Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My local shop's doors are closed

Well I hadn't been to my local motorcycle shop for a few weeks. 3 weeks ago I went to their website (which was a hosted site) and it said that the dealership is not longer using this webservice. I called the shop to see if they we open since the website was down. They answered and said that yes they were open but not longer using the webservice. I rationalized that they stopped using the site because they dropped their dealership status and were getting rid of their new bikes. Unfortunately the snowball continued to roll down hill and they have closed down.

Since buying my motorcycle from them in 2005, I had been treated very well. Prior to the housing bubble and credit crunch, they employed over 35 people. When I worked for them over the summer as a demo ride escort, the sales folks were always saying that people were interested in the bikes and some had down payments, but they couldn't get financed. At the time they announced that they were dropping their dealership status (Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki) late this fall, they were down to 6 employees. They were hoping to make it as a motorcycle service center until the market improved. The timing of trying to may payroll as just a service center in the winter in Chicago.

I wish everyone there well and hope that they are able to find employment. Besides missing the staff, I will miss the money that was already paid for prepaid maintenance. I had 2 years left on my Concours and 2 years left on Neil's Ninja 250. Alas, life is this good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Setting priorities

The girls have been gone for almost two months. They are doing fine btw. Without the responsibility of caring for them, my daily schedule has been initially quite open. Even before they returned home, I knew that the pending free time would provide me with the opportunity to reevaluate my priorities and commitments.

Motorcycling will continue to play a role in my life of course. As my wife and I are committed to reducing our consumer debt, I will be teaching many motorcycle classes and putting that money toward my debt. At least 3 weeks of vacation will be used to teach weekday daytime motorcycle classes. It means that I am not planning any real adventures or long trips (with the only exception being a work conference in Washington DC that will be a subsidized motorcycle trip).

Last week I resigned my "Safety Officer" position with the Shadow Riders club. I was starting to resent feeling the obligation to attend meetings and to write a safety article for the club's monthly newsletter. The club is a good club, but it is not something that I am feeling impassioned to participate in. The resignation lifted an emotional weight off of my shoulders.

The only major addition to my lifestyle is related to physical activities. The week after the girls were gone, I committed to swimming 3 days a week in order to build up to completing (surviving) a triathlon in August. The swimming has been more than a challenge as I have never had any swimming lessons or swam laps for workouts. After building up a little distance and comfort during December, I joined the Masters Swimming group at the University of Chicago with the plan of improving form, workouts, efficiency. I will still swim 3 days a week, but probably only be able to fit it one workout a week with the Masters group. A swim coach is present at there workouts and they have been good at given one things at a time and per workout for improvement. It's been seven total weeks of swimming and I was able to finish a full level 3 workout (lowest level) which was 2600 meters. Besides having a coach around for the group workouts, I get an email with workout plans for the week so I have great workouts to try on my own.

The triathlon that I want to survive sounds more like a small adventure. It is the DINO (DO INndiana Off-road) Logansport Triathlon in August. The distances are somewhat reasonable and the number of participants don't seem overwhelming. The swim is a half mile swim in an open quarry lake. The biking is a 10 mile mountain bike ride on trails (which means I don't have to buy a road bicycle). The run is 4 miles on trails.

Somehow I will balance the workouts, free time, and riding the motorcycle this year. I did start up the Connie and let it run for around fifteen minutes. Took is around the block to take it through the gears.

Always a pleasure,