostly backroads, and on the return I am planning to swap out a few roads to get a better ride with less nasty roads.
The route up to Jasper was excellent except for an 11 mile stretch on GA 5 / 515, where it is interstate quality road, without the restricted access. Traffic speeds in excess of 70mph. Once there though, jumping on to GA 136 to Old US 411 was a nice stretch of road, if a little desolate :-). Then of course there was the few minutes of oh my god this can't be the right road when you arrive at a one lane bridge on Old US 411. The stretch of road on US 411 / GA 61 / GA 282 isn't too bad, though again, it's mostly four lane roads with 55 mph limits, they are lightly traveled. That all gets you up to Chatsworth, where it was left on across GA 52 to good old US 41, the old north/south road before I-75.
Since I have to do some work at a customer's office in Chattanooga, I scheduled it so that I could stay and enjoy the Hill on Wheels Scooter Rally this coming weekend. So, I'm riding from Alpharetta to Chattnooga on wednesday afternoon. This should be an interesting ride almost entirely on backroads. Google maps lists it at 111 miles. I'm planning 4 hours of ride time door to door. Why do long ? well, I'm planning to stop often because the forecast is for 101 degrees in Atlanta, 103 in Chattanooga. This will be the first trek up this route for the BV500.
This weekend I checked all the fluids, so all that's left is to pack, load up and ride out.
Hope to see some of you there!
Yikes. We went from a pretty mild, but dry summer 4 weeks ago with high in the 80's and 10-20% humidity, to 2 weeks of highs in the 90's with 80% humidity, to this week. Highs in the 100's and 20-60% humidity. It's enough to make me think about a white seat cover!
Seriously though, riding through the cold days at 16 degrees didn't discourage me from riding, but too much of this kind of heat might. Last night, the ride down the to the greenway for my skate was about the most miserable ride I've ever had. Traffic was a mess, and sitting in stop and go traffic in this heat , made for an unpleasant ride. Then putting gear back on after the workout, while all sweaty really didn't appeal, but after a couple of miles of breeze, the body cooled, and with the sun setting the blazing heat was muted to dull heat (still 88 at 11pm), and balance was restored.
So, yeah, I'm still riding, but with the high today, again over 100, and tomorrow expected to be even higher, it's like Robin Williams said in Good Morning Vietnam, "Doing a little bit of Crotch Pot Cookin'".
Over the last 20 years of my life, I have developed a core philosophy that I have mentioned a couple of times in passing in comments to other people, but I've never actually posted much about it on my own. It's probably about time.
The philosophy is this; Being is easy, living is not, not and takes effort every day of our lives. The difference, in my mind, is a fundamental approach to everything we do in life. One of the most obvious and easily explained applications of this philosophy applies to a frequently contentious subject, religion. Religion is one of those places where many people are very good at 'Being' but not so much when it comes to 'Living'. Here is a classic example. I have an acquaintance who I know well, and have for many years. He frequently tells people that he 'is a christian'. That's great, I'm happy that he can profess his faith like that, but the problem is that knowing him, I don't believe it, because he doesn't 'live' it. Sure, he goes to church every Wed. and Sunday. Sure he participates in all the bible study classes at the church, he even donates quite of money to the church, but none of these things absolve him of his behavior. We are talking about a man who treats others poorly, including some of those closest to him, basically anyone that is not his equal or better (in his eyes), is dirt and gets treated as such. What kind of person is he? if an animal is in the road, he will not swerve to miss it. He litters, the world is his ashtray, and he drives aggressively to the point of being dangerous. He cares about very little beyond himself.
Well, the hot week ran into a hotter weekend. With highs in the mid 90's (though the thermometer at the house was showing 100+ on Saturday), it was a scorcher.
Friday afternoon, I got to leave work a bit early and ran some errands. On the way home however, I did catch one great picture, it's my latest wallpaper :-).
Unfortunately, I had some yardwork to do. So Saturday started out with a ride (bicycle) of about 10 miles to get stretched out and ready for the day. Then it was onto the scooter to go get the mulch hauler from the office, and off to Lowe's. Unfortunately, the area I'm mulching is on the wrong side of the septic system drain fields, so bags, while more expensive, are the better choice. Grab 25 bags of mulch, and head home for the unload. Empty the car, and take it back to the office to pickup the scooter and come home on the scooter. For the record, it is a perfectly valid excuse to go 10 miles out of the way for the added cooling effects of a blast down the highway for one exit and 75mph. At least by the time I got home the sweat had eased of to a dry creekbed instead of the raging Mississippi river that it was after unloading.
