Monday, May 23, 2011

Motorcycles Not Allowed

IronDad made a request for any kind of 2 wheeled content from this blog even if not motorcycle or scooter related. So here you go Dude!

Saturday Morning Shadow on the mountain bike

Been riding a bit lately, just not on the scooter. During the week I had a yearning to explore an old railroad line that had been converted to a bicycle and jogging trail. The rails are gone and replaced with some gravel. Not exactly fantastic for running or road bicycles, but pretty fun on a mountain bike.

The converted rail trail looking west. This was actually a very small bridge over a creek.

The rail line had not been in use for maybe 15 or 20 years. About 5-7 years ago, they improved it for trail use. The trail only goes for a few miles, but is nice and relatively pretty. There are lots of abandoned rail lines in Kansas. A national organization called the Rails to Trails Conservancy has been active in converting old rail lines to recreational pathways across the country. They have met a lot of resistance in Kansas for some reason. There is now a trail that goes from east to west across the entire state of Missouri. No such luck here in Kansas.

Looking east on the trail. Not much traffic today.

I encountered a couple with a small dog not far from here. I had to laugh as the couple was sort of jogging and walking along and the little guy looked like he was having a great time although he was struggling a bit to keep up with the humans. But you know how dogs are, they'll do anything to make their masters happy.

"Bruiser" at the waterfall

I proceeded eventually through a couple of residential neighborhoods, just sort of leisurely riding along. I got passed by a guy on an expensive road bike that looked like he was in a hurry. My initial thought was thet he was trying to be a jerk and just showing off. Then I decided I really didn't give a hoot. I was having too good of a time.

A very shady sidewalk.
My feeble attempt to make this bike ride look sort of look like "Scooter in the Sticks"

Many years ago when our kids were young, we had a trailer for our bicycles and our kids used to ride in the trailer and go along with us for bicycle rides. This neighborhood was a fun place to ride because of the scenery and lack of traffic. At one time we had a tandem bike and with the trailer hooked up to it, it was like riding a semi down the road.

Sidewalk Twisty"s?

It was a beautiful morning and a great ride. Only about a 10 mile ride, but that's really good for me for right now. Small moves, you know.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Doctor Said: "Don't Sell the Scooter!"

I'm not supposed to be driving but I recently violated my driving restriction. Well, maybe just a little bit. I am guilty of backing the car out of the garage a few days ago and parking it on the other side of the driveway. Never even left the driveway. You should have seen it though. With precision I expertly engaged the clutch pedal while carefully managing the complicated steering maneuver. Forward and reverse movements were a work of art, if I don't say so myself, and the whole process was, shall we say, breath-taking.

Later that day I repeated the maneuver, albeit in reverse, as I moved the car back into the garage. I didn't hit anything either. I guess I still remember how to drive.

Unfortunately, it now appears that it might be mid-August before the doctors feel comfortable in removing my driving restrictions. It turns out that a 6 month moratorium from operating a motor vehicle is, sort of, standard procedure for someone like me.

The reasons for the restrictions from driving are a bit complicated. Frankly, texting or talking on a cell phone while driving are just as much or more dangerous than my circumstance, in my humble opinion. But I recognize and understand the reasons for my restriction and have agreed to abide by them.

This, however, has caused some changes in my own personal methods of transportation.

First, I have been catching a lot of rides with other people particularly with my wife, but I am now well known to try and bum rides off of other people as well. I still do this a lot, but others have become tired of me, especially my wife. I don't blame them. And they never want to go where I want to go when I want to go. Friction is frequently the result. We don't want that.

Second, I have resorted to taking the city bus back and forth to work. This method of transportation has actually worked out quite well for me. The city's bus system is not world renowned for its convenience to residents. For instance, one day I tried to figure out how I cold get from my home to my doctor's office on the west side of town, maybe 12 miles away. Best I could tell, after two transfers, I could do it as long as I left home 3 hours before my appointment.

