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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by OSJ, May 28, 2014.
My morning routine is not so normal, or is it?
Drinking coffee in my favorite mug!
Looking at motorcycles on my iPad!
Reading some Columns from my favorite author!
My house always seems to have helmets laying around, motorcycle toys on every table and something that I purchased at a race track always within reach!
I look to my left and I see a Sculpture of the Isle of Man road race circuit. To my right is a framed Signed photo of Lawson, Rainey, Kosinski and Roberts. Behind me is a homemade Papier-mâché artwork of the word ride made out of a map that my oldest daughter made for me.
I’m surrounded by my love of two wheels, travel and racing. Other then my family these are the things that mean so much to me. It’s a passion that I share with so many different people, those ones I don’t need to explain it to. They get it!
It’s not just a mode of transportation for me, or a hobby. It’s a life changing event that I live every day.
I took a close friend for a short ride yesterday and we were talking about traveling and dreams. She told me how when we first rode together a few years ago it was just so scary being on the back that she just couldn’t enjoy it.
Few years later, and many more rides and she said she finally gets it. Now she asks me to take her for rides vs the other way around.
Now I just have to get her to accept the helmets everywhere, moto toys on all my furniture and race photos on my walls.
It’s a struggle, good thing I still have my morning coffee time with Egan, Kevin and the doctor!
March 1st always seems like it should be the start of spring. But us Seasoned New Englanders we also know March Usually starts off more like mid winter then spring.
So as a motorcyclist we usually start getting our bikes ready to go and we keep our eye on the forecast looking for those warm days and rainstorms instead of snowstorms.
However as I sit here and type this I just watched the weatherman and he told me to keep my plow on my truck for a little while longer. So instead I find myself looking at some older photos from warmer days gone by.
Like many of you reading this I’ve been riding and living my life on two wheels for a long time and have traveled many miles on my bikes.
Sometimes with people, many times solo. Do I have a favorite? Sure, but ask me every day and I’ll give you a different answer every day
I will admit it’s getting far more rare for me to ride in a big group of people especially people I don’t know or hadn’t ridden with. My “circle of trust” has become much smaller as I’ve become older. But I’m also not afraid to meet new people and ride with them.
I enjoy showing my friends beautiful roads, Gorgeous new England scenery and wonderful places to stop. It’s such a wonderful way to pass time.
I’ve meet so many nice people all because of my love for motorcycles, my life is truly blessed because of two wheels.
However so many times I get such a thrill out of leaving from my house on a solo journey. Just me and my thoughts rolling down the road. Exploring new places, riding old familiar road and everything in between. I can’t wait for those days.
Hopefully the snow storms will stop soon. We get some warm days and mild nites and us two wheeled Enthusiasts will get back on our bikes and explore.
So here’s to the solo journeys if that’s what floats your boat. The group rides, charity events or riding with your close buddy if that’s your idea of a perfect two wheeled day.
Ask me tomorrow
" Oh,Im in pieces. Its tearing me up, but I know
A hearts thats broke is a heart thats been loved"
I remember one summer in the late 70's, vacationing with my family at Hampton Beach. We rented a place right on the board walk. Sitting out on the balcony high above all the traffic and people walking on the boardwalk . I remember my mom and dad always loving sitting on a balcony like that just watching, people watching. I guess that's where I got my love of doing the very same thing.
On the particular night I remember seeing a motorcycle riding slowly in the crowd of cars. Must have been a Goldwing or a HD touring bike, because I remember a few specif things about this bike.
1.It was huge,
2.the girl on the back was wearing a tiny bikini
3.Music was blasting from it
I watched that bike ride until I couldn't see it any longer, but I could still hear the sounds of Led Zepplin long after he was lost in a sea of cars and people.
I was already a huge motorcycle fan, Evil Knievel was in his prime, Chips was on TV every week. However I had no idea you could listen to music while riding. Slowly the world was become such a perfect place to be in.
