Motorcycle Story

Motorcycles of Costa Rica


Outside the United States the world of motorcycles is quite different. For most of the world the motorcycle is less a recreational vehicle and more an affordable means of fuel efficient transportation. For this reason the larger bikes over 250 CCs are less prevalent and smaller commuter bikes rule the road. (Or what passes for roads).

I was reminded of this on a recent trip to Costa Rica where, not only were the bikes all 125 – 250 CC, but most of them I had never seen before. I saw versions of big brand name bikes, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, not sold in the states. I also saw brands of motorcycles I have never even heard of, but once I did a little Googling I found they are well known to other parts of the planet. I guess travel does broaden your perspectives.

Below are a few hastily taken photos and links to some of the motorcycles I witnessed running the untamed roads of Costa Rica.


Genesis

Formula

Thunder

UM

SYM

Serpento
I didn’t find much on this bike, but I did find this short video with the bike and a strong chicken logo… Soooo.. Here’s that

CR Motors (lots of brands)

And…More

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Your Great Motorcycle Road


The Road, oh you know it, that perfect road you stumbled upon after that left turn in the middle of “where the hell am I” hollow. That one you have found your way back to a few times for the turns, scenery and feeling that this is MY road. Open and uncluttered by every weekend warrior, Son’s of Anarchy, want to be biker in the state. It’s just you, and the road and you want to keep it that way.

I had MY road. It was a beautiful dancing snake of secluded country tarmac. Winding by creeks, picturesque farms and rolling hills. Rough in places to keep you focused but smooth in the rest so you can glide with speed from turn to turn.

Had. I had a road, but my pride got the best of me and I bragged about it one time too many. I was pressured to lead a “ride” there. To preface this story let me be clear. I ride alone. I dislike others’ pace or having to set one. If I pass a small dirt road that obviously leads to somewhere I have no business being… I take it. I love getting lost. I will take unknown roads, and make random direction changes just to see where I end up. This en route entropy is how I found MY road. I was lost, wandering around back roads, when there it was, riding bliss! Like something out of a Greek myth that only reveals itself to those who choose to abandon the compass and give in to the sirens’ song of aimlessness. A gift bestowed by the Goddess of Gone Astray. I love that, I love giving in to “wherever”. Sure, you run across a few trailer trash meth labs, but that’s all part of the fun, just don’t stop and shop, eyes front, gas and go!


So the very idea of me leading people to MY road was an appalling thought, but the beer spoke before the brain got its pants on, so the deal was done. We met at a beer and burrito dive that wasn’t far from a good road that would eventually lead us to THE road. I pulled in, pulled off the skull bucket and went in to meet the pack. I was expecting 2 but found 5. One of the guys asked if he could bring friends, “sure, the more the merrier” (What did I just say? What has happened to me?) So it was a group. We have the core, the two I knew, James and Chuck (an auditor and a professor), and James’s friends, two musicians, one of whom brought his wife. I have to begrudging admit I’m glad they were riding with us. They had vintage motorcycles, tattoos, and added a level of biker cred I feel we otherwise sorely lacked. And once I got to know them, they were very interesting and charming folks.

I didn’t take photos on that day (I didn’t want to be THAT guy) so I will use photo stand ins to represent those attending.

The professor


The Auditor


The Two Musicians and Wife


Oh, and me


You get the picture.

On with the ride. We did what I’m assuming is a preride tradition, look over the machines, talk some smack, gear up and go!

It was a beautiful day and, as expected, a great ride. We stopped at another beer and burrito joint to talk after the ride. At the end of the day, despite my reservations, it was a fun day. I have learned that sharing an experience is rewarding. (Who knew all those kids’ shows I forced my child to watch were right!) Not only did the group’s reaction to MY road feed my ever growing ego, but I truly enjoyed the conversation and riding stories of the group when the ride was done.

Note: the road photos that accompanied this post are from MY NEW road. Still mine… For now.

Directions to MY road (mentioned in the post above) are available upon request. There will be a vetting process and will require a signed letter from your mother.

