Oct 102011

On Friday, Aaron told me that Connor and I would be on our own for dinner and Fringe, as he’d just been invited to the Red Wings home opener at Joe Louis Arena. Hyundai had rented the two suites owned by Budweiser, and was throwing a party related to their new Veloster.

I pouted briefly, but wasn’t terribly upset. A few minutes later I got the message, “I got you a ticket!”. After work, a shower, and a costume change, Chris Nelson from Automobile picked me up and drove me to Joe DeMatio’s to get him. After a stop on the west side to grab Tom & Adrienne, the five of us shared a “cozy” ride to the Joe in a car too small to be comfortable. I don’t even remember what it was, except small and car-shaped.

The suites were stocked with lots of food and booze, souvenir hockey pucks, light-up beer glasses, and coasters. Most of the beer was Bud Light and MGD Light, but one of the suites had good beer: Heineken (Hey, we’re grading on a curve here).

I haven’t followed hockey with any regularity since the late ‘90s, so most of the Wings were complete unknowns to me, and it was a bit depressing to see how old Chris Osgood looks now. Regardless, the Wings made the Senators their bitches until the third period and, unlike most games I’ve watched, I happened to be staring directly at the net for two(!) of the night’s goals. The Wings still won, as they should.

I was also unofficially endorsed by the Wall Street Journal. I was introduced to this (straight, married) reporter by Aaron. We chatted for a few minutes, then I went to the other suite to swipe the last Heineken. After I left, this guy (whose name eludes me) says to Aaron, “So, Aaron, you scored yourself a hottie.”

Aaron, thinking he’s referring to a car: “Buh…wha?”
Reporter: “Ryan; he’s a good looking guy!”
Aaron: “Oh! Uh, thanks! I think so.”
Reporter, laughing: “Probably the last thing you expected to hear out of my mouth, right?”
Aaron: “Yes!”
(All of this was paraphrased, of course)

So that was one of the highlights of my evening.

We’ve been blessed with warm weather for the last week, so I’ve been riding the Raven at every opportunity. Since Connor has built up his gear collection, lacking only a jacket, on Saturday he borrowed mine so I could take him for a ride at long last (I wore my suit). It was my first time taking a passenger, and only his second time on a bike, so we were both fairly nervous.

Once we were both clear about expectations, we took off, riding west all the way to Chelsea and back. The weather was perfect, traffic was light, the scenery was autumnally glorious, and he was a fine passenger.

Yesterday we went for a longer ride: south almost to Milan; west past Tecumseh (which was having some kind of street festival); then north through Manchester up to Chelsea and back home, for a round trip of 72 miles. The day was even more perfect than Saturday, and the northern stretch up M-52 was a route I’d never taken before.

When we got back, we had to shower and dress fast to get to Joe DeMatio’s for his birthday dinner, which was a great time. The food and wine were fantastic (thanks to Joe and Aaron) and the company was entertaining, as always.

Later that night and this morning, I noticed that my abs were very sore, as if I’d been doing a hard ab workout. I realized that it was from having a passenger on the Raven. Every time I accelerated, his weight would pull me slightly backward, and I’d unconsciously tense my stomach to compensate. Three hours of that ends up being a lot of crunches.

The best kind of workout is the one you don’t even realize you’re getting until after the fact.

Saturday was the start of our latest Exalted story arc, and it’s getting crowded around the gaming table. Besides me, Adam, Liz, Jason, and Robert, Mary & Brando were both there, and a kid named Max, who I swear can’t be more than fourteen or fifteen. Seems nice enough, and his characterization managed to slightly creep me out at one point. He’s playing an Abyssal (the Eternal Conqueror of Oblivion), and in one session is already better than our last Abyssal (whom Adam booted because he wasn’t fitting in well).

Mary has a new Zenith caste Solar to replace her ill-fated Eclipse, and is already off to a better start. Silver Seraphim is a real zealot, and if the Unconquered Sun had a Bible, Silver would be thumping it. I keep getting caught off guard by the razor-sharp wit that occasionally comes out of Mary’s mouth, and I think she has some great roleplaying potential once she’s more comfortable with the game system.