Fast forward a few years, and I was riding my very own motorcycle, a 1972 Honda CB450. It took maybe a few hours after buying my very first full face helmet to figure out a way to fit those huge Sony Walkman speakers into it so I could listen to Prince, Jimi or Dire straits while riding around central Mass.
I've never owned a bike with a on board music system, I've always had to relay on speakers in my helmets. I've owned probably every wired system that has been developed over the years to simplify this. About 10 years ago I switched over to wireless (Bluetooth) systems they have become such a great improvement to my riding. Being self employed/ dad to 4 kids having the ability to answer my phone while on the road is priceless. Talking via intercom with my passenger or other riders has been wonderful. And of course listening to music is still one of my most favorite things to do. Getting to do this while riding is priceless to me.
I know some people don't do this, and yes there are times I have nothing playing in my helmet. To each his own is how I've always felt about riding, and life in general.
So what do I like to listen to? Well that is such a hard question to answer. My music taste varies so much. Having apps like ,Spotify, and ipod with 17,000 songs has certainly made thing much easier than the old Walkman days. And it depends on the ride, the location, the time of day.
The memory from last summer that got my to sit down and write about this goes like this.
It was 5ish in the afternoon, probably a Friday but it could have been any-day of the week ( the benefits of being self employed ) I was in Hancock Mass. I had just stopped at this tiny little library. I have an attraction to library, especially in small towns like Hancock. I sat on the stoop of the library with my helmet on just listening to this song.
Supermarket flowers by Ed Sheeran. Not the most macho song I know, not something you would think of while riding a motorcycle. But this one song sounded so perfect in my helmet. See I had just lost my mom, maybe a month prior to this day. And yes this song is about a boy losing his mom. As Charile Boorman once said in Long way Down, " I had a good cry in my helmet"
I sat there for two maybe three listens to that song. I had such wonderful memories of mom and dad that day. I got back on my bike, pointed it west and continued on my journey. Listening to Prince, Jimi, Dire Straits, and of course some Ed Sheeran!
Miss you Mom and Dad
The good, the bad and the ugly!
Well no ugly here, but here are two glows and a grow! ( a phrase I learned from an old teacher friend)
I stopped in New Salem Mass to take a picture of tulips which I thought were on Town common property. Turns out it was private property.
As I was on the lawn snapping photos when the owner came up to me. Super nice guy, took a few photos of me and then said he was a motorcyclist and invited me to his house for eats and said he had racing on tv .
I had to work my way home but felt such love with humans ! Expecially us motorcyclist!
Glow 2, while going thru Barre I had a bike catch up to me.. as we got on Route 62 heading eastbound I felt frisky so I took off, said bike stayed with me, but not to close but always there.
The ton was reached a few times as I know that road well and had some fun.
We got to the end and a nice super duke pulled up next to me, his smile was wide and he reached over and fisted bumped me and said that was F@#&ing awesome!
Now for the grow...if you don't wave , you suck! Period! If you don't wave because my bike isn't the same as yours...ypu really suck! When i was being taught how to ride way back in 1983, my brother in law explained that we motorcyclist have a special bond we wave to each other it doesn't matter what you ride you wave. I couldn't wait to get on the road with my 1st bike and wave to other bikers.
Back then all bikes had round headlights and you really couldn't tell if you were waving to a Harley or Honda or Yamaha or a Moto Guzzi it didn't matter you just waved.
That seems to be a thing of the past. I wave to everyone..even scotters!! Yes I understand sometimes it's not safe to if you're coming to a stop or if you're fooling around with your GPS..im not talking about that. I know my motorcycles... there isn't a bike that I go by but I cannot tell you exactly what it is...todsy not one Harley rider coming the other way waved to me. You all suck..
Other then that I had 390 miles of awesome riding in western mass today.
I'll keep ridimg..ill keep waving and I'll keep riping it up! Wave back dammit!
All well said OSJ. Sorry about your Mom - one of life's toughest chapters.
JIM, the biker salute has ebbed and flowed since i started riding in 1972.
I have ridden in 47 of 50 states, i have always raised a hand. or nodded my head if hands were busy.
wave to any bike...please.
have a good summer,
Mark in Orange
How the king broke my heart!