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Categories: KLR 650, Motorcycle Story, Tennessee Roads | Leave a comment

Brough Superior the Rebirth of a Legend


Redesign

Let’s admit it, for the last few years there have been quite a few car manufacturers that have rolled out modern redesigns of classic cars and, to my discerning eye, they all failed to regain the style and edginess of the original car. This happens from time to time in the world of motorcycles as well, so when I heard that there was a redesign of the legendary Brough Superior a part of me died. There is no way they can… Wow! They did it! It’s beautiful, powerful, and worthy of the legendary name. (in my humble opinion)

The Legend


The ability to hit 100 miles an hour was a rare treat in 1920’s and 30’s and an expensive one as will. So only the likes of Lawrence of Arabia (T. E. Lawrence) could afford the “Rolls Royce” of motorcycles. It would, of course, be the undoing of Lawrence, but we will look past that unpleasantry and focus on this legendary machine. Winning endless events, as well as breaking all the speed records of its day, it was a milestone in motorcycle engineering.
The new version boasts an 88-degree liquid-cooled v-twin capable of up to 140 hp. The Brough is still only in the reach of the Lucky few, there is limited production and it will set you back over $65,000. So you’re not getting one, really, go ask your wife, I’ll wait here…… Told ya.

Take a gander at this great video by Jay Leno, a true gear head and a big fan of the Brough Superior. In just over eleven minutes Jay will tell you everything you need to know and take one of his highly collectible 1930 Brough Superior SS100 for a ride – Jay Leno’s Garage

Although I still find the older bike more appealing, this is a beautiful new face of a legend. The Brough Superior site has more detail on the retro modern marvel and includes images like this one that border on pornography.


If that’s not enough, give the 120 page Anniversary book the once over

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The Build – A short film about the love of a machine


The build is a short film focusing on the sacrifice, hard work and borderline obsessive nature of custom Motorcycle builders. We see the art of three passionate craftsmen driven to make unique motorcycles. Our bearded heroes / narrators lead us on a ride through the obsession of motorcycling, its culture, and the feel of that first ride. The film’s style is well put together with well thought out shots and pacing to pull you into the dream and love of the machine.

Watch the intriguing short film on Vimeo

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They Should All Be Gloves


Let me start by saying I didn’t always dislike deer. I saw Bambi as a child (yet another Disney orphan story) fine film, cute skunk, etc. So I began life as a admirer of the gentle woodland creatures. Then one day I bought a motorcycle and the suburban rats, as I like to call them, suddenly became my nemesis. Leaping and running beside and in front of my bike as I wind my way down rural and even suburban roads. I found I wasn’t alone in this new found hatred for the wide eyed vernon. I have enjoyed musings of all things motorcycle by the fine gentlemen at the Pace Motorcycle Podcast. They relayed encounters both hilarious and hair raising on the unpredictable, and often dangerous, actions of deer. It’s from them that I borrowed the title of this post “They should all be gloves” which is a phrase that seems to pop up from time to time on the show. I have begun to agree with them and hope to soon protect my palms with a patch from the posterior of one of these pesky pasture pouncers.

This new found deer dislike was brought into focus this evening when I decided to unwind with a relaxing sunset run down some of my favorite country roads. I know that deer are more active at this time of day but the road called and I wasn’t going to let the gangly grass munchers ruin my chance for a good drive. I geared up and got underway. Here is a run down of my deer encounters; Two running next to the road in some strange “I’m afraid and forgot how to turn” race, one crossing the road in front of me, one lurking in a driveway, two in a field just stairing blankly, one at the top of a rise standing in the middle of the road watching me approve like I was an old friend coming at 50 miles an hour to give it a hug, 6 feet out it decided I was not a long lost friend and bolted, rather embarrassed, into near by bushes. And lastly one that started to run across the road, changed its mind and did a 180, nope maybe I do want to cross, did another 180, got half way a cross, nope, nope did yet another 180 and then bolted back to the woods. It was like a new age dance routine. Or a drunk dog on stilts chasing a squirrel. Whatever it was I slowed down and waited for it to reach its final act before speeding up to put distance between me and the impromptu stage.