I managed to score not one, but two 3-die stunts that night. The first for my creative disassembly of a buck ogre that was stupid enough to attack Max and me, and the second for how I handled a raptor cat that jumped us right afterward. One of the best ways to get a 3-die stunt out of Adam is to make him laugh hard, and spinning a vicious predator around by its tail before hurling it off a cliff while screaming “BAD KITTY!” is a pretty sure way to do that. Now that he has some better Charms, Rönas is getting a lot more effective in combat.

I rode the Raven to Adam & Liz’s, and damn, that’s a long uncomfortable ride. The suit was too warm on the way there, and too cold on the way back, because I didn’t check the weather and bring a warmer under layer for the trip home. I also nearly ran out of gas before I could find an open station at 8 Mile and I-275. Luckily, Meijer is 24/7. On the plus side, my new HID headlights make a huge difference in visibility, otherwise I wouldn’t have made that trip.

I went directly to Andy’s place for his birthday party, and stayed for almost two hours with the 15 or so people that were still there at 1 a.m. Kai was there, since he was in the area that day for a family reunion, and when he saw me in my moto gear he nearly raped me on the spot, so that was gratifying. LOL

Oct 202009

57 miles

Jayson and I decided that it was too nice out to not go for a ride, so we agreed to meet at the corner of Gotfredson and N. Territorial roads about 6:15. Aaron's had a stiff, painful neck muscle all day and chose to forgo joining us. We continued up Gotfredson, took Brookville west to Curtis north, then veered off on Angle/7 Mile Rd. and followed it all the way up to E Shore Dr. We followed that along the east shore of Whitmore Lake. It's a beautiful area with a lot of nice houses surrounding the lake, and the setting sun had all the trees glowing orange and yellow.

From there we went up and around the north shore of Green Oak Lake, which was almost as nice at Whitmore, I think, but the fading light made sightseeing difficult. I was also discovering that the combination of my dirty visor and the "starburst" effect around light sources caused by my RK procedure was screwing up my night vision somewhat, so I had to focus on Jayson's taillight.

After rounding the lake we headed into South Lyon in search of food, and ate at Crossroads Grille & Bar. I had a great bar burger, and the cute, flirty waitress brought us a couple slices each of pumpkin bread and banana nut bread that they bake there. She told us she loved motorcycles and used to ride pillion with her ex-boyfriend, but could never ride one herself because she "couldn't work the gears". She also told us about the time she burned her leg on the exhaust because she was wearing a skirt and sandals. I was proud of myself for not shaking my head, or rolling my eyes, or telling her we saw videos about people like her in our Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course. Besides, she was too nice to berate, and the pumpkin bread too tasty.

After completely negating the benefits of the 4-mile run I'd had before riding, Jayson and I parted ways and headed home. The return was uneventful, though I expected a deer to jump out in front of me at any moment, and I did pass a few recent carcasses on US 23 south. When I exited at Maple Rd and started to enter the first roundabout, it suddenly felt like something soft and fluttery hit the back of my left calf. Thinking it might be a bird or bat I brushed at it, but there was nothing there. It was only after I'd gone through the roundabout and was coming to a stop at Miller Rd that I realized what I'd felt was my calf spasming. I'd done a hard calf workout yesterday, gotten a massive cramp last night that woke me out of a dead sleep, then ran four miles this afternoon before riding nearly 60 miles in a semi-crouched position, and my leg had had enough. The bike vibration, tight boots, and my focus on the road masked most of the pain, but it was bad enough that I had trouble shifting until I reached the corner of Dexter, where it relented. I'll definitely be eating a banana and doing a lot of stretching before bed tonight.

I'd love to go riding again tomorrow, because the high is supposed to be 66º, but it's also supposed to rain, so we'll see.

Posted via email from Nerdimus Prime

Oct 122009

27.5 Miles

Just a short ride today to break in the suit and take advantage of the break in the rain. The UA Coldgear and all the leather kept me pretty warm, except at my throat, because the collar of the suit stops at the base of the neck. If not for the high collar of the UA shirt it would have been really uncomfortable. I also got a bit chilly in the nether regions, of all places, because the seams joining thigh, hip, and crotch are fabric rather than leather. Other than those minor issues I stayed toasty for the entire ride. The return trip was into the wind so it was bit more noticeable, but nothing too bad.

I had to stop for gas, which I'd actually been looking forward to, since the night I brought it home I'd mistakenly filled it with regular instead of premium.

