Fostering a mentality of responsible motorcycling within the military community.

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DLI MMP Ride

 We met this morning at 0830 at Monterey Peninsula Powersports.  KSU was just a bit after 0900.  We had 14 riders today.  V-twin cruisers both metric and H-D.  Sport bikes were well represented with a ZX-6R, R1, 1198S and others.  The dual-sport bikes were represented by the KLR650 and a Multistrada.  My man Alan pulled out the Concours 14 and a Goldwing was representing as well.  The dealer was nice enough to provide doughnuts and coffee!

The ride down to Lake Nacimiento and the Waystation Saloon was uneventful…at first.  There was a mix of experienced and new riders in the group.  We strive to improve every time we go out and I think quite a bit of advice was given to our newest rider.  She was a little apprehensive.  There is no substitute for getting out and riding and she made it to the saloon in one piece!  Good job!

As we were nearing the restaurant we had an incident.  The rider neared the shoulder and drifted off.  There was about a 6 inch drop.  The end result was the bike parked on its ear and a little hurt pride.  The photos below will show the path of travel and the bike after it was righted.  The most important thing was that the rider is doing fine and actually finished the ride!  My guess is some Motrin and a good nights rest will heal all.  The bike had the passenger armrest broke off and some scratches.  She fired right back up!

Not pictured is another rider that had an incident.  The saloon is on a hill and has a dirt drive and parking area.  The rider attempted to downshift to first gear to come up the hill and inadvertently found neutral.  He went to roll on throttle to climb the hill and the bike just tipped over.  With the exception of a broken clutch lever, the bike didn’t appear to have a scratch.

We had some lunch.  Pictured is the restaurant, us at the table and the proprietors.  The grub was awesome and I recommend you stop in if you are ever out that way.

The rest of the photos are random shots of bikes at out stop points.

Total trip was around 220 miles.

Special thanks to Bob Dooley.  He planned the ride this month.  Great job.

Thanks to Eric Popham, Jon Rice and Alan Bastura.  They worked with the group as sweepers and road captains.

Thanks to all the attendees!  Check back here, the MilitaryMotorcycleSafety FB page and the DLI MMP FB page for more details on M/C safety and upcoming rides.

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Seriously!?! Well…at least the mounting and balancing was free…

Okay…I bought some brand new Avon Gripsters for my KLR650 from a local dealership.  They gave me my 10% military discount and free mounting and balancing with the purchase which is pretty sweet.  My Cycle Gear discount is 30% but that means I have to drive to Gilroy and that I have to pull the tires off the bike myself so all in all, it about equals out in time/labor saved.

The first thing I noticed was that the rear tire rubbed a little.  I went online and found out that this is a common occurrence with this tire on this bike and easily remedied.  I took care of it myself but did make a point to mention it and show it to the service manager today so he would know in the future.

I worked in Gilroy last weekend.  I taught two Basic Riders’ Courses.  On the way home Sunday I got a wicked weave going on with the bike.  Scared the crap out of me.  It was windy and my speed was up a bit but I still didn’t expect that out of this bike.  Something didn’t seem quite right.

I rode out to meet Smitty, a fella that offered my some assistance with my bike.  I mentioned some of the things happening and he said his KLR seems stable as can be and that my situation seemed odd.  Something wasn’t right.

Today I was cleaning the bike and checking it over in anticipation of the ride tomorrow.  I remembered that I asked the service manager when I picked up the bike about how much air pressure they put in the tires.   He said it was on the invoice and we looked to see 32psi front and 36psi rear.  I took them at their word.  But after all the odd handling going on, I decided to double-check my tire pressure.  The front checked out at 32psi.  I made my way around to the back tire…53.5psi!!!  Are you freaking kidding me?  The tire is rated max pressure 36psi cold.  17.5psi beyond the max.  That is downright dangerous.  I don’t want to think about what might have happened if the tire blew out.  I had ridden Laureles Grade and Cachagua Rd just days before.

I will be bringing this up to the service manager tomorrow…I am not sure I will be able to maintain my tact.  I feel like I need to yell.

What would you do?

Defense Language Institute Motorcycle Mentorship Program Ride

So tomorrow morning we will be conducting a ride to Lake Nacimiento.  You can view the route here:

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2FAprMMPride&h=8b6ed

We will stop for lunch at the Waystation Saloon.

The total trip will will be approximately 220 miles.  Check back for a post ride report and pics!

Where my motorcycling life began…

I had a small 80cc dirtbike when I was a child.  I don’t remember much about it other than it being yellow and a whole lot of fun.  I had a nice little accident on it one day that resulted in my flipping end over end and impacting with mother earth.  I bounced up and promptly stated that “I am okay!”  I am not sure how much time expired, but I later woke up on the couch.  Subsequently my mother made me sell the bike.

From that point forward I never really gave another thought to riding a motorcycle.

Fast forward to 2005…

I started working part-time in a biker bar in Tucson, AZ with a bad reputation by the name of Berky’s.  It was just a few city blocks from the Bashful Bandit.  Seeing the bikes roll in and out on a nightly basis was all the prompting I needed to decide I once again wanted a motorcycle.  I promptly signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course (BRC) and Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.  A little time later and $2000 poorer I owned a 1973 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster.  I rode this bike for about a year without incident although I do recall being stranded on the side of the road a couple of times and the sensation of the first time I scrapped the footpeg in a turn.  Someone offered me $1000 more than I bought the bike for and it was SOLD!

Guess who got bit by the sportbike bug…

In late 2006 I bought a brand new 2007 model Triumph Daytona 675.  What a great bike!  And what a departure from the ergos and riding characteristics of that old H-D.  I returned to the MSF in 2007 and took their Experienced Rider Course.  Although I had some experience, this bike; the riding position, the power and the handling; were all new to me.  I left the course confident that I could handle the bike so long as I could control the urge to twist the right handgrip!

From that point I really began developing my skills…both physical and mental.  It consisted of fighting traffic on the daily commute but where I developed most of my skill was regular trips to the top of Mt. Lemmon.  If memory serves me the road is about 26 miles long to the top of the mountain which has an elevation of 9500 feet.  250 curves on the way up, 250 curves on the way down.  everything from nice sweepers to hairpins to decreasing radius curves.

Now, while me and my group of riding buddies took this road quick…we aren’t idiots.  It was not uncommon to get passed by someone wearing a hoodie sweatshirt in Nike hightops that was doing triple digits in the straights…only to see that same rider take a horrible line with way to much entry speed and grab a handful of front brake damn near killing himself in the curve…yeah, you’re fast…

We applied to a riding principle called The Pace…an article written by Nick Ienatsch.  It can be found here:  http://micapeak.com/info/thepace.html  If you ride a motorcycle, whether you are new to the sport or have been riding for years, this is a must read.  While you do need a certain level of physical prowess and balance to ride well…the area between your ears is paramount!

I left Tucson in 2007 and that slice of heaven known as Mt. Lemmon Rd.  I really do miss it.  But as luck would have it, I ended up in Monterey, CA.  Talk about a hardship tour!  Summer highs in the 60s…Winter highs in the 50s.  It is motorcycling weather here year round!  There is no off-season!  Did I mention I can hear the sounds emanating from the motorcycles finding their way around Laguna Seca Raceway from my house?  Did I mention the MotoGP circuit comes here every year?!

Since I am still currently in Monterey, CA, I am going to save the rest of the story for my next post.  Watch out for those road demons and ride safe!  ATGATT