November 28, 2010


Since Gary raised the question...

Well, Gary... it's a bike. A means of transportation. A thing. I mount it, I ride it, and I get somewhere eventually. Nothing more than that... ;-)

Upon arrival at the dealer I was all sweaty hands and accelerated heartbeat nervous. I hadn't been on two wheels for seven weeks, and I didn't know how my knee would take the riding. I spent some time chatting with Rusty, the service manager to overcome the I-am-not-yet-ready state. Rusty rode the bike out of the shop into the dealer parking lot, and when I heard the familiar throbbing noise of my little thumper, and saw how squeaky clean and brand new she looked, all sinful thoughts about getting another two-wheeler were blown away in an instant.

My confidence increased with the familiar feel of the ideal (for me) seating position and height. I adjusted the mirrors, and went off on the highway without further ado. Cold wind whipped me in the face, and I had to adjust my scarf to cover mouth and nose. My leg didn't complain with the foot sitting on a brand new peg. The ride home was smooth, and the knowledge of replaced chain, fluids and break pads made me feel utterly safe. I took a little detour to get out of traffic. The bike did well, and it was as if we were never separated. And when I finally parked Nella in the garage, it was almost like I brought back home a brand new bike. I am in love all over again.

My baby is back!

After 49 days in the shop. And she looks prettier than ever with all new front right turn indicator, right rear mirror, wind screen, front mudguard, right fork tube, right footrest, right hand protector, right fairing panel, engine guard, and related spare parts. And since Nella was so patient, she got the 30,000km inspection on top, a couple of thousand klicks ahead of time. 

I took her out for a quick spin, and she was purring like a cat, and happy to be out in the open again. The roads were wet but cleared of snow, and with relatively mild temperatures around the 5C (40F) mark, it was a good feeling to be on two wheels again. If weather is like this I really get to appreciate my First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket, the lined Frank Thomas leather pants, and those awesome Alpine Ridge boots.

Distance: 40km
Weather: light rain, calm, 6C (43F)

November 22, 2010

Below zero

Old man winter has arrived, still ok for hiking, not so much for biking. In the shadows the roads were covered with surface hoar.
In higher elevations the snow started sticking around, but we needed a boost of vitamin D, and went out for a hike at Buntzen Lake anyway.
We followed the trail for about an hour until we heard a deep growling coming out of the bush scaring the living daylight out of us. Given our instant primal reaction, we were pretty sure it must have been a bad tempered animal of the furry kind (bear?). Thanks to hubby who kept his cool we resisted however the urge to just start running, but moved back out of the danger zone as quickly as possible.
Nevertheless we enjoyed a wonderful sunny weekend, and also revisited one of my favourite places: Pitt Lake. Not much snow on the ground, but the mountains look like sugar coated.
Empty cranberry fields, surrounded by puddles of melt water.
We were privileged to watch Mr and Mrs Bald Eagle.
Mrs Eagle is a little shy.
With views like this, winter doesn't always suck.

November 19, 2010

Go figure!

Snowfall warning in effect!

It is the first day of wet precipitation with big fat flurries thrown in the mix. It is also the first winter for my young colleague from the Northern Kiwi Island. But why he was beside himself with joy is beyond my comprehension. He doesn’t even ski! If it had been enough of the white stuff on the ground the team would have probably spent the rest of the day watching him building snowmen or making snow angels… from inside with a hot cuppa java, and the heat cranked up.

But coming to the point of my story… Guess who called me today? The shop! OF COURSE, my Nella is ready for pick-up on the very first day that you shouldn’t be on the road on two wheels.

Well, since the bike is already in their (good) hands, and inspection is due in less than 2,000 klicks, I decided to get over with it now, and got offered a 20% discount on the parts. Also, they provide free storage for the bike as long as the weather doesn’t allow a pick-up.

I am considerably excited. Nella will come back soon as good as new or even better!

Picture taken after 11PM on my way home:
(sorry for the bad quality)

November 18, 2010

Random ramblings

Getting all the wrong ideas for the right reasons. Or the other way round? Whatever... Don't mind the guys, of course I am talking about the new Triumph 800 / 800 XC. Any similarity with the BMW F650 is of course purely coincidental and unintended. But since I have a weak spot for the Triumph family I have to say I really, REALLY like it.

