Monday, July 31, 2006


Thursday, July 27, 2006

The guy on your left ( sorry about the small image... all I could find with no sleep ) is Christian Pfeiffer, my all- time favourite stunt biker. He does things on motorcycles that I thought were simply im-freaking-possible. Everytime I watch him.

The video I saw first...nine minutes of him hands down winning a stunt competition, you can even see the ref doing the " I'm not worthy" wave.

Here's a short Putfile vid of him on the new BMW 800, playing very near the crowd.
So, there's this guy named Drew, goes by the handle " Com 3 " on Takes amazing photos, rides like a monkey with it's butt on fire, and seems to be an allround motorcycle freak like me. These are his pics....


Stunters are amazing to watch.

That's NOT a KX, dude.

Slicks...Not so good in the dirt.

One word. Tailsection.

These, along with the "clicking fan" sketch below, belong to a website I can't quite figure out if I like or not., "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language."

This is a postal Jeep. Simple, basic transport for you and a few sacks of mail. Nick Parisi had other ideas, though. By adding a big 'ol V8, he decided to test the poor thing until it died, by drag racing it, dune-buggin' in it, mud bogging and offroading.
Here's the site with pics and a writeup.

The abuse...

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.....

This guy actually took a knife into a gunfight....

From South Aukland, New Zealand.

Machete-wielder shot in gun shop

27 July 2006

A man who took a machete into a South Auckland gun shop today is in hospital, after he was shot in the stomach.
The man was thought to have been shot by someone in the shop about 10am.
Police spokeswoman, Noreen Hegarty said details of the shooting were still vague and she could not say what "the precursor" to him being shot was.
"It would be reasonable to question why he went into the shop with a machete."
It was not known if the man threatened staff in the shop, in Great South Road, in the suburb of Penrose.
"He was shot whilst in the shop and then police were advised of the incident," she said.
It was not known what type of weapon was used.
The shot man was conscious when he arrived at hospital, said police.
The shooting was at Small Arms International, considered to be one of the leading gun shops in the country.
It was at the same address as a company which specialises in firearms auctions and antique gun sales.
Two women who work in nearby buildings said there was no obvious incident.
The first they knew of the shooting was when the police and an ambulance arrived.
"We are right next door and because it is such an industrial area there are big concrete walls between and I didn't hear anything and didn't see anything," said one worker who did not want to be named.
"There wasn't an obvious gunshot or anything like that," she said.
She said going into a gunshop with a machete was not the smartest thing for anyone to do.
Another worker said the first she learned of the incident was when she walked past on her way to the Post Shop and saw the police.

The Actual Story, with a few pics and an audio clip.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Here's one of those rare gifts that are perfect for both the giver and the receiver.

The Bra

The G-string

The site is "I Want One of"

These, and many other beautiful, interesting, scary and funny shots at Jet Photos

Heat Distortion

Tail strike

I think it's in Hawaii...

Northern lights off the starboard wing.

Engines are not supposed to hit the ground.

Couple of spoofs on the well-known vodka ads.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Meet one of the (usually) nameless, faceless monitors who despoil our daily reverie with their ceaseless, nitpicking corrections of grammar and spelling.

A.K.A. - The grammar police.

Here's her story as told in the San Francisco Chronicle July 23, 2006.

As you read this magazine, Serena Bardell is reading it too, pencil in hand. Bardell is not a crossword puzzler. She is a dutiful representative of SPELL (the Society for the Preservation of the English Language and Literature). She makes note of grammatical errors in all articles, even ones about herself. Then she e-mails in corrections.

On becoming a grammarian

As far back as I can remember I loved diagramming sentences. I am persuaded that once we stopped diagramming sentences, there have been more errors. I mean more errors everywhere, whether it's the airplane, the space shuttle or the operating room.

On standards

Grammar is getting worse as we sit here. It isn't just grammar. It's usage and communication.

On an example

They put the modifier at the end of the sentence instead of next to what it is they're modifying, so you have to go back in your mind and say, "Oh. He wasn't shot through the hole in the barn, he was shot through the gut, or whatever." It's a dying art.

On rigidity

People garble the language, and I don't know why it bothers me so much. It's some sort of psychological quirk.

On corrections

SPELL provides something called "goof cards." They're cute and polite and have a little cartoon on them. I stopped using those when I got repetitive stress. I send e-mails, and I try always to explain what the error is, not just to be snippy and say, "Hey, jerk, got this wrong." That's one thing you can't do when you're speaking for an organization. You have to be courteous.

On the root of the problem

I only learned within the last year that they stopped teaching rules of grammar in the '60s. They taught people what to say but not why. No wonder why people make so many mistakes. They can't go back in their minds and say, "This is transitive, this is intransitive." It's the "lie, lay" thing.

On response

I got a call from some big-name byline guy from the New York Times. I had sent him a goof notice. It was "just desserts." A whole generation has come along thinking "he got his just desserts" is spelled just the way "dessert" after a dinner is spelled. It comes from deserve.

