Ted’s essays

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 […]

capturing the essence of Piglet

It is now official. The diminutive 1978 Honda XL75 Melissa’s Harley-loving brother (owns several HOGs) gave her is now known as Piglet. The three of us find the moniker amusing and appropriate. She has even affixed a Piglet sticker to her motorcycle helmet. The photo to the right jumped in front of me this morning. I think it captures the essence of Piglet, though it would be quite a bit better if the big brothers on either side were HOGS rather than a BMW and a Suzuki. Perhaps that photo will show up here someday… but it won’t be in my garage as I am not likely to go for anything heavier than my BMW. […]

motorcycle licensing exam

The month of practice paid off. The oldest person in the class rode a motorcycle older than most of the students in last weekend’s training and examination sessions. She successfully passed the driving portion of the Montana state licensing exam to qualify for an “M” endorsement on her driver’s licensing. Both days of class were SCORCHERS. They were also very long for a retiree … heck, they were long for everybody … long, mentally stressful and physically tiring. I arrived in time to witness and record all but one of the tests. You can see bits of them in the video clip to the left. I also managed to roast in my multi-layer riding pants, boots, and ran through […]

Sunday morning rides … 2023

While my last post was about a long-ago Sunday morning ride, the tradition lives on … for fifty years or more. As far as days of the regular week go, Sunday is a good one for sharing worshiping the blends of man, machine and roads that sport bikes or touring-sport bikes meld into a cosmic beauty that only the bikers can understand. Recollecting a rather famous one from the 1970 Northern California somehow triggered finding an ongoing one in my neck of the woods in the here and now. I joined my first Sunday Morning Breakfast Club (SMBC) ride on July 29th. It was EVERYTHING I HOPED FOR… and more. I rode quite a bit farther downstream to the starting […]

The Sunday Morning Ride

I woke up quite early that Sunday as was normal for me. I considered quietly creeping around my sister’s house until she got up around 11, which was normal for her. The drive from Palo Alto to Santa Rosa would change from mundane to ugly by mid-day were I to delay my departure. Instead I unzipped and opened the driver’s side of my tonneau cover, tossed my bag into The Speedster and headed out before the traffic woke up. As I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on this glorious summer morning I decided to enjoy Highway 1 instead of plodding along the northbound freeway. With the crack-of-dawn absence of traffic, the windy coastal road would add no time, but tremendous […]

biker chick ready to fly

This month has been most remarkable for the introduction by Missy’s ‘little’ brother of a “new” 1979 Honda XL75 into our household … and a new motorcyclist along with it. While visiting him as he and I took Idaho Star’s ENHANCED STREET SKILLS course, he set his ‘big sister’ on this 174-pound motorbike hiding in the corner of his garage full of Harleys. He and I agreed it was an excellent fit, subsequently hatching a plan to move it to our garage and turn her into a motorcycle jockey. We began her orientation ride July 1st in the Darby High School parking lot with Bruce and I coaching. Since that weekend, I have been coaching solo. She completed her […]