Dec 31, 2009


the past year has been interesting to say the least. didn’t do as much riding as i wanted. it seems i say that every year. i wonder how often or how many miles i’d need to ride in order to feel like i rode as much as i wanted??

some of the journeys i planned didn’t happen. but my biggest goal of the year, the ss1000, did. of course there were several rides with my wife (those are always the best), the yearly trek to the smoke out, a ride with my son and the easyriders rodeo. all-in-all, i’d have to say it was a good year.

i’m sure this next year will bring new adventures, some planned and some not. whatever the case, we’ll make the bet of it…

Dec 28, 2009


haven’t posted in a while –  haven’t ridden in a while…  this has been the longest stretch of time since i’ve had the bike that i’ve gone without riding… after the ss1000 ride, it seemed i had weekend commitments, holidays, questionable weather, classes. after about a month of not riding, i was getting the itch to get back on the bike. then a family crisis hit and put us into a tailspin for a couple weeks.

i finally managed to get back out on the road. weather was near perfect – considering it’s the end of december. clear skies, fifties, what more could you ask for?? so my wife encouraged me to head out for a couple hours. and i did.

it’d been so long since i’d ridden, i wasn’t even sure my bike would start – pretty sad, huh?? good thing i had it on a battery tender – it started on the first crank. while it was warming up, i gave it a once over. after that, i geared up and headed out.

i planned a short route. north up route 1, east on route 158, south on route 401 through louisburg back to youngsville. rides like these are a great opportunity for personal reflection. it wasn’t long before i was thinking about how fortunate i am to have the wife i have, the kids, my job. while things may not always be great, they certainly can be a lot worse (as my father-in-law is always keen to point out).

while i was really enjoying being on the bike again, i was also looking forward to getting home. i was approaching louisburg when i saw the detour signs. a quick feeling of dread came over me - a detour is not really what i wanted.

i took the turn off 401 and headed for parts unknown, trusting the detour signs would lead me back to where i needed to be. before i knew it, i had a huge grin on my face as i was gliding through the twisty roads. the road turned out to be a lot more fun than i expected – one of the better ones on my ride. maybe the detour was what i needed…

back on 401, i reflected on the detour. the detour was much like the family crisis we faced a couple weeks ago. not really what we were expecting, certainly not what we wanted. we didn’t know what we were getting in to, where we were going. we didn’t have a plan, we were just moving forward, trusting we would get through it.

while i can’t say we’re totally through the crisis, i think some good has already come from it. we’ve learned how strong our family is, how lucky we are to have the friends and neighbors we have. we’ve all come out better for it.

life, like motorcycle rides, can throw detours at you. detours certainly don’t come at the most convenient time. while we may not realize it at the time, they’re actually good and ultimately get us to our destination better than had we followed our original path.

let’s just hope life isn’t filled with too many more detours…

Oct 23, 2009


got e-mail saying a couple people were riding to daytona. if i was interested, it could be turned into an iron butt ride. i was, so it was… and i completed my first saddlesore 1000 (one thousand miles in twenty four hours) this past weekend.

once a couple more e-mails were sent around, it ended up with three of us going. we had two routes picked out, a northern loop and a southern straight shot. because of predicted snow along the northern route, the night before the ride, we decided to take the southern route. we’ll save the northern route for another time.

saturday morning came, early!! i officially started my trip at sheetz at 4:53am. it was cold morning and i was glad we were heading south. at sheetz, i got my witness form signed and my start receipt. i headed to benson, nc, my first stop and meeting point for the other two riders.

i get to benson, top off my tank and wait for the other riders. i’m glad to get off the bike, move around and warm up a little. after about five minutes, the other riders show up. without wasting time, they top off and we’re off to the next stop.

the plan is to start looking for stations at one hundred fifty miles, stopping before one-eighty. i’m usually good for about one hundred ninety miles. i’ve gone over two-hundred, but was really nervous. i’m good with going one hundred eighty and stopping for gas.

because we were running at slightly higher speeds that i normally drive, my mileage wasn’t quite what i expected. we were at about one hundred fifty miles and i *needed* gas.  that put us in manning, sc for our second stop. i ended up putting a little over five gallons of gas into my advertised five-gallon tank. the new rule is stopping for gas every one-fifty.

stops were long enough to top off the tanks, relieve ourselves and get back on the road. no time wasted. stopped time can really eat into overall time.

with one more stop in midway, ga, we made it to our turn around point in st. augustine, fl around 12:30pm. we were making good time and i was feeling good about the ride. other than a tiny bit of rain on the way down, and being a little cooler than i was expecting, the ride had been great.

after topping off, we talked about lunch. we’re good on time and it’d probably be a good idea to get off the bikes for a short time. without much argument, it was decided to stop at waffle house. we top off our bellies and head back home.

