Monday, July 27, 2009

Typo in my Passport?

Some of you who know me know that i am sometimes an obnoxious grammar snob. If you read much of this or listen to me talk, you know that it's fairly ridiculous for me to be a grammar snob because i really don't know that much about grammar! There are some things that bother me though, because i'm just that way; what can i say?

So i was looking at my passport and i think i see a grammatical error. One word that almost never seems to get used when it should is "ensure." The word "insure" almost always gets used instead.

Look at the picture. I think it should say "ensure", not "insure". What do you think?

Really though, it can't be an error can it? Isn't that the text of the constitution. Now I have to go look it up...
...ok, i'm back. Yeah, that's it. So i guess I don't understand the difference between the two words either. I thought Insurance pretty much referred to financial institution type of references, and Ensure meant to make sure of something. I dunno... English is hard.

Also, feel free to correct my grammar with extreme prejudice and complete lack of mercy. In fact, that goes for all my posts really. I don't mind, and maybe if i'm corrected enough i'll get it right.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Motorcycle Wave

(Note: Picture from this guys blog post. He endorses waving, but it sounds like he hasn't been riding long... give him a few years.)

I don't generally do the motorcycle wave. You know, how there's some universal courtesy that all motorcyclists wave at all other motorcyclists. I could understand it if you lived in a time or place where there were very few riders, and seeing another one was an uncommon event and there was a good chance that yourself and that other rider were kindred spirits, or had some common thread or understanding that was shared by few others.

It's not like that though. At least not any more, and not around here. There are thousands of motorcyclists even in my relatively sparsely populated little corner of the world. I probably wouldn't even like most of them! Ok, just kidding, that's probably not true. Still though, I really doubt that I have more in common with most of the guys that wave at me, than I might have in common with the person in the car behind them.

You don't see every guy driving a chevy pickup waving at every other guy in a chevy pickup.

Now, maybe the world would be a better place if you did see that. Maybe I'm a jerk for putting negativity into the world, when all that's required is a simple acknowledgment of the person who's waving at me. But seriously, it's a hassle. It happens so frequently that I just get tired of it. Especially during The-Big-Trip last month, where we were on the road for 17 days. I must have ignored like 400 motorcycle waves (but i probably waved back 150 times). Anyway, it just seems silly to me at this point.

I'm more than happy to be courteous and pleasant to any motorcyclist that wants to talk to me at a gas station or whatever, but the wave, I dunno, I'm over it.

Now, sometimes, when i see an adventure/tour bike, loaded up and obviously in the middle of a long trip, I'm more inclined to wave to that person. The reason is that now we've narrowed the crowd down to a small enough subset that myself and that person probably do have something in common.

Anyway, long story short: I'm a jerk and i think the motorcycle wave no longer means much of anything and so i don't do it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Super-Clean XS650 Cafe Racer

Came across this one over at Most of the bikes over there are more chopper / bobber than I'm really into (which is fine, it's called XS650chopper after all); I'm more into the street trackers and cafe racers or just UJM style. Anyway, I think this bike is exceptionally well done and I wanted to share it here.

I especially like that he's retained the fenders, added dual discs up front, piggyback reservoir shocks and though i don't usually like them, i think i like the bar-end turn signals. Also, great selection on the tank and seat cowl. From what i can tell, the guages look very well matched as well.

I don't think i like the rear sets, and i'd go for more coned pipes, but overall it is very inspiring and very close to what i’ve begun to put together in my head.

From Nihil Sine Labore

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Windigo - Mrazek: Mountain Biking

Finally rode some trails today that I've been wanting to ride for a long time. My friend Raym and I dropped my truck off at Shevlin Park, then took his truck up to Dutchman Flat (next to Mt Bachelor). We rode from Dutchman up a trail that I believe was marked as Flagline, but isn't named at all at my map and that I was told later in the day was probably Windigo Trail. Anyway, we rode from Dutchman NW toward Happy Valley and the top of North Fork Trail. Then up to the road 4601/370 intersection and the start of Mrazek Trail which we rode all the way back down to Shevlin Park.

