Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tuesday Night Ride 2013

Meet at 6:30 at the Gluek Park, just by the new Psycho Suzie's.  Ride at 7:00.  If you're late, you're lost.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nostalgia can be a tricky bitch.

On the one hand, she provides you with loving and warm feelings about past experiences which leave you with an overall feeling of goodness.

Then on the other, she can trick you into thinking things were better than they actually were.

Today as I wrapped up things at work and headed out to my scooter for my first Tuesday Night Ride of the season, I wondered which would be the case.  You see, this winter has been long.  We've had snow on the ground and roads for 7 months.  SEVEN.  That's over half the year.  Minnesotan's have been teetering on the edge for at least a month already due to the snow.  My facebook feed has been a barrage of "this again", "f.u. mother nature" and the like for the past month.  The smiles you see on our faces hint at something sparking just beneath the surface if the sun doesn't show real soon.

Generally speaking we have the first 'official' (although nobody is in charge, we're not a 'group', and there are no 'rules') ride the week of March 17th.  I was anxious for my first #TNR, for certain.

The ride to Lake Harriet was mostly uneventful, even though a helpful truck-driving motorist stopped me to tell me that "when he saw me back there he noticed I blend in with my surroundings".  He suggested I wear brighter colors.  I thanked him and drove off when the light turned green even though he still wanted to chat.  When you ride a scooter, you anticipate conversations on the road.  Usually people are stopping you to ask the general stuff (how fast does it go?  what kind of mileage per gallon does it get?  how much did you pay for it?  do you have to have a motorcycle license?), so this was at least a different type of conversation.

I digress.

TNR - we had a larger-ish group tonight.  2 and 4 stroke Stella, Vespa, I think a Henkel? (not sure what Kent was reminded me of a old salon hair dryer), MP3, Silverwing, etc.  The new paint job on Alice's mint Stella was very pretty.  Sadly I did not take a photo!

We headed around Lake Harriet, Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.  Then I got lost...(in the ride and enjoyment, not actually lost!) Grand Rounds were in the mix and we did lots of parkways.  There were a lot of other scooterists and motorcyclists riding and I think I counted something like 5-6 people either photographing or filming our motley crew as we rode around the cities.  One gentleman yelled "VESPA GANG" and gave a few fist pumps.

At one point we were drafting a large collection of bicyclists that stopped to talk to Stacie, Christine and Becky.  No phone numbers were exchanged, but the figtails were admired and talks of a calendar were started.

We ended on St. Anthony Main at Pracna.  It was a really gorgeous night and the ride was just over 60 minutes in length.  The rides are always a blast.  I especially enjoy the conversation that follows.

The group was definitely on point tonight.  We were quiet-ish at first, and then the typical jokes started flying.  Vague insults, references to Tom's B.O.N.E.R. and the hand gestures we would need to utilize when riding it, etc. 

Up until the actual ride I was living in the space of "warm fuzzy memories" regarding TNR.  As I suited up for the hour-long ride home I realied that nostalgia wasn't such a tricky bitch afterall.  TNR = goodness, laughter, fond memories, and the desire to make new ones.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I'm trying to find out the best way to turn GPS data into something viewable on the web.

One site isn't embeddable, but is pretty:


And then this one is pretty and embeddable, but still doesn't give me what I want:

TNR 8/28/12

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near St. Paul, Minnesota

Monday, August 20, 2012

Four Banger

A month or so ago I got a new 4-stroke Stella.  I need to get it broken in properly before the blister run.  So I've been riding a lot.  Initially it was a "yee-haw let's go explore!" but after a couple trips it was more like "ho hum, been here ten times before."  Lately I've been modifying my tactics.  I think of a fairly distant location and meander toward it.  If, along the way, I think of an area I've never been, I check it out.  That's usually a neighborhood ringed by highways that has no through-way potential.  Another favorite is the "dead end" or "no outlet" signs in areas that either don't look right, or that I think might have some interesting angles.  Did you know that sometimes the "no outlet" sign is a lie?  Yup.  Don't know if the neighborhood conned someone into putting the sign up, or if there was a street change and nobody thought to remove the sign.

Tonight I went out for a hopeful fifty mile ride.  Turns out I made 48, which is pretty good for two hours.  Generally I count 25 miles for an hour of city riding.  I did some simple stuff like Lilydale, both downtowns, and a little bit of Saint Paul.  I wandered up near Roseville and needed to get back west and south as it was getting dark and I was nearing the end of my riding window.  I ended up on a road that used to connect to 280, but was now labeled as a dead end.  There were "dead end" signs everywhere.  It just looked like they were trying too hard.  As it turns out, they had indeed closed off the road at the very end, but leading up to it was a nice, large neighborhood with a couple side streets and some really nice unused road.

By this time it was past sunset and I wandered the streets in the dark.  No outlet means no cars except the residents, so it felt like three in the morning.  That deep thrum of the new engine and the flash of the headlamp on smooth blacktop was like something I could eat.  And never get full.

So for all of the pressure of getting "enough miles" in I've really found a few moments, and more importantly, remembered a few concepts of the ride that I think I forgot.  Explore, defy, never be afraid to have to turn around.  After all, it's a scooter.  I can turn around in five feet.  Somewhere in East Saint Paul I followed the bluff on side streets and found a nice park.  In fact, I found another one up near Saint Anthony.  And I passed a parkway with a view of downtown Minneapolis that almost made me stop and take a picture.

I have a lot of miles to put on the bike before the long ride in a couple weeks, but I'm getting excited about checking out old roads and finding new hidden treasures.  And as I type this I can still smell the rubber of the hand grips on my hands.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Tom and I got ahead of the pack thanks to a really short yellow light, and I took the opportunity to take a quick snapshot.  No video this week, but Michelle got a new camera, so..

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Amerivespa 2012

(Higher resolution panorama image available if you click through and select the zoom functions)

I had an incredible time at Amerivespa.  Lots of stories that I'm sure I'll relate as time goes by!  We had a TNR, even!