« February 2006 | Main | October 2007 »

February 26, 2007

Sealing the 'stich

Sealing the 'stich
Originally uploaded by Burnszilla.
That infamous photo of me and my wet crotch has brought me some good fortune. I sent the photo to Aerostich and Sherry replied, wondering what happened. I explained to her that I rode in the rain with my Roadcrafter suit and it leaked. She asked for permission to use the photo in their catalog and she sent me a tube of Seam Grip to waterproof the zipper seams on my suit. It took about fifteen minutes to syringe and brush the sealer all over my zippers. I was going to put the suit to the test today in the rain. My wife woke me at 6am and prodded me to car pool with her into the valley. She didn't want me to ride in the rain and she wanted to use my body as a ticket to get her into the fast moving car pool lane. Half asleep, I gave in. Feeling a little bit like Miss Daisy, I relaxed on the passenger side while Sharon drove. My crotch protected from the elements.

Posted by stephen at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2007

Helping Hurricane Katrina Victims

Help!, originally uploaded by Burnszilla.

On my way to work each day I ride up the Old Santa Cruz Highway, now known as Glenwood Drive. For the past two years I've seen this trailer parked on the side of Glenwood Drive. It disappears and reappears every couple of months. It's quite obvious that there is a person collecting relief supplies for Katrina victims In Louisiana and Mississippi. Then they make the 2,245 mile trek to New Orleans to give to the victims and afterwards return. Katrina hit New Orleans August 29, 2005 and most of the country thinks that everything is fine down there now. It looks like they still need help in the New Orleans area. Kudos to my neighbor for helping in his own way.

Posted by stephen at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2007

A Ride for Basque Food

Central Ave, originally uploaded by Burnszilla.

Sunday morning my friend Darryl and I embarked on a 336 mile journey to eat. When it comes to motorcycle dining, Darryl ranks up there with the best of them. The motto on his coat of arms reads, "Ride to eat and eat to ride." We rode south on highway 1 towards Laureles Grade which threw us over onto Carmel Valley Road. Carmel Valley Road corkscrews southeastward to King City. We crossed highway 101onto Bitterwater Road which connects to highway 25, otherwise known as the Airline Highway. Northward we turned right on Panoche Road and took it past Mercey Hot Springs along Little Panoche Road. We slabbed it on I-5 northwards and exited towards our destination. Just after two o'clock we arrived at the Wool Growers French Basque Restaurant in Los Banos, California.

Our stomachs were empty since we only had a small breakfast prior to 8 am. Adorned in protective motorcycle gear we walked into the one hundred year old building, past a bar room on the right and into the back dining hall. Two tall attractive brunettes ran the show. Long communal tables ran the length of the room and rancheros were scattered about. We were seated off to the side at our own table. "What would you like? Tri-tip, chicken or lamp chops?"
I wasn't prepared to make such a quick decision. Darryl chose the lamp chops and I followed suit. You must ask yourself: how often do I eat lamb chops and what's the name of the restaurant? When in Basque. Within moments our table started to fill up with food. Food I didn't even know was ordered. A fresh loaf of bread along with single-serving butter squares sandwiched between wax paper. Just like other restaurants the butter was cold and hard. A half liter of table wine appeared. A large serving bowl of vegetable soup and a large side of brown beans showed up. Darryl mentioned that the last time he was there he had seen regulars put their beans in the soup. We adopted the tradition. A crispy iceberg lettuce salad with a mayonaisse based dressing appeared and then a large plate of rice with pulled chicken a few diced sundried tomatoes. I've never tasted rice this good before. There were really good french fries too, but I resisted, watching my figure. Ya, right! I was starting to worry about how we were to make it back home with a food coma. The our waitress brought us two large lamp chops, each. They were spiced to perfection. I couldn't believe all the food they brought us. Desert was a plastic cup of vanilla ice cream with the peel off paper top. The only thing missing was the disposable flat wooden spoon. Ironically, the ice cream was softer than the butter. I'm not complaining at all here. I love ice cream. The bill showed up and I was even more amazed. Fifteen dollars each, plus tip. That was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. I will be stopping their next time we come back from Yosemite on a weekend.

We hopped on our BMWs and raced the Pacheco Pass home into San Jaun Bautista and on every back road north of Watsonville in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A successful ride and a full stomach make for a great day. Click here to see all the photos.

Posted by stephen at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2007

Micatech Motorcycle Luggage

GS in the Shed, originally uploaded by Burnszilla.

