It may only be the second day of December, but already the holiday madness seems to be taking over with very little time for anything else outside of work and finishing all those 'little jobs' you have to get done this time of year.
After all, it's been days since I've had the chance to make an entry for Biker Diaries and it seems as if I'm not the only thing taking a break as news in the motorcycle world seems to have slowed down.
Finally I had time to make up a map of my most recent ride and it as well as all the more interesting details of that day are at the end of this entry
Me and 30,000 of my closest friends
This weekend looks to be hectic in my more immediate world, with my company's holiday party Saturday night and the 18th Annual SFPC Christmas Toys in the Sun Run assembling as early as 7am Sunday Morning! There are expected to be 30,000 motorcycles in the ride and this is my first one so it seems wise to watch what I drink the night before. Especially after I came across some sobering news that shows your still at risk reckless car drivers even in a police controlled parade of motorcycles. I guess its nearly impossible to prepare for stupidity.
Some of the news coverage for the Toy run was less than positive over the last few days which is sad considering that the goal is to raise $600,000 and collect toys for the less fortunate this holiday season. The Miami Herald report on December 1st was short and indifferent, 'Dennis Rodman and Rob Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, lead the motorcycle ride, which draws more than 30,000 riders annually and collects money and toys for needy children.' That was the closest they came to mentioning not only the monetary target, but also totally ignoring that the run raised over $521,000 last year.
So it was nice to read the Sun-Sentinel not only going into much more depth, but even putting a funny spin to the infamous annual event;
Planning to catch a flight Sunday morning at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport?
Headed west to Naples?
Your trip might take a back seat to about 30,000 motorcyclists bearing gifts for a good cause during the 18th annual Toys in the Sun Run.
Big-hearted bikers from all over the country will tote toys at a leisurely 25 mph from Pompano Harness Park in Pompano Beach to Markham Park in Sunrise, closing several major roads en route.
Every rider I've met over the last week or so said they were going, with some of them even being repeat offenders which is making me think it can't be as bad as my riding buddy has been trying to make out. He's not going of course.
Too small to ride
The Post office has seemed to take notice of the growing popularity of the motorcycle, annoucing today that a set of commemorative stamps will not only be released, but on August 7th 2006 at the Bike Rally in Sturgis.
"Our 2006 program commemorates a wide range of diverse American icons with something that will appeal to everyone," said Postmaster General John E. Potter in describing stamps that will honor Baseball sluggers, comic book heroes, the world's longest bridge span, the first African-American to earn an Oscar and America's love affair with motorcycles.
The role of motorcycles in American culture will be recognized on four "American Motorcycles" stamps featuring digital illustrations of a 1918 Cleveland, a 1940 Indian Four, a 1965 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide, and a circa 1970 chopper. The Cleveland, Indian and Harley-Davidson stamps are based on motorcycles in existence today.
These will be the first motorcycles that can be licked, sticked and sent to a friend!
Makes you want to go, eh?
I always enjoy telling my non-riding friends that my motorcycle and are allowed to ride in the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) Lane during rush hour. While they still have that look of puzzlement on their faces I go on to tell the story that when the the concept of HOV lanes were first being developed there was a top person in the Department of Transport who'd always considered his motorcycle more like a member of his family and used this arguement to in fact consider a biker as two people and consequently use the commuting lane.
Of course that last part is totally untrue, but you'd be surprised at what people and particularly non riders believe. The reason we get to use the HOV lane comes from the whole idea behind it is to conserve gasoline which is why two or more in a car, hybrids and of course your fifty or so miles to the gallon motorcycle have their very own lane at peak commuting times. Actually when I do get around to telling the truth on why we're allowed there humor turns to disbelief and onto mild anger. Jealousy is an ugly thing.
It seems that HOV lane rules are only just becoming standard across the country of Canada, but by omitting motorcycles from using the lanes the Minister of Transport is ruffling a few biker feathers.
Oh, you can use an HOV lane while riding, as long as you have a passenger on the back!
Mark Richardson doesn't say in his recent Toronto Star editorial whether or not her is a biker, but he certainly has the passion of one systematically ripping apart any kind of reasoning for excluding motorcycles from the HOV lanes.
The irony is that this has all been decided by the ministry at the same time as the City of Toronto declared that the use of motorcycles and scooters should be encouraged through city-wide free parking, as a way to ease urban congestion.
It's a great read and always interesting to see what battles other bikers have in different countries.
Great bike, have to ask about the name though
Ducati is turning heads and getting awards after unveiling it's new concept bike at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach California this week.
The motorcycle features a new air-cooled twin engine, slim front end, fuel injection and 100 horsepower with only 385 lbs of dry weight, allowing the bike to exceed speeds of 135 mph.
But the name. The Hypermotard.
I don't know. Even when you put it with the advertising tagline 'The Ducati Hypermotard, the most extreme mountain conquering, urban assaulting machine ever from Ducati' it still sounds....different.
Either way, it's being shown to the public at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach California between December 9th to the 11th and you can read more about it at Road Racing World.
A Sunday Morning ride
The plans were set. I would head out in the morning go wherever I wanted to go and meet my girlfriend and her out of town guest on Lincoln Road in downtown Miami.
Although the roads weren't as quiet as my Thanksgiving day ride I started early enough that there wasn't much traffic around. Made my way to I-595, out to Nob Hill Road and onto Everglades Holiday Park. I've seen it before but it was certainly nice to have another look at an older (but not antique) Indian Motorcycle and then I saw another Deuce with exactly the same paint job and I guess same year as mine.
As I checked the other Deuce from a few feet away, I noticed he's chromed nearly everything you could, added custome wheels and had to use a bag attached to the sissy bar for storage. As I looked at the rider not so good things were being noticed. He wore no helmet, but did wear a dress leather jacket, you know the blouse type that would shred up in a second if he fell off. Tennis shoes instead of boots and of course khakis instead of jeans. This was a little disappointing. Why didn't he spend a fraction of what he spent on his beautiful bike on proper riding gear? Everything about the guy riding with him seemed more experenced and seasoned. His Harley Heritage was nice but had some miles on it, as did his helmet and leathers. Couldn't this riding buddy point out what his new motorcycle owner friend should be wearing? The Deuce rider wasn't a young kid either, so you'd think he would know better.
They didn't stay long, and I followed soon after going south on Krome Ave with the intention of taking the road all the way down to Florida City which sits on the entrance to the Keys and visit a biker hangout called Alabama Jacks. I was introduced to this place on the way back from a weekend in the keys which also happened to be my first long distance ride that took place way back in April. I've been meaning to write about that ride, it was quite an adventure but other things have always seem to come up.
As I turned onto Krome from Hwy 27 the sky was starting to cloud up. This was the point the rains had soaked me way back during my trip to Naples in August. Understanding that this route was on the edge of the everglades, which are the way they are because of a lot of rain, but why does it have to get it's quota everytime I'm near?
The clouds seemed to clear up and I had cool weather with warm sunshine on an open road. What could be better? While stopped for gas at the intersection of Tamiami Trail and Krome I could see a stormfront to the south, which just happened to be the direction I was heading. I was soon keen to get out and on the bike, breakfast was skipped and with the time approaching 10.30am my stomach was starting to feel it. I watched the sky as I ate an apple, looking for a sign of what was going on since I could still change direction, head east and see what trouble was happening on the coast.
Determination kicked in. I'd wanted to go to Alabama Jacks since that last visit in April and this was a perfect opportunity.
This was going to be the day!
To be continued.........