I love evening rides, I really do, I love the sunsets, cooler weather and abandoned roads but I have to say this Cirque du Soleil of acrobatic deer has me rethinking when it’s best to ride. For safety sake I hope other riders will do the same. For those of you that are interested, I have found some helpful tips for avoiding the doe eyed dopes listed here on Ride Smarter USA

Here is a handy map that lets you know how likely you are to meet a deer on the road, by state.

Ride safe, and buy gloves
(preferably deer skin)

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Categories: Motorcycle Gear, Motorcycle Story | 1 Comment

A Women and her Motorcycle

If you haven’t followed the travels of Alison and her KLR give it a look. This is her Ode to her KLR (Oscar) who she sold in Argentina.

Don’t miss her downloadable PDF listing the price, pros and cons of a wide variety of KLR modifications.

Visit her blog here Alison’s Wanderland

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Categories: KLR 650, Motorcycle Camping, Motorcycle Story, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Natchez Trace State Park Trip

Highway 70 west from Nashville is a dreary drive incrusted in a thick layer of dull. Now I’m sure there are quite a few fine people and places along this stretch of Tennessee tarmac but I found it lacking in the scenery, kitch and curves I crave.

When I crossed the bridge into Camden I was greeted with outstanding Bar-B-Q and a new found hope. I proceeded south gliding along Divider Natchez Trace Road, a winding, shady forrest road without a car in sight. Things were lookin up. A small snake coiled to strike as I passed, I took this as more of a greeting than a threat. ( cue Disney music and singing wildlife )

I arrived at The Natchez Trace State Park campground 1, site 22, which would be my home for the night.


I took off my gear and setup camp.


I hung my Hammock


And bug net


Opened a cold Monkeynaut IPA


Grabbed a few good books


And eased into the hammock to unwind.


I took a short walk before dinner to see a little more of what the park had to offer


I then returned to camp


Ate dinner and drank in the view


After dinner I enjoyed a fine Fascist Pig Ale, watched the sunset, and returned to the safety of my bug net for the night.


This was my first trip with my ENO bug net and I have to say I’m very happy with it ( full review later) that said, mosquito nets are great when they are all on the outside. When one gets in it suddenly becomes The Thunderdome! Two species enter, one leaves. It was a short and decisive battle. I’m a stronger man having lived through it.

I awoke to mist on the water, a fine way to start the day.


I made breakfast, and yes, that’s my awesome tiki plate.


I packed up the bike an got wonderfully lost. I wasn’t able to capture images of some of the best roads ( I didn’t want to stop) but here are a few I wandered down.


Stumbled across a Cajun joint with funky lighting, craft beer and gumbo. Some days the road smiles on ya 🙂


I returned to Nashville and was greeted by the warm smile of my girlfriend. We were blessed with an evening of snacks, drinks, and laughs with friends. Some times the world is all right.

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Categories: KLR 650, Motorcycle Camping, Motorcycle Story, Tennessee Roads | Leave a comment

How cool am I?

An electrical problem had vexed me for a few days so, when I got Ginger running I celebrated with a quick riding gear free lap around the neighborhood. It felt great, the bike roaring below me, the wind in my thinning hair, I was clearly …da man. Then I pulled her back behind the house and hopped off still basking in my triumph when I looked down and noticed…


My bike cover was hung on my foot peg and I just paraded it around the block like a buffoon!

I got a very big laugh at my pride and folly.

So yeah, I’m THAT cool.

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French Fry Fiasco

I bought my son a Kawasaki KLX 110 a while back and have since been sneaking my son on to neighborhood greenways, soccer fields, and other places middle age women like to scold us, to practice using the clutch. Well no more! I’ve seen the error of our ways! ( not really, it makes me feel young seeing the disdain in the eyes of a suburbanite house wife, aaaah youth). So no, I haven’t turned my back on that, but I have found a pay to play dirt bike trail close to my suburban digs.

So! Borrow a truck, load em up and ride Sally ride!

Step one: Da Truck,
“that your brother’s manly truck?”

