Monday, July 16, 2007

New commuter!

My youngest son is joining the ranks of motorcycle commuters. Unfortunately, the first day he'll be able to ride is Thursday. Figures. One day after Ride to Work Day!

I just got back from headquarters in Kirkland. Late Sunday afternoon and evening was spent riding up there. Traffic was still indescribably insane. There were more vehicles than what the roads can handle, I think. According to my GPS, I spent five and a half hours on the road with a little over 45 minutes of it sitting in traffic. Wow!

Sophie now has a new farkle, as you may have guessed. It's a Garmin Zumo 550. Had it about a week and I'm really liking it so far. That's a tremendous leap for a guy like me. Don't get me wrong, I love technology. I just don't like it to replace human skills. Navigating is a time-honored skill. Most of my navigating has been by my nose or with Manual Analog Positioning Systems, otherwise known as maps. My goal is to use the advantages of the GPS without becoming reliant on it. I'll keep you posted.

My new commuter in the family's 19, now. Three of my four kids ride. For some reason, the middle son likes things like surfing and other sports but not riding. Our daughter's the oldest of the bunch. Since she got married about a year ago the street riding's been more or less replaced with ATV's. Her husband leans that way. Maybe he'll get the street itch one of these days. No pressure from me. Oldest boy's been riding a long time and uses a Suzuki GS500 for commuter duty. His trip is 12 miles one way. River Road in Salem is a perfect road for motorcycle commuting and happens to be the most direct route. Fun and efficiency both!

Youngest son, Clinton, sent me some pictures from the company's web site. His bike is on order and should be here tomorrow. Clint's in Texas until Wednesday. Should be a nice reunion.




It's called an NST. I know very little about this brand. It's Chinese, I think. The bike has a 200 cc air-cooled motor. Power goes out through a six speed transmission and chain drive. Probably to make it easier to keep it in the power band! Dual front discs and a rear drum do stopping duty. It weighs about 300 pounds. A four gallon tank and what the manufacturer is claiming at almost 85 miles per gallon should make fill-ups easy.


Pricing is somewhere around 1500 bucks. It seems to be more of a case of a young man with limited funds becoming enticed by being able to purchase something new for the money. We've had a lot of older bikes around the house over the years. Maybe he's not in the mood to do that much maintenance! As a side note, though, working on old bikes is a great way for fathers and sons ( or daughters ) to talk about sensitive issues.


Where it might be impossible to have serious conversations while looking into each other's eyes, putting a bike between us made it work. The physical barrier of the bike seemed to take down the mental barriers. We worked through a lot of teenage life accompanied by the sound of clanging wrenches.


Clinton bought his bike from a small, new, shop. This gal used to work in security at Linn Benton Community College where we hold classes here in town. She was always so supportive of us. Now she has a shop where they sell pocket bikes, small scooters, etc. They're still learning the ropes but are good people.


When the boy gets back and meets his bike I'll post a photo of the proud owner. As many of you already know, two-wheeled commuting and riding can easily be a family adventure!


Miles and smiles,


Dan

4 comments:

Michelle said...

Congrats to your son! Commuting on the bike must be so fun. I'm riding my husband's new GS500F to work on Wed for Ride to Work Day. I hope once I get my own bike again to commute more often on two wheels.

Can't wait to see pics of the proud, new owner. :)

Dan said...

Very interesting machine. I've never heard of it. Let everyone know in a future post how he is liking it, and how it performs!
That is impressive claimed MPG, and if it is true I think he can decline TWO hummer drivers that leave merging space in traffic. =)

--Dan

Chad said...

Not a big fan of the Chinese products after owning a Chinese scooter in the same price range. Expect a lot of maintenance. It is what you expect a $1,500 bike to be. Nothing like a $6,000 bike.

Bill Sommers said...

Although my boys are young, we have those moments in the shop as well. I remember the times in my Dad's shop as a kid working on his antique cars. A lot of life lessons were learned while helping on the Model A projects.

Good for your boy for following Dad's path. I bet you are a proud Pop.

Have fun,
Bill