This morning I dropped Sharon off at the airport. She's gone to Atlanta for ten days to visit her friends. When the cat's away the mice will play. What's a man to do? Coincidentally my Micatech motorcycle luggage arrived via FedEx at work today. It took about four weeks including shipping time to get them. I believe the demand is increasing for these cases and the company is busy with orders. When I arrived home I eagerly installed the mounting system and cases. You could tell right away that they run a tight ship at Micatech by the way all of the parts inside the two boxes were meticulously packaged, accounted for and fastened down. Taking my time, it took about three hours to get the install done. Every threaded bolt had to have a drop of Loctite Threadlocker Blue on it to ensure that they wouldn't vibrate off.

After spending a few late evenings researching what aftermarket cases to get for the GS, I decided on the Micatechs. The side loading BMW Vario cases are known to fall off the bike while riding on bumpy roads. The Jesse Odyssey bags are top loading and you would have to remove your luggage or roll bag off of the rack to access the contents. Others were known for dragging on the road if you leaned too much in corners. Leaning is fun and scratching up your new luggage would suck. The side loading Micatechs with mounting system that blends in with the style of the GS were the obvious choice. All your stuff is safe as the doors are secured by latch and key. At a capacity of 102 liters total and a weight of less than 15 pounds each, I'll be able to bring the kitchen sink along on trips. These cases will hold about double of what my old K75S Integral cases would. That makes for a happy wife on your two-up ride to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving.

I'm very happy with the cases and I can't wait to get a look at the new topcase Micatech plans to release in the summer. Rumor has it, the owner of the company is here in California on his GS riding treacherous dirt roads, putting his topcase to the test.

Posted by stephen at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007

Ride To Work, Inc. Featured Blog

Me & my old K75S
Originally uploaded by Burnszilla.
Last week I submitted my blog to be included in the RideToWork.org Commuter Blogs. I received an email today and now I'm listed on their site along with a photo HERE. Scroll down a bit. Second from the bottom.

Posted by stephen at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

Dead iPod

Dead iPod
Originally uploaded by Burnszilla.
This morning my iPod died. Such a sad day. It froze last night on a Santana song on the way home in the rain. I put it in the dock to charge it and this morning it was completely dead. No reset and no charging image on the screen. I replaced the battery with a new one I had and that didn't change a thing. I'm going to mail it to iPod Mechanic in Michigan to get a free diagnosis. I purchased this 30 gig iPod Photo in March of 2005 and I've been using it for a minimum of 1 hour per day. I listen to my iPod while commuting into work each day. Longer usage on motorcycle trips. So its lifespan was 700 days and I roughly squeezed 700 or more hours out of it. I'm curious to see what the diagnosis will be. Most likely the hard drive failed. If that's the case it will be more cost effective to replace it with a brand new unit rather than fixing it.

Posted by stephen at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

The Ring

In late July of 2000 I bicycled solo over 500 miles around Lake Ontario heading east out of Toronto towards Kingston. I crossed by ferry over Wolfe Island and headed west through New York along the south side of the lake towards Niagara Falls, crossing the border and heading home. My bike was loaded down with a handlebar bag and four panniers probably weighing about 100 pounds total. In hindsight I had over packed for the journey. I was following the Water Front Trust trail which consisted of paved trails, city streets and secondary highways. Secondary roads in Ontario give the cyclist about three inches of pavement to the right of the white line to ride on. Total concentration is essential. On day two before arriving at Brighton for breakfast I survived a near death experience. I was pedaling along a lonely stretch of highway when I steered into the loose gravel to the right of the road. To get back onto the asphalt I over compensated and steered sharply back towards the middle of the road. At the same time a family in a teal Ford Escort station wagon was right behind me. The driver swerved into the left on coming lane to avoid me. All I remember was looking down at the gold ring on my left little finger, hearing tires screech and a flash of teal fly by. Between the car and my left handlebar were about four inches. I regained my heading back to the right side of the road and the Escort driver now in front of me waved out his window to make sure I was okay. I waved back to let them know I was fine. After what had happened set in, I was overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry. I pedaled onwards to Brighton to find a greasy diner to have breakfast.
The ring on my left finger was the my grandmother's gold wedding band that I inherited. I always wore it as a good luck charm and to remember her by. Perhaps that day she was my guardian angel and helped me escape disaster. Today, I still wear that wedding band; it was enlarged to fit my ring finger back in July 2001 when I married Sharon.

