Archive for the ‘Event Reports’ Category

The One Motorcycle Show

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

The One Motorcycle Show went ahead as planned at 611 N Tillamook. Despite the wet weather, plenty of folks turned out to tour the eclectic array of custom race bikes, choppers and tiddlers that characterize this now annual event. By 6:00pm the exhibition and side rooms were thronged by the (some still dripping) masses of the Portland bikersphere, the impromptu beer and coke bar was doing a lively trade and jaws flapped while cameras snapped. Sponsors and partipants are too numerous to mention here, but you can find out more at the show dedicated website:

The One Motorcycle Show. Here are photos of some of the participating bikes:

Norton Commando 750

Norton Commando 750

Ducati

Ducati

1995 Ducati 900SS SP: Brian Moyer

1995 Ducati 900SS SP: Brian Moyer

1963 Ducati Cadet

1963 Ducati Cadet

'Rusty Rocket' Honda CB160

'Rusty Rocket' Honda CB160

Dutch Trash Yamaha XS650 x2

Dutch Trash Yamaha XS650 x2

Yamaha XS650 Chopper

Yamaha XS650 Chopper

HD Shovelhead Sportster Chopper

HD Shovelhead Sportster Chopper

Late 50's Matchless G80S 500cc

Late 50's Matchless G80S 500cc

1968 Honda CL450: Randall Swann

1968 Honda CL450: Randall Swann

1968 Ducati 350 RS

1968 Ducati 350 RS

BSA DBD34 500cc Gold Star

BSA DBD34 500cc Gold Star

BSA A50 500 Royal Star

BSA A50 500 Royal Star

1963 Honda Dream

1963 Honda Dream

Honda CD175

Honda CD175

1975 Honda CB400F

1975 Honda CB400F

1975 Yamaha RD350

1975 Yamaha RD350

Custom 1971 Honda CB750

Custom 1971 Honda CB750

1969 BSA Starfire or Barracuda

1969 BSA Starfire or Barracuda

Triumph 750 For Sale

Triumph 750 For Sale

1968 Triumph 750 by DJ's Cycles

1968 Triumph 750 by DJ's Cycles

‘One Crazy Ride’ Oregon Film Premiere

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

December 11, Brooks OR, USA: The Oregon premiere of ‘One Crazy Ride’ took place today at the NW Vintage Car & Motorcycle Museum in Brooks, OR. It was introduced by Tom Ruttan, Vice President of the society. The film features five intrepid riders: one woman and four men whose passion is to follow the road less traveled in remote parts of their native India. They were: Nicolitta Pereira, Vinod Panicker, Sanjeev Sharma, Gursaurabh Singh Toor (aka ‘Sobi’) and Gaurav Jani who directed the film. Sobi was in the US touring with the film and was available after the showing for Q&A.

The area in question is Arunachal Pradesh, a little heard of corner of northeastern India, east of Bangladesh and north of the state of Assam, famous for its tea plantations. The region is politically and geographically remote and the subject of a more than fifty year old dispute between India and China. China believes the area to be essentially southern Tibet.

Sobi with the author at the NW Vintage Car & Motorcycle Museum

Sobi with the author at the NW Vintage Car & Motorcycle Museum

It is largely Buddhist and it is fair to say that the indigenous population looks racially closer to their neighbors to the north and further east, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

The journey begins in Guwahati, Assam where five members of the Mumbai based 60Kph Club gather to start their journey on Royal Enfield motorcycles. These are current versions of the classic 500cc four stroke single cylinder machines that had their heyday in post second world war Britain and survive today manufactured exclusively in India. Laden with everything but the kitchen sink, the troupe sets off in the west of the state headed for its easternmost drivable point.

The riders might be characterized as the product of India’s burgeoning professional and middle classes: smart and educated with lively minds, opinions and a very necessary robust sense of humor. The challenge is no small one: to safely complete and visually document a journey through an often trackless terrain without maps, GPS, film crew, support transportation or the usual trappings of ‘reality’ documentary.

The result was huge success. Some 90 hours of filming were condensed into just under an hour and a half of gruelling jungle and back country riding on machines ill suited to the purpose. The journey is a roller coaster ride over apparently insurmountable physical obstacles, flimsy suspension bridges constructed from jungle biomass, dejection brought on by failed engines and the unconditional hospitality of some of the world’s materially poorest souls.