On quantity

If I had nothing else to do in my life, I could spend every day sending them. I probably send half a dozen a week.

On other things she has to do

I served on the San Francisco civil grand jury in the '96-'97 term. I fell in love with it as the ultimate small-league democracy sort of thing. I joined the alumni of statewide grand jury association, and in 2003 we started a local chapter here, and I got on the board and also got elected to the state board. It takes up an enormous amount of time, but I'm very interested in it.

On working at home

I live in Golden Gate Valley, which is the old name for Cow Hollow. This house was built in 1885, or at least that was when it first got its water connected.

On doing it the old way

I cook on a cooking porch at a 1930s Magic Chef Estate stove. The old Italian families didn't want the cooking odors going into the house. There's a cooler -- a cupboard with an opening to the outdoors.

On work hours

Left to my own devices, which I never am, I get up about 1 (p.m.). I go to sleep about 5:30 (a.m.).

These self important, holier-than-thou people tick me off.

If'n Ah wanna whhrit an' myk spekink an 'matical mestakyes, lemme!

The term ," Get a life " comes to mind.
Here's something new I'm trying ...A MP3..

Flipsyde's - Someday.

I heard this @ a month ago on " Soul Train ", ( anybody else see a big "thing" spurting atop the "train" everytime the logo pops up?? ) it's stuck in my head. Something about it being picked up as the upcoming Olympic "Theme Song".


Something tonight got me thinking about a funny story I'd read on the "best of" Craigslist months ago.

I've copied it here so you can enjoy as well.

This is a true story. I swear Im not making any of this up. ....and you may very well see the car and laugh your ass off as well.

So Im a car enthusiast, and part time auto mechjanic who helps the neighbors out with thier cars. Hey, ive got a little knowledge, been doing this for a few years, and Ive got a great set of tools. I have a rather fast and rare early 70s hobby car that i take out on weekends, an oldsmobile 442.

So anyway. My neighbors kid turns 17, and the mother gives him her honda civic.
Say it out loud now with me. Honda civic.

Plastic and aluminum, 75 horsepower, basic commuter car, honda civic.

"perfect for a new driver, economical, easy to maintain and dependable a good basic car for junior," i thought to myself.

The first week was fine, he bought spinning hubcaps and a set of dragon seat covers for it. That should have been it. He should have left it alone.

The week after that, I walk out to my mailbox, and I almost called the cops. I thought I had just seen a UFO. as it slowly approached.....i could see it was a HONDA CIVIC.....with four different blinking colors of neon underneath it. Holy shit. I almost had a fucking siezure looking at this thing. Even the shifter knob was blinking.

.....Then about 48 hours later, Im laying in bed, about ready to fuck my girlfriend when I hear BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ-owwww. BZZZZ-owww. over and over in the neighbors garage.
"Well this is an odd time of night for Mr. Richardson to be fucking around with his chainsaw." I thought out loud. After forty five minutes of this irritating buzzing, I thought Id go over and ask the neighbor to play with his chainsaw in the morning.
Here is the junior richardson boy, proudly revving his engine up and down. 4 more wannabe fake gangsta kids were standing around "tuning" his new exhaust.....which consisted of a rather small header and 4 coffee cans spray painted silver and the words "TYPE-R" stenciled on it.

Holy shit. I told him to pleae quit fucking with the car so I could sleep.

Wait, that is BY FAR not all.

The following week, he ask me if he can borrow a screwdriver and a hammer. He is installing his new "type r" rear spoiler. He was rather proud of it. He paid almost 600 dollars for it. I asked him where he was going to put it, since a honda civic does not have a trunk. "The roof, dawg" is what he told me.
This spoiuler looks like an aluminum picnic table that you would see in a public park, except for lots of rivets in it and the words "Type R" all over it.
I almost stopped him, but I wanted to see how retarded it would look.
I gleefully helped him install it. Yup, totally retarded. Classic.
He went on to explain to me that he needed it for all of the downforce he needed to maintain traction at supersonic speeds.
4 cylinders.
75 horsepower.
Downforce. Oh my god, what a retard.

It gets better.

2 weeks later, he is asking to borrow my cordless drill.
He just bought a body kit, yo, and heeds to be down fo' shizzle wit da tool dawg to istall it, no wut hes sane, dawg?
Body kit. Pay attention. It gets good here.
So he drills all of the holes, double sided tape and screws this motherfucker to his car, and it REALLY is beginning to look like a space ship. or a an alien life form. Or a circus car. Well, circus, not yet. Thats coming.
heres the problem. The body kit is white. The car is dark green. It looks like a burrito vomit.....and the car is a full 4 inches wider, and 2 inches lower than it was before.
He cant get the doors to open or close properly, because the "body kit, yo" is catching the door jamb. So, always the helpful one, I give him my grinder. That was the coolest, watching this 'tard grind on his new 1200 dollar yo yo word up body kit. word. It was the flyest, dawg.

