Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Demented Sense of Humor

I'm hoping the folks at Panoramio find this amusing: I uploaded a picture of my DRZ (taken in my driveway) and then set its geographical location to the top of Mount McKinley in Alaska...

Favorite Motorcycling Books

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles
A great introduction to motorcycling topics, history and culture. As an added bonus, there's a great overview of available bikes and notations about how appropriate they'd be for new riders.

MSF Guide to Motorcycling Excellence
Every new rider should have this book: it's an incredible technical resource.

The Essential Guide to Dual Sport Motorcycling
This book was released in 2008 and I'm amazed at what a great resource it is. The sections about bike choice informed my decision about which dual-sport to buy last year and the technical topics are fantastic. Further, the introduction to the book was written by motorcycling legend (and star of On Any Sunday) Malcolm Smith. The author has continued the motorcycle tradition of giving back by assigning his royalties to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Buy this book!

Leanings and Leanings 2
Some really engaging and enjoyable writing by a writer with a wide motorcycling background. Great reading!

Jupiter's Travels and its sequel Dreaming of Jupiter
Ted Simon (website) is a motorcycling pioneer and inspiration to countless motorcyclists around the world, including Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Ted rode a Triumph motorcycle around the world in the 1970s, when he was in his 40s. And then he did it again a few years ago, when he was in his 70s. Wonderful books and a terrific and engaging author, who I had the pleasure to meet last year at a Touratech event in Seattle. I have spare copies of these books just for lending to friends.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook
A fantastic resource, I have 3 different editions of it. Unfortunately the author seems to have written a couple section of the latest edition immediately after proctologist appointments: one snarky comment about Ted Simon set my teeth on edge, as did some comments about self defense which I felt were overbearing and patronizing.

Lois on the Loose
Brilliant and crackling writing by an English author who rode her motorcycle from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego inArgentina. In a subsequent book, she rode down the length of the continent of Africa.

Breaking the Limit
More fantastic writing by an author who rode across the US and Canada.

Motorcycle Journeys through the Pacific Northwest

Awesome rides in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia.

The Destination Highway Books
Great rides in British Columbia, Northern California, Washington state.

Researching Western Canada

Since becoming a Recycled Motorcyclist, one of the most interesting parts has been sorting out exactly what sort of riding I want to spend time doing. It's fun having a bike with Warp Capability but not fun to me to always zoom past sights at high speed...actually SEEING the cool stuff is where the fun is for me.

There are a lot of places around the world that I eventually want to see but for now, the direction I find most exciting and accessible is North. At first it was about Alaska but there's so much amazing stuff in Western Canada that that's actually become more of a focus now. I took one weekend ride up to Lillooet, BC last year and am planning various other trips that I'll make in the future. I can't overemphasize how breathtaking the scenery has been. And how friendly and welcoming the people have been as well!

Some invaluable resources in researching these trips have been:

The Parks Canada web site with information about the 42 National Parks and also National Historic Sites.

The best books I've found...and by best I mean, I can sit and pore over these books and a map for hours:
The Moon Handbooks Western Canada edition
Canadian Rockies Access Guide (new edition due April 2009)
Explore Canada (which focuses on parks)
Lonely Planet editions focusing on British Columbia and Canada as a whole
The Milepost book covers both Western Canada and Alaska

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why "Recycled"?

"Recycled" refers to the fact that this is the second point in my life where motorcycling has been a major passion.

20 years ago, while living in Northern Calfornia, I shared an apartment with a friend from work. She and her friends were from Calgary and were also avid motorcyclists. Another co-worker decided to get out of riding and was trying to sell his Yamaha Vision at that point - it became mine. It was the perfect beginner bike because it was moderate in price (and power) and already a little scuffed up, so the inevitable beginner's bike drop wasn't as painful as it would've been with a new bike.

I'd never thought about motorcycling before that time but it ended up being something I had a latent passion for. I remember thinking "it's like skiing EVERYWHERE!" It added color and adventure to my life. Those memories of learning to ride up on Skyline Boulevard, taking riding classes (and using 3 tips from those classes to avoid injury within a couple months) and just riding all over the hills and down Highway 1 evoke some of the best memories of my life.





And then a couple years later, I bought my first new bike, a Suzuki Katana 750 ...


Monday, March 16, 2009

Current Bike #2: Suzuki DRZ400SM

I spent a year saving up and researching dual sport motorcycles before settling on this one. A 400 cc, single cylinder bike that only makes about 33 HP shouldn't be anywhere near this much fun! With suitable modding it can be used in either the supermoto form in which it ships or as an outright dual sport.

Links to videos posted by a couple other DRZ fans:
- Supermotos in general
- San Francisco Madness
- The Flight of the DRZ

Current Bike #1: Triumph Speed Triple

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Introduction

I'm a late 40s software developer (primarily medical) who has also enjoyed motorcycling tremendously at two points in my life: in my 20s in Northern California and in my late 40s in the Seattle area.

I'll be using this blog as a place to discuss rides I've taken, other topics that take my fancy and to gain some writing experience: another theme through my life is that I've always enjoyed writing and would like to get more writing out there.

I hope that along the way I'll post some articles that others find enjoyable.
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