And why I became such a huge Freddie Spencer fan.
So it was 1984, I was just a young kid riding my very 1st motorcycle around the back roads of Massachusetts. I would go into my local moto dealer and drool over the new bikes, this was the dawn of the true sport bike age.
Sky cycle was my heaven back then. Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha is how they got the name SKY cycle. I would go in and collect all the brochures of GPZ’s, FJ’s and GS’s sit on them when I had the chance and read the local road racing newspapers they had scattered about.
Then one day I saw it.. the yellow RZ 350 ad with Kenny Roberts sitting on one. Two stoke motor, Bumblebee paint job, mono shock rear end, it was like they took the bike right off the race track and brought it to Massachusetts just for me!
I had to have one!
While most kids my age had posters of Farrah My bed room was full of posters of bikes and racers. The king was #1.
I saved and saved and finally was able to get one. 1984 RZ350 in white. I put an after market full fairing on it and took off riding!
By then the king had retired from racing and guys like Lawson, Mamola, Spencer , Baldwin were dominating the world of GP races. However he was still #1 in my book!
Then it happened, I got my new motorcyclist magazine in the mail ( it might have been cycle world) and there was an article with the King himself riding a RZ on the back roads of Hawaii.
I was so excited to read his own words about the very bike I owned.
Oh was my heart about to get broken, reading what the King Kenny Roberts said and then did to my beloved RZ ...ugh. He praised the 500 Honda and thought it was a better bike to ride the twisties, then proceed to ride the RZ into the ocean. I’ve searched for photos of this event but can’t find it.
I remember think what a arrogant prick this guy was. I worked so hard to be able to afford one, and so looked up to him. I was heart broken and so sad to see that beautiful little RZ floating in the surf, ruined at the hands of the guy who had his name painted on it. Mr Yamaha no less.
From that day on I became a Freddie Spencer fan!
Time to forgive the guy?
I love it when I get surprises in the mail! I don't remember ordering this cagiva mug but I'm so happy I did. I told my good friend Kelly sometimes I go to bed early so my morning coffee time comes quicker.
And even though I've tried to cut back on coffee and actually enjoy a cup of tea each morning I figured this rainy Saturday morning was a perfect time for some java in my new Cagiva mug!
Yes, it also sparked my interest to search the web for a motorcycle that just might need saving and could possibly be added to my already over crowed garage of bikes.
Low and behold one of my favorite bikes from the 80s is for sale and not too far from me! Now if you've been my friend for some time you have mostly likely heard me say that (type) many times... "Favorite bikes" ...and yes I would have to guess there are probably 100's of odd ball bikes that have been on my "list" over the years.
The Elephant is certainly one of them! I can remember going into my local ducati shop back in the late 80s. It was a small little shop on 2a in Gardner MA. I would stop in often because he had my dream bike sitting in the corner(Ducati F1) but he also had one of these, Cagiva 650 Elephant.
I'm sure the owner knew who I was, at the time I had no extra money to purchase one of these Italian bikes, but I would usually hang around the shop looking, touching and talking about them. Sometimes i would by a t-shirt, or maybe a quart of oil or some other small item that I most likely didn't need. But I wanted to stay in good standing with him so i could always come in and dream.
That shop is long gone, the t-shirts don't fit me anymore and I'm sure i ended up using that oil in one of my machines. But the memories of standing around that old shop ..looking, touching and talking bikes is alive and well.
Maybe a ride to western mass to see if that old cagiva is the one I touched back in 87?
Just after I do a quick search for that F1 , Yeah I'm sure it must be out there somewhere looking for me!
A few years ago people started noticing some exotic Italian motorcycles were showing up in a empty space on Madison Ave. Each day a new bike was parked, but no notice on the windows or information could be found online.
Until one day it was announced that Stewart Parr had rented the space and planned on opening a showing of some of his collection. It was for a limited time, from April to July.
Me and a good friend went down for a few days, enjoyed NYC, walked to Brooklyn for some awesome pizza,
stayed in Times square, and checked out the collection.
“Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and ride fast on empty streets with nothing in mind but falling in love and not getting arrested.”
I got the 1st 3 down...well my idea of getting “wild” at 51 might be a little different then Hunter had at the time he wrote that.
I don’t drink whiskey, or much Alcohol for that matter, I’ve seen the effects of over doing it far too many times. I’ll still stumble out of a dive bar a few times, or more likely sit by an open fire with a bottle of wine and a good friend. After the days ride!
Riding fast on empty streets? Yup..I’m guilty of that sin, and if you’ve read song of the sausage creature, you also will find one of the best moto quotes...
“Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba....”
He also said..which in the new world of over sensitive online keyboard warriors might not be the best thing post up, but I tend to agree with this statement as well..
““Balls,” I said. “Never mind the track. The track is for punks. We
are Road People. We are Cafe Racers”
So riding fast on empty streets is where I wanna be, that’s what I’ve been falling in love with since I dared to take my bike down a empty country road in central mass. 35 years ago.
The thrill of knowing you need to deal with some sandy spots, or a few rock in the way. Knowing those trees just a few feet from the white line, or the on coming car that might be at the wrong spot when you’re in just a little too hot and your hugging the yellow line is going to hurt, or worse.
Yes, there is danger out there on the road, but us cafe racers..us road people must know how to deal with danger. Fall in love with it!
Oh, and I’ve never been arrested..yet!
“You can’t go home again”
Travel is a way of life for some. Those people can find their home along the way, Constantly changing ...adapting to the road...the weather..the Environment.
You can travel, wander to far off places. Or simply get lost right in your own back yard. As a kid back in the mid 80’s I can remember riding my 72 Honda CB450 all over the back roads of central mass. It felt like I was exploring far off lands. I would ride all day then find a field and park the bike. Roll out my green army blanket I got from my dad and sleep right next to that machine. My tank bag was my pillow..the blanket was big enough to lay on half and wrap myself up with the other half.
I remember laying there listening to the engine ping as it cooled down. Watching the stars , hoping to see a shooting one.
I’d fall asleep not worrying about charging my cell phone, or looking at my gps for better roads.
“You can’t go home again”
Yeah I can, I think it’s time to find that old field in Townsend mass, and go lay down for the nite, next to my bike!
The idea is to die young as late as possible.
Several years ago I was taking pictures of my yellow duck in a field near the center of Lincoln MA.
The bike was way up on a small hill and I was 200 yds away near the road snapping photos. I heard a car stop behind me, and when I turned around and looked this older gentleman was snapping photos of me.
I thought maybe he was a town official, or retired Police officer and he was going to inform me I shouldn’t be parked there.
But to my surprise when I waved to him He commented what a great photo. Then he got out of his car and came over and introduced himself to me and said he never passes up an opportunity to take a great photo.
He was not a motorcyclist, but he was Very interested in hearing about the type of bike the yellow Ducati was. When he found out it was Italian he asked me if he could go sit on it and if I could take his picture.
So we walked together to the top of the hill and this is the photo I took.
I don’t remember his name, or exactly the date of this shot but I do remember the moment.
Don’t pass up those moments, stop to take that photo, bang a u’ey if you have to! Die young, but old!
Sailers often say a boat has a soul.
“emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance”- soul
I’ve never been a sailor, and Truthfully the ocean has always been something that scared me to a certain degree
. However I did grow up on a Small pond and rual Massachusetts￼, And long before I ever rode a motorcycle I paddled around that little pond on a 14 foot yellow canoe. I was never scared because I could always see my home no matter where I was on that boat.
Often times I would go out late at nite, I loved those dark nites with no clouds and you could see the millions of stars shining above. I would paddle out to the middle and then lay in the canoe looking up at all those stars and just drift.
Some nites I would fall asleep laying there, only to be woken up by the sounds and thud of running aground. Then I would paddle back out to the middle and repeat.
I no longer live on that pond, but I still own that boat!