Circus act part 1.

Now, he decides he wants to "Lower the ride, dog."
I wouldnt let him use my tools, as I was afraid this dumb fuck would blow himself up with what he wanted to do next.
He would cut the coils. dangerous. Unsafe. Stupid.

He succeeded in cutting the coils, but now his new body kit dawg was dragging on the ground. and, to top it all off, the car was bouncing up and down like a carnival ride, effectively ending his neon lighted glory. His type r exhaust was dragging on the ground as well.

You should see how retarded this fucker looks. A huge picnic table on the roof, 2 tone body kit, special kid tailights. blinking, broken neon, stickers all over it, buzzing like a chainsaw on crack, bouncing up and down like a clown car.

Wait, thats not all. now hondtard wants a "syssem, yo." Oh yeah. He pieced together 6 different trashed car stereos, one home streo, and a kraagen auto parts special base speaker, and somehow wired the neon lights (whats left of them) to blink with the beat of the music.
....Except you cant hear the music. You can only hear the bass. ...And it rattles his rooftop spoiler and license plate frame.

Now its REALLY looking AND SOUNDING like a clown car.

Okay. Now for hondtards carbon fiber paint job. He puts a hood scoop from an early 60s mustang on it, and its EMORMOUS. It kind of balanced out the retardeness of the rear spoiler/picnic table.
Then out comes the spray cans. All 18 of them. First, he pulled off his spinning hubcaps, and painted the wheels BLACK. Flat black.
Then he painted the body kit dawg bright, neon yellow.
The rest of the car was painted bright red, with a purple fist turning into a dragon or some shit airbrushed on the doors.

Clown car complete? Not yet.

As I stated previously, I have experience with fast cars. He knows that I can make a car go fast. He comes over with a copy of "honda tuuner guy" magazine, filled with equally retarded looking cars.
He asks me: "Yo dawg, i wanna make dis here b18 goes fast and shit. I was thinkin of an acura V-tec swap or some NOSS"
So i asked him, what exactly do you intend to do with this car? Will you be entering it in the most retarded car contest, or what?
He says: "Naaw, cracka. That shit is be is funny and shit, but I is for reals, for reals. I need to be running in the 12s and making 350 horsepower"
So I asked him: Why dont you save your money and buy a car that already makes 350 horsepower, like a camaro or a GTO or something, instead of trying to make a car with 75 horsepower, that was never intended to go that fast any faster?

"dont be a foo, yo. Everybody knows dat ode skoo shit cant hang" he tells me.
Now Im pissed. Insulted. I said: Lookit here, junior, i'll pull my olds cutlass out of the garage and make your shit look like it was going backwards. No noss, no turbo, no stickers and no body kit is gonna help you beat the "ODE SKOO" cars, DAWG. And the same goes for any of your other retard car driving friends.
Ill have you and your homies wetting your pants with fear before we ever hit second gear. You have 6 grand worth of shit bolted onto a 1000 dollar car that was perfectly good when you got it, and now it looks, sounds and drives like ass. Get the fuck out of my garage.
He looked like he was gonna cry.
He left with a solid "Fuck you dawg, ill beat your old man car with a 150 shot" and he left, trying to pull up his drawers and give me the finger at the same time.


Now I am a responsible adult, and I do not condonne street rascing. However, when faced with a direct insult, challenge, and fuck you, amy man tends to be defensive enough to take a few risks.

Beautiful sunny day. First day Ive had my car out of the garage all winter. I check the fluids. I start the engine. I anticipate a crisp, lively jaunt at mind-bending speeds up the interstate.
I rev my engine, i sip my coffee.

Hondtard heard me revving my engine, and him and 2 of his friends do the same in the driveway. One is a New acura in the pre-clown car stages of molestation, and the other one is junior's moms civic. It sounds like a lawn mower race at the richardsons house. I crank my engine up to 3000 RPM and drown them out.

I climb in my car, check the guages, and idle out into the road.

I look in my rearview, and Im being followed by two bouncing, brightly colored bumping clown cars with backward hat retards pointing in my direction.

I ignore them. Not worth my trouble. Im an adult.

Acuretard and hondtard pass me when I hit the 680 on the left and the right.
Gone. Good. I am halfway to livermore when they blast out of the on ramp and attempt to box me in. acuratard is revving his engine and pointing forward , hondtard is slowing me down in front of me.

Fuck it. Ive had enough.

I stuffed it down into third gear, opened all 455 cubic inches wide open, almost rear-ended hondtard and swerved directly at acuratard.
I broke the rear tires loose at 70 miles an hour, and acuratard was busy downshifting trying to get enough speed up to catch me.

I dusted these little cocksuckers so bad they simply dissappeared. I got off on the livermore exit and waited for them on the on ramp. Some of thier own game. Right back atcha homie.

I let them see me. Then I smoked the tires brutally and violently out of the ramp so that they would know I was pissed and coming for them.

