RSS Feed
  1. Skully AR-1 Helmet

    January 28, 2014 by Anthony O 2

    I’m sure several people out there have heard about the Skully AR-1 Helmet. It’s an “augmented reality” helmet, which is to say it has a HUD built into the visor that displays a 180 degree behind the rider via a camera. Yes. You read that right, a HUD in a motorcycle helmet. We can easily see the motorcycle helmet hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s been surprisingly simple in design, yet we clamor over new art work or a tweaked visor or a slightly modified design that looks better than the previous version.

    So what all does it do? Well, from the information Skully has provided it would seem if your phone is capable of it, then the Skully AR-1 can do it for you.

    GPS directions? No problem. That is one of the cool parts. We all know how annoying it can be to be on the bike with a time sensitive destination in mind, yet we don’t know exactly where we’re going, but because we’re on two wheels we don’t have the luxury of easily accessing GPS and have turn-by-turn navigation, much less with a visual map. The AR-1 can do this. In fact, it has two settings according to the demo video. It can give a simplistic version of directions, basically turn here, turn there; and it can handle a more detailed set of directions that shows the traditional GPS map with turn-by-turn instruction. That, my friends, is well worth consideration.

    But is that enough to warrant paying what is sure to be an exorbitant amount of money for a fancy piece of tech? What if it could play music for you? The Skully AR-1 can do that too. Actually, it’s voice activated. So instead of having to cram those uncomfortable earbuds into a helmet we’ve got music blaring while we ride and no need to mess with those pesky wires. That’s a plus, right? They don’t have to know we’re not paying 100% attention to our surroundings. It’s built into the helmet for us jam. Now we can be just like every in a cage!

    Wait. Did you just say it’s voice activated? I sure did. So I’m guessing you’re thinking what I am, that means the Skully AR-1 is also capable of handling phone calls. That’s right. Now, not only can we listen to music comfortable while we ride, but we can accept calls. Or at the least, those responsible riders can see who called while riding and know there’s a message waiting, but really, who’s going to do that. We’ve got that awesome bit of tech on our heads giving us all this safety with the 180 degree rear facing camera, playing music for us, and accepting phone calls. Of course we’re going to accept that phone call and talk to whoever it is while we ride. Why would we do that? Because we can, of course. After all, isn’t the point of riding to have all the amenities and comforts of being in a cage? That’s what I thought.

    Oh yeah, and since the AR-1 is capable of displaying what our phones tell us, there’s also a little bit text messaging going on. Yup, by the looks of it the HUD will display text messages as well. Yep, that’s right, we can read texts, listen to music, and take phone calls while out trying to escape the world. I know that’s what I’m looking forward to on the road. It’s not like there aren’t enough cagers trying to kill me, there’s not enough idiots on two wheels giving me a bad name, or just trying to take me out on group rides because they’re clueless. Nope. Now there’s tech to get in the way and distract them even more.

    But isn’t the Skully AR-1 about safety?

    That’s what we’re led to believe. Actually, if it’s used properly then it will likely be one of the best investments riders can have considering the price range one that doesn’t require a small, personal loan. I know there’s a lot of hype about the wonders of a HUD for rear facing cameras. Apparently it’s a wonderful tool. No longer do we have to glance to our mirrors, or in the case of those who rock it without mirrors, there’s no longer the need to look over our shoulders to check on what is about to cream us from behind while we’re stopped at that traffic light. The Skully AR-1 definitely has the capability to change motorcycling. I’ll give them that. And, honestly, I’m looking forward to it. There’s an open beta registration over at their website right now. I wouldn’t blame you if you hopped on the first link you find and signed up. I know I did. I’m not ashamed of that. I love technology, and something that incorporates technology into my helmet and gives me a few amenities that will make trips simpler I’ll take in a heartbeat.

    And speaking of the open beta, I’m going to get something off my chest, this thing is ridiculous. Have you searched for reviews of the Skully AR-1 yet? You should do that. No seriously, I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere. Give it a try. Go on. . .