just after entering georgia, we hit stop-n-go traffic. not looking good. one of the guys starts darting in and out of traffic to get ahead. i do my best to keep up. after a few miles, the traffic lets up and we hit the speeds we need. i’m able to catch up to the leader, but no sign of the third rider. all this at about the time i need gas. i indicate i’m pulling over at the next exit. not sure what’s going to happen from here.

at the next stop, i top off, get my receipt and am documenting the stop when another rider pulls up. no sign of the third rider. he waited at the exit long enough to see riders we had passed earlier. surely the third rider was already past them. we try to reach him on his phone and decide to push ahead.

as we’re driving, i’m scanning ahead and behind, seeing if i can find him. no luck… until right before our next stop. he’s on the side of the road, accompanied by a local police officer. oops… our timing must have been perfect because as we pull off the exit, he’s right there with us.

talking to a local at the gas stop, the local police apparently patrol a short section of 95 north. they do their best to get as many people as they can. ticketed him for doing seventy-nine in a seventy. lesson learned…

our next stop is in benson, where we met in the morning. we top off and say our goodbyes. we’ll ride together for a bit and then split off, heading to our final stop.

my last stop is at sheetz, where i started. i rolled in there around 9:20pm. got my final receipt, witness form signed and headed home.

i ended up riding over 1000 miles in about seventeen  and a half hours. according my my odometer, it was 1049 miles. according to the gps, it was 1031 miles. the trip was actually a lot easier than i expected. i didn’t get tired like i expected and my butt didn’t start to hurt, as i expected.

my wife asked, dreading the answer, “what’s next??” i don’t know what’s next. but i do know there will be more…

check out the 2009 ride map to see the route - this one in green ...

Sep 29, 2009


took the bike in for the 32,500 mile service this morning. ‘twas a brisk but good ride. nice to be out in the morning, riding in the cool air. something about riding this time of year just seems so refreshing – even if it is in rush-hour traffic.

i was going to wait for my bike to be serviced. upon further thinking i decided to drop it off. mainly for two reasons:

  1. they’ll wash it – and it desperately needs washed. with what little riding i’ve been able to get in this year, i’ve done even less washing!! i figure they’ll get the bulk of the dirt and grime off the bike, leaving detailing to me. works for me.
  2. i get a rental. what else can i say?? a chance to ride another bike.

this time i was hooked up with an ‘09 road king. nice ride. too bad i had work today else i may have been out all day riding. i did manage to have an errand to run at lunch, so i did get to take it out a little.


Sep 23, 2009

no longer riding…

as a result of the bikesafe nc assessment i talked about in my previous post, i no longer ride my bike…

i now drive my bike.

before i go further, let me talk about the day… the morning started off with an introduction to the bikesafe program. then led into risk taking, risk awareness and risk mitigation. we’re told what we’re going to learn that day isn’t necessarily the right way or the only way to drive, but are tools and techniques to make us safer on the road.

as i recall, sgt. mark brown made the comment that the bikesafe program in london has seen a twenty-five percent drop in motorcycle fatalities as a result of their bikesafe program. i commented that it’s amazing realize that what we learn in an afternoon can decrease our chances of a fatal crash by twenty-five percent.

after the morning classroom session, we given a route to drive. a police officer follows, making assessments of our driving behavior. after the drive, we’re given our assessments.

generally, everyone eats lunch at the highway patrol cafeteria. as sgt. mark brown likes to point out, it’s “fish on fridays!!!” this is a great opportunity to chat more with the officers.

the afternoon starts with an introduction to “the system.”  so much information is presented, i could probably take it again and learn just as much. we’re taught about controlling the bike better, reading the road, strategies to make us safer on the road.

after the discussion, back out to the road for an afternoon assessment. the afternoon assessment takes us out for a longer ride, covering a lot of different driving scenarios – two lane roads, highways, heavily congested areas, etc. the idea is to put into practice what we learned earlier.

looking back on the say, i can easily say this was well worth the time; a must-have for everyone. it’s amazing how small things can make a big difference. i’ve put into practice some of the things i’ve learned and driving is so much more enjoyable. if you have a chance, take it.

below are some take-aways from the day – definitely not an exhaustive list:

  • driving a bike is a matter of attitude. people like mat mladin, valentino rossi, nicky hayden don’t ride their bikes around the track – they drive them. while we might not be out on the road to win a race, we should still have the right attitude when we’re out there. i now choose to drive my bike…
  • drive with a purpose. as sgt. mark brown says, “the purpose of riding is to get from point a to point b without damage to machine or injury to human.” when you think about it, when we make that happen, the drive between is so enjoyable.
  • always, always always have an escape route. always know where you’re going to go if or when you have to bail. this isn’t something you have the luxury of thinking about when the knucklehead behind you locks up their tires.
  • use your mirrors – check all around you all the time. i thought i did a good job of checking my mirrors. not as good as i could have been doing… now i focus on identifying the color, make and model of the car behind me. i’ll also try to identify if it’s a male or female driver and any other identifying factors – just in case said knucklehead decides to occupy the same space i’m currently using.
  • read the road signs. not only the ones posted by dot. it’s amazing how much the terrain can tell you if you know what to look for.

of course there was a lot more that i can’t think of right now… it’ll come back to me when i’m out driving…

in closing, i need to thank sgt. mark brown for his dedication and effort in bringing the bikesafe program to north carolina. if you ever meet him, you’ll quickly know he’s got a passion for motorcycling. he’s a pretty funny guy too.

thanks to all the police officers to help make the program successful. the officers come from different departments. we had state troopers, raleigh police, cary police and apex police. a lot of these officers do this on their day off. and they don’t get paid for this. because they believe in the program and believe it’s the right thing to do. after doing this during the day, some of the guys have to work at night.

a special thanks to trooper adams for sharing his knowledge with me during the day. i can only hope, and have no reason to believe otherwise, the other officers were as good as trooper adams.

if you get a chance, sign up for bikesafe. if the above isn’t enough, think about how cool it is to be blasting down the highway with a trooper behind you – without his lights on!!!

Jul 16, 2009

bikesafe – nc…

BikeSafe - NC

looking forward to tomorrow… going to participate in bikesafe – nc, a program to assess my skills and offer advice on improving… well, probably not so much designed to assess and improve my skills as much as reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities on the highways and make riding safer and more enjoyable.

the program was modeled after the bikesafe – london program. apparently the program in london has been very successful. and the program here in nc is showing the same promise.

as i understand it, there are two classroom sessions followed, each followed by a riding session, with feedback after the riding. i figure motorcycling is a something that should be continually practiced. so this should be an excellent opportunity to learn a more about what i can do to improve.

Jul 12, 2009

easyriders rodeo…

took a ride out to the easyriders rodeo in wilson yesterday… blasting down the highway, enjoying the solitude, thinking about how nice it was to be out riding… even thought about passing up the rodeo just to keep riding. it did cross my mind that if i had the paperwork, i might have turned this into an attempt at the ss1000. probably a good thing i didn’t!!!

i arrived and headed toward the ticket booth. with the variety of bikes in the parking lot, i’m thinking the bike show should have been outside!! DSC_3272 DSC_3273 DSC_3275 DSC_3277 DSC_3279 DSC_3280 DSC_3353 DSC_3351 DSC_3281 DSC_3282

i finally make my way inside and head over to the bike show to kill some time before the rodeo events start… while i appreciate all the effort that goes into customizing a bike, i definitely prefer the old bikes and rat bikes over custom, raked out and chromed bikes. DSC_3284 DSC_3287 DSC_3288 DSC_3290 DSC_3292 DSC_3304 DSC_3305 DSC_3346

this ‘63 triumph was probably my favorite – wish i had some extra cash laying around!!!DSC_3349DSC_3350

rodeo events…DSC_3301 DSC_3299 DSC_3300DSC_3308 DSC_3310

they even had a powderpuff round…

DSC_3311 DSC_3315DSC_3316DSC_3373 DSC_3380 DSC_3318 DSC_3319 DSC_3321 DSC_3324DSC_3325 DSC_3330DSC_3332 DSC_3334DSC_3340DSC_3343DSC_3362 DSC_3369 DSC_3370 DSC_3371 DSC_3372


and definitely the most interesting part of the day… i’m walking around the track get to the bleachers on the other side. as i pass a guy on his bike with a chick on the back, he asks if i take pictures. i answer yes, thinking to myself, that’s why i’m carrying this camera around. he asks if i’ll take a picture of his girl. of course!!! as i back up to get them in the picture, he adds, “because she’s always wanted to get into a magazine.” hmmmm… so i take a couple pictures and make some idle chit-chat asking if he’s entering the rodeo.

as i start to walk away, he grabs my arm and asks, “which magazine is she going to be in?” uh, ohhhh… i come clean, tell him that i wish i was good enough to take pictures for a mag, but usually post them on my blog. he seemed to think that was still cool. i told him what to search for, so hopefully he’ll find it. i can’t really blame him if he doesn’t. i couldn’t even remember his name after i got around the end of the track. i’ll call him rebel.

anyway, here are the pics i promised. rebel, if you actually find this, leave me a comment. would love to hear from you…


until next year… when maybe i can talk my wife into camping…