Neither myself or Toe can give you tomorrows winning lottery numbers. We can’t channel the spirit of your long since passed favorite childhood pet fish Mr McFlufferson. We can’t read your palm and tell you how many times you’ll get laid. No, we can’t read your mind or, sadly, we can’t control your mind either… what we CAN do, with terribly high accuracy, is take your money when we bet you that so-and-so is gonna wad up their bike after having seen them do a single lap.

Before I get into it too much, I kinda want to drive the point home…we’ll talk about the point later.

motorcycle crash

Yesterday, I was at Infineon Raceway shooting a Supermoto Schools event. It ended at about 2pm, and I went down below to the big track because I saw a few fancy looking sprotbiles down there along with the big Pirelli truck. Chris, from Pirelli, is my friend so I stopped by down there to say hi and chit chat a bit and to see what was going on down there.

Turns out, Motorcyclist and Sport Rider magazine were doing a test with the major manufacturer bikes: MV Agusta, Ducati 1198R and Desmosedici, KTM RC8, Triumph 675, Honda CBR600RR ABS version, BMW S1000RR…oh, and the new R1 (*giggle*) just to name a few that I saw there.

I was in the garage where they keep all really well organized with the use of Auto News Center tips online, I started chatting with Tucker and Jeff Tigert , when I happened to see one of the test riders coming through turn 11…I just blurted out the first thing that came to mind as I always do…

“That guy is going down.”
Tucker looks over and replies, “what? On the R1?”
“Yeah. I think it said [name omitted] on the back of his leathers,” I says to Tuck-Tuck.
Noooooo,” he laughs, “that guy is good! He’s FAST!”

I chuckled to myself, and simply replied back, “Mark my words, homie. That dude is going down.” Tucker shrugged it off and we resumed conversation about the idiocy in the design of the rearsets on the ~$70,000 Desmosidici (Seriously…what the hell was Ducati thinking?).

Not more than 10 minutes later, the very rider on the brand spankin new YZF-R1 I’d said was going to hit the deck limps the bike into the garage covered in mud and grass, most of the right side plastics dangling in the breeze. Tucker just turned and stared at me in disbelief. All I could do was laugh.

“I told you so.”

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As I sat at my computer I was getting this sudden PANG of NEEDING to be in the mountains. It was as if the trees themselves were calling me. A distant howl that I could hear from my office chair, beckoning me to come back.

Sure, I’ve got a Gixxer sitting in my garage…and sure, I’ve gone on a couple street rides with it.. but I dunno… I don’t really FEEL like a street rider anymore. there’s so many cars on the street. Idiot drivers. Deer. Guard Rails. There’s no run-off in case of a mistake. It just feels so damned dangerous out on public roads. I like the track, where I can totally fuck up a corner and live to tell about it, and prolly not even fall down.

That leaves me with a bit of a predicament, cause I always long to be in the mountains on twisty roads away from civilization under canopies of Firs and along rushing streams and brookes…Since I stopped really riding on the street, I’m away from the mountains for months at a time. I hate it.

Yesterday, I needed to go back.

I didn’t feel like riding. I knew the weather was going to be somewhat inclimate, and I thought about doing some trails in the Element. I tuned to 1580AM before leaving only to hear about chain control and snow and this and that over Donner Pass, so I thought about it for a sec then called Han. :)

It was drizzling a little bit when I headed out the door for Han’s house. I was going to trade him the Element for his Nissan for the day. I love Han’s truck. It’s a Nissan Frontier with the Nismo Off-Road package. I got to his house, and we switched. Of course, he hands it off with the dash flashing “12 DTE” at me (distance till empty) and for those of you that know Han…well, he doesn’t live close to ANYTHING.

So my adventure begins: will I even make it to the gas station? Haha!

I did. And I headed east, towards Foresthill; destination: Robinson Flat. Well, a few miles from Foresthill, I realized that my plans were going to have to change…

On Main Street in Foresthill

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i headed up the mountain to go visit rweezy. i ain’t seen him in about 2 years, so i figured it was time for a surprise visit. i didn’t bring my camera, but i did bring the gopro..i took a few pics on the way home. nothing special.

did an oil and filter change at his shop really quick and threw on the obligatory 4theriders-red grips like i do to all my bikes. i can’t help it…dunno what it is…i HAVE to have red grips!

gsxr dirt road

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This is my third winter as a year round rider. The cold, wind, and rain fade into the background if you have good winter gear. I actually prefer the bike over the car, and given the choice of riding or taking my wife’s car I gear up 100% of the time. My wife does not share this view of the weather, so sometimes I am forced to endure the confines of a Subaru Legacy GT. Don’t get me wrong, I owe my life to a Subaru, and the Legacy has some nice features. Heated seats, satellite radio, cup holders, reverse…you know, all the same stuff as a Honda Goldwing.

