THE MOTOR-SURFER

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Documenting life during the first attempt at restoring a vintage motorcycle.

Similar to the zen -like feeling that is realized through surfing,
motorcycle repair can elevate the mind to a meditative state that eludes time and space...
Meaning I obsess over it, get frustrated, yell, laugh at myself and overall waste a lot of time.

Monday

Pieces of the Pie - Tale of Two Motors

Dear makers of the screws used in the assembly of the 1974 Kawasaki G3SSD, please consider inflicting severe pain to yourself with whatever blunt instrument in your immediate reachable distance. I have somehow managed to strip all but 2 of the screws your fine company has produced to keep these damn engines together. *&@#$%^&%$#!!!
The story: A gracious ebayer, whom I purchased several parts from, offered to give me an old G3SS motor that was collecting dust. "Perfect!" Now I can Frankenstein the missing pieces together and bring this little monster to life. Well it seems that the screws where made from a metal composed mostly of butter. No amount of downward and lateral force could free these mushy-headed bastards from their tiny homes. Like a lightsaber through a piece of room temperature butter, my screwdriver proceeded to round out the heads of every screw it touched. I tried every size and shape screwdriver I have (4). Next step was buying a carbide drill bit and screw extractor to drill those stubborn little buttery shits out. Guess what?!? I SNAPPED the screw extractor off in the first one! -FAIL- Permanently stuck screw. My Frankenstein dreams snapped off along with the tip of that hardened steel extractor bit. Over it. I'm trying alternative methods and enlisting the assitance of my mustachiod motorcycle repair advisor... Mr. Daniel Galligani. More on him later. For now all I have to say to you Mr. ButterScrewMaker, read my digitus impudicus...


Sunday

Surf De Jour - Slow my Mo


I guess HD slow-mo - 1,000 frames per second, is the new black. Quicksilver released this "short-film" or long-ad (click title for the full video), for their new Cypher boardshorts. This has been posted everywhere, so I'm jumping on the Quick bandwagon. Dane's segment will make you wish you never started surfing.

Saturday

Harvest By Hiroshi presents Skate & Destroy



I do find it ironic that the activities which define the majority of my childhood, falling on pavement, forcing seawater through my face and whale poaching, all require environmentally detrimental equipment - surfboards are made of highly toxic polyurethane-foam & polyester-resin and skateboards are compressed plywood, bonded with toxic glue. Harumaki and Hirosher, two skaters/jewelry makers from Tokoyo have created an artistic way of reusing old, worn out skateboard decks that we can never bring ourselves to throw out. I think I still have a few growing mold in my garage. Check out the Skate or Die installation.
"As a skater, I want to take responsibility of reusing skateboards when they Boldwere no longer useable. Also, as an artist I want to explore the possibilities of what can be done with skateboards."
Harumaki and Hirosher

(Photos by Brandon Shigeta )

Friday

Pieces of the Pie - The actual pieces

On the day I brought the bike home, I knew I was undertaking a relatively big task. My experience with motorcycle repair/restoration is limited to my cousin and I at age 11, basically ruining my little 80cc dirt bike while attempting to "clean the carburetor". From a young age, I was naturally gifted at disassembling most anything I could reach. However my re-assembly skills where on par with that of a half-blind, partially retarded baboon.* Somehow I always managed to find leftover screws from the finished projects, reluctant to ever function properly again (99% of which where never broken in the first place). The challenge with this bike has been finding the missing pieces. Recently, late at night, my primal instincts seem to awaken. My senses heighten and the hunter/gatherer in me takes over. Carefully scouring the digital landscape for the weak and feeble sellers of vintage parts, no longer in production. But honestly I have already spent 5X the price I paid for the bike and start to think that my hunting skills are again on par with the above mentioned primate... Armed with only a small set of tools and illegible printed copy of the shop manual, I have struggled to find parts and gauge prices. Luckily enough, I have found that online motorcycle forums have been my most resource. Bursting with enthusiasts and mechanics eager to voice their expertise and opinions. Now that I think about it, what the hell did I do before the internet? Oh right, my dad pretty much knew how to fix everything... But what if my dad and the internet didn't exist? Well neither would I or this stupid blog, so that's an irrelevant question.** Anyways, back to the point. Through the wonderful world of ebay, my new primal hunting grounds, I have managed to gather almost all of the parts for the bike... I think. A few from Thailand, a few from the East Coast and even one from Singapore. Ok, if you have read this far, by now you are probably wondering "how many parts can a single cylinder, 2-stroke motorcycle have??" The questions should actually be, how many parts didn't it have when I got it? The answer is almost all of them. See above for some highlights of what has been delivered.

* No offense to any mentally challenged primates who might read this. We can still be friends.
** I apologize for this type of nonsensical rambling, which is the result of sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day.

Thursday

Layback Larry - "cAmping Leo de Sycamore"


So over the weekend a few buddies camped/surfed at Leo Carrillo and we scored some fun ones. I even got a wave from the far northern tip of Leo Carrillo and connected all the way to the shore, weaving between dry rocks and kelp speed bumps. My good friend Layback Larry documented the hilarious experience on his site www.laybacklarry.com and posted a shot of me boosting on the inside section (I'm the little black spec far in the background). I think I'm famous now that I have a photo somewhere other than facebook on the internet. Check out his digs. Pretty cool stuff.

