Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bonneville Bound

Just found out that I'm going to be covering the Bonneville Speed Trials (motorcycle version)in late August:
More to come, but stoked.

Dirtbike update: Poor thing is in an extended custody battle in Cheyenne. Hoping that will end soon.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Help on the Way

Dear XR 100,

I know you're lonely up there in Cheyenne, but Melissa and I will be up to rescue you soon! And then we will ride.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hibernating in Wyoming

Poor little XR 100; he's been taking an extended nap in a warm and cozy garage in Cheyenne. But he'll soon be back in Denver in his own bed, getting ready for track warmups (the bunny slope of the track) and some trail riding. I've missed him so, but my landlord didn't like him wrapped up in the backyard. I think he'll be happier in his new digs.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

No Dirt for the Diva......yet

In typical Colorado fashion, we went from an overnight snowstorm to absolutely blue and clear skies all in the span of day. I covered my bike just in time for the snow, and now that it's going to be lovely and 70 degrees all weekend, I have to be a good girl and get my taxes done: last minute as usual. Maybe late-day Sunday I can get over to Golden for a quick ride around an agility course Dave set up for me, including tight circles around prickle bushes. Fun! I'm thinking of joining a dirtbiking club so I can get more experience riding in a group. Looks like it's going to be Pikes Peak training on Saturdays and dirtbiking Sundays this summer--can't wait!

And there's a new member of the family, picture below. I'll like him more when there's a backrest. I'm such a baby when I ride as a passenger!

Also, just talked to my dirtbike hero and friend Malcolm Smith, who's still out riding like the legend he still is--at 70! Here he is with Steve McQueen in the classic motorcycle documentary, On Any Sunday:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Motorcycle Problem 1 and 2

The only drawback to having the bike is having to resist the temptation to ride it when I'm meeting necessary deadlines. But at least I can see it in the backyard; trying to resist its beckoning is tough, especially on a perfectly cool, sunny Spring day.

So that's the good motorcycle problem. The bad one is that last night I was riding on the back of a Harley with someone I typically trust, and he was not treating me like precious cargo (what an ex biker boyfriend in California used to call me when I was riding with him). If he wants to ride like a crazy man with his friends (who ride hard but in a super disciplined pack and not crazy) no problem. But if I'm with him, it's not OK by a long shot. He apologized; he just got a new bike yesterday and it is a thing of beauty. But so are the years I have left in my life. Over and out.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Heart Liberty of London

Until I'm doing lots of riding (and probably even when I am), I've made the executive decision--as pretty much the only reader of my blog so far--to post other stuff that's totally off topic but brings me as much joy as the bike. Which leads me to.......the fact that I've been missing my parents a lot lately. Usually I'm mad at my mom and getting along well with my dad, or vice versa. But I really miss them both now, for some reason. I'm sure after a week with my mom in Santa Fe for her 70th birthday, I won't feel so nostalgic. For now though, I wanted to share a pic of little gifts I bought for each of them. I think I'm about 8 years old right now; a tie for my dad and a little notepad for my mom. They used to bring Liberty stuff to me from trips to London when I was little. Dig the print on the tie.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eau de Bike

So ok, I have a dirtbike parked in my tiny living room. Why should I be surprised that it smells like a garage instead of Pier 1 air freshener or even better, Clean Fresh Laundry, Clean Provence, Philosophy's Inner Grace, or Kiehl's No. 1? Um, for someone so clean (and perfume-obsessed) what was I thinking? And this bike is super pristine, for being 27 years old. No oil or gas leaks, but that smell is unmistakable--and kind of comforting. But I'm thinking in a few days it won't be so charming. It's a boyfriend-y smell, especially since most, if not all, of the men I've dated have either been mechanics or spent a lot time working on cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Is there some kind of parallel going on here? Am I breathing too many fumes?

Fast-forward to the next morning: yes, I was too cozy with the bike in there and started to get a headache. It has now assumed its rightful place in the backyard.

"You're one crazy chick," Don said as he got the bike and wheeled it through my bedroom and out the back door. "I thought you'd get tired of the palace becoming a garage."
That would be a yes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome Home XR 100

Our first night together, he's going to stay with me.

One part garage, one part smoky bar, his smell is definitely a departure from my once-pristine, sweet-smelling little space.

"This is definitely going to be a very non-chick way to live for a while, " Dave said as we maneuvered the bike through the door. "Maybe they make pink gas cans.

It's not a permanent arrangement, just until I can get a lock and tarp for the backyard. One thing for sure, he looks a lot bigger in here than he did outside in Dave's huge yard.

"Have fun with your new roommate," Dave said as he left just now. "Make sure you tuck him in."

Dave once told me about the time a long time ago when he and another guy kept their motorcycles in their house, so they could take them apart, spread the parts on the kitchen table, and ride their bikes through the front door. Times sure have changed. My father, once known for scare tactics like showing me and my little brother graphic pictures of injuries he'd seen in the ER and in his practice: "that could have been your skull if you'd been on that motorcycle" or "see this black thing? It's what happens to your lungs when you smoke" has mellowed considerably. When I told him I was getting a dirtbike, all he said was that he hoped he wouldn't be getting any calls from the ER like he did when I did the Pikes Peak Ascent last summer and had a heat stroke. "You've always marched to the beat of your own drummer; just be careful." Thanks Dad. My mom: "A dirtbike? Is that like a bicycle?"

Anyway, here we are. I'm not sure what to think of the white skulls on the sides of the gas tank. I would have preferred flowers. But I think we're going to be a good pair.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Return of the XR 100

I live in a small loft in downtown Denver, dubbed "the Pink Palace," for its funky, bright, and pink-flowered color scheme. But soon my little 530 square foot space (aka IKEA on steroids, according to a girlfriend) will have a new occupant--a new (old--'83) Honda XR 100, just two years older than my previous '81 that I had to return to the 12-year-old boy who wanted it back, just when I was beginning to love it. It was a sad moment, especially when my BFF and master mechanic/riding instructor extraordinaire, Dave, pretty much rebuilt it from an old rusting piece of something his friend Hondo was going to get rid of. Trouble was, once it was shiny (well, not really) and rebuilt, his son wanted it back. This scrappy little thing had become cool, just a few months after I'd been riding it--mostly into campsites, unsuspecting hikers, and prickly bushes--but still.

When I could manage to stay on it, I rode a course that Dave set up, in a big field next to a car dealership in Golden. People who drove by stared or laughed--often both. When Dave wasn't yelling to "let it out slow" or "c'mon hon, shift," he was shaking with laughter. So was I, which made it hard to stay on. Soon though, I progressed to the trails around the small town of Pine.

"Hey, where are we going to ride?" I asked Dave as we bounced around so hard on the jeep trail that his Weimaraner and I both nearly hit our heads on the truck's roof. "Whaddya mean," he said. "We're gonna ride here."

That first ride in Pine saw me cruise to fourth gear and feel the full exhilaration of riding full-on, not on the back of the bike as was usually the case, but motoring ahead myself. Dave let me go ahead, so he could keep an eye out. The first time I heard other bikes coming my way, my heart started pounding and I gripped the bars hard. Truth is, I pulled over. When Dave caught up to me, he got off too, to let these Spider Man lookalikes speed by. Whereas they were suited up, my only gear was a helmet.

So now it's two years later and life has gone by. I've continued to be a passenger, but not a rider. And that needs to stop.

Let's begin again XR 100.