The building where I work as viewed from the 18th floor of a building just down the street

But actually, for my usual bus ride from home to downtown where I work, it is very convenient. I can get off and on the bus a block away from my office. On the home side of the trip I need to walk about a half mile, but that is actually a very good thing, as long as the weather is not crappy. It forces me to get a little walking exercise which pleases my doctors and is very good for my heart.

This was and still may be the tallest building in Kansas. Don't laugh! I think it's about 21 stories.

Third is becoming my favorite method of getting around, just because it involves 2 wheels instead of 4. I have restored my old mountain bike (his name is "Bruiser") to working condition and he is going to be very helpful to me in getting around in the next few months. The doctors have actually encouraged this. The exercise is good for me and it gives me even more of a feeling of independence to go where I want to go when I want to go.

I haven't been riding a lot yet. I just haven't felt strong enough until recently. And I don't anticipate long rides for awhile, but short rides of a few miles will be easy to do.

I thought that maybe a little comparison would be in order, scooter vs bicycle.

Model:                        Scooter:      SYM "HD200"                       
                                     Bicycle:       Specialized "Rockhopper"

Brand New Grips, the old ones were falling off from disintegration

Year:                          Scooter:      2008
                                   Bicycle:       Not certain, 92-96?

Country of origin:       Scooter:      Taiwan
                                    Bicycle:       Taiwan

Proof of Taiwan Origin, sort of like Barack Obama's birth certificate

Weight:                      Scooter:      approx 289 lbs
                                   Bicycle:       approx 29 lbs?

Horsepower:              Scooter:      15 bhp
                                   Bicycle:        hmmmm  <1

Transmission:            Scooter:       Automatic CVT
                                    Bicycle:       3 chain rings, 7 gears at rear,
                                                       21 possible combinations,
                                                       only really use 10 or 12

Helmets:                     Scooter:      Scorpion EXO700 full face,
                                                       very small vents
                                    Bicycle:       Specialized fancy styrofoam thingie,
                                                       lots of big vents

I always wear a helmet!

Gloves:                       Scooter:      Aerostich Hot Weather Vegan
                                    Bicycle:       Specialized palm padded fingerless

Hairy Arms

Don't Laugh! The padding works, plus I look "Cool"!

Tires:                         Scooter:      16 in, (tubeless)
                                   Bicycle:       26 x 1.95 in knobbies (tubes)

These are the original tires. Currently 50 psi, plenty hard. Road bikes generally have over 100 psi

Tool kit:                     Scooter:       Yes
                                   Bicycle:        Yes

An assortment of tools for the road

Tachometer:              Scooter:       None
                                   Bicycle:        None

Accessories:              Scooter:       man bag hook, Shad top case
                                    Bicycle:       bottle cage, Cannondale rear rack bag

Bad pic of bottle cage and frame pump

I carry a couple of extra tubes and have room for even more crap

Seats:                         Scooter:       comfortable for many hours
                                    Bicycle:        comfortable for about two minutes

Top speed:                  Scooter:       approx 70-75 mph
                                    Bicycle:        Unlimited?!
                                                        Let's say 20 mph downhill
                                                        with wind behind you.
                                                        (Not geared for speed)

Possible FARKLE:     Scooter:      Heated grips, luggage,
                                                        Blaupunkt Stereo System
                                     Bicycle:       speedo w/ heart rate monitor,
                                                        another bottle cage,
                                                        Blaupunkt Stereo System

There you have it!

Now I do wish to finish up with an apology to readers of this blog.

It has been a bit difficult for me recently to keep up with posts to this blog. In addition, I haven't been able to keep up with reading other blogs as much as I would like.

There are a couple of reasons, first being my health as I recover from the heart attack and sudden cardiac arrests I had earlier this year. Let it be known I am doing very well, it's just a very slow recovery. Secondly, tax season was a bit of a bear, I am still only working part time, but everybody else worked their asses off and we made it through. But finally, and probably most important is just merely that I haven't been riding and don't have a lot to write about. I am hoping that will change eventually, but be advised that posts to this blog may be irregular and infrequent.

In essence this blog may get "parked" for awhile.

But also know that .......

I'm Not Selling the Scooter!