Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Motorcycling Time Out

I can't believe I did that!!!!

So, I went to fill up yesterday morning and had a mishap at the pump. No, I didn't drop it. The pump didn't click off as I was filling. AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

To make matters even worse, I wasn't paying attention because I was texting!! How horrible is that!?!?!? OMG! I can't believe it. So, today, I am in a motorcycling time out to just take a break and think about what I did. Seriously, I drove today.

Here's the story. I pull up to a gas station I've used a few times. I do what I always do - take off my gloves, flip up my visor, grab my credit card, put in the pump and lock it to fill up. Then, as I also always do, I pulled out my iPhone to open the Gas Cubby app where I keep track of my fill ups and service. Ironically, I was just bragging about this app to tbolt on her blog post about tracking service. (D'oh!) I usually just punch in the info as it's filling and then when it's done, I punch in the remainder, then go on about my day. On this day, as I pulled out my phone, I coincidentally also received a text from my brother. The Saints had won the night before so we were eager to discuss that topic. I sent him one, was reading his reply and then turned back to face the bike. Gas was gushing all over the place. Holy crap!

I turned off the pump handle and stood there in disbelief for a second before going inside to alert the guy of the spill. He was very apologetic, but it was really more my fault than his. It still would have happened but if I'd been paying attention, I would have seen it right away. He gave me some soapy water and more than enough towels to clean off the bike. He even offered me a plastic trash bag to cover my seat, which I declined. I wasn't far from home so I headed back to change clothes, call work, and settle my thoughts. I also called my husband a couple of times before I drove off to have him tell me what to do.

Turns out everything is fine. I didn't blow up or even catch on fire, thank goodness. I was able to get to work and wasn't even too late. I did ride to work because I had a service appointment that day. But, today, I'm in the cage.

Maybe I just need a break anyway. I've been awfully tired these days with all the exercising and training for the half marathon. And, I'm not 20 any more. Yes, a break will be a good thing. I'm also taking a break from fitness boot camp today.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Invisible Rider

The other day I drove to work and this motorcyclist was in front of me. As I followed behind, I couldn't help but notice how invisible he looked. He was on a black motorcycle, had black saddle bags, a black jacket, and a silver helmet. We were on a black asphalt road and as we traveled along the barely sloping road, he would literally disappear when the road ahead was as high as his helmet. When he needed to brake, his tail light lit up but beyond that, it was hard to see him. And I was right behind him and was looking for him. I took a photo of him with my iPhone.

I've seen this phenomenon before. The first time it was a silver motorcycle, silver gear, and the guy also disappeared as he traveled on the silvery road. At that time, I was on a silver motorcycle, with silver pants and a silver jacket as well. It was startling to know that I was just as invisible as he was. It was shortly after that I started buying hi-viz gear and also had my hubby add more lights to my motorcycle. And I already love stickers to I added some reflective stickers as well.

Today I ride a black motorcycle. I still have my silver pants but do wear my hi-viz jacket. And when I wear my silver warm weather jacket, I wear a hi-viz vest over it. I haven't had any extra lights added on just yet but it's on the list. I also have a yellow top case and yellow tank saddle bags. My side cases are a dark army green but I have lots of reflective stickers on them including large yellow panels on the sides. (The plastic side cases weren't the right kind of plastic to paint them.) And I'll always wear a white helmet, unless I find a hi-viz or yellow one that fits.

As the days get shorter I try to keep in mind all of these things. I am of the better safe than sorry crowd so will continue to add more to myself and my bike to make myself more visible. If I could get to the Aerostich warehouse, I'd probably invest in a hi-viz Roadcrafter suit. But there is no way I'm spending all that money without trying one on. Hmmmm.... sounds like a road trip might be in order....... In the meantime, I'll probably stick with the ladies Olympia AST Jacket and Promax pants. From Motogear Outlet of course.

Shiny side up everyone!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Motorcycling Fitness

I've been participating in a fitness boot camp since April. We workout 3 days a week and I've been doing it now for 23 weeks. That's about 69 days, give or take some days I've missed for travel. I tried this program last year for a couple of weeks and it worked wonders. But, I didn't keep it up. In fact, I stopped working out pretty much the day I got this new motorcycle. What a weird coincidence. ;-) Folks will often tell you to reward yourself for sticking to a workout program. When I first started, I told myself the new GS would be my reward. I was thinking big. But, that sort of had the opposite effect in the end. This summer, I told myself I really needed to stick with it and have been quite happy with myself. I've even registered for a half marathon, which was a sort of new year's resolution. I almost ran out of time to complete it this year. I'm doing the Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 5th. I'll reach that goal just in time for a new resolution.

