Sunday, March 25, 2007

Waking Up My Old Vespa...And Myself

Last night I buzzed down to the local bookstore to scan the magazines in search of an infusion of moto-inspiration. What I came home with was Classic Bike Guide. This magazine is published in the UK, and is one of my favorites. If you have any interest, look up and you'll see some great stuff. Anyway, looking at these bikes and their riders, and the way these chaps dress had me itching to take out the old Vespa and put in some miles.

Shortly after breakfast, I went out to the shop to uncover Ol' Blue and give the old scoot the once over. I've had the Vespa covered up with an old blanket in the corner of my little shop for the past few months, and we needed to get reaquainted. After pumping some fresh air into the tires that were a few pounds low, and topping off the tank with mixed fuel, we rolled outside to see what we could do about kicking the old dog to life.

Six short kicks had Ol' Blue clouding up the yard with that wonderful two-stroke smoke that I just love. Even my neighbor took notice and came over. He and his wife have Yamaha Zuma scooters that probably won't see daylight till June. Too bad, because the weather is looking better than it has for months, and it seems a waste to not ride whenever you can. But that's his deal.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, maybe from the photo's of those British riders, I had a thought to not just ride, but to also look the part of the old time Vespa rider. I put on my old bomber jacket, some elbow length gauntlet motorbike gloves, and an old helmet from 1967. I topped off the look with my Bell goggles, and away we went.

I realize that I probably should have worn a fishtail parka, but I don't have one, so I had to make do with what I had at hand. It does give me a goal though, to get squared away with the "proper" riding attire of the Vespisti.

For the most part, the ride was a blast although short, because I had noticed that I didn't have my license tabs renewed, which I'll have to do this week. But it was fun, and it has inspired me to dig a little deeper into the world of the vintage Vespa scooter, and the rich history of the culture of the scooterist. As a vintage motorbike enthusiast, I find that having a specific point of interest usually opens all kinds of doors to information and treasures. I'm excited to have a target to shoot at now.

I no longer have the urge or want for something new as I had posted about recently. I'm happy with my Big Ruckus, and really feel that it is the right steed for the job as my full time commuter. And to have a classic to roll out of the shop to enjoy is really the best of both worlds for a working class stiff like me.

As I follow my friends and their adventures on the Vespa of this era, I'll try to put together some thoughts in writing of my adventures on a Vespa of days gone by.

Have fun,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Little Show Of Respect

Just a real quick post today to let you know that I'm still in the game.

I had a busy day off spent with family, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was able to sneak in a short ride this morning to clear the cobwebs, and felt invigorated afterwards. Things are moving at a hectic pace at work right now, and because of some last minute shift trading with a co-worker, I was able to get Saturday off this week, so I'm looking forward to two days off together for the first time in months. Come rain or shine, Ol' Mule and I are going to find somewhere to ride to. But first...

I want to tip my hat to Steve over at Scooter in the Sticks on his latest post. As one of the guys that I look up to, and one of the three dudes that hooked me on the idea of blogging, I found that this post has all the makings of the writing that first inspired me to begin my journey as a blog writer. As a huge fan of the "Baron in Winter" era, Steve's latest adventure has some of the same flavor that Gary shared, in that Steve found himself in less than ideal weather and road conditions, assessed the situation, then as a true moto-adventurer, set out to conquer the challenge in hardcore fashion. I respect that.

Some may challenge one's judgement in taking a risk, others will recognize character in taking on a challenge. I stand in the corner of the one that takes it to the edge now and then just to get a peek at what lies in the valley below. These are cornerstone moments in the wall of memories that we are all trying to build. Good job Brother.

Have fun,

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Under The Weather Fun

I'll share an observation that I made this week that I'm sure some of you have noticed at some time. Just one of those funny little things that I seem to pick up on.

I finally fell victim to this coughing, hacking crud that is being passed around work, thus joining the 6 or 7 others that seem to be running on empty. So as part of this little group, I became pretty much in tune with how my fellow sickies were feeling. My observation is that when I strike a conversation with someone about their current condition, I'm always met with a cough or a sniff or two during their response as though they feel the need to prove their level of unwellness. Once I had caught on to this, I went through the group again and with the exception of Dave, everyone hacked and sputtered again when I asked how they were doing. Dave is a rock and a straight up guy who tells it like it is and wouldn't fall into sick mode for the sake of conversation.

