Saturday, June 02, 2007

When It All Comes Together

This picture could not have happened were it not for the vision of one man. The leader of our pack of two wheeled gypsies, St Cloud Scoots. Even though its out of order chronologically, it just seems to belong at the beginning.

Lucky (Jeramiah Pearce) was looking for ways to get involved in the community through the club. He had the idea that we could do something to benefit those in need. I believe this thought had been fomenting in his mind for a while before he commented that he and Chauncy (Tom Fritz) had been tossing ideas of benefit scooter runs around.

Some time last year the three of us were talking about directions the club might go. We knew we could grow, even in this little college town. The price of gas could almost insure people buying scooters. And looking for reasons to ride with other scooterists is why Lucky started the club in the first place.

I think we really started bantering about charity rides sometime in the fall. We were planning our Double Dog Dare Ya ride for the the first weekend in January and naturally the ride plans for the summer season came up. Were we going to set up in town and countryside rides or have a bigger vision for the club.

I'll be honest with you, I thought the basic idea of riding with other scooterists would be a pretty big deal in itself. Especially as an actual club. But Lucky, bless 'im, had bigger and better ideas.

Before long Chauncy was talking with Lucky. Then Lucky was talking to me. Quite often our schedules meant we were relating earlier conversations with one or the other, with the third. Lucky pushed us along to get things accomplished and before long things started taking shape.

Everyone getting ready to ride.

It all came together today. An ad in the local paper and support from Scooterville of Minneapolis, Corazzo scooter clothiers, St Cloud Suzuki and The Meeting Grounds coffee shop and all around scooter trash hangout joint. You are the folks who made our club and guests feel welcome by the gifts you gave us that we passed on to them. If you coulda seen the smiles at the raffle...

Oh wait! Yes you can! haha

The ride was about forty five miles. Through some beautiful hilly and just lush with shades of green, midwestern countryside. A few came on 50's so we kept the pace at about thirty two mph. Boy did people stare as our scooter caravan went by. Some waved, some smiled and other did the obligatory double take.

We couldn't thank people enough for the donations to the food shelf. The ride, well, icing on the cake. Scoot for a cause, eh?

The Roadbum

Friday, June 01, 2007

Something different

So the weather got a little strange up here in the northern central Midwest. Then a few calls trickled in. Duties I enjoy are calling when the seasons are ripe for them. You see, I'm very much into the sport of shooting. Its a discipline like any other but in its own right more of a matter of achieving as close to a perfect stillness in a very small moment of time.

So you pull the trigger and the "gun" goes boom. Bigger gun equals bigger boom equals more fun, right? Wrong.

The shooting sports, no matter what aspect of the discipline you choose to be involved in, is only about one thing: Accuracy. It applies to paper targets, silhouettes, field target, ten meter, hunting and culling. If your reason for picking up any rifle, pistol or shotgun isn't becoming more a more accurate shooter then firearms aren't what you ought to be involved in.

Some folks like the big boom firearms make. The bigger the boom the more they feel like the alpha. What they always seem to forget (maybe they never knew because they really aren't alphas) is what makes the alpha the alpha is equally about power as it is about control. What's the point of the first without the second?

Some people would like others to believe power and control are the same thing, but the discipline of shooting firearms [well] neatly separates the two concepts to their rightful designations. The firearm has the power, the shooter learns to control that power.

There is a certain elegance in using the least amount of energy to accomplish a given task. We call it conservation. Its actually a lot of fun to find the best way to do things with the least amount of expended effort, whether it be by machine or human activity.

Its this thought process that led me in a new direction from shooting firearms to shooting precision airguns. I found the difficulty of training to be equal and yet much more enjoyable and available to my circumstances. Well okay, I can shoot what I want any time I want because I own a farm, have public ranges nearby and have many thousands of acres at my disposal throughout the year. So what made me choose precision airguns if I can target shoot, hunt or cull when I feel like it?

Air rifles and pistols like the ones I own are fine European designs. They have match grade barrels and multi adjustable triggers. I have a rifle I once rested which produced a five shot group that fit under the diameter of half a dime at thirty yards. I've come close to that many times but that's the best I've done with my HW77K. When you can shoot a rifle not louder than clapping one's hands, takes high grade pellets at under ten dollars for five hundred pellets, doesn't send an errant shot a mile and a half towards the horizon and takes critters up to gophers with the same pinpoint accuracy as firearms, its a lesson in the elegance of the conservation of energy. Accuracy reigns supreme. Control should always have the utmost influence over raw power.

Does that mean I gave up shooting my 7.5x55 Swiss made K31? The offspring of the venerable and insanely accurate Schmidt Rubin? Hardly. By the training these airguns allow me I can tell you that straight pull bolt and honest to goodness Swiss watch predictable two stage trigger are that much sweeter because of the ability to transfer what I learned from the massive amount of time I could spend shooting the air rifles as in a sense, preparation for the larger arms I use.

To be honest the big boom is just not that exiting compared to the sublime experience of shooting a precision air rifle. Its somewhat a matter of scale. Once a shooter understands [that] then the limited range and scaled down hunting experience of .177-.25 caliber air rifles becomes the better experience. Of course there are air rifles in the 308, 50 and 20mm calibers also, if you still need that big boom to satisfy your tastes.

In case there are some doubters about the accuracy and capability of air rifles these days, here's a little link to confirm that Daisys and Wally World Gamos are not the only airguns in town. If you go about half way down the replies to Cecil you'll see my friend Gunny Ric Douglas posts a video of yours truly taking one of the first shots of this rifle when it was still a prototype. Bob Dean is the creator and the barrel is off an F-16. Watch closely as the recoil ripples across me and literally draws me off my stance. This rifle has more recoil than my K31, which incidentally, has a steel butt plate.

I can say I've fired some pretty wild stuff. Both in firearms and airguns. By far the fun ( for me)resides in the conservation of energy attributed to the air powered arms. I've taken English sparrows out to ninety yards with a Paul Watts ADV tuned R11 in the "lowly' airgun caliber of .177. That's one morning I won't soon forget. Kind of a zen situation. Most often the ranges are between thirty and fifty yards. Sometimes more but not less as I prefer a little distance betwixt me and the targets.

So how does this correlate to anything having to do with scooters? When you develop a broad experience in a certain area you tend to gravitate toward "poles" even though the thing for all intents and purposes seems benign and pretty basic. Like riding two wheels with an engine driving them. We sometimes divide ourselves based upon the images of power versus what we truly want. If we seek the image of being powerful its most likely someone else is setting the ground rules for what is accepted as powerful. And some will seek to have that which gives them that appearance.

On the other hand those of us who prefer to determine our own standards possess something we never sought. Ironically, if you're looking for it you may never find it.