Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

My apologies to anyone who might be offended by the irreverence shown to the holiday...but this cracked me up!

More nifty-neato projects, videos and ideas to be found at
 I gotta go back and find the white trash motorcycle section. Might find me some really cool do-it-yerself projects!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Valley ride

Thursday Morning
Thursday I rode to work. The morning and evening rides were beautiful. I wish I could have taken pics, but there wasn't time for stopping. This was the brightest day we'd had in a while. Cold, but at least the heavy gloom had  lifted to a degree.

I wake up to fog and cold temps, so I spend the morning cleaning house and taking care of errands. After lunch it's time to ride. The first stop is for gas for Sam, where I have a discussion with the attendant about how crazy, cold-weather riders stay warm (Irondad withstanding) using heated gear. He'd never heard of heated gear, but wished he had something like it when working outside. Tank full and off we go.

I've added a neoprene band that goes around the base of my helmet to help seal out wind and cut down on wind noise. Is it quieter? Maybe, but not quiet enough to ditch the earplugs. I stop along Tangent Drive to put in earplugs and add a balaclava as well. It's so nice to be on the road!
Tangent Drive
 The route goes west of Tangent, past the Oakville Church, where the historic building is decorated  for Christmas, then on to Peoria Road. The plan is to ride towards Albany, but Sam wants a longer ride and so do I. We turn toward Corvallis and head out to Independence Highway.
 Oakville Road
I don't stop for photos, I just enjoy the ride. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, I don't care, I simply want to ride. We cross the river at Independence and head towards Ankeny wildlife Refuge. Traffic is light and the back roads quiet. Mt Jefferson gleams with a bright cover of snow in the afternoon sunlight.
Mt. Jefferson
Where did the time go? I turn Sam towards Jefferson following our commute route home. One last  break at Knox Butte cemetery, the last stop for the afternoon.
Knox Butte Cemetary
Festive touch
  We spotted three other riders out today. Eighty miles, a few stops, and a very nice way to spend the afternoon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How did this sneak past me?

Sam passed a milestone recently - 10,010 miles. I missed it by 10 miles. I'm pretty sure that it happened on the commute home in the dark and rain, so my excuse is that I was a bit distracted. It went unoticed until today when I went out to check mileage/gas in case of riding tomorrow, and there it was.
10,000 miles with Sam.
My goal for the year was 12,000 miles total and with the mileage from the Suzuki I've gotten 13,269 so far. A respectable amount for a commuter I think, and who knows, I may get a few more miles before year's end.

I think. I can safely say Sam now has more mileage than some Ninjas will see in a lifetime.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


That would be the description of the first ride after being off the bikes for two and a half weeks, longer for Ron. We went for a ride today. It had to be done or things were gonna get ugly. The Suzuki wasn't sure she wanted to go out. It took some persuasion and a little help from the battery charger to convince her. Sam wasn't sure she wanted to go either, but she took less convincing and started after two tries. Geez girls, I'd think you'd be antsy to get out of the garage. I was able to try my new gloves (thanks Trobairitz, they work well). I didn't use the heated grips for most of the ride and my hands stayed toasty. The new dorky mirrors are still wonderful - what a view! I can see behind me and it isn't just the trunk case. Sam will have to get used to her dorky antennae, cuz they're stayin'.

The ride? It was spectacular, sunshine, pretty clouds, no wind, and most of the sand blown off the road. Perfection in late fall. Ron scrubbed some newness off of his rear tire, and I put a few more miles on mine.

Not many pics. I was afraid to stop somewhere in case the Suzuki decides not to start again. Later I'll find out she has a fouled plug. It's a recurring theme with her, and in the best of old bike/car syndrome, Ron keeps extra plugs around. She'll get a new one tonight.
 One pic as evidence we did ride!
One hot apple cider and a peppermint mocha with white chocolate and whipped cream...scrumptious!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

There is something wrong with this picture

This one's for you Richard. Alaska warmer than Oregon. It simply ain't right!
And it's supposed to get even colder.

Troubadour posted a perfect rant for the week, which inspired me to post some pics from this morning.
Big Sigh...
...I'll take the car...

Dang it, I don't have to scrape windows on the Ninja...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tires and Stuff

A couple weeks ago Ron picked up a nail in his tire. Why does this always happen with a new tire? My tires are at the end of they're useful life. Will I get a flat? Of course not. We'll come back to my tires in a moment. Ron pondered and puzzled whether there was a way to salvage the tire, but after EVERYONE told him it wasn't a good idea, he bit the bullet and bought a new one. With a uselsss tire available, we took the opportunity to learn a new skill.

Cyclists (the non-motorized kind) carry tools and tubes and an assortment of stuff for basic repairs on the road. Then we look down our snotty, elitist noses at any cyclist who doesn't come properly prepared to fix their own flat or do minor repairs.
No spare tube?

Didn't bring your chain tool?

Sucks to be you! 

It's time for Ron and I to learn how to fix a flat on the big bikes. It's really not hard, and I suspect a tire plug kit/air should be a part of every riders kit. We're halfway there. We purchased a plug kit. Nothing special, just something we found in Walmart.
Yank out the offending nail
Ron pulled out the nail from the tire.

Such a tiny hole...


This can't be fixed??

He used one tool to make a bigger hole, no going back now. He then threaded some sticky black stringy stuff into another tool, and shoved it into the hole. (Did we just violate that tire?) He gave it a quick hard tug to remove the tool leaving a big black blob.

Really, that's it?

That's gonna stay? 

