The Man’s Got A Brand New Plan

Mr. Slow apparently has tired of the abundant Pavement Ends signs peppered around this area or maybe he has finally succumbed to all my whining about being bored with the uninspiring layout of our roads; or just maybe he wants to go off on some adventure? Dirt. Plenty of it around here and I’m plenty scared of it, but this girl conquers her fears (eventually). Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut about the only hope he ever has of getting me off the asphalt is a little unadulterated fun sliding sideways around a flat track. And by sideways I mean horizontally on metal, after vertically on rubber.

We were waiting on Ron of BMW of Atlanta to finish putting my bike and her handler into their customer database and write up the work order for us to sign, so the Pirate could get her now 2400-mile overdue 12K service and three minor recalls done; one of which was an updated owner’s manual, which told me among other things that it is now unlawful to operate the Pirate with her red coding pill inserted on public roads; one was a new sticker that goes somewhere under the fairing which is tremendously important; last but not least she was treated to an updated drop sensor and a new breather hose for the crank case. As I was browsing the gear selection, Mr. Slow told me he wanted to check something out and made a beeline to the adventure bikes.

2011 R 1200 GS Adventure

Hubby's New Dream Ride: The 2011 R1200GS Adventure in Shine Yellow Metallic

He’s really got it for the R1200GS Adventure in Shine Yellow Metallic. The same crappy yellow with a hint of puke green in the paint pail as this year’s new S1000RR color. Yuck. But he’s a weirdo, and his fashion sense is nowhere appropriate but on the golf course. I hope it was just the fluorescents casting the evil green shadow on what I thought was a sunflower kind of yellow from what I saw of this year’s RR online.

2011 F 650 GS

Miss Busa's Ride N' Die Bike: The 2011 F650GS in White Aluminum Matte Metallic

I sat on the F650GS, which I take to be the smaller sister of the aforementioned monster; definitely more my size. After sitting on the R1200GS, just for giggles, I knew there was no way I could do anything but stay on the pavement with that giant of an Enduro, which is just his size.

We’re well on our way of becoming a couple of Warsteiner guzzling, Beemer riding, motorcycle racing, grownup kids who refuse to act their age; toilet humor is considered an art form around here and is graded on a 10-point scale.

Now, it’s just a matter of paying off both of our bikes to enable Mr. Slow to set his evil plan in motion. The plan to kill off Miss Busa and make it look like an honest goat trail tragedy, so he can collect the price on her overly-insured, adrenaline-fueled head (racing voids the warranty, after all) and live the sweet life of the rich (but not so much famous).

A message to the Dearest: Just remember, I will send you messages from beyond the grave by rearranging the alphabet magnets on the fridge. Please leave three sets of letters and numbers and a full collection of refrigerator poetry words, or crap is going to fly Poltergeist style. Just sayin’.


Let Those Without Squid…

…give me some riding lessons!

From the looks of it, I apparently need them desperately. And the day when Rosie O’Donnell is thin enough to wear a size 0 would be the day that I give a hoot the size of the average contact patch about the advice of people who obviously are lacking the faculties to do just that: give valid and constructive input.

I really don’t understand why people insist on criticizing others, spewing their stupidity online, when it is painfully clear that the originator is just some douche who doesn’t know their gyroscopic precession from their Poinsot’s construction.

As far as my riding skill development goes, I leave that in the capable hands of people who could teach you douche bags a few tricks of how to keep your insurance premiums (and by extend, mine) to a minimum:

Kevin Schwantz, Ed Bargy, Keith Code, Lee Parks, …

You get the picture. Now go get your permit renewed and drag your wife by her hair into the kitchen to make you some pie, because apparently that’s what cavemen do.

Until such time when I meet you on a track and use you as my “that is NOT quite the race line” visual aid and watch you wad it up before you even finish lap three (and I’m being generous in that assumption), we are done here!

Note to all new riders:

Please don’t listen to all the misinformation that is floating around online, the nonsense that is sometimes heard at track days, and the stupidity being spread about at bike nights. Do yourself a huge favor, take some kind of formal training to get you started on the right track (pun intended), it will boost your confidence, help your skill development, prevent bad habits or help you change some you didn’t know you had; and most importantly, will help you sort through all the BS and know good, constructive advice from the kind that can cost you dearly.

