The design of my townhouse community is unfortunately flawed by over crowding and a general lack of parking. When the original builder, WestBrook Homes, designed the community, they assumed that there would only be 2 cars per townhouse and that those with garages would at least park 1 car in the garage. Man how wrong they were. It is a constant struggle to find parking on the street. I personally have to park on the street because I already have a car in the garage and my motorcycle is parked in there too. There is also the issue that I put in new shelving which would prevent me from parking my car in the garage now. Truthfully its the van’s fault for being so damn wide. Even with no shelving I still don’t think my car would be able to fit in the garage. The crash of 2008 killed all the assumptions the original designers had. Most of the townhouses have multiple generations in them and they bring with them more than 2 cars per townhouse which makes parking a real nightmare. I think parking is one of the most contentious things in my community with people constantly trolling the streets looking for a place to park or not even going out so they don’t lose their parking space. Kinda sad.
Anyway, on to this evening! On weekends I normally leave my car where it is, left alone in its parking space so that I can see it from my home and also so its ready for me to use to get to the airport. Tonight the wife and I had different events to go to, I had to get a new iPhone from Apple and she had to go to dinner with some friends of ours. That meant that I had to use my own car and potentially lose my parking space! However since it wasn’t raining tonight, the wife suggested that I move my motorcycle into my parking space. I’ve done that before on occassion but I don’t like to do it, I have to drag the motorcycle out of the garage, then move my car, then the bike into the space and then do the reverse to get my space back for my car.
Using my motorcycle to save my parking space makes it a really expensive traffic cone. I actually saw someone in my community use a traffic cone to save their parking spot. I was really tempted to just kick it away or something but who knows who has cameras up on their townhomes these days. They might have spotted me doing it. Either way, pretty smart but also a real dick move. Technically when I did it, I had a legit vehicle in the space which was my motorcycle. I’ve seen other people on my street with motorcycles do it so I didn’t really feel bad myself. Doing it at night I think is fine, that way my bike seat won’t get so hot when I have to move it later. That and I’m trying to preserve the paint color so it doesn’t fade in the sunlight. I think thats part of the reason why so many people have white cars, not only does it not attract heat there isn’t any color to fade.
I think the holidays will see some craziness around parking. That means my car isn’t moving or my motorcycle will once again become a traffic cone. They might suspend the double parking rules or the ability to park on the street where the garage are but I doubt it. I know the tow truck company will be happy. The people in my community seem to enjoy calling it so they can see illegally parked cars towed away.
I went out early this morning for a ride on my motorcycle out to Dania Beach which is about 30 miles from home. I decided to string up my GoPro to the side of my bike but this time instead of doing a time lapse video, I tried just shooting straight up 1080P video with the camera of my ride. The first thing that I discovered was that the video is incredibly shaky and it kinda makes you sick watching it for too long. Time lapses are just a bunch of photos strung together but you don’t really notice the vibration thats making the camera shake so its easier to watch, not to mention it takes up a lot less space on my SD card and when I upload it to YouTube.
Due to where I mounted the camera (near the engine), and probably because I was on the highway, the camera always had a little bit of a shake. The video still looked cool and I was able to piece together an 8 minute video out of almost an hours worth of footage that I took. I also decided to change the perspective for my ride. On the way home, I had the camera pointing backwards so you could see what was happening behind me. All the other videos that I’ve shot on the GoPro have always been from my point of view or facing forward. I have to say that I liked the results that I got. It almost makes me want to get another camera but I use the GoPro so little I wouldn’t be able to justify the cost. What I could justify is the Hero Session 5 if it became cheap enough because it has built in image stabilization and that might help with my vibration issues when shooting on my motorcycle.
For future rides I think I’m going to go with the time lapse mode, I won’t get sick viewing my video and it makes it a lot shorter too. This latest video isn’t bad but I think its too long. I also had to make it on my Windows 10 desktop instead of my MacBook Pro so I wasn’t able to add the iMovie pizzaz I normally do. The GoPro editing software isn’t bad but I still like the tools Apple gives me for free. If they only made it easier to add external videos that weren’t made on the iPhone, it would solve my problem of what computer to get next.
It’s been 6 years since I started riding a motorcycle and I’ve just gotten to the 7000 mile mark. For all intents and purposes I’m still a pretty new rider even though I’ve been riding for a while now. Not a lot has really changed in the last 6 years in terms of riding except for a few pieces of equipment.
I’m still riding around on my green 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 650R which I bought new from Gables Motorsports. Luckily (knocking on lots of wood in my house) its still in the same condition as when I bought it. There’s a lot of bug splatter and dirt but thats to be expected. It probably needs a new front tire finally, its looking a little bald but I had to change out the rear tire during the first year when I got a nail in it.
I have changed out my helmet and gloves since my first days riding and I’ve added some Kevlar jeans to my riding gear for some extra protection which also has some impact pads for the knees. I also updated my helmet speakers to Bluetooth which was an awesome gift from my wife one Christmas. Every once in a while I take out my GoPro and do some filming but its rare and I don’t like wearing the chest harness all that much. The only thing I would change if I could afford it would be to upgrade to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX6 636. But in actuality, I don’t really need that sort of bike since I ride so little, its more of a desire.
I think for Christmas I’m going to get a new front tire when I get my yearly service. I don’t ride far enough to warrant service based on mileage, if I did that I would have only gone through 2 oil changes by now. I think I’ll hit 14000 miles in another 7 years, maybe by that time they’ll have some affordable electric motorcycles! That would be totally sweet!
