Thursday, July 8, 2010

So many rides, so little time!

Hello my dear friends!

Well, riding season is in FULL swing! So much so that I have been out drinking in the sun more than I have been getting blog posts ready.  Forgive me, for I am new.

So. What was my most recent run? San Francisco's Pride Parade 2010!!!
What fun.  I rode as part of a small contingent "Ladies of the Avenues" under the San Francisco Scooter Girls registry.  The theme was devil girls.  Horns were adorning both rider and bike.
This year, as is tradition, Dykes on Bikes Women's Motorcycle Contingent was in charge of the ride as a whole Damn, those are some strict women!  They laid down the law and kept everyone in their place. It was awesome.  The que up was smooth, and the ride for the most part was easy with few gaps in the process. 
This year, it seemed the route was shorter than in other years, with the turn off and parking being in roughly the same place, but more time spent getting there.
Seeing and HEARING that many scooters, motorcycles and riders packed together to support one cause and way of life was incredible!  You could barely hear yourself think over the cacophony! San Francisco knows how to throw down like no other city.
I could go on for a while, but it might be best to leave you with the video so you can see for yourselves. Keep it rubber side down, peeps!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scooter Rage 24

Were you there? Did you make it?  Oh, it was so much FUN!
Heres the video of the endurance challenge: 
Saturday morning started out at Barry's SF Scooter Center.  Spare parts and extras were everywhere, as it was the swapmeet part of the rally.  Need a P200 exhaust? Chrome? Tires? Got it.
I didn't stay there for long...I split at noon to meet my team at the SFMC club house for the "Reading of the Rules".  I'll be damned if they didn't hammer it home that it was most definitely not a speed race! Safety third was definitely not the motto, but this was good, as it gave the whole group plenty of time to read, sign and agree to the terms.  No bullshit here.
There were roughly 40 riders and another half dozen support members to help with checkin in and rider switches.  Well staffed and supported made for a really relaxing go where all of us were able to focus on our team and not the semantics. 
Starting the challenge was like a scene out leMans:  riders fully geared up were on one side of the street and the bikes, keyed, gassed and primed were on the other.  Mike Z had the flag.  On three, he dropped it, called the start and the riders bounded across the asphalt.  

In the chaos of those first minutes the separation and connections between the teams became apparent.  Vintage riders were either on the bike already, or were kicking their bikes to get going.  One either flooded or was broken from the start and never left the finish line.  1 down; 8 to go!
Moderns were up and at it, pulling away from the curb to the light and then down the block. The cheers from the crowd nearly drowned out the two-stroke chatter. Camera paparazzi? Well, we were everywere.  In the thick of the race, on the edges and the ground, looking up for the best shots. 
Each lap took about 1.25 hours, so after they left, the party started and kept going until midnight, which was roughly 3 rider changes in and COLD.
My team, alas, was second to DNF.  On our 4th and final rider, in the dark at close to 11PM, rider and bike went down on a darkened curb.  Two flat tires, a bent rim and compressed shocks left the little Blackjack Buddy needing to be lifted into the back of the support truck and trailed in to the clubhouse. Still, the party went on, and I took this as a sign to go take more pictures!  It was a battle between Oz and I...he won.  Better glass and a better understanding of settings gave him some badass shots of the evening's actions.
I dont think anyone caught the Scooter Girl smash  at check in though! Haven't seen those pics surface yet.

 So I caught a few good pics, but managed to pass out sometime after 3AM, when the pizza arrived.  A few beers, some mexican thumb wrestling matches (complete with masks), and a plethora of fine cigars had subdued the riders waiting for their turns. Bodies littered the floor, the sofas and even the bar.  Good times.  Bagel had a spare air mattress that I took advantage of, sleeping until the leak had me laying on the floor.  Up again in time for the sunrise! Frozen solid too, I might add. 
Riders came in, switched out, and warmed up.  You could tell who'd just come in but their stiff movements, pacing around outside the clubhouse as the coffee finished brewing.  No matter how many years I have lived in this city, I am always suprised how you can go from wearing a tank top and sweating it out in the sun during the afternoon to a night and morning so cold your breath frosts over as you speak.  
Morning wore on and a few people came by to check the ride stats before heading to the afternoon group ride.  As time passed and noon hit, the final short laps of the race and the modifications for Sunday in the park were made.  The riders were switching out faster and the times were getting closer. Nobody knew exactly where their standing were because the board hadn't been updated. Everyone just kept riding, and really enjoying themselves!  Frankly it's the most fun and most social event I've been to in ages for the scooter scene. 
FINALLY, 2:30 approaches.  The checkered flag comes out.  The crowd has grown.  The bar was freely flowing with beer for the team members.  Warm weather, worn bodies and 24 hours of thrill had finally culminated in this moment!  One by one the riders came in, parked and were met with cheers from the hundred-odd fans.  Fist-bumps, hugs, and in Bagels case, a cold beer down the jacket greeted the teams.  Camera paparazzi got their shots, posing each team as they came in.  Some were elusive and I missed them but my fave shot is SFSG, beers in hand slugging it back after a long night. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

