Monday, February 28, 2011

No bonus this year

For the previous 3 seasons, instructors who taught more than the average number of classes with the motorcycle program receive some type of swag.  This year there was nothing as the program was facing the red in a couple of accounts due to construction and other issues.  Maybe I should have noticed the pattern.  The first year for me we were issued Rev’it Meshing Riding Jackets, next was a neon yellow dry ducks top and bottom Frogg Toggs rain suit, and last year was a embroidered shade hat.  While I wasn’t teaching with the thought, the program is going to get those of us teaching lots of classes something special, it was something to look forward to for gear hogs like myself.  The year we got the Frogg Toggs, I had already but a pair on my Campmor wish list for that Spring.  Of the 50 instructors that attended yesterday’s, I was the only one who received a box of home made chocolate coverage peanuts (beyond delicious).  Turns out the class that I taught with Ezell had the highest single shirts/hats sales for a single class, $265.  I never push selling shirt.  Just happened to teach a class where one of the students (wealthier older male) had so much fun in the class that he bought the other 8 students $20 long sleeve t-shirts.
It did receive my 500 students taught plaque and my 700 students taught bar to add to my name tag.  My current total is 767 students in 4 seasons.  Least year I taught 36 classes which included 337 students (some classes only started with 8 instead of the normal twelve).  With me scheduled to teach 26 classes, I may cross the 1000 student threshold this year.
March 24th will be the first class of the season for me.  October 30th will be the last class of the season.  Here is to this year’s experiences.  May I have few crash reports to fill out and lots of satisfied student riders.  Oh, lest I forgot, may the rain gods be merciful and the gods of summer heat be kind.
This past weekend was the end of the 6th week of recovery for my wife from her full knee replacement surgery.  She drove the SUV for the first time since the surgery for around 30 minute.  Because it was a new movement (right knee replacement), it was a little bit of a workout.  By the time the real riding season, she should be able to ride with me on the Concours without the pain that she used to experience after riding for more than thirty minutes.  Here’s to the marvels of medicine and bravo to my wife’s extreme hard work at PT and home.  I am beyond proud of her. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Over the past half year I have been following Jill Outside blog.  The draw for me have been the combination of her adventures, the photography, and the writing.  She just finished the Sustina 100, a ultra-run event in Alaska, running a 100 miles in Alaska’s winter towing a small sled.  The video below gives a sample of her experience.

2011 Susitna 100 from Jill Homer on Vimeo.

I dream of adventures.  Last year, my adventure was completing an off road triathlon.  Half mile swim, 10 mtn bike ride, and 4 mile trail run.  Before committing to the preparation I had never swam for workout.  My prep for the race began in December and the race was in August.  I put in a lot of time in the pool, on the bike, and not enough time running (lesson for next time).  Knowing that the race would occur put a little mental pressure to keep up the preparation.  The race itself was a blast and I didn’t not even dream of being competitive (run too slow and carrying too much weight).  The hardest thing for me was the period after the race, the void of not having the triathlon to train for.  The prep and the adventure was over.
The same has happened with the few motorcycle trips.  I have only have one that I would consider a full on adventure.  I rode from Chicago to Denver.  My wife flew out and we spent 4 days at my uncles.  After Abigail left, I took an 5oo mile day ride into the mountains.  To add to the experience, I dealt with rain and winds throughout the drip.  I remember going back to work after a week and a half playing felt strange like I should still be out there on the road going somewhere
Here’s to getting in adventures.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Changes in store

I often have a desire to post a little more often.  This is due to enjoying the frequent postings on blogs such as Redleg's Rides.  The impediment for me is that this blog’s focus is motorcycling, which I do enjoy.  I am not a James Stewart who’s livelihood or passion is enveloped within the sphere of motorcycling.  Additionally, the scope of my fun expands well beyond motorcycling.   There is no great following of this blog and rather than create separate blog for life outside of motorcycling I am expanding my blog to more holistically reflect my experiences and reflections.  

My mother was admitted to the hospital late last week.  She has continued to undertreat both her high blood pressure and diabetes.  So her body suffers the consequences which has must a few hospitalizations over the last 6 months.  Saturday would be a drive down for a day visit with her.  I haven’t seen her for awhile and with you in the hospital again, I knew that I needed to go down to Indy.  The drive was good for me in that I don’t drive very often and for some reason I get a little anxious on long drives on the interstate.  This does not happen on the Concours mind you, just the car.  The ride both ways was fine.  As I was entering Indy, I spotted a nice Triumph headed north.  A hair over three hours later, as I was leaving Indy, I spotted the same Triumph returning to Indy.  I thought, a very different 3 hours for the two of us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Letting them run and more

Saturday was pretty nice here in Chicago.  Now that the driveway was clear of ice and snow, I rolled out the Concours and Neil’s Ninja 250.  They both fired right up.  I hand pumped the tires up to their right pressure, at least for mine. Neil will have to do that himself for the Ninja.  After letting them run for around 20 minutes I took them up and down the block to run them through their gears.  Felt good.