UPDATE: I couldn’t help myself: Exhibit A

Uploader Comments (TraNceDgURL)

Riding like that you might as well just leave it in sixth.
fungusrare 23 hours ago

@fungusrare I normally don’t give douche bag comments that are idiotic in context, are only written to make the author feel better about his short-comings, comments with no constructive input nor validity any second glance. They get deleted and ignored after I had a good laugh. However, in the interest of Darwinian Law and to further have some laughs, please enlighten me as to how you came up with your suggestion of proper gear selection.
TraNceDgURL 13 minutes ago

@fungusrare Further, I would like to state that some people obviously have no sense of humor, didn’t read my video’s remarks, nor have they read my channel’s introduction. If you feel like I have wasted 6:27 minutes of your precious life, I feel sorry for you to have watched the whole thing. Click, click, click… oh! Here we have some footage of an S1000RR doing 190+ in the middle of the night on an interstate. Maybe that’s more your speed, given your suggestion of gear selection.
TraNceDgURL 5 minutes ago

@fungusrare If I wanted skill training from an idiot like yourself who obviously feels that his penis size is a little short of average and is intimidated by a woman who happens to know how to ride, I would probably specifically ask for it. However, I rather leave my training in the capable hands of men who KNOW HOW TO RIDE. Kevin Schwantz? Ed Bargy? Lee Parks? Keith Code? Take your pick. That would be all. Now, go and have your significant other lick your wounds for you.
TraNceDgURL 2 minutes ago

@fungusrare Upon further introspection, please don’t respond to my question. You will just leave yourself open for public humiliation and personal embarrassment and who is going to tend to your emotional scars? Therapy is expensive.
TraNceDgURL 10 seconds ago


Rain? Get Stuffed!

I am so done with rain! I show rain the finger! Rain, kiss my pipe, you don’t scare me (much)!

I have said that riding in rain has become “nothing but a thing” anymore. People who ask me if I rode into work today, when they’ve obviously seen my bike sitting in the parking lot getting the redneck bike wash treatment, think I’m completely nuts when I nod a “Yes, I did. I have to, I don’t own a car,” in response to their question. I don’t even know why they bother asking anymore. I certainly didn’t push the mother here. How else would it get here? This makes me think that all they are trying to tell me is, via small talk of the stating-the-obvious variety, that they believe me to be completely mental and I should really get a grip and trade the thing in for a car. Please! When hell freezes over; then, maybe, we’ll begin negotiations.

I have gotten the “don’t rely on that” hand-waving dismissive “you-are-soon-dead” reactions from veteran bikers in response to my standard reply of “Rain is just God’s way of giving us clean roads and 80% traction.” Yeah, I’m such a squid! Please bury me just like that dude who reaped Internet fame of epic proportions posthumously by his family posing his dead corpse on his sport bike. Yeah. Bury my ass sitting on my Beemer in a race tuck, dragging knee around a… wait. I want to be cremated and turned into a diamond for Mr. Slow to wear as a necklace… on second thought, scratch that.

It came to me the other morning, when I had an incident on the way home from work, that I have pretty much experienced all the major “Holy Hell” categories of Crap Weather Riding 101 and 201. I have lost traction both front and rear; fishtailed; slid it sideways; almost lost it by putting my foot down in an oil-water mixture at an intersection; have slipped on lane markings; slid across a patch of ice on a curved onramp; been cut off while turning right at an intersection and had to get on the brakes so hard while leaned over, I was sure that I couldn’t possibly remain on my contact patches; I have had to fly by instruments alone, it was raining so hard at night, the water couldn’t evacuate fast enough off my face shield, and the lights refracted off the road surface so badly, I was basically blind. One thing I hadn’t experienced yet.

I was on my way home from work, I was tired and it was raining pretty steadily. It had been raining all night and most of the previous day, which meant I had at least clean roads, since most of the junk had already been washed off the road surface. I was passing most everybody, as is my custom when it’s raining. Two reasons I have for this, one of which is that most seem to want to creep along below or right at the speed limit, which is something I really don’t get. Maybe those people need new wiper blades and some new tires? This is a far cry from the 15+ over they usually employ to get to work on time. No bother, this does me just fine. It’s not like I want to hang out around cars and trucks, they spray more dirty water into my path, limit my sight distance even more and make it a generally unpleasant experience. Traffic in crap weather is unpredictable to me, I rather not attempt to read them for fear I might be wrong. I take the “the more distance between us the better” approach when it’s unfavorable in the weather department. But I digress.

