Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Ride To Uncertainty

"The rider is not sure what drives most people.  Too many find comfort in controlling all things that surround them, and they appear most pleased when they can predict the seconds, hours and days ahead.  There is always a plan...it's all about the plan.  Without the plan, and the illusion of control,  they find themselves lost and crippled by uncertainty.  They can't define themselves beyond the plan.  He watches them carefully lay out a blueprint;  oblivious to the static that he has decoded into a clear perspective of what it really is to be alive.

They surround themselves with buffers and virtual airbags, and seem to painstakingly remove every element that has brought them into being.  They control the temperature, the pace, the air, the direction, the wind, the water and the radiation of the sun...all of which has nourished them into existence.  They have forgotten.

Time?  It is the enemy in the eyes of the great plan makers.  Time always a worthy adversary that needs to be defeated in order to move into the next phase of the plan.  Time can never be defeated, and it is that very nemesis that will be the undoing of the controllers...in the end time wins without fail.  They can't clearly see that no matter the outcome of any plan, it is eventually decimated and crushed by time; the ultimate destroyer wielding the sword of decay.

The rider witnessed fantasies and dreams come to reality for himself, as well as to a multitude of others, but he had never seen a single one of them come into view solely as a result of a plan.  There has always been other elements equally important at hand.  Risk, passion and a nod of approval from a lady that has never been seen, yet all acknowledge her hand in all matters.

Risks are to be taken, for without risk there is no reward.  A rider knows risk well, as well as reward.  The rider knows where he is going, even if there is no plan ahead.  He knows where he is, even when lost.  The elements that have brought life to him are embraced at the moment, as well as the next.  Time really doesn't exist when he is defying a plan.  It is simply about now, and now, and now.  He is aware of the wind, the rain, the fire and rather than to try and control those elements, he holds them close with respect.  The rider wants to feel everything because he is keenly aware it may be the last sense he will ever experience.  The rider knows that in the end all things will equal out and that the only difference between himself and the others is the road, the lessons and the scenery along the way.

Regret is not of concern, because he is always at peace with the chaos;  the same chaos that destroys so many.  The riders ability to confront chaos, and suckle it, is what forges confidence and gives him the ability to overcome the obstacles that lye on the asphalt of life.  The rider takes his time for he knows that he can always attain more wealth, more respect, more fame...but that the most precious of things, the now, can never be regained.  It has been spent and never to be earned again;  The rider will never bow to anyone who attempts to waste, or squander away this gift he posseses.  He would rather fade away un-recognized or kick that offender to the curb, rather than have it stripped from his grasp; having an intimate knowledge of this treasure gives him far more compassion, loyalty and respect for others who he would meet on all crossroads.  It is his clear advantage, as well as his hidden Ace.

In the end, the rider controls what he knows he can control and respectfully concedes to those forces he cannot.  In the end, he is thankful he was lost for he gained vast experiences, and insight, that could not be seen from the line walked by so many.  In the end he cherished every hardship as deeply as every victory.

In the end, the rider smirked as he gazed upon the controller, for they were in the exactly the same place, on the same road, at the same dead end. 

The controller had nothing to control any longer and all that he had worked for was gone...and he missed all he had attained...and for what.  All he had to remember was the struggle, and the material bullshit, and could not remember the journey.  Time truly had played him; giving the planner the illusion that he was in control.

The rider simply embraced the now.  He had made time his ally. Whatever came down the road he handled with care and ferocity.  The rider was never really disappointed because he was free to waiver from the walking line and still had everything he had ever loved still with him in vivid recollection...even at the dead end.  He missed nothing, for it was all with him.  He had no regrets, not because he didn't care, but because he lived his way, with the acceptance there was no guarantees.

In the end, the rider was content and balanced; now...isn't that really the whole damned master plan?"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Downside to Changing Your Own Tires

Comin' at yah' from Mount. V.D.!  I have been trying to get these DynaBeads to screw with me but they just won't.  I have rode them out in 26 degree temps and they still balance the tires perfectly.  My bike has always had a slight shimmy at 1 ton or more, but that's not a problem now.  110 mph and the tires feel solid and there is more vibration coming from the 96 than the tires.  I am pretty damned happy with the D-Beads no doubt.

I think last time I posted, I mentioned a little something to keep you from dumping your bike, in the event you have decided to mount your own rubber.  Here it is.

Tramp has duel rotors on the front end.  I love the stopping power of this bike.  The brakes have always been exceptional, if you know how to use them right.  I have never had a bike that could stop like this StreetGlide can.  As a matter of fact, I was riding home two weeks ago and there was a kid walking up the hill on the right side.  As I passed the kid, his two dogs ran from the left side of the road to greet him...a path that just happened to intersect mine.  I had no time to pitch out of the way and had to do the "panic brake" deal.  The forks bottomed out, the rear slightly chattered, but I stopped just in time.  The kid said he was sorry and thanked me for not taking out his dogs.  Don't know why I told you all that...oh yeah, I know why...PRACTICE YOUR PANIC BRAKING OFTEN FOR CRAP SAKES!  Your brain will revert to whatever you have trained it to do in these situations.  Train it well.

