Friday, September 18, 2009

Just Around the Corner

Autumn rides. When you live far enough north that parts of Canada are actually south of you, you begin to cherish these waning days of warmth. You learn to appreciate getting the time to put some tarmac between you and the tires. The forests are changing from their deep green hues to golds, reds and orange. Leaves are beginning to blow free of their hold in the dense cover of summer. A little now, but more each week. Before too long you'll be looking up and seeing the dark bark of hardwood and squirrels scampering to hide food for the winter months.

Have you ever parked by the side of the road just to watch the animals through the trees of a hardwood forest? The kinds of woods that you know were hewn back so the road could be cut through them? Ancient oaks swaying, creaking in the vacuumed silence created by shutting down the bike's engine. The natural world makes all sorts of strange noises.

The air takes on a crispness. Its as though you can smell the change coming. Critters are preparing to hunker down and they're grabbing all the available edible foliage, nuts and tubers they can find.

And you've got to dress for these rides. Not just the safety gear but maybe a sweater, or the thicker gloves. Fog on the visor.

My wife tells me that I somehow manage to radiate both extreme hot and extreme cold upon returning from the colder of these Fall season rides. I dunno, I just feel really great when I get back home.

No matter where you are, there's something about getting the rides in before the bad weather comes to stay. Snow drifts and icy roads, a foreboding memory of last year's winter serves to remind us to take the time while we can.

I've written enough. Time for a ride.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh No, Not Again

I've been reading motorcycle magazines for as long as I could remember. When other kids were into Hot Rod I was reading Cycle World, Motorcyclist and the now defunct Cycle. Others read Mad and Cracked, I read Cartoons magazine. Somewhere in my posession is a box chock full of old Cartoons issues. Crass and Bernie, Ellefson's creative cartoons. I had Evel Knievel stunt motorcycles. Even went as the guy for Halloween one year.

My parents tolerated my friends bringing small displacement motorcycles over and "tuning" them in their garage. Mini bikes, two stroke enduros. Harley Sprints. Seemed like any given week would find something under four hundred cc's with a story to tell, somewhat torn apart in my parents' garage. We learned about points. We learned about a lot of motorcycle oriented mechanicals by stumbling through trial and error. Sometimes it was frustrating but it was always worth it in the end.

I write this because I did the belt and rollers on the LX150 this morning. Normal maintenance, yet in some way it feels like more than should be necessary. Its a bit of a job to do an auto transmission on these modern bikes. Still a little foreign feeling to me. Odd.

Granted I had the bike up to about 50mph on the country lanes outside my neighborhood , but it wasn't far. Everything feels as it should. Still, I wouldn't mind a four stroke shifty scooter. Only because after years of wishing for one, Genuine Scooter Co. is going to have one out later this year. Less maintenance. Or an excuse to get something new?

I must be in that mode or something. You know the one. You have some unyet unspoken desire to have something new but you just don't know what.

So I visited the Honda motorcycles site and noticed they're releasing a machine that almost made me fall out of my chair when the page opened up. A 700cc liquid cooled V twin with shaft final drive. Built in saddle bags. Its a mid sized touring bike. Honda quality throughout.

So I'm torn. Another scooter, albeit something I would really like and that I could easily afford versus something which could take me out of scooters in an instant if it delivers the way Honda always seems to. The Stella would be less than half the cost of the Honda NT 700.

But I want the Honda more.

Need to find a way to get there from here.