Snow In Alpharetta

This certainly isn’t anything close to the weather that’s been seen this winter by my friends and family in the Maryland & Washington D.C., but it’s more than we’re used to here in the Atlanta area.

snowy bridge

snow on the leaves   Cardinal in the Snow

No Riding Today


Ride To Work Day, Follow-Up

I work in a 5-story office building which shares the parking lot with another just like it. Ten floors of offices, I’m not sure how many employees work here. On a “normal” spring or summer day there are three bikes in the lot – my FZ-6, a Ninja and a Shadow.

Today is Ride to Work Day, and it’s a beautiful early-summer day too — sunshine, no threat of rain and the temp’s still under 90f — so I was really hoping to see more motorcycles in the lot (and bicycles in the racks). Such was not the case, unfortunately:

FZ-6 on Ride to Work Day A Ninja on Ride to Work Day

I took a quick walk around the lot and this was all I could find… the Ninja rider and I were apparently the only ones braving the sunshine today.

A Weekend Day’s Ride

I went for a nice ride this past weekend, about 110 miles in all up into the North Georgia mountains. You know it’s going to be a good ride when you see a sign like this

A Sign of Good Times Ahead...

and plenty of roads like this


which lead to a destination like this, with plenty of good conversation and cold iced tea

Two Wheels Only

Click on that last picture, btw, for a much better view of Two Wheels Only. It (the photo, not the motorcycle resort) was built with Hugin. I’ve mentioned it before, and friend Allen discovered it this past week. Highly recommended (both the photo-stitching software and the resort).

Motorcycle Parking Only

Excitement on Today’s Commute

Maxwell Road, Alpharetta GA

A little excitement today: I was riding the motorcycle southward along Maxwell St, doing about the speed limig safely on my side of the double-yellow, when I was passed by a black Ford F-150 doing what appeared to be double the speed limit. I barely had time to realize he was there and then he was gone… followed by an unmarked car with blue lights flashing. When I got to Westside Parkway, I could see that the truck had blown through the red light down toward Fanfare Way, and the LEO followed.

I chose not to follow them, though I would have liked to see what went on and how it ended. I have friends who are officers and know that they really don’t like having extra citizens around that they have to watch out for should the person they’re chasing decide to pull a weapon.

It was a bit un-nerving though, how quickly they appeared; I heard the truck before I saw it, and it really was already pulling into the oncoming lane to go around me at that point. I’m not sure if I should be displeased with myself for not checking the mirrors more often or not — thinking back to that section of road and the incident, I’m estimating that the truck wouldn’t have been visible behind me for more than about 3 seconds by the time it caught up with and passed me.

If You’re Going To Follow…

Allen and I went for a motorcycle ride today, to particpate in a Poker Run for charity. We got our first card and a map, but neither of us had a good place on our bike to hold the map. I’ve got plans to get a tank bag with a map pocket but haven’t done that yet, so we decided we’d just follow someone else.

Allen suggested a rider on a Triumph Sprint ST who had his map taped to his tank, but I chose otherwise. We’d talked to a Honda rider who was pulling out as we were ready; he seemed to me to be the sort of guy we might enjoy riding with, so we dropped in behind him. In some regards, I was right — he rode at a good pace, not too fast nor too slow, and was choosing good roads. He seemed to be taking a diffrent route than I remembered seeing on the map, but I figured that was ok; maybe he knew a better set of roads to the first checkpoint. After several miles, we realized that wasn’t the case and we pulled over and to figure out just where we were headed. It turned out that he wasn’t riding to the checkpoint at all. He had just stopped by the ride’s start to talk with some people, and was riding with a completely different destination in mind.

We got ourselves turned around and were able to re-join our group at one of the checkpoints, and had a good day’s ride. It’s an important lesson though, for riding and for life: If you’re going to follow someone — even should the journey be going well — it’s important to know that they’ve got the same destination in mind. Also, if you’re unsure, stop and check. On our motorcycle ride, that meant consulting the map. In other cases that might mean a good talk with your mentor or a return to reading The Good Book. It’s never too late to get back on the right path.

