Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Ride on SV650

Riding SV650

This week has been unseasonably warm. Today, it was 37F! I was lucky enough to be able to take the SV650 out for a ride. It felt amazing to be back on two wheels. The visceral feeling as I rolled on the throttle. The exhilaration! It felt like flying very close to the ground. All my senses were awake and present. Wow, I missed this bike so much!

Riding SV650

I rode around for just over twenty miles. It flew by. I visited all the twisty roads near my house and several of the lakes. I’m amazed how nice it was to ride again. The roads were mostly dry and some of the grass is even starting to get green. I could get used to winters like this!

Riding SV650

I am still healing, so no Ural rides yet. The physical therapy is making progress returning my shoulder and chest back to normal fitness. I’m glad riding two wheels doesn’t require much upper body strength. Driving the car has been rather soul crushing. The SV is a smile machine. There has been a smile stuck on my face for the last several hours. Riding is good. This was just the xmas present I needed. Happy Holidays!

Riding SV650

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RiderCoach Sign up and a Ural

This last weekend, I signed up in the RiderCoach sign up. All the coaches for the college I teach at meet once a year to pick which classes we are going to teach.

We line up by senority. Even after teaching for four years, I am still at the end. This year, there was finally one new coach behind me. We signed up to teach together next summer.

One of the other coaches also rides a Ural. He rode his to the signup. I snapped the picture above as he was pulling out of the parking lot. As I took it, I thought "so that's what I look like when I ride my ural."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Winter Scootering

This weekend was exceptionally warm for a Minnesota winter! It was in the mid 40s for most of the time and didn't freeze overnight; no ice! I took this opportunity to take my girlfriend out on a scooter ride. It was my first ride in over five weeks.

We rode around several of the nearby lakes. Even though it was very foggy and spitting rain, we both has a good time. We rode for about an hour stopping several times to look at the different lakes.

Several of them had ice houses for fishing. With the warmer temps, the ice has been getting thinner, so no one was driving on the lakes. It is supposed to get cold again soon, so perhaps we can take the ural out on lake soon. I like to wait until I see trucks parked on the ice before I ride on it. If it can hold a 4000 pound truck, it can easily handle my little 800 pound sidecar.

On the way to the last lake, we spotted a wild turkey standing in the road. We briefly chased it with the scooter until it ran off into the woods.

It was a very fun ride. I am hopeful to begin riding the ural again as soon as my upper body is strong enough which I hope will be in a couple weeks.

The hour on the scooter was about ten minutes longer than I should have ridden, but we were having fun. A great day to be out on two wheels. Lots of smiles.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday - December 2014

There were only three motorcycles at motorcycle first Thursday in Minneapolis for the month of December. The bikes included a small dirt bike, honda rebel, and a goldwing.

Sadly, my Ural is not among them this month. This is the first first Thursday I have not ridden to since I started coming several years ago. I hope to be fit enough to ride in a couple weeks.

I had a decent time chatting with friends talking about bikes and how we wished we were in a warmer place to go riding.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Winterizing My Motorcycles


It was warm this past weekend, so I hauled my motorcycles out of the garage to start the winterizing ritual. I normally wait until well after Thanksgiving, but it has already been in the single digits multiple times this year. I don’t think I’ll get anymore two-wheeled riding in for a while. The warm weather created a lot of cool fog.


My process is pretty simple. I fill up the gas tanks and then put in some marine-grade fuel stabilizer. I like the sta-bil brand. I let the motorcycles run for a while to get the stabilizer into the carbs and fuel injectors on the different bikes.

While they are running, I like to sweep the garage and make a space in the back for them. When I’m done cleaning, I bring them back in the garage and put them on the battery tender. The SV and the WR get to rest on stands which keep the tires off the ground. The Super9 has a center stand. The GZ250? It’s for sale. Buy it!


Here is a shot of all the bikes together. I don’t have many with all five motorcycles together.

I want to clean up my workspace in the garage this winter, so I can get some maintenance done. The WR250R could use some new tires, and I bought a three gallon gas tank to replace the stock two gallon at a swap meet in the spring. Please don’t remind me about the heated grips I have had sitting on the bench for over a year now. This winter might be the one! haha!

