30.5 June/1 July 2009-Italian Bike Night Report (Mark)

1830 at the New York Deli.  Will be a small but distinguished group as is our tradition.  Report to follow…

Success!  We had a great time at the New York Deli.  Seven bikes with nine people showed up and we hung out for nearly 2 hours enjoying good food and company.  I rode the ST4S with Shelley, Mike rode his Aprilia RSV with his son Patrick, Steve arrived aboard his Monster, Matt on his Aprilia Tuono and he had a couple of friends join him as well.  They were brothers Steve on his Tuono and (name please!) on his new Suzuki SV650.  We also had Patrick show on his now extremely well kept and blingy 996.  There is a good food variety there and I’d easily go many more times to sample the menu more fully.  Everyone’s bike looked fantastic and very clean.  Mike is running some new Michelin Pilot Road2 tires which have a very aggressive rain groove pattern.  They look sweet as far as tires go.  He said he got them from and installed at Turn One Performance in Milton.  I had recommended Turn One to him and he said he was extremely pleased with the service and would definitely be a repeat customer.  That’s high praise as Mike’s hard to please sometimes.    Our next get together is tentatively planned for Tuesday the 14th of July, 1830 hrs. at the same place in 2 weeks.  LT, I wasn’t going to push for a change of day since you said you’re “not riding any more until the fall” and the guys seemed to like Tuesday.  Any desires let me know.

Possible ride this Friday morning through Blackwater.  If anyone is interested let me know.  It’ll be an 0700-1100 kind of affair.  I already have a couple of tentative “yes” replies.

29 June 2009-What I did this summer (Mark)

Okay, crappy title, I agree.  As I started to type though I thought of grade school and the anual report titled the same.  Onward…

I stopped by to see LT yesterday afternoon just to verify he was actually home.  He was.  Knee deep moving items “A” to location “B” so that location “B” items can move to location “A”.  He keeps finding ways to make himself busy.  Nature of the beast.  No, I wasn’t even heart broken that he didn’t walk around the corner to check out my new bike.  😉  I did actually procure one of his items for it though.  Even though he calls his business “Desmo Times”, he still can get plenty of farkel for any two wheeler.  Thanks dude!

Saturday morning I went for a ride with Michael, Matt and his buddy Gerald.  We had a mixed bag of bikes.  I took out the ZX14 (will take the ST4S out tomorrow), Michael had his ever improving Tricolore S4RS, Matt on his Tuono and Gerald on his new CRB1000RR.  I tested my top speed, Michael removed his chickin’ strips, Matt kept a good pace for Gerald and Gerald learned a new route.  We had an uneventful ride through our standard stomping grounds with a good time had by all.  We were back at our perspective homes by 1100 as the day heated up.  Total time start to finish…4 hours.

Sunday I took my lovely wife Shelley out for a beach trip on the new bike.  She’ll ride in pretty much any weather, unlike some people with lots of motorcycles that max PT tests and are in the best condition of their lives here in the Pensacol area (sorry, couldn’t resist).  The weather was wonderful and a bit cooler down off the water.  We stopped for lunch in Gulf Shores at LuLu’s, a waterfront restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister, LuLu.  It was a nice, relaxing “something to do” on our first anniversary.  We’d been celebrating in our own way all weekend with various events.

I’m still fiddling with the 14’s suspension a bit.  I NEED an extra set of skilled hands to help take some additional measurements.  I’ll ask again this weekend.  The ST still needs it’s factory rear Ohlins shock rebuilt.  I HOPE to send it out some time in August so I can have it back installed for mid-September when I am going to try to get off work to go the the anual Ducs Fly South get together up in Hiawassee, Georgia for a 3 day getaway.  We shall see.  The 999 is still up for sale on consignment at Pensacola Motorsports.  Lots of interest from drooling bikers with no cash.  It definitely stands out in the crowd up there.  That’s it for now.  Enjoy the rest of your Monday.

28 June 2009-Concessions to my current state of tune (Ken)

Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later: one of my Ducks would become too uncomfortable to ride given my different injuries and would have to move on to another owner. Whatever function that motorcycle fit, be it sport bike, naked, tourer, would have to be filled by something else, but the Duck would have to go.

