Picture of the Day
This is a statue from outside Denver International Airport.
This is a statue from outside Denver International Airport.
Not only is she a Bonneville record holder, but Leslie Porterfield also used an innovative new skin wrap on her bike. While I would suspect the claims of any company, a personal endorsement such as the following holds weight enough for me. A 3mph gain at top speed with no other change to the bike, that’s incredible.
Where can I get me some of this…
“I had excellent results with the FastSkinz on my motorcycles. Both bikes set records this year. I made several runs on the Honda at the Texas Mile. We had the opportunity to test all weekend, and change bodywork out for comparison. I had a consistent 3mph gain on top speed at the end of one mile.
This is the greatness of the internet
Ramadan always means new soap operas in the Arab world. I learned today it also means not even thinking about masturbation. A small thing to you perhaps, but in a repressive sexual society where the curves of the female figure are a matter of imaginative mystery, this is a serious lifestyle sacrifice for young men.
For me, Ramadan always means sharing a cigarette on a dirty floorboard outside Cairo. I’d offered my driver my last smoke in the midst of the holy month when he’d picked me up from a camel train. I’d held it out with an appeal that God was after all merciful. Tobacco is haram, forbidden, during the daylight hours of Ramadan. He’d stared at it for a long time. ‘Western devils and their temptations’ might have been in his thoughts. Finally he said “Yes. But not here.”
I had a lesson in all three this past Friday (8/29.) As I was riding my brand new Triumph Bonneville (with 2 weeks & 650 miles on it,) to work, not more then 2 miles from my house I had a collision with a raccoon. The short story is that the bike and I are in about the same shape, a few dings, and some scrapes, but salvageable. Currently the bike is at the dealer, waiting for inspection by the insurance agent. The rider is at work, and other then a little pain from his knees, is doing fine.
Read the whole story, and view the gory details below the fold.
It was a busy weekend here at the homestead. Although it wasn’t actually at the homestead, we traveled to beautiful , to take in the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days event. Other than being hot, and humid, we had a great couple of days dodging golf carts and scooters, while ogling over the most motorcycles I’ve ever seen in one place.
This was also perhaps the largest vehicular event I’ve ever been to. Estimates are that there were 1000 swap meet vendors over 35 acres, 10’s of thousands of spectators, and I don’t know how many racers. I didn’t know who owned it at the time, but Jay Leno’s Y2K jet bike made a few laps around the track. That was a bit freaky, and thrilling, as a m/c passed by, and then you heard the whine of a turbine. Spent most of the time, taking pictures and wishing we had brought more money and a trailer.
There was also the added bonus of having Triumph motorcycles be the marque for the event. I’m currently in the market for a new motorcycle, because I like to ride, and the 2 m/c’s I have are in disrepair, I work on them more then I ride them. So, my wife graciously agreed last month that I could get a new m/c once our credit cards are paid off, which will be happening in the next month. Triumph is one of the few m/c’s that I’m interested in. I like the upright position of riding, and the classic look is unbeatable. Plus, it’s tame enough for a beginning rider, I’ve only been riding for 3 years now, and only have a thousand or so miles under me.
The test ride was good, I haven’t been able to ride since last spring, between selling our old house, moving into our new one, and trying to repair various cars and motorcycles. I did take a wrong turn, but I quickly realized my error and the tail gunner escort stopped to lead us back to the track. The Scrambler fit me well, and the power, handling and brakes were light years better then the 2 bikes I own. I’m now torn between the Scrambler and the Bonneville.
Yet another added bonus was being able to briefly meet Craig Vetter. If you are into motorcycles, you probably know him, or his products. He produced a line of fairings for motorcycles called the Windjammer. He was there with his new project, the Last Vetter Fairing, which is a full streamlined body for a Helix scooter. He’s aiming to get 100MPG at regular highway speeds, while able to fit 4 grocery bags into it. The thing is remarkable, especially when you realize the skin is made out of plastic notebook cover material, and only has around 18 HP. He is an inspiration to anyone investigating streamlining motorcycles. I’ve incorporated many of his ideas into sketches of things I’ve yet to build.
That’s Craig Vetter behind his scooter with the denim shirt and shades. He was happily talking about his efforts and hoped more people would get interested in his type of backyard innovation.
He also ran a contest in the early 80’s to see what kind of MPG people could get out of a motorcycle. 470 MPG was the record. Now these were purpose built machines, and the riders were crouched down to lower their wind resistance. His current project is all about practicality. Something a person could take to the store, or drive across country.
Most memorable food of the trip was having dinner at . Great food, but the decor and music were a flashback to the 80’s. If you’re in the area, I’d recommend it.
On the way home, we stopped off to pickup some parts to put disc brakes on my 61 Falcon. Met the guy off a Ford Falcon website, and he happened to have the parts sitting in his garage. So, I have another new project, which I’ll probably wait for the winter to start, to add to my long list of things I do in my increasingly rare spare time. At least I didn’t have to search the boneyards myself.
But not forevs. Tomorrow I hope on a plane and fly to Budapest, Hungary, for a well-deserved break from the grunt and grind of every day. At the tail end of the week, I shall be attending the Global Voices Citizen Media 2008 Summit. Despite some closed sessions, I’ll try to report back here what we heard of the state of bloggers and citizen-driven media from around the planet.
Yeah, that’s me after a few too many cocktails in the hotel lounge. As Lance related, I’m in Houston in the Texas Medical Center (TMC) visiting my father who recently had an internal defibrillator put on his heart. The surgery went remarkably well and he seems more lively than when he went under the knife on Thursday, but he’s trapped in the bureaucratic waiting-for-approval world of hospitalization that feels like standing in line at the DMV…only with your ass hanging out of a gown. Thus my mother and I keep him company during the day and sit starring at the hotel walls at night. I decided to start obliterating the time with vodka this evening, thanks to the encouragement of the medical-student bar staff who have seen this all before.
As always when I’m here, I’m struck by the bizarre experience of this health care city (and I’ve unfortunately been here a lot with Dad’s ongoing heart problems). The TMC is the largest medical district in the world, with one of the highest concentrations of hospitals, clinics, research centers and doctors anywhere (photo of the TMC’s rows and rows of hospitals). Just looking out my hotel window I can see the Texas Children’s Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, the Methodist Hospital, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor’s College of Medicine, Ben Taub Hospital, office tower after office tower of medical offices, research facilities…and seemingly perpetual construction for even more. There’s a boutique across the street for designer scrubs (the official uniform of this city-state) and almost every store/cafe/bar has a somewhat medical theme or is named after a famous surgeon, doctor or whathaveyou.
It’s a highly Ballardian place, full of sanitized winding corridors to nowhere, sterilized corporate conformity, multi-million dollar ugly sculpture, startlingly advanced high technology, foreign doctors nabbed from the world over, meticulously manicured lawns, smiling receptionists in vivid eyeshadow…and just beneath the surface –infecting the place with its sole purpose– life and death. Think Super-Cannes for physicians.
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