Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost back to normal

This is somewhat related to my MC life. On December 5th of 2008, my granddaughters were placed in my home as a relative foster care placement. Tomorrow, Anasia and Paige are moving back home with my daughter, just a week short of a year. While I was not free to roam on the Connie, my life has been greatly enhances by my two angels. My wife was a big trooper as she watched "my" granddaughter on weekends that allowed me to teach 15 motorcycles classes (20hrs apiece). My stepson Neil made life easier by dropping the girls off at daycare in the morning and picking them up so that they arrived home as I did from work. I will get Neil a helmet holding backpack to use when riding his Ninja to Prairie State College.

As my last official foster parent act, I picked up Anasia at daycare on the Connie to ride to her school. I had a parent teacher conference at 4:00. She was smiling so big when I walked into her area of the daycare (actually before and after program for Anasia) in my gear with a helmet for her to wear. She was the cool one then. Paige will be big enough to reach the footrest on the Connie come next riding season.

I believe my own daughter has grown a whole lot this past her, gotten her head in the right place, working, not depressed and drinking. The girls are beyond excited to be moving back home. There was be a big gap in my day to day living, but life will be going back to they way it is supposed to be. Some of the gap will be filled with the Connie.
So as a prelude to Thanksgiving, I am most grateful for the blessing of being able to care for them this past year and all that they added to my life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Times changing at local dealership

My local dealership has become a causality of the economic down turn. They have decided to change from a dealership (with parts, gear, and great service) to a motorcycle service center. Maintaining their status as a new bike dealership for the 4 Japanese brands was costing them too much. I have prepaid maintenance package on both our bikes with them with 2 years left on both bikes. In the long run, maybe by the time I need to buy new again, the economy will have picked up and they will have new bikes again. As for now, I am hoping that they weather this period.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Forget the commuter train this week

This may be the last stint of nice days to ride into work. I normally catch a Amtrak style commuter train from the South Suburbs to Hyde Park. Today is the 3rd day in a row that I decided to ride the Concours into work. In the midst of rush hour traffic, being cut off, slowing to a stop at time, I am in a surprisingly peaceful zen like state of mind. Fully aware of the surrounding, I am one with the Concours as it smoothly maneuvers through traffic.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Can everyone ride a bicycle?

This is asked at the beginning of each basic motorcycle class. We say that we can teach you how to ride a motorcycle, but we don't have the time to teach 2 wheel balancing. Of course everyone says yes. And then I ask, are you sure. Of course everyone says yes. However, there is an occasional person who didn't go through the proper self evaluation. Their posture on the motorcycle clearly indicates that if there were ever on a bicycle, it was a decade or so ago. I wish that we had a generic bicycle at each site that we required riding by prospective students. It would definitely cut down on some accident reports that have to be written any time a bike/student goes down.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nice day ride to Savanna, Il

I took last Thursday off from work to have a day of riding. I still have the granddaughters with me so the only riding I get to do is going back and forth to teaching MC classes or a commute to work. The thought of spending a day on the bike was exciting. I spent the evening trying to decide where to go. It wasn't until that morning after I got the girls off to daycare/school that I decided to head west. Checking the map the evening before, it looked like US HWY 52 from Joliet, IL to Savanna, IL would be one nice option.
There was a slight fog that lasted most of the ride to Savanna. This meant the temperature stayed in the low 60's which was a slight bit chilly since I chose to ride in mesh (top and bottom). The rode had gentle curves and hills from I-39 onwards. With the corn tall in the fields, most of the curves were blind. I made a pit stop at Palisades State Park and took a snapshot from the overlook at the south entrance. The sun was unimpeded for the ride back brought the temps back into the low 80's. Overall, a great day that burned on a meager 365 miles.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Loss of a fellow instructor