Posted by stephen at 3:59 PM | Comments (1)

February 10, 2007

'Stich Crotch

Got Crotch?
Originally uploaded by Burnszilla.
Sharon and I went for a very wet ride today to meet some ADVrider friends for lunch at Alice's Restaurant in Woodside. Along the coast there wasn't much rain but we got soaked on the ride back along Skyline. One of the weak points of the Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece suit is the zippered crotch. It leaks. It gets cold down there and shrinkage occurs. I should take the time to apply some SeamGrip or bees wax to the the zipper to keep the water out. Then it won't look like I had an accident.

Posted by stephen at 11:47 PM | Comments (1)

February 9, 2007

Great Motorcycle Quotes and Wisdom

On the Road, originally uploaded by Burnszilla.

Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle.
Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 110 mph!
You start the game of life with a full pot o' luck and an empty pot o' experience... The object is to fill the pot of experience before you empty the pot of luck.
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
Midnight bugs taste best.
Saddlebags can never hold everything you want, but they CAN hold everything you need.
Never try to race an old geezer, he may have one more gear than you.
It takes more love to share the saddle than it does to share the bed.
The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rearview mirror.
Never be afraid to slow down.
Don't ride so late into the night that you sleep through the sunrise.
Sometimes it takes a whole tankful of fuel before you can think straight.
Riding faster than everyone else only guarantees you'll ride alone.
Never hesitate to ride past the last street light at the edge of town.
Never do less than fifty miles before breakfast.
If you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride.
A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.
Respect the person who has seen the dark side of motorcycling and lived.
Young riders pick a destination and go... Old riders pick a direction and go.
A good mechanic will let you watch without charging you for it.
Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to stop for the night.
Always back your bike into the curb, and sit where you can see it.
Work to ride & ride to work.
Whatever it is, it's better in the wind.
Two-lane blacktop isn't a highway - it's an attitude.
When you look down the road, it seems to never end - but you better believe it does.
Winter is Nature's way of telling you to polish. (unless you live in Southern California)
Keep your bike in good repair: Motorcycle boots are NOT comfortable for walking. ( For Harley Riders)
People are like Motorcycles: each is customized a bit differently.
Sometimes, the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes.
Good coffee should be indistinguishable from 50 weight motor oil.
The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.
The twisties - not the superslabs -separate the riders from the squids.
When you're riding lead, don't spit.
A friend is someone who'll get out of bed at 2 am to drive his pickup to the middle of nowhere to get you when you're broken down.
Catching a yellow jacket in your shirt at 70 mph can double your vocabulary.
If you want to get somewhere before sundown, you can't stop at every tavern.
There's something ugly about a NEW bike on a trailer. ( Amen)
Don't lead the pack if you don't know where you're going.
Practice wrenching on your own bike.
Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.
Don't argue with an 18-wheeler.
Never be ashamed to unlearn an old habit.
A good long ride can clear your mind, restore your faith, and use up a lot of fuel.
If you can't get it going with bungee cords and electrician's tape, it's serious. ( Mr Bungee lives in Ohio)
If you ride like there's no tomorrow, there won't be.
Bikes parked out front mean good chicken-fried steak inside.
Gray-haired riders don't get that way from pure luck.
There are drunk riders. There are old riders. There are NO old, drunk riders.
Thin leather looks good in the bar, but it won't save your butt from "road rash" if you go down.
The best modifications cannot be seen from the outside.
Always replace the cheapest parts first.
You can forget what you do for a living when your knees are in the breeze.
Patience is the ability to keep your motor idling.
Only a Biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
Keep the paint up, and the rubber down!
There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could ride motorcycles.
Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly.
"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end."
Ride as if your life depended on it !!

Posted by stephen at 1:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 8, 2007

Riding in the Rain

Riding in the Rain, originally uploaded by Burnszilla.

Three years ago when I walked into the office with my wet gear on co-workers would say, "Did you ride in today?"
"No, I walked here in my motorcycle gear." Now they don't say anything. They just think I'm crazy. Riding in the rain is not crazy if done correctly. Actually I find it quite relaxing, because you have to ride as smooth as possible.

I learned the hard way a few years ago as I approached a down hill traffic light in Seattle in the rain with a fully loaded K75S. I forgot to stay out of the center of the lane where an oil patch accumulates from cars leaking. I slid down the hill and used all of my skill to try and keep the bike up, but gravity won. At a low speed I dropped the bike on the right side. Two guys on the corner came over to help me lift it back up. The fairing and signal light were smashed. The most painful part of that trip was riding home and looking down at my damaged bike. I now stay in the right or left tire tracks part of the lane and watch out for slicker than snot oil patches, road paint and manhole covers.