I knew the honda was slow, so i ignored him and brought it down right on the acuras bumper. I got within an inch of this terrified teenagers ass and popped on the high beams and gunned the motor. I mashed the gas i n third and was threatening to bump him. 90, 100, 110....
he couldnt get away from me. he waved for me to pass. hondtard was WAAAAY in the back.
The acura fag was scared, and beaten and he knew it. I pulled alongside.

I motioned for him to roll down his window. I screamed and pointed. He backed way off.

I stuck my finger in the air and screamed fuck you at acura tard, and dumped it, quickly accelerating to 130 MPH until they couldnt see my tailights any more.

Later that evening, as I told my fiancee this story ("your a juvenile asshole, you could have killed those kids and you are going to piss off the neighbors")

I heard two chainsaws idle up very slowly to my house. Holy shit. Its a drive by. These fuckers want to kill me.
A knock on the door.
I answer it, ready to beat some fake gangsta ass if I have to.

They want to see my car now. "Do you have noss?, is it a hemi?"

fags. get lost.

Clown car is still on the road, but now homie g wants to learn all about the "ode skoo"

If you see this car, put a sticker on it. He seems to like them, and thinks they make the car cooler. Then dust his ass once for good measure.

You simply have to see this kids car to believe it. If your car looks retarded and its fast, cool. Then you can look a little fucking special and get away with it. But this thing looks like it was dropped off at the special education shop class and built by retards, and it s not even quick.

In honor of dale "pimpdaddyhustla" richardson, class of 2006 and his clown car, I dedicate this to you. Let me take you for a ride once you feel you are man enough. I see you stepped up to the plate and lost big time. Im willing to help you install the noss and the v-tecs and let you try again.

Feeling patriotic? Got an important parade to attend?

For only 60 bucks, you can get all you see here.



Four minutes of uninterrupted onboard footage starring Valentino Rossi. Really shows the closeness, speed, lean angle and sliding that goes on as a matter of course. Ends abruptly, but worth a watch.

Remember with Putfile videos, click the size icon at the bottom to view the larger size if your video card can handle it.

The Video

Only Two More Days!!!!

Thank God... It was only yesterday that I was wishing to myself, " I wish there was a distinctive, soft, Welsh cheese available, self. Alas. "

My Dreams have come true.

Here's the Press Release...

Pont Gâr, a branded soft cheese range is the latest development in the recent revival of Welsh cheesemaking.
A new soft cheese from Wales will be officially launched at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show on 26th of July. These continental style white mould ripened range of cheeses are produced using fresh cows milk and matured for a 5 week period. Called Pont Gâr, the cheese has a smooth and creamy texture with a slight sweetness, obtained from the high-quality of milk used.
The Carmarthenshire Cheese Company Ltd, was founded earlier this year (2006) by co-owners and Steve and Sian Elin Peace. Three years ago the couple returned to Sian Elin’s native Carmarthenshire following 25 years each of senior experience in the UK dairy sector with both having worked at one of UK’s largest dairy ingredients manufacturer. Since returning, they have been running their own business support company, Datrys Solutions Cyf. providing business and technology support to a range of new and established food and dairy companies in England and Wales.But from their consultancy work, the couple spotted a gap in the market for a distinctive soft and speciality cheese business in Wales which has led to the establishment of the new company currently at the Food Park, Horeb, Llandysul.

“We have worked at breakneck speed to create a state of the art manufacturing facility as well as developing recipes to maximize local milk supplies using new, unique recipes," explains Steve .

"Just 15 days after taking the keys, we were processing Welsh milk for trial batches. Fortunately they passed technical and most importantly, consumer tests with flying colours! So now we are in business!”
The Pont Gâr range has already won several awards at key trade shows this season, nominated as a finalist in the Tesco Cheese Challenge, winning three bronze awards and a silver at the World Cheese Awards. a second, third and fourth in the Great Yorkshire Show, and more recently winning the bronze award in the cheeseboard category at the Cheshire Show.
Meanwhile, acknowledging that establishing a strong product identity would be a key asset in the business’s success, the couple have invested significantly in professional branding and promotion, commissioning Welsh food and bilingual branding specialists FBA in Aberystwyth to develop an unique brand for the new range of cheese’s. FBA are widely known for its pioneering work with brand such as Halen Môn, Cadog and Rachel’s Organic.

In Welsh (and French), ‘Pont’ means bridge and Gâr derives from Sir Gâr, Welsh for Carmarthenshire. Gâr is also linked to the Welsh word for love (caru) – hence the abstract heart motif and the well-known Welsh phrase ‘Pur o Galon’ pure from the heart as a strapline. Pont Gâr is currently available in delicatessen and specialist shops and the company is in discussion with major UK supermarkets and are due to launch their own online shop later this summer. The full product range including Blue, Smoked and Garlic & Herb varieties, are currently being rolled out in time for the official launch at the Royal Welsh Show.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Pace, part 2. Published two years after the original.