I suppose that given my injuries (back, neck, shoulders, and knees being the highlights) most of you would expect that the 999S would be the first to go; however, that’s just not the case. In fact, the 999S is actually quite comfortable for me to ride and makes for great physical therapy. The bike that’s finally tripped the switch for me is my 2004 Black Multistrada. This might be counter-intuitive; however, the step-over getting on and off the bike just tears my back up every time I swing a leg over no matter what tricks I try to get around it. To add insult to injury, this is the bike that has two Hepco Becker 45 Liter Aluminum Sidecases fitted with permanent mounts and a Hepco Becker 35 Liter Aluminum Topcase on a back rack. So, my motorcycle with the most touring capability is the one that now needs to find a new home.

I hate to say this, but the easiest answer is strip the bags and mounts and trade the bike in for something else. Will I get hosed on the price, most likely; however, holding onto the bike risks me actually getting less than the dealer is willing to offer.

Now here comes the bombshell: I’m actually considering going over to the dark side completely.

Why such an extreme change? Well, Ducati does not seem to have what I’m looking for in the touring category (not even with the Multistrada replacement that is upcoming); BMW motorcycles (of which I once had an R1200RT) don’t really get my juices flowing, and the rest of those available out there just don’t do it for me. So, why go with a Harley? Well, I suppose it’s because they’re hurting so bad for customers right now and they’ve finally started to come around to the idea that improving their bikes is necessary to keeping the company alive.

For example, ABS is just about standard on their touring models now, as is a new frame and suspension for 2009. Oh, and you can actually walk into a dealer and buy bikes for the MSRP now: compare this to ten years ago where you waited months or years to get a bike and had to pay a markup of thousands of dollars to “join the club” or become one of the anointed if you prefer. Having owned two Harleys back in 1999 and 2001 (a 1200 Sportster and Road King, respectively) I can tell you that owning one of these motorcycles does not make your hair grow if you are bald, add inches below the waist, or make you into some kind of criminal no matter how much leather you wear or how little you bathe or shave.

What I can say is that they’re finally starting to realize is that the generations that are buying bikes now (i.e. not the Baby Boomers) expect the bike to run correctly from the factory (no more “Harley Tax” to get a bike that will actually run as it should), have safety and convince features on par with other motorcycles in the same price range, and that playing “hard to get” with customers is the easiest way to get an “about-face” and movement on to another dealer (something I did with the locals when they asked if I was looking to “trade up” from my 999S).

What will the future hold if I go through with this as expected? Well, I suppose my Ural will get two cases to attach to the sidecar. My S2R1000 with get a top case attached somehow to the frame rails. As to the Harley, it will be my long-distance rig to take one of my nephews out for a ride while the other rides the R1200RT with my brother. Will it replace my Ural, the 999S, the ’95 SS SP, or the S2R1000? Not for an instant. Each bike has a connection that cannot be replaced by anything else in my arsenal. This would be like adding an old Cadillac to your garage and expecting it to replace an old CJ-5 and a couple of sports cars. Not going to happen.

Too bad it had to work out this way; I really wanted to pass the Multistrada on to another person and not a nameless dealership buyer, but this is just the way it’s working out.

Ride safe,

Ken

23 June 2009 “Momentary Lapse of Reason” billg

Yes, it may have well been a momentary lapse of reason, and fittingly so that was the album I listened to on the way up to Watkinsville, Georgia. On the way home I broke out an old favorite, Hysteria. I had done it. I had either stepped up or beyond, and to tell the truth I wont know that for sure until I get use to the F1098. Once I got her home, off with the rabbit ears and on with the CRG’s. Then just a short ride. I was totally exhausted from getting up early and enduring the drive to Athens and back.

A Face Only A Mother Could Love

A Face Only A Mother Could Love

As all “First Dates” go, I had some adjusting to do. I’m using my toes to stand her up. Not a problem since I don’t ride with my feet down. What amazed me on first sitting on the Street Fighter was how tight the midsection was. When you pinch the tank, it almost feels like you are about to have your knees touch through the tank. Next thing you notice is how the heat shield kicks your heel out if you ride on your toes like I do. Since I’ve yet to drag a knee, I’m not too concerned with it. The left side heel protector somewhat does the same to a lesser extent to keep you off the swing arm. There is plenty of room for long legged people like LT. I have to make a concerted effort to get my ass to touch the back of the seat rest. Considering the engine in this puppy, being back on the seat is probably not a good idea for my 155 pounds of meat and bones.

