Friday, September 16, 2011

Motorcycle Details

I am a form follows function kind of rider. Thus it is that the sport bike on the left appeals to me more than the uncomfortable, though stylish cruiser on the right.

I do not expect to give up my splendid Bonneville for any other motorcycle, despite the utter lack of style of my luggage laden Triumph.

Custom saddles are a popular option, expensive as hell and stylish indeed. Even though "Pera" is a polite Italian euphemism for fart, and so to read the label brought a smile to me.

I am not fond of banana saddles that require the rider to hunker in one wedged spot. However not many Triumph riders seem to like the stock Bonneville seat, calling it a plank. Individuality has it's costs.

Forward foot controls make it a requirement to sit on the tailbone which is uncomfortable to me. And which also makes it awkward to move body weigh to control the motorcycle.

Besides I like foot controls that don't resemble automotive pedals. Boy, I am fussy! On the subject I really don't know why a headlight, already strangely shaped on a Victory motorcycle, needs teeth.

The front end of this this motorbike looks astonishingly old fashioned to me, a child of tele-hydraulic forks.

But they do enjoy their weird girder type forks and tiny headlights. In Britain motorcycles are not required to have lights at all, as long they only ride in daylight. Imagine that.

And on the subject of details I don't like add radios. I
love listening to the car radio, NPR accompanies me and irritates me on long drives but on the motorcycle I only want to listen to the thoughts in my brain.

And I certainly don't want to be walking Cheyenne at the side of the Overseas Highway and be required to listen to some foul Doppler noise from a passing motorcycle.

Here I stand revealed as the world worst fuss pot. And I didn't even mention ridiculously loud mufflers. I let anonymous rag on about that in the Citizen's Voice in the newspaper.

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Motorcycles At Bike Week

Wandering Key West before the riotous mass of bikers was in town I got to see a few machines here and there that looked pretty one way or another. Not that I'd have any clue how to ride a chopper like the one shown above. The Harley Road King is my favorite Motor Company machine.

I wish there was an event in Key West that, like Noah's Ark, brought all sorts of different machines two by two, into town.

Instead it's almost all variations on a single theme.

But they do enjoy themselves, don't they?

At last! Yes it is a v-twin, but it is in fact a Monster by Ducati.

And here a sport bike with a rider nattily dressed for work and carrying the infamous courier bag instead of draping his machine with ugly bags, as I do.

He may be a mild mannered accountant by day, but this weekend you'd better not mess with this son of anarchy:

Hot! Hot!! Hot!!! This next one's for poofs everywhere. I hope I got it right, based on indicators provided to me by Chuck on Sugarloaf.

Happily some few riders get further afield to explore what else the Southernmost City has to offer.

September is the quietest month, except for Bike Week when unmuffled bikes and bandannas come to town.

Some residents, instead of taking a long weekend for an out of town vacation, complain about loud mufflers and crowded... crowds. Might as well rail against thunderstorms and downpours. They motorbikes will be gone by Sunday but the summer rains will hang in for a few more weeks.

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Bikers Ahoy!

"We're expecting five thousand bikers!" the nice man from Sunrise Rotary told me. I was wondering what exactly rotarians sell when they set up a booth in Key West.

Raffle tickets is what they sell and a motorcycle is the prize with income shared between Rotary and diabetes research. I am quite fond of Rotary and their good works but I could easily share the diabetes research - unless you are genetically unfortunate, try simply eating well, exercising and avoiding life altering drugs. That was easy, next? Eat my Labrador if you dare little dog.

Duval Street was getting ready this morning for an onslaught of monied bikers.

Plenty of pointless advice was also on tap.

I don't think these nice people came here to see bikers drinking responsibly, more's the pity.

How often does anyone thank the City of Key West's public works department for the anonymous work they do? Keeping our city clean one irritating graffito at a time.

Motorcyclists Only is the watchword for Lower Duval this weekend and they will pay to park. All proceeds to charity naturally.

Used beer containers will be on hand and I'll bet they will smell delicious after brewing in the hot September afternoons.

