Monday, March 17, 2014

Super Moto Sunday!

Some of you will remember a ride I did to Cabo San Lucas in November.

LINK


The guys who went with me exhibited some serious street skills on those Baja highways and I asked them where they picked up that experience. All of them were fairly new Super Moto riders and suggested I attend a course.

So, fast forward a few months...



This weekend I enjoyed some Super Moto riding for the first time. For those not familiar with this type of racing, Super Moto is basically a dirt bike with street wheels AND it takes place on a track mixing three styles: flat track, motocross and road racing.

Wicked fun!

The instructor -- a friend of mine, champion rider Tim Weig -- said that Super Moto is basically “riding like you’re running from the police.” So it’s a combo of varying levels of traction (street, dirt) at really fast speeds.

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermoto): Super Moto was originally conceived as something like an all-star game, in which the best riders from the three separate genres of motorcycle racing could temporarily leave their normal race class to come together and compete for the title of best all-around racer.

The course was held at Adams Racetrack in Riverside, a medium sized go-kart track with an off-road section in the infield. Super Moto by definition must include a certain percentage (minimum 30% and up to 50%) of dirt, so the Adams track was perfect in having dirt sections of packed red clay and motocross-style obstacles like bermed corners and jumps. The Adams track consisted of some tight turns, fast straightaways and a small section of dirt (berms, turns and jumps).

While I never slid around the corner sideways like some of the more experienced riders, I'm pretty confident in the dirt so I really enjoyed the jumps (I'll post photos/videos of me catching some serious air).

The motorcycles provided by SoCal Super Moto were newer Suzuki DRZ 400s set up with road-racing wheels and tires.

The participants on Sunday wore a combination of road race and off-road equipment. I wore my cordura jacket/pants and motocross-style helmet and that I routinely use for dual sport and street; others wore motocross gear or full leathers.

More photos and info to follow, but I am still smiling from a most enjoyable time and highly recommend it to those interested in improving their street skills...or just having a blast on someone else's bike!

Here’s some info on Brian Murray who operates Socal Super Moto:

Business website www.socalsupermoto.com
5292 24th St
Riverside, CA 92509
Phone number (619) 224-6686

Socal Super Moto, Southern California's all inclusive supermoto school. Whether you ride a dirt bike, Harley or sportbike, just one day on a supermoto bike will transform your riding. You'll also have the best time you've ever had on two wheels. Just $199 for bike rental, training, trackfees, and photography.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Good-bye, old Katoom. (Hello new Katoom!)

UPDATE: I made it back from Oakland (510 miles to San Diego) in 8 hours. Encountered some rain, wind, lightning and the infamous Hell A traffic. Piece of cake.

The bike rides beautifully and I really think I'm gonna like this one. Hey, maybe I'll keep it for more than 3 months this time!

Now, to get it in some dirt!

*********************************************************************

Does this sound familiar?

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve sold the KTM I just bought in December! After barely 3 months and 1,500 miles, I had to let her go...

Here's a quick update on the continuing saga of my quest to find and buy "the Perfect Dual Sport bike" if there is such a thing...

As you may know, I bought a 2004 KTM 950 ADV a couple months ago. Almost right away, I realized that the bike just wasn't for me. Among other things, it had too many miles (30k) and I preferred a newer bike with EFI vs carbs.

So I put two bikes up for sale -- my trusty KLR and the KTM -- to finance another bike: a newer KTM 990 Adventure; they both sold right away.

After having no luck finding a 990 for sale (Craigslist, ADV Rider and eBay), I went proactive and put up some want ads. That got me some decent offers but none were really close.

I missed out on a really good one locally. It was a beaut but had too many miles for what they were asking. So my options were narrowed to a 2007 in Seattle or a 2010 in Oakland. I made the seller in OakTown an offeron his loaded 990 and will pick it this Saturday (a fun fly and ride deal).

In the meantime, a friend met me in Carlsbad this past weekend and let me ride his 990 ADV. Wow, that's quite a bike! We talked bikes over coffee and then I took the big girl for a spin down PCH. If I was on the fence about that bike at all, that ride put any qualms to rest. It is a super nice bike and makes my weeklong wait to get my own that much worse!