What winter motorcycle maintenance do you have planned?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ghost Rider


I was cleaning off my camera today, and I found this gem from this past Halloween of a ghost riding an inflatable motorcycle. Awesome.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday–November 2014


Last week was motorcycle first thursday in Minneapolis. In October, there were only six bikes because it had rained earlier. November had over twenty bikes. A far cry from the thousand plus in the summer, but a decent number considering it was only in the mid forties.

As usual, I had a nice time catching up with my moto friends inside. We talked about motorcycles and travel, you know, all the important stuff. The ride home was chilly, but my heated gear kept me warm and toasty.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Saint Paul Becoming More Motorcycle Friendly

While walking recently in downtown St. Paul, I noticed some new parking meters with pictures of motorcycles on them. I have seen several more since. St. Paul is becoming more motorcycle friendly by offering motorcycle only parking meters. Most of the spaces I saw were too small to fit a car, so this is a nice way to maximize parking revenues as well. Nice job St. Paul!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday–October 2014


Last week was Motorcycle First Thursday at Dulono’s Pizza in Minneapolis. It rained heavily most of the day, so attendance via motorcycle was very low. I counted eight bikes including my own. I’ve seen more riders in December! It was quite a difference from September which had the parking lot crawling with people and the air buzzing with motorcycle exhaust.

Inside was warm and full of people talking bikes. I chatted with a few friends before calling it an early night. The rain finally stopped before I left which made the ride home much more enjoyable. I love the crisp feeling of a night ride in the fall. The cool breeze creeping in around all the vents and gaps in your gear to keep you extra sharp and attentive.

I wonder how many will show up next month…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chipotle And Legos

At lunch the other day, I was checking my email. In it, was a message from Richard saying he was in Minneapolis for a few days. Our schedules lined up, so we made plans to get together.

We met at the Mall of America. It was convienient given our transportation restrictions: neither of us had a car and he had no riding gear.

While discussing food options, we walked passed a Chipotle. Richard commented he had never been to one. I insisted that he try it then. It is one of my fave fast food places... well really the only one I will eat at.

We got our food and caught up with the legos looking over us. It was nice to see him again and talk bikes and traveling. I'm ready to take another trip.

It was an enjoyable evening. I always enjoy meeting other motobloggers.

You can read his post about our meetup on his blog:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Last RiderCoach Night of the Season


Earlier this month was the last RiderCoach track night of the season. We get together once a month on a closed course to enjoy practicing our riding skills in a safer environment while having a lot of fun.

The weather was beautiful. I was surprised more coaches didn’t show up to ride. It was nice to catch up with those who did. I only ran a few laps on my SV650. I was tired, so I didn’t push it by running fast. It was more fun to relax and watch the other riders.


My friend Rick showed up with his FJ1200 Sidecar. He let me take it for a few laps around the track. It was very fun. At first, I was worried it would make me hate my Ural. It was so different it doesn’t seem fair to compare them. The FJ was very responsive with impressive brakes, traction, and power. It was also very easy to fly the chair on the right-handed corners. I enjoyed riding it once I got past the initial “twitchy” feeling it had. It was really responsive.


I was also lucky enough to ride a Yamaha Super Tenere for a few laps. I’ve been wanting to ride one for a while, and that night was my lucky night. My first reaction was it felt a lot like my BMW R1150GS, but so much better! More fun to ride, and better ergonomics for me. I liked riding it. It felt fun; the BMW never felt fun. When I told the owner my feedback, he totally agreed. He said after riding it, he sold his 1200GS. I completely understand. I don’t think I’ll be spending $10,000 to get one anytime soon though.

I also rode a 750 Aprillia, but forgot to get a picture of it. It was a fun V-Twin to ride, but I think I like my SV more.

I had a fun time, and look forward to the next RiderCoach night in early Spring.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Heated Gear Kind of Day


This morning was my first ride of the fall requiring heated gear. It was just over 40F when I left the house this morning. I rode the SV650 which has no windshield, so the wind blast went straight into me. I was happy to have the warm heat of my Gerbing heated coat.

I just received the temp controller back from a warranty replacement. The main cord has failed. It was replaced under the warranty without much hassle. I’m looking forward to it keeping me warm as the temperature drops. It’s very convenient to dial up some more heat with just the turn of a finger.