The weather at the We(s)t Coast is indeed WET. Big letters. Note to self: Need to buy rain coat (my winter coat is good in cold but fails under wet conditions).

Bad weather is good for making plans, to be more precise: travel plans. 
Germany - visiting family is always great, you instantly recall why you left (Mom, JUST KIDDING!!!)
New Zealand - the annual pilgrimage to headquarters - strictly business of course (PAAARTY!)
Maui - A week of sand and surf, cocktails and handsome... hubby. (YES!)

It is great to have something to look forward to. Life is good!

November 13, 2010

A Short History of Motorcycles (mine, that is...)

Taking up Geoff's challenge to find embarrassing motorcycle pictures I dug into my piles of old photos and memorabilia of my past... and came up with... nothing. Since childhood days there are not too many pictures of me. In fact I fiercely hated having my picture taken. Hence I can only contribute a picture of little me.

For photos with motorcycle related content it is pretty much the same. There is almost no visible evidence that I or my two-wheelers ever existed. I hold a motorcycle driver's license for almost twenty years, but alas, I didn't do a good job documenting this during the pre-digital era.

Other than Geoff, I had the good fortune of being born too late, and therefore the fashion of the 70's left me unscathed. My school uniform consisted of jeans, parka and sneakers. The attire hasn't changed much since, so instead of pictures taken in different decades, just imagine several younger me's dressed in exactly these.

I apologize to Geoff that I won't be able to return a few good chuckles on my account.

However, here is a complete list of my two-wheeled companions. You might notice, that at no time I have settled on a specific brand, model or style. See for yourself:

The first bunch: 1992 - 1998
1992-1993 '92 YAMAHA Virago 250
The beginning of my riding career
1993-1993 '89 SUZUKI DR600
No pic available, only briefly owned
1993-1994 '91 YAMAHA SR500
My beloved thumper
1994-1996 '88 HONDA XBR500
Where the heck is my ATGATT?
1995-1998 '95 VESPA ET4 125
My commuter vehicle, alas no picture of it
1996-1998 '85 BMW R80
My "Rubbercow"


Two-wheelers revisited: 2009 to current
2009-2010 '89 HONDA NT650 Hawk GT
My Ladyhawk
2009-2010 '05 HONDA FJS 600
Silver winging
2010-2011 '04 BMW F650GS
My (Citro)Nella, photo courtesy bobskoot
2011-2012 '06 VESPA GT200
Paolo, the little one 
2011-current '08 HARLEY DAVIDSON Sportster 883
Roving on Rover 

2013-2017 '13 VESPA GTS300 Supersport
Allons-y Alonzo
2010-current '08 VESPA GTS250
Bella, Roland's beauty.

November 12, 2010

To buy or not to buy

Given a tentative budget of approx. 2,000 bucks I started surfing around for a potential 'spare' bike. There are bikes that I like, but break my bank, and others that are more in my target price range. A classic triumph isn't the latter. Dang!
I am basically left with buying a used scooter or (taking cheap insurance into account) a collector bike. Alas, a collector bike usually requires a lot of TLC, and my vehicles live in an open parkade with no room (or approval) for maintenance or tools for that matter.
So I looked at the Honda JAZZ, but 50cc don't do it for me. Well, for me even a scooter must offer 125cc at minimum, and there are only a few models around. After some research I came across the Yamaha VINO 125 available for even less than my budget, and often including some added goodies like a windshield or top case.
It looks like a zippy fun ride. Ok, nothing to go touring, but good enough to scoot around in town. Seriously thinking about it.

November 06, 2010

No news is good news

Ya think? Yeah, I didn't think so either.
So I phoned up the shop today to ask for an update on Nella. Guess what, there are still parts one to four weeks away from being delivered. I wonder what special snail mail service they might be using. The longest lead-time items seem to be the fork tubes, which have to be brought in from the manufacturer. I was not aware that they were damaged, but that certainly explains the high repair cost estimate. My insurance will probably skyrocket on next renewal, that is if they still accept to insure me, big risk that I am.
Meanwhile my fellow traveler takes me on less risky expeditions such as hiking in the woods and mountains to keep my sanity in check and maintain my Zen. The tree is obviously the result of my current state of mind...