Archive for the ‘motorcycle’ Category

GE Capital grar

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

OK, so it’s not GE’s fault that State Farm took longer than expected to send them the payoff check, but when you call me yesterday, and say, “we want a payment of $xxx”, followed shortly by, “oh, yes I see we did get a check this morning”, I can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong with your system.  And then you call back again, the next day.

Well that explains that

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

I was a little curious that GE Capital wouldn’t offer me a loan for the new bike, now I know why.  Because they lost the payment-in-full for the old bike, from State Farm.  Or else it takes them more than 9 days to cash a check.  Slightly annoying, but thankfully State Farm is stepping up to the plate and taking care of the confusion.   I’d say they lost out on the profits of my business, but how much profit is there, on a zero-percent loan?  Presumably they get paid an up-front fee by the dealer, so there’s something in it for them.

Modern marvels of bandaging

Monday, May 6th, 2013

After a recent motorcycle accident, I’ve been dealing with a wounded knee, and the joys of trying to keep a moving joint clear and clean.  Two modern miracles of medicine have made this process much easier than it used to be.  The first is ‘the goop’ of modern antibiotic gels.  Keeping the damaged area moist yet free of infection has led to faster recovery and none of the itchy scabs of childhood.  But of course, to keep things moist, without turning into nastiness, means a bandage to cover the wound.  At far too large for any sort of band-aid, we are into the realm of rectangles of gauze and tape, which is where modern materials are again making the difference.  The non-stick pads are impressive in their ability to absorb body-fluids, and yet not pull away healing skin when their time is done, but the real ‘stars’ are the new non-stick tapes.  The first brand I bought was first-name (Johnson & Johnson), and seemed good enough, definitely not sticking to skin/hairs, and doing an OK job of being re-position-able, but with very strict parameters on re-use…even slight soiling left the tape unable to stick to itself again.  The second brand I tried was pharmacy-store-branded (Rite-Aid), and seemed equivalent to the name-brand; good for first usage, but of limited value for a second application.  The final brand I’ve tried is grocery-store-branded (Kroger), and is certainly the cheapest in many respects, and yet the most desirable for actual usage.  Unlike the more expensive brands, there’s zero possibility of re-using the tape, or even re-positioning a mistake during application; this tape practically fuses with itself, which means it stays on, but also means you can’t undo it without scissors….but it’s so cheap, it’s totally OK to toss after just one use.

First Motorcycle Accident

Monday, April 29th, 2013

When local people ask me what happened, and I mention where it happened, they know the why; train tracks at the apex of an S curve are dangerous to bike riders of any motility.

My memories of the moment have a sort of time stretched feel to them, the hand reaching out to catch the fall,even though that’s the worst thing to do, doh doh doh.  As I was getting up and collecting myself, I thought it just a minor setback to the day, perhaps a sprain in the wrist.  I walked to the nearby store, hoping to wait out the pain, or find a ride, but as the adrenaline wore off, I felt worse and worse, until it was clear I needed transport to care now.

A half dozen fire/EMT’s later, and I’m in my first ambulance.

At the hospital, a constant stream of staff, lots of xrays requiring painful contortions, and eventually a half cast splint and some bandages.  One radial head fracture, no ETA on healing time.

Pawnshop motorcycle helmet

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

There’s something about buying a used motorcycle helmet, from a pawn shop, that just seems…unsafe.  On the other hand, if you are someone who only wears a helmet because the law requires it, a helmet that likely provides no actual protection from accident, does still protect from legal hassle.  Still, it seems like a big potential liability for the pawnshop to take on.

Sunday Gay Day

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The sun was seriously out this Sunday, and the queer scooter group was getting together for a ride.  My scooter is just not appropriate for any sort of rally riding, but they are OK with sharing the ride with a motorcycle, and I joined in.  The starbucks (yes, it’s seattle, they make for universal neighborhood landmarks) was overflowing with bicycle riders, as I waited for the group.  In the end, we had six people, scattered across 4 bikes, and headed out for a trip out to Alki.   It was really nice, not being the underpowered-bike-holding-everyone-up, especially when we got onto the west seattle bridge where, despite a 35 mph speed limit, most people were doing 60 past us.

We drove all the way out, and after a short pause on the beach, along half the backside of Alki, before splitting up, with 5 of us going back down the beach to have lunch at Cactus.  Man, I do love the salsa at that place.  All the food was tasty.

After lunch, I went home, with the intent of getting out on the water while the sun was so nice.  Ended up spending an hour with a not-worth-it guy instead, but oh well.

For dinner, headed down to the Can Can for the yearly Easter event which is The Bunny Bounce.  As it is a free first-come-first-served event, there were no set table-spaces, and I grabbed a seat at an empty table in the back, but quickly ended up with an overflowing table of joiners.  Turns out they are all drag performers, there to support one of their friend’s in the cast, so got to hear lots of catty gossip all night long, a sort of secondary, private-at-my-table show.  They were all very polite and occasionally sociable, but I went home alone, so it wasn’t THAT gay of a day.  The Bunny Bounce show was fun.    I think only one of the performers was in drag, or else they are on hormones.  They all were fun.  And the poutine is always worth getting at the Can Can.