New ride in the works

Allright my rider friends!  I'm working on it slowly but surely.  A Treasure Island ride will take place some time after Rage and before the SFSG rally.  We'll meet somewhere in San Francisco and tool through the city for a bit before hitting the first half of the Bay Bridge.  An island tour will end with us eating at a nice little waterfront cafe before heading back in. 
Bring your camera--you'll get to see the new bridge being built up alongside the current one, and the marina has amazing views of the SF waterfront. 
Bring some cash--the cafe's card system is satellite based and sometimes doesn't work. But heck, it's cheap at least!
Bring a scooter that you're comfortable taking on the freeway and be OK with the high gusty winds of the Bridge. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rage is coming

I'll be there, but I wont be doing too much riding. If you see a gimpy girl with a big camera walking towards you, expect to be interviewed, or to be kinneared! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Covet Item of the Week.

It may only be a concept, but OM MY GOD. I want this!  And what a name: "Scooter Armadillo"!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Upcoming Rally:: Scooter Rage 24

Better known as "24 Heures du Rage", this year promises to have one event we haven't seen done here in SF in a very long long; if ever!

With two classes, one for modern and one for vintage scooters, and teams of 3-6 people the 24-hour endurance trial isn't going to be just a kick-your-ass ride. It's timed too.  Hold your horses though--if you go too fast, you're going to get dinged and cost the team the win.  The trick here is to go "scooter speed".  Won't that be fun to see??
Dancing kicks off the festivities Thursday, June 17th.
Friday will see you off in the evening from First Kick to a nice little dive bar. Scoot to drink!
Saving the best for the weekend, the challenge begins on Saturday:
If you manage to avoid a hangover and get up on time, 10AM @ SF Scooter Center will have a swap meet. BUT WAIT! Show up at 2PM  and watch the Le Mans inspired start for the time trials. After which the main ride leaves for a city-lights tour. 
Sunday you'll get to see the road-weary endurance riders who have survived the foggy chill of the SF night and early morning riding.  The winning team will be figured out somehow. Hang out till the end for the awards, raffle and BBQ. Yum.
I dont know about you guys, but I can hardly stand the wait!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

the angry cager

We've all had it happen.
Sometimes it's at a rally when a car gets cut off--they hit their horn, get out, or worst of all try to MERGE into ride.   Then there are the ones that just randomly seem to get pissed off, though wearing your Colors may seem to increase this frequency.
Mods Vs. Rockers was last weekend, and it's a prime example of when you can run into the Angry Cager.  This is one of the more fun, illegal-move filled chaotic rides that takes place in SF every year.  At least one accident each year happens: two riders collide because one stopped instead of moving with traffic, or someone will show off in the tunnel and end up high-siding into the guard rail.  But let's face it--things like this are what add to the thrill of two-wheels.
On the way home last week from MvR, I had a run-in with the species known as the Angry Cager. The Angry Cager is known for not being very bright, and having lots of time of their hands.  This can be fun, or it can be destructive. I like a little of both.
Here's what happened for me:
"Hey. Hey. Hey! HEY!!!!!!"  The grey BMW rental car behind me starts to yell.  I'm waiting behind another car to make the right turn onto Franklin.  The light is red, and I've got my turn signal on.
I check my mirror.  He's waving.  "Hey!!! You!!"
"Yeah?" I turn, put my hand up in question.
"MOVE!" he screams.  "Go!"
"red light buddy.  Traffics moving too fast.  I can't go and neither can the person in front of me." 
Ordinarily, I'd move up, maybe try to get into traffic, but I'm on my friends borrowed bike that at 50cc' rugged but can't get out of it's own way in uphill traffic.
BMW guy shuts up and sits back in his seat. I swear he's pouting.  Anyway, the light turns green and I move to get into the furthest left lane.  I'm right behind the car that was first onto the street.
The BMW sounds its horn...and stays on it.  Now I'm getting a little irritated.  This guy is being a child.  Safety third.
As I finally get into the lane, he pulls up into the next lane and hollers "You're going to get killed!"
Then zooms away. 
Just like that. No "I'm going to kill you", or "you should die", just a plain ole "you're going to get killed.". Well, shit....I guess we all are at some point!  Thanks buddy! And here I thought I was going to live forever.
I watched him cut through a yellow turning red light, weaving in and out of other cars going the speed limit until he got to the next red light a few blocks ahead.  Same thing: leaning out of the car and gesturing at the one in front of him.   I can only assume that this guy was on his way back to his native habitat of Tiburon, but I can't be sure.  It's never fun to have an angry cager riding your ass through the city, but this one was fortunately too preoccupied to pursue me, as some have. 

So I ask...what have you done with angry cagers? Do you goad them, or push them to do a little more? Maybe throw that random rotten egg their direction? You know, the one you just *happened* to have in your glovebox?