I fly to Oakland Saturday morning and should be back in San Diego that evening after a 500 mile ride down the coast that is supposed to be a little wet (the weatherman is calling for heavy rains!). Great way to break in a new-to-me bike...

Here are some photos to compare the two bikes (outgoing gray 950 and new orange 990):



Will update everyone when I have the new girl home.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good-bye, trusty KLR


Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve sold my beloved KLR. After just 2 years and 7,000+ miles, I had to let her go.

The reasons are varied and probably don’t make sense, but I had 3 bikes in my garage and couldn’t justify keeping all 3 if I wasn’t riding them all enough.

I put all 3 up for sale and sold the first two to get offers: My KLR and KTM 950 ADV went fast. Am looking at another bike soon, but will keep my Triumph for now.

I was asked by a friend why the KLR had to go. It was really about a recent Baja ride I did. Off pavement was fine, it was riding 4 full days of 75-85 MPH that convinced me that I need a long distance dual sport bike that holds up for lots of miles on a day-after-day basis. Many of you know that I’m an Iron Butt guy and put a lot of miles on my bikes so if I buy another Dual Sport, it’ll have to be something that is great off road and good enough on long distance asphalt.

Sure, I’ll miss my KLR. It was bulletproof and dang near perfect for the riding I do. But what I’ll miss the most is the camaraderie of the other KLRistas. The guys I rode with in Arizona, San Diego trails and Baja. And the fine folks I met at Eagle Mike’s tech days. There just isn’t another bike community like the KLR riders I met and rode with.

So I guess this is good-bye, KLR-wise.

For now, anyhow.

Monday, February 3, 2014

San Diego to Inuvik and Return (July 2014)

Here is the tentative route from San Diego to Inuvik, NT, Canada, and back I plan to ride this July.

And if I have the ganas* when I reach the northernmost drivable city in Canada, I may go ahead and ride up to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to see the Arctic from the US, too.

ROUTE LINK

Here are a couple of Ride Reports that have helped me plan for this ride:

Alaska Primer: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=788417&highlight=alaska+primer

The Lure of the Dempster: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=906146

Haul Road/Dalton Highway Primer: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=23085597#post23085597

And, yes…before you ask, this is one of those Bucket List things… I say it's never too late to have a happy childhood.

As Mark Twain put it: Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed with the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

* Spanish for desire, wherewithall, etc...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Camp-Ride Report: San Juan Trail and Blue Jay Campground, Jan 2014

Camp-Ride Report: San Juan Trail and Blue Jay Campground





I met up with fellow Christian and KLR rider Jeff for a go at the San Juan Trail off of the Ortega Highway (Hwy 74). Instead of taking my KLR, I brought along my slightly bigger and taller new acquisition — a KTM 950 Adventure — to see how it did in the rough stuff. More on that …

We agreed to meet at the Blue Jay Campground on Saturday afternoon to plan our ride. It also gave me time to shake out my camping gear. I rode up the I-15 north from San Diego to lake Elsinore. I stopped by the lookout to enjoy the view with others who had the same idea.

When I arrived at 3:45 PM, the 55-spot campground was almost full. I parked in one of the 3 available sites and strolled around the ground. Hearing a large and boisterous group of drunks nearby, maybe I should have moved right then… An Adventure Pass is required for stopping in a National Forest, so I zip-tied the pass I’d purchased at REI recently to one of my forks. The campground was reasonably-priced, costing less than $10 each for the night. Each of the campsites included vehicle parking, a flat area for tents, a wooden table, a grill and a firepit; restrooms and water were nearby.

This isn’t the type of camping I prefer, but it really wasn’t to bad at all for those who don’t mind camping near others in a more structured environment.

Jeff arrived shortly after I did and we set up camp and cooked up some chow as we discussed the next day’s ride. Jeff has a highly-modded 1992 KLR that is made for this stuff. We didn't snap any photos of our tents and bikes, but this is more or les what it looked like:

We talked until about 9:30 and called it a night. The party continued at the Blue Jay campground well past midnight (that’s what earplugs are for).