I was in the left lane roughly doing my usual standard speed of speed limit +9, traffic was extremely light. I see a bus up ahead and once I get close I decide to speed up, which is also a standard practice of mine. Big vehicle getting passed by small vehicle makes small vehicle go through the danger zone in a hurry. I don’t like to hang out. As I am roughly two-thirds of the way past the bus, I hit standing water in the left wheel track. Using the left wheel track is also standard practice when passing huge vehicles. I recognize the danger at about the same time I feel both of my tires “driving up onto glass.” I really have no other way to describe the feedback I got through my tires. It felt different. Not as “rough”, not as “connected”. Like being picked up? As if my contact patches felt smaller. I don’t really know how to put this in words. At that fraction of a second my heart was in my throat, beating fiercely. I had the bus spraying a fine mist of dirty water all over me, to my immediate left was the concrete barrier separating the westbound lanes from the ones going east. I lose it either way, I’m toast. I was staring down the gauntlet into the possibility of coming out the other side in the World of Pain.

I felt the rear give first. I practically had to scream at my tendons not to move and snap the throttle shut. Boy, did I want to. I’m glad the thought of hitting the brakes never raised its ugly head; kind of proud of that one, if I may take this opportunity and pat my own self on the back. This is the first time I was scared while riding in the rain in a long time. I didn’t like it. I told myself out loud, so I could hear it and believe it: “Keep calm! Easy does it!” and with that I pinned the throttle and rode it out, while looking way ahead into the distance, trying to ignore the kill zones to my left and right. The whole incident couldn’t have lasted much longer than a few seconds, if that long. Time always seems to slow down when stuff happens.

Hydroplaning is only fun on a wakeboard at the beach.

I'm over it!

I laugh at the face of danger! ...after I throw up in my mouth a little. OK, it's really more like a nervous giggle... screw you, rain! Get stuffed!


Express Euroself Ovally ~ A Message To The ‘We Ride’ Girls

First off, the design is not mine. The winged biker chica with her silk scarf flying, riding what looks to be some vintage goodness with comfy highway pegs is DianeT’s design. Diane is one of the core group of ladies at the We Ride women’s motorcycle forum. I blogged about how I came to host the board not too long ago. I just added the wording and tweaked it into “oval sticker” format.

We Ride Sponsor Sticker Design

A heartfelt thank you goes out to my girls of the We Ride women's motorcycle forum. You ladies are the best. 🙂 I will be honored to show my colors when I go out there making a fool of myself. 😉

I wanted to give something back to the ladies who are supporting me in my desire to race motorcycles. They cheer me on, support me, and pick me up off my sorry ass when I fall. They, as my husband, won’t take no for an answer. They let me rant and rave. They are an awesome group of ladies who all have something to give, in their own way, to the motorcycling community. They make me proud to call myself a biker chick.

I will slap this baby on my S1000RR as is proper for a racer to do with her sponsor stickers and hope that I won’t disappoint.

This one’s for you!


Say What?

I have just been informed by Mr. Slow that I need to write a book.

“Say what?”
“You heard me.”
“Yes, I heard you, but I would like to make sure that I am not hallucinating.”
“I want you to write a book.”
“Can I just read one instead?”
“No.”

What in the world has gotten into him? I’m barely coping with blogging. Not to mention I have to read my stuff in excess of umpteen times just to get all the mistakes out. Don’t get me started on my affinity for the run-on sentence or the alternating overuse and underuse and mostly misuse of proper punctuation. And I am so not censoring out my favorite words of the profane. I happen to like “shit”, “douche bag”, and “motherhumper”. I do not wish to be edited, my limited (but nonetheless my own) creativity messed with, my words wrangled and taken out of context. Besides…

“There is a crap load of skill books already out there.”
“I’m not talking about skill books.”
“What kind of book are you talking about?”
“Tell your story. How you got into motorcycling, how you overcame your fears, what it means in the context of your life.”

