March 29, 2015 = pick up day
Recap…this blog has been a bit sleepy because well? I haven’t been doing much since October 17th, 2015 except trying to heal from my crash.
I feel like I am always saying good bye to something…this time it’s my brand new 2015 BMW 1200GS. Totaled on October 17, 2015 only after owning her for 3 months. Welcoming back will be my loaded 2013 BMW F800GS.
October 17th, 2015 was a new adventure for me. I crashed and totaled my brand new 2015 BMW 1200GSW. Some were hoping this would be my wake up call hoping I would not want to ever ride again. I wonder if those same people question those who have been in a car crash? I digress.
My life with my bike(s) has been full of LIFE. Exploration, going places I would never dream about going in a car. Meeting so many people who don’t share my passion about bikes but want to know “how do you do this alone?” What is it like to ride in bad weather? Don’t you get scared? Aren’t you worried you will crash and die?
My life with my bike(s) has been about meeting people who share my passion and want to exchange stories.
Well, the later question is easy, not one I hope many experience but was I worried I would ever crash and die? Yes. It’s the truth. Always in the back of my brain, somewhere was that thought but I was never scared for that day if and when it happened.
What scared the crap out of me on October 17th was the fact I had precious cargo on board. I never envisioned myself jeopardizing another life all the while doing what I LOVE and know can be dangerous. I mean pretty much just living can be dangerous into today’s society but we all know riding on two wheels, exposed to many things makes us more vulnerable to “accidents” and injuries.
BMW stumbled over a rampant global sales success when they released the R nineT. The world went nuts for the air-cooled retro roadster, leaving the factory struggling to keep pace with demand, and as hungry owners twiddled their thumbs for delivery, bikes were changing hands in the order queue at a £1000 premium over the retail price.
Now, two years on from the first unveiling of their nineT, BMW are set to add to the range with up to four further models based on the same platform – as imagined here by our MCN’s talented illustrator. But rather than going high-end with a bejewelled version, the new range will be built around the exact opposite – a budget version fit for customisation.
The first bike expected to arrive will be a Scrambler, something BMW have already as good as confirmed with ‘Path 22’, their bonkers surfboard-equipped concept bike shown in June this year. While that boasted a smattering of Öhlins, Akrapovic exhausts and a 9ft surfboard, we’d expect the production version to be somewhat more conventional, and certainly sans surfboard!
What was immediately clear from the concept though was that the new iterations will have a cheaper-to-produce steel petrol tank, more budget suspension, and alloy wheels instead of expensive laced rims. The brakes are also likely to be taken from a cheaper parts bin, while the nineT’s pressed aluminium trinkets and costly exhaust are also likely to be casualties of the lower price tag.
We expect the Scrambler to be released in production form at next month’s Milan show, but our German sources suggest that this bike is just the tip of the iceberg with a four-bike family set to sit beneath the R nineT in terms of spec and price.
While they may be another year or so away from being unveiled, we believe the Scrambler will be joined by a back-to-basics roadster that more closely mimics the nineT’s styling, and offers owners an ideal blank canvass from which to build their own vision of boxer perfection. Arguably more attractive though is the suggestion that there will be a GS-esque version that draws inspiration from the original R80G/S of 1981. Described as looking not unlike the original Paris-Dakar bikes, it’s sure to attract riders who don’t see themselves in the hipster camp, but who want the retro vibe. It’s interesting that when BMW released the HP2 Enduro in 2005, no-one wanted it. The Megamoto of 2007 didn’t fare much better, while the HP2 Sport was an instant – if small volume – icon. Proof, maybe, that timing is everything. The rare Enduro now commands upwards of £12k if you can find one (there’s one on mcnbikesforsale.com right now for £12.5k), while other retro offerings from the same period, Ducati’s Sport Classic springs to mind, are also soaring in demand, and value.
Ducati’s experience leads us neatly to the fourth of the rumoured bikes, which is expected to be a café-racer described as having a seat unit similar to Moto Guzzi’s V7 Racer, and an Imola-style nose cowl that’s redolent of Ducati’s Sport 1000.
The base model roadster is expected to arrive at sub-£8000 to compete heavily with the rest of the burgeoning sector for retro roadsters, while the three pre-styled models are likely to command a slight premium, but to still limbo neatly under the £8500 bar.
I have moved back to the States from Canada just a little over 2 months ago. The Transition back has been not without complications.
A dear Virtual friend writes from his heart about a topic not many talk about. I congratulate George for taking the time and having the courage to share his own personal story and journey.
Please visit George’s blog by clicking the below link….👍
I’ll get straight to the point—I’ve been going through a rough patch. In brief, my last remaining grandparent, my maternal grandmother, is quickly reaching the end of her life. Combined with a very busy and stressful time at work at the moment, this has caused me to re-evaluate my own life—doing so has caused depression and anxiety (D&A) to bubble up after so many successfully years of keeping it under the surface. This has caused some apathy and a loss of focus on the things I normally love doing, such as motorbiking and keeping my blog regularly updated.