Up early the next morning, we took our time cooking breakfast and packing up camp. Hitting the nearby San Juan Trail, I was a bit more loaded down than I would’ve liked…but how tough could the trail really be? I was soon to find out. We aired our tires down just a bit to contend with the soft dirt and sand and off we went.



The trail started easy, just hardpack dirt, some loose gravel and quite a few rocks to dodge. Soon, however, as we gained elevation, the trail gave way to ruts and rocks. I remained behind Jeff and chose a zig zag approach, staying in 1st or 2nd gear to negotiate the changing and somewhat challenging terrain. Due to the sharp changes in elevation, we encountered some tight switchbacks along the way. We didn’t come upon any oncoming traffic, though.

We passed about a dozen hikers on the 11-mile ride to the top of Santiago peak. We also passed a dune buggy driving slowly up the grade as well as a lone mountain biker. The views were pretty spectacular—maybe too much so, as the trail required my full attention. The few times I took my eyes off the trail to gaze at the nice vistas, I was rewarded with a deep rut or loose rocks. Keep your eyes on the road, boy! Ride reports I’d read before starting this ride stated, “If you have never ridden this trail, take it easy, don't go all out. There are many sections that are steep and exposed that come up on you without notice. Don't get caught off guard.” True Dat!

Jeff stopped at a couple of nice spots to snap photos of the scenery. At one stop, we were joined by 4 local riders on dirtbikes. They were really flying up the grade and having a great time doing so. We talked with them a while and they passed along some good info about side trails, gates and alternate routes. After wishing us well, they were off in a cloud of dust.

I took the lead and put it in 3rd gear, seeing what the big girl could do. The KTM Adventure is really a big dirtbike and she did very well on the rough terrain. In no time we had reached Santiago Peak (also known as Saddleback) and met up again with our dirtbike riding friends from earlier; they asked us to join them for a burger at Tom’s Farms later. Also stopping to enjoy the view (Catalina Island could be clearly seen) was a group of hikers who said the walk had taken them 4 hours to reach the top and they were on their way back down.



Starting off down the other side, the trail topography again changed to dust and looser, larger rocks. We both pushed it a bit, stopping twice for photo ops along the way. In no time at all we had reached the bottom and had to figure outhow to exit to the I-15. The trail ended in a fork – one side leading to a golf course, the other into a residential community with Stay Out signs posted everywhere. We were able to find our way to Tom’s Farms where Jeff and I parted ways. I wanted to get home and I still had 90 miles of asphalt to contend with. Jeff decided to skip lunch, too, so we filled up at a nearby Arco and aired the tires back up.

What a great ride that was! Fun yet just challenging enough to keep a rider on his toes. This was just one of the many off-road trails in the Cleveland National Forrest…so, what’s next?!

Info from the net: The San Juan Trail is one of the premier single track trails in Southern California. Many avid bikers flock to this trail to test their endurance or simply for an amazing downhill ride. Located just inside Orange County, the San Juan Trail traverses some classic SoCal landscape such as chaparral, dense oak trees and meadows of bunchgrass.
It begins high in the Santa Ana Mountains at around 3,400 ft. and carves its way down into Hot Springs Canyon at around 800 ft. This trail is a huge attraction for endurance mountain bikers and for downhill riders and should only be ridden by experienced mountain bikers! There are many technical (and often very steep) areas and quite a bit of exposure in certain areas ranging from 20ft to 100ft.

View current conditions here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/cleveland/

Monday, December 23, 2013

2004 KTM 950 Adventure: Welcome to the stable!







The KTM 950 Adventure is a dual-sport motorcycle that was produced in Austria by KTM.


It’s powered by a liquid cooled, four-stroke, DOHC 942 CC, 75° V-twin engine, producing around 102 HP. It goes 130 MPH without any effort. It was designed for the grueling terrain of the Dakar...and handily won on its very first try in 2002.

Blah, blah, blah..

But why am I listing the attributes of a 2004 KTM? Well, let’s just say a friend made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and it’s now a recent addition to the stable.