Phew has it been hot the past few days. Generally speaking 90-100 degrees doesn't bother me that much, but the last week, pairing that with 80% humidity and no wind, and it's just been hot. Driving a car with A/C, you really forget just how hot it can get out there on the pavement. Wed. night, I had to go home and mow the yard (every 3-4 days right now, it's been that wet and hot, the bermuda is going nuts), so I stopped by the grocery and picked up some groceries for the wife. It's pretty sad when your grocery list is 5 2 litre bottles of soda, 2 gallons of milk, salad, cheese, eggs, french bread, a 10lb bag of potatoes, 2 bottles of Juicy Juice (great stuff btw, too bad it's sooooo darned expensive, I'd rather drink that to sodas), crackers and a few other sundries, and the hardest thing to carry on the scooter is the french bread (it's too long, and too soft).
Then home to mow the lawn while the wife makes dinner. 45 minutes later, dripping with sweat I'm eating dinner on the patio under the deck with a fan trying to cool off and not poison the air in the house with the toxic stench that is lawn sweat :(. Jump in the pool to rinse off and play with the kids for a few minutes before they head off to bed, and into the basement to work on some website stuff.
Bev - Piaggio BV500
No Breeze, Sunny, 73F, Light Fog
4.5 miles on the short route in.
First, let's talk about a site addition. Over in the Photo Albums there is a new album of my personal favorite pictures from my scooter adventures. Because I've had a couple of folks over the last year ask for copies, I've done a couple of things that I expect to keep adding to over time. First, in the album are 'Desktop Wallpaper' or 'Background' sized images. These are scaled to the noted 1680x1050 that is the native resolution of so many wide screen monitors now, and they are watermarked to indicate the source of the images. Since a couple of people have further asked for printed copies, I have done some digging, and have decide to use Zazzle to allow anyone that wishes to customize a print and have it printed in the size of their choice. Contained with each photo in the album are direct links to Zazzle for this, as well as I now have a link in the sidebar to my 'Zazzle Gallery' where you can view and purchase anything I've turned into a product from the library. Yes, I do make a few cents for anything you buy from Zazzle using the Gallery link, which is a good thing as I've tied it to my 'Scooter Habit' account which I hope to use towards a PX or Stella for a fun little shifter / recreational toy, or to buy additional hardware for Two Wheel Junction
One of the things I both love and loathe about scootering is parking. In theory, parking is no big deal. Use designated parking, if now motorcycle parking is provided. Bear in mind, this is not a 50cc scooter I can readily throw up near a bike rack. Generally, I don't have a problem walking, so I'll put the scooter in a safe spot further away from the entrance so as not to offend someone into doing something stupid (like trying to move my scooter without permission, which I've seen done twice now). Sometimes, this just isn't possible.
Lately, I've been trying to get back into shape, so 2 or 3 days a week, I'm going down to a public park area in Alpharetta to go rollerblading on a 12 mile loop of nice protected patch for bikes pedestrians and rollerblades. So, I throw the skates into the saddle bags, and off I go. The parking area presents a challenge though. There is a paved loop through the parking area, but the normal car spaces are all gravel, making these less than ideal for the scooter. There are however two handicapped spaces that are paved. Also less than ideal. Then there is a single paved triangle to the left side of the handicapped spaces. This triangle is not marked with no parking stripes, and under every GA law covering parking is perfectly legitimate for usage by a scooter or motorcycle. Even so, I park as far back and to the left as I can so that anyone using the handicapped spot will not be impacted by my usage of the space. I started using this space, after another patron of the park complained to me because I had tucked the bike into a gravel space, preventing a 'car' from using the space.
Well, while the weather cooperated, the family schedule did not. Somehow, the entire weekend was a wash in terms of riding, which was a bummer. Friday afternoon did provide some fun on the bike though. Had to make a run down to Perimeter Mall to pick up something for my mother's birthday. The fun thing about that stretch is that from Alpharetta I have two options. Boring highway (GA 400), or surface streets.
One of the ugly things that people who have never lived in the area don't understand or know is that the Chattahoochee River is a little bitty river that causes huge traffic headaches in the area. The reason is pretty simple. From Lake Lanier to I-285, there are only 9 bridges across the river: GA 20, Mcginnis Ferry Rd, Abbots Bridge Rd, State Bridge Rd, Medlock Bridge Rd, Holcomb Bridge Rd, GA 400, Roswell Rd, and Johnson's Ferry. Unfortunately, this is the very heart of Atlanta's north suburban sprawl. In order to get from Alpharetta/Milton to Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, there are only two relevant bridges, Roswell Rd and GA 400.