The Pace Part 2: "Pace Yourself"by Nick Ienatsch
© Copyright MOTORCYCLIST Magazine

Two weeks ago a rider died when he and his bike tumbled off a cliff paralleling our favorite road. No gravel in the road, no oncoming car pushing him wide, no ice. The guy screwed up. Rider error. Too much enthusiasm with too little skill, and this fatality wasn't the first on this road this year. As with most single bike accidents, the rider entered the corner at a speed his brain told him was too fast, stood the bike up and nailed the rear brake. Good-bye.
On the racetrack this rider would have tumbled into the hay bales, visited the ambulance for a strip of gauze and headed back to the pits to straighten his handlebars and think about his mistake. But let's get one thing perfectly clear - the street is not the race track. Using it as such will shorten your riding career and keep you from discovering The Pace. The Pace is far from street racing - and a lot more fun.

The Pace places the motorcycle in its proper role as the controlled vehicle, not the controlling vehicle. Too many riders of sport bikes become baggage when the throttle gets twisted - the ensuing speed is so overwhelming they are carried along in the rush. The Pace ignores outright speed and can be as much fun on a Ninja 250 as on a ZX-11, emphasizing rider skill over right-wrist bravado. A fool can twist the grip, but a fool has no idea how to stop or turn. Learning to stop will save your life; learning to turn will enrich it. What feels better than banking a motorcycle into a corner?

The mechanics of turning a motorcycle involve pushing and/or pulling on the handlebars; while this isn't new information for most sport riders, [the rider should] realize that the force at the handlebar affects the motorcycle's rate of turn-in. Shove hard on the bars, and the bike snaps over; gently push on the bars, and the bike lazily banks in. Different corners require different techniques, but as you begin to think about lines, late entrances and late apexes, turning your bike at the exact moment and reaching the precise lean angle will require firm, forceful inputs at the handlebars. If you take less time to turn your motorcycle, you can use that time to brake more effectively or run deeper into the corner, affording yourself more time to judge the corner and a better look at any hidden surprises. It's important to look as far into the corner as possible and remember the adage, "You go where you look."

Don't Rush

The number one survival skill, after mastering emergency braking, is setting your corner entrance speed early, or as Kenny Roberts says, "Slow in, fast out."
Street riders may get away with rushing into 99 out of 100 corners, but that last one will have gravel, mud or a trespassing car. Setting entrance speed early will allow you to adjust your speed and cornering line, giving you every opportunity to handle the surprise.
We've all rushed into a corner too fast and experienced not just the terror but the lack of control when trying to herd the bike into the bend. If you're fighting the brakes and trying to turn the bike, any surprise will be impossible to deal with. Setting your entrance speed early and looking into the corner allows you to determine what type of corner you're facing. Does the radius decrease? Is the turn off-camber? Is there an embankment that may have contributed some dirt to the corner?

Late Braking

Racers talk constantly about late braking, yet that technique is used only to pass for position during a race, not to turn a quicker lap time. Hard braking blurs the ability to judge cornering speed accurately, and most racers who rely too heavily on the brakes find themselves passed at the corner exits because they scrubbed off too much cornering speed. Additionally, braking late often forces you to trail the brakes or turn the motorcycle while still braking. While light trail braking is an excellent and useful technique to master, understand that your front tire has only a certain amount of traction to give

If you use a majority of the front tire's traction for braking and then ask it to provide maximum cornering traction as well, a typical low-side crash will result. Also consider that your motorcycle won't steer as well with the fork fully compressed under braking. If you're constantly fighting the motorcycle while turning, it may be because you're braking too far into the corner. All these problems can be eliminated by setting your entrance speed early, an important component of running at The Pace.


Since you aren't hammering the brakes at every corner entrance, your enjoyment of pure cornering will increase tremendously. You'll relish the feeling of snapping your bike into a corner and opening the throttle as early as possible. Racers talk about getting the drive started, and that's just as important on the street. Notice how the motorcycle settles down and simply works better when the throttle is open? Use a smooth, light touch on the throttle and try to get the bike driving as soon as possible in the corner, even before the apex, the tightest point of the corner. If you find yourself on the throttle ridiculously early, it's an indication you can increase your entrance speed slightly by releasing the brakes earlier.

As you sweep past the apex, you can begin to stand the bike up out of the corner. This is best done by smoothly accelerating, which will help stand the bike up. As the rear tire comes off full lean it puts more rubber on the road, and the forces previously used for cornering traction can be converted to acceleration traction. The throttle can be rolled open as the bike stands up.

How Fast is Safe?

This magazine won't tell you how fast is safe; we will tell you how to go fast safely. How fast you go is your decision, but it's one that requires reflection and commitment. High speed on an empty four-lane freeway is against the law, but it's fairly safe. Fifty-five miles per hour in a canyon might be legal, but it may also be dangerous. Get together with your friends and talk about speed. Set a reasonable maximum and stick to it. Done right, The Pace is addicting without high straight-away speeds.