    I see you’re back. Did you have any better luck than me? I didn’t think so. There’s a HUGE issue here. No one is reviewing this thing. Hell, the only people talking about the helmet are tech blogs. . . Oh yeah, and there are the amateur bloggers who are trying to get some attention from Skully to get their grubby, little hands on a beta test helmet. Me? Yeah, you got me, I’m one of those people. At least to an extent. But that comes in a second, the thing that bothers me is no one in the motorcycle industry is talking about this helmet when I searched for info. It’s all about the technology. Why are magazines not reviewing this brilliant helmet? Why is Skully not doing everything they can to get test helmet in the hands of professionals before the beta test to get some credibility to the hardware? That’s a good question if I do say so. I don’t care what Microsoft Billy has to say about the helmet, or what Google Jim thinks about the Android powered HUD. I couldn’t care less what someone in the tech industry thinks about a about a helmet I’m interested in because that person doesn’t think like me, doesn’t act like me, and damn sure doesn’t ride like me.

    Oh yeah, back to that beta test and getting my grubby hands on it like every other mooch on the planet. Will I buy one? That depends on how many organs I have to sell. I’m rather fond of a few of them, especially my kidneys and liver, and since those seem to be the easiest to sell I maybe out of luck. Would I like to have one? You betcha! But that comes with a stipulation: I don’t want a helmet because it’s the newest, coolest, most expensive helmet out there that will make me cool when I’m at a bike night. I don’t do bike nights. I don’t sit around for hours talking about riding and hanging out with people while my bike is right there. If she’s out then you better believe I’m going to be riding her. So no, I won’t be talking about how cool my Skully helmet is with a bunch of riders while sipping on some craft brew pretending I ride. I’ll be out testing the thing making sure it’s actually safe. Which brings me to what I’m sure you’re asking yourself. . .

    If I’m dogging on Skully and this helmet and their genius marketing plan to get the word out publicly why would they ever give me a beta?

    Another good question, and I don’t know why they would. Probably because they’re crazy. They did just put a rear facing 180 degree camera in a helmet with a HUD that gives you updates from your phone and plays music for you. They’re crazy. I mean you know.

    But the thing is, I won’t blow smoke up your ass about the helmet. I’ve got a small collection now, something around the mark of 8 helmets. I only wear two at this point because all the others have fallen far short of my standards as I’ve grown as a rider. I don’t want a helmet that is going vibrate on my head in excess of 80mph like adventure helmets, not one like turtle shells where there’s crazy lift on it over 70mph if the fit or make isn’t perfect, or one that simply doesn’t fit the shape of my head. In all honesty, I don’t even want the coolest helmet I’ve seen, the Icon Variant because I don’t want a helmet that catches unexpected drafts and tries to rip my head off when I get in the range of a buck-twenty, much less higher speeds. I want something that will serve my purpose. It keeps my head in its beautiful shape, doesn’t allow any damage to this pretty face, and if it happens to give me a rear facing camera and HUD, then so be it. I’m honest about my gear because it’s about safety out there. I don’t care what anyone else says about looking cool, or how it’s supposed to be done. I want to enjoy myself, and if the conditions allow it I’ll have my fun, but if it’s the situation where I need to be super alert and cautious, something that happens occasionally, then I want every advantage I can find. I’ll give you the low-down and not just be a fluffer for a company who seems to have created the perfect helmet. If it’s garbage I’ll make sure you know. If it’s for casual riders, canyon carvers, speed freaks, or just belongs on a shelf to take to bike night only as a cool trophy, then I’ll be the first to say it.

    But you know what, you already know that about me. Chances are you’ll never see me in this thing because the price will ridiculous and I’m fond of my kidneys and refuse to sell them because whiskey is one of my best friends. But you know, if the guys at Skully Helmets do make the mistake of letting me try out a beta helmet I’ll be sure to rub it in your face, make some videos of me geeking out over how awesome the tech is, but after the initial fun of the new toy goes away I’ll try my best to break it just like I do all my gear, because we all know says it best “Dress for the slide, not the ride.” And if it can’t protect us from the slide we don’t want it. This face is far too pretty for road rash.

