Saturday, January 31, 2009

To Sleep: Perchance To Dream...About Motorcycles

While my Elite and the C70 and CT90 go, one by one, into the shop for a little pre-Spring service, here are some dream bikes for me...subject to change as my thoughts toss between scooters and motorcycles, cruisers and sportbikes and dual purpose, and new vs. vintage.

Scooters - I think Kymco and Piaggio build some fantastic scooters:

Cruisers - I fell in love with these small 250cc cruisers at the Seattle Motorcycle Show from Kymco (Venox) and Hyosung (GV250):

Vintage vs. New - I love vintage, but clogged carbs seem to follow me wherever I go, so I also long for a newer bike with fuel injection (but I hear they are expensive to service):

So, maybe the solution is a hybrid of vintage and new - Sym (from Taiwan) will be selling the Symba, a modernized version of the Honda Supercub, in the US in 2009:

I agree with William Shakespeare, "ay, there's the rub."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Commute and A New Hat

I've been away for a bit, with a business trip to New York, and with the weather and lack of proper scooting I felt I didn't have much to write about. But it's good to be back in the blog saddle!

With the new year, I made a couple of changes in my commute. I used to carpool, but with my schedule (and laziness) I often wouldn't make the carpool and ended up driving into town. At $16 per day to park that was adding up pretty quick, not to mention the gas and wear and tear on the car. So, starting in January I started to take the bus. With a company-subsidized bus pass costing only $45 per month, plus the chance to walk from the bus stop to the office and back, it not only made financial sense, but also health sense and environment sense as well.

Today, I tried biking into the office. If you know where I live, it would be a pretty large task to commute all the way into Seattle (about 35 miles), but the buses here have bike racks so I can bus into town, and ride a short distance to the office.

My vehicle for this commute is a Giant LaFree hybrid electric bike, which I got for a great price off Craigslist as a personal Christmas present. It has 7 speeds, with an electric motor that gives you a little boost when needed. Some of you might think, "that's a ladies bike" - I prefer to call it a "European step-through" - as you can tell, I am struggling with my own masculine pre-conceived notions on bike design here.

It's a fun ride, and I took the opportunity to run some errands during lunch. I had to get one of my hats reshaped (I found it under some stuff in my car, so it was pretty crushed). In Seattle, the last remaining hat shop is Byrnie Utz. I remember going there with my Dad, and I am continuing the family tradition. If you need a hat, Byrnie Utz is the place. I ended up not only getting my hat reshaped, I got a new one as well!

Unfortunately, the bike commute home wasn't very successful. The bus drivers on the return trip didn't want me to load my bike since it is longer than a standard bike due to the electric motor and therefore didn't fit well in the bike rack, plus they thought it was too heavy for the bike rack (it is pretty heavy at 79 lbs). Apparently, the driver coming into town didn't have these concerns, and my bike made it into town fine. Fortunately, my office building has bike lockers, so I was able to store my bike and ride the bus home without it.