This past weekend I had a rare treat in that I was able to spend almost an entire day on my motorcycle. All in all, I rode for 100 miles give or take on Sunday going through Broward and Miami-Dade counties in South Florida. One of the things that I’ve never done before is ride my motorcycle to Miami Beach. I’ve gotten really close before but the thing that prevented me was going down I-95 which is a death trap for motorcyclists because of the insane drivers and the traffic congestion. Being Sunday I decided to give a go since most people either sleep in or are at Church on Sunday mornings.
Going through Broward was just fine all the way until I hit I-95 in the Miami
Lakes area. As soon as I started down 95 it felt like I was riding a jackhammer instead of a motorcycle. There was all these patches done to the highway and it made the surface really uneven and I was literally bouncing in my seat and hanging on with a death grip on my handle bars for fear I might hit a really big bump in the road. It didn’t help that I was tail gated all the way to 395 but since my bike has better acceleration than your average car, getting some distance between me and the car behind me wasn’t a problem once all the idiots were out of my way.
395 and the roads on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach were fine but there was a decent amount of traffic but the traffic made me slow down and appreciate the lovely view heading into Miami Beach. I saw Star Island and the cruise ship terminal with all the cruise ships docked and waiting fore-supply and passengers. It was times like that that I wish I had a Go Pro or something to capture it. One minor complaint about Miami Beach though, all the motorcycle parking spots require coins while the cars can use credit card. That part really stinks since I wanted to stay and relax a bit since it was so far but since I don’t carry change while riding I just had to turn around and go home. I decided to take a different route home and went by US 836 which passes the Miami Airport. On 836 I almost witnessed an accident up close and personal when someone in the lane to the right of me tried to swerve and miss an iguana that was in the road. The person swerving almost made the car behind them slam into them and the iguana was definitely dead since I saw it flying through the air in front of me and I just missed hitting it with my bike.
After running up 836 towards 75 I started to appreciate how awesome it is to live in Broward. The roads are definitely better than Dade. Most likely that is my first and last trip to Miami Beach on my motorcycle. While going to the beach on my bike has some appeal, it’s not worth hurting my ass to get there. As proof, here is a pic of my bike parked on Ocean Drive.
Scorpion Street Demon Blue
Today I went out and bought a new helmet for myself. This time around I decided to go with Scorpion and got their brand new EXO 1100 Blue Street Demon helmet. It’s not as artistic as my current helmet which is a Shark Duhamel Replica with a huge red dragon on it. I decided to get a new helmet for myself because there is this annoying whistling sound in my helmet that I can hear over my music when I hit over 60mph on the highway. My wife also owns a a scorpion helmet and she’s very satisfied with hers so I thought I would give it a shot.
This helmet is pretty freaking sweet because it has an inner visor that I can lower or raise using a lever on the side of the helmet like built in sunglasses. This means I won’t have to buy another face shield for my helmet. I might get a darker inner visor but we’ll see how I like this one for now. I got the helmet in blue because it was different from all the other colors I have when riding except for my jeans. The graphics aren’t as stunning as the Shark helmet but it was about half the price of my Shark helmet so I think that’s a small thing to sacrifice. Besides, I ride a lime green bike, wear black gloves, and a black and white jacket, I figure why not add more color so that my wardrobe looks as uncoordinated as possible. I like the outer visor a lot because unlike my Shark helmet, it’s easier to raise the visor with just one hand and it has notches in the mechanism so I can raise it to different levels to let in air while I’m waiting at pesky traffic lights.
I went to Rick Case Power Sports here in South Florida to get the helmet because I had a 20% off coupon and I had a gift card from work that I could use to lower my own investment in the helmet. Unfortunately they don’t have my size in stock so I had to order it. I think the only thing that I have to get now is some helmet speakers like I have now. I don’t like using ear buds when riding around and they are also not legal in Florida. I can’t wait for Friday because that’s when I can go and get my new helmet! I’m not going to trash my old one, I’ll keep it because it will always be my first ever helmet but I probably won’t use it for every day riding anymore.
Shark Duhamel Replica White
Through a slight oversight on my part, I accidentally announced to my parents that I have a motorbike by sending them a photo book with me and little E on it. So I guess now I can at least blog about it. The lovely picture above is of my 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 650R. I decided to get it in Kawasaki green. This is their signature color and it looked way better than getting it in blue or black. This picture is a bit old now, I actually bought the bike in the summer of 2010 and I’ve been a weekend rider ever since. It’s hard when you travel and have a family to get some time to ride but my wife is nice enough to give me some time on the weekends to go out for a little while and at least get the oil moving.
Now I didn’t originally want to ride a motorcycle, but my wife convinced me that it would be a fun thing to learn together so we both took a class. After taking the class we decided, well hell why not lets get a bike! So there it is, I am the proud owner of my very own motorbike. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of places to ride a motorcycle safely in South Florida. The only real place that I go is up and down I-75 and US 27 both of which are close to my house and I normally only do it during off peak hours to avoid all the crazies. I used to go down I-595 but they’re doing a ton of construction there these days so I’m not going there until they’re finished sometime in 2014. I-95 is just off limits totally. I hear of too many people getting into crashes in cars, and the ones that crash on motorcycles don’t normally make it so going to Miami or Miami Beach on my bike is totally out of the cards.
Thats ok though, I’m happy with my bike and the areas I can ride. One day when I have the time, I’d like to try a trip down to Key West. That will be 3 hours of riding but I won’t do it straight. It’ll have to wait till E is a bit older though and she can enjoy Key West with me and the wife 🙂