Thursday, October 30, 2008

Riding with a Touch - conclusion

I expect my Friday trip home to be uneventful, so I thought I'd type this up now.

It was between 35 and 45 degrees for most of the riding. Rain found its way into about 50% of the trip, and there were very gusty winds. Definitely not ideal, but with the right gear, all this can be relatively easy to deal with.

Layers. I had a wicking layer on closest to my skin, from neck to toe (I'd love to get some of that capilene by Patagonia). All subsequent layers worn (aside from the riding jacket and pants) provide insulation, and I had two such layers (feet included!). And the last layer was the asphalt protection - Joe Rocket jacket and Fieldsheer pants. Oh yeah, and who can forget the rain protection? $30 at Target's camping section gets you all the rain protection a rider needs!

Fingers and feet! These are the first to get cold, and the hardest to keep warm. I know they make heated grips, but that's like running up the wrong escalator instead of walking on the appropriate moving staircase. So I think the best solution to cold weather riding is to get dirt bike-style hand guards. For the most part, it's the wind chill that's numbing my fingers. So get 'em the hell outta the wind!

The feet I haven't figured out yet. Two layers of socks helps (as long as the first layer wicks), but socks are nothing without an amazing pair of boots. I need to find a pair of waterproof, insulated moto boots.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Riding with a Touch - NJ


I made it! Friendly relatives and the kindness of complete strangers got me to my 3rd home. Can't wait 'til my sister comes home!

Song of the day: More Than a Feeling by Boston - just bought it from iTunes using some neighbor's unlocked WiFi connection. Is this device un-be-freakin'-lievable? I believe it is :)

^ keyed into my iPod touch : )

Riding with a Touch - Wed morn

Just got up - my wife's Aunt and Uncle put me up last night. I slept in a Marmot sleeping bag I'm borrowing (thanks, professor), and I'll tell you what: these hardcore, mummy-style sleeping bags are AWEsome! They're warm, they pack tightly, they rule.

My hosts have 2 young boys, and I think I'm gonna follow them to school this morning. I was invited to, and I figure this is a good way to get the full local experience while waiting for the traffic to cool down.


It's not raining, I see a glimmer of sun light pushing through...I'm pretty hopeful for decent weather.

Last word: damn I'm getting fast @ typing on this thing!

^ keyed into my iPod touch : )

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Riding with a Touch - stopped counting

Wow, where to start? Last time I wrote was from a McDonald's just east of the Susquehanna. I was waiting for the downpour to subside, but decided that I was hitting the road again at 11am no matter what.

So I suited back up, and went into the rain to start the bike. Guess what? It wouldn't start. So there I was in the rain, my feet still wet from earlier, I was cold, and I was wondering what the heck I was gonna do. After messing with the choke, throttle, and starter, I found the magic combination that got the bike running. However only one of the two cylinders were firing. Great...

Even though I had to use the throttle to keep the engine alive at idle, I decided to hit the road in hopes the other cylinder would just start working. After about 2 miles, I realized my dream was not gonna come true.

So I pulled over on the side of 462 and removed the seat to get to the tool the cold rain. I got to the point where I had the tank propped up and I inspected the ignition wires. There was nothing obviously wrong. I realized I was not going to be able to troubleshoot this problem with the tools I had (let alone the environment I was in).

I pondered my awful luck for no more than 30 seconds before a van zipped by and violently pulled-over into the shoulder ahead of me. Then, the driver threw it in reverse and snaked around me so that the front of his car faced me in the shoulder.

"You need help?" came blaring out of a PA system. I was like, "uhhhh..." I walked over to the passenger side door, and the driver rolled the window down. The guy's name was Raul (I don't know the spelling, but the phonetics were like Rah-ool). He was a scooter rider, and stopped for me because he'd want someone to stop for him if he were in the same situation. I've since decided to adopt the same code...

Anyway, Raul told me about Trans-Am Cycles in Lititz, PA, which was about 12 miles from where I was. He gave me their number (well not exactly, but gave me enough info to figure it out), and said he'd, "pray for me." Thank you, Raul.

So I put my bike back together, got my luggage re-attached, and hobbled my one-cylinder bike to Trans-Am. It was a rough ride, because the dead cylinder would kick-in rarely (causing the machine to accelerate sporadically).


So I finally arrived at Trans-Am, and Dave, from the service department, was ready to dive in. After about 2-3 hours, I was back on the road with new plugs and a thoroughly-cleaned pair of carbs. Trans-Am was so accommodating, I am in debt to them for taking me on such short notice and turning around a completely road-worthy bike.

More rain, wind, and hypothermia awaited, but I finally ended up at my destination. It took me all day to drive, effectively, 100 miles.

Last word this time? I know I hate them, but I will always own a cell phone from this point on.

Riding with a Touch - stop 4


I enjoyed warm, restful, and most intellectual accommodations at my cousin-in-law's. I had only put in about 110 miles by the time I arrived, but they were some cold miles, dammit! It was an evening of hard cider, sushi, and cocktails from the bookshelf bar (with lots of conversation in-between).


So I followed a well-dressed college professor out the front door of an old York town home this morning, and into rejecting weather. After about 25 miles, I retired to a McDonald's - I know, I know, but do you know how warm it is in there?!

My rain gear is creating a puddle on the floor and I'm taking up a whole table with my stuff. Here's hoping the rain stops...


Last word - you have to pay for WiFi @ McD's? WTF?!

^ keyed into my iPod touch : )

Monday, October 27, 2008

Riding with a Touch - stop 2

York College. Weird layout - I can not tell where the campus starts and where it ends! Anyway, it has not noticeably warmed-up.

So I crossed the Mason-Dixon on 194, and that road's scenery did not disappoint. I beheld some of most striking Maryland landscapes ever, even under threatening skies. And in PA, 194 was a window into some kick-@$$ industrial towns with old brick buildings backed by mills and other factories. 110 miles of the afternoon is AKA Driver by TMBG. Let's see if I can find a hot spot so I can post these.

^ keyed into my iPod touch : )

Riding with a Touch - 1st stop

It is flippin' cold as hell! This was not part of the plan, so I'm @ a Dunkin Donuts in Frederick, MD eating sausage, egg, & cheese on a bagel. I don't even remember how much I payed for it, but as far as I'm concerned, its warmth was worth $20.


So I am doing a short motorcycle trip since have a few days off between jobs, and I bought an ipod touch for the occasion. What is the correlation, you ask? There isn't one, but this device is the sh*t!

Well, here's hoping things warm up - this 1st 50 miles has been rough. Pictures for each stop will be added later. Gonna listen to some Mraz - I was singing his stuff in my helmet since I left Centreville!

^ keyed into my iPod touch : )

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tire Paranoia

I just signed up for my fifth track day. I should totally be excited about this, but like every other track day, I look at my tires and ask myself, "Am I going to get through tech with these?"

It shouldn't be a big deal. They've got tire vendors on location that can help me out if I fail inspection. But between the novice-level classes and the fact that I'm still an amateur, the last thing I need is another logistical step on my track day.

My tires have enough tread for many more miles of street use, but I have little experience with the amount of tread required to get on the track. I'm sure this is a common dilemma where the real solution is to get good @ taking the wheels off. That way you can quickly get the wheels to the tire vendor so they can replace them if needed. I wonder if they charge an installation fee, or if you just pay for the tire...