One of the things that I've missed the most in moving from the Kymco People 250 to the Piaggio BV500 has been the windscreen. When I bought the BV, I ordered the Piaggio medium windscreen, but after a month I got sick of waiting, so this week I ordered and alternative, in the Givi A106 (TwistedThrottle.com). They got it to me yesterday, and I got it installed last night. This windscreen is a little larger than the one on the Kymco was, so I wanted to get some miles on it to see how it feels, so I squeezed in a few errands after installation to see how it did with the evening winds. Overall, not bad, you certainly know it is there, but it isn't quite the 'sail' I feared it would be. The upside is that the screen does fill it's primary function well.
My biggest issue is that on a longer ride, my back got tired from fighting with the wind. The screen completely solves that problem, and should reduce the rain issues I was battling when it rained. So while I know there are concerns with windscreens in general, I think this should be alright, particularly on a scooter as heavy as the BV.
So this morning I had a meeting and a couple of errands I needed to get done, so my normal routine was changed up. Now, I am most certainly NOT a morning person. I normally get up around 7:30 and roll out to work around 8:15. This morning though. I had to head north an hour to the north side of Cumming, GA. Since I really don't enjoy driving the highway, I decided that I'd set out early, and enjoy some backroads and a more scenic route, which meant that though by highway the route would be about 55 minutes, it would be 80-90. Sounds good to me.
So up at 6:00, in the shower and out the door by 6:45. The first sight of the day, a pack of deer, with a 5-6 point buck and 3 doe grazing by the road not a mile from the house. Now, deer are pretty, but frankly, they scare the pants off me, 1500 lbs of animal that can move and change directions quickly and with no warning, fortunately, I think these are so comfortable with cars and bikes that all I got was a stare down by the buck. From there, it was left on the Hopewell out to Drew Campground and on up into the backside of Cumming. These are mostly rural roads with several neighborhoods, but still, there are some great vistas and views up the road.
One of the things I remember the most about my grandparents house was that it was always warm, to the point of being almost hot. As I get older I'm beginning to understand. 70 degrees, under cloudy skies, is great when you are just walking around, but this morning, at 45 mph, wearing a short sleeve shirt under my SHIFT mesh jacket, it got down right chilly on the way to work. The problem is, this afternoon, it'll be 90.
There are other signs, the sore hips & sore lower back from mowing the lawn, the new eyeglass prescription every year the impending arrival of my daughter's 'teen' years, and yet, I'm young enough to be having a blast in life. Perhaps that's the real key. Check back in another 35 years and I'll let you know if I'm still having a blast, if I'm not, hopefully there's a good reason.
Every now and again, it's nice to get out of town for a couple of days and just take a break. This last weekend my wife did one of those last minute, no planning, pack up the kids and go long weekenders. Thursday night we packed up after work and went to the beach. Destin, Florida to be exact. We've got some friends that live there that offered to put us up for the weekend, so we did. Scott & Britt have been great friends for years, and they own and run a toy store down in the Destin Commons. Better people than them, I've not met.
Anyways, it was a wonderful break, but one thing I found is that I missed riding, so I'm now looking around for a good trailer solution for my scooter(s). So far it looks like my best option is either an 8' flat bad trailer for about $799 which offers the added flexability to be used for things other than the scooters, or a trailer in bag which is a motorcycle scooter only solution for $1200, which offers a better storage solution when not in use. I haven't made a decision yet, but I'm certainly looking.
There comes a time in your life where you realize that you have too many things and you need to get rid of some. For me, it's websites (at least this week). In addition to the site(s) I maintain for work, I also have several that I've been doing personally. Let's see, there's my 'Words of a Geek' site on my .mac account, then there is my three side projects, www.druware.com, www.postgresqlformac.com and of course, www.twowheeljunction.com. In order to make my life easier and the content more coherent, I've decided to put things where they make sense, and to close down my .mac account, as it is just overkill for what I need.
With that in mind, I have moved my scooter blogging here. Sure it isn't perfect, but it's a start. One of the things to be aware of is that, for the moment, I am not using a server based blogging engine, but a client side tool called SandVox. Mostly, it just works for my needs, and it's easy to use.
Before anyone asks, the .mac site will stay up for another year, but I will no longer be updating after August 1, all updates will be made here. For my old friends, I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but it was just getting to be too much to update.