  2. First Ride of 2013

    March 5, 2013 by Anthony O 2

    Group Rides

    I’ve been on a few group rides at this point, but those have always been with older men, all on cruisers or trikes, while I was on the only bike that could be confused with being sporty. But on this day I finally got a decent group of riders, a mix of abilities and time in the saddle, and it was quite entertaining. There were three guys who have put in time at the local lot with their stunt bikes, and it showed with the way they ride. These are the kinds of guys who will pop it up on the back wheel at any moment and carry a wheelie as far as the road will allow, but seeing as how this Kentucky the roads we ride don’t allow for miles long stints kissing the sky. In fact, the straights we see might allow for one mile at best, and those are few and far between.

    This didn’t stop those guys from playing, and I found myself looking in my mirrors more than I faced fully forward so I could watch the fun. Leading the group has some very distinct disadvantages, but once we got to turns I had no worries about someone preventing me from the greatest joy I find on two wheels.

    The ride ended up only being about 80 miles, but 60 of those miles were spent watching the fun behind, while only a small amount, maybe 10 miles total, were focused fully on the road ahead and the flow of the turns. We rode out with my camera mounted on my helmet, but after stopping to eat I had a revelation: why not mount the camera on the back of the bike so I could at least watch the shenanigans when I got home. And there were extensive amounts of shenanigans to behold. It was as if once the stunt guys knew they were on camera they cranked it up a notch and spent even more time playing for the camera than they had previously. There were wheelies (of course), but along with that came drag races between the liter bikes, jumps, drifting, and one person in particular spent time hamming it up for the video.

    Then there was kill switch roulette. Ah, the fun those guys had behind me. Apparently being in the lead makes you immune to such activities while on the road, though there were a few opportunities for me to have been drawn into the game (nearly all at lights), but no one seemed willing to include me.

    And came the stretch of road I had been looking forward to all day. It’s a little 5 mile crossover road full of sweepers and a couple technical turns, and that is what I waited for to have my fun. We took off from the pack, only two of us after one rather nice wheelie that stretched over half a mile, then we never looked back.

    The little vtwin of the SV chugged along happily, finally able to breathe, to stretch her legs. The melding of man and machine complete as in each turn we pulled away from the GSXR 1000 giving chase. It was playtime, and we were wholly in our element. Straight stretches aren’t fun, any idiot can pin the throttle and go fast, but the 650 shined, just like always, when we were leaned over into turns, boot scuffing the road, RPMs steadily climbing as we accelerated through each apex, the Pirelli Angel ST tires doing their job perfectly. At each brief straight I let out if the throttle giving the bigger bike a chance to catch up, providing the slim hope it may keep up this time (he had just replaced his rear tire for a phenomenal Dunlop Qualifier), then in each subsequent set if turns those hopes were dashed like a ship against rocks as the smaller bike did its thing and walked away.

    Then near disaster struck.

    As I started into a turn I checked my mirror, saw the gixxer had gained more ground than normal on the straight, and dropped a gear. As the SV began pulling away the rear end wobbled, then stepped to the right, followed by another step, and another. Precariously we balanced on the white line, just barely to the apex, and once more the rear tire stepped to the right. In a moment of luck the tire caught the edge of a driveway climbing the hill, giving just enough push to pull back into the lane, throttle hand still twitching as I tried to keep the bike off the shoulder.

    The entire time I cussed at the bike, yelling and fighting to stay upright. My initial thought was the wheel had come loose, maybe the chain broke, the swing arm, then the realization came that it was a blown tire. Confident I wasn’t going to see my wheel go rolling off into the trees I rolled on the throttle again, more evenly this time, and the rear end drifted, but under control now, and finally we exited the turn. I turned, flying my rear wheel the bird, then looked back at my only playmate whose eyes were literally the size of baseballs. He motioned frantically for me to pull over, something I already knew was necessary, and found a drive in which to park so we could inspect the damage.