The group I ride with couldn't care less about outright speed between corners; any gomer can twist a throttle. If you routinely go 100 mph, we hope you routinely practice emergency stops from that speed. Keep in mind outright speed will earn a ticket that is tough to fight and painful to pay; cruising the easy straight stuff doesn't attract as much attention from the authorities and sets your speed perfectly for the next sweeper.

Group Mentality

Straights are the time to reset the ranks. The leader needs to set a pace that won't bunch up the followers, especially while leaving a stop sign or passing a car on a two-lane road. The leader must use the throttle hard to get around the car and give the rest of the group room to make the pass, yet he or she can't speed blindly along and earn a ticket for the whole group. With sane speeds on the straights, the gaps can be adjusted easily; the bikes should be spaced about two seconds apart for maximum visibility of surface hazards.

It's the group aspect of The Pace I enjoy most, watching the bikes in front of me click into a corner like a row of dominoes, or looking in my mirror as my friends slip through the same set of corners I just emerged from.

Because there's a leader and a set of rules to follow, the competitive aspect of sport riding is eliminated and that removes a tremendous amount of pressure from a young rider's ego--or even an old rider's ego. We've all felt the tug of racing while riding with friends or strangers, but The Pace takes that away and saves it for where it belongs: the race track. The race track is where you prove your speed and take chances to best your friends and rivals.


I've spent a considerable amount of time writing about The Pace (see Motorcyclist, Nov. 91) for several reasons, not the least of which being the fun I've had researching it (continuous and ongoing). But I have motivations that aren't so fun. I got scared a few years ago when Senator Danforth decided to save us from ourselves by trying to ban superbikes, soon followed by insurance companies blacklisting a variety of sport bikes. I've seen Mulholland Highway shut down because riders insisted on racing (and crashing) over a short section of it. I've seen heavy police patrols on roads that riders insist on throwing themselves off of. I've heard the term "murder-cycles" a dozen times too many. When we consider the abilities of a modern sport bike, it becomes clear that rider technique is sorely lacking.

The Pace emphasizes intelligent, rational riding techniques that ignore race track heroics without sacrificing fun. The skills needed to excel on the race track make up the basic precepts of The Pace, excluding the mind numbing speeds and leaving the substantially larger margin for error needed to allow for unknowns and immovable objects. Our sport faces unwanted legislation from outsiders, but a bit of throttle management from within will guarantee our future.

NICK IENATSCH was a writer for Motorcyclist magazine a few years ago. He wrote some well done editorials, but my favorite and the one I'll always keep filed away in my head is " The Pace".

Copied below, it defines the difference between riding for pleasure and pushing at the limit, finding that quasi-mystical place where your entire ride flows smoothly.

Here you go.....

Racing involves speed, concentration and commitment; the results of a mistake are usually catastrophic because there's little room for error riding at 100 percent.

Performance street riding is less intense and further from the absolute limit, but because circumstances are less controlled, mistakes and over aggressiveness can be equally catastrophic. Plenty of roadracers have sworn off street riding. "Too dangerous, too many variables and too easy to get carried away with too much speed," track specialists claim. Adrenaline-addled racers find themselves treating the street like the track, and not surprisingly, they get burned by the police, the laws of physics and the cold, harsh realities of an environment not groomed for ten-tenths riding.

.... But as many of us know, a swift ride down a favorite road may be the finest way to spend a few free hours with a bike we love. And these few hours are best enjoyed riding at The Pace.

.... A year after I joined Motorcyclist staff in 1984, Mitch Boehm was hired. Six months later, The Pace came into being, and we perfected it during the next few months of road testing and weekend fun rides. Now The Pace is part of my life - and a part of the Sunday morning riding group I frequent. The Pace is a street riding technique that not only keeps street riders alive, but thoroughly entertained as well.


.... The Pace focuses on bike control and de-emphasizes outright speed. Full-throttle acceleration and last minute braking aren't part of the program, effectively eliminating the two most common single-bike accident scenarios in sport riding. Cornering momentum is the name of the game, stressing strong, forceful inputs at the handlebar to place the bike correctly at the entrance of the turn and get it flicked in with little wasted time and distance. Since the throttle wasn't slammed open at the exit of the last corner, the next corner doesn't require much, if any, braking. It isn't uncommon to ride with our group and not see a brake light flash all morning.

.... If the brakes are required, the front lever gets squeezed smoothly, quickly and with a good deal of force to set entrance speed in minimum time. Running in on the brakes is tantamount to running off the road, a confession that you're pushing too hard and not getting your entrance speed set early enough because you stayed on the gas too long. Running The Pace decreases your reliance on the throttle and brakes, the two easiest controls to abuse, and hones your ability to judge cornering speed, which is the most thrilling aspect of performance street riding.


