My Motorcycle Story is unfolding

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storysunfolding
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#41 Unread post by storysunfolding » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:45 pm

-Holiday wrote:uhhhm. i dont know about this weekend. front royal is 194 miles away so i'd probably have to make a two day trip out of it.

not that that means i wouldnt do it.

maybe april would be better :)
lol- anytime. Maybe we can get others like sharpmagna to join us.
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#42 Unread post by sharpmagna » Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:42 pm

storysunfolding wrote:
-Holiday wrote:uhhhm. i dont know about this weekend. front royal is 194 miles away so i'd probably have to make a two day trip out of it.

not that that means i wouldnt do it.

maybe april would be better :)
lol- anytime. Maybe we can get others like sharpmagna to join us.
I'm down for that fellas, but April is real bad for me. I'm out of the country for most of April and the rest I'll be catching up with work. Any time after though you can count me in.

Congrats on the soon to be MSF Instructor title!
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#43 Unread post by storysunfolding » Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:34 pm

I didn't ride today. The forcast called for thunderstorms and while they didn't materialize I chose to play it safe. Someday soon my hand/arm will be 100% and that won't phase me... until then... *sigh* I'm a fair weather rider.

There were others riding today. Plenty of cruisers tshirts and skid lids. I also had my first squid sighting of the season. Arai helmet, obvious motorcycle boots (track powerranger variety), sandals, tshirt and shorts.

Now I see plenty of guys with the nice helmet and nothing but helmet and motorcycle boots but no jacket? Head, check; Feet, check... well I guess I'm covered from my head to my toes. The traffic kept us together long enough to demonstrate his lack of ability or common sense, but I digress. I came here to talk about me :twisted:

As I didn't ride the bike I thought I'd take the opportunity to leave a running list of everything that I've done to the VStrom that will be updated as things come in.

In order of addition:
-Auxillary fuse block hooked into both on and park circuits
- Heated grips
- Dan Vesel switch panel
- Suzuki OEM Handguards
- MIT 100 motorcycle communication system (intercomm, bike to bike, auxillary, cellphone)
- Tank Bra
- New Clutch lever- it looks like the old one, only better :wink:
- New left turn signal
- Centerstand
- Lowering links (brought the back down 3/4 inch)
- Raised forks 3/4 inch in triple tree (recommended by Vstrom forums)
- Hepco and Becker Crash bars

Hoping to have soon:
- Zumo 550 or Streetpilot something
- Givi EN50 topcase
- MadStad Bracket (helps buffetting from windshield turbulence)
- Fender extender (prevents gunk hitting the engine
- oil cooler and radiator guard (Dan Vesel)
- Stebel 139 decibel horn or louder... damned cages
- upgraded stator
- powerlet hookup to run power to my tank bag
- side luggage (uncertain if I want more givi or soft luggage)


I feel like the wish list should be longer... well give me a day or two! 8)
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#44 Unread post by NorthernPete » Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:50 am

Did your neighbour who slipped on the ice pay for the broken bits? just out of curiousity.
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#45 Unread post by storysunfolding » Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:45 am

NorthernPete wrote:Did your neighbour who slipped on the ice pay for the broken bits? just out of curiousity.
I haven't seen him since. We used to talk for a few minutes every morning... avoiding me?
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#46 Unread post by NorthernPete » Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:53 am

something, Id have a chat with him, seeing as even though it was an accident, its still cost you some $$$. depending on how far you want to pursue it, you could allways go after the landlord if youre a renter. although for the price of the items that broke, it may not be worth the headache. I would really want to see what the neighbour thought though. "do you have any responsibility towards this you think?"
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#47 Unread post by storysunfolding » Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:22 am

Pete-

He's a shady character- but he talks to my g/f and room mate. He even passes a hello through them at times. But $50 isn't worth the headache. If i see him I'll bring it up but...
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Injury update: Typing with most of my right hand

#48 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:56 pm

HAHA F YOU ALL YOU MOTHER F-ERS!

