Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Own March Madness

If the media has anything to do with it, when one thinks of March Madness, they usually think of basketball and NCAA Championships. Unless of course you are a history buff and March Madness has you thinking of the death of Julius Caesar. I think Brutus and Cassius might have had a little madness on the brain that particular Ides of March.

I discovered this last week when looking back at our transportation purchases over the last few years that we too suffer from a type of March Madness.

This year in March we purchased my 2009 Suzuki TU 250x.

In March 2008 we purchased Troubadour's 2007 Triumph Bonneville America.

And in March 2007 we purchased our 2007 Nissan Versa.

So what is it about March that 'fuels' our purchasing? I don't rightly know. Maybe after a chilly winter we are excited to get out and wander around the dealerships. Maybe after a cold winter the dealers all have really good sale prices or low interest rates. Whatever the reason I think we'd best duck and cover this time next year.

- Au Revoir

"The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet."~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance," 1841


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three Bikes

There was a woman back in the fall of 2002 who took the Team Oregon class and received her motorcycle endorsement. For purposes of this tale, we shall call her Goldilocks.

The stars were not aligned for her to purchase her own ride for some years. Finally in early 2009 the time was right and the search was on. She and her hubby (we shall call him Troubadour) finally settled on a 2006 Honda Nighthawk 250. Everyone was excited and she was happy to be learning.

After a month or so of going out after work and on weekends tooling down the backroads Trobairitz, er, I mean Goldilocks felt the bike just wasn't right. It didn't feel stable at highway speeds and almost felt too small. It was decided to sell the bike and purchase something a little different.

The Nighthawk sold in June and the search was on. Many different ideas were gathered from different sources. Everyone seemed to have an opinion about a next bike. It was decided that a beautiful 2006 Ninja 650r they noticed on Criagslist in Washington was the bike of choice. It was silver with a red persimmon frame. Very striking. They drove up after work one night and thought it was the 'bees knees'. Troubadour took it for a quick test ride and thought it would be a great bike that Trobairitz, er, I mean Goldilocks wouldn't grow out of very quick. Money was exchanged and he had a long ride home.

Trobairitz, er, I mean Goldilocks was excited to ride it the first time and went tooling around the backroads. She was happy that it seemed more stable than the Nighthawk and less wind hitting her torso too. She took it out one other time on the same backroads, but the third time out something was just off. She couldn't make it out of her neighborhood. The bike had bad mojo for her and she couldn't ride it. They decided it was probably too much bike for her too soon and a little too sporty as well. Better to ride a smaller bike to it's full potential than a fast bike reined in so much.

They decided to sell the Ninja. They tried on Craigslist then decided to put it on consignment in Eugene. No bites so Troubadour brought it home in September and used it for a winter commuter. In January they thought they'd list in on Craigslist again. Seemed like every time they'd post it someone would flag it. They couldn't figure it out. After having the ad flagged three times in one day they decided to wait for a bit since Troubadour was still using it to commute.

One day last month after looking at some shops in Portland and stopping by the Suzuki dealer in Salem to see what they'd give them for a trade they decided to try Craigslist one more time. That night Troubadour listed it and it sold the next day. The new owner is very happy with it - that is good.

Once that sold they reevaluated their finances due to a large federal tax bill. Yes, you get the shaft when you both work and don't have kids. They figured they could still swing a bike though if the opportunity presented itself.

They looked and searched and drooled over bikes and finally came to the conclusion that Trobairitz, er, I mean Goldilocks would be comfortable on a Suzuki TU 250. The hard part was finding one. You know by her previous post that they did manage to find one last weekend.

She took it out for her first ride yesterday. She had some huge butterflies in her stomach since it had been several months since she'd been the rider and not passenger. A pre-ride Rolaid made the butterflies calm down some and off they went. They went the long way to meet everyone for coffee. The motorcycle coffee crowd must have seen them roll in as they stood up and clapped when she walked up to the table. She prefers to be in the background and not draw attention so this was slightly embarassing.

After coffee they took it out and Troubadour decided they should get the photo tags. Sure why not. She was getting more used to the bike and was having fun. They went through campus, then north of town and then on the highway a short ways to Peavy Arboretum and the forest research area where they snapped this pic.

The similarities between the America and the TU are uncanny. It does look like a mini version. They headed back into town for some lunch. Found a couple of new photo tags and headed home. By the time they got home Trobairitz, er, I mean Goldilocks had a huge smile on her face and was happy happy. She knew then that she had finally found the right ride. Sure it is small, but it is light and nimble and she enjoys it. It doesn't seem to shake her around as much as the nighthawk did and the wind doesn't seem to push her back as far either. It is a pleasure to ride and she is looking forward to taking it out again soon. Maybe when this rain stops. Until then.... she shall keep reading Proficient Motorcycling and learns some more tips she can put into play.

-Au Revoir

"A motorcycle functions entirely in accordance with the laws of reason, and a study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself." ~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lost in Oregon City

This afternoon I found myself lost in Oregon City when out of nowhere, just like he intuitively knew I needed him, a kindly Troubadour appeared and led me home. This is what he was riding.......

That is right, our brand new 2009 Suzuki TU250. We finally pulled the trigger. We got it for what we feel is a fair price from Factory Motorsports in Oregon City. It was the only one we knew of at any dealer in Oregon.

