Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dust

Take the back roads here in Centre county and you'll come across a quarry or a lime stone processor like this.


From the amount of lime dust on the factory, you would assume that we haven't had rain for quite a while. Not true. It's been exceptionally wet this spring. It takes more than a few April showers to scrub away decades of crud like this.

I've photographed this building once before when I was playing with long exposures and night photography. In the harsh light of day the romance dies. Still, I love the contrast of white on rust.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Drek In the City

I’ve just returned from ten days in Seattle. That’s where I found this. The helmet and goggle combination, although questionable in their protective value, are deadly cool.


My detailed research—which consisted of loitering in sidewalk caf├ęs—has revealed that, despite the miserable weather, Seattle has a great bike and scooter culture. Although I lived there for a while as an undergrad, the whole bike thing passed me by. I was aware of the Alki Tavern that hosted a bike night on Thursdays. And the Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill always played host to a few Fat Boys on Fridays after the bicycle messengers cleared out. Some of the older guys I used to work with remembered the Comet to be one of the local hang-outs for the North West's home-grown MC, the Gypsy Jokers.

Now that I have a bike of my own, I can't stop looking. I spotted the usual suspects: street fighters, choppers, and the occasional classic. When I was there in the ’90s I saw my first Indian that wasn’t in a museum. It was powder blue with full fenders—the ones that cover nearly the entire wheel. It must have weighed a ton. My favorite this trip was the BMW 60 with the sidecar, I saw it twice, but was never quick enough with my camera to catch it. Bikes like that just materialize from the traffic then drift away.

Scooters were everywhere. Vespas mainly: the new, the vintage, and the quirky are all equally represented. Lots of leopard skin prints, retro colors, and hipsters wearing loafers.


This little beauty was on Capitol Hill. I love the wind-screen. It adds a great retro finish. Again, they’re just too fast capture. Or perhaps they’re just too cool to appear on film. They are moto-world’s vampires. But that would imply that Vespas have no soul. And we all know that’s not true.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Inevitability

It was bound to happen.

We had a huge storm roll through. Wind. Heavy rains. Flooded alley-ways. Animals lining up two by two. Needless to say, I didn’t get out for my ride. But that wasn’t what ruined my weekend.


Yeah, that is a huge gash. The bike fell over in the wind that accompanied the storm. I'll spare you the details, but the following day, I had to rehang the garage door.

Like most new(ish) things, it's only a matter of time before they get scuffed and dinged. I was hoping that I would at least make it through a riding season without any major mishaps. I'm just glad it happened without me on its back. There are far worse ways to damage a bike.

The good news is that it still fires right up. Nothing is broken. The oil pan gasket looks like it's leaking a bit. It did sit on it's side for about 10 minutes before I realized what had happened. The tank will need to be banged out and repainted. I'll take it for a spin around the block tomorrow to make sure everything is in order.

Looks like I have a few more things to add to the list.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maintenance

Now that I have the first few rides of the spring out of the way, I’m beginning to think about maintenance. There is the routine—tire pressure, oil, lights—and the list the previous owner left for me.

The clutch cable will need to be replaced before the end of the summer as well as three headlight plugs. There is also the issue of cables, boots, and relays. A thirty-year-old bike needs a little love. Right now it’s running fine and I’ll take on the list as the parts come in.

I guess the next step is getting it ready for longer day trips. Currently, I’m strapping things onto the back of the seat. Not the best option, but it will do for now. I have a set of soft bags, but I’m looking for some hard cases. The question is, do I go vintage with the Krauser bags or something modern?