Things we think of while riding down the road

Archive for April, 2009

The Sunday Ride

rockstoreThe Sunday ride can take many forms and many routes. My Sunday rides started with desert races and enduro’s on a Bultaco Matador. Then, when I was old enough for a drivers license, I rode the same Matador all over the place…it was street legal…it had to be for enduro’s. The hills of the San Fernando and the Santa Clarita Valley’s were prime riding area’s. Jeep trails, single track trails, small hill climbs..it didn’t matter,,we got to ride any where we wanted. Well, kind of…Too much fun.

As time went on and population grew, off-road riding areas shrank. Fences, signs and the Sheriffs Dept took away a lot of the fun. Oh well, life goes on…so does riding.

Fast forward a bit, it’s off dirt bikes and on to streetbikes. Quite a change really, dirt bikes…lots of clean and prep work (Ok..repair the crash damage from last weekend..); streetbikes… check the air pressure in the tyres, check the oil, maybe wash it, fill up the gas tank and you’re on the road. Sometimes you have a destination in mind and other times it’s just wherever the road takes you.
On a Sunday ride a while back I saw a friend that I used to ride with every Sunday. We started reminiscing about days and rides gone by…hey, that’s what happens when you start to get older, you can’t help it…we talked about rides, friends and bikes.3097402671_1376ec8d23

For a number of years a group of us would meet early on Sunday mornings,(really early if there was a Formula One race on TV) have coffee, look over what each of us had done or not done on our bikes and plan our ride. The route was based on two things..first, where to eat and second, the most entertaining way to get there. The general rule was a tank of gas away and a tank of gas back. As you can imagine we had some very creative routes.

Over the years the group grew and shrank and the Sunday rides were a little farther apart…life seems to have a way of interferring with what is really important. Babies came along, some friends moved away, work got in the way, old bikes needed work and worst of all… the dreaded ‘Honey-Do List’.

Recently some riding friends have been getting together at a local bike night and plans of reviving the Sunday ride are in the works. Put the babies in the side car, pretend the lawn mower won’t start and put a new battery in that old Norton. Spring is here, lets go for a ride…where is the best breakfast about 100 miles from here???

See you Sunday.


Safety vs. Revenue

I’ll steal the motto of the Los Angeles police department here..”To Protect and Serve”. I think it is basically what most law enforcement agencies believe is their mission. A noble mission it is and I admire those that that put their lives on the line each day. But there a few flies in the ointment here.

All law enforcement agencies need to make money to pay the officers, service personnel and maintain vehicles, that’s why a speeding ticket, or a rolling through a stop sign ( also known as a ‘California Rolling Stop’) or a close lane change cost so much. But what is the purpose of a Highway Patrol? To keep the highways and biways safe? That’s what I have always thought. I think I may be wrong…to a point.

chpchargershlOver the past few years ‘Stealth Cars’ have become much more prevalent on the Highways. Here in California we have had unmarked Mustang’s, Camaro’s, Caprice’s and Crown Victoria’s all in plain colors, no markings and lights hidden behind tinted windows . Kind of cheating don’t you think? 0rixyk2y

If you want to protect and maintain the safety of the highways, make the cars look like Highway Patrol cars. Have you ever noticed while you’re riding that even though a Highway Patrol car is on the side of the road giving someone else a ticket (luckily not you) traffic slows down, or when you see a ‘Black and White’ on the road ahead of you or coming up behind you, you maintain the speed limit, use your signals and do whatever is safe so you don’t get pulled over.

So here is my thought for the day…and my question…
What is more important? Revenue or Safety. If the states would paint all these new ‘stealth cars’ in Highway Patrol colors and put them on the Highways, drivers / riders would obey (well, maybe) the traffic laws because they would see more enforcement and then hopefully the roads would be safer. But wait, that might mean less tickets and therefore less revenue. So what is really more important to the state? Safety or Revenue?? Think about it.