The ride was beautiful this morning. The sky was clear and blue while I was cozy in my heated coat. It was hard to stop riding once I reached the parking lot at work. The ride home was even better with the temps around 70F.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sidecar + Trailer = Mulch Hauler

2014-09-01 20.16.28

Thanks to my friend Joe, I finally got the trailer wiring sorted on my Ural and on my DIY trailer. I wrote about the hitch I installed several years ago here: Ural Trailer Hitch. I’d been using the hitch to haul my bicycle, but always wanted to get a trailer going. Why not make a slow vehicle slower right??

I spent a few hours on the wiring and didn’t get anywhere; conversely, Joe figured it out in less than an hour. The Ural comes with a six post connector under the seat. We used a six to five converter and then a five to four converter. It works great! The wiring and hitch can also easily be removed to avoid the winter grime.


My mulch hauling friend posing for a picture. All the mulch is wrapped up in the blue tarp. The trailer is much more efficient than the tubs I used to use. I can get about four times as much per trip too. It’s also much easier to use the mulch from the trailer versus moving a wheelbarrow around. The Ural really is my Russian Lawn Tractor now!


PS: To those with a Ural warranty: towing could affect your warranty, so double check beforehand.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fun Times With Flat Tires

I have been lucky enough experience two flat tires this year. One on my SV650 and one on the Ural.

The flat on my SV happened on the way home from teaching a BRC less than an hour before I was to leave MN for my trip to India.

At first, I wasn't sure what it was. The rear started to wobble slightly like my luggage rack had broken again. A few miles down the road it was clear what was happening as the wobble became more pronounced. The rear tire was going flat. Arg!

I was only three miles from home and without my tire repair kit. I was also being picked up by a friend soon to leave the country. Not a great time for a flat. I decided, perhapaps unsafely, to continue riding slowly to see if I could make it.

The rear continued to get worse until about a mile from home where it leveled off just above absolutely unrideable. Riding on a flat rear felt a lot like riding on ice and snow, so it was weirdly comfortable. Yay winter riding!

I made it to my house and up the hill into the garage. I left the bike in disgust and left for India. When I got back, I put a new tire on and admired the large nail still in the tire. The bike suffered no other damage.

My second flat of the year was with the Ural during the sidecar ride for kids. After the first few hours of rides, the sidecar started to feel squishy. I stopped to take a look at it, and it was nearly flat.

I tried to put more air in with tire pump hoping denial would fix my problem. It didn't.

The Ural has a spare, so I set about swapping the tire. I had a small audience of kids asking questions about it. They were eager to get back riding!

The spare went on without trouble. There was a small nail in one of the knobs. Darn.

After the second ride, I decided to stop. The spare was grinding excessively. The bearing sounded like it was shot.

Fortunately, I have new tires, tubes, and bearings ready to go on. A fun weekend project to get the bike ready for winter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sidecar Rides For Kids

I like riding, and I like sharing that joy with others. For the last couple years, I have been fortunate to do both at a local, annual block party giving sidecar rides to kids.

You can see Rick's FJ sidecar above with my super shiny Ural in the back. There were dozens of kids lined up for their turn to "ride on a motorcycle."

It was a fun event. With most of the kids laughing and having a good time. I especially appreciated the parents who took the time to say thank you.

Sidecar Rides for Kids 2013

Monday, August 18, 2014

Detailed Ural

I have never seen my Ural as shiny as it is now since the day it was delivered from the dealer.
A few weeks ago at the ridercoach night, I saw Greg's handiwork on a bike he had detailed. I have been wanting to get the Ural detailed since last year, but di.dn't know a good place to go.
We agreed on a price, and I dropped it off. It took him almost two weeks to get it clean, so I paid some extra. He said it was the biggest detailing challenge he had so far. Specifically, the Boeshield T9 I use for anticorrosion in winter was very difficult to get off.
I am really impressed at how great the bike looks now. It is tempting to sell it and get something else before winter.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday - August 2014

After missing the July first thursday because I was in India, I was excited to see all the bikes and my friends.

It was a good turnout, but not as many bikes or people as I had hoped given the very nice weather.

This Morgan was cool to see. I was hoping James May would appear and start talking about it, but that didn't happen.

The obligatory photo of the new crossbow from polaris. At the risk of alienating myself, the expression on the kid's face sums up my feelings about it.

