Monday, April 25, 2005
What I did this weekend instead of watching the superbike races
I spent the weekend in Iraan, Texas at this year's Organized Chaos sportbike rally, so I don't have any hot opinions on the races. In fact, I'm just now reading to find out what happened.
Hundreds of bikers from all over West Texas showed up for the rally, which benefitted the Iraan Volunteer Fire Department. It was a great time -- well worth missing the races for.
Time for me to buy a TiVo, I guess.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Bad facts lead to bad laws #3,201
In a futile attempt to stop illegal street racing, the Arkansas state government has outlawed the use of nitrous oxide in motor vehicles. This is the effective equivalent of trying to stop keg parties by outlawing Solo cups:
"A new state law was named for a Pine Bluff man killed in a street racing accident last year.Read the whole thing here.
Act 1568 of 2005 prohibits the use of nitrous oxide in motor vehicles. The law was signed by Gov. Mike Huckabee on April 6 and was named for Eric Turner, 27, who was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was hit by a car on Arkansas 88, south of Altheimer, on Sept. 6.
Investigators said a car driven by Maurice Kemp, 26, of Pine Bluff, was street racing on the wrong side of the road when it hit Turner's motorcycle head on. Police say the car was equipped with a nitrous oxide kit."
Let me get this straight: The kid was driving on the wrong side of the road, but the cause was his nitrous bottle? Huh? It seems to me they should've enforced the law making it illegal to drive on the wrong side of the road. I mean, gosh, shouldn't common sense prevail here?
I've got news for the legislators in Arkansas. You just brought aftermarket turbochargers into vogue with your new law. Now, the same nitwits you're trying to slow down will be going even faster than before -- it'll just take them a little longer to save for the equipment. And don't bother outlawing turbos, either. They're standard equipment on many sportscars and even some bikes. Besides, that'll just lead these kids toward the purchase of hotter cams, motor swaps, superchargers, and a myriad of other performance options. Hotrodders have been around since the '50s and they're not going anywhere. You'll never stop car/bike enthusiasts from going fast -- ever. I suggest you get over it and stop authoring unenforceable laws.
Hat-tip to Hoodoo on rec.motorcycles.
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Thursday, April 14, 2005
When God invented springtime, he had motorcycles in mind
I left the house on my ZX7R around 6:30 last night and commenced with my usual burbling around town. It was such a beautiful evening that I simply couldn't resist a little time in the saddle. I'm glad I rode. The smell of the many blooming wildflowers, combined with the therapeutic sound of the Green Meanie's engine, made for a near-spiritual experience.
After making the rounds here in Midland (and seeing about a million bikes), I ended up in nearby Odessa at the 42nd Street Starbucks. I hadn't been there long when a fellow rider I know pulled up and joined me. As the sky turned from blue to purple, we hung out on the patio and had an interesting conversation on the topic of how people aren't as friendly with one another as they once were. Postulating as to why, we concluded that the way we sometimes choose to isolate ourselves from one another in modern-day America -- mostly out of fear -- is rather sad.
Dusk fell and I decided to head back to Midland. As I passed the infamous Sonic Drive-In on Midkiff (a location known for its anti-biker management), I spotted four or five bikes sitting there under the lights. I almost kept going, partly because I have refused for over a year to patronize that place, and partly because I didn't recognize any of the bikes or people.
Wait a minute, I thought. You were just talking about how important it is to spread openness and friendship. Here's an opportunity.
And with that, I pulled in, parked my bike, and said hello to the other bikers.
The group was very friendly -- and very young. I'd say none of them were over 18 or 19, and they were all riding hotrod bikes. Wow. When I was 18, I had to practically beg my parents to even let me ride a 250cc Honda on the street. Times have certainly changed.
At any rate, the gathering suddenly became infectious as we started waving down every bike that passed by. In the process, another guy I regularly ride with ended up stopping-in, as well as several other riders I hadn't seen in years. We talked bikes and racing for quite a while, sharing tech tips and looking at each other's motorcycles. By 10:00 p.m., eleven or so of us had gathered together and everyone was having a good time. We split up shortly thereafter, having made a few new friends and having gotten reacquainted with a few old ones. All in all, it was a great night.
As I headed home, I couldn't help but marvel a bit (as I have done many times before) at how motorcycles bring people together -- people who otherwise might not even get to know one another. Being a biker is a blessing in more ways than one, and I'm glad I've spent most of my life on two wheels.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Long-term parking apparently a bad idea in Thailand
Motorcycle blown up by airport policeWow! I didn't know the Patriot Act had been enacted in Chiang Rai! Three cheers for Machiavellian police tactics! Safety before liberty, people!
Chiang Rai Police yesterday blew up a motorcycle that had been left at Chiang Rai airport for days, as a security precaution.