I feel motorcyclist and sailors are very common people. They both have an intimate passion for what moves them. Motorcycles do have a soul? I’ve never been afraid of riding my bike, no matter how far from “home” I was. Like a sailor you have to put a little bit of trust into your Vessel to keep you safe￼.
Matter of fact I always considered myself home when I was on my bike. Maybe that’s why I never became a “sailor” and moved from that little yellow canoe to two wheels and a motor. Also the the same dream like state I experienced in the canoe I can have on two wheels.
Then I would be woken up by the thud of pulling into my driveway and the “normal” world. Only to get back on my bike and paddle back out into the middle!
Motorcycles do have a soul!￼
The many lives of a cup of coffee
Why does coffee taste different in different environments, Or does it?
To me there are many ways to enjoy the 2nd most popular beverage in the world. It fits nicely between tea and beer. How many times have you said “ let’s stop for a cup of coffee” or made plans to meet someone “ for a cup of Joe?”
Let’s face it we Americans drink more Java then any other country in the world, and you know why?
It taste damn good!
Even better when your one two wheels ! Trust me it does. There is something special about stopping for coffee when out riding. Ya I know it’s the hipster thing to do, but listen I’ve been drinking the juice long before most hipsters were born.
I guess I was forced into it, as a kid my mom would drink coffee all day long. Even at nite, I remember coming home after spending the nite drinking the 3rd most common beverage (burp) and knowing she would be up waiting for me. Sitting in the dark, on the porch and seeing the glow of her cigarette butt. I’d notice the can of folgers instant coffee on the counter. Back then (early 80’s) I didn’t know the appeal of coffee.
Then a few years later, working my 1st real job driving a truck and this old guy who was training me , who by the way was most likely younger then I am now! H￼e would stop every morning at a certain gas station and get a cup! One day I said, yeah I’ll have one too.
That’s all it took!
I’m sure I just lost all the hipsters reading this, yes my 1st real coffee experience was with gas station coffee! And no not like the gas stations of today with those fancy Dunkin’ Donuts attached to them. This was the real deal gas station java. One pot behind the old greasy counter. Only one kind too! Real men drank mud! No decaf, no (as my dad called it) blueberry coffee. The real deal.
It was shortly after that I naturally started to stop in my two wheeled adventures for the stuff.
Okay we had dunks back then, the real deal dunks too. No drive ups, no plant based , non dairy eggs sandwiches. Coffee, in ceramic cups with saucers, jelly donuts and coffee rolls!
So now some 30 years later I’m still drinking the stuff. Sometimes I’ll go to bed early just so I can wake up sooner and have a cup. Is that right?
Yes there is nothing better in the morning then that 1st sip. Okay and I must admit I do occasionally have blueberry flavored coffee (sorry dad) or my local shop has the wonderful vanilla nut one. Did I get the hipsters back???
However my fav cup?
Easy , it’s the one I have with my motorcycles, doesn’t make a difference if a young kid with a fancy title made it, or some gas station mechanic brewed it between pumping gas and changing brake fluid.
It’s the experience I enjoy.
I hope you understand!
“ none are more hopelessly enslaved then those who falsely believe they are free”
We’ve all been there haven’t we? That perfect road on the perfect day, either riding with a good friend like I am here with one, on the skyline drive, or alone on your favorite back road.
If your a motorcyclist you know what I’m talking about, it’s something only people who explore on two wheels feel. Long days on perfect roads, you feel connected to the pavement. Your machine and you feel as one, free from all the stresses of your daily life.
It’s something you can’t explain to a person that doesn’t ride. Or is it? Can you just show a photo like this one and they get it? Maybe but then again that’s what makes this so special. Not everyone gets it!
Those moments may not come on every ride you take but when they do, it’s special, Intoxicating and free.
#skylinedrive #ducatipeople #osj #motorcycle #freedom
A different kind of love story!
Two Stroke Thursday.
The holy grail, the one!
So lets go back to 1985, just out of high school, riding around central MA on a GS450s (a pretty rare bike as well) following all motorcycle racing, including our American stars, Freddie Spencer, Randy Mamola, Mike Baldwin. All racing some amazing two stroke machines.
