Friday, September 4, 2009

Pentecost 2009

June 2, 2009 - Tuesday

I'm very distractable today. The phone is comparatively quiet but still manages to go off just as I've finally wrangled my attention onto another piece of work. It's June and contract cancellations are piling up, including a one-week notice from another of those damned Indians in CeCe.
But I won't be rattled. Pentecost weekend was fun, including two runs in the Black Forest, good weather, and the end of my rear tire.
On Saturday nine members of United headed out to the Schwarzwald. Fabian led the way and I got the third slot behind Angelo, who drove a 30-year-old Ducati racing replica with a back tire thinner than my front one. But he sure knew how to drive and kept up with Fabian.
Angelo's a Baschtler, a DIY guy who turned an 80-year-old house into a 2.5-room apartment with a small, orderly workshop area and plenty of space for amchines and tools. In the workshop he has two Gixxers up on lifts and four bikes under sheets, and he spends his time carefully customizing and improving motorcycles. He's told me about his setup several times at United dinners, and on Saturday he took me to see it for a couple minutes.
I envy his setup. One of these evenings - Florian suggested the 18th - I'm going to take Florian to see it and talk with Angelo; I think it'd be fun for him to talk with someone else who thinks along the same lines of motorcycle handiwork as he does.
After seeing what sorts of thing Angelo gets to spend his time on, we returned to the others, who were waiting at a village festival/bike meet in Schüpfart. There I saw the visually most customized Buell yet. It belongs to a friend of Angelo's who's an airbrusher and painter. The bike is an XB12S, outfitted with a streetfighter mask and front mudflap. All the plastic parts, the wheels and the frame were painted in an appealing deep lava red pattern, and the gearbox was lacquered with a crackle effect. It was very nicely done. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera along so I couldn't photograph it.
Angelo considered it well-worked but overdone; I admired it immensely but even if it's way more done up than by Beastie, it's nothing you could run through snow, mud and gravel without ending up with damages much more obvious than what the Beastie carries. Yeah, my bike is still the best...
We didn't do near enough kilometers that day; I'd have been happy to spend another couple hours on the road.
Sunday was sunny but chilly, and after Mom and I took the horses for a ride on listing saddles, Selim and I drove an easy-paced 100 kilometers over the Ibergeregg and Etzel. There was a lot of traffic, and on the way home we noted a civilian policecar to add to our database of vehicles to watch out for.
Monday was warmer, and I was pleased to see that Roger and Fabian were planning another Black Forest drive. My back tire was flatter than the legal limit - too much Autobahn driving - but I went anyway. Susanne, a new member of United, and Hans, a friend of Fabian's came along too.
We stopped at a gas station to let Hans refuel, and Fabian inspected Susanne's Ducati Monster. He noted the scardey-cat stripes on the edges of her tires and said that he'd been able to get all the way to the edge on his front Z6 by having a sozia on the back seat. (You can head into curves faster and lower if you've got weight on the back.)
The evening before the thought had crossed my mind that it would be informative - and probably rather scary - to take a ride sitting on the back of Fabian's Speedy. Fabian is just about the best real-road driver I know, taking cruves as if his Speedy were running on rails.
Well, Fabian's comment gave me just the right opening. Fabian grinned and dusted off the sozia seat. Obviously there was no doing it then and there since I had my Beastie, but Fabian said we'd make a point to take such a drive if I really wanted to.
Fabian intended to give Susanne an easy tour with emphasis on taking curves properly, so Roger said he'd drive ahead with me. On Saturday he'd been on a lengthy and somewhat strenuous tour in the Jura and was thus not disposed to rip-snort through the curves at his usual speed, so the tour, too short though it was, was good practice for me as well and not bad for my ego, as generally I lose sight of Roger and Fabian after the first couple curves.
It was fun, and I drove pretty well since we did the same stretches we'd done on Saturday and I remember the lay of the road. We had to keep stopping to wait for Hans. Susanne kept up well, but Hans... My goodness, why people like that even drive a motorcycle I don't know. He's got a Kawasaki Z750 and I doubt he's ever put it past 60 km/h.
We stopped in Todtmoos for a drink which Susanne paid for - nice of her - and Fabian ran off with her Monster for a quick circle to file the scardey-cat stripes off. He came back shaking his head and insisted that she right away get the suspension hardened, saying that the bike moved around like butter in the curves and it was no wonder she couldn't pull out of them with the bike going every which way.
Having determined that, we drove the Albthal and recrossed the border, stopping once more for a drink and chat before bidding our farewells. Susanne drove back with me, since she lives in Zug.
Now it looks like we won't be driving to South Tirol on Friday because both Roger and Fabian have to work. I suggested we swtich that tour to July and have July's planned dinner in June instead. I'm still going to take Friday afternoon off since I've already reserved the time. Roger said the meeting that's keeping him from the planned tour will probably take until 1500 hours, so maybe, if the weather holds, we can go for a drive before dinner. And if not, I'll do my own tour and make use of the Pirellis that'll be mounted on Thursday. They're the original tires and they've got 3000 km left to them; once they're run down it'll be time for the Beastie's second 8000-km service.

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