.... Crossing the centerline at any time except during a passing maneuver is intolerable, another sign that you're pushing too hard to keep up. Even when you have a clean line of sight through a left-hand kink, stay to the right of the centerline. Staying on the right side of the centerline is much more challenging than simply straightening every slight corner, and when the whole group is committed to this intelligent practice, the temptation to cheat is eliminated through peer pressure and logic. Though street riding shouldn't be described in racing terms, you can think of your lane as the race track. Leaving your lane is tantamount to a crash.

.... Exact bike control has you using every inch of your lane if the circumstances permit it. In corners with a clear line of sight and no oncoming traffic, enter at the far outside of the corner, turn the bike relatively late in the corner to get a late apex at the far inside of your lane and accelerate out, just brushing the far outside of your lane as your bike stands up. Steer your bike forcefully but smoothly to minimize the transition time. Don't hammer it down because the chassis will bobble slightly as it settles, possibly carrying you off line. Since you haven't charged in on the brakes, you can get the throttle on early, before the apex, which balances and settles your bike for the drive out.

.... More often than not, circumstances do not permit the full use of your lane from yellow line to white line and back again. Blind corners, oncoming traffic and gravel on the road are a few criteria that dictate a more conservative approach, so leave yourself a three or four foot margin for error, especially at the left side of the lane where errant oncoming traffic could prove fatal. Simply narrow your entrance on a blind right-harder and move your apex into your lane three feet on blind left turns in order to stay free of unseen oncoming traffic hogging the centerline. Because you're running at The Pace and not flat out, your controlled entrances offer additional time to deal with unexpected gravel or other debris in your lane; the outside wheel track is usually the cleanest through a dirty corner since a car weights its outside tires most, scrubbing more dirt off the pavement in the process, so aim for that line.


.... The street is not a racing environment, and it takes humility, self assurance and self control to keep it that way. The leader sets the pace and monitors his mirrors for signs of raggedness in the ranks that follow, such as tucking in on straights, crossing over the yellow line and hanging off the motorcycle in the corners, If the leader pulls away, he simply slows his straight way speed slightly but continues to enjoy the corners, thus closing the ranks but missing none of the fun. The small group of three or four riders I ride with is so harmonious that the pace is identical no matter who's leading. The lead shifts occasionally with a quick hand sign, but there's never a pass for the lead with an ego on the sleeve. Make no mistake, the riding is spirited and quick in the corners. Anyone with a right arm can hammer down the straights; it's proficiency in the corners that makes The Pace come alive.

.... Following distances are relatively lengthy, with the straightaways taken at more moderate speeds, providing the perfect opportunity to adjust the gaps. Keeping a good distance serves several purposes, besides being safer. Rock chips are minimized, and the police or highway patrol won't suspect a race is in progress. The Pace's style of not hanging off in corners also reduces the appearance of pushing too hard and adds a degree of maturity and sensibility in the eyes of the public and the law. There's a definite challenge to cornering quickly while sitting sedately on your bike.

.... New rider indoctrination takes some time because The Pace develops very high cornering speeds and newcomers want to hammer the throttle on the exits to make up for what they lose at the entrances. Our group slows drastically when a new rider joins the ranks because our technique of moderate straightaway speed and no brakes can suck the unaware into a corner too fast, creating the most common single bike accident. With a new rider learning The Pace behind you, tap your brake lightly well before the turn to alert him and make sure he understands there's no pressure to stay with the group.

.... There's plenty of ongoing communication during The Pace. A foot off the peg indicates debris in the road, and all slowing or turning intentions are signaled in advance with the left hand and arm. Turn signals are used for direction changes and passing, with a wave of the left hand to thank the cars that move right and make it easy for motorcyclists to get past. Since you don't have a death grip on the handlebar, your left hand is also free to wave to oncoming riders, a fading courtesy that we'd like to see return. If you're getting the idea The Pace is a relaxing, noncompetitive way to ride with a group, you are right.


.... I'd rather spend a Sunday in the mountains riding at The Pace than a Sunday at the racetrack, it's that enjoyable. Countersteering is the name of the game; smooth, forceful steering input at the handlebar relayed to the tires' contact patches through a rigid sport bike frame. Riding at The Pace is certainly what bike manufacturers had in mind when sport bikes evolved to the street.

.... But the machine isn't the most important aspect of running The Pace because you can do it on anything capable of getting through a corner. Attitude is The Pace's most important aspect: realizing the friend ahead of you isn't a competitor, respecting his right to lead the group occasionally and giving him credit for his riding skills. You must have the maturity to limit your straightaway speeds to allow the group to stay in touch and the sense to realize that racetrack tactics such as late braking and full throttle runs to redline will alienate the public and police and possibly introduce you to the unforgiving laws of gravity. When the group arrives at the destination after running The Pace, no one feels outgunned or is left with the feeling he must prove himself on the return run. If you've got some thing to prove, get on a racetrack.

