My Velocity Squared

February 5, 2011

Aston, Ferrari, and Porsche: We pander to Psychopaths because that’s where the money is.

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 4:16 am

Lately, I have noticed quite a qaint trend. A great many sports car manufactuers are producing saloon cars. The have four doors, four seats, and four cupholders. In other words, room for the whole family. The Aston Martin Rapide. The Porsche Panamera.  The Ferarri FF. I don’t mention the Maserati because… well it’s currently a synonym for Ferrari.
In other words, fast sub five second automobiles that you can take the whole family for a spin in, and murder them.

If you think I am exagerating, think for a second about the behavior of your average Porsche driver. Your average Aston driver. Then recoil in horror at the mere wisp of a memory of last Ferrari you noticed and how fast it snapped past you in a vaguely controlled slide. And now…. they can take the whole family along.

Smashing.

If you as well think that having their spawn in the car will temper their behavior, think again. The type of person that drives these cars is MORE dangerous when they have the wife and children in the car. Because alone, they can merely display their Alpha male sociopathy anonymously to the rest of us as they pass. So it doesn’t really help them. But with a family, they’ve got an audience.

So they can look at their wife in the passengers, co-dependantly cowering and praying she won’t die instead of ripping the key fob out and smacking him in the face.

So they can glance briefly at their kids in the back while doing a double lane change at a hundred and ten miles an hour… “Yes, see, this is how daddy does it. And I’ll take you all into a freeway pylon to prove it.”

But maybe I shouldn’t be bitching about it. I mean after all, it is a chance for natural selection to eliminate not one but up to four insufferable flawed people from the earth at once. And that is a chance that doesn’t come along very often in todays world.

December 30, 2010

2011 Planning

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 2:26 am

Doldrums of winter. Snowboarding, planning, fantasizing.

Long Term Goals:

– RTW (Round the World.) 2015’ish. Need at least 30G’s, and  3 months off, and scratch to have a quiver of 3 bikes: 1 high speed paved bike (ST1300.), 1 Paved/Decent Offroad Eastern Bloc Banger (Mink, ural or similar.), and a nimble very light off road bike.

2011/2012

Prep:

– Ditched the yoga, picking up morning x 3 with Adam Killian to get in better shape, 5k by two months, 10k by summer.

– Land with storage by summer.

Events, Rally:

– 1088 Utah Rally June. May mentor, if at least 4 newbies want to take a stab. Otherwise, I am going to hit the 24 or 36 segment.

– Two bits

– LOE 1000, Sept, NM.

Events, Speed:

– Run what ‘ya Brung, salt flats, ST1300.  No money for custom speed bike, or shop to prep it in at this time. As well, until in better shape, not sure if I could take another flier over the handlebars and luck out. Too much weight. But still should be good fun.

Trips:

– DEN to Denali via Banff, solo for sure. Ship bike back from Anchorage to SF -> DEN.

– Europe by bike 7 – 9 days. Regardless of what the Europeans say, I do a 600 miles per day while site seeing. 1000 when not. The journey is the thing.

OR

– Vietnam by motorbike. (Note: Budget for fixer/translator. No real hope of learning any meaningful amount of Vietnamese.) Minsks new are $400, and we can sell when we are done. 1 week. Probably cheaper than Europe.

December 28, 2010

Amsterdam

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 10:58 pm

Let me paint it for you:


I’m on a dutch utility bike. It’s pouring down snow to the point of 6 inches in the last few hours. I have a Van Gogh lithograph triangle hung by a scarf around my neck like a blue toberlone bar.

The handle broke a mile ago.

Proceeding to on my misplaced faith on the laws of physics, I continue to ride the bike at this point. It’s museum hopping and street food day, since it’s getting impossible to go to far. I stopped riding the bike an hour ago after dropping off the poster, since I noticed even the hardest core dutch riders had given it up. So it’s back to the chipenkaart and the trams.

But let me digress.

Speeding through the french countryside on the Eurostar is an experience to have. I still find it wonderous after a week that trains can be both fast and ontime. Unless you accidentlly take the intercity or the stoptrien, which are still very punctual, just very slow.