Groan.

Who would wanna read that shit,” I’m thinking as he continues to elaborate; “I’m not that good.

“You’re good. You have a talent for writing. You could make money doing this. Figure this, if you get your book on Kindle, you could make $7.00 for every $9.99 download.”

I wonder where he’s getting his figures from, but I’m quiet and listening; because making money to finance the next set of tires or the next performance upgrade without having to deal with the drudgery of my job and the heartless drama of office politics that goes along with it does sound extremely tempting. Pipe dreams, I say. But one can dream. However, I’m already dreaming… a dream several sizes too big for my stature. Now I’m being told that I should write to finance my ride.

That’s a whole lot of pressure to put on one shy little woman. I know that much. He’s giving me too much credit, is not seeing this objectively and probably has forgotten that I do not do well with self-promotion. I hate selling. Especially myself.

In time, he will forget about this writing thing and leave me to the riding thing. One can hope. Even though the thought is somewhat sweet. Sweet indeed.

…and as I hit the publish button, I am treated to this:

Freaky.


I’m Sliding In The Rain

What in the devil is wrong this morning? Traffic is pretty heavy, but moving along at almost the pace of a Georgia Super Speeder, which is highly unusual for a Wednesday on both counts. It’s raining, has been pretty much all night from the looks of things. I’m running late, so I’m pretty much in a hurry. Business as usual on I-20. I’m passing most everybody, a few get to pass me. Yeah, you’ve read right. It’s a privilege, one which can be revoked at any second. 😉

Once I merge onto I-520E it’s a different story, as is evident at the merge point of the two opposing I-20 ramps feeding into I-520E. It takes some seriously creative riding to get in between all the slowasses, the hesitant mergers, the leadfoots, the space holders, the distractedly engaged, and the mobile jabber junkies. Yes, I have categorized the crowd by their default behaviors when driving becomes more complicated and the brain starts running the risk of overloading. Inconveniences such as intersections, on/off ramps, cloverleaf ramps, and merge points are all prime spots to observe the Common Cager (incola communis rotae cavea) in their natural habitat.

I make my way towards another day filled with opportunity of earning Pirate Coin (read: I’m going to work to make the bike payment) through the succession of merge points that is Augusta’s own scaled-down version of Atlanta’s infamous Spaghetti Junction or Columbia’s suicidal Malfunction Junction. After slicing and dicing and duking it out with a cager crowd that is denser, faster, and more aggressive than usual, which makes the situation also more unpredictable than is the norm; I finally find myself some empty-enough asphalt I can settle into and go with the flow of traffic.

My bliss, however, doesn’t last long, and as the wild bunch behind me catches up, I find myself surrounded again. Damn! I hate this. I can’t stand being around this much metal. That goes against my rule of riding as if invisible. I don’t like being caged in (pun intended), it gives me few to no outs and not enough time to react to set an escape in motion if it became necessary. I like to control the situation. And I do that with the throttle.

I have planned my escape and am working my way towards the freedom that is a much airier stretch of asphalt not too far ahead. As I see an opening to escape the imminent clutches of a semi-truck spraying me with grimy rainwater its tires sling off the road surface and a tailgater in an SUV, and risking getting stuck there, I take it and quickly change lanes, squeeze in between two cars, ride the left side of the white line, then gas it a little too enthusiastically to take advantage of the next opening. I slide the rear wheel, it starts stepping out to the right. I don’t even have to think about it; nor is it an event that registers even the slightest twinges of panic in me, nor does it upset the Pirate, as is evident by the DTC light remaining dark. A simple acknowledgement, followed by trained action.

I pin the throttle, then dive left with a quick nudge on the left grip, aiming for the left wheel track of the left lane; as I do, the rear wheel hooks back up. I straighten myself out, pass the semi truck, and after one more set of rolling road blocks (two cars pacing each other slightly offset, taking up both lanes and backing up impatient caffeine-deprived, half-asleep morning commuters for miles) I am finally free. I feel like putting on blue face paint and showing my arse while yelling “Freedom!”.

