Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Morning Run

Log Item: Santa Rosa Plateau

Tenaja Falls
My daughter, Emilie, reminded me that I promised to take her on a motorcycle ride up through the Santa Rosa Plateau (back side of Camp Pendleton, CA), and to breakfast. The Santa Rosa Plateau is a really nice area full of orchards, vineyards, estates and some ecological preserves with hiking trails. We weren't hiking today, we were biking on the Diavel.

Emilie
It's a delightful ride and we spent three hours riding down roads covered over with canopies of trees (tree tunnels), and through winding valleys. 

2017 has been a wet year and there are some seasonal lakes that remain filled despite the summer dry season. It's the climate change that Al Gore warned us all about.

We drove south to Fallbrook and I told Emilie to yelp someplace to eat and she came up with the Main Street Cafe. 

LL
Emilie ordered the biscuits and gravy. Not me.

LL on Diavel
And then it was east from Fallbrook toward I-15 completing the loop.

The Ducati ran like a clock and its nimble handling makes it a joy to drive on narrow back roads such as those encountered today.

There are a few routine maintenance issues that I need to see to, but tools and supplies are still packed in the endless boxes in the garage. I don't want to unpack here because we're moving again.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Two Year Mark


Log Item: I've had the she-devil for two years now, and I'm looking forward to the move to Arizona.  It's been something of a garage queen while worked to get the house ready to sell, with infrequent outings. 

Even today, it's going to get a run for lunch, but just the daily tasks combined with the pressure from being self-employed means that I can't take the entire day and blow it on a ride along the beach. A few miles from her to a sandwich place and back is all the love that she will have showered on her.

The realtor, who rides a Harley Davidson Softail saw the Ducati in the garage when I showed him through the house and now he's actively shopping to trade off his hogs - and opting for the Diavel. It's a sexy bike, it's light, nimble and fast. 

I purchased a motorcycle trailer to haul the bike(s) from place to place. It makes a more enjoyable ride to take the machines in a trailer for 500 miles, drop them off and ride them than it does to beat myself to death in the transit. Call me soft or old, I can take it.

The trailer (special order) has e-track tie downs, but to keep the bike upright and in good shape, I bought two Condor SC-2000 chocks (picture below). I installed two wicked large 3/16" steel backing plates underneath the deck. The trailer itself has a solid steel frame so engineering the backing plates took some effort.

Condor SC-2000
Is the second SC-2000 a bit of over kill for a dirt bike? Maybe, but who is to say that I won't get another big street bike in the future? There remains that nagging desire to build a custom Harley D on a Pacau frame with an S&S knucklehead engine and a suicide shifter.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Time to Ride the Wind

Log Item:  I've been riding the She-Devil from time to time, but I've been neglectful as to the blog. The last time I was out, it rained on me - which isn't unusual anywhere but Southern California, what with the global warming and all. (One day we'll defeat the weather but until then the war and taxes continue...)

I'm also packing to move and that ordeal continues there as well as I strive to make my home a "model home" so that somebody will pay top dollar for it. Happily that struggle is coming to an end and it's a nice day. As I was out in the garage this sight greeted me (right). 

The She-Devil was saying, LL, put something exciting between your legs. When can I say no to that? So I laid down a bit of cardboard - and hoisted her on the rear rack to do the necessary chain cleaning and lube. 

The chain wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect, either. I lube the chain more often than the manual calls for, but I've witnessed catastrophic chain failures before and they're not pretty.

First lube the chain, then I have to back the car down the driveway and curb-park it. Then the Dial comes out and she gets a good wash-down. The She-Devil is not a lesbian, so I did not take her down to the motorcycle dealership last weekend where they were giving away grilled hot dogs and "free" bike washes from young ladies wearing bikinis.  It's more or less a wet t-shirt contest and chair dance with bike owners tipping the young ladies.

Better that the TLC comes from me.