Photo Tag-O-Rama

I participate in two online motorcycling communities, and Sport-Touring.Net. Many riders on ADV have begun “Tag-O-Rama” or “Photo Tag” games, in which a rider posts a photo of their motorbike in some particular location, along with a few clues, and others try to figure out where it is. The first person to find the location, take a similar photo of their bike there, and post it to the forum gets to pick the next place. And on it goes. It’s all about getting out and riding, finding different roads to travel and new places to go.

So last week, about the same time I’m buying my new motorcycle, in an Atlanta Metro Area Tag-O-Rama, this one gets posted:

Jenna's tag– A lookout of a different kind. “Just in case of fire” was probably written somewhere on it.
– It and the surrounding area was built around 1895.
– It and the surrounding area shares the same name as the family that constructed it way back then.
This “tower” is off a road named after a very colorful bird.

With a little help from Google, I pondered the clues last night and thought I had the rough area figured out, and so I set the alarm a little earlier than I normally would for a Sunday morning. I poked around the Vinings area, staying along the river, and sure enough there it was.

Whittier Mill Park

Whittier Cotton Mill and Village

Btw, if you’re a rider in the Atlanta area, here’s what I posted as the next tag.

the tag I posted for others to find

– Annually, this city and this organization host a parade to honor those who have served in years past.
– On the grounds owned by this organization are both relics to remind and boys of summer.

If you’d like to participate, come join in the forum and have fun.

Back In The Saddle Again, Again

Last year I got back into motorcycling after a 14-year hiatus, on a 1994 BMW R11RS. That was a great machine, and I enjoyed riding it quite a bit. Unfortunately, I don’t really know how the bike was ridden or serviced over those years (and 63,000 miles); the gearbox and clutch system turned out to need a lot of work — more than the bike was worth. The good news is that last month I was able to sell the BMW to a gentleman who has time, energy, money and ambition for a project. That, however, left me once again without a motorcycle.

Today I rectified that situation.

my and my new motorcycle
Thanks to Jim for the photo.

Thanks to the good folks at Moto 400, I’m now the happy owner of a 2008 Yamaha FZ6. It’s still practically brand-new, though nicely broken-in with 4k on the odometer and a few months left on the factory warranty. The previous owner had given it a few upgrades, then at his 4,000 mile service let himself be talked into a larger bike. I hope he’s happy with his ride, I’m happy that he chose to leave the FZ6 for me.

A Fall Ride

I rode my motorcycle right through a red light yesterday.

Actually, I rode through several red lights, as did about forty other motorcyclists and drivers of a dozen cars. We were all taking part in the second annual Ride for Will. The ride was very well escorted by LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers), both from the sheriffs offices of the several counties through which we rode and officers of the Georgia State Patrol, and we didn’t stop at all during the 60+ mile trip.

Plenty of other vehicles were stopped, not only by the officers at crossroads, but also by considerate drivers who were traveling in the opposite direction who likely thought ours was a funeral procession. In a way it was, as this event is held in part to commemorate the short life of Will Davidson who passed away in 2007. Less than five months old, Will was a victim of Sudden Death Infant Syndrome, the “quiet killer.” The ride is also meant to increase awareness of SIDS, and raise funds for the Will Davidson Memorial Scholarship.

I don’t have any pictures of the ride itself, but here’s the obligatory parking lot full of bikes before we depart
The Bikes Gather
and after we arrived at our destination, Paul’s on the River in Helen GA
Arrival in Helen GA

After a bite of lunch, Allen and I left the crowd and took a less direct route home, through the mountains. I wasn’t carrying the GPS, so I don’t have a track; I may try to reproduce it using Google Earth if I get some free time. We did stop at one high point, from which I got this picture.

N. GA Mountains

It’s hard to tell from that shot, but the North Georgia Mountains were beautiful yesterday, full of fall colors, and it was a great day for a ride.