Even though I’m still in the midst of breaking it in, there is so much pull that I lean forward to counter the force that wants to have the bike leave out from under me. The dash takes a little getting use to. It’s new. New things require thought. Multi-function switches keep the controls to an up menu, separated by the turn signal cancel “nub”, and the down menu. The turn signal alone is probably the weirdest. Instead of the usual single button that cancels when you push it in, the Street Fighter uses a button within the turn signal switch that is small and must be pushed squarely in order to cancel a turn. I do like the high beam switch. It is more of a flapper button. Like a traditional “flash to pass” you pull in to toggle the momentary high beam, but if you deflect it forward or downward, it toggle to high beams on, toggle it forward once more to cancel.

Enough techno-babble. How-zit ride? For me it is a lot of bike. Stock tuning around 4200rpm and below sucks. Thanks to Euro3, many people will be tuning to rid the bike of it. I spoke to Jason at FatDuc and he feels the Manipulator will cure the woes. Maybe that box will arrive by Wednesday. It really is the only bad feel you get riding it in stock tune. With the 1098 it just amplifies it as the motor stumbles from gentle take offs and hits 4200rpm, then the giant awakens. Once that gets sorted, roll ons will be more confident, especially in turns where first gear is needed.

The shifting is good. Some early “reports” of false neutrals have not found thier way onto my bike. Granted I have not done any power shifting, as I’m sure this thing will rocket when it is in the right hands. Initially the brakes were an eye opener. Coming from two piece brembos, the amount of force is half. After a few stints you relearn to use less pull and can either maintain a two finger grab or stick with one finger. I know that when I jumped back on the S2R, I was shocked once again with brakes that were not there. Certain people that own many Ducs will probably not give it a passing thought… LT.

Seating is comfortable. The seat is thin in comparison to many bikes, but I think Ducati did it right. There is support, grip, and ease of movement. The side pipes do keep the heat off your arse, unless you sit at a light, then the rear cylinder will remind you that like any Duc, the temps rise and you stare at the guages to make sure you don’t sit too long. There is no engine temperature. Instead there is a stack of LED chicklets on the center of the dash. Visual cues tell you more chicklets complete the upward climb if you sit too long. Warm up time seem quicker in comparison to my ST3.

I think that while it does not sit as agressively as a sport bike, you do tend to ride relaxed when not on the power, and lean forward naturally as needed. With no windshield, it only take about 65mph to start taking the weight off your hands as you lean against nature. If you don’t have a good fitting helmet, you will damn sure be buying one. At speed you can still be upright, but will most likely want to ease forward and down to keep the buffeting out of the bottom of the helmet. When you do lean forward, you’re not really on the tank, you’re sort of on the front of the tank with a nice view of the asphalt ripping by as you inspect the front fender for any bug impacts.

Suspension is totally not set for me. As LT mentioned in his twittle thing, it is a bit hard. The icing is of course the traction control. I didn’t notice it on my test ride, but did see/feel it on one ride as I jumped onto my favorite bypass. It’s nice to know you have an Italian co-pilot when you accidentally ask for too much power. I would imagine those who have a knack for thrashing power, Mark, would end up saving some tire for quite a few extra miles rather than having them spin up, leaving valuable rubber in some lonely corner of a road. I’ve said it before, the traction control can be a great tool to learn where the line is, so that next time you come up to that line, maybe it doesn’t kick in. Or you could just have fun with it.

The only trouble I have had is the fuel line in the tank disconnected the other night. I was only a few miles from the house. A passerby helped watch the bike, while the local police gave me a lift home to fetch the jeep and trailer. I tore it down and had it back running that night for the next day. Paul at NPR was a great help in taking my call on a Saturday night to confirm the diagnosis. And what fun to tear into a two day old bike! I mean I will eventually have to do it anyway and I would rather sort things out near home than 30 miles away which was where I was heading! Lucky Break!

That’s it for now. I still plan on riding to Florida on the weekend of the 4th, and hopefully get the low rpm sorted. I think the bike has lots of potential, striking looks, and it really does make a statement even when parked. If the Hyper seemed like some skinny cat on crack, the F1098 is like an old S4RS, that started hanging out with Barry Bonds and Lou Ferrigno, ending up on the sauce and ripping at the seams for some tasty asphalt sandwiches. I’m sure LT will elaborate on things when he gets his ass back to P-cola and places an order for the S model :)

20 June 2009 “Two Minus One, Plus One Equals…” billg

Just a short post. I’m totally drained from the long day. Got up bright and early to take the ST3 up to NPR Ducati and trade her in on my new Red SF1098s. I ditched the rabbit ears and put CRG’s on. Only took a short ride to town to get something to eat. Hopefully get rested up and get up early to ride. It would be a form of motorcycle water boarding if I were to ride any later than 10am.