Where to ride today (while the world goes to hell in a hand basket - and me with the cell phone turned off)? Simple Simon's comes to mind. You can be forgiven if you don't live in Southern California and haven't been there. The sandwiches are good. I know that in the ultimate test, a sandwich is a sandwich (unless it's Fredd's Aunt Sally who made it), but it's lunch, I have to eat, and I'll take the long way through the orange groves in Southern Riverside. They're in bloom and the place is fragrant and beautiful.

So that's it. The bike is washed, the chain is lubed, and it's time for lunch.



Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Cheer

I thought about how to post a Christmas wish from the Ducati Diavel blog. Ideally, it would have been a picture of Santa riding a Diavel. Alas. Traditional Ducati colors mirror it's Italian heritage and who can get more Christmassy than a red and green scooter. But since mine is flat black, it doesn't measure up.



Here is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Claws on an Indian. That's about as close as I could come while being faithful to both the Christmas Season and the motorcycle.

Now for the obligatory wish list (left). There isn't much that I need - to be completely fair about it. I did see this skull helmet. It doesn't convey much Christmas cheer, but the Terminator vibe jumps out at you, doesn't it?

To the three people who read this blog, I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Two-Up


Log Item - My daughter, Emilie (princess of the 'selfie') is in town and wanted to go out and fetch lunch. So we rolled out on the She-Devil and roared away. 

I do a pre-ride check in much the way that a pilot would check his aircraft. Everything looked solid. But about two miles from the house, the bike began to sputter. 

The gauge showed 2/3 of a tank of fuel, but since motorcycle gauges are notoriously quirky, I smelled a rat. The bike died. I had spark, but likely no fuel. I popped the tank and since I couldn't see to the bottom, I couldn't tell. 

So I pushed the motorcycle (up hill) to the nearest gas station, with Emilie cheering me on. The tank took 4.1 gallons...yes, I had a bone dry tank, but the gauge still showed 2/3 full.

We continued on the trip, bought lunch, ate it, drove to a gun store, looked at toys, and then drove home. The fuel tank still showed 2/3 full...

Two-up riding is fun and when something goes wrong, it's a story that you can both tell.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is it Wrong to Love a Motorcycle?

Log Item: A friendly blogger recently asked me whether or not I still had/rode the Diavel. The She-Devil isn't going away. I have been riding intermittently but haven't been blogging about it or taking pictures. Maybe it's because I haven't been making modifications to the scooter that I haven't been boasting about this or that. A year and a half later and I still love the bike. I paid off the small loan that I took out when I bought the bike and it's mine-all-mine. 

As the photo (right) illustrates, the motorcycle is important to me...

I do have a role model who rides a motorcycle very much like mine. I've posted photos below:


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Labor Day Romp

Log Item: The Diavel gets no criticism from the Harley Riders at dive bars. I realize that you will immediately ask what I would be doing in a biker bar, full of bearded hawg lovers and their syphilitic, tattooed women. Sometimes I ask myself the same question, but a live band was playing and I was bored and it's Labor Day Weekend. So I showed up riding the Devil. Yes, it was fun, the atmosphere was cool, the music was poorly played but that's because the band was drunk. (not like this at all) It underscored the fact that at some point in the future I will need to weaken and buy or build a Harley D to my own specs. 

Then I went to a Mexican dive bar made up of primarily Mexican bikers because the food is better and I needed to have dinner. No problems there either. If I can survive the tough world of narco-Mexico, I can deal with the SoCal Mexicans. Everyone was in a good mood until an inner city person showed up and the brown left the black a little blue. I stayed out of it. I did look in on the soul brother before I left (in an ally behind the bar) and he was breathing. 