For this filmgoer, who grew up with the original British ‘one lungers’ and once spent a day riding a small four stroke into the jungle north of Thailand’s Chiang Mai sans map or companions, I felt a lump rising in my throat. Here was forgotten territory: times when all care was cast to the wind, when progress depended on a fortuitous meeting or lucky timing, when something ventured paid off in spades. This last is the point that the film’s director and narrator makes during the journey’s closing moments: departure down a road filled with apprehension can often lead to new and immensely rewarding experiences – the opium of travel addiction.

But bravery comes in many shapes and sizes: each and every rider on this adventure gave up jobs to ride not once, but twice in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Especial kudos goes to the one female member of the gang, Nicolitta Pereira, who missed her brother’s wedding to make the trip and risked opprobrium from a society that still has deep misgivings that a woman should be in any state other than at home, barefoot and pregnant.

‘One Crazy Ride’ is beautifully filmed and edited. We are not talking OmniMax here. The video camera was oftentimes handheld, subjected to appalling treatment and failed at least once. The digital media were at risk of submersion in muddy rivers, general exposure to the elements and potential theft by criminal and terrorist elements that hold sway in the more lawless areas. People, their possessions and perseverance made it through; this is their story.

‘One Crazy Ride’ is available on DVD from Dirt Track Productions. A trailer can be watched on YouTube.

Track Day at Oregon Raceway Park

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

October 16, 2010 ‘Better born lucky than rich’ my old Dad used to say. So it was at the October 2010 Portland RAT (Rider’s Association of Triumph*) Club breakfast when Rob Burch, Director of Motofit Group, pulled my name from the pitcher for a free track day at Oregon Raceway Park. I’d met Rob at previous breakfasts where he’d talked enthusiastically about the new venture and the benefits of improving road and track skills in a controlled environment.

Two weeks of work separated me from the morning of the breakfast and the day of reckoning. Those too passed, but man, they dragged ! Right up until the end of the second week, I agonized over which of two bikes to take along. To me it was a ‘Triumph’ event, because without my RAT club association I wouldn’t have won the ticket, so I felt obliged to take the Rocket. Then a small red guy with horns appeared on my left shoulder and whispered ‘So, gonna take a knife to a gunfight, are we ?’

Ride Position

Rob Burch giving ‘hands on’ instruction on rider positioning

Oh dark thirty on Saturday morning found me rumbling eastward on I-84 at a steady clip on my 2002 Guzzi V11 Sport. The lights of Crown Point hung in the inky blackness above the freeway like a UFO ready to abduct and it wasn’t till Hood River that silhouettes of the basalt bluffs gave a clue to my surroundings. It was 40F and I broke my journey there at Bette’s Place restaurant on Oak. Coffee and a pancake helped to stave off the desert chill as the sun came up over Biggs Junction and I headed south into the canyon to Grass Valley.

First stop was to check in at the track entrance kiosk to sign a waiver and pick up my wristband for the day. Then on to the pits to put the bike through Tech. Tires, pads and hydraulics checked out OK. Lights and indicators were taped off for safety. Kara Burch completed my registration and I went to join some 40 other eager bikers gathered to hear Rob’s welcome and orientation from the deck of the track offices. ‘No wheelies, no stoppies, we leave them on the street’ (yes, officer, he was kidding…) Rob quipped, but he was being serious about track protocol. Safety is a recurring theme at the Park and those not willing to recognize it risk being shown the gate.

Next we learned to decode the flags that the track marshals would wave at us during our session, the rules of entry onto and exit from the track, passing distances and so on. Groups are divided into three colors: Green (Beginner / First Timer), Blue (Intermediate), Black (Advanced). Rob introduced his fellow instructors, recognizable by their orange vests. A nicer bunch of guys you could not wish to meet – no prima donnas here.

Raceway Park Track Layout

Raceway Park Track Layout

Marshals are all in radio communication with one another, the first of whom controls entry onto the track which takes place at Turn 1 at the southern end of the pitside straight when ridden clockwise. Depending on machine and rider, bikes on the track will be travelling anywhere from 70 to 140mph before braking for the turn, so you are politely but firmly asked to stay on the outer edge of the track until Turn 2 which will slow down even the fastest riders as it’s a tight ninety. Then comes the westside straightaway that blind crests before dropping down into a series of dips, turns and corkscrews that will deliver the best fun you can have with your leathers on.