You're sure??

Punch a bigger hole.

Sticky black stringy stuff 

My turn. We needed another flat. Out came the drill, and a "puncture" was made. My first attempt didn't get the plug in, but we got it on the next try. The next day when we replaced the tire I had a chance to see the inside of the plug. I'm a visual learner, so I appreciated seeing a fat wad of sticky rubber on the inside of the tire. (Having said that, did I take a pic for the blog? Of course not!)

Back to my tires. My tires are nearing 10,000 miles and are looking a little worse for wear. I have no complaints about the stock tires, but I'm curious what other riders like, and what they look for in a set of tires. I'm making some assumptions here. I assume a grippy tire that sticks to the road is a softer tire that will not last as many miles. And I assume different tires give different feed back from the road.

Since confidence isn't one of my strong suits, and I have a strong distrust of tires sticking to the road, I think having tires that would inspire confidence and have good grip to the road would be a better choice for me. Can a tire inspire confidence? Strange question really. Okay, enough rambling, bottom line: What tire's do y'all like? chicken am I gonna get rid of them this time...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Can it still be called a farkle if it's fugly?

Santa FedEx has paid a visit. Every farkle for Sam paves the way for another farkle to fix the problems aquired with the last farkle. This farkle is to fix the view back, a way to see over the wind deflectors and around the trunk box. I looked at different mirrors. I considered bar end mirrors. In the end extending the mirrors seem the best solution.

This is the best kind of modding. Father/Daughter bonding time, and I don't have to do a thing!  They work on getting the stock mirrors off of Sam. After some fussing and fidgeting with the extensions and assorted parts it becomes clear that the fit isn't perfect. The provided washers are too thin. Bummer, Mr. Machinist will just have to dig out the lathe and make thicker ones. Just what he hates...playing with, er running the lathe.

Measure twice, cut once...Ron gives pointers to Rachel who takes her first try at running a lathe. The first washer is tried for size, but it's too big. Measure and cut again, and the next one is just right. 

My own personal custom washer. How special is that!!

The windscreen comes off to get the second extension on, and when it's all said and done...
Can it still be called a farkle if it's fugly?

I dunno, it calls to mind an image...

not altogether flattering....

It's probably good that I don't split lanes...

 Well, maybe they don't stick out that bad...
Yes, yes they do

Have to wait for the next ride to see if the view back is improved.

One final image for tonight. The view from the commute home this evening. This makes up for the rain and fog this morning. Safe rides out there to all!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

35 Miles and 11 Graveyards*

An auspicious beginning. Do we really want to ride in this? Rain and fog, fog and rain. No one knows we're coming...we won't be missed...
Two wheels, two pedals, no combustion engine, a few of dead bodies, and a promise of free pizza and cupcakes at the end. All righty then. We're off and riding into the soggy, foggy, rain in search of graveyards, ghosts and ghouls.
 Millersburg Cemetary
We'll find out later we have an ancestor here.

I catch up to the others who are hell bent on finishing this ride and have no time to stop for photo ops.
A few more miles, a few more hills and we're close to another stop. There's a little bit of fall color still showing in the trees.
Scravel Hill Road
You can pretend to ignore me, but I'm still gonna get the pic! 

A few years ago we saw a ghost at Knox Butte Cemetery, a lady in a white dress walking her dog. She appeared from the side of the cemetery, and in the next moment she was gone. We haven't seen her since, and she didn't show up today.
 Knox Butte Cemetery

We wind our way back towards Albany staying well to the right of Oregon Beaver's fans rushing to the game. Eventually we end up at the Masonic Cemetery where we go for a short ride amongst the graves. There is strange music playing, and we hear screams...

 What's everyone lookin' at?
He seems a nice enough sort, we invite him to lunch.
Ciddici's Pizza is located in the old Oregon Electric Train Depot, ( Note the OER in the gable), a nicely restored, old  historic building in downtown Albany.

Patiently waiting for pizza.

No time to get pizza photos before the gluttonous orgy begins. Do not come between hungry bicyclists and their food. Only got a snap of a few cupcakes that survived the carnage. Okay, not really...I just forgot to take the food pics again!
*Yes I know, not all 11 graveyards are listed...did you really want to read that much about a bicycle ride? I didn't think so! :)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Last of the Sunny Days?

I haven't posted up much lately. There hasn't been much to post up. Most mornings this is the view:
From a past commute
The outside of my faceshield mists up badly in the fog. Maybe it's the smaller windscreen on the Ninja, since I never had that happen on the cruiser with it's massive windshield. As quickly as I wipe it off it fogs back up. I'm giving the heated grips mixed reviews. Perhaps my gloves are too thick, but with the colder temps I barely feel the warmth.  I'm not sure they'll be warm enough for lower temps. Still, they help keep the edge off even if the fingers still get chilled.

The afternoon commute is payback for the foggy mornings. Dry roads, warm sun. My co-worker is jealous (not my fault he didn't ride). Yeah, the afternoon commute has been a treat. I went for a short ride on Friday that pretty much sums up the afternoon rides this week.
The weekend forecast calls for rain blown in on the wind. Ron and I wimp out on a bicycle ride. 55 miles with lots of climbing, rain and wind...pass, thank you. We'll spend the weekend plotting home improvements, and leave all two-wheeled vehicles in the garage.
Sunday brought hail, thunder, wind, know, typical Pacific northwest weather.
The Storm
Fifteen minutes later
It's supposed to be the same nasty weather tomorrow. I think Sam needs another day off.