Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
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
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
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.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
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
Monday, May 11, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Monday, January 19, 2009
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.