I transfer out at Brussels the tune of crude tagging and red light district flitting through the windows. With the amount of grafiti in Brussels, you’d think they just discovered spray paint. The fields are at this point green still, ringed occasionally with rime.

I check my luggage at the hotel, and go to get some food, and rent a bike.You have to have a bike here, everyone rides one. They seperate bike lines nearly everywhere, and they are simply indespensible. Unless it snows. And happens to ice over. Then we still ride for a while. Just for the sport of it, and adrenaline thrill of maybe winding up underneath the wheels of a tram.

I retire early and get up to go to Weesp/Muiden and Naarden in the morning.

Weesp.

Nothing really here. Church maybe?

Muiden



Home of the Muidenslot, a castle. Nicely preserved, moat and all that. Long winding stairs where you can look out the ramparts. Good little town as well, the main row of shops I called “Expat’s Row” due to most of the people I met their having accents. A Boston, North Carolina, and New York eccent to be precise. Castle was nice, went back Saturday when it was open.

Naarden: Delayed til Saturday.

Went back after a day in the countryside, and found a nice coffee shop. Good experience. Too bad it’s going to go away for foriegners because a bunch of louts like to get liquored up, high and then look for trouble. I mean there are simply much better things to do. Like Amsterdam golf.

Amsterdam golf it’s a pretty simple game:

– First look up on google how many tram stops it takes to get from a cofeeshop to your hotel.

– Then take the tram to said  coffee shop.

– Proceed to defile your mind for a couple of hours.

– Then, try to find your hotel.

– At every tram stop you get off on before you hotel, drop a pin on google maps.

– See how close these numbers are.

My current record is 8 tram stops on what should have been a hop on and hop off. It’s important to take every move with conviction. It’s very important not to let people know that you are very, very bent right now. So bent you are actively thinking of how to re-incarnate their rabbit skin purse because… fuck, lets face it, we can’t remember right now, but the thought is the important thing right?

Which leads us on to our next point:

You know that point when you realize you are two high? When the burnt sienna blankets look like fucking blaze orange sherbert? And you make a point of telling yourself, out loud, so you make sure you fucking get it:

“I am way toooooo fucking high for this shit”

This realization came at the entrance to the vondel park, when I realized I was riding my bike on a dirt path over ice. My brain does that nice little tree dance where I can see all of the likely failure modes of this surface, and realizes none of them are good. I make a terse mental note…. “I’m way too fucking high for this shit.” I don’t fall, but I do walk my bike up the steps to the left to get back on a pathed bike path.

Knock on wood, I haven’t fallen on bikes. I tend not to fall. I have been riding on ice for two days, and no falls. Too many years riding two wheel transports for so long and so far have done something usefull I guess. That, or I’m going to get run over my a tram tomorrow after slipping.

Thursday:

Tram stops needed: 0. Tram stops taken: 8. Weesp, Muiden, rained, poured, frozen. Dampkring.

Friday:

We start out day out with a trip to Albert Cryp Market, which is really just a close off section of Albert Cruyp Straat full of markets. Buy another hat after losing the first one god knows where.

I stop for frites with mayo at one of the vendor stalls, which is magnificent. Later, Haring with a pickle, and some diced onions on top of it, also very good. I would be partial to slightly less onions next time, but very good.

I love these kind of open air markets. They are just amazing. I wish ours weren’t so fair weather, and we had a better street market tradition in our country.

I find a couple of Christmas markets. There are food stalls, people sellings all kinds of wonderful things. Ollieball, Bratwurst, Poffertjes. Poffertjes are now my new favorite thing. Especially with Belgian chocolate, and powdered sugar. Made just right on a cast iron grill and eaten standside in the cold. Perfection. I may have to stalk the Poffertjes lady and get some more in an hour. Oh, I cannot emphasize how good these things are.

I come back for seconds after visiting Barney’s Lounge. Nice atmosphere, good stuff, get into a long discussion with a couple of programmers in the rear about functional vs. high concept programming. Incidently I believe helped them cheat on their coursework by showing them how their particular issue would be solved in the real world vs. how they were being taught to solve it.