Dennis P. Wegener passed on August 14th at the age of 70. He had battled cancer for the last year. When Ebony and I took the Basic Rider Course in the Spring of 2005, Dennis was one of the instructors. He was great, knowledgeable, and funny. He had lots to add the curriculum with his experience as a retired State Trooper. During the first two seasons as an instructor, I had the honor to teach with him. Dennis was great to teach with and will be missed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

She's whole again

I took the Connie in to have the new side mirror and front fender mounted. What a mental difference. The cracked side mirror and damaged front fender didn't affect the ride, but it just didn't make me as happy. Of course while riding, I couldn't even see the front fender (except in my mind). My mind was telling me everyone out there sees it, but they didn't, just like those drivers who don't see me on a motorcycle anyway.

Rode into work. 65 mph on the Dan Ryan at 7:30 in the morning is a clear indication of the job loss in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Caught in Hyde Park

A sweet Honda CD 175, kick start, shiny chrome tank
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Experienced Rider Course and broken plastic

Neil and I attended the Experience Rider Course that was held at Triton Community College Sunday. The broken plastic happened elsewhere. After teaching many 8-3 Saturday MC classes, midway during the morning I realized that we were going to be in the classroom until lunch and then ride for the afternoon. The ERC course is run from 8-6 with an hour lunch. We received a handbook for the course but it was not referred to during the classroom at all. The classroom used some older "RSS" curriculum videos. A pristine GMC Pacer gave the decade away. Browsing the handbook, I had hoped that we would have covered some of the "situations and solutions" particularly for Neil. Since that was not the case, I think that Neil and I will go through the handbook together.

I treated Neil to Subway (big spender that I am) for our 1 hour lunch break. We were back first and lined our bikes on the very familiar "T's" that are used in the basic classes. Of course the instructors moved us once they arrived back from lunch as they are not used in the ERC at all. I lost count of the total number of exercises that we did. Some were short link purposefully locking our rear tire for a stop. I didn't particularly enjoy the feeling of my rear tire skidding and coming out of line. Cornering exercises were as enjoyable as they could have been. TCC has the MC program use a terribly cracked and bumpy parking lot. So during the corning, leaning the bike over, having to negotiate dips and loose gravel didn't give me the confidence to lean the bike over as much. 18 year old Neil on the other hand is another story. He was at the edge of his tires limits and dragging pegs on that Ninja 250 like it was nothing. I was rather proud of his riding during the class and the instructors commented on how good his performance was during the exercises. That being said, our 40 mile ride home in traffic on the Chicago Expressways reminded me that I need to work with him on how to better position himself in traffic. I am not as concerned with his skill of handling the MC, but how he positions himself in traffic and his lack of maintaining a modest space cushion.

I did find myself wanting to performing the exercises more often next to one of the two instructors. He was the one who constantly offered suggestions for improvement. I am a sucker for that stuff. Like in all other settings, I thirst for feedback (and approval) and want to "make the coach" happy. I am extremely competitive, especially with myself. The other instructor simply let us ride the excercises with very little feedback. I noticed that Neil went to the one offering the feedback as well.

The majority of the riders had 1-3 years of riding experience. There was a Harley, two SV650's, another smaller but exceptionally painted cruiser, two M109's, Neil' 250, and my Connie.

As Neil and I pulled into our driveway at the end of the day, I had to park behind our of our cars because there was not enough space to get my Connie to the garage door. Neil ran an errand in the car and made it safely around my bike. He came home for a few minutes that wanted to go out again. I was on the computer and jumped up as I heard a loud noise. Yep, he forgot the Connie was there and backed right into it. We I got out my heart sank seeing the bike on it's side. After getting it upright (not the lightest bike in the world with a 7 1/2 gallon full tank), my heart sank further. The front fender was broke in half, the right mirror is crushed, and there are scratches on the main fairing from the bumper of the car. The rear tip over bars saved the rear end from any damage and I am made that I hadn't put on the front tip over bars (crash bars) as I had planned to before the ERC. I will ride it over to the shop and place the order for the replacement fender and mirror. They will have to do the fender and the wheel has to be removed and rivets drilled out of the fork brake that the fender is attached to. I may or may not have them replace the mirror.

