Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So close

I'm getting very close to completing my degree at school. It's only three more weeks and I'll be done. Been going for a long time, and with work it's been hard to make extra time. After this I'm not sure what I'll do next but I do want to check out a 4 year university for further education. School is not my favorite place to be but I have learned a lot over the years and it has helped me succeeded at work.

Another problem

On Saturday I took my bike out for a short ride around town. While pulling out the garage I noticed some fluid on the front brake cable, which turned out to be brake fluid. It's not a serious leak but still important to fix. So today I visited my local Honda dealer and bought two washers for a CRF450 which are the same size as my bike. Now I am going to remove all of the fluid on the front brakes again, re-bleed, and hopfully they don't leak. It's a pain since the last time it took about 1 hour to get the brakes some what solid.

This is not a major problem but it's those little annoying problems with something used. Since I mostly do homework on the weekdays I spend my weekend working on the bike, which means less ride time for me. Hoping this is the last of the problems on the bike.


Just recently I watched the PBS series Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State from Netflix on demand. It's a very well done series on the holocaust and just how did the Nazis kill so many people. While it was difficult to watch, I did learned more and had a few of my questions answered. Before I thought that the Nazis just started the anti-semitism just during the war but it was actually years before that the hate started in Germany. The series was also amazing to hear first hand experiences from prisoners and guards at Auschwitz. One of the most shocking scenes was an interview of the guard who expressed no remorse for what he did 60 years ago.

Ride to Mt. Hamilton

This past Thursday after work I met with a few friends for a ride to Mt. Hamilton. Of all the roads I have ridden, Mt. Hamilton is my least favorite. The road to the top is filled with very tight switch backs, gravel, and blind turns. Then factor in I crashed on this road before and got run off the road by another motorcyclist going the wrong way. Basically, it's a difficult road for me. On the way up I did pretty well, I only had two mistakes. First I target fixated on the side of the road after a turn and almost rode in the dirt, lucky for me it was only a second. Then while riding up a very steep switch back turn, I lost my balance for a second and put my foot down to catch myslef. Ironically, it was almost the same method how I crashed years earlier on the same road. Once I got to the top, it was a great feeling to once again complete this road. I'll continue to ride here as it gets easier each time.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I really really dislike cold weather

Since I'm starting to ride again I am finding out just how cold it is on a bike. Driving in a nice warm car is totally different from a motorcycle. Even with a leather jacket and a rain jacket, I was still very cold from a 1 hour ride. My fingers were numb, and the wind was blasting down the jacket. It's also hard to warm up again without a heater or something on a bike. It's a pain but it's a part of riding, you're in the weather and much closer to the elements than in a car.

What I might do is find a thicker riding jacket and use a tighter sweater under the jacket. I find that it's not so much the wind but actually the wind blowing into my jacket from the jacket not fitting perfect. Hopefully if I seal all of the air leaks it won't be as cold. They sell electric heated vests but I don't think I'll need something like that for now, the weather isn't that cold and summer is coming soon.

Did I buy the wrong bike?

After riding my motorcycle around more this week I'm starting to wonder if I bought the right bike. Ever since I sold my last motorcycle I was torn between buying another full street bike and something in between like a dual sport or motard style bike. Both bike styles have pros and cons but I'm finding out that on the freeway the motard is almost slow to the point it's unsafe. Just traveling down 880 I can just barley keep up with traffic and usually ride in the slow lane my whole trip at 70mph.

Now this doesn't sound too bad but considering the bike is almost at it's limit at 70mph, passing cars or just staying ahead of the slower traffic is a task. Even on my first bike, a Ninja 250 I never felt like I couldn't keep up with traffic. I was aware of this limit on these types of motorcycles but never realized just how much I ride on the freeway.

Just for fun I stopped at the local motorcycle shop after work today and just sat on a bunch of new bikes to get an idea of what would I buy if I sold this current bike. Not sure but I think I would get a super sport 600 or maybe another Ninja 250. I never had an in-line 4 motorcycle before and really interested in the high technology of the bike. At the same time, I enjoy the simple nature of the Ninja 250 and just how easy it was to ride.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Back to riding

I've been away from riding for over 2 years. Well to be more technical, I've not owned a motorcycle in over 2 years. I really never was away from riding.

When I first started riding street I rode a Ninja 250. It was so easy to ride, but after riding 6,000 miles in a few months I sold the bike and bought a SV650S (mostly based upon my friend’s recommendation). I’m not sure why but the SV650 didn’t feel as fun the 250. It was top heavy, big and didn’t have that easy to ride feeling, it was more like the bike was riding me. So after a year of riding just a few thousands miles, I sold the SV650 and didn’t buy another bike. The bike never felt fun like my 250, and after most of the friends faded from the interest of motorcycles, I followed the same path. As far as I knew I was done with riding.

While I didn’t own a motorcycle in those 2 years it was on my mind a lot. When people would ask where I took a photo, I would explain it was a seldom used road in the Woodside area I discovered on a motorcycle ride. If a motorcycle passed me on the freeway, I could tell which model it was and year. The conservation of how dangerous lane splitting was on a motorcycle I would explain a motorcyclist has more risk of getting rear ended than side swiped lane splitting. Even at a friend’s bbq I spoke with another motorcyclist and talked about some of my favorite roads near the coast.

After some time my interest in motorcycles was re-started. I began to read up on different types of motorcycles and decided to judge what would be fun to ride instead of what would be the fastest or best looking. What I wanted was something not too heavy, easy to ride and more suited for goat trails than high speed. The more research I did, the more and more I noted that a dual sport or supermotard style bike was closer to my needs. Since I had a slightly bad experience with my SV650S, I was very hesitant on buying another bike without a test ride, but didn’t know anyone who rode a supermotard bike.

While asking for comments on the DRZ, Andrew graciously allowed me to ride his DRZ supermotard to get an idea of how it felt. After a few minutes on the bike it felt so much easier to ride, just like a 250 but with big suspension. I began to look around for used DRZs and new DRZs, but the pricing was higher than expected, so I started the slow process of just saving up for a used bike. After saving for a while I saw a KTM for sale, it was the supermotard version and the price was in my range. Once I took the test ride, it felt just like Andrew’s DRZ but a bit more power. So, I took the plunge and bought the bike, once again returning to 2 wheels.

Coming back to riding feels strange, I have to re-think the roads more carefully and even what I can carry. The bike feels very easy to ride and light, like a jumbo 250 with more power and bigger tires. It’s such a difference between this bike and my previous SV in so many ways. I haven’t taken any back roads but on the streets it feels so solid and much more confidence inspiring. This bike is actually fun to ride, like my first bike, where I’m looking forward to coming home to ride it. After a few hundred miles I’ll post a ride review.

So, I’m back on 2 wheels but I really never left when I think about it, I was just looking for the right bike.


I've been playing less and less World of Warcraft, in fact I let my subscription expire this week. While I enjoy playing, my school is almost done and rather spend the time finishing homework instead of playing. After I'm done with school, which should be this next month I'll join my friends playing again.