Tram Stops needed 2. Tram stops taken 3. Barney’s Lounge.

Saturday:

Back to Naarden and Muiden to take in the stuff that wasn’t open, or I that I couldn’t stand being out in the cold for. Muidenslot is decently cool, crazy stair places, and icy catwalk hijinx. Old fishing boats  float in the canal as I walk along side.
Muiden has the best Kibbeling that I have found hands down. In back of the main row of houses, their is a fort type museum, currently under construction. The fish shop there has Kibbeling, Haring, etc, etc. Amazing. Done just perfectly with that seasoned type salt, and your choice of sauce. Perfection.

Note to the wise:

Do not stop in Bussum. Do not stop in Bussum as the people are rude, the train station unstaffed, and it’s a really bad place to realize the train won’t let you check in without 20 urr credit. So we steal the ride after no one was willing to give change to top up at the machines, and our non chip and pin card doesn’t work. Which is something I will have to fix before I come here in the spring… I need a chip and pin card before I have the bike over here for unattended gas stations and kiosks. Just have to find a bank that will let me open remotely and without residency.

Narden:

Good Market, excellent cheese and fish shop. Good sausage shop as well. Nice shops intown without being that touristy. Nice naval fort as well. Did this on Saturday after getting rained out on Thursday.

Tram stops needed 1, Tram stops taken: 1.

Reflections:

London and the surrounds were amazing. There is an indescribable sense of community in England I cannot adequately do justice. This feeling of we are all in it together, a shared committment to most rules, and an obligation to make things flow. At least coming from this side of the pond there is.

My time there was passed in my usual way. One day per city, plus travel. A fast tour. I am never one to stay long. For me, the journey is the thing. The journey is always the thing. I’ve down 500 mile RTE’s (Ride to Eats.)  for the perfect smoked whitefish paste. The experience sublime, only once rough section (Do to construction, Kings Cross and St. Pancras are seperated by an ocean. A bad ocean to cross with luggage.).

Amsterdam was an experience an abrupt cultural shift.

They do things differently here. Bikes, hard bike lanes, a language that is enough like yours that you get what people are saying 5 seconds later, but that’s not quick enough.

Amsterdam is also the longest I have stayed in a city on a trip, ever. Everyone seems to do the destination tourism. I never have. But I decided that life it too short not to try it once. Little side trips during the day, Christmas markets and hash shops at night. I enjoyed it immensely on a certain level. But 5 days is too long for me. I could have been gone after 3 days and had just as good of a time.
Because the journey is the thing.

The open road on different continents.

The smell of the dust in the air, the soil through your finger tips.

Snapping the visor open for a second to get a better taste of the air in this country/state/country/continent is like.

That turn in the Sierras where the view is just … so perfect.

Tuolumne in the deep summer.

The view down Boreas Pass.

Irish Hills, MI.

That flat stretch of 120mph delight south of Billy the Kid’s grave in NM.

The VLA @ 2 a.m. listening into eternity.

Marvelling at the internal checkpoints of Los Alamos, The US’s most classified town.

Finding that 10 miles south of Panamint Springs, there is indeed a mint pan from the pun in our dreams, that should not  exist.

South Dakota’s Buffalo gap during the magic hour.

Finding the last bag of chili’s in Hatch NM at 3:00a.m. after your fellow competitors have bought all the rest.

Riding though the Vondelpark.
The journey is the thing.

We will return to Europe in the summer, under the wings of a nice Honda, and do it properly.

It was fun this time. I’ve had my european christmas time vacation. But at heart, I am a tourer, not a tourist. And when the need strikes, I need to hit the road as long as there is a road. Wrapped in 30 pounds of Kevlar and leather, visor down, head up, running from the clutches of father time. Because without it, I’m just another tourist. With it, I guess people think I’m some kind of adventurer. Maybe they are right. But I just feel better that way.

December 12, 2010

Brain Dump: UK first impressions

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 12:12 am

I’ve had lay overs in the UK before, and the odd lightning business trip. Never really had much time to spend here though and see it on my own terms until now. Brain dump as follows:

1. Heathrow immigrations. I don’t know why people moan about this. Terminal 1 passport control was amongst the best I have encountered. Who are you, why are you here, stamp, stamp done. The queue isn’t bad either.