The first mile and a half was fantastic. It's a very fun, windy trail, in a cool kind of forest and has some good views along the way. Then it starts to climb. It actually wasn't too bad of a climb and was still a fun trail but we started to run into snow. It's still pretty early in the year to try to ride at that elevation (we were up to 6,800' one time that i checked, i'm not sure what our highest was) so i was expecting some snow and plenty of blown down trees across the trail. I was not dissapointed, there was an abundance of both. So there was a fair amount of carrying the bike over snow and trying to find the trail again, and a lot of climbing over fallen trees.

There was also an incredible amount of mosquitoes, maybe the most i've ever seen. It was a little ridiculous and it was very obnoxious and distracting. They were so severe that they caused Raym and I to lose our tempers a little bit. Anyway, after an hour or so we were through the snow and the worst of the mosquitoes. There was some seriously great downhill riding that brought us to the top of the North Fork Trail. We stopped and had lunch on the bridge. Some nice hikers we met there let us dowse ourselves in their bug-repellent spray, which was a great help.

From there on the ride went on pretty much without a hitch. Lots of good trails and scenery and fun riding. No crashes or mechanical issues. We finished up with a little over 26 miles.

After the ride I went up to Elk Lake to meet my girlfriend and several of our friends. The water was surprisingly (to me) very comfortable and refreshing and was exactly what i needed after the ride. Then we hung out on the beach, had a brew or two, played some games and swam some more. A pretty great day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I want to blog it from the mountain tops

Because shouting it is old school I guess. I'm currently waiting for
water to boil on top of lookout mountain in the ochocos. Im partly
excited by the fact that I can blog from here and partly disgustedthat
I am doing it.

Ok, well ive done it so now I'm goingback to the mtn sunset!

(from iPhone)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fantastic Site -

This site is full of beautiful motorcycles and it seriously reminds me of why I love motorcycles and why I'm sure they will always be a passion of mine. If you think these bikes are cool then you should bookmark and/or subscribe to's feed.

Here are some of my favorite posts:

Firestarter Garage Moto Guzzi

Firestarter Garage Moto Guzzi

Since 1998, Firestarter Garage has been turning out fine custom motorcycles from its workshop on Italy’s eastern Adriatic Coast. ‘Ottanta’, this delicious Guzzi 1000 SP cafe racer, caught our eye—but Firestarter boss Filippo Barbacane has just sold it for $13,000. The lucky new owner gets a bike with a reworked tank, seat, tail, front fender and exhaust system. If you like the style, check out Filippo’s other creations here.

Canon EOS 30D | 1/10s | f/1.8 | ISO 100 | Focal length 50mm

Harley-Davidson XR750

1980 Harley-Davidson XR750

The coolest Harley of all time was unfortunately a track machine, but what a track machine it was. The XR750 is best known outside the USA as Evel Knievel’s weapon of choice, but this motorcycle is one of the best dirt track race bikes ever made. It won the AMA Grand National Championship in its first year, and it’s still winning races more than thirty years later. Milwaukee, finally, has recognised this priceless part of its heritage and created the overweight XR 1200 in homage. The Storz SP 1200 Sportster is better, though. [Via Chico Moto]

Mr Martini Triumph Super Cooper

Mr Martini Super Cooper

According to Sideblog, Mr Martini “might just be the world’s best modifier of Hinckley Triumphs”. And after checking the motorbikes on his website, we’re inclined to agree. We’re especially taken with the Super Cooper cafe racer, Mr Martini’s creative reinterpretation of the Triumph 900 Adventurer. His real name, by the way, is Nicola. [Via Visual Gratification]

Nikon D1X | f/8.0 | Focal length 120mm

Dustin Humphrey

Insight Dopamine campaign by Dustin Humphrey

Most fashion photography featuring motorcycles is a clichéd rehash of the whole biker chick thing. But this ad campaign, shot in Bali for Australian clothing label Insight, is genuinely creative. The man behind the camera is star surf photographer Dustin Humphrey: he’s conjured up a set of technically brilliant and strangely compelling images, redolent of the pre-WWII surf counterculture. There’s a video to go with the campaign too, and it’s even weirder. In a good way.

