Archive for the ‘CK’s Corner’ Category
“My recommendation is you don’t get back on the bike for a few weeks”
Those were the words that echoed from the doctor’s mouth as he spoke to my good friend Greg at the hospital where Greg had arrived a short time ago via an air ambulance affectionately known in the Southern Wisconsin area as MEDflight. While racing his CR250 at Aztalan Raceway in Lake Mills Wisconsin, Greg had misjudged his approach to a nasty tabletop to step down that sent riders plummeting down the equivalent to what seemed like forever, but was actually about 30 feet. He subsequently over jumped it to flat much like Honda factory rider Doug Henry had done at Budds Creek Maryland. The landing and brutal dismount rendered Greg unconscious for some time and when he awoke, unaware of his surroundings and what had happened, he began to fight with EMT’s which they took as possible head trauma. So, off to University Hospital via the sky.
After receiving attention by some of the finest doctor’s in the Midwest, Greg was found to have rung his bell quite well and had a mild concussion to accompany all the bruises and swelling that are part of any motorcrossers daily grind.
“That guy doesn’t know me very well”
Play along with me, because I guarantee this is going someplace. I find solace and a certain amount of nostalgic tingling whenever I get the chance to take in a swap meet or salvage yard. I like to think in my head that I am the Indiana Jones of motorcycling on that particular day and no person on earth can stop me from acquiring the Crystal Skully, or at least the Yamaha DT tank that I really want for my latest project. If chopping up perfectly good stuff is wrong, then i don’t want to be right.
How many different bikes other than the original donor were cannibalized to make your current machine?
(a) None – 0 points
(b) 1 or 2 bikes – 10 points
(c) Between 3 and 5 – 20 points
(d) More than 5 bikes – 50 points
Two Wheeled Stimulus (not that kind you perverts)
The price of oil is thru the roof because a suit in his air conditioned office blames any and all blips on the natural disaster radar for a need to raise prices and compensate. Grocery bills are climbing and climbing because it takes longer to truck food around irradiated areas rather than drive thru them, and the new Air Jordan’s cost more than a Chilean miner makes in 12 months. This whole global economy thing makes my head spin, and unfortunately motorcyclists land right smack dab in the middle of it all. While the big three motor companies in Detroit are receiving US federal money to get them out of trouble the Japanese based “big 4” motorcycle manufacturers don’t get the same concessions. Multiple teams pulled their efforts from superbike racing due to funding issues, Suzuki has reduced sales of sport bikes to the US, and most manufacturers saw downturns of 30-40% since this global shitstorm began.
It’s a safe bet that many other motorcyclists you encounter are “brand loyal” to their current mount. Kawasaki guys bleed green, Honda guys proudly display their wings, Yamaha guys don’t think blue is a sad color at all, and even Moto Guzzi guys are proud of………..I don’t really know what they have to be proud of, but they are. But call it elitism, or boasting if you want, but nobody is a more fevered and adamant fan of their brand then the Ducatisti. They are after all riding what equates to the Ferrari of the two wheeled world and have a long and storied racing lineage to recant.
“She’s a real looker” the old man croaked at me. I raised my helmet cloaked head up from my task at hand of topping off the gas tank in my 1000 to spy a white haired man in a dusty old Dakar jacket that looked as though it had circumnavigated the globe on Steve McQueen’s back. “Thanks” I shouted out thru my visor opening before quickly turning my focus back to my now close to brimming fuel cell. As I finished up, replaced the pumps handle and removed my helmet, the old man crouched down and seemed to lose himself as he scoured the surface of my fighter with a glint in his eye similar to that of a 12 year old boy that just found his dad’s stash of Playboy magazines. “Good lord, what is this
thing?” he croaked, smiling up at me with his bug splattered teeth. I gave him a quick rundown of a majority of the components that she was built with, making sure to hit on all the high points all the while I scanned the parking lot wondering where the old boy had materialized from. He continued to poke and prod me with questions about speed, horsepower, who had done my paint, and he was even keen enough to ask why a nitrous switch and no bottle. “Cheeky bastard” I thought to myself while cracking a small smile back at him. He knew his stuff and was obviously a fanatic of two wheeled wizardry just like me, so I knew that today’s ride could wait awhile. The roads will always be there, but I never pass up a chance to chew some fat with an old timer of our beloved sport.