Neil will be paying for the greater portion of the repair. However, I am also feeling bad having him spend his money that he has earned working with the MC program. Having the Connie with a few scars and needing some repairs doesn't make me happy either. It's only cosmetic, and it will be okay. It didn't impact anything necessary to ride.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Time to trade roles

Sunday, I become a student instead of the instructor. Neil and I are registered for the Experienced Rider Course. The weather forecast looks great with partly sunny and a high of 79 degrees, which is not the norm for the end of July. It should be in the 90's. I will let you now what both Neil and I learn from the class. I followed him home from Joliet on I-80 for 30 miles. He scared me a few times with some poor lane positioning and passing too close to vehicles he passed. We talked about highway driving when we got home. Hearing it from other instructors will be a good thing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Harper College in Palatine

Yesterday I enjoyed a work day outside of Hyde Park. I attended a Web Accessibility Workshop that was held at William Rainey Harper College located in Palatine, Illinois. Besides attending the an informative workshop, attending allowed me to put 122 miles on the Connie.
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Mistake with good consequences

As a commuter train rider, I purchase a monthly pass to ride the train ($102 a month). When my stepson goes downtown, he asks to use the pass. No problem and he has been quite reliable. Well he used the pass to go downtown on the 3rd for fireworks. Neil couldn't find it when he got home. There is also 4 weeks of work left. Not to relieve him from responsibilities, he will have to cover my transportation costs for the month. It will only be 3 weeks worth as I am taking a week off to teach a daytime MC class. So to minimize the cost to him, I will brave the traffic and ride the Connie to work as many days as possible. In the end it will be cheaper and more fun. I will also get to work and home a bit quicker as well. Riding to work takes around 30-40 minutes and home is 40-50. The total commute via train is 10 minutes for bicycle, 10 minutes waiting on train, 22 minute plush commuter train ride, 15 minute walk to work.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Down but not out

You may remember my post about my first ambulance call teaching a motorcycle class. My step son tells me the person who was injured during my class is in the middle of an evening class for which he is the range aid. He says she is doing well and happy to be back in the class. She choose to wear a full face helmet for the class.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Zen and idiots

Here's the new rule. Ride to work at least once a week.

Beautiful morning, temperature in the mid 50's in Chicago. With little time for riding in my current circumstances, I will need to commit myself to ride to work once a week. Today was a perfect day to ride. I-57 is a breeze going in or on the return trip. Traffic is fairly spaced out with an average speed of 65-70. I know the speed limit is 55, but that is the pace set by traffic. Once I-57 merges with I-94 (The Dan Ryan) is slows to real rush hour traffic. Even so, this morning I only had to plant my feet twice on the rode. The traffic pattern of the Dan Ryan including adding a lane and the new surface eases some of the congestion. Just a ridership of the Metra has thinned a little, I have to believe some of the cars on the Dan Ryan has thinned as well as a result of unemployment.

It wasn't until I got on the Dan Ryan that my Zen of riding was disturbed. Once on the Dan Ryan, cars are jumping from lane to lane to get one or one cars closer to work. This behavior means consistently getting cut off. Okay I am a little used to that. However once per trip and cager moves over into my lane without checking mirror and ignores my presence. The short peep of the horn is my only recourse to make me feel better as the cager usually forces themselves into my lane and I back off. I know I can't win. Unfortunately I get mentally sucked in for the next five minutes thinking of bad ways to react. Riding along side the car and giving it a kick, flipping them the finger, carrying steel ball bearings to through as the car, etc.... Of course I won't end up doing this as it will have no effect and could produce road rage with a cager. As before, the horn is my only way to vent. If I could only get back to enjoying the ride as quickly as the cager who cuts me off forgets about me. I will work on it.