To answer your—and my wife’s—question: No, I haven’t yet decided which—if any—of my other bikes will have to go. Yes, I know. It’s a sickness.

Some cool links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KTM_950_Adventure

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/177/1012/Motorcycle-Article/2004-KTM-950-Adventure.aspx

http://www.visordown.com/road-tests/living-with-a-2004-ktm-950-adventure/15657.html

Let the farkling begin.

More to follow…

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Interesting (and telling) biker video: Your thoughts?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS3iB47nQ6E


Why the Carlsberg beer stunt video went viral: VIDEO LINK

Numerous couples walk into a movie theater and all but two seats are full of burly, mean-looking bikers.

To add to the intimidation factor, the two available seats are right smack in the middle of the center row.

Many, maybe most, of the couples shuddered and walked out. Some made some not-too-nice comments. But a few brave souls took the seats. And what happened next was quite telling.

What do you do?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baja Ride 2013: San Diego to Cabo and Return (11/27-12/2)

"I'd like to meet the joker who had the nerve to call this a road!" -- Walter Sigmann

Baja Ride 2013: San Diego to Cabo and Return (11/27-12/2)



On Baja’s Highway 1, travelers are warned that everything happens 300 meters ahead: vados (dips), construction, curvas peligrosas (dangerous curves) or the ubiquitous topes (speed bumps). Going from 70 MPH to 25 MPH in the middle of a 90 degree turn -- often -- makes me think that the engineers who designed and built these roads were either crazy or evil. There is no consistency throughout the 1,000-mile ride, unless you count the livestock and construction and water crossings.

And the crosses. Oh, the many, many crosses. You can easily see how the accident went down by looking at the tire marks, the twisted roadside barriers and the brightly colored memorials… usually in the midst of vehicle fragments and pieces of clothing. That should be warning enough for drivers to slow down on a highway where the average speed limit is about 45 MPH.

The ride was a last minute thing. All pavement — or so the leader claimed — 2 days to Cabo and 2 days back. I took my trusty KLR650 and left Rosarito on Thanksgiving Day with 4 others (KLR, FZ1, Buell Ulysses, DRZ).

The guys were all super moto riders and treated Baja's Highway 1 like a track day. It was a pretty hot pace...

We lost a rider right before San Vicente (KM82 ish). He went wide and rag dolled. The bike sustained the usual damage but could be ridden from the scene. The rider was shaken up a bit but his gear did its job. The clinic in San Vicente patched him up and the local chota put him on a bus north at noon (he arrived at the border @ midnight). The local cops were "really helpful." Uh, yeah...

Because of the set-back, we didn't make Santa Rosalia that day but stayed in Guerrero Negro instead—about 450 miles.

The next day was driving through the desert and buying gas from the back of a rancher's truck.
We made Cabo San Lucas by dark and spent a day and night there living like locals. Great little town for those of you who haven’t been there.

We left on December 1st for as far north as we could ride; ended up in Guerrero Negro again—about 630 miles.

We left as a group at 4:15 am. Right before Ciudad Insurgentes, I had a front flat tire at 70+ MPH and had to fix it on the roadside. I tinkered with the tire while the three of them took the "bad" road north. After I got going, I headed to Loreto on the 1.

Two of the guys beat their bikes up a bit (DRZ and Buell) as well as themselves (purple, swollen wrist, bruised ribs, etc.). Street bikes (supermoto) just aren't made for baby head boulders and deep sand. They were able to ride back so it wasn't too bad. One went to urgent care when he crossed back over and confirmed that he did have a broken wrist.

I made El Rosario in record time, then trucked it up to TJ and made the border by 1pm after tacos in Ensenada.

The KLR did really well, though it's just not made for sustained 80-85 MPH riding. At least not by me. In Baja.

Whew! Back to work...

Here was the ride announcement: “This is one of the trips that only a few have the ability or desire to participate in… the lucky few that do will have a story to tell for the rest of their lives. This is going to be a good one. If you want lots of miles in unfamiliar country with a ton of laughs and a few good people to join you in the adventure, this is the trip for you.”