Atchawit Sornsriwichai, 46, a local plasticsware producer, later told a briefing arranged by police that the motorcycle belonged to him. A British friend had taken it to the airport several days ago and left it there before boarding a flight to Bangkok. Mr Atchawit said he understood authorities needed to ensure passenger safety. He would not demand any compensation.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Wood Alert: 2005 DRZ400SM
I hate spring, because it's always the same thing: I go to the bike shop to buy some routine piece of gear (today I was ordering a replacement visor) and I'm suddenly bombarded with feelings of tempation, lust, and general wanting over some piece of hot new machinery.
Today was no exception. As I was leaving the dealership, I spotted the 400SM sitting there, licking its figurative lips like one of Swearengen's whores, and 10 seconds later, I was atop it. Make no mistake, the bike feels as good as it looks.
"What's this? The key is in the ignition!" I said aloud, even as I reached without hesitation to turn it. And yes, the bike lit up, fully serviced and ready to test ride.
It took every bit of self control I had, but instead of hitting the starter and asking to take it for a spin, I pulled the key from it's socket, walked it over to Rick (one of the salesguys) and handed it to him.
"Hi, Rick. You guys left the key to the 400SM in its ignition. Here ya go."
"Oh, thanks Tim," he replied. "Some guy was looking at it earlier."
My only hope is that the guy comes back and buys it before I return to pick up my visor. I'd hate for $20 to turn into $6020. What a bike.
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Some call it dirty -- I call it great racing
I got several e-mails this weekend asking me what I thought of the controversial final moments of Sunday's MotoGP race at Jerez, specifically wanting to know whether or not I thought Rossi was out of order in his last-minute attempt to pass Sete Gibernau. As everyone already knows, Rossi snuck inside Gibernau in the final turn of the last lap of the race (on an extremely thin slice of real estate), causing a paint-swapping, bump-n-grind moment that eventually resulted in Sete paddling his way through the kitty litter as Rossi crossed the finish line in a victorious wheelie. To make matters worse, the race's finale had been the culmination of a hair-raising series of lead changes and dog fighting that had me literally screaming like a banshee at the television.
Honestly, I was initially angry with Rossi for pushing so hard, but decided to wait a while to form my final opinion. After all, these guys race motorcycles on a level of understanding that I'll never be able to comprehend, and it would be retarded of me to try and second-guess the circumstances and events as my own adrenaline still pumped from watching the race.
So, several days and much meditation later, I have authored my official position: Rossi didn't do anything I wouldn't have done myself and, furthermore, Gibernau should've never allowed so much room on the inside with a guy like Valentino breathing down his neck. No harm, no foul. The race was fantastic, and I hope they're all as heart-pumping in 2005.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Things I would've rather seen on Speed Channel last night instead of poker
I should preface this rant by first saying that I am very thankful for Speed Channel. That's not sarcasm -- I really mean it. When I think back to the days when I had to get my motorcycle race results from magazines, I realize that the moto coverage Speed Channel provides is a true blessing. Thank you, Speed Channel.
Now then, on to the nut cutting. I usually tolerate the superfluous and steady stream of NASCAR crap spewed forth by Speed Channel without much complaint -- mainly for the same reasons cited above. But when I tuned in last night to find a celebrity Nextel Cup poker game being aired, I realized that this NASCAR nonsense has officially gone too far. Seriously, I'd have rather watched lawnmower racing than the same boring faces that have taken over the network in recent years playing cards with one another. I live in West Texas. If I want to watch rednecks play Hold 'em, I'll go to Riley's Bar & Grill.
C'mon guys, if you're that bankrupt for programming, how about sending out a camera crew to cover things like the Fontana superbike tests. You know, stuff that actually has to do with the speed you allude to in your network's name.
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Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Mystery biker joins police pursuit and outrides motorjocks -- Rossi unreachable for comment
"Hollywood Division motorcycle officers were purusing a suspect Thursday night when the mystery rider joined the chase. The department plans to examine enhanced images from the pursuit videotape. The helicopter video showed an unidentified man on a motorcyle joining a police pursuit in the Westwood area."Read the whole, strange thing here.
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Monday, April 04, 2005
Are you mad yet?
I spent 9 dollars on 3.8 gallons of gasoline yesterday. Sounds like the punchline to a bad joke, doesn't it?
Perhaps it is, but don't start laughing yet. The summer driving season is yet to come, and I cringe at the thought of what this year's peak price at the pump may be. With the average national price per gallon hovering at around $2.15 right now, the American public may indeed be asked to break out their bonesaws yet.
Hang in there, folks. Methinks the worst is yet to come. It's times like these when I'm most thankful that my bikes get 45 miles per gallon.