Posted via email from Nerdimus Prime

Oct 062009

38 miles

Got up bright and early on Sunday, made sure the weather was going to hold, then Aaron and I picked a random place for breakfast to ride the bikes to, which ended up being the Omelette & Waffle Cafe in downtown Plymouth. We made our way east along Plymouth Road to Ann Arbor Trail, approached the town square area, and discovered that the whole place was blocked off for a chili cook-off and Harley-Davidson show.

Literally hundreds of bikes, mostly Harleys, lined the streets two- and four columns deep. After parking the bikes and getting some cheap but decent food, we wandered the downtown area for an hour or so and looked at all the bikes and displays, but didn't partake of the chili.

During the ride back we got within a mile of home when the rain started coming down, which made for some tense riding for a few minutes, but we pulled into the carport without incident. The bikes handled perfectly, and Aaron reported that his new seat and seat cover were extremely comfortable. I may have to make the same mods to my own seat eventually.

Posted via email from Nerdimus Prime

Sep 282009

49 miles

Saturday after breakfast at Cafe Zola (where we ran into actor Rene Auberjonois), we dropped by Nicholson’s Powersports and Murray’s to get some bike maintenance supplies, and I spent the rest of the afternoon performing my first round of motorcycle maintenance by changing the oil and flushing the coolant. It was very enlightening, except for cursing the oil filter that would NOT break free, even using the proper oil filter wrench. I’ll have to take it in for that, apparently. The coolant looked fine, but the oil was both low and dirty so it was worth changing even if I couldn’t replace the filter. By the time I got finished replacing all the pieces of cowling I had to remove to get at the Raven’s innards, it was too dark to ride.

 Yesterday afternoon the lure of good weather was too much to resist, considering the forecast calls for crap conditions for the next ten days. I headed out west along Dexter Rd. all the way through Dexter Twp. and on to Chelsea, then turned south down to Jackson Ave, east to Baker Rd., back up to Dexter Rd., and home. It was perfect fall weather and beautiful countryside, with many stretches of road lined with huge trees that arched overhead and a few curves to keep things interesting. I passed a lot of other riders, all taking advantage of probably one of the last good riding days of the year. The bike ran perfectly and, now that I’ve gotten used to, I didn’t stall it at all.

 Or drop it. *grumble*

Posted via email from Nerdimus Prime

Sep 272009

37 miles

Closed the deal on the Raven and practiced for about 15 minutes in the parking lot of the Little Flower Church at the corner of Northwood and Woodward. Stalled it four times trying to turn onto Woodward, until the woman in the van behind me got fed up and went around. Stalled it once in the "Michigan left" turnaround, then made it to Anita’s Kitchen to meet Aaron and Greg for dinner.

Rather than take the highway, Aaron suggested back roads to practice the starts and turns, so I took 9 Mile west toward Haggerty Rd. 9 Mile turned south and became Orchard Lake Rd., so I made the first right I could onto Folsom St. and continued west. I was almost to Farmington Rd. when I encounterd construction that had removed big sections of the westbound side of the street. Because of how the marker poles were arranged, it looked like I couldn’t cross Farmington Rd to continue, so I stopped to make a U-turn and head back to Orchard Lake. As I was turning, I saw the front tire wasn’t going to make it past the curb, so I leaned a bit more, squeezed the brake a bit, and…





 I hauled it back up as fast as I could and tried to restart it, but the engine wouldn’t catch. I got it turned and rolled it up into the parking lot next to me. I checked it over and found a few small scrapes on the left side to match the ones from the original owner on the right side.


 There didn’t seem to be any actual damage so, after turning it completely off and on again, the engine fired back up and I continued on Folsom across Farmington which, it turns out, I *could* have crossed in the first place. On the plus side, I was so pissed off about dropping the bike that I completely forgot to worry about stalling it, and therefore never stalled it again for the rest of the ride.

 By now it was getting dark, I was semi-lost on barely remembered roads, and suddenly the low fuel light came on. I rolled into a Meijer gas station and, while I’m filling up, some guy comes over to tell me that my left headlight was out.


