Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bike Night 7/26

Another bike night. A lot of Ducs here tonight.

My 900SS & 620 Monster

748s & 996


Someone needs new gear :)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Givi top case and ST4s run to Lebanon, Indiana

My friend Sandy is purchasing a new to her ST4s today. She is picking it up in Lebanon, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis and towing it home. I had nothing to do today and wanted to finally try out my GIVI top case on the ST3, so off to Indiana I went. The GIVI top case was empty, I felt it was back there at parking lot speeds, but not at all at highway speeds. The ST3 definitely handles better with the top case than the 954RR.

I left at 9:30AM and took all interstates down to Lebanon and I arrived at 12:00PM with no stops.

Upon arrival I got gas and called Sandy, she was about 30 miles out still so I grabbed some lunch at Arby’s. It was a beautiful day again today, low 80’s and sunny, just a perfect day to go riding.

Sandy arrived and about half an hour later the seller of the ST4s arrived. The transaction went down at the Panderosa Restaurant parking lot off I-65 at exit #140 . We were there for a while.

First the red ST4s was unloaded and Sandy took it for a ride.

She had a big grin on her face when she got back so I think she liked it.

Then I took the ST4s for a spin. Nice bike, the pervious owner geared it down some, sweet. I noticed it was less torquey then my ST3, and a bit faster, but very similar, except the wind screen was a lot shorter and he had put raisers on the clip-ons. The Remus exhaust sounded awesome.

The bike all loaded up, Sandy took off for the interstate and Chicagoland. I took off for home taking all back roads at first then about 60 miles of interstate. I arrived home at 7:30PM and did 440 miles.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Delavan, Wisconsin

Sandy and I met up in Williams Bay, WI in the early afternoon at this place I call the “igloo”.

When I got there, she wasn’t there yet so I grabbled a vanilla milk shake and waited outside, what a great day. It was supposed to be in the high 70’s today and sunny but it felt a little warmer. Passing some thermometer’s confirmed it was in the low to mid 80’s.

Two red ducs at the Arctic Circle Diner

From there we headed to the only twisty road that I knew nearby, Snake Road in Lake Geneva. We went looking for more twisties but only found straight roads. In Delavan we stopped for some pictures of the plastic giraffe.

Duc, duc, giraffe

Ducati Monster and Ducati Super Sport in the most popular color - red

The giraffe and I

Then we decided to take a break and grab something to drink and eat in town. Now some dark clouds were starting to appear in the sky and we heard from some people that rain was on the way. I didn’t hear anything about rain today when I checked the weather.

We had a late lunch at the hot dog joint in Delavan behind the giraffe

At about 4PM Sandy and I parted ways, she went home and I went exploring some more.

Sniffin’ flowers by Lake Comus in Delavan

This area by Lake Comus was really pretty

A large variety of pretty flowers in pink, red and purple

Lake Comus with the Delavan water tower in the background

Then the rain caught up to me, once, twice, three times before I got home. I stopped twice letting the storm clouds get ahead of me, hoping it would pass. It was moving fairly quickly but not as quick as I was riding. I needed to put on a layer also, the temperature dropped and the air smelled so clean and fresh.

Falling rain in the distance

I arrived home just as the sun had set. I was pretty drenched and my 900SS was filthy. It was raining pretty hard at the end.

Rain clouds everywhere

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oklahoma City visits Chicago

Gixster aka Tracy from ST.N was on his last leg of a 21 day tour that took him from Oklahoma City to Key West to Nova Scotia. He was going to be home tomorrow night in OKC, but tonight he was in Chicago and we were going to have Chicago style pizza.

I found Tracy at the Panera, where he was surfing the web for 2 hours while I was at work finishing my work day.

He dropped of his bike at my house, I was going play chauffer tonight.

Tracy and his Busa-tourer

What a plushy ride

I decided to take Tracy to Lou Malnati’s, an authentic Chicago style pan pizza, there was one not too far away form the house, it’s a popular Chicagoland chain. Well, when we got there we found out this location was only take out and delivery. I decided to take Tracy to “the city” aka Chicago, thinking there would be a Lou Malnati’s somewhere or another place just like it.