Well, how could I say no to THAT? Sure, I’d miss Turkey Day with my “fascinating” relatives gathered around the table staring at their smart phones. Wow, tough decision…



So, on Thanksgiving weekend, a group of us are going to ride from the USA border at San Diego/ Tijuana, 1025 miles south along Hwy 1 with a destination of Cabo San Lucas. We will spend a day resting and partying in Cabo before hitting the road again and retracing our bread crumb trail along Hwy 1 north back to the good ‘ol USA. Two KLRs will be among the bikes that make this ride.

I’ll provide a ride report when I return. For now, here’s the SPOT GPS tracking device link:

SPOT LINK
(If the link doesn't work, try copying and pasting it to your browser's address bar.)

Baja Mileage Chart Link


The trip itinerary looks like this:

STAGING (Wednesday, November 27th): In Rosarito, Mexico the night prior to departure.

DAY 1 (Thursday, November 28th): We will get an early start and head south on HWY 1, passing through Ensenada, San Quintin, Guerrero Negro and will eventually reach our destination for the first day of Santa Rosalia. (Map estimates: 10.5 hours of highway time / 564 miles.) NOTE: A church designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1887 should not be missed.

DAY 2 (Friday, November 29th): Day two will be another southern push down HWY 1 that will take us through Mulege, Loreto, Ciudad Insurgentes, Ciudad Constitution, La Paz – Baja Sur’s Capital, and eventually we will drop into our trip destination and world famous tourist mecca of Cabo San Lucas. This day’s route will take us south along the eastern side of the tip of the Baja peninsula. (Map estimates: 8 hours & 45 minutes of highway time / 438 miles.)

DAY 3 (Saturday, November 30th: Rest / Party in Cabo

DAY 4 (Sunday, December 1st): We pack up and head north , but this time we will start on HWY 19 taking us along the Western tip of the Baja through El Pescadero and will rejoin HWY 1 north at La Paz. We will continue North on HWY 1 from La Paz, retracing our bread crumb trail that we left just a few days prior, ending up in the town of Guerrero Negro for the night. (Map estimates: 10 hours & 30 minutes of highway time / 574 miles.)

DAY 5 (Monday, December 2nd): The final push north along HWY 1. We will arrive back in Rosarito that evening where some of us will crash for the night and others will make the final 20 minute journey back to the border crossing and re-enter the USA. (Map estimates: 8 hours of highway time / 432 miles. 450 miles for those heading back across the border to San Diego. That’s me…I gotta work on Tuesday.)

Yes, it’s a lot of riding… Yes, it’s in Mexico… Yes, we are a little nutty… Which is exactly why this is going to be the stuff of legends. Stand by for photos and some … "interesting" ride descriptions.

The KLR is packed up and I'm leaving tonight after work.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Meet Fellow Bloggers Brad and Brandy (Troubadour on a Triumph & Trobairitz’ Tablet)

Getting to know my fellow motorcycle bloggers is something I really enjoy doing. I’ve had the great pleasure to meet and ride with several friends I’ve met while blogging about something we all find interesting: Riding and writing about bikes.



Today I would like to introduce you to two motorcycle enthusiasts that hail from the Great Northwet. That wasn’t a typo as I spent five wet years in Oregon! Like the two bloggers I recently profiled—Steve and Tina—Brad and Brandy are also a couple.

I’ll say right now that a characteristic that many of the motorcycle folks I’ve met shared is humor…and these two are no different!

Brandy and Brad each pen blogs you will likely recognize: Troubadour on a Tiger and Trobairitz’ Tablet.

(See http://troubadourtriumph.blogspot.com/ and http://trobairitztablet.blogspot.com/)

What started Brad’s blogging career was an online search for local motorcycle blogs and forums for something to read during lunch breaks at work. After several months of reading “Musings of an Intrepid Commuter” and other blogs that author had linked on his sidebar, Brad decided to try his hand at writing his own blog to document his rides, trips, trials and tribulations. When he first began writing — mainly as a way to remember the rides and post photos — he never expected to be doing it for so long or to have so many readers. And Brandy and Brad definitely have quite a following.