It was good to ride to work today. Enough said.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back on the bike for one

My step-son graduated from HS this week. In the midst of this business he has been working as a range aid for the motorcycle classes on weeknights and the weekends. My step-daughter Ebony came home for a week to be here for the party and celebrations. Ebony get this motorcycle bug started in me in 2005. Ebony is someone who likes to explore new activities. She came across the motorcycle classes while living with us after graduating from college. Ebony asked me to take the class with her and I said why not. I had grown up riding dirt bikes but hadn't ridden a motorcycle for over 20 years. Of course the rest is history. After taking the class, Ebony bought a Ninja 250 that she shared with me during the summer of our first riding season. That fall, I purchased the Concours. She had the bike for a couple of years, but went to Boston to get a Master's in Medical Science to help her get in Med School. After the first year away, "we" decided to sell it to reduce her expenditures while in school. As she had only been paying those minimum payments, I ended up eating about a thousand in order to sell the bike.

Ebony just finished her first year in Med School and Boston University with straight A's. While home for the graduation, I helped her remember the basics of motorcycling while using Neil's new Ninja 250. We had a mini motorcycle course on our dead end street. She following me in the subdivision for around 20 minutes (lots of curves), then made it out to roads that took us up to 55 mph. She was happy to be back on a motorcycle. After Med School, I know she will have a motorcycle of her own again. In the meantime, there will always be a bike at home for her to ride.

Monday, May 18, 2009

First Ambulance call teaching motorcylce classes

Thank goodness for a calm co-instructor and for first aid classes. During Evaluation #3 (quick stop) of the Basic Rider Course I was teaching Saturday, a rider over applied the front brake. The result was a front tire skid with the student head/face making the primary contact with the asphalt. The student rolled onto her back and was very still. She then opened her eyes and realized what had happened. We used gauze and ice packs to control bleeding and swelling as we waited for the medics to arrive. Her husband arrive shortly afterwards and took her to the ER to get checked out and probably some stitches. Before she left, she gave Steve (my fellow instructor) and I big hugs with a warm smile. "I'll be back in a few weeks because I am already registered for another basic class," she declared. She had gotten in as a walk-in for this class.

A couple lessons were learned during the event. The first as indicated by one of the anonymous evaluation comments "full face helmets should be required for these classes." The other riders saw the reality of even a slow speed crash on the face. Had the student been riding with a full face helmet, she would still have had some road rash on her knee, but would not have suffered the cuts, gash, and possible loose teeth .

Of course, in Illinois, riders are free to choose. However, even for short ride 5 blocks away to Starbucks, I "always" don the full face lid. Witnessing this accident during the class only reinforces my choice to be a full face rider all of the time.

I pray for a quick healing for the student and may the rest of her riding be blessed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Counter steering video

During one of the earlier classes of the season a fellow instructor had me demo counter steering for his HD video recorder. Jeff then produced this video. Kudos to Jeff. So you say that doesn't look like one of the programs bikes. It's not. It's Cornelius' 2009 Ninja 250R.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Old school GS

Okay, I am not a BMW rider but I had to snap a picture of this one walking from the train to the library in Chicago. So for you BMW riders, name this bike.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day ride to Champaign

Monday I was already dressed for work. The girls had eaten and were ready to go to school. My schedule at work had no appointments or shifts on the reference desk. The forecast called for partly cloudy skies with a high in the sixties. Okay, I couldn't pass it up. With my granddaughter living with us, getting any riding in on the weekends is much of a possibility. I barely am able to do the motorcycle classes (only half days this year) and I don't feel right asking Abigail to look after the girls while I go riding. The bulk of this year's riding will have to occur during the week when the schedule is open and the weather is dry.

I called my father once I decided to spend the day riding. He said that he was busy already for the day and wouldn't be able to meet for lunch. After around fifteen minutes, he called back and said to meet my brother and him and buffalo wild wings in Savoy (south side of Champaign) at 12:00. The call back and shifting his schedule made me feel good. I love my father.