New 2017 Diavel...sweet.
My point is that nobody really has much to say negative about the Diavel or a person riding the Diavel. They accept that if you have the bike, you plan to keep the bike and wouldn't take kindly to anyone touching the bike -- but most bike bars, Mexican or traditional (segregated not by law but by practice) don't have people out messing with your bike. It's how bikers get killed and an armed society is usually polite. Unless you're a boogie without the sense to know when you're in the wrong neighborhood.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Independent She-Devil


Because Independence Day is about freedom from tyranny, I decided that taking the She Devil out for a romp along the beach was about as free as I could feel. There is something about the motorcycle that engenders joy and a carefree attitude. So I went up Pacific Coast Highway, stopping only for fuel and breakfast at Schooner or Later (local marina breakfast spot in Belmont Shores). 
I own motorcycle vests but they are were part of my undercover days, a long time ago now. Wearing them on a bike is -- in appropriate, and likely to get me pulled over by the Highway Patrol or shot by a rival "club". Thus, I am completely generic when riding.  
People who ride Ducatis don't wear outlaw gear anyway. They wear those slightly gay racing leathers and pretend that they are part of a factory racing team. Which is why I ride the Diavel. All of the power and balance with none of the need to slide out and have my hide (or leathers) torn off by the cruel pavement.
Next stop, the Palos Verdes Peninsula (a fun place to take a scooter) as the road loops and jogs overlooking the ocean.

The weather could not have been better.

There was a biker rally in Washington DC not long ago. I took note that Blacklivesmatter and Muslim groups didn't counter protest the American rally. Riddle me that one. I would have attended if I lived on the East Coast. I do understand that a lot of those who ride to those events straddle Harley Davidsons. I've had Harley D's, and I'm still thinking on building a knucklehead from the ground up. But even my spaghetti cycle (Ducati) has more of an American heart than Barack does.

I saw four people in Huntington Beach (there was a PCH detour because of a parade) standing on a corner, protesting Independence Day and waving Mexican flags. Yes, I'd have gotten myself in trouble if I'd have ripped their arms off and beat them to death with them. So I moved on, but I thought of all those Bernie supporters, mutants and cretins who take but offer nothing to the country. They would tear down border walls and invite the unwashed and unshriven in and would have taxed me and people like me to pay them not to work.

Kipling - The City of Brass (read the whole poem here)
Swiftly these pulled down the walls that their fathers had made them –
The impregnable ramparts of old, they razed and relaid them
As playgrounds of pleasure and leisure, with limitless entries, 
And havens of rest for the wastrels where once walked the sentries;
And because there was need of more pay for the shouters and marchers,
They disbanded in face of their foemen their yeomen and archers.
They replied to their well-wishers’ fears – to their enemies laughter,
Saying: “Peace! We have fashioned a God Which shall save us hereafter.
We ascribe all dominion to man in his factions conferring,
And have given to numbers the Name of the Wisdom unerring.”

They said: “Who has hate in his soul? Who has envied his neighbour?
Let him arise and control both that man and his labour.”
They said: “Who is eaten by sloth? Whose unthrift has destroyed him?
He shall levy a tribute from all because none have employed him.”
They said: “Who hath toiled, who hath striven, and gathered possession?
Let him be spoiled. He hath given full proof of transgression.”
They said: “Who is irked by the Law? Though we may not remove it.
If he lend us his aid in this raid, we will set him above it!
So the robber did judgment again upon such as displeased him,
The slayer, too, boasted his slain, and the judges released him.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Overlook

Log Item: I don't always post photos of breakfast runs, but they are among the most fun just because the morning breeze, with the freshening from the ocean is always pleasant. I don't haunt the Overlook Roadhouse, but it's a convenient spot for breakfast for guys (and a few gals) on bikes. It's particularly busy on the weekends. I got a table next to the fence. 

The Overlook is located on State Route 74, and overlooks Lake Elsinore. For people who have visited this blog before, I've made at least one posting for Ortega Highway (hwy 74) runs before. It connects the City of Lake Elsinore and the City of San Juan Capistrano.

Since I left the Navy, I've made it a rule not to get cold, wet or hungry
unless I want to.

