What’s with all this Leather Anyway?

Local Switchbacks

Local Switchbacks

Here are some answers to questions I often get from non-riders. Riders may have answers of their own which differ. They may be better answers but this is what I’ve got.

  1. Q. How can you wear a jacket and gloves in this heat? What’s with the all this leather anyway?
    A. I would rather sweat than bleed. Even a small crash can cause major damage if a rider isn’t wearing protective gear. Road rash is treated in the ER with steel-bristled brushes which actually remove skin to be sure no dirt is left. It’s called abrading and it’s no picnic. Also, my riding garments contain body armor which can absorb impacts, enabling me to walk away from a crash which may have otherwise left me with broken parts.
  2. Q. Why do you cut through traffic? Can’t you wait your turn like everyone else?
    A. In most of the world outside the US, “filtering”, or moving between cars to get to the front at a stoplight is perfectly legal. It protects riders from being crushed between cars in rear-enders and, because of motorcycles’ superior acceleration does not put the passed traffic at any time disadvantage. We are way down the road in a minute.In California we are allowed to split lanes as long as we do it safely and sanely. This reduces freeway traffic and has been shown in recent studies to be safer than following behind and between other vehicles.If I lived in a state where filtering was illegal I would gladly risk the fine as opposed to being crushed by a distracted or impaired driver. Texting Kills.
  3. Q. Why do you weave all over your lane?
    A. What may appear to be weaving may be a rider avoiding road hazards such as potholes or oil spills. By law, a motorcyclist has access to the entire width of the lane. We “claim” our space by riding in different sections of the lane at different times. We also adapt and change our lane position to maximize visibility and to better negotiate curves.Often a lane wiggle is done to get the attention of an oncoming driver who is signaling to make a turn which could put them directly in the rider’s path. A wiggle-manoeuver catches the driver’s eye and says, “Hey, Hang on a second – I’m here and I want to survive my ride”.
  4. Q. If it’s so dangerous, why do it?
    A. If you are sure you will see tomorrow by staying off motorcycles I have some bad news for you. Things will happen. Sure, you take precautions to minimize risk. So do most riders. We attend classes and constantly study and practice our skills. We accept a higher amount of risk and balance it with a high amount of risk mitigation.
    And we cannot imagine living without the exhilaration, joy, boundless vistas, camaraderie, and heightened sense of feeling alive which riding brings.
  5. Q. Do you race?
    A. No, I personally don’t race. I lack the experience it takes to operate a bike on the very edge of its physical control limits. I have great respect for those who race at any level. It’s something I will forgo due to my late arrival to riding. But I enjoy following racing, especially MotoGP and the great Valentino Rossi.My personal “checkered flag” is pulling into my garage after another safe ride.
  6. Q. Aren’t you afraid you’ll fall over when the bike is leaned over? Why do they look like they’re going to tip over?
    A. Above a certain speed motorcycles must lean in order to turn. And they must turn in order to lean.  To lean a motorcycle – or a bicycle you must push forward on the right grip to turn right and on the left grip to turn left. Sounds crazy but it’s called “counter steering” and over a certain speed it’s the only way to turn a bike or a bicycle. Try it sometime. You’ll see that your initial push in the “wrong” direction makes the front wheel track outside the path of the rear wheel, inducing “lean”.Leaning is probably at least 75% of the fun of riding for many of us.7. Q. Why did you write this section and do you think anyone will ever read it?
    A. I don’t really know why I wrote this and I highly doubt anyone will read it but it     went well with my after-ride coffee this morning.

    1. Yes, it's my one and only bike again.

      Yes, it’s my bike again, this time fitted with the Sceptre silencers.

      8. Q. Why do you wave to each other?
      A. We are saying, “Yes friend, this is great and should you have a problem I will stop and be there to help you.”

    2. Q. What’s with the “A” and the “B” all of a sudden?
      A. I have no idea what I’m doing here blogging, but I’m having a good time doing it.
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Springtime in the Bloomin’ Desert

Our cabin in the Anza-Borrego Desert

Our cabin in the Anza-Borrego Desert

It was the first weekend of Spring, usually a good time to ride and camp in the desert while beating the heat. My sons and I had booked a primitive cabin in the Anza-Borrego Desert sometime in February hoping for cool days. Except for the nights it would not be cool, though 92F in the shade is certainly not as hot as it gets out there.
Although we missed the cool temps, we were delighted to have arrived at the height of a bloom-boom; it had rained a bit the week prior and the cacti were celebrating in a most colorful way.

