Saturday, June 18, 2016

There are idiots, and then there are IDIOTS!

First a legal disclaimer. Charges have not yet been proven in court; innocent until proven guilty, blah, blah, blah.

And now to our story.

Last week our protagonist decided to go for a ride. No story there – it was the first bout of real nice weather in quite a while and lots of us were on the road that day. However, influenced no doubt by all the stupid sports bike videos flooding the interwebs, he decided to ride like an asshole, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, and offering the finger to slower motorists as he passed. 

At least one driver managed a photo of our friend which then appeared on the front page of all the local newspapers and on numerous Facebook feeds, thus reinforcing the public’s image of motorcyclists as being irresponsible dolts who can’t become organ donors fast enough.

motorcycle-driver-final

So far so good, I guess, as being an asshole isn’t a crime.

But then he took it a step further and began waving a handgun around as he wove his way through traffic. (Note to American readers: In Canada brandishing a handgun in public is not considered some sort of faux-NRA patriotism but rather a criminal offence, and is treated pretty seriously by the authorities.) That’s when he really crossed the line.

With the various after-market accessories and distinctive decals, this particular CBR600 is pretty unique and so it wasn’t long before tips began flooding in, including several pointing to a Kijiji ad listing the bike for sale, along with the seller’s information. But the clincher was the previous owner, currently residing in Germany, who saw the photo online and contacted authorities, providing a starting point for an ownership trail that quickly led to a Mr. James Cole who is, as they say, “known to police”. He has since been arrested and I expect he may miss the rest of this riding season, at least.

It’s not known what happened to the motorist who, clearly ignoring the hands-free laws, snapped the picture that led to the arrest.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

Really?

passportIt’s time for the missus and me to renew our passports so off we went to get the required photos – eyeglasses off, no smiling, just look like you’re a really pissed off terrorist in waiting and the picture will be perfect. Then they take two shots so they can be sure to have an ugly one to submit with your application.

After downloading and completing all the forms (Seriously? It’s a renewal – you already have all that info!) we headed off to submit them to the  Great BureaucracyTM  (aka Government of Canada) along with a couple hundred bucks for processing of same (aka doing their jobs). There’s a Service Canada office in town so that’s where we go.

Service Canada

Logical, right?

Not so fast. As the lone woman behind the counter who seemed to have nothing to do today – a canon fired in the office wouldn’t have hit a thing except a Closed for Lunch sign hanging on the door -  explained, you must read the fine print which, she was kind enough to show me, said “Many Service Canada Centres are passport receiving agents”. Unfortunately this office was not one of the “many”, but she offered to check the forms over for completeness anyway. Beats mind-numbing boredom I guess, and it looked like she’d already done her nails.

She also offered some options.

I could go to the nearest Service Canada office that did accept passport applications but that was 60 miles away and I should expect to “wait a couple of hours before you’ll get to see someone”. If I did that it would then take 5 to 6 weeks to get the new passports.

Or I could go to the passport office itself which is about 70 miles away, only have to wait in line for an hour or so, and we’d get our passports in 10 business days.

Or I could take them to a Canada Post office which, for another $20 apiece (plus tax, of course), would send the forms along (aka doing their job) to the passport office. And your guess is as good as mine how long that would take once Canada Post’s requisite mail storage and retention period gets factored in. Which is all academic anyway as the local post office isn’t one of the designated “receivers”, and the closest one is further away than the passport office itself.

Yup, we’re here to help, unless we don’t feel like it, in which case you get to spend 3 or 4 hours and a few gallons of gas chasing down someone who cares.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Winning the lottery

What? Me? Win the lottery? I wish.

The running joke in this household is every time I express an interest in some new toy, a bike upgrade, a new truck, or any other frivolous (as determined by the spousal unit) expenditure which would, beyond the shadow of a doubt, improve my life our lives immeasurably, the stock answer is “When you win the lottery”.

And, it seems, even that is conditional. When I last won big and hauled out the new Harley ads it was somewhat patiently explained to me, accompanied by a lot of eye rolling as if it should be obvious, that the winnings had to at least cover the cost of the acquisition and $100 wasn’t going to buy much of a motorcycle. Hah – fooled her. Got this beauty for $39.99.



But I did get to thinking. If I did win the lottery and money suddenly became no object, would I keep the Dyna, upgrade to something different, or start a collection Jay Leno style? Well maybe not Jay Leno style exactly, but a modest version of same with, say, a nice even half-dozen bikes in the garage – one for every occasion.

Based on past history I expect I’d collect, and my ideal garage would house: a long distance tourer (aka Geezer Glide); an on-off-road dual-purpose bike (possibly a BMW F700GS); a modern day-tripper (for which the Dyna is perfectly suited, so I’d keep her); a sidecar rig for 3-wheeling during bad weather (a Ural comes to mind here); a vintage Brit bike (a fully restored mid-60s BSA A65 Lightning would fit the bill perfectly); and a real old classic like a mid-20s Indian or similar, just for the fun of riding it once in a while and trying to get it back home under its own power and with all the bits still attached.

And then if I still had some room in the garage I might throw in a few bikes I’d either owned or lusted after in the past: a 1974 Kawasaki Z1 900 (I wish I still had mine); a 1974 Norton Commando (ditto; or the new Commando 961 Sport – the collection wouldn’t be complete without a Norton); and a vintage Ducati cafĂ© racer like the bright yellow 750 Sport (always wanted one) to represent Italy’s contribution to motorcycling – besides it would be a blast to ride.

So that’s 9. It’s only about 1/10th the size of Jay’s collection but I could live with that.

What about you? What would be in your perfect stable?

Monday, May 23, 2016

PMS

As every rider knows that acronym has nothing to do with female biology but rather represents the emotional impact of not being able to ride for an extended period of time for any reason. Up in this neck of the woods Parked Motorcycle Syndrome usually occurs during the winter months when snow, ice, and freezing temperatures force all but the hardiest and most foolish among us to park the 2 wheelers for a few months. That comes with the territory, as they say, and we are mostly accepting of its annual inevitability and use the time to catch up on wrenching and various upgrades over which riding took precedence during the summer. We deal with it.

It’s the other causes of PMS that are really troublesome.

empty-garageWhile not strictly Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, I had an extended period a while back when I had no motorcycle at all. During those years of No Motorcycle Syndrome the first few weeks of summer were the worst. As the dandelions multiplied, opening their bright yellow faces to the world, so did the number of motorcycles on the road. And I missed being on one of them. Badly. Until 2008 when I got my current ride and the universe once again began to unfold as it should and the empty garage was no more.

Storm for web (9)But it was not to be all smooth sailing riding from that point onward. Four years ago a major wind storm and several broken ribs kept me out of commission for most of that summer, from mid-July to mid-September. 

Then two years ago I had another brief bout of PMS when our roads were under repair and it was both difficult and dangerous to get through on two wheels for a period of about 3 weeks. Watching day after day of our already short riding season tick by was not how I wanted to spend the better part of  June.

And now here we are, May 2016, perfect riding weather, and again she sits parked as I curse the vagaries of life, health, and the pursuit of happiness while trying to nurse an inflamed hip back to normal function. While not life-threatening it is extremely painful and sitting in the saddle doesn’t help (nor does swinging a golf club as it turns out). So now again I wait until my body is as ready as my head and heart are, counting the missed days.

All of which begs the question, why doesn’t this crap happen during the winter months when I can’t do anything anyway?