Made a few stops before getting on I-57. The Connie has had a long winter and needed some Seafoam. I filled her up with gas and Seafoam, plugged in the XMradio tune it to BBC Radio One, popped in the ear plugs, and off I went. I cruised down to Champaign at around 70 the whole way with a nice wind out the the east.

Before meeting them for lunch, I stopped by the UIUC Motorcycle Rider Program office in Champaign. I wanted to drop off the paperwork from the weekend Intermediate Rider Course that I had taught. Stopping by would also give me a chance to talk shop with them about the IRC. Gil and I were able to talk for around 30 minutes about the new curriculum. He had just finished teaching two of them as well.

Lunch was good. My brother seems to be loosing a little weight, which is really good. After lunch I stopped to visit my daughter and son for a few minutes. I would see my daughter that evening as well when she came for her every other Monday night visit with the girls.

I didn't want to take the interstate home however. Instead I caught I-74 East and exited IL Rt 49 N. I take this rural route quite often when visiting my father who lives near Kickapoo State Park. Besides rolling (okay it is a bit flat) farm land, the route has quite a few banked 90 degree corners (big smile). 49 turns into US Rt 45/52 16 miles south of Kankakee. I had to take a pit stop at my fun store, Blain's Farm & Fleet in Kankakee. From Kankakee, I rode Governor's Hwy home.

A wonderful relaxing 270 mile day. The Connie was purring by the end of the ride having consumed a day's worth of Seafoam treated gasoline.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Very challenging intermediate rider course

I taught my first intermediate rider course this past Thursday and Saturday. Rider must already possess a motorcycle permit. If they pass the riding evaluation, they get the license waiver they same as graduates of the basic rider course.

The range for the riding on Saturday was terrible. South Suburban College's parking lot was always challenging with cracks, dips, and loose gravel on the old asphalt. It was seal coated this past fall. Saturday's weather gave us intermittent showers which in turn made the seal coat slick as snot. During the demo ride of the cornering exercise (stretch out race track type of oval), my rear tire slid several times even though I was going only 10-12 mph. The students were rightfully timid, but it also cost a few come the riding evaluation.

3 of 10 passed. I bike was dropped during the stopping quickly evaluation because of a front tire skid. Bikes went down 3 other times during the day.

Conditions aside, I don't believe several of the riders had the appropriate level of experience for the progression of the intermediate course. One person that I was greatly suspect of her experience didn't show up for the riding portion. During the self introductions, her stated experience was being on a bike a few times on a parking lot. The problem is that without having some level of comfort riding, shifting, stopping, turning, the riders without the right level of experience aren't able to effectively progress throughout the course as they don't have the right building blocks. They also eliminate exercise 17 Skills Practice for the IRC.

We will see how the next IRC goes this Thursday and Saturday. I will reserve my judgement of the curriculum until after this one.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

First MC class of the season, half pass

Today was the last day of my first 20 hour Basic Motorcycle Class offered by the UIUC Motorcycle Rider Program. This class was at South Suburban College. The range for the class is pretty rough with plenty of cracks and dips. Anyhow, on the fourth day of the course, only 8 of the original 12 students started the day. The riding progressed fine but I knew a few of the rider were going to have issues during the riding evaluation. One particular person just couldn't get comfortable above 8 mph so it was hard for this rider to acquired the skills needed. The rider was actually surprised that she didn't passes the riding evaluation as the rider stated "you're kidding me that I didn't pass." Well I wasn't and the rider didn't . The rider already has a HD sporty picked out and the rider was wearing all HD gear. The rider showed up with a HD half helmet put wasn't allowed to wear it.

More personally disappointing was a rider who was doing fine and progressed throughout the course. However on the quick stop of the evaluation, grabbed the front brake, skidded the front tire a bit and dropped the bike. Dropping a MC during the riding evaluation is an automatic failure. The rider was really frustrating.