I was kind of proud of myself. I smiled. It wasn’t too long ago where I would have had to pull over and dig out the emergency pair of replacement panties. And here I was complaining not too long ago that I can’t improve my skills on public roads anymore. That street riding has become mostly mundane, boring and uninspiring. I guess I underestimated the power of constant and conscious repetition of isolated skill practice. I definitely have increased my crap weather riding skills and my confidence must be solidified.

I noticed another thing, I have reached a milestone of sorts in my riding: I haven’t been singing in the rain. That means I am not nervous or anxious anymore and the need for intense concentration has passed. I still sing on occasion when I drag knee though, I’m pretty sure of it. 😉

As a side note: I’m rolling Dunlop Sportmax Q2s, the rear in Hayabusa size (a leftover from some long-ago tire sale): 190/50 as opposed to 190/55. I can reach the ground better in my race boots, but I think I lost 6 mph off the top end… *giggles* and my speedo reads about 5-7 miles slow now. Oh well… it won’t be on there forever. I really do love those tires. I think I might even like them better than the Metzeler Racetec Interact K3 (K3s are medium-hard) that came on the bike; and they are cheaper, too.


Chicken Soup for the Motorcycle Soul

Light Reading For The WeekendI haven’t touched a book in quite some time. I used to be an avid reader. I would devour chapter after chapter, until the wee hours of the morning called me to rest and get a little sleep; get up and spend the entire day looking forward to getting back home to find out what my favorite protagonist and antihero was going to get himself into next. My escape from the mundane shades of bleh that colored my reality. That is another pastime that fell victim to the excessive need to ride my motorcycle. Not too long ago, I tried to read “War of the Worlds” on my iPad and made it as far as London falling under attack and our unwilling hero trying to make his way back to the town where he had left his wife. Maybe that is not where he was going… he wasn’t alone… and I really couldn’t make myself care about his world. I gave up. Left him lying wounded by the roadside, never to return.

The only kind of reading I do anymore is of the reference book variety. If it doesn’t help improve my riding or isn’t teaching me how to work on my machine, I really don’t care about it. TV? Nah. Poetry? Sometimes, but it has to do with the experience of being on two wheels. News? Who cares. Too sad anyway. I used to design graphics, elaborate ones, in Photoshop. Not the kind of stuff I crank out now. My creations, which were mainly photo montages with added textures, text and hand-drawn bits thrown in, showed more passion, more emotional depth. Learning Latin? Not anymore. Japanese? No, thank you. I’m over it. I used to crochet, cross-stich, tried my hand at quilting, draw crappy anime characters, conceptualize video game character design, dance, play video games and PC games more than the average teenager (and still sucked at Halo!). My life seemingly has become a bore.

I wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe I’d start sooner if I could. But an awesomely smart man once told me that if I had started sooner, I’d probably would have killed myself already. He is probably right. The past two years have just flown by; and looking back at myself learning on my Hog, being scared to ride in traffic, hoping that the light wouldn’t turn red before I got there, so I didn’t have to stop. That doesn’t seem like it was me. It’s almost disconnected. Like it is someone else I am looking at, but not quite. A twin sister, perhaps. A sister I haven’t known and didn’t grow up with. I’m a single child, what do I know? There is, however, a distinct dissociation there. That is where my saying originated: 1 year. 2 bikes. Thousands of miles and worlds apart. I knew it then. It’s even worse now. My S1000RR Present Self is looking at the Hayabusa Self the way the Hayabusa Self looked at the Harley Self over a year ago.

Good gawd! Where is this coming from…? I’m getting way too philosophical here. If I continue down this road… I really don’t want to know the reasons. It seems to be a measure of skill progression and theoretical knowledge of the subject. Like comparing a character from the seventh season of some TV drama to the same character in the third season and then to the one in the first. They are worlds apart. The actor grows into their role and the character becomes more “there”, more realistic, more believable. They had six seasons of practice to get it right. I am more “there” now, after two seasons, but I have plenty of seasons left.

All I really sat down to convey is that I consider a little light reading what you see in the picture above. That is the Chicken Soup for the Motorcycle Soul. If it hasn’t to do with riding bikes, the physics and dynamics of bikes, or the maintenance of bikes, I don’t waste my time on it. I work. I ride. I sleep. And, hopefully, soon I’ll be adding “I race.” to that statement.