A small rant on queues. In the US, we do it wrong. We set up flimsy windy strap queues that encourage people to cut in line. People bunch up and jockey for position, and then when they get to the window, they DO NOT HAVE THEIR SHIT TOGETHER.

In the UK, it’s a different animal most of the time. Solid metal corrals. No one rides your butt, everyone spaced evenly. And everyone has their shit together when they get to the window for whatever service they want. No one whines like an entitled ass because they failed to have their shit together just to take it out on the counter person. I have never seen lines move so fast in my life.

2. The trains run on time. As in, they actually run on time. Efficiently. On, off, etc. One can rely on them for a form of “transportation”. Fucking shocking, I know.

3. Watch your shit @ Paddington. Followed by one sketchy looking person before I dropped my luggage. I stopped, he stopped to look at magazines, I went, he started following again. Spun around and told him to fuck off. Prime place to pickpocket, etc I suppose, all the Heathrow trains connect to here.

4. Getting a SIM is easier than getting fish and chips. £10, 5 minutes. Phone number, text and data. Even prepaid in the US takes forever, sign fifty forms, wait an hour for activation….. then wait another hour, call, complain, be told to fuck off, throw phone out of the window.

5. The Underground is the new gold standard in my book for Urban transit. Much better than the swipe card systems on the Metro, etc. As well, it takes you places you want to go. I don’t mind a bit of a walk, but I swear, in NYC the MTA is always taking me to places that are just forever and a day away from where I need to be.

 

 

November 2, 2010

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 4:15 am

These are the times that I hate.

The long dark times of uncertainty, stupidity and needless bullshit.

I wait for the snow to fall. I wait for the sickly sweet smell of compressor oil and man made graupel to coat the hills. For the Swix to seep into swollen p-tex pores on board that takes you from here to there.

But that’s not here, that is not now. Now we shell out money for ancient technology pontics that have provided neglect a haven for too long.

So we wait. But we do not wait idly. New personal trainer. New Yoga. New route finding alogrithm to brute force my own special travelling salesman problem. New diet. New chords, new blues. New day, new pass, new season. And we are renewed.

October 4, 2010

LEO 1000 experiences

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 4:23 am

8:00 p.m. Oct 1st.

Specifically designed to hose Jim Owen, the master of routing, it works (or doesn’t…) as follows:

There are positive locations, and negative locations. With more or less random point values. Taos might be +145,601, and the International UFO museum might be -150,516. You must have 9 bonuses. You objective is to get as close to zero as possible. 16 pages of bonus locations.

We tear open the rally packs, are are instantly dumbstruck. No chatting this time. Everyone makes a tactical retreat to their hotel rooms. I spark up Excel, and get to work. After three hours, I have two options: a 505 point route, and a -2138 point route. I opt for the later, conservatively.

I do a preflight on the bike, and go to sleep.

5:00 a.m. Oct 2nd.

Fitful awakenings. I’ve had about 30 minutes of sleep. The Days Inn, usually good value for money, has stuck me in a room with a shite air con unit that is very noisy. This will prove to be fateful later. The route masters route is also dancing through my head.

However, I  only 30 got minutes of sleep. Which means, in the morning although I can ride, I cannot task manage effectively. I built up a reserve of sleep on Friday by sleeping in, but still, I’m not up to snuff. This will be the last Day’s Inn I stay at.

Shower, must to the rally point, odo check and leave.

7:00 a.m.

We are off.

Snap Albequerque baloon bonus on the way out. Unplanned, but only takes 5 minutes.

Despite night before preflight, the bike is squirelly. I’m down 10 PSI everywhere.

It takes 40 minutes to find air for the tires. Every gas station neither has air, or has broken air pump. Finally find a discount tire. Nearly an hour lost. Fix: Onboard undertail compressor next year. Saw one this year, decided not to buy. Hindsight it 20/20.

8:30 a.m.