I looked up to see her smiling face. My neighbor always found it funny that my gay brothers truck was more butch than my car. Not all my neighbors are joyless shrieking hags. This neighbor was great! I like joking with her like that, good natured
Ribbing ( until one of us goes too far and gets their house burnt down)

But enough small talk! We have dirt to dominate!

Upon opening the bed of the truck we found that the lid came off one of the many 35 gallon fryer oil jugs my brother had in the back of his truck. Let me explain, my brother picks up dirty fryer oil and distills it in a small shed tucked behind his house to use in his diesel truck and twin engined diesel boat. ( Once again… Somehow he is more butch than me. )
Anyway this was a big french fry / tater tot smelling pool of WTF we now had do deal with. Thinking quickly ( as I’m prone to do, being a brilliant man of action ) I grabbed a few shovels full of sand I had behind my house and tossed it in the bed of the truck to absorb some of the oil. I then fired up my KLR 650 and up the ramp I went.. and went and went until the 400 pound bike was through gliding in the small Alaskan beach diorama I had created in the back of my brother’s truck. Whatever, it’s in.. Next bike. The KLX 110 was not an issue at all. Ready to strap down and head out of town. Then, my fine reader, then is when our tale of struggle and minor triumph becomes a cautionary tale of trust. Never trust weather apps, weather web sites or brightly dressed television personalities. They ALL lie. It began to rain.

Everything stopped and my son and I stood for a second and looked into each others face. Rain began to run down them, we blinked slightly as more drops pelted our stunned faces. “Bahahahaha!” We had to laugh. The gods of two wheeled mayhem were playing a cruel joke on us and we got it.

We quickly set about undoing out recent labor. Struggling to find traction in the horror show of a truck bed we heaved and pulled and got the bikes back down the ramp and on the ground. Then grabbing dripping oil juggs from the now oil shiny grass and lugging them back in to the truck bed, we were ready to go.

I returned The French Fry Valdez back to my brother, started up my hatchback and we went bowling. This was followed by Chinese food and an action movie.

We got home a little late that evening, a father and son, who accomplished nothing but made a big mess. But we had a grand time doing it!


As the rain began

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Categories: KLR 650, KLX 110, Motorcycle Story | Leave a comment

A Road Less Graveled


I have been steeped in the deep fried goodness that is rural America. Dirt roads, back roads and bluegrass will show me the way!

I gleefully close the door on a sea of restless winter energy as I remove the cover to see at long last my KLR, Ginger, still bright eyed and ready to dance. Let the games begin!

My goal today was to find a corner store on the brink of no where that was establish in the 1920’s and has rang with laughter and bluegrass ever since. Or at least that’s what the three year old motorcycle newsgroup post said. Time and travel will tell the tale.

I followed the highway through ever decreasing populations until I made my turn onto the dirt road. A corrugated carpet of brown bliss that rolls by farms, creeks and livestock. Demanding attention at times with large rocks, loose gravel and stream crossings that soaked my kevlar jeans. The road is as changing as it is rewarding. In short, it was great!


All good things must end, the same is true as untamed dirt turns to civilized street and the GPS tells me to look left and behold the target of my tremulous trip. Beautiful. A forgotten oasis of commerce in plethora of pasture. A country store. A shadow of its former self but still standing proud and still an asset to its community. And not open. (sigh)


Situated on a strange corner with streams converging from different angles, rock cliffs, peaceful fields and old growth trees it seemed like a place time forgot. I jump off the bike, drink in the quiet and look. Turn. Look. Turn again. And look, and some where inside I let go. I unwind. I embrace the peace, the timelessness, the calm.


Welcome spring. I needed this.

On my way back to town I spy some bluegrass pickers by the side of the road. They are selling potted plants and VHS copies of films I have long forgotten. They inform me that the bluegrass has migrated to a new store further north.


Perhaps next weekend.

Store location: Located at 6688 Hassell’s Creek Rd., Lyles, TN

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Categories: KLR 650, Motorcycle Story, Tennessee Roads | Leave a comment

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