Even though only half of the remaining students passes, all of them learned a lot and made progress. They were also a joy to work with. First of 11 classes is done.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lawmakers cave to Illinois Abate on Helmet Law

Illinois Senate bill 1351 was defeated yesterday. The bill would have request the use of DOT helmets by all motorcyclists in Illinois. Abate of Illinois did a good job on contacting all State Senators.

I think that it is sad as I believe that Illinois should require the use of helmets like most of the states including California and New York, see AMA for the helmet laws by state. Yes I did contact my State Senator to voice my support for the bill, however I am sure that she received hundreds of calls opposing the law. The argument that it about freedom of choice is not logical. It is a public safety issue no different than the used of seat belts. Such a law would have alleviated the need for a local fundraiser for a biker with head and face injuries who rode without a helmet. Over time, who will be paying his medical bills? You and I.

So, thank you again Abate for demonstrating how special interests groups dictate the votes of elected officials.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Plans for more training

I have tried over the last couple of years to get into the Experienced Rider Course offered by the UIUC Motorcycle Rider Program (of which I am an instructor for the basic course). The first attempt was on a cold rainy day and not enough students showed up to begin the course. Last year, I was scheduled for one on a rainy 32 degree day of which I would have had to ride 40 miles over many bridges. I sat that one out (it was cancelled due to lack of students).

I just got my confirmation of my registration for the ERC at Triton Community College for the last Sunday of July. I also registered Neil, who will have had 4 months of riding experience on his 09 Ninja 250. Maybe he was the lucky charm.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New ride in the family stable

Picked up my stepson's brand spanking new 2009 blue Ninja 250R last Thursday. Mind you his only riding experience was the MSF class last July and nothing since then.

Day one, rocking using the friction zone, power walking, shifting 1, 2, 3rd on our dead end no traffic street.

Day two, playing follow the leading in our subdivision, Homewood Estates, for about 30 miles. He was exhausted. Getting a new bike has helped ease him into the use of the throttle as he need keeps in no higher than 5000 rpms which only gets him to around 35 mph in sixth gear. The break in limit will last until 500 miles.

Day three, 3 different rides (only one with me) in the subdivision. Today he focused on adjust speed for cornering and planning his path of travel (outside-inside-outside).

At the end of day 4 he is up to 120 miles.

The frame sliders I ordered for the bike aren't in yet. When they get in we will have them put on.

The UIUC Motorcycle Rider Program instructor update is this upcoming Sunday. I have signed up to teach 11 classes. My stepson has signed up to range aid for 28 classes this year. He is graduating from HS in June and the range aiding will provide some cash to help pay for his college textbooks, pay for some the bike, and save for a car. It will also keep him focused on MC safety. I hope that with range aiding so many classes, he will consider going through the instructor program sometime in the future.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Winter begins to crack

The deep freeze that the Windy City has endured this winter is beginning to crack. Earlier in the week we were still experiencing highs in the 20's. Today a warm spells is in the forecast with a high in the mid 50s. On the walk from home to the train, I spotted a full dresser Harley and an older BMW on the road. Sitting in my office, I noticed a coworker walking by wearing his Fieldsheer riding suit. He rides a Suzuki 1200 Bandit.

As for myself, I will be picking my Concours up from CSC today. I dropped it off the night before last for its 27000 maintenance.

My step-son is getting excited about get his Ninja 250R. Still likely that it will be a March 31 pickup. It's still in a crate in a warehouse somewhere in Ohio. Looking for it to be delivered to the shop this month and get the frame sliders installed prior to picking it up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A little updating

Non-MC related:

Looks like my granddaughters will be with us at least through the summer. The routine is there and I really feel good about what my wife and I are able to do with them and for them during this time. They finished their first ice skating classes and I signed them up for another 6 sessions. Weekend only activities are the only option given our work schedules.