Tuesday

iLikeDisBike - Mr. McQueen


Steve McQueen... the name alone conjures a charismatic style and attitude I only wish my persona could emulate.
"I'm not sure that acting is something for a grown man to be doing." - SM
I bet he would have surfed a twinny. Fast, calm and smooth with an aggressive yet effortless approach. I wonder if his sponsors would have made him a turtle-neck wetsuit? The iconic epitome of cool.
Check out his bike... 1953 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow.

"Well," he said, "as your attorney I advise you to buy a motorcycle. How else can you cover a thing like this righteously?"
" No way," I said. "Where can we get hold of a Vincent Black Shadow?"
"What's that?"
"A fantastic bike," I said. "The new model is something like two thousand cubic inches, developing two hundred brake-horsepower at four thousand revolutions per minute on a magnesium frame with two styrofoam seats and a total curb weight of exactly two hundred pounds."
"That sounds about right for this gig," he said
"It is," I assured him. "The fucker's not much for turning, but it's pure hell on the straightaway. It'll outrun the F-111 until takeoff."
"Takeoff?" he said. "Can we handle that much torque?"
"Absolutely," I said. "I'll call New York for some cash."
- Hunter S. Thompson

Monday

Weakly Colorblind - Giants that ride our scooters


I discovered this weeks Black & White photo hidden in the old files of my computer. No idea who took it or where it came from... Life sans color holds a bit more mystery.

Saturday

iLikeDisBike - The Piano Man's Toys

I will be the first to admit that my real job is pretty boring, frustrating, underpaying and not fulfilling. Yes I make the conscience decision to get up 5-days a week and spend 8-hours of my day in a windowless dungeon, deep in the bowels of a luxury ocean front hotel... However the occasional perk does surface. I have met a lot of famous interesting people, stayed at some amazing hotels for free, became good friends with the certifiably insane Gary Busey and most recently got a private viewing of a few of Mr. Billy Joel's motorcycle collection. I guess the Piano Man travels with a few choice bikes and has a 2-man team that keep them under watchful eye and polish every surface with a diaper. 2 Harleys, a Moto Guzzi, a Royal Enfield and my personal favorite, a beautiful Triumph Bonneville T100. These were some of the nicest looking vintage bikes I have ever seen. Must be nice... Definitely won't be riding any of those soon if I stay in this job any longer. Maybe I should have stuck out those piano lessons when I was 10.

Friday

Pieces of the Pie - Getting Tanked


I have come to the astute conclusion that the previous owner was an extremely indecisive person - Or the bike was owned by approximately 9-14 separate individuals, all who wanted Betty to sport their own color scheme. The tank most of the frame, wheels and engine block all looked like the ROYGBIV color spectrum as Danny & I peeled off layer after layer of spray paint. Finally gave up scrubbing with acetone and opted for industrial strength paint remover. Spraying recklessly over everything I managed to miss the tank completely and removed the top layer of skin from my arm... Feels like liquid fire - fun.

Thursday

Pieces of the Pie - What she was...


After 36 years, she really let herself go... Betty now and in 1974.

Wednesday

iLikeDisBike - Dane on a Harley


Just when you thought Dane Reynolds was as rad as humanly possible... He gets a tiny bit more rad. Oh and if that's a denim shirt, props for rockin the Canadian Tuxedo Dane.
"merely sitting on a harley davidson can turn even the dullest human into a badass. not quite sure what happened here. the 'look over the shoulder and smile' is not working. and i'm pretty sure the neighbors didn't think i was a badass when i was dragging my feet around the culdesac bogging out in second gear either." -Dane (www.marinelayerproductions.com)

Tuesday

Weakly Colorblind - Beauty in Motion


A pristine Triumph Bonneville. Desert salt flats. Photos look so much better in Black & White (photo: www.them-thangs.com)

Monday

Recap-ing




As promised, a brief glance over my shoulder at the past few months...
What happened: End of summer, Portugal, Spanish road trip, car accidents, surfing, music, Art shows, blackouts, broken boards, motorcycle buying, drunkards on the couch, rooftop tacos, New Years in Dubai, surfing in the Persian Gulf, Venice bicycle gangs, boring job, breakwater kook-fights, Gummy bears, massive waves, driving for waves, perfect Rincon, San Diego reefs, old friends, rain storms, mustachioed moto repair, barneys, laybacks, mangoes, green trees. (photos by: Janos Palko, Jacqueline Little, other people, myself)

Thursday

Time Travel

Ok, so I started this blog thing a little while ago, but could not bring myself to actually go through with it. Afraid of feeling like a 13-year old girl... "Dear Diary...", I got lazy, went a on a few trips and reveled in the best surf I have ever seen, delivered by our beloved El Niño. Plus I didn't know how to actually make a "blog"... Jesus I sound like such a douche. Anyways I got over it when I realized no one will actually read this or give a shit about what I have to say or like. I think of it as more of a time-capsule. That sounds much better than a "blog."
So I am going to retrace my steps a little and recap some of the fun -> the present... Add a couple photos, drop a few names, try to reminisce and see how it goes. Again, think time-capsule and stop judging me. Whatever, piss off.