Road trips ahead

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I’d read some reviews of the TU250X that implied it wouldn’t do well on the highway, without re-gearing the transmission. Today, thanks to the lack of traffic due to the holiday, I was able to get out on I-5, without having to worry about gridlock. Turns out to be a perfectly reasonable bike at highway speeds. No, it won’t zip from 50-100 in the blink of an eye, but I don’t want it to. Of course, the next test, after break-in is finished, is a trip up and down one of the mountains. Elevation makes a big difference when you are normally aspirated.

Do they make turbo’s for bikes? =p

Washington Basic Rider Course (BRC)

Monday, June 25th, 2012

After 20 years of just getting by with an occasional learner’s permit, or sub-50cc scooter, I decided to get my motorcycle endorsement. To be clear, I haven’t been driving for 20 years without the correct license; I drove a motorcycle in Missouri, legally, with a string of learner’s permits, 20 years ago, then a 15 year gap, after which I’ve been driving, legally, my sub-50cc-class electric motor scooter. What I was lacking was any sort of formal training in how to properly and safely operate a real bike.

I’d done some reading on the subject, back when I first got a bike, but have never been really sure if how I interpreted the written word, matched up with what I was supposed to be doing, in the real world. When I made the decision on which course to take, I went for the true intro course, rather than the experienced rider course, for that reason. I had a vision of getting out to the intermediate course, and having them say ‘no, that’s completely not how you do that’, and wasting my enrollment. I figured better safe than sorry, start at the start and work your way up, as all the practice you can get, the better.

I went to a two day session at South Seattle Community College, which by the way, has a really nice little free arboretum, and some sort of chinese garden (not free) that I didn’t have a chance to check out because it was only open during the class, whereas the arboretum was (I got there very early the first day, because I had to leave early to avoid the Rock’n’Roll marathon, and came back early the second day to take pictures…). The first half of both days was classroom instruction, some lecture, some videos, and the written test. It is a very easy test, that covers stuff specific to a motorcycle; it doesn’t repeat general rules of the road stuff you should have demonstrated knowledge of when you got your primary license. The second half of each day was on-the-bike practice and instruction.

And they were two very full days, 9am to 6:30pm, with an hour lunch in the middle (and reasonably regular bathroom breaks). When it started pouring rain on the first day, it change nothing, we kept standing and talking or riding, which I really liked, since riding in the rain has always been one of my nervousness points. Turns out my rain pants work very well; so glad I picked them up the day before class. The people who had just worn jeans and non-waterproof jackets were miserably cold by the time the rain stopped. Really, if you wore the right clothes, it was perfect. The rain to give you experience and familiarity with it, without the worry of being on the street, and just enough sun to dry everything out later in the day. Day two, there were a few sprinkles before we went into the classroom, but by the time we were on the range, it was sun and light clouds. I didn’t remember to slather my neck with sunblock, and I do have a fair bit of red there today. d’ohwell.

The class started out with 9 people, 4 women and 4 other men, but by Sunday, one of the guys had dropped out. I dunno why, since he wasn’t one of the people having a harder time. In one of those odd co-inky-dinks, two students and the instructor, were all from the same general area in Hawaii. Two of the guys knew each other before the class, and would come together in one car. One of the women was a Physicians Assistant, who does some sort of back related work, pestering me to lift with my legs, so she wouldn’t have to operate on my back some day, when we were cleaning up after it was all over (nicely and with appropriate humor). One woman was there to learn on a scooter.

Given my initial fears of incompetence, it was interesting to see how much difficulty some of the others were having with stuff that I don’t remember ever having problems with, and in contrast, the parts I had difficulty with that others mastered to perfection. One of the pair of guys guys had a devil of a time getting started in first gear, and would often stall out multiple times before starting a practice run, and a devil of a time trying to find neutral from first (he seemed quite grateful when I showed him how to more easily find it coming down from 2nd). The slow speed u-turn was my most problematic maneuver, with me having a hard timing fully committing to leaning against the turns. That and keeping my eyes up, instead of looking for all the marking on the pavement we had to follow. If they had nice floating hologram tech, it would have been easier =p

I definitely seemed to impress my classmates, who would often ask me for advice when the instructors were otherwise engaged, and during the breaks. I pointed out to those getting discouraged by my seeming ease at some things, that I had been driving a scooter for many years, and did have some experience on a full bike as well. In the end, several of the most timid riders at the start, ended up getting perfect scores on both written and practical tests, whereas I only got 100 on the written (94% on the practical).

If anything was truly annoying about the class, it was how the instructor would keep bugging me to not cover my brakes. While I understand the value of preventing nervous people from over-reacting during their initial learning period, it’s considered a valuable habit for driving in the real world.

This morning, I’m still feeling the effects of 10 hours driving over 2 days. It makes me wonder at how someone must feel after driving a bike on the trip to Sturgis, that spans multiple full days of driving. Now I just have to get my pass card down to the DMV and get a new photo, and I’ll be good to ride. When the weather improves =p