The first lap session was somewhat crowded as some folks got used to the track. I found myself coming up on a string of bikes I wished were running a little faster, but patience paid off. Later in the day there seemed to be less bikes on the track and there was plenty of space to let it go, receive instruction and to have one’s clock cleaned by other more able participants.

After roughly 20 minutes on the track, Green group reassembled back at the track offices. Rob had us sit on his Gixxer 750 while he demonstrated correct body position and stressed the importance of relaxing the arms ‘chicken-wing’ style and letting the running gear do what it was designed to do. Pat McGill, another ORP ‘veteran’, chimed in with his advice on being a good passenger to the bike.

Scura in the turn

Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura in the turn

Having drunk from the firehose of information thus far, I set out on my second session trying to do what I was told and made a real pig’s ear of it. It appeared the much anticipated epiphany was going to have to come later. I leant the wrong way, dropped one too many cogs and unstuck the back tire, early apexed and headed for the rough stuff – you name it. But I learned to love my bike with greater passion than ever before. It braked, handled and powered me out of my mistakes and Session 3 went much better. Rob was kind enough to spend a couple laps with me. I was shocked when I saw how aggressively he tipped is bike in on the last right hander before the home straight, then realized I might just have done something similar as I followed his line – I like to think – turned and pinned it up the hill with a massive grin on my face.

Session 3 was followed by further instruction which covered other techniques we’d want to try as we gained in experience – a glimpse into the world of the Blue and Black groups, if you will. Working out is recommended and yoga breathing techniques have their place. There’s no definitive regime; what I heard was that it pays to keep an open mind, give every technique a try and pick out what works for you. Recognize that though you’ll always be subject to the laws of physics, you can learn to harness them and get a kick out of what mastery you achieve.

Rob and his team have done great things with MotoFit Group out at the Park. I’d characterize the operation as a diamond in the rough, but strides have been made and no effort is spared to make it a fun and safe experience. They welcome feedback and are constantly looking to improve. At times some of us were not sure when and where the groups were meeting and when the next track session would start, though there is one blast on the horn for Green, two for Blue and three for Black. It’s easy to get caught in animated conversation with a fellow enthusiast or be listening intently to an instructor in an informal aside and miss cues for the next step. Mounts Hood and Adams are visible from the track and you just might find yourself at the north end of the pits daydreaming into the blue yonder with the howl of motorcycle engines in your ears and thinking it just doesn’t get any better than this.

Daydreaming, of course, has little place out on the tarmac. If you’re not used to riding track – other than a very pedestrian courtesy lap at PIR, it was my first time – you’ll slake your thirst on a heady elixir of concentration, tunnel vision, sound and silence, physical exertion, anticipation and situational awareness, defeat and victory that helps you understand why some folks sell their homes to do this stuff.

If you want to learn more, visit the website at www.motofitgroup.com or take a ride out to Grass Valley one weekend when there’s a motorcycle event on and do a little spectating. Watch a YouTube video from the day. Per an announcment from Rob at the December 2010 breakfast, there will be other track days to be won by RAT members next year. Don’t wait on Lady Luck, though – carpe diem, seize the day !

* RAT or TRAP (Triumph Riders Association of Portland) is sponsored by Cascade Moto Classics, Triumph and Moto Guzzi dealers at 13705 SW Farmington Road, Beaverton, OR 97005. Tel: 503 574-3353

Oregon Lane Splitting Public Meeting

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Friday November 19, 6:30pm Portland OR USA

A record, standing room only crowd showed up for the November meeting of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Motorcycle Safety at the Kaiser Permanente Town Hall Ballroom on Portland’s N Interstate Avenue. The task was to hear opinion on the proposal to fund a survey among road users on the legalization of ‘lane splitting’ or ‘lane sharing’ by motorcyclists. Commonplace in both first and third world countries, the practice is illegal in all states but California.

Van Moore chaired the meeting; hardly had he finished his introduction when the first public speaker stepped up to the podium, eager to testify. Each was given two minutes to make their case and, while some ran over, a number had prepared their statement and got their points across more or less within the allotted time.

