• Tag Archives Biking
  • The bike

    So, I haven’t posted about biking in a while, because I have been recovering from an accident I had down in Orlando about two months ago.

    It had just started raining, for the first time in about a month, and I lost control of the bike on a curve due to “Florida Black Ice”, i.e. an oil slick that appeared because of the rain.

    Personal damage: A banged up knee, a shredded arm, and my pride. Suck.

    Bike damage:

    • Headlight rim
    • Headlight casing
    • Brake lever
    • Right hand turn signals (front and rear)
    • Right hand mirror
    • Speedometer casing

    The brake lever was one of the more odd things, because it was bent way out instead of what you would think it would, which would be to bend in towards the handlebar. There are some other dings and stuff, a couple of dents in the tank, and the front tree is a bit…skewed. Wear pattern on the front tire is normal, and it rides straight, but when I am going straight down the road and I look down at the handlebars, they point a little to the left. A little bit disconcerting, but I am just going to leave it as it adds character to the bike.

    I also just replaced the battery, as it was no longer holding a charge. The bike is a 2006, so the OEM battery is about four years old. Now, as far as I am concerned, people should never have to do regular battery maintenance on car style batteries these days. You put them in the car and forget them. Not so with motorcycle batteries, apparently. The OEM battery I pulled out had zero water in it. How it had been working for so long I have no idea. One thought I do have is that it may have sprung a leak during the accident… no idea, and there is no apparent damage to the casing. Anyway, I replaced that with a G-Bat, which is a gel-style battery, and life is good. No maintenance on the battery, and I swear the whole bike is running better because of it. The battery was a bit of a bitch to install, however, because you have to remove the padding that is in the battery box in order for it to fit, and then the terminals are not in exactly the same place, so tightening down things was a bit of a nightmare.

  • Riding and Interviewing

    So I have been riding a lot lately. It has been good, and I think I am getting better with the bike. Some things I have learned:

    • Boots are a must. You can get away with a little riding in tennis shoes, but the top of your left shoe will wear out quickly.
    • Make sure everything is battened down prior to moving off. It sucks to have something flapping in the wind at sixty miles an hour, particularly if it is something like a collar and it flaps into your clavicle.

    In other news, this past weekend I sat on the board to receive presentations for the next Hoggetowne Medieval Faire chessboard. Now, let me get this out right now: THIS IS A JOB INTERVIEW! When most people go in for a job interview, they dress up in order to impress… at least, they do this if they are going for a job of any sort of importance higher than that of a short-order cook. So why is it that year after year I have seen these presentations, and the same people keep turning up not dressed for the role?

    Anyway, the presentations went… well, the first two went poorly. Let’s just say that showing up with only one of your staff members for the production is not conducive towards getting the job. The third presentation group was incredible, however. They were organized, almost all of them were there, and all of the higher level members were there. The only one missing was the costumer, which was not a big deal because they had posters of what they were planning on doing with costume colors and designs. They ran the show for the most part, and we basically had to just sit there and watch instead of ask many questions to figure out what they were going to do. Instead, they simply told us. At the end, after they walked out, the five members sitting on the panel to make this decision simply looked at each other and said “is there really any doubt here?” It was a unanimous decision.

    Anyway, after that, I have some tips for people who are going to propose a show for our group:

    • Dress appropriately. This is a job interview, not a bunch of friends getting together to have some fun. The Guilde is giving you a good amount of money in order to make this thing happen, and we want to be sure that you are not going to be wasting that money.
    • Don’t bring your child along with you to the interview. You wouldn’t do this at any other job interview, even at a fast food restaurant, so why would you think it is appropriate to do it here? Your child will be a distraction to both yourself and to the members of the panel, and that is going to lower your chances in a couple of different ways. First, it detracts from your presentation. Second, the panel is going to look at the situation and wonder how that child is going to affect your production down the road.
    • Have as many members of your production team there that you can. The more the merrier, and it shows the panel members that you are all serious about what you are trying to do. If only one or two of you are there for the interview, what is going to happen come time for rehearsals? Are only one or two of you going to be showing up then as well?
    • Ensure that all of your members know their jobs and what they are going to be doing for the next year. Again, this is a job interview, and if you know the job you are that much more competitive.
    • Ensure that all of your members know the script that is being presented. One of our favorite exercises is to have the production team quickly act out their production in about five minutes.

    Obviously a bunch has to be left out, but the idea is to see whether or not everyone knows the general idea of the show from beginning to end.
    Finally, don’t tell the panel that you are going to be directing other shows during this time. We are going to take that into consideration for your capability to run this particular show.

  • Biking

    OK… I spent all of last weekend learning how to ride a motorcycle at a beginners motorcycle safety course. I am certainly not going to go into something like this without something like that to back me up.

    Let me tell you, it was worth the $185 to take the course. It taught me a lot in a controlled situation, and it also eliminated the nervousness of taking the exam at the licensing bureau, since all I had to there was show them the graduation card and I was endorsed. Besides, it gets me a discount on my motorcycle insurance.

    So, having finished the training and getting my endorsement, I went looking for a bike. I tried two different dealerships, as I want my first bike to at least be somewhat safe since I don’t really know what to look for on them in terms of things that would not be safe due to someone messing with them and modifying them.

    Both Streit’s motorcycles and Polaris had bikes that I thought were appropriate for me, appropriate meaning that I like the look of the bike and it is not too much of a bike for my experience level. There were two bikes, one at each dealership, that I thought were appropriate. A Suzuki S40 at Streit’s and a Suzuki S50 at Polaris. I went with the S50, as I think I would probably get bored with the S40 in no time and be looking for something a bit more powerful in no time. Having ridden the S50 for the last four days, I think I was right in my assessment.

    So Monday evening I plunk down seven grand for the S50, drove home and got a ride back to the dealership, and rode it home…. scared to death the entire way. Let’s face it… when I got on that bike to ride it home, all I could think of was that it was rush hour traffic on US 441, something that I really didn’t want to have to deal with on something that I was somewhat unfamiliar with. I made it fine, but still it was something that I don’t think I ever want to have to experience again.

    That evening I took it out again, and went to a training meeting for the Thieves Guilde. I had to leave early because there was no way that I was going to be driving that thing at night on the first day. No way in hell.

    Next day I take it into work and get a tag for it so that I can park without getting a ticket… tickets on campus have gone up to $30 a pop, so it just isn’t worth it. In the afternoon I drove down to the Brain Institute and talked to Larry there, and he offered to me a couple of books on riding that he thought I would be interested in. Had to follow him to his house, which was interesting for me, and he managed to beat me there despite leaving first. No big deal, since I don’t feel like pushing myself all that much yet on the bike. Got the books, then took Millhopper road out to 241->232->235->235A which spit me onto 441. Took 441 into High Springs and grabbed a burger at the Hardees there in town, then back to 235A->235->241->Millhopper road and home.

    Wednesday I took a long way around town to get to work, heading out to NE 15th and then heading south and winding my way through town until I got to 8th Ave, which I took west to NW 22nd, which took me straight into campus. In the afternoon I headed out to Williston road where there is a nice little windy road out of Robinson Heights out to Hawthorne Rd. Passed down along 2082 through Rochelle, then bounced up along 234 through Windsor until hitting 26, which I took back into town.

    This morning was nothing special, but this afternoon I took an interesting run up north through La Crosse, Brooker (mile 900 on the bike!) then south on 225 back home past the racetrack. It was a good run, and I enjoyed it. Found along the way that posture really helps in making the ride that much more comfortable at higher speeds, and the road was empty enough that I was able to practice a bit on swerving to avoid things.