It's time for another injury update. My three outer fingers (pinky, ring and middle) are starting to come back on, if rather weakly. As you may have surmised I've been giddily flicking people off all weekend in celebration. :laughing:

My fingers still haven't recovered full range of motion and they are weak but by God they are back in action. The pointer and thumb will come next but likely after the other three regain full strength.

5 months, 1.5 weeks later... wow. Words can't describe how much life has changed in that time frame. My recovery hasn't quite reached it's conclusion but before you know it my scar will be all that's left from this incident. When people ask I will tell them about the tragedy, about the recovery, and about my bravery. Taking 20 guys down under in a knife fight to defend a damsel in distress, democracy and infant kualas all at the same time takes just a wee bit of bravery, don't you agree?

I still don't have complete control of my right hand and as of a month ago I still lacked many of the functions that I am starting to take for granted again. Even now my fingers move slowly, like a poor internet connection, only doing what I ask them to after a noticable delay. I realize in retrospect that after the pain diminished from intense to manageable I started coping. Now I'm starting to uncope and the feeling is peculiar if not magnificent.

So "fudge" you, "fudge" you too, "fudge" you over there and you? "fudge" you some more! But realize in this sea of unfriendly gestures, that I do it all in good spirit!

P.s.- I can finally drive in DC traffic again :wink:
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Day 1 of MSF Ridercoach Training

#49 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:42 am

Day 1 of MSF Ridercoach Training:

Time 5pm-10pm

Walking into the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)'s Ridercoach Program (RCP) as a Ridercoach Candidate (RCC) was a bit awkward. A quick glance of the room mainly showed two distinctive characteristics that I lacked: age and facial hair. As you read my thoughts I'm remedying both of these- so have no worry.

At first my fellow RCC's thought I'd found the wrong classroom, but after acknowleding 1.) Yes, I'm in the right class and 2.) Yes I do shave. Things were back on track and we got down to business.

The Regional coordinator for Northern Virginia and the Lynchburg area were there as well as three other senior RiderCoaches. Introductions were made, jokes were made at my expense. It was delightful.

In a similar fashion to the BRC we were split into small groups, we had to ask each other who we were, where we were from, what we ride and why we were there. I was stunned to find out that many people had come to the class to work on becoming better riders. I'd always assumed that the focus of the RCP was to find better riders to aid in teaching new students.

We then reviewed what we would be doing in the course and walked through the classroom portion and associated teaching techniques.

Overall it's rather impressive how much material is fit into the 15 hours of the BRC. Even more so is the thought and planning that went into the technique of teaching.

Although there isn't much to put here that's informative and not boring, it was 5 hours well spent.
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Re: Day 1 of MSF Ridercoach Training

#50 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:04 am

Day 2 of MSF Ridercoach Training:

Time 7:45am-5:15pm

Day 2 began in the classroom. We reviewed our instructor handbooks and our Range Cards, which have the range setup, directions for range exercises, and points of emphasis. After a few hours reviewing those and some more group work we hit lunch then the range around 12.

The goal of the first weekend is to begin thinking like an instructor and to become intimately familiar with the curriculum of the BRC. Do you see where this is going?

So there we stood, 13 in number with 12 dinky machines infront of us. We laughed like giants as we began the walk through for the BRC. Wait, 13 RCC's and 12 machines? Indeed.

For each exercise we setup the course according to the range cards and gathered around one of our number. That person walked through the instructions, signaled our demo rider and pointed out the technique used to accomplish each task. Then he/she coached next to an experienced coach for the exercise.

We didn't ride every exercise and we didn't ride the ones we did long. Regardless with the time we spent addressing questions and practicing our teaching technique we only managed to make it through exercise 9 or the end of the first BRC day by 5.

Although we were pooped we reviewed a bit more and then headed home for the evening.
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#51 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:25 am

Day 3 of MSF Ridercoach Training:

Time 7:45am-5:15pm

Day 3 began on the range. We ran through the remainder of the exercises and started worrying about our skills test.

That's right, the RCC's were going to be tested on the BRC. After all, it only makes sense that the Rider Coaches can perform the exercises and demo them in a way that shows good technique.