Other people's machines.




The She-Devil, sporting the new windscreen.


Monday, April 18, 2016

California Dreaming with the She-Devil

Log Item: The weather is just about perfect for bike riding in the morning in SoCal. Clear skies, temps in the mid-70's to 80 (going warmer in the afternoon). It's important to have a clear head and the best way to do that is to ride because to ride safely and enjoyably, you MUST live in the moment.

I'm still getting accustomed to the new windscreen, but I don't have anything negative to report. It does what I wanted it to do. The photo (left) shows the adjustment bar and lock/unlock feature that allows the rider to make adjustments to the windscreen geometry on the fly.

One or other of my daughters was using my den for a project and decided to light-finger my stapler, so I had plans to go to Staples today and buy another one. The problem with riding the she-devil is that once I get into it, I really don't want to stop and go into a store to buy a desk-top stapler. So I didn't. A paper clip will do for now.

As you might have read, there is a big 9/11 victory mosque going in down the street from my house, which vastly expands the capacity of the small mosque that is there now. There goes the neighborhood. Muslims don't ride motorcycles. It may violate their faith? I see the men walking to the mosque with their wives trailing a respectful distance behind. They couldn't fit all the wives on one motorcycle even with a sidecar. That's possibly the reason.  Another possible reason is that Muslim men can't wear those long shirts/nightshirts/dress-like tops that they wear and ride on a motorcycle. They could still wear the beanies under a helmet the way that they do under a turban. Then again, maybe they prefer a flying carpet? Who knows?

There are times when I prefer the fighter pilot style visor to sunglasses when I'm riding the Devil. I don't always use it, but if the mood strikes me, it works. (below) It's especially good when I'm driving into the rising or setting sun and need double tint to the sunglasses.

I pulled the bike in at the house to do some work, but ended up blogging - so much for my vaunted and flaunted work ethic.

Normally I pull the devil into the garage but there is this coupon to Chipotle for a free burrito (with purchase of a soft drink) that came in the mail. I plan to cash it in for lunch. Free has a flavor profile all its own. 

The $10/hr workers at Chipotle like my Ducati.  One of the people there who's working - not chopping him for that - asked how I afforded the she-devil. I said that I found a job where I buy (or get free) burritos - and don't have to slide them down the assembly line to the next station. He nodded and said that he's in community college. I asked his major. He said, "Hispanic Studies". I counseled him not to quit his day job at Chipotle. 

Do I have too many cars? I think that I do, but I need different rigs for
different things. It's much like trying to limit myself to one firearm or to
one wrench.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy Birthday, She-Devil

Log Item: It's the Diavel's first birthday and while I will take her out for a ride later in celebration, I did install the windscreen described in the previous post.  As you would expect from parts made in China (and marketed in the USA), the installation instructions were completely worthless. Real men don't need instructions nor will we accept driving directions to a destination. We manage it intuitively! 

By way of confession, I was into the mechanical exploration about two minutes when I discovered that the Diavel was designed to have a windscreen installed, and all I had to do to prep the work was pull off two parts and four bolts. Installing the after-market part required that I take it apart (which I am pre-disposed to do anyway) before I could slap it on. 

Actual installation took about twenty minutes from start to finish with me taking my time. So yeah, it was not rocket science even with deciding what to do absent coherent instructions from the manufacturer. Puig is a Spanish company that manufactures in China. The windscreen was OEM for the touring model of the Diavel, thus:
  • A Spanish (Puig - pronounced Pooge with a 'soft g') company making OEM 
  • To Ducati's Italian design
  • In China
  • With the principal instructions in German because Audi owns Ducati
Made the instructions worthless.

The windscreen does have variable geometry to please the individual rider.

Screen full back
Screen full forward

Changing the position of the windscreen can be managed by the rider while riding (under about 40 mph - over that speed puts a lot of pressure on the screen to go full back). I think that I'll end up using it with the screen pointed full back rather than straight-up because of how it feels.