 Convinced I managed to break the light when I dropped it, I continued on with one low beam light, though the high beams worked fine. At LONG last I reached Ford Rd., made my way west to the M-14 ramp, and opened it up for the home stretch. The Raven has almost no low-end torque, so it won’t beat anything off the line, but once you cross 6000 RPM it’s like going to warp speed. I reached 80 MPH in a matter of seconds. I left M-14, went through the double roundabouts on southbound Maple, rolled up to the red light at Miller, and discovered another interesting fact:

 There is not enough metal on my bike to trigger the underground traffic light sensors in Ann Arbor, so I had to sit at that light until another car rolled up behind me. I’ll have to put a strong magnet or metal plate on the underside of the bike; something ferrous enough to trip the magnetic sensor.

 I finally rolled up the driveway and killed the engine. By then my wrists were so sore from tension I could barely squeeze the clutch, but I made it home in one piece.

As it turns out, I DIDN’T break the left low beam. Only the right side headlight is on when you’re set to low. They both light only on high beam. *whew*


Posted via email from Nerdimus Prime

Aug 312009

Yesterday I took Stormshadow out to Ypsilanti for breakfast at the Bomber Restaurant with some of the guys from Michigan Motormen, a motorcycle club in the area. The weather reminded me very much of the UP: cold, windy, and heavy, fast-moving clouds. All that was missing were pine forests and the echoing call of crows. Is it weird that I feel at home in that setting? I must be pining for the fjörds.

Because of the weather, only three other guys showed up, and afterward decided the weather was too crappy for a long ride that day. The food at the Bomber was very good, cheap, and really filling. I had their (giant) breakfast burrito full of eggs, ground chorizo sausage, cheese, and hashbrowns. I didn't eat again until 5pm.

Merrill, whom I'd met at the Aut Bar on Friday, showed me some good side roads to take back to the house instead of just the boring I-94 run. Oak Valley Drive in particular was nice and twisty. We talked motorcycles, home ownership, and job histories for awhile, then when he left I washed the bike and cleaned all the webs and spiders out of the carport ceiling. By then the weather had turned nearly perfect, so we could have gone for a longer ride after all. X-(

Mom's coming to visit this afternoon since she's off today; maybe she'll help me start taping off the dining room in preparation for painting. Aaron will be back tomorrow evening, so we can get started Wednesday.

Posted via email from Ryan’s posterous

27.3 miles

Jul 132009

Saturday I took Stormshadow to my buddy Adam’s and back to play Exalted. It was my first time on a highway and the first time I took the bike above 55 MPH. There were stretches of M-59 where I was cruising between 70-80 MPH. It was also really windy that day, so I had to keep from getting blown around in my lane. Fun ride though.

31 Miles

Motorcycle Route 2009-07-11

Jul 112009

Thursday night we headed down to Royal Oak for the weekly crotch rocket display up and down Main St. Because Aaron had had little sleep, he wasn’t up to riding the bike down there, leaving it to me this time.

The trip down to Ryan and Jayson’s house was uneventful, and I only stalled once for a split-second at the corner of Catalpa and Mortenson when I realized I was about to pass my turn and someone at the intersection honked their horn.

I tried on Jayson’s spare Dainese leather racing suit, which mostly fit everywhere except my calves are too thick to pull the lower leg zippers over. There are worse reasons for it not to fit I guess. I do however have to get me one of those suits someday soon, cuz it looks HOT.

I followed Jayson down to Royal Oak, parked in front of Gamestop, and wandered up and down Main, ogling the bikes and riders. We met up with Jerry, an acquaintance of Jayson’s and, we discovered later, one of ‘s exes. Small world.

Bike Night 2-2009-07-09 Bike Night 2009-07-09

After an hour or so of this, hunger prevailed, so we saddled up and headed to Red Coat Tavern, which required me to make my first ride up Woodward Ave. It was only slightly nerve-wracking. Dinner was great as always, but I think we’re about done with that place. It always takes forever to get in and the seating is uncomfortable.

After dinner, I took Woodward up to Maple, back to Coolidge, and home. This time I was riding Woodward at night, which made me a little more nervous, but not much. The red LEDs in the body panels look so cool in the dark. :o)

20.9 miles

Royal Oak Bike Night Route

Jun 162009

22 miles round trip to see  and Eric, including my first after-dark ride. The red LEDs behind the body panels look VERY cool at night. While I was there we walked up to Pete’s Place, a former coney diner converted to a higher-end cafe. The crabcake sliders with lime-wasabi aioli were teh yum.

More photos of Pete’s Place

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