However, there are some panic braking situations that you just might not be ready for...like, loss of fluid...where there are no brakes...and here is where the joke starts.

As I was tellin' you all, I changed my front tire.  It was a tedious task but I managed to get it done.  I developed a C-clamp deal to help me break the bead.  (I'll video the whole thing next time I change a tire.)  In the whole process of getting the tire off the rim, I forgot that I had two rotors.  One on the left and one on the right.   I was taking great care not to bend the rotor I could see.  My ass forgot about the damned rotor on the other side.  After getting done with the tire irons, the cursing and the tedious tapping of the D-Beads into the valve stem, I carefully put the tire back on the forks.  I did everything tits and torqued to the recommended specs.  I checked the brakes and primed the calipers.  Everything was ready to go.  I had to be to work the next day at 6 in the AM.

Now, I live on a very steep mountain.  A dirt road leads up to the 20 foot concrete driveway, then there is another 30 or 40 feet of dirt down lower, and then there is a drop off that is almost 6 feet straight down.  After that its just a steep ride down through the trees and bush crap.  I'm gonna' guess at least 30 degree angle the whole way.  The concrete up into the garage might be slightly steeper.

Everyday, I get on the glide.  I put her is neutral and turn her over.  I check the brake lever and back out down the concrete while I have the front brakes slightly applied.  On wet days the front tire will slip slightly as I back out.  Scary as hell, but never had a real problem.  I have managed to get really good at riding Tramp backwards until I'm able to steer her downhill in the right direction.

5 AM rolled around and I was really excited to ride in the 32 degree frost.  I wanted to see how the DynaBeads and this Metzler 880 was going to do out on the roadway.  It was slightly raining as well.  I hopped on Tramp, did everything I normally do, and started out down the driveway backwards.  I went to gently grab the front brake and got nothing.  My head went strobe light red.  "What the fuck is going on here!"  By this time I'm moving backwards at a decent speed.  I tried again and nothing but a limp dick lever was in my grip.  I realized I was halfway down the slab at this point.  I thought maybe feathering the clutch would slow her down but I had the bike in neutral.  Then it hit me, "Oh sheeeeeaaaat!  That drop off is coming up soon.  Better do something quick.  I hit the dirt road and managed to keep her up.  I had about two seconds to figure out what to do...and going for the rear brake was going to throw everything off balance....screw it...I have to go for the rear or this bike is going to land right on top of me and that will be the end of old V.D..  Just as I had predicted, when I raised my right leg to go for the rear brake pedal, the bike bars turned slightly and that was it...game friggin' over man.

The bike slapped hard on the right side and unceremoniously ejected my ass.  I landed on my back, but managed to tuck just in time so that my melon didn't get slammed into the dirt.  I watched the bike almost flip over...then slowly roll back onto the right side.  "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccckkkk!  Son of a bitch!  What the fuck happened!"  I think neighbors for miles around could hear it.  heh...

Full of adrenaline, I picked the bike back up...and I was furious.  My right side mirror was broken and the bars slightly bent.  The crash bar was bent, along with the mounts, and the right bag was ripped off and road rashed.  After a few minutes of cussing,  tending to a slashed finger and putting the bag back on, I figured it was still road worthy.  The brake took several pulls to seat the calipers in place, but they seemed to be solid.  I figured that I had not seated them fully the night before.  "What a jackass." I thought to myself.

As I headed down the hill, the front brakes failed again.  I used the rear until I reached level ground.  After a few minutes I found the front brakes would work if I pumped them a couple of times.  I rode to work like this, and back home.  (I made it to work on time too, no shit..."I'm the man!")

When I got home, I realized what the problem was.  I had bent the left rotor slightly while I was fighting that tire.  The bent rotor would push the brakes pads apart with each rotation.  As long as I was applying pressure to the brake lever, after priming the calipers a couple of times, it would hold the floating rotors straight.  As soon as I completely let off the lever, and a full rotation had completed, the warped rotor would push the brake calipers apart again.  pffftttttt......

I managed to get the the bag mounts and crash bar mounts corrected, as well as the crash bar bent back into shape with the help of an oxy-torch.  I spent an hour spinning the front tire, and with the help of a rubber hammer, I managed to get the rotor 99% trued again.  That mirror....pffffttttt, gonna' be awhile.

Tramp is running great again however!  She's not as pretty on the outside, but golden on the inside.  I'm going to create a jig to change tires with so that this does not happen again...live and learn, right?

I'll keep ya'll updated on that project as well.  Peace!