Traffic was pretty bad on the interstate so after some miles I took an exit and we started to cross the city via streets, no pizza places in sight. This was going to be much harder than I thought. Finally, on the other side of Chicago I grabbed another interstate that was moving a bit faster and we ended up near Wrigleyville (the area around Wrigley’s Field). A lot of traffic but no Chicago pizza.

I called my friend Rick and he found a Lou Malnati’s restaurant near by on-line for me. I turned around and proceeded to go there, after like forever, we found it and found parking relatively nearby.

Walked in and the wait for a table was 30 minutes - sheesh. We decided to pre-order a pizza and then we walked down the street in search of some beer. We found an Irish bar about two blocks away.

Mmmmmmmmm fat tire

We got back to the pizza place and in a few minutes our pizza was ready and delicious.

Chicago pan pizza with buttery crust and tomatoes

Dessert, hot cookie and ice cream

Good times!!! Thanks for stopping by Tracy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

National Ride To Work Day

I rode my ST3, didn't want to get my 900SS rained on :)

By the time I left work the rain clouds were moving in and a few minutes later rain was falling. I showed up at bike night, the rain stopped for about an hour, then started up again. 7 people showed up anyway.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bicycling to work

This is a start of something new. Today I rode my bicycle to work and I plan on riding it to work at least 2 times a week until it gets too cold to ride. It’s fun, good exercise, good for the environment and I will save some money on gas.

Today was a beautiful morning, it was in the mid 70’s when I left the house. The heat has been totally washed away after last night big storm. It was only going to be 83 degrees today and sunny, a great day for a bicycle ride.

The ride to work was about an hour, the majority of it was done on the bicycle path, but since there is so much traffic on the road, I was delayed having to wait for cars to pass so I could cross the street. The portions of my trip via sidewalks were not as fun, unfortunately there are no shoulders on the roads I take so I’m not about ride on the street and get hit by a car.

I work in a corporate environment, no place to lock up or put the bike at work so I left it in an empty office all day. I guess I’ll do that until I’m told I can’t.

Dahon cubed

After work I decided to ride in the opposite direction of home for a bit, it was such a beautiful day. Well, what I dreaded finally happened. I was stopping, pulled my foot once and it wouldn’t come off the pedal, pulled on it twice still stuck, ran out of time, I fell over with the bike… operator error or product malfunction? I thought I yanked hard enough... hmmmmmmmmm.

Well, at least I know how it feel to fall, too bad the bicycle path was paved at this point, no damage to the bike or rider though, just a tiny scrape or two and a couple of bruises. Man, second ride on the bike and I'm crashing already. I guess you can say I ride motorcycles way better then bicycles and having my shoes attached to the pedals is so new to me.

I stopped for a raspberry sorbet, turned around and headed home. Maybe I did a total of 18 miles today. Way more fun than driving the car.

Sorbet, it's what's for dinner

Sunday, July 16, 2006

First ride: Dahon Zero G

Well, I did it. I bought a new mountain bike today. I’ve been trying to ride a few times a week since last month but my old bike was not fun, it wasn’t actually old, I bought it 3-4 years ago, but it was just a cheap Mongoose. Now that I have a new bike, there will be a bunch of MTB ride report posted here.

I’ve been doing research for the last week on mountain bikes and I was overwhelmed by the number of bikes that I wouldn’t mind having, but to choose just one was tough.

But in the end the choice was easy. I really wanted my new bike to fit in the back of my hatchback. I wanted a folding bike and the Dahon brand seemed to be a good brand for that. I looked and looked and finally found one shop that had the bike I wanted in stock, the Zero G. I picked it up today.

My new MTB is home

Is that thing pretty or what?

Folding/unfolding takes 5 seconds

My new Shimano ladies MTB shoes with cleats

So many choices, I picked Crank Brothers Egg Beaters for pedals

More mods, new grips and a gel seat too

Then my mom and I took a short ride since it was 100+ degrees today, I’m melting, I’m melting. She rode my old Mongoose and I rode my new Dahon. All I can say is WOW, I love this bike.

She went home and I continued to ride for another two hours. I’m going to have a lot of fun with this thing.