In a sleep deprived moment of misjudgement, I ignore the rally packet directions, and trust the GPS to Valle Grande. This results in a scenic tour of what I am sure is all of LANL (Los Alamos National Labs). All of it. Even the parts way up in the hills that aren’t on google maps. Also, a note Los Alamos. I know you are proud of your Nuclear heritage, but naming streets after places we’ve nuked is a bit… tacky. I seriously wonder if after WWII there wasn’t a “Hiroshima St.” and “Nagasaki Bvld”.

But really, that is what NM is here for. Need a large amount of open space to play with untested physics packages? It’s either New Mexico, or Nevada.  Z-pinch machine? Put it up over there @ Sandia. First implosion type nuke? That empty space over by white sands will work just fine.

Valle Grande is missed. Too much time wasted, and my speed average dropped. I was pretty close now I see… but I should have come the way the rally pack wanted. I make a note to pick up another location. But I think I am safe since I have the baloon bonus from Albequerque to at least finish. A quick google would have helped as well. I am however, now seriously on the hole, -197,000 points. This was the lynchpin of my route. In retrospect, I should have found another similar point value positive and made a run for it.

10:30 a.m.

Head to Taos. No hum was heard. There was an art fair to route around however.

Drive the bike right up to the ticket window, and take a shot. Jam out of town, nearly get killed by a Coyote chasing a rabbit onto the road.

12:15 a.m.

Rio Grande Bridge on the way out from Taos, another easy bonus location.

2:30 p.m.

Montezuma’s Castle. 3 hours of going through the mountains. NM-518 is pretty, but takes 2 hours, plus gas stop.

5:00 p.m. Fort Sumner

Billy the Kids grave. Here again, the GPS hoses me. Takes me down a 65 MPH road in the middle of nowhere, next to no bonuses to Roswell NM.

This starts to become a theme. A note for next time: Stay on A, B roads most of the time. Take extra time to put down miles, and collect extra bonuses to have in your pocket in case something goes wrong.

This is the sleep deprivation. I always have a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C. Only when very tired am I careless. And I have been very careless contingencies on this route.

9:00p.m.

Roswell, NM. Actually a larger city than I thought. Seedy. Traffic is pretty crazy. Eat dinner, have some coffee, hydrate. Take a photo of the UFO museum and leave.

10:30p.m.

Lincoln, courthouse. Billy the Kid escaped from here. 380 is slow. I could use extra light here. Next year, aux lighting is a must. I am also skirting the edge of a super cel, and getting hit with wind pretty hard. Lose alot of speed.

1:30a.m.

Very Large Array, NM

Where in the hell I burned 4 hours on the way here I have no idea. Disaster of a gas stop, high winds, rain probably had something to do with it.

I’m sure the VLA is impressive, but at night, there isn’t alot to see. I set a course for the hotel, thinking I am done.

But I am not. I need more miles, and I have forgotten a bonus. But I don’t know that on this little sleep. I plot a run to a last bonus, a ranger station in Milipatis. But with no sleep the previous day, my reserves die after the VLA. I have the time to hit the bonus, but I don’t have the willpower. I am tired, and I catch myself snapping to sleep for a fraction of a second on the bike.

I stop for 30 minutes at a truck stop. Water, coffee. Assess. And I throw in the towel. I think I have the bonus locations I need.

I don’t. I need one more. Should have gone for the last one.

This results in a DNF for the rally. Score would have been pretty bad. I did get a IBA award for 1,000 in 24 hours, which should be one the site once I file the paperwork.

I change rooms at the hotel, attend the award banquet, and fall asleep for 7 hours.

Lessons learned:

GPS matters. Nuvi 1300 doesn’t cut it. You need to be able to force feed it your route, and have it stick to it. Plan on spending $500.

Then buy another one. For backups, and to flag you down if there are waypoints.

Streets and Trips can take a hike. Used to be good, now too Microsofty for my tastes. And, the damn GPS flags are incompatible with the Garmin, so the icons don’t show up. So I can’t see if I am buy anything. Replacing with Mapsource for the most part. It’s route optimizer is good however, so the workflow will be:

Streets and Trips -> Mapsource -> GPS.

