Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kawasaki 1600


Kawasaki 1600, a set on Flickr.

Two Wheeled Obsession's photostream


Cops With A Sense Of Humor

Cops With a Sense of Humor

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I just finished packing my clothes and camping gear. Tomorrow, I'll work half a day, come home and have lunch with my Other Half and Baby Girl and load up my bike. Then some brothers and a sister will show up at my place, and we'll hit the road - off to our club's annual members-only, mandatory attendance, club birthday run, fondly referred to as "Mandatory".

I'm pretty excited: This is our annual Gypsy MC Family Reunion. We're spread out pretty far and wide, so this is the only chance some of us get to see each other all year. Plus, I'm trying to get all my debt paid off, so this is the only out of town event I'm going to this year, so you could say I'm pretty fucking excited.

I'll come back with some pictures, and hopefully inspiration to write more, and maybe even stories to share.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Protection or Fashion?

Full face helmet: check
Full finger gloves: check
Textile, armored mesh jacket: check
Good for you, Ricky Rocketrider. You've prudently chosen to make sure your vital organs and skin are protected in case some jackass, blind, cell phone talking, text messaging soccer mom in an SUV knocks you off your bike.
Wait. What the fuck? Shorts? On a motorcycle? You're kidding, right? Okay, guys who wear no protective clothing, and just hop on in shorts and a tank top to ride to the gym or whatever I can sort of understand. I don't agree with it, but at least they're consistent. But you....I don't get it. You're all encased in safety, but only above the waist. You make it look like you're concerned about road rash, because you wear the jacket even when it's blazing hot.
Dude, if you're worried about the skin on your arms, you definitely need to worry about your leg skin. If you go down sliding and stay on the bike, your arms may get lucky and avoid the asphalt altogether. Even if you come off the bike, you may only get minor scrapes on your arms. You can argue about whether or not to wear a helmet – your head may or may not even touch the ground. I've only gone down twice in 22 years of riding – once with, once without a helmet. I was lucky - neither my head nor my helmet hit the pavement. But the one guarantee about dropping a bike is that. Your. Leg. Will. Scrape. Along. The. Asphalt. Possibly with the weight of the bike on it. Wanna get an idea of what that would feel like? Have the biggest guy you know put all his weight on a cheese grater and rub it on your bare thigh. Then do the same thing over a pair of Levi's.
If you're smart enough to pilot a motorcycle in Austin traffic without dying, you have to be smart enough to realize all this. Which brings me to the conclusion that your flashy jacket and helmet aren't really for protection.
They're a god damned fashion statement.
Put some pants on, you fucking poser.

(reblogged from

A Rare Re-Blog...

But I had to share this, because it's so damn cool.

This is probably the coolest, best looking custom vintage bike I've ever seen.

Check it out:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"It's What We Do"

I was starting to think all the old customs were fading away. One in particular.

I try to never pass a motorcyclist stopped on the roadside unless they see me slowing down and wave me on. Even though I'm no mechanic, sometimes all that's needed is a third hand. Or even a quick trip to the next gas station for a gas can and some gas. However, more than once, I've been broken down on the side of the road, and had jackasses ride right past me, grinning and waving, like I had just decided the side of a busy highway was the perfect place for a spontaneous picnic. Alone. With no food.

Well, I'm proud to say the tradition lives on. This morning, on the way to work, I saw a bike stopped on the shoulder of the median. I pulled over and started talking to the guy, and it seemed to me like his bike wasn't charging, because it just died on him, and when he'd hit the starter button, all the lights would die. About the time I figured that out, a second rider had pulled over to check on us. There was a barbecue restaurant/gas station a few dozen yards ahead on the right. The problem was that Highway 360, two lanes each way, was bumper to bumper and almost at a standstill. There was the occasional gap, when the traffic got a green light and the cars from the last light hadn't caught up yet. As we were making our plans, I noticed a city work truck pull up behind us. It was being driven by none other than one of my club brothers! So, not just one, but three riders stopped to help a total stranger. I went back and told him the situation, and that we were just waiting for a break in the traffic. He said "Oh, I can get you a break in traffic." He blocked both lanes, and we pushed the bike to the station, which had a steep enough driveway to get the bike push started and send him on his way.

I thanked my brother for stopping, and his response said it all:

"No problem. It's what we do."

Yup. It is.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Factory Custom a contradiction in terms. No factory has ever produced anything "custom".

Thank you. That is all. You may carry on now.

No, wait. I'm editing. That's not all. Here's my inspiration: the term "custom chopper". By its very definition, a chopper is "custom". Saying "custom chopper" is redundant - it can't be anything else. It's a bike that's been modified from the way the factory produced it. The same goes for bobbers and café racers. A bike that was churned out from an assembly line is a production vehicle.  I don't care how many people call the Honda Fury a chopper, they will be wrong. What was chopped from it? The same with Harley Davidson's Street Bob. Nothing got "bobbed" off of it - it came from the factory that way. I would also include the Triumph Thruxton "café racer". They are all production vehicles (quite fine quality, I'm sure) which took styling cues from motorcycle customizers. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this; my own motorcycle is sort of based on a street fighter, but it's really close to stock. Thus, I don't refer to it as a street fighter or as any kind of  "custom".

Look at the following photo:

The bike on the left is a chopper, built from an older Triumph. (Pre-1973, because the shifter is on the right). The bike on the right is a late model Triumph Thruxton - a factory version of a café racer. It has a lot of items on it that are required by law to be included by manufacturers that a bike builder would remove in the customizing process.

Okay, I got pushed up onto the soapbox by hearing the term "custom chopper". I'm done. Stepping down from the soapbox now.

Now you may carry on with your day...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Running With The Pack

Rolling in a pack. Man, it's such a cool feeling. It could just be you and a brother or sister, or it could be dozens riding to a run or a funeral. You get a real feeling of connection with your riding partners. It's hard to describe that to people who don't ride. It may just be impossible to understand until you experience it.

Hell, it can even translate into driving cars and trucks. I remember one time my ex and I were moving. A bunch of the brothers came over in their pickup trucks to help. I was leading the way to the new place in my car, and since we were all driving cages instead of riding, we got separated. However, when I signaled to exit the interstate, I looked in my mirror to make sure everybody saw me, and I'll be damned if every single one of those vehicles, separated by multiple cars, even, didn't move into the exit lane at the. Exact. Same. Time.

Every group, whether a club or just a bunch of friends who ride together a lot, develops a style, and the members of the group learn to almost read each others' thoughts. Gestures and a certain sign language develop that may not mean anything to anyone else, but can convey all kinds of things to the group.

I recently had a couple of experiences riding with brothers that brought home that telepathy that has developed within my own club. I was leaving a gathering and there was one brother who lived in the same direction as me, so of course we rode together. Now, I've never ridden one on one with this man before. We've both been in the same large pack, but never even in a small group together. Yet, when we pulled out onto the street, we fell into a certain rhythm. Hell, I think we were even shifting gears at the same time. You know you're synchronized when you can ride handlebar to handlebar with somebody for the first time and never feel nervous about it. He was riding on the left and I was on his right, and even when he needed to exit the interstate first, it was like we'd rehearsed the shift.

A couple weeks later, four of us had gone out of town and while we were on the highway on the way home, I realized that without even thinking about it, we'd fallen into riding positions that enabled those who needed to exit first to do so without disrupting the pack. The guy in the right rear had his exit first, then the guy in the left rear, etc. We never talked about it or planned it, or hell – even thought about it. We just subconsciously knew where to position ourselves.


It's such a good feeling; and those who refuse to ride in a group will just never know what they're missing.