I took a quick snap of these workers unloading something. At first I thought their shirts said "Stuff" which seemed surprisingly appropriate.

The early birds found Key West at it's best.

I saw this guy circling downtown several times. I guess it really is more fun when it's empty. That's how it seems to me anyway, empty is fun.

The Overseas Highway has seen a trickle of riders all day.

Going in both directions oddly enough.

Most are V-twin cruisers with an occasional sport bike thrown into the mix.

I enjoy riding Highway One and after years of doing this road I still fail to find it boring.

I wanted to pause at the bus stop and advise her it's faster by motorbike, but I don't think she would have enjoyed hearing from me.

She could have taken the advice from this hussy, in thigh boots riding a pink tricycle.

It is going to be an odd weekend in Key West.

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Johnson Road, Sugarloaf

Years ago Florida was known for it's land sales, when developers promised buyers the earth and sold off tracts of swamp to people eager to buy a retirement home in the permanent sunshine of this exotic state. These days things are a bit different, what with the Internet and reputable realtors within easy reach. So when I see a sign like this fronting a small wood I imagine a novel by John D MacDonald in the making.

Actually it looks rather tasty, south of the highway, thus on the quiet side when the prevailing southeast winds blow traffic noise to the north, and this lot has paved access at both ends. This could be my misanthrope's retreat, an oasis surrounded by impenetrable thickets. It will probably just end up as a commercial development as usual.

Johnson Road points straight due south across from Mangrove Mama's restaurant and ends in an RV campground. However it is not the Old State Highway 939 but it parallels that road which gives access to the KOA nearby.

This time of year the mangroves are flooded creating a scene all their own, neither land nor water.

It doesn't look terribly enticing for an overnight cookout even of the sign weren't posted...

And across Kemp Channel on Cudjoe Key, Fat Albert keeps watch on potential smugglers.

These are peaceful backwaters in the Keys, far from the crowds rushing around on Highway One a quarter of a mile away.

I was early on my way into town to meet my wife so I stopped for a few pictures and a breather.

I first noticed the flooded condition of the mangroves around here one night on a full moon recently when I took a short detour, as one does, on the ride home from work. I knew I needed to come back and check it out. So I did.

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Nature Preserve, Atlantic Boulevard

It has been a while since I stopped here and time to go back for a quick stroll.

It is an arduous undertaking to walk 300 yards to the beach, through crab holes and roots and -gasp!- uneven ground. Imagine that!

You'd think the preserve on Atlantic Boulevard would be packed judging by all the bicycles stuck in the rack. Not a bit of it.

We ambled off together, Cheyenne and I, down the highly dangerous trail all on our lonesome.

The mangroves to the west of the trail are a typical tangle of roots branches and leaves. I'm used to seeing this landscape in the Lower Keys but for people who never leave The Rock it's not such a common sight.

Cheyenne found the trail filled with irresistible smells.

Atlantic Condominiums line the eastern side of the trail with all the appurtenances of modern living, fencing, gas tanks parking and so forth. Key West is so small everything tends to impinge on everything else all the time.

It had rained shortly before we arrived but the joy of (sub) tropical rain is that it comes and goes and doesn't give people hypothermia. It can make for pretty pictures though.

And lo and behold, will wonders never cease! Welcome to the 21st century, Key West. Public recycling! Unfortunately I looked inside and saw a sandwich, paper bags, plastic bags and styrofoam all of which goes to show that the flesh is willing but the brain is weak in too many cases.

We have single stream recycling, thank you Waste Management, but we need more education as to what can be recycled and what can't. Perhaps it's time to stop selling coffee in styrofoam?

We have been having some really lovely mornings this month, typical for the time of year. The day starts around 85 degrees and gets up over 90 by early afternoon though rarely have the days been muggy.

The enormous cement block is 1800 Atlantic, the sort of condo construction no longer allowed in the city.

And back on Atlantic Boulevard filling with commuters.

In the grand scheme of things the Nature Preserve isn't much but it is a small piece of conservation wedged between Key West's few uncharacteristically massive condos.

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