Rider's view
Side aspect view





Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Not Quite Naked

Log Item: I've been casting about for a windscreen for the she-devil for some time now. There are websites that advertise them, but they've been back-ordered or out-of-stock. However, I think that I've finally found one, and I ordered it.

It may seem more than just a little bit dorky to buy a windscreen for the Diavel, but since I'm all about comfort, and far less concerned with the overall vibe that I give off, I think that it will work. There is a lot of wind pressure that comes at you above about 60 mph, and this is designed to reduce that and make the ride a bit more comfortable. It's not a windshield in the classic sense.

Having driven through Texas recently with the moisture and the volume of flying insects, I felt a bit grateful that I was in the pick-up and not on the Diavel.

PS - I hadn't driven the Diavel for two weeks and just got on it for a short run and ended up driving it for two hours. It's poetry in motion, and it's the one year anniversary of my she-devil. Happy Birthday, Diavel!!!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Another Log Item

Log Item: While Europe is working to cope with a million military age Muslim male refugees from Syria and North Africa that they allowed in; and while Brussels is picking up the pieces after Muslims bombed the airport and train stations, I put my tax returns in the mail along with substantial checks for additional money to keep the government open.  I hashed out some issues with an upcoming business trip to Dallas. Then I went out and looked at some tires that a guy I know is selling. They're new Pirelli super corse V2 SPs.

The real question is whether to buy the tires at what is substantively full pop retail. I do try to be a nice guy, but, come on. I wouldn't normally pay retail for tires in any event.  And this brings me to my point. Just because you bought tires at an inflated price - and then fell on hard times, does it morally obligate me to take them off your hands at a price I would not normally pay?

I didn't buy the tires. 

Owning a Ducati Diavel is to be an eternal slave to modification fever. I have resisted breaking from the flat black paint scheme, from buying new 2 into 1 (louder) exhaust/muffler schemes and other doo-dads that I would have put on a V-Max if I'd gone that way instead of toward the Diavel.

When you're riding the Diavel, it feels as if it is really part of you. It's as though you and the bike and the road meld into one instrument. The bike is light compared to other cruiser-style machines and the power-to-weight ratio is exceptionally positive. I'm obsessed.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Diavel and Elmo


Log Item: My daughter, Emilie, came back from Pensacola to spend the Easter holiday at home. Which meant that a run on the Diavel was inevitable.

We made the trip through inland Orange County (CA) and stopped for lunch at Cook's Corners. As I've mentioned previously on this blog, Cook's has been around since the late 1800's and is a mecca for people who like to run on two wheel instead of four. 

When we arrived there were two bands playing. One, on the back patio.




video
And another inside the dive bar.

Emilie
Emilie and I opted for hamburgers and Onion rings for lunch and we ate them on the patio while listening to the band. Pretty girls passed around shots of Jack Daniels to wind up the crowd but root beer was as exciting as it got at our table.

By 5:00 pm there could easily be 500 bikes present and the night will be rolling by 8:00 pm.


LL
















Then it was time to hit the road once again.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Over-the-Top?

Log Item: I think that you can have a motorcycle with too much bling, which is why I have kept the Diavel flat black and did not opt for a fancy paint scheme. Stealth has its own appeal.

https://youtu.be/cs20UA0H72A

Monday, February 8, 2016

Morning Jaunt

Log Item: I know what you're going to say. "Why aren't you and your friends working instead of riding Ducatis over winding roads on a Monday morning?" It's a fair statement. And in addition to that one line up picture I took, the Diavel didn't make it into the frame. But it made it on the run.

I've been doing a lot of solo riding lately, and the weather in SoCal has been perfect for riding with highs in the mid-80's. The drought has ended, the hills are greening nicely before the brutal summer sun dries them in that endless cycle. 