As the day wore on it became apparent that a few of our number were succombing to the dreaded box disease. All they could talk about was fear of not being able to do the box. They even practiced the box during breaks.

I find the fear of the box to be unfounded. It's simply another exercise and there is more than enough preparation to prepare you for it in the BRC... which granted we were only doing an abbreviated version of but we were all experienced riders. Furthermore, other than dropping your bike it's very hard to fail soley based on a bad box performance.

So as we finished the course we were lined up and run through the skills test. As a rider coach candidate you are held to a higher bar than the the BRC students. Furthermore, while you aren't graded here, you are expected to be readily demonstrating good riding technique. That's something that can actually affect you later.

Sadly I aquired 2 points during my exercise and didn't have the pefect score I desired. It happened in the quick stop for stopping 2 feet later than I should have stopped. On the other hand, given that my right hand hasn't fully recovered and that I had to relearn the use of my right arm... I'm totally calling it the accidents fault :wink:

We reviewed our scores individually and they told me that I looked amazing. There was room for improvement but there's always room for improvement. Sure one guy only recieved 1 point off but he has a good two decades of experience on me :laughing: .

After lunch we met back in the classroom to experience the BRC classroom as students. We say an experienced instructor demonstrate many of the lessons and it greatly added to my appreciation of the course. Yet, we were quick to realize only 12 of us had returned. One of us had failed the skills test.

After the classroom overview we went over what will b ehappening the following week. We were assigned four lessons that we had to learn intimately to be able to teach to our students (aka other ridercoaches) as we went through the BRC again next weekend for peer teaching. We also went over our 60 question pre course homework assignment. We were told that this would serve as our study guide for our knowledge test the following weekend.

A skills test this weekend, a knowledge test the following weekend yet the third weekend remains a mystery. The instructors told us that we would be teaching a class of hand picked brc students that had been through the class a few times already but failed miserably. I have a sneaking suspicion that we will be teaching experienced rider coaches. They will most likely try to trip us up but you can be assured that I will rise to the occasion.
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#52 Unread post by storysunfolding » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:38 pm

My MSF Rider Coach Training Joke

Surprisingly no one had heard this before...

"Ok guys, to set the right level of expectations, after this class you will only be qualified to coach in parking lots"

:laughing:
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#53 Unread post by storysunfolding » Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:08 am

Yes. I didn’t post my 2nd or 3rd weekends of my RCC experience. However, 100+ hours of instruction after I started, I am now a MSF RiderCoach complete with whistle, stopwatch, range card holder and day glow coolmax shirts.

I’ll post more when I regain my sanity- but 3 long training weekends around 2 long work weeks, 1 400 mile ride on Monday to celebrate, a birthday, a drunken adventure to midevil times and my arm being sore have detracted from my story telling ability. There is more to come- just not before this weekend.

While I won’t go into the whole experience now I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about it- just pm me.
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#54 Unread post by storysunfolding » Tue May 08, 2007 4:18 pm

What times I've had and what stories I have to share! Much has happened recently and I don't know where to begin. First, the best news of all. Bluemonkie99 is now the owner of a 2003 blue ninja 250!

Image

I now have a riding partner!

We went to inspect the bike last friday. We were going to go Saturday afternoon after my BRC but another buyer was coming in the morning and blue didn't want to lose this bike.

We showed up at night, which wasn't ideal but I had a powerful flashlight to compensate. The bike looked great. It had been dropped on it's left side once and has a few scratches and one dent on the tank. However, blue expects to drop it at least once, that didn't bother her. On to my inspection.

I sat on it, I looked under it, I turned, pulled, shook, touched, explored, pushed and worked my way through a complete inspection. I then gave blues a thorough rundown showing her the parts of hte motorcycle that I was commenting on. There wasn't anything there to veto her buying the bike and plenty of positive things so blue made an offer and it was signed over to her.

After doing some extensive paperwork and passing over some petty cash (wouldn't it be awesome if I actually thought it was petty cash?) we haeded home. Or tried anyway.