Too much time off the bike. Hydration of 2 Gallons needs to go on the bike, plus food cooler. Aux fuel… i hate to admit it, but I need this. I need a 300 mile range before fueling. I spent 4:30 hours off the bike. If I would not have been dead consistent on the bike, I wouldn’t have made 1,000 miles.

Things done right:

Route time was good. Made good time minus stops. Very consistent on the speed. Route was well put together from a time perspective, and if I would have got Valle Grande, I would have finished in the top 20 out of 63. I am very impressed with this. Most of the things that went wrong can be fixed with gear, and inspecting the hotel before hand.

Getting some chow, and bagging out until they kick me out of this hotel. Oh, and Fuck Day’s Inn. Fuck them hard.

October 1, 2010

Lunatics On an Excursion.

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 9:15 pm

Holed up in the Days Inn in Los Lunas.

The Western Sky’s Inn down the street is full of IBA bikes. You can tell a long distance riders bike at a glance. IBA license plate frame, auxiliary fuel tanks, PIAA rally lights, dual GPS mounts + cel phone. The kind of bike rigged for some serious nonstop miles. My getup is slightly more pedestrian. Pics to follow.

The doubt is creeping in around the fringes of certainty. I would like to have a little more illumination. If I pulled a herculean effort, it could be done. Best not to mess with it this late however. I have really nice high beams, and if necessary, I have use the headlight control to dial them up and down so I don’t blind people.

Need more water. Heading out in a little to pack the trunk full of a couple of insulated water containers that I can ice up. Would love to be a able to run a hose out of that to the front. But I’ll ride with the camelback and refill often. Should be cooler tomorrow as well.

Hints have been dropped that we are going to be allowed a maximum of 9 bonus locations. Which 9 is up to you. The terror comes in 5 hours, when I have to both plan a route, and get some sleep before we muster to the start at 6a.m. Thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow evening near the cities and mountains. Strongly considering missing the Trinity site and hitting mountains in the day, and desert at night. One can make some serious miles @ night in the desert. However, we have to weigh that against tourist traffic in the mountains, which can be very intense.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness. All the rest of my brain is running probabilities and scenarios. Trying to think of anything I’ve missed.

September 28, 2010

We are not missing this!

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 1:26 am

Dental health be damned. I will remove you on the side of the road with an ice skate and a shot of whiskey if necessary you little treasonous saboteur!

September 4, 2010

Cheap

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 10:31 pm

Touring Europe can be done relatively cheaply by car. Taking the Grand Tour by motorcycle is very expensive.

Motorcycle hire rates for the bike I have are about £490/week, 250 miles a week. This is a bit pricey. One can simply ship a bike over there, for a mere €1500 min round trip. And one can merely spend 2 days getting it out of customs, and be harassed in at every border crossing proving your ownership of said vehicle.

Of course, there are other problems with shipping a bike overseas. During a phone conversation with a friend the following question was posed.

“Jess, do you really want to take a 3.6sec bike into switzerland?”

“Yes.”

“Do you also desire to have an intimate understanding of the Swiss legal system, and the architecture of their jails?”

“Not as such, no.”

So maybe the ST1300 isn’t the best bike for europe. Considering saving 130 Quid a week and going with the NTV7000. Cheaper on hire, and it gets 15 more MPG. And I think that I am going to really appreciate it with the price of gas over there. So although smaller, and 50 less HP, it has the potential to save over £600 on the trip. Money I can use sampling fine German beers, and maybe fitting in a couple more countries.

Land of Enchantment 1000

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 10:11 pm

Land of Enchantment 1000, Oct 1st-3rd. Thoughts on long distance rallying as a crucible for your soul.

I have entered the Land of Enchantment 1000. 24 hours, 1000+ miles. Unknown route to be planned about ten seconds before you hit the road. The only known waypoints are the start at Los Lunas, and the Trinity Site at the White Sands missile range. The good news is that the name of the road lading to the trinity site is “Jornada del Muerto”. Which really should be the motto for the entire race.