I believe that all motorcyclists should ride in the rain to practice the skill and become confident at it. If you are on a long motorcycle trip, you have no control over the weather. Are you going to stay in your motel in Willits for the rest of the vacation and wait for the rain to pass? I sure wouldn't. Some people don't want to ride in the rain because it dirties the bike. On the other hand, I think it's a great way to wash your bike.
Get out there, ride in the rain.

When you're driving in your car or truck, you're protected from the rain. When you're riding a motorcycle, you're exposed to the elements. However, motorcycles do offer some advantages in wet weather. They provide a superior view of the road, easy maneuverability, and more escape routes from any potentially dangerous situations.

If you're riding in the rain, remember the following tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:

* Aim for smooth control. Be gentle with your brakes and throttle, but balance your grip. When you're riding in the rain, aim to complete your turns before you accelerate.

* Avoid last-minute reactions whenever possible. In wet weather, you must plan ahead to determine when you will need to accelerate or brake. Using engine braking for corners and junctions will reduce the risk of skidding.

Avoiding hazards is extremely important in the rain. Watch out for the following obstacles when you're riding your motorcycle in wet weather:

* Slick concrete surfaces
* Manhole covers
* Railroad tracks
* Puddles
* Potholes
* Oil spills

When you're purchasing tires for your motorcycle, avoid tires that are labeled as "long-lasting" if you plan to do a lot of riding in wet weather. Many motorcycle owners think this purchase is a good way to save money. However, these tires are typically less tacky and can't provide enough traction to keep you safe in wet weather.

Posted by stephen at 4:01 PM | Comments (1)

February 7, 2007

Bring My Wallet

There is an old saying that BMW stands for 'Bring My Wallet' and I experienced it in a different way. The electronic gas gauge on the new BMW R1200GS is know to be a little be wacky to say the least. I had my original gas sensor strip replaced under warranty a few weeks ago. I have not fully tested out the full range of the bike by riding until I run out of gas. On my way home after work, at the 50 miles until empty mark the orange warning triangle lit up and the the word FUEL! flashed on the screen. My range was decreasing quickly and I decided to pull into the Chevron in Los Gatos to fill up. As I pulled into the gas station my range was six miles and I had forgotten my wallet on my desk at work. I called Sharon to see if she could drop by the gas station on her way home and buy me some gas. She was twenty minutes away and I couldn't wait that long because there was a Big Redwood Park board meeting I had to attend. I asked a couple walking their dog if I could borrow five bucks and I would return it to them later, but they had no cash on them. I looked in the pockets of my Aerostich suit and found $1.52 in coins allowing me to buy .53 gallons of 89 octane. I get about 40 miles per gallon so that should get me home which is twelve miles. I turned the key and my range jumped up to 38 miles. I made it home safely.

In the morning Sharon left me her credit card so I could fill up on the way to work. I rode twelve miles back to the same gas station and filled up the tank to the brim with 4.3 gallons. The tank holds 5.3 gallons total. So, I figured that the range actually counts down to the one gallon reserve level. When it hits zero I have one gallon of gas and about 40 miles to find some more. Most GS riders ignore the gas gauge and use the old school method, using the tripmeter to count the miles they have gone. You would think on a bike this expensive that BMW would have tested the gas gauge before slapping it on the GS and putting it out to market. It has been said before that BMW lets their customers test their bikes for them. I'll continue to test out the GS for them but meanwhile, I've decided to store an emergency ten dollar bill under the seat for gas when I forget my wallet.

Posted by stephen at 1:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 6, 2007


About a month ago I purchased a new 2007 BMW R1200GS. I've been drooling over this bike since it came out in 2004. I would dream at night of riding this machine on log adventures. It's amazing how much motorcycle technology has advanced in 20 years. My trusty 1987 K75S took me many places since 2003 and I managed to travel 58,000 miles on it. Selling it was like giving a dog that you owned for four years away. The new dog has made me forget the old dog quickly: the suspension is superior, the boxer engine has a few more horses in it and it's a dual-sport. The list of improvements over my old bike go on. Instantly the GS offers the opportunity to wander onto a road you've never been without worrying about it turning to gravel. It has put a huge grin on my face during my daily commute to work. More adventure stories are sure to follow.

BMW marketing jargon...

Where you're going, there are no zip codes.
The R 1200 GS answers the call of the wild with a 100 blazing horses. The Boxer engine also produces 85 lb/ft of torque, giving it serious grunt as well. The Telelever front suspension keeps road rides smooth and a reliable shaft drive means your odometer will spin around like a slot machine. Whether it's bombing down fire roads or ripping around the twisties and snacking on unsuspecting sport bikes, one thing's for sure: the R 1200 GS devours any road you throw at it.

Posted by stephen at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)