Many (and I will boldly say the majority of) people suffer D&A to varying degrees. I believe genetics play a part in being prone to D&A, as I can trace it up my family tree on my mum’s side. Because D&A is an ‘invisible’ illness, there is a stigma associated, and I feel the need to share what it’s like, from my perspective, to live with this, in the hopes that it will be of value to someone else. Doing so makes me feel exposed and somewhat vulnerable, but the stigma needs to be broken one person at a time.
In my own words:
- Depression: When you don’t care about anything.
- Anxiety: When you care too much about everything.
Like many people, for me these come as an ironic, vicious circle of a package. D&A leaves me conflicted—getting into a rut means I start worrying that I don’t care about anything, escalating into my mind running a million miles an hour. This triggers the fight-or-flight response meaning frequent adrenaline highs (butterflies in the stomach) and preventing wind-down at night which means really shitty sleeps—compounding everything.
My D&A causes me body/self image issues. Those who know me casually or professionally would likely say I am a confident, self-assured person holding my head up high, but in reality I have simply mastered the ability to project this image, or mask, or ‘gloss’. It’s what people expect—they don’t want to know what’s going on under the surface… and rightfully so, they have their own things to deal with.
In my own words:
- Self image: When you can’t see yourself the way other people see you.
- Narcissism: Seeking approval from others for your appearance, then hating yourself for doing it, then doing it again, over and over.
I fight with my self image every day. At its best it might be wishing I didn’t have dark circles around my eyes—at worst it’s coming to a realisation that other people love me more than I love myself. At the same time I recognise how stupid and illogical it is to suffer from this ridiculous condition.
Like a lot of people, I post far too many selfies of myself (aka gpoys, headshots etc). There is something oddly comforting about having people on Facebook or Instagram say nice things said about you and it gives a ‘quick fix’ to self image problems. However, it’s like opening Pandora’s box—do it once, and you want to relive the ‘high’ of the experience, so you do it again. My D&A then causes me to worry: “What if the next time no one likes the photo?”
Selfies allow so much control through lighting and angles that they are really an idealised image of one’s self. They give you the ability to present what, in your mind, is the perfect image of yourself—but they are not how other people see you. In essence, they are frauds—everyone knows this. So they don’t actually help improve self image issues in the long run.
Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, however, does help.
The photos at the end of this post were taken by one of my closest friends Andy, who has little photographic experience. I knew he was taking them but not *when* he was going to start snapping away, so there is an element of candidness—they are not posed. As a photographer, I know when people pose, they are attempting to form themselves into what they believe is their best look—facial expression, posture, angle etc—but this is almost never the case.
These are rare photos I can look at and not pick myself apart so much—I feel like I look a confident and sorted person for once, and I feel good about myself. I believe changing my appearance by growing out my beard to the ‘big’ stage has played a part as well. The picking is still there a little bit, bubbling away just below the surface—my shirt is one or two sizes larger than it should be, my beanie is turned up on one edge, I have sweat marks where my camera bag’s padded strap was pressing my shirt onto my skin (we’d just briskly walked more than 10 miles). Nevertheless, this is a huge step forward for me.
I completely understand that self/body image issues are ‘only in my mind’—yet I can’t stop it. Others may look at the photos and think ‘how could this person have body image issues’, or ‘he looks intimidating, I wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley’, or ‘he looks cuddly’, or ‘what a bruiser’—everyone applies their own preferences, tastes and biases to photos.
But for once, I’m ok with my appearance… ok that my Nordic/Viking genes have made me a barrel-chested, stocky-built person… ok that my Mediterranean genes have given me dark circles around my eyes… ok with the person I’ve become after 40 long years on this earth. And that makes today a good day.
One step at a time. For the minute I’ve moved forward with my self image—next is to move a step forward with my D&A. When my grandmother’s time comes, the funeral will help provide closure to that particular source of D&A. Spring is coming which means trips out to the byways on my bikes—one of my favourite ways of distancing myself from my troubles. Motorbiking requires 100% concentration—no time to dwell on other things.
I think the most effective way to deal with D&A is to believe that you will come through it. This
empowers you to make the changes required to choose to be a happier person. For some people that means changing a job or school, moving to a different city, removing the negativity from their lives. For others it is distracting themselves with activities they enjoy and not allowing themselves to get bored to the point that the D&A resurfaces. Everyone is different and there is no single answer.
Once things get better again—and they will get better—I will be in a good place to make regular blog entries again. Right now I’m taking some much-needed ‘me’ time. Until then, I continue to appreciate all the people who have read and commented on my past entries and hope to welcome you back soon. As always I will be monitoring and replying to comments, and I would be particularly grateful for your thoughts on this entry.