Brandy once rode on the back of Brad’s bike and has since began riding her own bike and writing her own adventures via Trobairitz’ Tablet. Serious foodies may be interested in Brandy’s food blog, Trobairitz' Table d'hote, where she posts vegan recipes and photos of her delicious meals, desserts, cookies, pies and goodies.

I asked them which blogs they actively follow. The response was no different from the other riders I’ve spoken with: Too many to list! Like my friends Steve and Tina, Brad no longer works in an office (lucky dog!). Since he doesn’t have access to a computer during the day, Brad relies on Brandy to stay updated on what’s going on with everyone.

I will mention here that I recently watched the new motorcycle documentary titled “Why we Ride.” Many parts of that film, like our first riding experiences, were very recognizable to me and others in the audience. I laughed at the large number of riders who said that, “minibikes” were their introduction to the world of two wheels. And it appears that Brad is no different. His first riding experience was on a friend’s Sears-type mini bike…and he was hooked! He recounted memories of hanging out at the local dirt riding area and bumming rides from the older kids. He and his brother pestered their parents until Santa finally brought them a Yamaha Enduro 80 for Christmas – which he rode into the ground. Brandy grew up riding on a pillow strapped to the rear rack of her mom’s Honda Trail 90. She took the controls of her brother’s bike once and discovered that riding pillion was best.


Brad rides his (infamous) 2005 Triumph Tiger 955i and Brandy has a 2009 Suzuki Gladius; they share a Yamaha XT250 dual sport that you’ll recognize as covered in mud on one of his recent posts!

As far as previous bikes, Brandy started on Brad’s KZ900 before buying a Honda Nighthawk 250. She owned a Ninja 650R and a Suzuki TU250X before settling on her current steed. She tried real hard to fall in love with a pretty blue and white 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE, but it was not meant to be. Brad’s first street bike was a ’75 Honda CB750 Four and then an early 80s Suzuki GS550, an ‘84 Honda Magna V45, then a ’76 a Kawasaki KZ900LTD (which he recently had the good fortune to buy back – oh how I wish I could find some of my old bikes!), another Honda Magna V45, a 2001 Triumph Sprint ST, then an ’07 Triumph America.

When asked what would define the “ultimate” bike, Brad agrees with others I’ve spoken with in stating that there is no such thing. With all of the Tiger’s quirks and idiosyncrasies, he knows what it’ll do and what he can expect from it. Like many of us, he would like other bikes: a scooter, a Ural sidecar, an FJR, a Tiger 800, an FZ-09 and a Honda Grom all for different reasons and moods. Ah, don’t we all…

Brad stated that he’s proud to be a part of Team Oregon Motorcycle Safety Program (http://team-oregon.org/) and a member of the American Motorcyclist Association (I’m AMAzing, too). He started a local bike night several years ago that has evolved into a local forum and created a fantastic network of fellow riders, many who are now very close friends and are much like family. He says the same thing for the blogs; they’ve met many great people online and hope to meet many more.

Brad and Brandy rarely plan rides and enjoy more impromptu rides like checking out covered bridges or go to the coast (see his site for some nice covered bridge photos). Route planning consists of pulling out a map and finding a twisty road to explore. Yup. They prefer to ride with just each other, as group rides tend to require a lot of preparation and planning. When riding together, they are free to stop, take pictures and enjoy the solitude of each other’s company.

A comment he made struck a chord with me: “We deal with noise and drama at work so to stop at a roadside picnic table for a quiet cup of tea is the best.” Well said.

Not that Brandy and Brad don’t mind a group ride on occasion, but they prefer a small, private group of friends with similar riding styles. Brad recalled the IMBC2012 (International Moto-Bloggers Convention) as a memorable ride where several other bloggers all rode to Baker City, Oregon to meet up and ride Hells Canyon for the weekend.

Want to know a little more about Brad and Brandy? Well, how about this gem, straight from the LoneBiker dating site description? We like long walks on the beach, coffee, chai tea and independent films. Must love cats, motorcycles, music, and have a sense of humor and quick wit. Ah, yes, my kind of people! (Except for the cat thing.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know some of our fellow bloggers a little better. I’ve found that although we come from (often vastly) differing backgrounds, we all meet in the middle somewhere—and usually on two wheels.