Cooling off after the ride

Some pretty flowers on the bicycle trail

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Day Ride: Holy Hill, WI

Today was going to be a hot one, forecast was calling for 95 degrees. Thank goodness the humidity was low, it didn‘t feel all that uncomfortable, although there weren’t any clouds in the sky, no relief from the blazing sun. I got on the 900SS and took off. Then the coolest thing happed, I passed two bikes just like the one I was riding myself, a yellow one and a red one, we all weaved to each other.

I was meeting Chris, Sandy and a friend of theirs in Eagle, WI at 10AM. I was one hour late getting there. I tell you, the traffic is just getting worst and worst and it’s taking me longer and longer to get out of Dodge.

First delay, two cars in front of me, one of them has a muffler on fire and another car is trying to get the car with the muffler on fire to pull over. Then I followed a truck going 40 mph in 55 for 15 minutes, could't pass it, then I followed a farming implement and the cars behind it at 20 mph in 55 for at least 10 minutes. By the time he turned off there were at least 18 cars behind him, how rude. Then the road I was on was detoured to another road and just before that construction.

After I got to the meeting spot which was a gas station, I needed to take a break. The others only arrived thirty minutes before me.

After a break the four of us took off for Holy Hill in Hubertus, Wisconsin for no particular reason, I‘ve been to the area before but I have never been up to the church.

Holy Hill and my 900SS

Holy Hill, a neo-Romanesque Church located 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee, built on the highest point in the state, 1350 feet above sea level, is also a Wisconsin and registered U.S. landmark.

Here you can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside, sculpted by the last glacier over 10,000 years ago and on a clear day you can see Milwaukee and Madison.

Views from the tower

For 50 cents you can climb to the observation tower's, it’s 178 steps to the top, which we did. The views were amazing from the top but climbing so many steps on a hot day like today was probably not the best idea.

Chris and Sandy climbing the tower

The last few steps to the top of the tower

After that we were ready for lunch and ended up at Gilligan's Bar & Grill. Right on Lake Okauchee in Okauchee, WI. We sat outside in the shade on the deck, it was very pleasant.

Lake Okauchee

Three Ducs

Sandy about to dip her toes in Lake Okauchee

Me dipping my toes in Lake Okauchee ... feels nice

The little fish were nibbling on my toes

After lunch the group parted ways and I took off by myself and started to head towards the northern suburbs of Chicago for my friend’s BBQ. But I still had a bunch of time to kill so I just kept riding this road and that road, curiously, I always ended up on RT 83.

I made it to Rick’s house by 7:15PM. Now at 260 miles for the day, I was ready for a long break. The 900SS is not as comfortable as my other bikes, but it sure looks pretty.

As always, Rick’s BBQ’s was a good time. We all had fun exchanging road and trip stories. The majority of the people left before 11PM, there were just a few of us sitting and gabbing until wee hours of the night.

Rick had made some coffee, I ended having two cups. I got on the road shortly after 2AM heading from the northern to the western suburbs. The night was so beautiful. 77 degrees and clear skies, no traffic. I forget how nice it is to ride though the suburbs late at night, even on a Saturday night, I don't ride at night that much.

Curiously, I got close to my house and then I passed my house. The coffee gave me new found energy and I wasn’t ready to go home yet. I decided to take a spin towards "the city" maybe even watch the sunrise.

Traffic close to Chicago was still pretty heavy and nutty at times and once I got to Lake Shore Drive I realized, tonight was "the night ride", a huge Chicago night bicycle event. They had some street closed so I ended up sitting in traffic more than I would have wanted to.

Lake Shore Drive downtown Chicago

I turned on Lake Shore Drive and headed north, as far as the eye could see on the lake front bicycle path, there were bicycles, for miles and miles and miles. There was too much activity tonight near the lake for me to hang out and wait for the sunrise, which wasn’t for another two hours. After running almost to the end of LSD I turned around and headed back to downtown and then back to the interstate, stopping just once downtown Chicago on LSD for some night time photos. On interstate more nutty traffic, the city never sleeps. I pulled in to my driveway about 4:30AM.