I didn't sign up for this fitness boot camp for any specific motorcycling health related issue. But I can certainly tell the difference when I ride. Mostly, I can tell because certain muscles are sore and I can feel it when I ride. But, I can also tell the difference in my core (abs and back) strength. I don't get fatigued as quickly. I sit up straighter. I feel more aware and alert on the bike. When we did our Devils Tower trip, all those days in a row of riding was a lot of fun and not very tiring at all.

I'm hoping I can keep it up for as long as I can afford the classes. Maybe I'll add that cost to my motorcycling expense fund. :-)

Yesterday, one of the exercises we did was holding a 6lb medicine ball over head while jumping on our toes in the sand. Holy smokes! I had no idea I used those calf muscles so much on the motorcycle. Riding to work this morning I was much more aware of the effort to downshift, which happens a lot more often during the ride than I ever really thought about before. Yikes!

Here's to being 40-something and in shape for the ride!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recent pictures...

I've taken some photos on some recent commutes to work. Here they are in no particular order.

This was last Thursday. You may or may not know I was born and raised in New Orleans and, born a Saints fan. Thursday was the first game of the NFL season, traditionally played by the Super Bowl champion team. This year that champion team is the New Orleans Saints. :-) So, I wore my Drew Brees jersey over my motorcycle jacket on my ride to work. :-) Who Dat!!

On the way home one day there was a pretty cool rainbow. It faded before I was able to pull over and get a good shot of it. But, here it is.

On another trip home, the rising moon was quite stunning. My crappy little camera could not capture it very well.
On Monday, a forest fire broke out up the canyon from Boulder. While it posed no threat to Boulder, or my workplace, the smoke settled in town for much of the rest of the week. I took these photos on my way to work. They were taken from the same spot as the photo at the top of my blog.

Velcro Brush

Here is the velcro brush I mentioned in a previous blog post. It's a very small thing that I bought at a local hardware store in Boulder (McGuckins). It isn't anything special really. I don't use it very often but it cleans the velcro pretty well. Then I have to clean the brush by picking out the lint with my fingers or tweezers. I use it the most after visiting my sister-in-law. They have 4 dogs. :-)

One Year Anniversary!

Today is my one year anniversary with the GS! Woo hoo! I rode away from the dealership with 13 miles on the clock. Today there are 10,093 miles! My goal was 10,000 miles and having it paid off in a year. I met both of those goals this month!! Woo hoo!! Oddly enough, I didn't ride today. I have family visiting so, that takes priority. But, I did make sure to ride enough to reach that 10K mile mark. I actually rode an extra 3 miles around the neighborhood on Wednesday so that I would get to exactly 10K when I pulled into the driveway. :-) It was easier to take the photo that way. :-)Yay!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Many Miles?

As my one year anniversary approaches, anyone wanna guess how many miles I'll have on the GS? There were 13 miles on it when I rode away from the dealership on September 11, 2009. :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Questions about gear

A friend of mine, who is looking to buy her first motorcycle shortly after taking a motorcycle safety class, has been asking me all sorts of fun questions. It's great to think about how far I've come as a rider and how much fun it still is to ride. It also helps me to think about all the stuff I still have to learn. Today we talked about gear. I'd been thinking about gear and the question of whether or not the gear has a shelf life or mileage life span even before she and I started this conversation.

For example, I've had my boots since August 2008. I think when I bought them I was told three years was a good long life for them if I only wore them on the bike and not for walking around in or at work all day. I do wear them at work but not very often because they are so hot and bulky. They are pretty scuffed up and most of those scuffs I really can't explain. The toes for some reason are quite scruffy looking. Is that from debris on the road?? I can't think of any other reason they'd get that way.

I've also had my mesh Olympia jacket and pants for a long time. The pants I've had since at least September 2007. The jacket since April 2008. The jacket is in pretty good condition. But I don't wear it year round like I do with my boots and even the mesh pants. The pants are looking a bit worse for wear. I've had one of the belt loops repaired and now another has come undone. The piping on the side of the legs is wearing thin. There's a hole in one of the front pockets. Oh, and they are stained and pretty filthy looking. But, by using a velcro brush that I bought recently, they still function just fine.

I'm planning to buy some winter pants this year. I'd also like to get a new Olympia winter jacket but my Tour Master still works just fine. It fits a bit tighter than I remember for some reason. Mostly I like the Olympia gear and I can get a hi-viz color too.

So, dear readers (I think I'm up to three now), how often do you buy new gear? Assuming no unexpected get offs, will gear wear out?