Halfway across the parking lot the ninja sputtered and died. Yep, even though I was the only person the seller would let test ride the bike due to my RiderCoach status I still managed to not turn the fuel on. :oops:

I turned the fuel valve, fired it up and headed towards home. There was only one thing that stood in my way. The DC Metro Area Beltway (I-495)

My familiarization with this bike consisted of my 5 minute test ride and 7 minutes to the beltway. Minute 13 on the bike had me merging onto 495. Minute 14 brought a smile that cut through the brisk night air.

This bike is fun! I brought it home, tuned it up and headed out the next day for an inspection. Let me share what I've learned about the Ninja 250.

-It's very comfortable. Granted I felt like I was riding a pocket bike compared to my strom but the bike fit me soooo well. At 6' 180lbs I wasn't squashed, and everything felt just where it needed to be.

-That little windshield shouldn't cause any concerns. Even at speeds of 105 mph the air is clean and the bike is a smooth ride. I didn't experience any strong buffeting or major sail effects from semis or gusts of wind.

-It has no problems with the interstate. It gets up to speed as fast as I need it to and at 70 mph it will still go faster. As stated I had the bike at 105 mph and I was not at 100% throttle. The length of time from 95 to 105 was pretty long though.

-It response well to input and makes smooth transitions in and out of turns. It's very maneuverable.

Cons:
-Front forks dive a bit under heavy braking. They didn't bottom out but if I weighed another 40 lbs I'd want to upgrade the front forks
.
-The skinny tires will catch grooves in the road. It feels a bit unnerving in that it suddenly shifts but it doesn't destabilize the bike.

-In full lock my thumbs get pinched between the bars and the tank. It really smarts!

____________________________________________________
Blues first ride.

Since Blue hadn't been on her scoot in 7 months we started in a parking lot. I had 6 cones (3 tennis balls cut in half) and I ran her through most of the MSF exercises. It goes so much faster when you only have one student! :laughing:

We then took the bikes back and cleaned them as we thought it would be the end of the day. However, we got our second wind.

I took her through a few back roads until we got to a nice long 35 mph loop. It has gentle turns and rolling hills. She followed me and did amazingly well! Her lines were great, she used her signals well, head and eyes up, smooth shifting and throttle/clutch control, braked correctly before a turn with none in the turn, turned her head well, her starts and stops were smooth (even if she didn't always shift down to first :wink: ) and all the things you like to see. It was a wonderful ride

Hopefully we will take another one tonight in some areas with less traffic to experience a bit of evening riding. I personally can't wait.
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#55 Unread post by storysunfolding » Tue May 08, 2007 4:36 pm

I taught my first class and it was incredible.

First of all let me say that amazing barely describes working with my fellow instructor. He was very encouraging, and respectful of my situation as a new ridercoach. He stated upfront that no one expects perfection from a new RC but still iterated that it was important for me to setup the lesson well and perform my demos exceptionally to maintain a positive learning experience. As we setup for each exercise he gave concise and detailed reasons on how other instructors ran their exercises and his reasoning for how he prefers to run his. However, he left the ultimate decision up to me. I felt like an equal and that did more to help me than anything else

Friday night was an interesting experience in many ways. There were 4 instructors (2 am/ 2 pm). The 2 am wanted to teach it all by themselves. That was fine for my fellow instructor and he left. I settled in to watch to see if there was anything I could learn. There wasn't.

These 2 mainly taught the ERC and only taught this class because it was a contract class with their riding club. They lectured and lectured and lectured which got no shortage of yawns.

I stepped in and started a more interactive experience. I got to know the class fairly well and I had a blast.

Once we hit the range things went downhill again. Exercise 1 was wretched as I encoutered every way a new rider can have trouble with the friction zone (immediate release of the clutch; trying to start in 5th gear... when they had just been in nuetral; holding onto the brake while releasing and subsequently stalling etc). I got through it, it was not fun and I was worried about the rest of my day. :frusty: However, after that things began to smooth out.

