On the way to work a couple weeks ago...
Crossed paths with two riders from Canada-- John and Doug. Had a nice chat about riding, their trip and the Can-am Spyder Touring machine. Definitely an interesting ride. John refers to it as "an open-air sportscar". After sitting on it a bit I could see his point. His third Can-am I seem to remember and he's loving them. For those times he needs the motorcycle experience there's a Suzuki VStrom in the stable.
Both rode down from Ontario and where making a big
After some gentle but direct nudging from an bass fishing expert on the West coast I rode my Vespa to Kissell Motorsports in State College, Pennsylvania and surrendered it into the care of the capable service staff to replace the broken centerstand.
This bass fishing expert (who never posts here) sent me an email reminding me of the obvious ? that I ride, not repair. He's right of course but I got the idea into my head that I wanted to do all the work. I have no doubt I could
The toll of too many winters of salt and slush? Whatever happened I need to replace the center stand on the Vespa GTS and there will be no further riding until I do. For now I'll let WD40 perform its magic.
The scooter seemed a little wobbly when I pushed it off the center stand this morning but it wasn't until I arrived at work and pulled the scooter onto the stand that I realized something was terribly wrong. A quick look and I saw the break.
Checked the damage
7am. Sitting in the driveway ready to ride a few miles down the road for breakfast. The plan was for my daughter and I to take a Sunday morning ride ? her on the Yamaha Vino and me on the steady Vespa. My friend Gordon inquired the previous evening about Sunday morning plans and I invited him along.
Three scooters on the road. A good plan. And like all plans subject to change.
At around 4am I received a text message from Aleta that she would probably not make the
Regardless of how hectic or chaotic an hour, day or week might be, a morning ride on the Vespa wipes away the noise. Road, wind and motion, that quiet meditation where all the world seems exactly as it should be. Or so it seems.
State College, Pennsylvania last Sunday morning, oddly empty, as if all the world was still asleep.
Why does the dawn come at such an inconvenient time of day?
Please excuse the absence of a riding related post. Junior has no patience for such nonsense as writing, editing, processing images or blogging in general. First things always come first he says, "Take me up on the mountain and let me swim, run and be a damn dog!"
Junior now returns your attention to browsing the web...
"The only journey is the one within.?
? Rainer Maria Rilke
And so a new day begins, a short journey from home to work save for the meandering divergence from the precise, economical, predictable route. Birds chuckle and the faint scent of grass lingers in the air; a few wandering steps following the camera's eye. Meetings today, one, two, three I think. And then the thought is gone, wiped away by the sharp, crackling of boot on gravel.
And the journey continues, short, small, significant in mind and memory.
The world when observed with
Magic moments -- sunrise and sunset -- the time of day where the world is a painting. Flying through the colored light on a Vespa, breathing in the glow of the world, my god how sweet life is. And for a few moments I can hear Jon Anderson whispering, "Dream on, on to the heart of the sunrise..."
Showing my age.
This morning I decided to ride in the rain to Saint's Cafe in State College, Pennsylvania. Watching the Weather.com radar map on my iPhone I postulated that I could make it into town before the orange and red blobs arrived.
I was wrong.
By the time I was on the road the rain started falling faster. By the traffic light at the end of the street my gloves were soaked and water was pouring through my vented riding pants.
A half mile farther and I could see rivers of water pouring
Fog and a gray white morning seeps into my body before I'm fully awake, drawing me from bed, whispering abandonment of all things save to be on the road. Riding towards work a line from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" -- Break the Gossamer Web of Some Dream swept through my head. I'd read that story just a few days earlier and now here it was again. Riding like a dream.
Those rides, dreamlike and dripping with excited expectation that world will be different, the view over the
Ducati Men. My friends Ken Hull and Paul Ruby posing this morning on the way to Way Fruit Farm in Stormstown, Pennsylvania for breakfast. A few miles down the road we'd run into a rural traffic jam -- three turkeys in the middle of the road resisting being herded off the pavement by a guy on an ATV and another on a bicycle. Should of stopped to make a picture but, well, I've seen turkeys on the road before.
The ride this morning reminded me of a question I hear a
Early this morning, on my way to meet Aleta and ride with her to her first riding day of the MSF course -- five hours of focused training on a riding range. Moments like these are quiet, serene and the weight of the world evaporates like smoke.
Too bad a person can't ride all the time.
I need to do something -- life seems like it's spinning out of control. Or maybe I'm just plain stupid and getting worse as time marches on. I've always enjoyed repeating one of
Received an email this morning from Don Barletta with a link to this animated film produced by the French graphic design studio NOMOON. It's a labor of love on their part and a visual love affair with Vespa for anyone like me who has it in their veins.
Yes, despite the many and varied motorcycles I have ridden, I remain a committed Vespa rider.
For more on this video and the Vespa story you can check the link at motorcycle.com where Don directed me.
Aleta is working her way towards becoming a hardcore scooter rider -- this picture taken over the weekend during a lull in the rain during a 100 mile ride. Her first long trip had a little of everything -- weather, traffic, distance and winding roads. Soon she'll graduate from my guidance to the professional training offered through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program.
I told her a little rain wouldn't hurt her.
Aleta is riding her Yamaha Vino while I lead the way on the Vespa. Trying out the Camera Bag 2
The sun finally came out and if it weren't for the wind I could almost believe it was spring. I'm tired of winter and riding has become a chore in itself of late. So it was nice to wander around on the scooter, collect some mud under the fenders and just live under a blue sky while it lasts. Still some snow and ice around in the shadows or on the mountains but nothing to worry about on the road save for the distracted drivers, whitetail deer, and copious amounts
Fourteen degrees and windy this morning when Junior and I made our way up the street to play ball. It was one of those mornings when even a dog pauses to consider the weather. I carefully inspected the street surface trying to differentiate how much loose dry snow on top of bare pavement was blowing around versus more tricky ice and adhering snow.
While Junior periodically chased the ball and then hunkered down in the snow I collected pertinent data and made a few riding calculations.
1. It's cold.
2. It's really cold.
A morning ride several weeks ago -- pushing, pushing through air, through space, pushing, gritting, standing, riding through the chill air, spine straight, neck extended, seeking, reaching, grasping for the day. Now, then, tomorrow. The Vespa pushes the asphalt, slicing through space towards a destination.
At 65mph at 35F the air feels cold. The Vespa provides little protection without a windshield or hand guards. With heated gloves at home I am having the naked riding experience. Armored against the cold as best I can it's always waiting, restlessly searching for an
A groan of displeasure in response to the 8F displayed on my iPhone woke poor Junior. That was a month ago but the memory is fresh. Not because of any notable event during the ride to work. It's memorable because of the frustration and anger that can be generated in the preparation for riding in cold weather and how that can affect the ride itself.
The first cue that something was wrong appeared as I was pulling on my Tourmaster Overpants and I realized I had forgotten to put long underwear
Gerbing is as good as their word -- a brand new pair of leather, G3 heated gloves. My old ones failed and they replaced them. I'm a confirmed Gerbing rider. And when I got home from work tonight I had to try them out during a trip into town. While the Vespa was idling in the driveway I plugged the new gloves in and felt warmth almost instantly. Really warm. And the new gloves have heated palms.
I knew there would be some ice to experiment with nearby and I