I picked up a motorcycle magazine and almost fell over. On the cover is Honda's new 1985 NS400R. In either Rothmans colours (the current NS racing) or Freddie's 1983 World Champion colours.
I had to have one!
Then quickly realizing as I am reading the article the little Honda will not be coming over to the states. So instead I purchase the only two stroke that makes it here, the 1984 RZ350. I rode that little smoker all over New England only to lose her after she was hit by a drunk driver. In my driveway no less!
Over the next 20+ years 28 motorcycles come and go into my life..a few grey market bikes sneak over the border and I keep an eye out for a NS, but most of them are RZ500s, Gammas and TZ250s. All very nice two stroke machines but my heart was first taken by that beautiful little V3.
Fast forward to January 15th 2017 and I'm sitting in my living room enjoying my 1st cup of coffee for the day. Scrolling thru the classified section of ADV rider website. Something I do almost every day.
And I see it, but it can’t be....a 1986 NS in Freddie Spencer colours, Less that 5,000 miles, in nearly concourse condition, In IOWA no less? Clean title and all?
I contact the owner, He has a incredible collection of rare bikes, including this beauty. He tells me he’s not really sure he wants to sell it, but needs to raise a little cash. So he listed a few bikes (that morning no less) to see which one would sell 1st.
He was hoping the NS wouldn't be the one.
After a few emails, I decided I wanted to talk in person. So I called and two minutes into our conservation I realized something. Mike Wolfe always says on American Pickers. The time to buy it is when you see it!
Up to this day i had never seen a NS400R for sale.
It took a while to get the bike shipped to me, but she currently sits in my heated shop, covered and nestled amongst my other bikes. Happy to be in New England. And I'm so happy to have her.
Never to be sold again!
“Never look down on someone unless you’re admiring their shoes “
Or slippers and of course their motorcycle boots!
There is no greater way to enjoy that first cup of coffee then sitting outside, birds singing , morning sun poking thru the trees and a fine looking motorcycle parked right in front of you! It’s such a beautiful way to admire ones shoes (or slippers) and start your day.
It’s not just the weekend morning you’ll find me outside on my patio doing this, but pretty much every day if the weather allows. It’s one of the reasons I choose this house I’m living in. Yeah it’s a small house, only one bathroom (my teenage daughters hate that!) but it has such a peaceful and wonderful place to sit out and admire ones shoes.
Oh, and plenty of room to park a motorcycle or two (or three)
Here is a small collection of my shoes with a few bikes thrown in for your viewing pleasure :)
One of my fav spots local to me. This photo was taken a few years ago while on a ride with my old friend the KLR. Such a great motorcycle, sometimes called the mule, donkey or tractor. Why? Well this bike is about as simple as they come, single cylinder and carbureted, ￼but also liquid cooled. Basically unchanged since its Inception back in 1987, for 20 years that bike remained unchanged and was one of Kawasaki‘s best selling models. I owed two over the years!
Back to the spot, I’m sure many of you have been by here. For those who don’t know its location you can find this big heart on route 62 in Berlin mass. Just a few miles east of the Wachusett Reservoir￼￼￼.
It’s such a wonderful story of how it became a big heart in a field.
It’s not just a little extra fertilizer spread in the formation of a heart, instead it’s a Testament to love itself.
Back in the 60s a high school romance started at an apple orchard adjacent to this field, the young couple agreed if they ever could afford this land they would by it. A so called lovers lane where young people would go and park and watch the “ submarine races”￼￼￼
Many years later that high school romance has become a long lasting marriage. And as fate would have it they were able to purchase that stretch of land along route 62￼. The very spot they fell in love.
And few years later the heart was born!
I’ve been stopping here and snapping photos of all my bikes for many years. I’ve been known to sit on one of those chairs and stare at the heart more than once.
It’s a wonderful place!
If you're driving by and see a motorcycle parked, it could be me.
Beep! And wave....or better yet stop and say hello!
Love makes the world go round!