    In the video he can be seen stopped in the lane as flagged down the group who was creeping up on us, then he pulled in as I climbed off. In his words, “The video doesn’t do it it justice. It was violent.”

    The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. The SV limped back almost 3 miles to the nearest service station on a flat where we patched the pinky-sized hole. Then after that it was almost business as usual.


    I say almost because the SV didn’t behave normally. The tire was damaged, not beyond use as was feared, but damage enough to take any semblance of aggressive riding out of the equation. Leaning to the right wasn’t bad, but going left was sketchy to say the least. The rear end wasn’t planted, leaving the SV to almost feel like it was drifting. My initial thought had been to simply lean farther than the plug, but that idea was quickly shot down by the bike as such action was almost as hair-raising as trying to ride on a flat. The remainder of the day was spent basically riding like everyone else, letting them stay with me through turns, which was terrible as there many turns left in which to play. The only consolation was a comment made later when I talked about wanting a “real” (600cc or bigger inline sport) bike. At which point one of the guys said “it was sketchy trying to keep up with me on the SV,” little does he know he had missed his chance to really try to keep up and I was having to ride as conservatively as I could stand.

    I still haven’t told him how easy I was having to ride through those turns. I likely never will.

    And on that note I should clarify: I don’t think of myself as a great rider, far from it, actually. I know my bike has more left to give. I know my shortcomings, where the bike exceeds my willingness to push, but aside from two people I ride with there simply isn’t anyone willing to push it through turns. I wish there were more who would push it, but I understand their riding style. It’s their ride. They have nothing to prove to anyone, nothing to gain from pushing the envelope. Me on the other hand, I have nothing to lose from pushing myself, trying to reach the limits of the SV on every turn should the urge arise. And the urge arises often.

    I must say a more conservative riding style has been on my mind more often lately. It’s not because of my safety, but for those who ride with me. So many people see the SV, hear me call it “slow”, and automatically assume it can’t hang with the big boys. They would be correct were all riders equal, but since we aren’t I have found that despite others being on more capable bikes they get themselves into situations they should never be in. Though I know it’s not my fault, it’s not my responsibility to worry about them, it is their ride, they’re in control of what they do, but I can’t help but worry after them. They are my friends, after all.

    The spirited riding will simply need to be saved for solo rides or those few times I get to play with those who are like-minded.

    The ride from the next weekend resulted in one situation in particular that never should have happened, though it did anyway… but that is a tale for another time.

  3. So It Begins

    March 1, 2013 by Anthony O 2

    This is something I’ve been meaning to get back around to, but for whatever reason I haven’t found the time for it. I could blame it on being extremely busy and all with the craziness of school or work or family, but I would just be lying. Yeah, I do have a job (now), and I am back in school (only part-time), and I even have a family. Not the kind of family a person thinks of for someone who is 34 years old says something about family. There’s my parents and my sister. Thankfully, I have been lucky enough to have been so awesome as to drive all interested parties away in less three months with my awesomeness.

    There’s no one complaining when I decide I want to ride. Okay, that’s not quite right. There are my friends’ significant others since I like to drag others along with me, but still, the only person I have to answer to is my dog when it comes to riding.

    It’s nice being a bachelor, being completely and irreversibly irresponsible, only concerned with myself and where the next thrill can be found. I’m lying again. I’m not always looking for an adrenaline rush. Well, maybe not, that’s the thing, if I’m breathing there’s a good chance I’m lying. I do enjoy writing and telling stories. This little experiment could turn into a completely fabricated ordeal that positions me as the hero of my own fictional riding world. I don’t see the problem with that, but others may. The again, I have rather understanding friends. They’re used to my alternative way if remembering things and know how to make me think about the reality everyone else experienced. But that reality can only be told once a day, and there is usually a proclamation that accompanies it so all who are listening know the truth, and sometimes the dire importance of the statement to follow.