16 June 2009 “Damn The Torpedoes…” billg

Funny how an interest leads to research; which leads to intrigue; which leads to a test ride; which leads to a decision. I’d like to take this time to thank my ST3s for being my first Ducati. She did well in introducing me to my next phase of bikes. I have no regrets of where I came from riding an old 72 Yamaha RD350 in college at the age of 22; to putting in my best efforts of riding motocross at the ripe old age of 30 (I was slow, but I did love it); to hanging up my boots (I still have them “just in case”) at 45; to picking up a Honda Shadow that totally disappointed me with no power, crappy suspension and left me with a desire for more. To my two other Yamahas, the 1100 Classic that still has some of the best lines of any cruiser I have laid eyes on… but still lacked power even after ditching the pipes for window shaking SideBurners which looked like someone took them off a semi truck and onto my last cruiser, the Yamaha Midnight Roadliner, with its’ nearly 2 liter engine and enough torque to pull tree stumps.

But something was missing and something wasn’t right. Why do I have to keep adding weight with power? What the hell does someone do when 800 pounds of steel is reminding you of Newton’s law of an object in motion tends to stay in motion… and stopping or steering 800 pounds is a lot of motion to conteract. It was on one trip to Atlanta for one of the bike show. And there was that red oasis and the bike I had read about but never seen in person. The Monster. I’m usually quick to decide if I like something and my friend with me already knew it when I sat on one of the bikes. I just could not get over the trellis frame. Everything exposed. No hidden agenda. All power and the only thing fat was the sound. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

It was not long after that trip that I had my mind set. “I need a second bike”. Everyone should have a second bike. A chicken in every pot and two bikes in the garage! Initially I planned on keeping the Roadliner, but after I got my ST3s, it was over. I saw no reason to confuse my senses. Why be a passenger on a cruiser, when you can pilot a Ducati. I have nothing against those who find solice in cruising, it just was not what I wanted. I wanted more control of the power. Less weight and for some of us, to take the path less traveled by buying a Ducati.

It takes a very conscious effort to not buy an inline four, but for me it seemed natural. I had ridden single and twins all the time. And now here is the ST3 with that same low end grunt and a sound that reminds me of how early Formula One cars sound. High revs from a two cylinder just does it for me.

All along I had intentions of making sure I was outfitted proper. Lots of bag space on all my previous bikes. I even did the same routine on the ST. Got to make sure I take enough JIC crap (just in case), ’cause you never know you may have to rebuild the motor on the roadside. And that’s not to mention all the other things I would add to “the kit”. It didn’t take long before I got fed up lugging all this crap around when all I really only wanted to do was ride. It just became self defeating. A preoccupation. A nuisance. So I stopped using my hard bags and it was not long before I added the S2R1000 to the mix.

Wow. It’s like if the ST3 was drinking beer, the S2R was shots of Jeagermeister! Holy crap, the fun factor jumped ten fold. And still no regrets. Each decision, whether it’s wrong or right will eventually take you down the right path.

It didn’t take long before the miles on the S2R catapulted past the ST3. It was sort of like I stopped calling her, only showed up when I was drunk (the S2R down for service) and quickly ditched her for that whore S2R whenever I could. Maybe the ST3 is too pretty. Too refined. Too proper. I needed that whore of an S2R and her loud mouth report each time I went through the gears. Maybe whore is not quite what she is, but I liked what the result was whenver I needed some! Maybe the ST3 thinks the S2R is a whore just from being passed over. I mean the ST dresses nicer. Doesn’t offend people by exposing her frame as much. Sort of low profile in contrast to that skunk striped beast. The ST3 would ponder, “What could she possibly have that I don’t, I mean really she’s naked!”

And Bingo! It all makes sense. I am after just the essentials. If my bike was a woman, it would be a cave woman. Just the basics of rawness that can survive and thrive with not a care in the world about the modern bikes latest dress code.  She can throw down with the best in her class and carry herself with the appeal of what makes a bike, a bike. Two wheels and an engine. No lettuce, no cheese,  or special sauce & that damned sesame seed bun.

So logically when the Street Fighter emerged from fictional drawings, rumored skunk works and top secret spy photos, it was all a matter of time. Ducati had me from “hello” and while there are crappy things happening with the economy, and there never seems to be a perfect time for planetary alignment and double confirmation from my Ouija Board… I say Damed the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead. I might be riding a Red S Model come Saturday. So please keep your women and children inside as this is a true Red Light District affair and she cusses worse than the S2R ever could!