A car whips over into your lane as you approach a red light, slicing off your path of travel and causing you to brake excessively and skid. Do you fly into a tirade of verbal assault and berate the driver and all people within earshot “just because”? If you had been in a car and the same thing happened, would you respond differently or does the vulnerability you have when motorcycling change your reaction?
In this guys opinion the latter is usually true and as I age I have put more and more thought into how we as the motorcycling community handle situations like this. Now I’m not saying that we all need to prance merrily thru the streets with cagers and sing kumbaya, but we don’t have to kill each other over simple mistakes that harm no one. I’m all for a person learning their lessons and accountability, but sometimes it’s much easier to admit fault (whomever’s) and move on. Some people just process at a different rate of speed.
Sadly though as motorcycling rises in popularity for its freedom from four wheeled solitude and also the lighter hit to the wallet afforded by high MPG’s, that just means that there are more of us out there NOT being paid attention too. Traffic deaths involving cars, trucks, busses, and tractors versus motorcycles continue to rise.
I was reading a popular eco based blog recently and the discussion of earth topsoil conservation came up. Did you know that less then 1% of the earth’s surface is paved? Just a measly one damn percent for you to get out and enjoy unless you are of the ADV persuasion, and if you are I am sorry. (No ADV riders were harmed in the writing of this article unless you count their feelings which of course they don’t have anyhow because they are lifeless iron assed automatons)
If you are a thrill seeker, which I think inherently most motorcycle enthusiasts are by nature, then you don’t need to get out and sail the Pacific ocean in a one man boat made from duct tape or climb Kilimanjaro blindfolded to get your kicks. You need to get out and ride every single paved road you can find that connects point A to point B and do it with a smile on your face knowing that the worst incident free day motorcycling is still a shit load better then the best day at work. And if any of you reading this get to motorcycle for a living, then kiss my corporate American ass because I am green with envy.
Are you sick and tired of the constant in your face push for ATGATT (All The Gear – All The Time) mentality yet? Well too bad because I’m going to give you more!
Why is it that to be cool when riding with your pack of slightly post pubescent friends that helmets always look good as makeshift crash bumpers on your helmet hook instead of on your head? At least that tail section of your minty fresh GSXR will come out unscathed in a crash while you remain in a vegetative state and people can mingle around at your bedside and discuss how nice your bike looks.
While we are on this subject let’s discuss the passengers, shall we? The next time I see some dude with his lady or man (see, I’m neither sexist) on the back sans helmet while he strokes his ego in his shiny new Arai that is perfectly color matched to his bike I swear to god that I am going to stiff arm him off his bike in traffic and offer the lady a safe ride home. What makes your dome more valuable than the person with absolutely ZERO control over what your bike does from the passenger pillion?
As I sit and watch all of the newest, greatest, wildest, gnarliest, most billet laden pieces of mechanized street fighter insanity roll out, I can’t help but wonder, “how far and where are we going”? It’s the same question people who enjoy any type of modifying hobby have asked for years and I’m sure they’ll continue to lie awake at night trying to one up the builder across town for years to come, long after I’m gone. Seriously, does one need a 2,650cc turbocharged inline six with titanium frame rolling on unobtanium 16.5” wheels carrying 400mm beryllium infused rotors machine cast from dust recovered by the Mars rover? ABSOLUTELY! Hell, why stop there? The guys at NASA didn’t get where they are with a “good enough” attitude. Granted, a billion dollar budget would be enough to encourage me to build a land based cock rocket capable of warping the space time continuum at the drop of a hat, and let’s face it, that money would help keep my beer fridge fully stocked (which is an ordeal in itself).
Any red blooded motorcyclist worth his salt and not currently trapped in a doo-rag wearing OCC cult like trance will tell you that nothing short of two Victoria’s Secret supermodels engaged in a ferocious game of Olympic styled Swedish massage can arouse and excite like the roar of a well tuned two wheeled steed. Now take that same machine and drape it in a cloak of 6061 aluminum bits, gloss black paint upturned exhaust, and a general “fuck you” attitude and you’ve found the thing dreams are made of. The kind of dreams that can drag a man from a sound slumber on a cold and blustery January night, only to sit atop his roller chair in the middle of his garage and stare at his project that is 3 years in the making. There he might sit for hours on end and eventually he may shuffle his way back to bed a little colder, but better for it if even one wild and poorly aimed idea can evolve from it because whether he knows it or not, that builder across town i doing the same thing.