    Hopefully it doesn’t come to that here.

    Back to the topic at hand, maybe, I don’t rightly remember what was going on when I started this, but I can tell you what’s going on in my head.

    I’m distraught.

    My bike is garaged, condemned to be parked for AT LEAST 5 more days. That’s an eternity for me. I’ve already gone 5 days without riding. It is difficult for me to do. The bike is my lifeblood. The air whipping past as I’m dropping into a turn fuels my lungs, gives me reason to keep living, to keep pushing, but now I’m stuck, grounded, damned to 10 days of caged travel.

    The only thing I’ve had is to remember the times I’ve had on the motorcycles I’ve ridden. The fear, the thrill, the unbelievable joy at becoming one with a machine. There are many memories, some good, some bad, and so many more that could be mistaken for my own paradise. We’ll come back those soon enough. This will become a catalog of information, a retelling of the adventures, mishaps, and all around goofing off I’ve done since a friend quite literally forced me to ride his motorcycle 20 months ago.

    Until the first tale, just keep in mind I’ll be back very soon…

    bringing the ruin of my mind to yours… one word at a time.

  4. Rainy Day Play

    January 13, 2013 by Anthony O 2

    It’s no secret I don’t shy away from stepping over a motorcycle no matter the weather, and today was no exception. The difference, however, was today I had more of a purpose than just going out to play in the rain (something I frequently did as a child too). I picked up a set of Pirelli Angel ST tires about 6 weeks ago, and until today there hadn’t been suitable rain to put them through the paces in truly wet weather. Sure, there’s been rain, but it was the kind of rain the roads soaked up even with it having been near freezing temperatures for the last month. Today was a good and proper shower. Well, more like a downpour for the last 12 hours, and it’s not supposed to stop until sometime tomorrow, and the flash flood warnings won’t expire until this evening.

    The perfect opportunity to test those Angels.

    And they did not disappoint.

    This isn’t to say I was pushing it as I dipped into curves, but I didn’t back off like I was forced to do in the past.  The Pirelli’s lived up to the hype and allowed me to easily carry speed through turns without even the slightest hint of slippage. In fact, the only way I could get either tire to lose grip was pin the throttle at 6 grand, and even then the rear tire only lost traction long enough to barely work its way to the side before finding full traction and launching the SV forward as if the pavement were dry. I even went looking for standing water just for kicks, and that didn’t even affect traction, not in turns, not ever. It was one of the most confidence building experiences I’ve had on a motorcycle in a while. Which is to say the last time I had such a confidence inspiring event would have been when I put the Pirelli’s on the SV and even fresh off the shelf I was unable to make the tires break traction.

    These are absolutely brilliant tires.

    And what about the rest of me? How did all the organic parts fair in this damp and miserable weather? I can say with confidence the only part touched by water was my neck. Everything was safe and sound protected by the Icon gear I’ve picked up over the last year and a half. I’ll give those guys one thing, when they say something is designed for rain they aren’t kidding. But what would one expect from a company based out of Seattle. I mean seriously, if they can’t design functional rain gear then they shouldn’t even bother. And they should bother.

    It wasn’t a long ride, only about 30 miles or so, but it got the job done. The new brake pads are great. It’s amazing the difference pads that haven’t oxidized can make in the bike’s ability to stop. I should’ve taken care of this long ago, especially considering I got those pads when I got the tires. Oh well, I am a procrastinator.

    Now all that’s left is to get some truly cold winter weather rolling in so I can give these heated glove liners a proper testing. I already know they work well in the 30s, but I need some really cold temps just to make sure these will make it possible to ride in comfort since I made the mistake of selling Ziggi a few months back.

    Til next time.

