Ted’s essays

unwelcome time off

We (I’ll drag Missy into this for allowing the following) picked up from an estate sale a BMW touring bike I used to own, and grabbed a heckuva deal on a small 400cc “dual sport bike” that was languishing under a tarp next to it. I never got around to restoring the BMW, but found the Suzuki DRZ400S to be a highly desirable bike in exceptionally good shape. The former I sold “as-is” for what I had into it, while “Doctor Z” became a favored steed. With the ice thus broken, I bought an upgraded semi-touring BMW in Denver on occasion of a family reunion nearby and rode it the next day to the top of Pike’s Peak. Not […]

My turn for a setback …

Thursday, June 13, 2024 I rode my 2011 BMW (Jack of all trades utility bike) F650 GS to The Motorcycle Garage delivering “Jack” in for his 12,000 mile service intending to ride around some, then home on my vintage BMW R90/6 who had been ‘looked over’ by those shop mechanics.. The 1976 was not running or riding well. I filled up the tank with fresh 91 fuel to eliminate petcock setting errors or old gas syndrome. Suspicious of a brake malfunction, I did a ‘left hand pyrometer check’ finding reasonably warm rear drum and WAY TOO HOT TO GET NEAR front rotor. I proceeded to make stupid mistake #1: I rode out of the gas station. As front disk fought […]

Jack’s job 1

A big deal in our household last year was Missy’s accomplishment of learning to ride a motorcycle for the first time, her serious, in-depth study of all that meant, taking and passing the beginner biker class as by far the oldest student, one of few women, while riding far and away the oldest bike – the only one with a manual choke and a kick starter. She completely racked up the style points while becoming ‘a biker’. We took a good number of short biker jaunts all over our neighborhood with my Dr Zee keeping her Piglet company. Dr Zee was happy putting along in their company at their preferred moderate 10-35-mph pace. He was also an eager pony […]

we gained weight today … and power

Dr Zee (2012 Suzuki DRZ400 SM) – running errands on Old Darby RoadI watched Dr Zee ride off into the sunset … well, a few hours before sunset, but on down the road with happy new owner aboard. I really did like that cheerful, eager little scooter. My replacement intermediate bike sat quietly in the garage watching the one he displaced roll out of our lives. Dr Zee could mosey behind Missy and Piglet at the 10-25 mph pace they enjoyed and, technically speaking, could make the occasional Hamilton runs at the 70 mph highway traffic demands. BUT the highway portion felt like a stretch to me. The 400cc single-piston (aka: a thumper) thrashing around underneath me had my sympathies […]

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, May 19, 2024

We are now 1 month away from this annual, international event that is now 12 years old … and growing bigger every year so far. This is primarily about a group of enthusiasts getting together and stylin’ through the city on bikes. It is also a fund-raiser for men’s health issues. Though not as much fun to talk about as breasts, testicular cancer and suicides kill more people every year. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride has donated $45 million towards programs working to reduce those negative impacts. I am pleased to see that my closest ‘big city’ now has one being organized. My wife and I are seriously considering trailering our classics 1.5 hours each way to participate. Hmmmm: It […]

I almost took two photographs today

This was supposed to be a quick trip to Skalkaho Falls for a photo devoid of other tourist vehicles and people. I forgot something. The last 6 miles of road to the falls is closed through winter. On the way back in a light drizzle, I was hustling along to get garaged before it turned to rain or snow when I noticed and braked for a herd of sheep. Some of them backed up onto the shoulder while most of them went slightly up the hill from the road as I rode my bike slowly by. I wanted a photo, but that requires I park the bike, turn it off, take the key to unlock the trunk, remove camera […]

biker chick

This afternoon I was coming down home stretch in the LEO Tupperware reassembly (numerous interlocking plastic panels on Leo – my 2nd-hand ex-police patrol bike) after finally restoring the low beams. I was eagerly anticipating putting some miles on the highway eater when Missy said, “Nice day for a ride” … exactly what I was thinking… until she went on to say, “I mean ME taking a ride … on Piglet”. (Her died-in-the-wool HOGs-Forever brother restored and gave her this diminutive 1978 Honda XL75 that kind-of named itself) The recently licensed grandma on this vintage classic itty-bitty 6-horsepower, 175-pound, 4-speed, kick-start-only bike is completely incompatible with me on Leo. Yet she obviously wanted me to accompany her – also […]

how I spent my vacation

In no particular order, but that in which the photos uploaded… Spring motorcycling weather arrived very early in the Bitterroot this year. I am not counting on winter being truly done with us, but am grabbing these delightful riding days as they come my way. On the left is nearby Lake Como completely covered in ice, though the snow on the ground has all melted. On the right is a stop atop “Almosta Road” which is dirt/gravel all the way, graced with almost no traffic whatsoever and pleasant scenery. No photos, but much of my time is spent on what I call “estate management”. That can include plowing snow, fabricating shelves, welding, woodworking, communing with my shop tools, managing […]

weight just a darn minnut

Older motorcycle riders begin questioning their hobby as it gets harder to handle their bikes at low or no speeds. Some sell their bikes and quit open air touring, others get side-car rigs, traditional trikes, the newer 2-wheels in front trikes, topless sports cars or give up on the whole concept of the trip being more important than the destination. Many of those are giving up riding the 1,000-pound cruisers and big touring bikes they view as integral to biking joys, not imagining motorcycling pleasure being possible on light, more easily managed two-wheelers. Lamentably, I sense that day approaching. Strength, balance and agility all matter when you pull up to a stop on a motorcycle. As you can see from […]

Grandma gets her Motorcycle endorsement

While demonstrating zero interest in riding her own bike and only a little in pillion, my wife’s brother (major HOG guy) delivered a 1978 Honda XL75 to her. On June 30th he and I strapped it onto the motorcycle lift with the rear tire not touching and ran her through the operation thereof. She immediately began researching all things about riding, and signed up for the first available beginner class and DMV written test appointment. Manual choke, hand clutch, foot shift, separate front and rear brakes with hand and foot … imagine all the foreign things there are to learn. Next was a month of my driving what eventually got named “Piglet” to the unused school parking lot where she […]

We never do this in a car

We are trying to build expertise and confidence on our motorcycles, particularly Missy on Piglet. To this end every-other-day outings are the pattern we are shooting for. She is officially in rider training mode which requires direct supervision on all her street rides … until she smokes the written test she has scheduled for mid September. Initially I was tagging along on our snowplow, the Polaris Sportsman without the plow until next snow season. She was running under 25mph on those trips and the Sportsman was happy at 20, 15, or whatever she felt like at the moment. As her skills and confidence grew, so did her speed. The Sportsman can easily top out quite a bit faster than […]

Biggest adventure thus far for Piglet and Dr Zee

Today we took our longest ride to date. Our destination was Lake Como. Taking Old Darby Road to Lake Como road accumulated 18 miles on Piglet’s odometer. Missy handled the combination of pavement and gravel road like a veteran. Neither of us have any love for the uneasy footing gravel provides. Her thrift store biker outfit now includes a BRIGHT, reflective backpack. She is taking all the new rider instructions quite seriously and making darn sure she does her part to be seen… by semi-attentive auto drivers. Mostly I follow at whatever pace she finds comfortable, but upon reaching Lake Como Road she asked me to take the lead rather than chancing a wrong turn through the multiple choices […]