The stars were aligned and the feeling was right. The drive home was too far for me to ride since I haven't been on a bike much since last summer. Troubadour didn't mind riding it home and said it was a pretty good little bike. Apparently he had to work it a bit and shift down going up the foothills but reported it was nimble and fun to ride. As soon as I have a chance to take it out for a ride I'll let you know my take on it.

We took the backroads home and he stopped for a photo op. He took the picture above (the antique look courtesy of iPhoto) as well as the following close up.

We are already discussing changing the bars and making it a bit of a "cafe racer" and taking the Suzuki badging and TU stickers off the side covers to lend an air of mystery.

Not only did we score the new bike today, this morning we stopped at Premier Motogear in Albany and I found a new Scorpion Selene Jacket that fit great. My old Cortech fit horribly and I didn't want to be riding my own ride with an ill fitting jacket. It has retro styling with many buckles and I bought it in khaki and black for the additional retro look. It reminds me of the old European military jackets riders used to wear back in the day.

Now if I can only find new overpants and boots I'll be all set.

All in all it was a great day. Found a jacket, went to Ikea, had sushi for a late lunch, and found a bike. Oh yeah, it was sunny and 72 degrees today. Can we ask for a better first day of Spring?

Au Revoir

"The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome." ~ Author Unknown


Friday, March 19, 2010

Trusty Steed

And no, unfortunately, I don't mean a motorcycle. That will come in time. I must be patient.

While Troubadour and I were surfing the internet the other evening looking for new avatar pictures to use on the motorcycle forum, we somehow managed to find the following picture of a painting. I had to post it since my last blog post contained a Corgi.

I hope that I am not stepping on someone's copyright toes, but I wanted to share. It made me smile and I hope it will make someone else smile as well. With the celtic knot work, I really should have posted it on St. Patrick's Day. Cheers.

-Au Revoir

"If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them."~ Phil Pastoret

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mmmm Good Stuff......

I saw this pic the other day and had to snatch it for a blog post. I am not a huge dog person but if I was ever to adopt one it would probably be at least part Corgi.......

How long do you think it'll take to eat all that peanut butter? I think it's tongue is as long as it's ears.

-Au Revoir

"Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of one pound. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat."~ Oxford Union Society, London, Rule 46


Friday, March 5, 2010

Ding - Dong.....

... the Ninja's gone. That is right, we finally sold the Ninja. It took 6 months but we managed to find a buyer. We tried to list it on Craigslist in early January with no luck. It seemed that as soon as we'd post up the ad someone would flag it. Finally after it was posted and flagged 3 times in one day we gave up. On February 13th we decided to try one last time. Late that afternoon Troubadour reposted our ad and that evening we received an email.

A young man came out to look at it the next day and decided he loved it and bought it on the spot. Yeah. Thank you Troubadour for diligently washing and polishing it up before the buyer arrived. The buyer was a new rider (just endorsed last fall) so Troubadour graciously rode it home for him and he in turn gave Troubadour a ride back home afterward. It was a good excuse for one last ride on it in the sunshine.

Now, since it has been several weeks since the sale, one would think I'd already had a TU250 sitting in the garage. Not so much. Unfortunately the tax man is taking about half of what we sold the Ninja for in Federal Income Tax this year. Seems when you are married and both work full time and do not have any little Petri dishes (aka children) as deductions you get hosed come tax time. We'll save that rant for another post.

You probably know from reading Troubadour's blog we have had company since the 19th of February. They just got the go ahead and went home yesterday. We haven't had much of a chance for bike shopping or riding lately. Wouldn't be nice if we ignored the company. We did all manage a trip down to Eugene to the Triumph shop last Saturday to drool over all the shiny bikes. I of course looked at the Bonneville SE and Troubadour has a thing for the Tiger.

Troubadour discovered in the last few weeks that he kind of misses the faring on the Ninja and the forward controls of the America aren't great on the rain slicked streets. On those chilly rainy mornings the Triumph is a little inconvenient (hence his resurrected love of the Tigers). This makes me wonder if we should be looking at a better commuter bike for him and put a bike for me on hold a while longer. I am having trouble spending the money on a bike for me knowing how little I might ride it. I know once I start riding again I'll want to ride more often, but right now it has been about 8 months since I've ridden. How sad. I am slightly worried that any skills and confidence I gained has all been lost. I think the last time I rode pillion was on the back of the Triumph for our soaking wet New Year's ride.

I am still looking at lots of different bikes and exploring my options. I still drool over the Triumph Bonneville SE but know it is probably too expensive and a little heavy a bike for right now. I need to work on my upper body strength.

Of course I wouldn't mind having a nice Moto Guzzi v7 Classic in the garage either to putt around on on those nice sunny Oregon days. But again, too expensive for right now and I probably need something lighter. Although it should be mild mannered with only 50 hp and it is about 50 lbs lighter than the SE.

One would think I had a thing for retro bikes. I know.... baby steps. Get the TU 250 or some other smaller displacement bike and ride the heck out of it until I am comfortable moving up. It is pulling the trigger that I seem to have a problem with. Funny, if we were buying another bike for Troubadour I would have no problem spending the money.

Tomorrow is Saturday so we have morning coffee planned with our riding buddies and it looks as though the weather will be nice and a ride to the coast is in order. Maybe with the nice weather coming more frequently we'll get out on the bike more often and the riding bug will once again be nipping me in the butt. We'll see. Stay tuned.

-Au Revoir

"Some persons are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions."~ Brendan Francis