This Bajaj scooter and sidecar covered in led lights was more interesting to look at.

A couple rat bikes to enjoy. I love the vacuum canister gas tank on the one and the beer can shock covers on the other.

This bike was also fun. Clearly lots of custom work and it was very clean. The wood luggage platform was a nice juxtaposition.

I was sad to see my friend is selling his FJ1200 sidecar. It is a fun rig. If I had the cash, I might buy it just for riping around in summer. I don't think it would be a good winter replacement for the Ural. It is low and setup for sport riding.
It was a good time as usual seeing motorcycles and catching up with friends.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Indianapolis MotoGP: Day 2

Sunday was race day in Indianapolis. I was looking forward to watching the races! I regularly follow MotoGP and Moto2 on, but don't always get to see moto3, so it was a treat to see all three in action.

I picked up a 2014 Yamaha Racing visor from the Yamaha tent. The line was long, but it will look nice next to the one I got in 2013.

In the morning, I watched the warm up from the grassy hill on the outside of turn 10 at the end of the back straight. It is quite a long walk, so I never made it on my previous visits to IMS. It was a nice place to relax and watch for a time.

I was happy to be able to meet up with my friend Rania aka @madsocial and her boyfriend. We watched most of the moto3 race together near turn 9. It was nice to catch up and share some racing with them as it was their first time to a MotoGP event.

I watched Moto2 and MotoGP from the amazing seats @todkapuz has overlooking turns 1-5. I have been grateful to sit in his extra seat for the last few years. Thank you again!

The Moto2 race had to be restarted because of a serious crash near turn 10. When it restarted, there was a crash with several riders near turn2. I captured part of it in the photo above. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.

The MotoGP race was entertaining for the few laps while Rossi was leading. Then Marquez took over as usual and ran away with it. Marquez has won every race this year which makes it a little less fun to watch. There was some nice action again around turn 2 which was nice to see in person. The weather cooperated nicely and it didn't rain during the race even though the dark clouds were threatening.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to watch the races from such great seats. Thanks again @todkapuz.

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Ray from MN. He hauled his Ducati in the back of his truck. He offered me a space on the way back which I took. The 670 mile on the freeway solo isn't that much fun, so I eagerly jumped at the chance to have some company for the journey home.

I bought some extra straps from one of the vendors, and we loaded my SV650 into his truck. The cases easily fit inside. It was a comfy and dry ride home inside with some great conversation. Thanks Ray!

It was a great motorcycle-filled weekend.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Indianapolis MotoGP: Day 1

I'm happy to be in Indianapolis again for MotoGP this year. I am again thankful to Todkapuz for sending me a ticket. I'm also sad he couldn't join me this weekend.

I parked my SV650 in the VIP parking area next to the museum. This is a great spot since it is so close to the action. The only thing better is the Ducati spot in the middle.

I packed very light and only partially filled on case, so I was able to get all my gear: helmet, gloves, boots, coat, pants, and back protector in as well. It was nice to walk around in sandals and a tshirt.

Like last year, I was happy to enjoy the XDL freestyle stunt show. The same riders as last year put on a great show. I watched it twice.

New this year, was a trials demonstration.  I always enjoy watching trials. The motorcycle control is amazing! He did the entire 15 minute show without putting a foot down once. I also watched this one twice. So fun!

In between the shows, I watched free practice and qualifying of all three classes: moto3, moto2, and motogp. It was fun to watch them live. I enjoyed moving around to differrent parts of the track for the various views. I made my 10,000 steps by lunch. IMS is a huge place.

I love feeling the sound the bikes make. Amazing. Yes, feel the sound. My favorite spot is the bridge over the back straight. The sound the bikes make at full throttle sounds great and the sound waves virbrate the entire bridge as they pass underneath. Awesome.

I tried to see an interview with Pedrosa and Marquez in the Honda tent. I briefly saw them as they came in. Then, I could only see arms in the air all waving cameras, so I just listened instead.

There was also a small and slightly sad motorcycle show for such an international event. Our local monthly bike night in Minneapolis has more interesting and a better variety of bikes. These are two of my favorites.

Luckily the weather cooperated again today. It wasn't too hot, and more importantly, it didn't rain. I hope race day tomorrow is as much fun and is as dry as today was.