I may have said before that doing a 1000 miles on a motorcycle is hard in 24 hours. I would like to restate this. A motorcycle is two points of contact desperately seeking a third. Add into this a foriegn land, and on the fly route planning, and New Mexican heat, and it’s going to be a fun run.

To prepare for a proper rally, you need a few things:

1. At least a basic grasp of math.

1000 miles / 24 hours = 41.6MPH. In order to finish, you must average 41.6MPH over the course. Be aware, some bonus locations my require more than 1,000 miles to hit. Plus, you at some point will want to rest. So subtract that from your 24 hours. Not resting is a very good way to die.

2. A touring motorcycle. Preferably, a sport touring motorcycle.

This is the important bit. Lay the foundation wrong, and no matter how many farkles you hang off of it, you will not finish.

It must be comfortable. Fully faired, non fatiguing to ride. Smooth engine. Harley’s are out. 40 MPG + with a large gas tank. Most bikes running these events are shaft drive. ST1300’s are very popular. BMW RT1200, Goldwings.

3. Tank Bag

Important bit of kit this. Under estimated by many. Here is where all the essentials go. Must be big enough to fit:

– 2 liters of water
– Phone charger
– Light gloves
– Heavy gloves
– Replacement face shield.
– Replacement pinlock shaded.
– Replacement pinlock un-shaded.
– Lara bars x 6
– Snickers x 6
– Caffenated energy shots.

Marsee makes very nice tank bags, and to boot they are cheap. Plus, they are waterproof, so you can dump ice in the bottom compartment with your water and bars. There is nothing more refreshing in hot weather than freshly chilled water.

4. Modular helmet.

A few LD riders still ride without them. When time is of the essence, it takes 1 minute to take off a full face helmet with glasses. It takes 2 seconds to flip up a modular.

5. Hydration system.

Camelback. Accept no substitutes. Insulated, with wide mouth for ice. My sippy tube is velcroed inside my helmet so I can take a drink anytime I want.

Hydration is important. Get dehydrated, you start to slow down. Just slowly sip all day. On a 90+ day, you should go through 2 liters of water per tank of gas. Motorcycles can pull a ton of water out of you.

6. Satnav.

Must have. If you can use it with gloves, great. These cost about $600. I prefer stop by a pawn shop and get a couple of decent reviewed Garmins for $100 total. Update the software. Dirty little secret… most Garmins are fairly waterproof. More so if you run a bit of silicon on the seams. A ziplock bag and a couple of rubber bands will fix a thunderstorm. Plus, you have a spare. Useful for when it routes you wrong way and you fling the first one into traffic.

7. Laptop and Street Atlas™

See the satnav above? Great. Punch in addresses manually, or locations that have no proper address and you lose. Plot it out, spam into GPS and go.

8. Technical gear.

Textile, flexible, layerable technical gear. I am partial to Joe Rocket™. They have stepped up, their gear all comes with removable rain liners for a nice price, and works together well. Riding around in hot weather in full leathers, you might get heat stroke. Textile is the choice for most riders in LD events for a reason. ATTGATT. Jacket, Pants, Boots and gloves. Heavy and light gloves. Heated jacket as well, even in the hot areas for nighttime riding.

9. First aid kit.

Bandages, peroxide, povodine iodine, non-narcotic pain killers, immodium. Small wounds wrapped in hot protective gear have a way of getting really, really nasty, really, really quick. Lesson learned outside of Boston 3 years ago where I got a bad leg infection. If you get a wound, take the time and dress it up proper.

Miscellaneous tips and tricks:

Fuel stops are killer. I have a ritual:

– Take of hydration system, hang from handlebar.
– Fuel bike.
– Fill up hydration.
– Chow down on a bar.
– Choke down energy shot.
– Bathroom.
– Check route, contemplate

I factor 10 minutes per fuel stop. It is a bit long, but if you skimp here, you wind up stopping more later to add water, snack, restroom, etc. Make sure you save the receipt.

Do not speed. Wears you out faster, risk of tickets, increased risk of death.

Jornada del Muerto. But at the end, the accomplishment you get from doing a proper run is the best feeling you’ve ever had.

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