Barrel Cactus in Bloom

Barrel Cactus

100_2995

Beavertail

Beavertail

Fishhook Cactus

Fishhook Cactus

Godscaping

A Wonderland of Natural Landscaping

Ocotillo CU

Ocotillo, which sprouts tiny green leaves after a rain

Bloomtime Boomtime

Green Flowers!

Agave

Agave

Creosote

Creosote

Cholla

Cholla

100_3020 Kenyon Trail Vista

On the way from Los Angeles to the desert I was surprised to see so much green near Lake Henshaw. We’re having an extremely dry year and it’s a testament to the tenacity of Life to see how the plants take advantage of the smallest of rains.
Lake Henshaw Lake Henshaw Turnout
While stopped at Lake Henshaw I noticed that someone had placed a very small bow on a barbed wire post.

Love Bow

My favorite part of this two-nighter was camping and hiking with three of my four kids – this time it was just the boys and I. We had a great time together. On our final hike, in the low sun I spied an opportunity for a group shot.

Me and the Boys

Me and the Boys

Until next time, Happy Riding and I hope to see you on the road.

Life on the Road

Life on the Road

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Searching for Autumn in Southern California

Getting away from the heat and the traffic of L.A. was a real tonic.

Getting away from the heat and the traffic of L.A. was a real tonic.

The heat of summer had overstayed its welcome here in Los Angeles.  Well into October I decided I’d had enough and went in search of cooler air, the smell of wood fires, and perhaps some fall color.  I booked a wilderness cabin in William Heise County Park near the little mountain town of Julian, California. For three nights and four days I’d have nothing on my plate but riding, camping, and more riding.

Home for a coupe of nights.

Home for a coupe of nights.

San Diego County’s William Heise County Park has wonderful rustic cabins equipped with propane fireplace/heaters and electricity.  Wifi was promised but did not function.

 

This little heater was appreciated as the temperature dipped into the 40s overnight.

This little heater was appreciated as the temperature dipped into the 40s overnight.

Panorama shows the tiny room larger than it is. Bring your sleeping mat and bag/blankets.

Panorama shows the tiny room larger than it is. Bring your sleeping mat and bag/blankets.

Lake Cuyamaca and the Anza-Borrego Desert

Lake Cuyamaca and the Anza-Borrego Desert

Along a country road

Along a country road

A view of the desert from the mountains.

A view of the desert from the mountains.

Ring-mounts for securing tail bag.

Ring-mounts for securing tail bag.

I noticed I'd completely lost the aft mount. Amazingly, the forward mount held, even with a large bottle of water in the case.

I noticed I’d completely lost the aft mount. Amazingly, the forward mount held, even with a large bottle of water in the case.

The owners of this hardware store, just outside Julian, were from a town about 25 minutes from my Long Island hometown. The dog had just shown up when I arrived. Here I bought what I needed to keep my side cases attached to the bike.

The owners of this hardware store, just outside Julian, were from a town about 25 minutes from my Long Island hometown. The dog had just shown up when I arrived. Here I bought what I needed to keep my side cases attached to the bike.

The road and the sky, after Jackson Browne.

The road and the sky, after Jackson Browne.

Two crow tree.

Two crow tree.

A bit of autumn can indeed be found in Southern California.

A bit of autumn can indeed be found in Southern California.

Pam's Place, Descanso.  I bought 3 lbs of orange blossom honey here. Also ate a delicious, sweet peach.

Pam’s Place, Descanso. I bought 3 lbs of orange blossom honey here. Also ate a delicious, sweet peach.

The mountain night, lit only by stars was surprisingly dark to someone accustomed to city life.

The mountain night, lit only by stars was surprisingly dark to someone accustomed to city life.

 

2008 Triumph Bonneville. 52,000 miles and going strong.

2008 Triumph Bonneville. 52,000 miles and going strong.

 

Adios amigos.

See you on the road.

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