14.5 June 2009 “Welcome To Catalunya” billg

Well this mornings QP for the Catalunya race was fantastic to watch. Lorenzo looks good. Rossi looks good. Err Stoner is not so optimistic. The limited testing is really taking its toll on Ducati. One good thing that has come from this weekends prep was that the fine folks at Ducati put in a lot of time to totally reconfigure Nicky’s bike. Instead of the usual bottom feeder position, he actually was putting in good laps that had him as high as 8th. Not great, but hell we’ll take it. You don’t win in the “team” category if only one of the five Ducati’s is doing anything worth talking about. I mean it does not bode well if Casey wins and all the other Ducati riders place 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th. Again, I think the limited testing is hurting them especially as Fiat Yamaha seems to have their shit squared away.

Catalunya is another exciting track. High speed sweeps that put the hair on your neck on end. I really like the track design. And with temperatures in the 90’s and the track well over 120 degrees F, man those tires will be slick as snot.

We can only hope that during WUP, Casey and the rest of the Ducati clan, can find a little more edge, otherwise it will be a Yamaha 1-2. And please if anyone does do the “praying thing”, please think of Pedrosa and keep his ass on two wheels. He had to ditch the bike during qualifying after running into the pea gravel and it is not pleasant seeing him go down with the bad right hip. He gets the brass balls award for sure. His team mate is right behind him in points, but the hungry Marco Melandri on the lone Kaw is lurking to pass them both up if they don’t start putting some distance and some points between them.

One other interesting note is that Gabor Talmacsi will make his GP debut. Moving up from from being 11th in points in the 250 class and a former 125 champion. His joining Scott Racing (Honda) has placed the team with a zero margin for error. They only have two bikes between Talmasci and Yuki Takahashi. Maybe someone at Honda can do them a solid? And they plan on running both for the rest of the year. Heaven forbid another wet/dry race and they end up doing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” over who will race that day.

FIM also held some meetings on the new proposed 600 Class in which teams were picked, but not announced. More than a few teams that wanted to run were either given stand by status or told, “Thanks for Playing”. This class could very well be a battle royal since the bikes will be more like one you’d buy, unlike the GP class… what wins on Sunday…

Anyway, I wont post any spoils tomorrow and I hope you get to see it online as I plan to.

14 June 2009- Uh oh…oh, never mind (Mark)

Back in the 90’s while living in Goldsboro, North Carolina stationed there in the Air Force, I was hot and heavy into guns like many of my friends.  While out at the range one day, a friend of mine offered to trade rifles for a few rounds.  He was shooting his M-1 Garand and I was currently shooting my Ruger 10-22.  For those “non” gun guys, his was a powerful 30-06 caliber and mine a small .22 caliber.  We began.  It was after a couple of rounds I noticed that he would pull the trigger, then look at the rifle as if something was wrong.  I asked since my rifle never misfired and he said he didn’t think it was firing.  A quick check showed it was.  The problem was the significantly less amount of recoil (none) of the .22 as compared to his 30-06.  Funny stuff, perception.

That story brings me to an interesting experience yesterday.  I took my ZX14 out for a quick jaunt with all the new goodies installed.  Sweet ride with gobs, nay, mountains of power.  When I returned home I figured “what the heck?”, my ST4S has 100 miles on the tank of fuel, I’ll go fill it up.  It fired right up, just like usual.  I let it warm up for a couple of minutes then climbed aboard and headed out.  During the ride I kept feeling like something may be wrong.  It seemed a bit rough and down on power.  On the return leg I cracked the throttle now that it was warmed up completely and it sprang to life…as usual.  Hmm…nothing wrong, nice idle too.  Then it hit me.  I was down roughly 80 horsepower from a half hour prior.  Man, I got spoiled quick.

Let’s take a look at the “factory” numbers on the two bikes:

2002 Ducati ST4S:  Dry weight – 467lbs.; Wheel base – 56.3 inches; 117 crank horsepower at 8750 rpm with 72 ft.lbs. of torque.

2008 Kawasaki ZX14:  Dry weight 493lbs.; Wheel base – 57.5 inches; 193 crank horsepower at 9500 rpm with 113 ft.lbs. of torque.

The result?  The ZX only weighs 26 more pounds DRY; it’s wheel base is only 1.2 inches longer; it puts out an additional 76 horsepower with an additional 41 ft.lbs. of torque.  Ayeee chiuawa!