  5. Season’s End?

    November 12, 2012 by Anthony O 2

    Much to my dismay, the riding season is coming to an end. That isn’t to say I won’t be riding through the Winter, but the days of having someone to ride with have all but come to an end. And this realization has helped me to enjoy the last two rides with friends all the more. Our previous ride was a three bike endeavor featuring only custom cruisers: an amalgamation Harley with a 110 S&S motor, a Harley Davidson 883 bobber, and the Cain Abomination AntiCruizer. Despite that ride being rather short, only about 130 miles, it was epic in proportion as it was made with one of my closest friends (who happens to claim responsibility for my addiction to riding) and another friend I only recently started hanging out again (and surprise, surprise, that is because of motorcycles).

    The day was cool to say the least, bordering on cold by most motorcycle standards, but that didn’t stop us from donning our cool weather gear and heading out on short notice for what we thought would be the last ride of the season. Somehow it has become my responsibility to decide on the route for rides, perhaps because I have a pension for trying to get lost, then finding myself. These rides tend to wander through the countryside on back roads that all but the locals know not exist, and those are the roads for which we live. scenery, open highways, and my favorite, twisties. Granted, the guys on the lowered, custom, raked out machines aren’t necessarily a fan of the last in that list, but that’s what they get for allowing me to lead the way. This ride went particularly smooth considering there were two custom Harleys in the group. I don’t really have good luck riding with Harleys. They tend to not survive the roads every 5th ride or so. But it was a great ride, and I even managed to get lost at one point. Of course, the guys following me never knew that since I just kept cruising (perhaps cruizing since I was on the AntiCruizer) and eventually found a highway number that would lead us in the direction we needed to go. And to top it off we got to finish with one of my favorite roads.

    Then today I thought I had a group together for the last ride of the season since this weekend was unusually warm, but nothing seemed to pan out. One person working, another hanging out with his family, another having blown the exhaust off his bike leaving him on a loaner from a friend that he wasn’t comfortable enough to ride for any distance yet, and any myriad of excuses other than those to leave it down to a two person ride. Instead of riding my own SV I took to the Shadow as I was under the impression the guy I was riding with would be on his old ’52 Triumph “Cafe Cruiser“, but he broke out his chopper thinking we would be traveling at a blistering pace. Far be it from me to disappoint I flogged the Shadow for everything that little 600 was worth to keep up when I wasn’t leading, and we ended up just making what be a total of 60 miles ridden. The journey is the important part, though, and this day that journey included dinner at the Stephen Foster Restaurant, but before that the hypercharger blew off the chopper and being the good Samaritan I am I stopped and tossed it in my saddlebag. After eating (dessert first, of course) we were ready to roll out, but there was a hiccup in the plan. The chopper died just before pulling onto the highway. More than two hours later we finally had the American engineered monster running again thanks to a guy with a local shop, and I was busy playing catch-up yet again. A windy, yet warm, ride back was a near perfect way to wrap up the season.

    But here’s to hoping the weather gives one last gift so I can have one more day on the road with my brothers. As much as I love and prefer riding, it’s so much more enjoyable with a friend.

  6. Mindscape Radio Theatre presents: War of the Worlds (2008 production)

    November 2, 2012 by Anthony O 2

    Here we go folks! This was the 2008 live staged Old Time Radio production we did of War of the Worlds on Halloween. It was our next to last show, and our second largest cast. It also involved more live sound effects than any other show we had produced before. Quite literally everything you hear other than the music, the airplane, and the “heat ray” were performed live on stage by yours truly. Enjoy!

  7. Mindscape Radio Theatre presents: War of the Worlds (2004 live staged performance)

    October 30, 2012 by Anthony O 2

    Here we go with the 2004 version of War of the Worlds as performed by the Mindscape Radio Theatre, a Vested Theatre Company production. This was our live staged performance of the H. G. Wells production and our first ever live Old Time Radio show. Enjoy!