It was a motorcyclists’ meeting, encouraging in that many in the community simply want to be left alone to ride for pleasure or out of necessity without having to become politically active. If you grew up in a lane splitting culture you have difficulty in imagining it any other way, much less stopping to think of the many benefits of the practice beyond the obvious convenience of getting to your destination earlier.

The main concerns were overheating of air cooled engines and the wellbeing of riders in extreme conditions of cold and heat, the fear of being rear-ended while stationary, environmental concerns and the poor use of available road surface in ever denser traffic. Much of the testimony was from those who had ridden in California and Europe and had found the practice to be safe based on their personal experience and anecdotal evidence.

A few voices expressed their opposition, one of whom was worried that speed and convenience would trump safety and courtesy. Notably absent was anyone from the non-motorcycling side. Whether they thought they would be shouted down or (more likely) they have no strong feelings about the matter, it was hard to say. One lady brought with her results from an OregonLive poll which showed 380 against and 401 for the practice. This is surprising if your perception of the car driving public is one of ‘You get to wait your turn, just like me’.

More than once speakers recommended to introduce the practice only in congested areas to avoid resistance to a blanket and untested imposition which would alienate auto drivers and be expensive to implement. Education of both drivers and motorcycle riders was held to be key.

The evening was not without its humor. A man best described as a gentle giant stood up and spoke passionately about his fears of motorcyclists being unheard and eventually legislated out of existence. Naveen Mundanda raised a chuckle as he stated: ‘I am from India and we don’t have lanes…’, then went on to note that the accident rate was extraordinarily low given the apparent chaos of traffic in the overcrowded cities of the subcontinent.

Support for the survey turned out to be overwhelming, with the caveat voiced by many that the legislature should be careful to ask the right questions and address the right audience. Would it not be more appropriate to ask Californians what they thought of lane sharing ?

One speaker reminded us that Oregon had been here before in 2001, but if the meeting’s outcome has anything to do with it, it looks like the state will be going there again in 2011.

Triumph Sprint GT Launch at Cascade Moto Classics

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

October 8, 2010 7:00pm

Cascade Moto Classics, Triumph and Moto Guzzi dealer in Beaverton, OR held an evening Open House to launch Triumph’s revamped / remodeled Sprint sport touring motorcycle.

Original and earlier versions were known as the Sprint ST. Now, with the manufacturer’s emphasis moving more to the touring than the sport side, the latest model carries the suffix ‘GT’.

Among the big changes are the exhaust path. Pipes and mufflers that used to exit under the rear seat have moved further down the bike to the more conventional can-either-side position. The mufflers sit snugly under the expanded hard luggage. Whereas on some other machines in its class, one side has less capacity than the other, both panniers provide a healthy 31 liters, enough to fit a full face helmet in each. An optional top box holds two full-face helmets. There’s enough room for gas for 200 miles, ABS brakes are now standard and a 12 volt power takeoff eliminates the need for aftermarket fiddling with the electrics.

MSRP is $13,199. If you were budgeting $15K+ for another brand of sport tourer, that would leave enough change for next year’s two weeks in the saddle and then some.

More information ? Go to Triumph’s website

Chicks On Bikes Book Tour

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Cascade Moto Classics is hosting an event at their Farmington Road, Beaverton dealership the evening of Thursday, July 1 at 7:00pm called ‘Chicks On Bikes’. Male interested parties: it may not quite be what you first thought. Christina Shook will be there to read from her book of the same name and to sign copies if you’re buying one. The subject matter is photos and stories about contemporary women motorcyclists. Should be different than your average biker presentation. Details here.

2010 Moto Guzzi National Rally

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

MGNOC, the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club held its 2010 National Rally at the Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day, OR Thursday, June 24 through Sunday, June 27. Weather in Eastern Oregon was outstanding. We haven’t seen a desert this green in years. Best traffic density: four vehicles in 76 miles ! Read the article and see the photos.

2010 Oregon Vintage M/C Show

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010. The Oregon Vintage Motorcyclists annual show in Corvallis, OR went ahead despite the rain. The show was well attended regardless of the weather. The featured marque was Kawasaki this year. Photographs of the winning show contestants with their machines can be found here.