The fun part was watching these people for awhile. While showing little outward signs of having been ill and doing their jobs as though in good health, when I finally struck up my baiting conversation, most would assume the slumped shoulders, "I should have called in today", cough, cough, clear the throat noise, followed by dry sniffing, answer to my question. This stuff was great. The more it happened, the more I did it.

Somewhere along the line in human nature, it must have been built in to have folks assume this goofy mode of answer when the occasion arises. I, for one, am now fully aware and have the choice to either do the same, or be more like Dave and just give an honest answer without all the acting. And if I follow the sheep and do the same, it will be with much more conviction and far better acting. My coughing will be loud and exaggerated, my sniffing will be deep and long, and my shoulders will droop till my knuckles are even with my knees. Then, after the shock wears off, I'll share my observation with my co-worker.

I actually feel crummy today, but this post made me feel better. I should be up and tooling around on my scooter in a few days. I can't wait.

Have fun,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Call Me The Working Man...

I'm thinking of the Ride to Work website that this blog calls home, and finding that the word "work" is now outweighing the word "ride". It's not that I can't ride to work, its just that I have more use for my car for what I need to do. This is about to change though, since I prefer riding, and will just have to find a way to make it work. I can't call myself a "scooter commuter" if I'm in a Chevy Citation.

We are getting close to crunch time in getting the new store completed, and are finding the cream of the crop employees stepping up to the plate to do the extra little things that some will not make time to help out with. Without question, those little extras have to be done in order to have things flow smoothly in the process of moving our business. So looking ahead, it will probably be six weeks till the actual move, then a period of getting settled in. What will make things interesting, is that the coming of Spring usually brings a strong upward trend of building construction in this area, and we will be running full tilt while still getting used to our new facility. All of this just before Summer, when the stuff really hits the fan. I don't see things relaxing till sometime in the Fall of the year.

I actually like the fact that some individuals have made it clear that they don't want to do any more than their normal work duties. It's also nice to know who is willing to do whatever is needed, whenever it needs to be done. Certain people are destined to sit on the bench, and others will play every minute of the game. I want to be a player. Period. I'm just happy to work with the gamers. Anyway, enough about work. Lets get to the part about riding.

So since I've limited my riding time, I find that my desire to ride, and to be involved with motorbikes has increased like, a billion percent. I scheme, plot and think about ways to come up with the funds to add to my stable of rides. But what peaks my interest today? Geez, yesterday I found a good deal on a Honda Metropolitan. That would be fun. I was offered a good deal on a Kawasaki Ninja 250 that is within my budget. I could be a poor man's crotch rocketeer! But what has me really interested is the Bajaj Chetak that is no longer in production. A dealership in Western Washington still has a quantity in stock, and is offering sale pricing. For a cool $2495.00, I could be a proud owner of a dying breed, similar to my situation with owning a Big Ruckus. But tomorrow it might be something different, so who knows?

The big question is, do I really need another scooter or another motorbike? Also, how do I sell the plan to my wife? The only thing that I know for sure is, I've got a case of "Iwannaitis". I want a new "something", and until I either get over this bug, or run out and blow my hard earned dough, I'd better knuckle down and get back concentrating on my task at hand. And my job proves to be a formidable task. Before all that though, being a good husband and dad.

Have fun,

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lookin' For Something To Read?

I'm sitting here with that feeling like "I can't stop thinking about work" hanging over me. Too many things to think about right now, and too many things to get done. Is this a sign of true dedication, or that I'm becoming a nutcase? I'll worry about that later.

I wanted to throw out a suggestion to the masses. If, on a trip to your local newsstand, you come across a copy of "The Antique Motorcycle", buy it. For those of you into motorcycle history, this is a great magazine. The beauty in this is, that you do not need to be a member of the AMCA to buy it, even though it is the official publication of The Antique Motorcycle Club of America. It wasn't always this way.

I like scratching below the surface to find out the history of things. I've always been that way. This magazine gives you a well written look into the early days of motorcycling, and shares stories of the pioneers of these eras. Read "Burn Up The Quarter Mile" Drag Racing's Pioneers by Ed T. Willys, and learn of the beginnings of motorcycle drag racing back in the '30's on the dry lakes of California. Or, how about a read on Indian's Torque Singles. There's lots of content to see and enjoy, and the photos are worth the price alone. You be the judge.

I'm proud to say that I am a member of the AMCA, and have looked forward to, and enjoyed every issue that I've received, and have learned a great deal as well. Take a look and see what you think. Who knows, it might even get you to consider joining.

Have fun,

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