Those numbers being posted, I also got to fully appreciate the Ducati twin vs. the in-line four experiences.  Each uniquely different and each with it’s place.  I’ve made a good choice with my two similar mission machines which each are uniquely different to ride.

Enjoy your Sunday.  Welcome back LT!

13 June 2009- The Sausage Creature Revisited (Ken)

Almost fifteen years ago Hunter S. Thompson wrote an article (I believe it was for Cycle World) titled “Song of the Sausage Creature” about his encounter with a 1995 Ducati 900 Supersport SP (a motorcycle that I myself own – one among several, but more about that later). I can remember keenly that at the time people were writing into the offending publication for at least the next few months on either side of the “love it” or “hate it” side of the debate, many of those in the “hate it” camp expressing a desire to sever their subscription “with great haste.” As the years have passed, and I’ve come to understand the Sausage Creature in my own way, I wonder how the years might have changed the readership to be either more or less accepting of the prose as it was originally written. I suspect that the days of such excessive page usage in the pursuit of an idea fundamental to life, but still an intangible, would render Thompson’s writing too esoteric for the advertisement and sponsor hungry publications as they exist today.

As to my understanding of the Sausage Creature, let us just say that Thompson’s description of a beast waiting for those who have found themselves with a hand of Aces and Eights has been witnessed firsthand. While others count themselves lucky when the road disappears before them and only a reckless throwing of their bike to the side, the holding of the tires to dirt-strewn pavement, and the clearing of traffic allows them to escape impaling themselves on a overpass embankment, I will tell you another tale – the beast was there the entire time. The distraction, the target fixation, the slack muscles – all of this had the shade drawn halfway across your grave before you knew anything was even amiss. Your safe escape from the trap set left the beast displeased; disgruntled as only a figment of imagination can really be. It was left to slink off not to Bethlehem, but to someone talking on a cell phone and eating chicken parts from a cardboard box, perhaps to dream of a rear-end collision or maybe even striking a couple of people on bicycles as they made their way up a long hill – the beast savors them best when they hit the spot as the hill starts to level off and they think it’s getting a little easier to pedal – those are extra special tasty.

Why such a dark view of the world? I suppose it’s from having watched shrapnel (literally watched – like in a cartoon) fly out of an explosion a few hundred feet away, only having enough time to turn my head and pull back in hope of not seeing the beast sink teeth into a Soldier standing next to me. On that day the shadow of the beast was thick, like being in a dark cloud that was slowing everything around me, until the shrapnel skidded off the helmet of George and instead of an arterial spray I heard the words “I’m okay.” At that moment, the beast moved off again, perhaps to feed from the barrel of a howitzer or an attack helicopter. No matter, on that day we gave no meat to the beast from one of our own.

Why should the beast trouble us so? Ah, the easy treats are put from bag to mouth without so much as even tasting them. We hurtle along, mostly unprotected in our enclosures of leather and plastic, a delicate structure of crunchy and squishy parts navigating our way through a mobile obstacle course of moving metal boxes subject to changing weather and road conditions. If you were looking for a snack in your cupboard, would you rather open a plastic bag or a safe? Ah, it’s no wonder that so many old men converge around a motorcycle as it pulls into a gas station or coffee shop. Their bones ache at fracture points, joints catch where torn, and yet their pulses quicken like the gazelles they once were, again testing the wind with other prey for the approach of the beast as they hobble out to marvel at the two-wheeled machine that stirs their memories as it does their blood.

So where does this leave a supposed “safe” rider as they literally balance themselves between thrill and spill as the jaws of the beast snap at their heels? Maybe it’s to throw another piece of bait into the jaws and save yourself, as the feeding need not always be blood. Perhaps a highway cruise at a quick pace invites a less knowledgeable rider or driver to match speeds or even pass you in an attempt to secure their perceived dominance in the pack. Oh, they never saw the beast in State Police Blue running RADAR up ahead; score one for the beast as the ticket is written. As to you, you dropped back behind a van and despite your race exhaust and bright red motorcycle the boys in blue don’t even give you a second glance. Like feeding the lions at the zoo, it was mostly harmless and more importantly, you were not on the menu.

So, keep the Sausage Creature in mind as you go about your business and remember that while it can be thrown off by giving it snacks, it ends up getting all of us in the end, even old Hunter S.

12.5 June 2009- Pics for the reading impared (Mark)

Here are the promised pictures of the bike.  Just click on image for larger view…