I gave both bikes a good looking over.  I noticed the 250’s shifter was bent, and then I notice that the frame slider puck was missing a little plastic.  Then I noticed the frame slider was lose itself.  After an inquisition from me, Neil said when he was turning into a gas station, he hit a soapy patch (gas station with a car wash) and the bike went right down.   I warned him that he was going to have to take it in to get the frame slider bolt tightened.  Then I went back to the garage and spent the next hour removing his side panels, tightening the frame slider bolt, then reassembling it all.  Today was his birthday, I opened my hands like it was an imaginary card, Happy Birthday, I fixed the bike.  He is going to order a new gearshift lever (it’s bent and functioning, but the bending took off the powder coating and there is rust showing.  When the part comes in it can be a nice stepdad/stepson repair.

Long days ahead

This weekend is one of the all day instructor updates with the U of I motorcycle rider program.  From the signup for which classes you would like to teach, the program is trying another variation of schedules to get in as many classes as possible.  Last years schedule “overlapping” caused too much undo stress.  This years attempt will at least allow you a little more flexibility.  In order to get 3 groups through the class in 2 weekend the following schedule was created:

Wed 6-10 Sat 8-12 Sun 8-12 Sat 8-12 Sun 8-12

Thurs 6-10 Sat 12 –4 Sun 12-4 Sat 12-4 Sun 12-4

Thurs 6-10 Sat 4:30-8:30 ……….

The Thursday evening will combined the two classes in one group of 24 with only the lead instructors for the two sections present.  In order to only teach one night a week, I am primarily teaching the Thurs sessions and working both the 12-4 and 4:30-8:30 classes.  On the weekends that I teach, I will at least have the mornings off.  Hopefully bicycle riding with my wife on Saturdays and going to early church services on Sundays.  Last year, I was only able to attend church on holiday weekends from April 1 through Oct 31.  My soul will be better fed on this schedule.  Right now I am signed up for 26 classes for the season with 7 of them during 3 1/2 weekday M-F classes.  My real job have changed vacation accrual policy and I have a surplus of 5 weeks to burn off in addition to 27 more vacation day I get awarded in July. 

It will be a busy year, but there will be many weekends of not teaching for plenty of playtime.

Friday, February 11, 2011

No motorcycle show for me

The Cycle World motorcycle show is this weekend in Chicago.  I have gone to a few of them over the last few years.  However, this will not be one of those years.  When I look at my budget and try to be reasonable, I just don’t need to spend the money to get there, pay for parking, pay for admission, then the temptation to buy stuff that I really don’t need.  Coupled with that, Neil is going away for the weekend and it’s only been 3 weeks since Abigail knee replacement.  Instead I will take Abigail out to the show to see the King’s Speech that she has been wanting to see.  The show is part our celebrating her 57th birthday.

Additionally, I just do feel like I need anything right now for my motorcycling.  New helmet for Christmas, rain jacket, one piece rain suit, and another mc jacket this winter doesn’t mean there is anything else to replace or upgrade.  There is only one upgrade left for the Concours, Denali LED auxiliary lights from Twisted Throttle.  But that will happen after I have some extra money coming in from the MC classes.  It’s funny, in a way my motorcycling has lost “it’s a whole new world” feeling that I was experiencing when everything started back in 2005.  I enjoy riding, but I don’t seem to obsess about it like I did, which also included spending lots (or charging) of money on everything that I thought one needed to be a cyclist.  Maybe a better term to describe the mc facet of my life would be that it has matured, like a good relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly can’t wait for the snow to melt and take the Concours out for a 30 degree ride.   I am even excited to know that my MC classes that I will be teaching will begin in less than two month.  I held back just a little bit and will be teaching 26 instead of the crazy 36 classes that I did last year.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Other wheels in winter

During the winter, I still get to enjoy 2 wheels.  Except for a handful of days, I have ridden my mountain bike to the commuter train stop.  This includes half walking and half riding the bicycle home the night of the blizzard in Chicago.