Cagiva Elefant

Cagiva Elefant concept by Oberdan Bezzi

The Romanian website motoflash has posted speculative images of a new Cagiva Elefant. Cagiva is now owned by Harley-Davidson, and Milwaukee has hinted at the return of the cultish dual sport classic. The images are by designer Oberdan Bezzi: in the colorway shown, there’s a nod to the original Elefant 650—which, incidentally, used a Ducati engine. Bezzi has created a super ‘Lucky Strike Explorer‘ version too.

LSL Clubman W 740R

LSL Clubman W 740R

The German accessory firm LSL has rebuilt the Kawasaki W650 twin into a high-tech cafe racer. Too many parts to list here, but highlights include customized 43mm Öhlins forks and shocks, twin 300mm Galfer brake discs with a Brembo master cylinder, and a tweaked 733cc engine pumping out 65bhp. The cost? Around US$29,000 …

1983 BMW R80 Bobber

BMW bobber by Rodney Aguiar

This amazing BMW was reportedly built by a fellow named Rodney Aguiar, who has worked for Roland Sands. It’s a BMW R80 given the bobber treatment, and the detailing is exquisite—from the blacked-out boxer engine and mechanicals to the way the coil of the monoshock matches that signature BMW yellow paintwork on the tank. It’s strange, but it all hangs together somehow: it reminds us of the work of Deus in Sydney. Information about this bike is scant, but if you know more, drop us a line in the comments. [Via Bubble Visor, with thanks to Mitch Alison.]

Mule Web Surfer

Web Surfer custom motorcycle by Mule Motorcycles

Richard Pollock of Mule has a knack for building classy, beautifully balanced custom motorcycles. Everything is in proportion, from the looks to the mechanical components chosen. Pollock’s background as a surfer probably has something to do with this: his recent ‘Web Surfer’ creation is a nod to the waves, with a painstakingly crafted balsa wood seat base. The bike is running a modified Sportster frame, Ducati 900SS/SP forks and Kawasaki wheels. If you like the Mule tracker style, check out the ‘Madonna Bike‘ we featured four months ago. And if you love the Mule style, Pollock has a bike for sale right now: the NYC-Special has a Buell motor, Ducati 916 forks, and rare Sundance Magnesium wheels. It’s yours for $26,000.

Big Moon Yamaha XS650

Custom Yamaha XS650 street tracker

Big Moon’s Yamaha SR400 wowed us a couple of months ago, but the guys at the Okayama-based shop have just gone one better. This street tracker based on Yamaha’s iconic XS650 is just perfect, from the curve of the bars to the tiny low-set indicators, and the seat sitting just inside the frame at the rear. There’s no sign of full specs, but we suspect that bhp has been raised from the usual mid-50s. If you added disc brakes and a mini-fender to the front, it’d make the ideal commuter bike. [Via Speed Junkies.]

See also: the Yamaha SR500 tracker shot by Randall Cordero.

BevelTech Ducati Desmo

1975 Ducati Desmo by BevelTech

It’s difficult to improve on the aesthetics of a 1970s Ducati bike. But Australian specialist Tony Hannagan of BevelTech has done it. The engine on his latest creation is from a 900SS: it’s been rebuilt with Cosworth pistons, polished rods, ported heads and magnesium valve covers. It sits in an 860 GT frame that’s also been heavily revised, again using belt-drive SS parts. The bodywork is carbon fiber, the magnesium race wheels are from Marvic, and the exhaust runs inside the frame rails for protection. Doing justice to this extraordinary bike is an image from leading Australian photographer Phil Aynsley. Later this year, Phil’s releasing a book called 30 Years of Ducati Photography—and we’ll be first in the queue to buy it. [Thanks to Adam Zerbib.]