I won't bore you with the rest of my class on an exercise by exercise basis. I began a bit uncertain and ended the confidence I needed. I toiled the weekend striving for the perfect demo and it paid off. When a student sees the exercise done correctly with strong emphasis given to technique, they are more apt to do it correctly. Monkey see monkey do. That's why I find that it's also important to start each exercise with someone who is good at following directions. Otherwise you have to re-explain to everyone that you do a figure 8 in the box, not a big oval. :frusty:

I ended up with a 100% pass rate. I imagine though that will one day change, nothing will diminish the satisfaction I felt for helping these 12 riders take a step forward.

As I complete each class I add to my notes on my experience to improve myself. I started with an amazing lesson plan that was collectively put together by my RCP group. On the range I work on my explanations to make them strong, concise and understandable. I don't want ot be the coach that lectures for 10 minutes and detracts from riding time. I hope to be the best I can be one step at a time.

*This weekend, May 11-13 2007 is my third class that I have taught as an official riderCoach. It will be the 7th that I've helped to teach including my 2 classes from the RCP and 2 shadow sessions*
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My blog is in need of an update

#56 Unread post by storysunfolding » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:50 am

When I first pmed mike for blog space it never occured to me that maintaining a blog takes good stories, hard work and of course remembering. Let's start over.

New years resolutions are over rated. Every year in January my gym is packed. The month of March finally returns sanity to my workout yet it lingers off in the distance. The month of May is endlessly further, but more important.

If you scroll back a few pages disturbing images of a shattered arm appear. Many of you don't know that around the time those pictures were taken, I was interviewing for medical school. After great interviews and toting scores well above the average my expectations of something good happening were high. Then they came crashing to the ground when every admissions department had the same thing to say "You're a great candidate, please reapply if your arm ever starts working again". Albeit said unofficially and between the lines over my many phone calls searching for an explanation, I was bummed.

My employer found another way to endear itself to me. Given a strict mandate I had to go to my doctor and physical therapy appointments on my lunch hour. What I did not know at the time was that they also docked my vacation time for the hour I was gone. Even though as a salaried worker putting in 60-70 hours a week, I apparently deserved to be smacked in the face.

Of course it didn't stop there. Even though I managed to get my work done every week through longer hours, my supervisor informed me that my efficiency level had dropped. Imagine that, a computer programmer with one working nondominant hand had slowed down. Under the ADA they couldn't fire me, so I was transferred to the operations department. Luckily they were idiots and I spent the next year shining and completely revamping the department until my review deemed me "an invaluable contribution." Two days later I quit and started my PhD in Biology.

It's a shade over two years later. I'm a stronger person. I'm almost done with my PhD. I'm applying to med school again come May and life couldn't be better.

Thus resumes the blog.
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#57 Unread post by storysunfolding » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:59 am

This time last year I bought an Xs 850 and an old sidecar. Nothing beats flying the chair in a parking lot with your mom sitting in the car.

Mom: AAAAAAAAA. STEVEN PUT ME DOWN SO I CAN KILL YOU
Me: Wait... no that's not going to work for me.

About a minute later we reached a compromise. I then went on to spend three months riding the beast around and having the time of my life. Sadly, neither the bike nor the car weathered the last thirty years well. Thus began the bike painting project of 08.

In June of last year I went on my last ride, stopped and started tearing the bike apart. Reduced to 158 assorted parts, something ripped apart inside of me. Who could bear staring at their pride and joy in so many pieces. I had to make this as short a process as possible.

I grabbed all the frame pieces, the mounting brackets and sent them off to the sandblasters. Then gathering my other painted, or soon to be painted parts I headed off to the paint shop. A friend of mine offered to paint the whole thing- frame, tub, tank, badges etc for cost. Apparently he wanted a sidecar in his portfolio. Who could resist saving $2000 for a paint job. I dropped it off, sat back and waited.... and waited... and waited.

My bike still isn't done. I have the motor, exhaust and other shiny parts all buffed up and looking pretty. A new wiring harness, lots of new bolts, fasteners, rubber pieces, new better carbs, air filters etc just waiting for her. However, I'm told she's coming back any day now. Soon you'll see the beauty come back together.

Don't worry- I'll keep you posted.
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