MC related:

U of I MRP class registration is open for online enrollment. It went live at classes are already full for the first several sessions for each of the various sites. In adjusting to my to responsibilities and working with my wife, I have signed up to teach 9 weekend classes and 2 9-1 M-F classes. Might as well burn a little vacation time making some money and teaching classes. My first class of the session is a Thursday/Saturday setup that begins April 9th. Of the various session taught, the two week Th 6-10 Sat 8-3 is my favorite to teach. It leaves Saturday evening and all day Sunday open.

We are field testing a Intermediate Rider Course that requires familiarity with riding and will only be a Th 6-10 and Sat 8-3. I did notice that if required the rider to have a valid drivers license in addition to a MC permit. So for those riding who want to get legal, it will only cost them 10 hours vs the full 20 hours in order to get the license waiver from the program. I don't know how it will be taught in the classroom or what exercises will be used yet. I will learn all of this at the one day update on March 29. I will be curious how well the students will have accessed their readiness for the Intermediate Course.

The current plan for Neil's MC is to pay a little more off on the layaway and get the bike at the end of March. I have had fun exploring stuff to add to the Ninja 250. Neil likes the idea of adding frame sliders from Intuitive Racing to protect the plastic on his newbie ride. Given my orientation, I will probably spring for led license plate cover to give him some more visibility. That will do it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

New bike is coming

I am taking the money to the shop to put a New 2009 Blue Ninja 250 on hold for my stepson. He graduates from high school this year. My wife and I are planning to get the bike out in April. Cornelius initially wanted black, but I was able to remind him about wanting stand out in traffic. He relented for the blue. Chicago Sports and Cycle only got 9 2009 Ninja 250's in for the year. Ours will stay crated until we are ready to pick it up.

More later.
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Race and riding

Tomorrow is a big day for the United States. I remember when Obama first announced his candidacy, it didn't think that he had a chance. The basis was two fold. First was that he was junior new Senator from our state of Illinois. Second, I didn't think that that United States was ready or willing to have an African American as the President. Yet I have been happily surprised that enough Americans got behind him and the world joins in our excitement at his inauguration tomorrow.

Obama leadership of our country demonstrates progress but not the end of the issues of race. While many celebrate his presidency, I know many peoples world are disrupted by the thought that this country will be lead by an African American. Yet I hope that this era will usher in a time of a more cosmopolitan acceptance of those who aren't mirror images of ourselves.

Personally, I hope that this level of acceptance will allow my wife to comfortably ride with me on the Connie anywhere that we chose. However, I have to be practical. I have found that people worst can come out even more when confronted with the reality of a multiracial couple even. I am blessed to be comfortable and happy with who am I. More so I appreciate both those who are like me and well as those who are not. To me that is what makes life special.

In the riding world, we are often as segregated as other areas of our lives. Most riding groups are homogoneous in one way or another and most often amound racial lines, just like most of our churchs. I think that the only people who are in mixed riding groups, or churches, for the matter, are those who consciously choose to be in that setting.

May the advent of a new political era also usher in a greater appreciation and respect for others.

Peace and the open road.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Teaching season around the corner

Got the email this week announcing sign ups for teaching the MC classes year.  My wife and I are going to go over the possibilities tomorrow.  With the granddaughters living with us, my schedule will be more reasonable.  I look to initially sign up to teach 10 classes during the season.  If the girls go home to their mother's during the season, I may pick up a few extra classes.  

Besides the excitement of teaching the classes, this year will be extra special.  My stepson Cornelius will likely be a range aid for most of the classes that I will teaching.  He took the BRC class that summer, but didn't get the M added to his license yet.  Since he doesn't turn 18 until February, it would have meant that he needed to take the test at the DMV on another bike.  Instead, he held onto the license waiver  and will add the M with no fan fair next month.  My wife is planning on purchasing a used Ninja 250 for him for his high school graduation.