Canon EOS-1D Mk II | 1.0 sec | f/16.0 | ISO 100 | Focal length 90mm

Sucker Punch Sally’s Fender Triumph

Sucker Punch Sally's Fender Custom Triumph Thruxton painted by Sara Ray

This fine piece of Brit iron is a Triumph Thruxton overhauled by the Arizona custom shop Sucker Punch Sally’s. It’s a collaboration with Fender Custom Guitars, and we love the distressed old school look. Much of its charm comes from the paintjob by leading hot rod artist Sara Ray, who relocated a few weeks ago to become a permanent part of the SPS team. It sounds like Ray will not only be painting the bikes, but also controlling the company’s artistic direction. [Sara Ray noticed on the new blog of Danish artist Cay Brøndum, who is also a Wrenchmonkees collaborator.]

Canon EOS 5D | 1/50s | f/2.8 | ISO 100 | Focal length 51mm

Ducati Sport1000 racer

ThunderDuc Racing Ducati Sport 1000 monoposto

This beautiful machine started life as a stock 2006 Ducati SportClassic, and ended up in the 2008 Rev’It! catalog. But Thunderduc is no show pony: it’s a hardcore racer. Since this picture was taken, top rider Chris Gorel has developed his bike even further, with way too many modifications to list here. Öhlins, Yoyodyne, Brembo and AirTech components feature prominently; Zard twin megaphones provide the aural finishing touch. Fantastico! [Image by Gregor Halenda at Pocono Raceway.]

Hasselblad H1 | Ixpress 132C Digital Back | 1/125s | f/8.0 | ISO 50

Yamaha SR500 street tracker

Yamaha SR500 street tracker by Randall Cordero

Randall Cordero is one of America’s top motorcycle photographers, and his shots of this ‘bumblebee’ Yamaha caught our eye. This 1978 500cc thumper is owned by veteran rider Russ Somers, an art director for Simpson Race Products. It’s packing a White Brothers cam, a flatside carb and a SuperTrapp muffler. Appearances are taken care of via a Drag Specialties Wave headlight, plus an XR500-style tank and tail section from Omar’s Dirt Track Racing. Cordero has captured the look perfectly: see more of his wonderful work here. [Via Speed Junkies.]

Canon EOS 5D | 1/60s | f/19.0 | ISO 100 | Focal length 100mm | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Moto Guzzi café racer

Minchions Endurance Racing Team Moto Guzzi

This stunning café racer is something of a puzzle. It’s just appeared on the Anima Guzzista website, with a wonderful set of photographs by a gentleman called Alberto Sala. We’re told that the bike is called Brigida, took a year to build, and is part of the ‘Minchions Endurance Racing Team’. If you have a good grasp of Italian or know more about this beautiful motorcycle, please clear up the mystery by leaving a comment. [Spotted by DoubleOhTwo on RocketGarage]

NCR Mike Hailwood TT

NCR Mike Hailwood TT
In 1979, ‘Mike The Bike‘ Hailwood swung his leg over a Ducati 900 NCR and won the Isle of Man TT. It was a legendary performance, and NCR has honored the 30th anniversary by producing a stunning replica based on the Ducati Sport 1000. This superlight racer weighs just 136kg, with the titanium frame accounting for only 5kg (11lbs) of that. The exhaust system is also titanium, while the bodywork and wheels are carbon fiber. Power comes from a new NCR 1120cc race engine producing 130hp, over 40hp more than Hailwood’s race-winning machine. Just twelve of these replicas will be built, at a cost of €100,000 ($136,000) each, and they’ll be delivered in six weeks time during the 2009 Isle of Man TT festival.

Bear Market Got You Down?

...go to Santa Barbara. This is from our motorcycle trip last month. I
thought it was kinda funny.

Backyard Shed

I've been meaning to build a backyard shed since last summer. I saw
this one at Lowes yesterday and it reminded me. I don't really know
how exactly to get started. I guess the real problem is that I need to
take a couple trees out first and one of them is bigger than I know
how to deal with.

Norton Ala

Norton Ala’Verda 850

Norton Ala'Verda 850
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