A friend of mine just returned from Afghanistan and he's headed for a week at Big Bear Lake (Near Los Angeles in the mountains). I am contemplating a run up there for lunch or something, further compounding the myth that I'm a total lay-about and scooter tramp.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

An Electric Ducati?

A Gentle Rant: Part of why I ride a motorcycle is the pleasant roar of the motor. I've never ridden an electric motorcycle so I can't say whether the silence would be appealing or not, but I'm guessing no.
The Ducati Spirito concept is a sharp-looking design for a Ducati electric motorcycle. It’s pretty high tech, featuring a hub-center steering system, futuristic bodywork, a ridiculously narrow seat, a carbon fiber rear swingarm and of course a battery pack and electric motor in place of the usual Ducati V-twin engine.
The Ducati Spirito draws on Ducati’s past models and most recent sports bikes for design inspiration.
But how far can you ride on a battery charge? The answer to that question, based on my modest research is, 'not very far'. Maybe the goal is to save the environment in that 40 miles that you're riding between charges? 

I get that the designers are drawing really attractive pictures and while I wouldn't say 'no' to a test ride on a prototype, I remain very skeptical, and hopeful that the jet bikes make their appearance soon.

And it the mean time, I'm more than happy to ride my Diavel and see the world go by at a blur.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weekend Riding


Log Item: I want to take the Ducati out today. What I really want to do is take it out now, but it's 7:00 am and all I would succeed in doing is freezing parts of me. 

Gauntlet gloves keep my hands toasty warm and I have a jacket that deflects the wind nicely, but I don't like feeling all bundled up when I'm riding. It somehow defeats the concept of being "free" when you're on the motorcycle.

There are people who ride motorcycles to get from here to there and back but I'm not one of those riders. It's not simply transportation. It's an act of liberation when the motor roars and you are able to become one with the road (without laying on the road).

I haven't decided where I will ride today, and I may not decide "where" until I'm going "wherever".  That's one nice thing about riding outside of a group of motor heads. 

I've tried the group thing and I may be a bit too much of an individual to ride in a herd. Does that make sense to you, dear readers? It may be that I'm becoming anti-social, but when I am driving on the highway and see a road branching off somewhere that looks interesting, I just take it to see where it goes. That's what I like best about off-road driving in my 4x4.  The same thing translates nicely to my street devil.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

LASER Headlights and HUD Helmets

BMW Laser Headlight arrangement
Gripe Session: I never say never, but it will be a cold day in Hell that I buy another BMW product. Having said that, I'm interested in their ConnectedRide concept that adapts automotive innovations to the motorcycle world. To highlight the two-wheeled future, the company modified a K1600 GTL with a laser headlight and controls for a helmet-integrated head-up display. The result could make riding safer.

Some of BMW's latest models like the i8 and 7 series can already cut through the darkness with laser headlights, and this K1600 GTL brings that technology to motorcycles. The bright light can shine down the road up to 1,969 feet, which the company claims is about twice as far as a conventional unit. The additional visual range gives riders extra time to evaluate what's ahead at night and could make for a safer journey. The concept laser headlight on the bike is only a feasibility test for now, but preliminary development is underway. 

I haven't heard anything from Ducati on the subject. Ducati is owned by Audi (high tech German firm) and I'd expect to see something from them on the matter -- but no. I hate the idea of a kraut machine having an edge on my pizza bike.

A heads-up-display will not only make me feel more like I'm wearing a Top Owl fighter pilot helmet when I drive, but it's clearly safer. You no longer have to look at the instrument cluster and can keep your head in the game on the road. However, since they are not coming soon to Ducati, I'll begin to research how and if I can buy or build a HUD for my helmet and integrate it into Ducati's ride-by-wire computer. I really hate to experiment with the Ducati computer, and try to slave the output to Blue Tooth. It would be much better if they'd just FOLLOW the hated BMW, and get with the program.

Yes, the HUD/laser headlight is far more James Bond like than the traditional helmet/lighting arrangement on a motorcycle