  8. Three Skeleton Key

    October 28, 2012 by Anthony O 2

    This is a live staged Old Time Radio show of 3SK I had the pleasure of working on back in 2004 with Vested Theatre Company, under the Mindscape Radio Theatre banner for these shows. We did almost entirely all of the sound effects live on stage, though there were some things such as music that were canned. Hope you enjoy!

  9. Together Forever (Part 2)

    October 21, 2012 by Anthony O 2

    It’s finally here! The conclusion to the story started in the feed far too many months ago. It’s a short episode, but it finally puts to rest the tale of Ashley and Nathan. Enjoy!

  10. Dragon Hunting #1

    September 20, 2012 by Anthony O 2

    Forewarning: These posts will be in conjunction with the YouTube videos at the bottom, so the text will update the gaps.

    This past weekend my friend and I decided to take a road trip. When I say “we”, I mean his wife gave us permission to go. And when I say “road trip” I mean we found ourselves on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. What in the world could be doing down in that neck of the woods? Well, for those who are motorcyclists, you probably already know.

    We went to ride the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap!

    This is a trip we’ve been talking about for a year now, pretty much ever since I discovered the complete joy that can be found on two wheels. It was rather entertaining how it came about, as we were joking around Friday night when I met up with my friend and his family about needing to get her a t-shirt from Chicago. The shirt from Chicago came about because I was up there this summer for work and didn’t bring one home. And when my friend brought a shirt back from the Gap for her it was too big, so we said if we were making a trip on the bikes we might as well go down there and we could each get her a shirt. She promptly said “okay”. Of course, we thought she was teasing as this has happened in the past, but low-and-behold, I found out later that night she was serious. The only requirement was each of us needed to get her a shirt.

    We agreed and began preparations the next morning.

    Saturday was an early, hectic day at the shop. He was scrambling trying to check over DA 10 (ZX-10), and most importantly checking his new front brakes and finding new tires. The tires ended up being a bit of an issue as they weren’t up to the standard he was accustomed since he normally rides on Pirellis, but we decided the old Pilots would get the job done since the only other option was Shinko. I only needed to replace my old, rear tire (a touring tire) with something more suited for Deals Gap and ended up with the highly recommended Avon Venom for Ziggi. I now understand why so many tout the Venom as the go-to tire for the Connies when it comes to twisties.

    That tire is something else.

    In our frantic scramble to get ready we invited several other riders to go with us, 3 of which committed to the insanity of a single day ride to Deals Gap and back home. Our plan was initially to leave around 10am, but after some persuasion my friend realized the error in his ways and decided he could manage leaving at 8am, but no matter how I insisted on an even earlier start time, I couldn’t get him to go earlier than that. The early start time ended up being a huge deterrent for the 2 local guys who were supposed to ride down with us; well, that and the fact that we would be going 700+ miles in a single day, nearly a third of which would be on 2 lane highways.

    Come Sunday morning I got my wish for an earlier start time and my friend rolled over to my house before 7:30, and I wasn’t even close to ready. The night before I had been checking over my SV650, as someone was supposedly renting the seksii to ride down, and I hadn’t made time to pack Ziggi. Of course, the pansy backed out, so I spent the extra time looking over a second bike, and being a nice guy by filling the tank, for nothing. That morning I scrambled to get my stuff together, loaded our emergency gear in the hard bags, and we were finally off. At least, I thought we were off. As it turns out I forgot to grab some baggies for our electronics as there was a good chance of rain, so I went back to the house as quick as possible, and my friend went to get breakfast and fill up while I continued to piddle around. Imagine that, me, running behind.

    By the time we were finally ready to leave the gas station we were minus 2 riders, loaded with extra clothes, had emergency gear, and I was even thoughtful enough to bring the leather jacket along just because I figured my friend would want it either in the rain or for what would undoubtedly be a cool, night ride home. (I’m such a good friend). And we were only 40 minutes behind schedule.

    We were off. A ride that was a year in the works, a lifetime in the making, and possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Then it started raining.