I bring this up because I had to drive yesterday. The rain was fairly steady from Concord to Fremont, and since it was a weekend, I didn’t have to deal with the commuter traffic. We listened to the comedy channel on the satellite radio, there was Starbucks in the cup holders, and at risk of  talking too much about my behind, the heated seats were functioning flawlessly. Once we got to our destination my wife brought up an interesting point…

40 minutes or so on the freeway, in the rain, and not once did I hit the switch for the wipers. I shrugged it off but paid more attention to it on the way home. George Carlin? Check. Peppermint Mocha? Check. Warm rump? Check. The wipers, however, remained off. Although it was quite dark in the car because of the rain and glass tinting. I have recently done window tinting (more at Dalo Auto Tinting website) and haven’t got used to it yet. I guess I prefer the way the world looks through my visor, and yesterday this was the best I could do.

Something is not right, and I think I have figured it out.  Joe rode on the street. For realzies. At speed. For the one person that just woke up from a coma after highsiding on the street, Joe gave up street riding after the following picture was taken. Oddly enough, the caption was already there. highside

In the time that he has been back on the street, there have been no fewer than three notable earthquakes in the bay area, not to mention the one up in Humboldt county.  You know, the one that “harshed the mellow” of countless potheads who were forced to move from their couches after their couches moved across the floor. I recieved the following email from Chauncy Phillips to my 4TheRiders email address.

Dear Max,

Dude. Your boss Joe like totally owes me some cash bro. I was at home watching the Pauly Shore marathon on Turner classic movies when the house started to shake. And I don’t mean like when my roomie Maggie has gas, bro, I mean like my velvet Marley poster fell off the wall shaking. I was like wait? What? and then it hit me Bro, and I was all “EARTHQUAKE”, and then Maggie was all like “NO WAY”  and boom. The bong goes flying out of my hand spilling bong water all over the carpet. I am going to send you the bill for half a carpet cleaning, I mean cuz we needed one anyway what with Maggies cat, but come on bro…bong water.

Thanks Bro,

Chauncy

I am not paying for this stoner’s carpet Joe. I’m not saying to stop riding the street, I am just saying be safe out there, and maybe keep it under 6 on the Richter scale.

It started innocently enough, probably before I can even remember. No, now that I have had some time to think about it (I spent a few hours looking at old pictures… You will soon find that I have a bit of a problem focusing) I remember the exact moment, and have the picture to back it up.  This picture was taken at a time in my life that holds very few but fond memories. I was four after all. I am fairly certain that this one event,  documented in living color by my mom and one of those 110mm cameras with those bizarre tall flashes that you can flip over so you can use the other side 31 years ago is the first self promise I made to uhhhh…. myself. 

 maxonbike

 

I have long since forgotten what my voice sounded like back then, but I distinctly remember telling my mom that someday I was going to get my very own motorcycle. Granted I still had a bit of a journey.

Like training wheels for example.  And Women.  A short list of estrogen filled roadblocks. It started with my mom denying my repeated nagging for a mini dirt bike, not to mention the bigger dirt bike that she would not allow, or finally once I turned 16 the “ninja”(it might have been a Honda, my bike recognition ability was pretty bad back then too) that I wanted.  I thought I had her once. I was 18. An adult. I still lived with my mom, but I was paying rent, and she no longer could keep me from my destiny. I even lived above a motorcycle dealership in Kenosha Wisconsin. Destiny.  So why didn’t I get my first bike until I was over 30? I will spare you the details, but the 15 years that separated my living with my mother and my living with an SV650 in the garage were filled with financial hardships and estrogen roadblocks two and three… I now have an awesomely supportive wife, two bikes and two jobs (Technically all three if you count working turn 11 at Moto GP) that would not exist if it was not for motorbikes.  My point? Not sure if I had one, but it is the off season for racing, I needed something to write about, and the holiday season usually brings back childhood memories.  This year I was reminded that staying true to yourself pays off, it just sometimes takes 15 years.

4theriders had a snow day. 11 of us came, only 3 returned. we left the dead for the bears. we have all kindsa video footage, including riding 2 up down a goat trail covered in mud and snow, carnage, towing sleds, ramming mountains…everything we could think of. hehe.

we’ll start with a “moto” so it’s relevant…hehe.

kevin, beating on my scooter.

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