.... The racetrack measures your speed with a stop watch and direct competition, welcoming your aggression and gritty resolve to be the best. Performance street riding's only yardstick is the amount of enjoyment gained, not lap times, finishing position or competitors beaten. The differences are huge but not always remembered by riders who haven't discovered The Pace's cornering pureness and group involvement. Hammer on the racetrack. Pace yourself on the street.

© Copyright MOTORCYCLIST Magazine November 1991 issue

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Some cool shots from National Geographic's ongoing pic of the day archive.
From the excellent archive at EPOD
Earth Science pic of the Day

The above photo showing a bizarre arc of lightning was captured near in southeastern France, near Menton, on May 10, 2006. Since the ground is charged opposite that of a cloud base, and will not discharge to itself, it's likely that this picture is showing two cloud-to-ground strokes. Perpsective makes it appear as though a single lightning bolt is arching above the hill top.
So, seems that cable is the newest thing that'll be killing motorcyclists on the road now. Instead of being crushed by concrete or rearranged by ARMCO barrier, thick steel cable is now the cheapest solution for keeping errant cellphone yakking soccer moms from crossing the centerline and tangling with oncoming traffic. So, imagine you're a rider, sliding at 50 mph toward a nicely strung cable, suspended at say, waist height.

You know those cheese slicers that use a single wire....

From USA Today 7/19...

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A relatively low-cost safety device — steel cable strung in highway medians — is proving phenomenally effective at saving lives, perhaps more so than steel-beam or concrete barriers.
Steel-beam, concrete and cable barriers all cut down on accidents in which cars cross over into oncoming traffic. Cable, however, also cuts down on the number of rebound accidents, in which a vehicle hits a barrier and bounces back into traffic.

North Carolina, Missouri, Texas, Washington, California and Utah are among the nation's leaders in installing median guard cable, according to the Texas Transportation Institute, a research body at Texas A&M University. The institute says 27 other states are following suit, including Florida, Wisconsin, Maine and Idaho.

Because cable barriers are considerably cheaper, states can install them in medians where motorists had no protection before. Cable costs about 30% less than steel and 50% less than concrete, says Dave Olson, research manager at the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The low cost and high success rate impressed Utah highway officials. "Two years ago, we heard about guard cables at a traffic-safety conference," says Nile Easton, spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation. "In a 9-mile test area, we've gone from having 12 crossover fatalities (in a two-year period) to none since we put guard cables in."

Kristina Bernskoetter of Columbia, Mo., says newly installed median guard cables may have saved her life.

Shortly before Christmas last year, she hit a patch of ice on Interstate 70. Her Jeep slid out of control into the median and toward oncoming traffic.

"I remember thinking, 'I'm going to cross into the other lanes,' " Bernskoetter says. "I didn't even notice the guard cables. I did a quick prayer kind of thing before I hit."

Her Jeep skidded into the steel cable, which snagged the vehicle, cushioned the blow and stopped her from sliding into the oncoming lanes. She also didn't bounce back into speeding traffic on her side of the highway. She says she drove away uninjured.

Brian Chandler, a traffic-safety engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, says the department recently completed installing 179 miles of median guard cable on I-70 at a cost of $20.5 million.

By the time cable projects are completed on I-44 and I-55, the department will have spent about $50 million — all of it from federal highway safety funds that require no matching money from the state.

Most important, Chandler says, median guard cables work. "When a vehicle hits a concrete barrier, it usually bounces back into traffic," he says. "But when you hit the guard cable, it gives 10 to 12 feet and helps absorb the force. The posts that hold the cable up are designed to break away. The cable stretches and wraps up the car in it."

Highway traffic engineers also say that because the cables give when hit, the G-forces on a driver involved in a guard-cable collision are much less than with a fixed barrier, Olson said.

According to the Missouri DOT, I-70 had 24 median crossover fatalities in 2002. In 2005, after guard cables had been installed, there were only six — four of which happened in spots with no guard cables.

North Carolina was the first to embrace guard cables on all of its interstate highways.

Brian Murphy, traffic-safety engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, says his state has installed about 600 miles of cables.

"We started our big push statewide in 1998, and we have seen our crossover fatality rates go down 75%," he says.

Jim McDonnell, associate program director of engineering for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, says, "These things do save lives, and more states are putting them in place, where appropriate."

Dustin Terpening, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation, says his state began installing guard cables in 2000 and will soon have 140 miles installed on interstate highways.

"Cable barrier successfully restrained 95% of the vehicles that hit it," he says.

"With cable barrier, you're far less likely to have a fatality or serious injury," he says. "We just can't get it in fast enough."

This is a plan for a tabouret, a stacked collection of bins and a seat that use a vertical post as a hinge. Note the addendum about the kid version...Lead pipe... OK...

Just three random guys on walls...for no particular reason at all...or maybe there is a method to my....nope... no rhyme, no reason.

Two new offerings from T Shirt Hell, my favourite irreverent site. Something to offend almost everyone. Peruse at your own risk.