As a final note, thank you to Leslie from Advgrrl for encouraging me to publicly post this entry in the hopes that others may find benefit in reading it.
I wear plugs do you?
Want to keep riding for the long haul? You need to protect your hearing. Photo by Lance Oliver.
If we live long enough, the day may come (the horror!) when we’re too old and infirm to ride motorcycles. At that point, our greatest motorcycling joy may be when the grandkids say, “Grandpa, tell me again about the time you rode your motorcycle to Alaska and saw a bear.”
If you don’t hear them, and they wander off thinking Grandpa has gotten rude in his old age, you’ll really miss out.
That’s why you, as a rider, need to protect your hearing now.
I’m a major advocate for the use of earplugs. In our recent story by Jed Wheeler, “Seven things I wish someone had told me when I started riding,” there was discussion in the comments section about whether earplugs could reduce safety by preventing the rider from hearing other vehicles. It’s a natural concern, but both audiologists and the experience of many motorcyclists say that concern is unfounded.
But before we get to that, let’s answer the most basic question. Why do we need to worry about our ears, anyway?
Riding motorcycles can make you happier … and hard of hearing
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends that workers should not be exposed to sound levels above 85 decibels in an eight-hour work day, and notes that noise levels of 100 decibels become damaging to the ear after just 15 minutes of exposure. Testing done by researchers from the University of South Alabama and William Patterson University, using an acoustically engineered dummy head and microphones, found that at speeds above 40 kph (about 25 mph), wind noise surpassed any noise from the motorcycle. At the highest speed tested, 120 kph (about 74 mph), noise exceeded 100 decibels at all the frequencies they measured.
Put those two facts together and you get this: If you ride your motorcycle at highway speeds for more than 15 minutes without ear protection, you’re damaging your hearing.
And who wants to ride for just 15 minutes?
Certainly not me. As someone who enjoys few things more than a long motorcycle trip, I often spend eight hours, or more, in the saddle. It’s not what most would call a workday, but it’s an equivalent amount of time, so to meet that NIOSH standard, I have to get the full effect of the sound reduction that good earplugs provide.
Why earplugs make you safer
Our ears are not designed to work at 100 decibels. Humans didn’t evolve in an environment where we were riding motorcycles, operating chain saws, working in factories, etc.
And that’s why earplugs don’t reduce your safety. Earplugs don’t “block out” sounds you need to hear, such as sirens, other vehicles, horns blowing, and so on. They reduce the overall sound pressure so that your ears can operate in a more natural range. This lets you distinguish sounds better. You’re more likely to hear that siren because your ears aren’t overwhelmed with 100+ decibels of pressure.
In my experience, there’s another way wearing earplugs makes you safer. When I began using earplugs many years ago, I immediately noticed that I felt much less fatigued, especially on long rides. We’re all more likely to make mistakes when we’re tired. Using earplugs improves your odds.
So which earplugs should I buy?
I’m not going to tell you. Not because I’m trying to be unhelpful, but just because different solutions work for different individuals. Disposable foam earplugs work fine for most people. I’ve tried other kinds but I’ve always migrated back to that simple solution. The key with foam earplugs is using them correctly. Roll them tight, insert into the ear canal and let them expand to fill the space. If they feel loose, try again. Tugging upward and backward on the top of your ear with one hand while inserting the earplug with the other is helpful for many people because it straightens the ear canal.
Other kinds of earplugs are also available, up to custom-molded plugs made just for you. The good part is that none of the options are expensive, except for the custom-made earplugs, so you can experiment with different kinds and find what works best for you.
The sooner you begin taking steps to preserve your hearing, the better the results will sound.
There are many days since January 30th, 2014, the day my life to me turned upside down that I sit alone in solitude contemplating my future. After my wife left I was lost, there was chaos inside my whole being. Dramatic effect I have never really felt before. Lost and confused I reached out. I had to because I had no ability to defend my self against myself. Intimidating to say the least. I am a type A personality, I usually have control over most things, well…at least I think I do. When I was left after 17 years I had zero control over my emotions. Continue reading “Suffering in Silence”
Nothing like getting woken up at 0215 to three dogs barking in the house and then I made the mistake in letting them out and all hell broke loose. We have bears around as well as many other creatures. I did not see anything but the dogs had a scent.
So, innocent looking here Sierra and Cruizer Continue reading “Departure Day”
Departure date May 17, 2014 for 30 days. Plan – Vancouver, BC to North Carolina to Long Island, Upstate New York and back. Don’t know the route yet.
I have done quite a few big RR’s and smaller one’s but what makes this one different is I am no longer with my thought to be partner for life Cheryl. Let me back up…Cheryl and I were partners as common law for 15 years before she proposed to me in March 2012. In August of 2013 we had a destination wedding that turned out to be the best day of my life. We shared our relationship with 62 of our closest family and friends over a 2 day party. Continue reading ““If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” – Solo X Country 2014”