Sunday, August 17, 2008

David & Judi 21st Anniversary Segway Tour Galveston

Last year I tried to feed Judi to the sharks in the Bahamas but this year we had already been to Cozumel so I planned something local on a Segway. We had a blast and I would recommend it to anyone that has never ridden one before. I think anyone that can stand up and walk well can ride one of these - I think it would be almost impossible to fall off.

Asa was our guide and did a great job. Galveston Segway was who guided us. Tours 409-762-2255 and it cost from 30 to 60 bucks per person. We took a 2 hour ride in between the rain showers - not a drop fell on us. I would have gotten better pictures but I was afraid to take the camera because rain was threatening.

Enjoy and if you want to go for a ride sometime Judi and I are ready to go as well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Four Stages of Motorcycling Maturity by Clinton Buhs

The Four Stages of Motorcycling Maturity - Clinton A. Buhs

It’s March 1994, and I’ve decided that I’m going to buy a motorcycle. The thought has been brewing in my adolescent head for several years, but funding shortfalls and parental units had previously placed restrictions on such things. There’s no stopping me now, though. The classic mystique and excitement of two-wheeled motivation is in me for good.

I don’t really know anyone who rides, so I’m left to mosey around used bike lots and scour classifieds and take wild guesses at what bike is for me. The internet isn’t mainstream yet, so there are no busy forums to guide me. I’m shopping on my guts.

Miraculously (or maybe foolishly), dealers are willing to allow me test rides with just a motorcycle learner’s permit and a helmet. My first ride was phenomenal. I’d never felt such powerful acceleration! I was hooked, and the bike was sold.

I was happily oblivious to the physics of motorcycling back then, and it didn’t matter. Until I crashed, just two months later. Fortunately I was wearing my helmet, but unfortunately not a whole lot else. A minivan pulled out of a lot on a curve and I locked the front. My helmet saved me a severe smack on the road, but I suffered significant road rash and was treated to a ride to the hospital and what I now affectionately call “the toothbrush treatment”.

Still, I kept riding. In fact, it never once crossed my mind to quit. I don’t know how many people asked me if I was going to sell the bike now, but I didn’t understand their mindset. It wasn’t an option.

I didn’t learn much from that crash, though. I evolved as a rider, and not always for the better. I quit wearing my helmet for a while, and I still wore shorts and t-shirts on occasion. Simply, I wasn’t a safe rider. I didn’t take it seriously. It wasn’t until online forums like this one grabbed my attention that I began a final transformation. I matured as a rider, and I began to see my riding experience differently. I realized that my first crash was almost entirely my fault, and it shouldn’t have happened.

I’ve read several books on motorcycling. I’ve read countless accounts of accidents and near-misses in forums. I’ve taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Experienced Rider Course. I’ve begun to think differently.

Here are what I consider to be the four major phases of motorcycling. They don’t apply to everyone. They’re what happened to me.

1. New bike nervousness. Your family has warned you against those dangerous machines, and you’ve read the ominous statistics. You want one anyway, and to heck with the consequences. Still, you’re concerned. Maybe you checked into training. Maybe you got help from a friend who owns a bike. Maybe you’re a solo spirit and are determined to learn it yourself. However you go about it, you’re likely to be more cautious now than at any time to come. This is a survival stage, when your fear keeps you in line.

If you bought a helmet and planned to wear it, you probably will. You may have purchased a leather jacket, either for protection or simply to look the part. You know that motorcyclists wear jackets for protection, but sometimes it’s just too hot.

At this stage, you’ll likely put more interest into straight-line acceleration, which made you buy the bike you did in the first place. You’ve seen the racebikes on television and read the ads in the magazines. Once you’ve been on a bike, and tasted the power, you’re hooked. But you still have that little voice that says, “Hey, this might not be smart.” Your gut clenches and you relax the throttle.

You’ll either do fine during this stage, or do something dumb and dump it, like I did.

2. False confidence. At this stage, you’ve learned the controls and the feel of the bike. You’ve pushed your personal top speed upward, little by little. Maybe you’ve popped the front wheel up a few times. This leads you to believe that you’re a fairly skilled rider. You’re not. It takes years and thousands of miles, not to mention some actual study of those who do have skills, to become a talented rider.

Also, this is the stage where you decide that your risk is low, and you stop wearing your helmet and start posing. Maybe you carry passengers now, and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself. You’re thinking that maybe you’re ready for a bigger, more powerful bike.

In fact, this is probably your highest risk stage. Your false confidence is leading you to try new things, some of which you aren’t ready for. And since you may not have had an accident yet, you aren’t paying enough attention to the world around you - namely the idiots in the cages out to flatten you.

3. The wake up call. This will either come in the form of a bad experience, like a crash, or news of a friend’s crash (or death, or paralysis). You realize that you’re not the rider you thought, and wake up to wearing proper gear, and doing some learning. You might buy a book or attend a track day, and you realize that motorcycling satisfaction might just come from handling the curves, rather than rocketing ahead in a straight line. I have forums like this one to thank for my wake up call. Reading posts from anonymous friends has changed me as a rider, only for the better.

4. Maturity. This doesn’t mean invincibility. It means that you’ve studied and practiced emergency maneuvers. It means you know what the moron in the minivan will do before he does it. It means you ride for yourself, and the feelings you generate, rather than to impress anyone else. And it often means you give up the race-replica squid bike for something more appropriate to your skills and usage.

That’s not the end, though. After a number of years or thousands of miles with no close calls or crashes, riders tend to wander in and out of various stages. Confidence goes up and carelessness creeps in. If we’re fortunate, we’ll get a gentle reminder to sharpen our skills and improve our awareness. If not, well….

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What does it take to plan a ride?

Well I guess I'm going to discuss that for a while and maybe this will help folks help me make better plans and better rides over time.

I'll start off by saying sometime a lot of effort goes into a plan and it doesn't work out exactly the way you would like - or maybe even worse.

This is a humerous picture of a tough situation. I thought it important to make a little joke because a lot of folks were getting tense. Hope the victim finds this post humerous also!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tail of the Dragon - Deals Gap in North Carolina

This is the photo sight from the tail of the Dragon. Mike Taylor and I went through there once, twice, three times and oh yeah a forth time before we could pull ourselves away. It was a fun road and watching the others in the area was fun as well.

This site posts pictures weekly of interest and daily of folks that ride the dragon. If you go you can purchase them - what a great business model - set in a lawn chair and take pictures of motorcycles all day!

Some one else prefers this picture - if you look close you can see a few sparks flying which got him all excited ;')


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How did you get that so cheap?

Folks that kn ow me are familiar with me getting good deals for myself and for them from time to time. Often I'm asked where and how I find the deals - it isn't too hard and you can do the same.

There are a number of web pages that I use and some I subscribe to. For example I bought a Dell laptop that was a $800 laptop from a link on one of these sites - it told you that if you changed the battery desired to a smaller capacity the price dropped down and then they gave you a coupon code that stacked on top of that price drop for a grand total with free shipping of $379. If you see me with a laptop that is the one.

Here are the links you can use them as well. In some cases you can subscribe and they will send you an email or text message when a hot deal comes through. The really good deals only last a few hours and you have to be careful some deals aren't really deals at all when you double check:

This last one is an on line classified - everything I have listed there has sold - everything I have bought has been a good deal - not saying everything on here is a good deal so buy with caution.

Want to buy a cell phone without a contract:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

First Post as a Test

Just starting out so doing this post as a test!