More interviews to follow…

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MC blogging interview Tina and Steve from Road Pickle



As part of a series of interviews I’m doing with fellow MC bloggers to see what makes these motorcycle enthusiasts tick — why they ride and why they write about it — I sat down with two local motorcycle enthusiasts/bloggers at a local gastro pub last night. Having just watched a most excellent motorcycle documentary (Why We Ride), I knew ahead of time I’d like these two.

I’ve heard it said that money is the great equalizer; we agreed that motorcycles are actually better for finding commonality in different people.

Tina Walker and Steve Johnson, AKA: Sash and Highway, are quite the couple. Though only married last year, they go together like matching leathers. Throughout the evening, I could see they both had the biker jones…it was a pretty thing to see. I came prepared with lots of questions, but we actually just sat and talked bikes and people and philosophy and our folks. Like many motorcycle enthusiasts, they’re easy to talk to…

Steve and Tina recently wrapped up a nice little 6-month ride referred to as the Road Pickle. For some of the amazing people they met and things they saw, see their blog at www.RoadPickle.com. There is some really nice photography, as well.

Sash actively writes these blogs:
www.SashMouth.com
www.RoadPickle.com
www.BikerNewsOnline.com

Steve writes these:
http://www.motorcyclephilosophy.org
http://www.bikernewsonline.com
http://www.bestbeefjerky.org

They both follow many of the same blogs I follow: The Great Motorcycle Pizza Tour, Flies in your Teeth, Arizona Harley Dude, Ribbon of Highway, Biker Chick News, The Moto Lady, Trobaritz' Tablet, The Motorcycle Obsession, Riding the Wet Coast, The Motorcycle Diary, Riding the USA, Live Free Ride Hard, Introduction to the Harley and Maiden Leather Designs. Steve’s are mainly philosophical in nature. He’s a profound guy, so that’s no surprise. JMADog is a good one.

I asked each why they began blogging. Tina, who’s been writing for most of her life, said blogging about her passion to ride was just a natural transition. She loves sharing her point of view because frankly, there aren't that many women who ride, by comparison. She’s found that many female riders blog! Steve’s main focus is on business and personal expression.

Publishing motorcycle blogs is just part of what they do, but she reminds me it's the BEST part! Her business is Too Much Tina Media (www.TooMuchTina.com), helping business owners and bloggers with their internet presence. They specialize in public relations, marketing, sales and internet publishing, which in this "web-world" really all ties together.

We discussed our riding experiences. Tina rides a Yamaha V Star 650, and Steve has a 2006 Honda ST1300, a bike he considers dang near perfect for what he needs. Although the BMW RT1200 is a fine bike, too!

Tina put 13,000 miles on her first bike — a Kawasaki Ninja 500— in the first 6 months of owning her…that’s some serious riding. Steve’s parents bought him a 1979 Kawasaki KZ400 after he graduated high school –
his sole transportation for 3 years. Between that and his current bike, he’s gone through a 2004 Yamaha Road Star and TWO 2005 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classics.

We spoke about riding solo and with others and agreed that while riding with a couple of others is fine, being alone with your thoughts is a great thing. Steve began waxing philosophical and most eloquently stated that he’s always alone when he rides—whether in a group or alone. Maybe we all feel that way.

I was not surprised at all when Tina said that she loves riding more than she ever thought she would and
at this point, that's all she wants to do. Day and night, if she’s not riding, she’s sitting around wishing she was. I love that!

Apart from his recent 6-month ride, Steve did a month-long ride from San Diego to Fairbanks, AK and back a few years ago. He’ll be heading back out on the road in early 2014 across the country, probably for 10 months or so. I’ll be following along on Road Pickle.

After a couple high-proof craft brews, it was time to go. Steve left me with this thought:

I'm trying to live with less, and in doing so, put the focus on the person inside. Be more transparent, be honest with myself. Be a motorcycle rider 24/7, not just on weekends and not just when it's convenient.

Well said, brother.

We’ll see you out on the road!