Random Photo of a Vespa GTS300

So this was from a while ago, when I was at the Vespa dealer asking all sorts of questions. The salesguy, after being bombarded with my inquiries, handed me a key, took my CDL and told me, “don’t crash”.

Parked for lunch across the street from SFFD Station 2

This was a GTS300 and I took it through the Broadway Tunnel going and over the hills and through traffic on the way back. After returning to the dealership, the salesguy asked how I liked it. I replied, “I get it”.

Although it took me a while to pull the trigger to get my GTV250. Garage queens are hard to find.

Vietnam via Top Gear

I just finished watching Top Gear’s Vietnam special, where the challenge was to ride clunker bikes from Saigon to Halong Bay with no support, along with the usual TG silliness. You’ve got an hour fifteen? Watch these.

Part 1

Part 2
It reminded me of my trip to Hanoi a few years back, especially with all the bikes and traffic. Also how terrific looking the countryside and coast looks too. Riding the coast from South to North has been on my list of “stuff to do” for a long time now and although I’d love to do it on my V-Strom or even a BMW GS (R or F), I’ll probably wind up doing it on one of the locally available bikes, which would be the right thing to do, both for fitting in and for ease of repair. Yeah, nothing like travel shows to whet the appetite of the wanderlust monster inside all of us…

Cold snap over! Pay attention to the Motorcycle!!

During the recent holiday season, the temps here rarely went above 45 degrees. Nighttime was even colder. Not festive at all!
When this was taken, it was 62 outside. Not cold!
Right after New Years’ Day that ended. It’s been comfy in the 60s and sunshiney for the past few weeks. Yay! Which means…taking the motorcycle out! But before any road trips, I had to get the tires replaced. I wound up replacing the stock Bridgestone Trail Wings (which lasted all of 9000 miles) with a set of Metzler Tourances. Good for riding pavement and the occasional fire trail. Hopefully, I’ll get more than 9K miles out of these.
I had the work done at Werkstatt and they did a great job, as usual. Besides the tires, I had some Givi racks (PL428) installed. One of them didn’t fit right when I tried to install them. Turns out the footpeg that I was supposed to connect it to was bent a tiny bit, something that I wouldn’t have known to look for. I picked up some soft bags from Craigslist that fit on the racks, but I think I’m probably going to hunt for some hard cases.
From the Marin Headlands, a tugboat going west.
Then it’s time for a road trip! While the weather holds…

Riding for Work

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What happens when I have to cross the Bay Bridge during the evening commute AND have multiple appointments? Early evening appointment in Oakland then later appointment in Fairfield? Solution: Ride the motorcycle!
Why? Well, for one thing, you can use Carpool Lanes. That makes a big difference when you’re trying to get onto the bridge. Of course, if you use a carpool ramp, like the Sterling Street Onramp, it’s ALL carpool and it’s all good, except for the short merge. Another reason is that it was a nice day and that’s always a good excuse for a ride.
Meetings ran late, as they usually do. I wound up having dinner at the Fairfield In & Out at 2200, followed by a hair raising ride back to SF on I-80. I like riding distance on two-lane roads but riding at warp 8 on an Interstate, where any bozo can pretend to play Gran Turismo in a real car by mashing the gas pedal and not thinking, is something I’d rather choose not to do…
But I did make it home at the end, so I can chalk this up to experience. Check.

Just scootering along…

I was a member of the scooterist ranks for about 11 years before I made the leap to full fledged motorcycles stromtrooper a few years back. Of course, If I knew that you could do this in the twisties ON A SCOOTER, I might have remained a member of the scooter nation.
The guy who made this video rode a bone stock Scarabeo 250 through Mulholland Drive in LA. A legendary road with all sorts of twisties.

Impressive! Would like to be able to do all that on my V-Strom…!

Saturday Sunday Ride

After getting a late start last Sunday (moral of story: ALWAYS reply to organizer’s emails PROMPTLY), the ride to Lake Berryessa instead turned into an endurance test up the Shoreline Highway. How far could we go?

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This is how far we went…227 miles round trip
The ride started at the Marin Vista Point on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Many tourists prefer this view to the other Vista Point on the San Francisco side. It’s a crap shoot when it comes to making a choice about which one to visit. The San Francisco side has parking meters (typical) and rabid meter maids on the hunt for “revenue enforcement” (again, typical). The Marin side has a MUCH better view but means crossing the bridge to get back to San Francisco and a US$4.00 toll. Personally, I’d go for the view from the Marin side.
Current city policy if you’re a businessperson
We weren’t the only ones using the Marin Vista Point for a meeting point. There’s more room here so tour buses, lots of tourists in rental cars and about 80 or so Harley riders came and went before we took off “north”. First stop: Point Reyes Station. This is where motorcyclists who are doing the coast ride make the mandatory fuel and coffee stop. Since we started so late, it became our mandatory fuel and lunch stop. Fuel at the only gas station in town and grilled tri-tip sandwiches from the only grocery store in town.
The wrench is for opening yer beverages!
On the grill today: Freshly carved tri-tip, bratwurst and hot links! The chef is a former motorcycle rider…
Tri-tip sandwich under a tree.
One of us tried to get cash from the only bank in town but their ATMs were out of cash. As was the ATM inside the only grocery store in town. Cash eventually came about 30 miles up the road, on the way to Jenner.
On the way “north”, we passed through several state parks and beaches and lots of small towns. One of these towns was Jenner, the furthest north we’ve gone prior to this trip.
“organic coffee”. Joy.
They have their own Post Office trailer…
Eventually, we made it to Gualala, which is one of the bigger towns on the coast. They have a Lions’ Club, TWO name brand gas stations and a pharmacy!
Ed taking his bike onto the dirt. Not sure if that’s what Scramblers are supposed to do
The ride back was uneventful. Same nature, same nice scenery. We took a detour back to the bridge that saved us all of three miles via Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. With all the traffic that we had to deal with, I’d rather go back through Muir Woods. Hopefully next ride, I’ll be able to jury rig my camera so I can take some pix while on the move…
Loads of fun and 50 MPG to boot!

(non travel) Weekends are for riding!

It’s summer season, when my globetrotting (on a budget) ways are curtailed this year by the double whammy of expensive jet fuel AND greedy, poorly managed/operated legacy airlines. Compared to just the greedy, poorly managed/operated legacy airlines.
So what do I do for fun on the weekends? Go riding! For the past few weekends, I’ve been getting up early (AAACK) and going for rides with a bunch of Triumph riders. The SF Bay Area has a lot of neat places to ride if you want to do a day trip and San Francisco itself has a neat area that’s not overrun with traffic calming (yet) and has lots of hills and twisties.
An entry about a Presidio ride is forthcoming…
Yesterday, we met in a McD’s parking lot in Pleasanton very early in the AM. After filling up the bikes with gas and then ourselves with McD’s brekkie, we proceeded to hit the trails.
Our destination was to ride up Mt. Hamilton on one side and then ride down the other side then ride back up a different way and ride back down, winding up back in Dublin.
Silicon Valley from the foothills near Mt. Hamilton
Ended the ride at Hooters where we enjoyed the scenery and the buffalo shrimp! Should have came on Sunday because motorcycle riders get 20% off!
Motorcycles at rest
I’ll try to photoblog these rides more throughly…they’re exhausting and fun!