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.


Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico _ STARTS TOMORROW!!!

The world's best surfers have gathered in the Caribbean paradise of Puerto Rico for a 2nd to last contest of the World Championship Tour. With Kelly Slater on the brink of athletic and surfing history, the tension, excitement and anticipation is high (... so is my anxiety).

“The pundits are correct (it’s absolutely mine to lose at this point),” Slater said. “I’m in as good a position as I could hope for coming out of Portugal with Jordy (Smith) finishing well there. I’m pretty comfortable, but I know Jordy has been consistent all year and could win another event. I just have to do my thing on the other side of the draw, and I’m still looking to win events if I’m in them. I’m excited for Puerto Rico. It used to be a second home. We’ll see how familiar it feels.”

However, what Slater didn't mention is that Jordy Smith (the biggest threat to his 10th World Title) rolled his ankle, playing dodge-ball of all things, just last week. Meaning as long Kelly doesn't somehow forget how to surf in the next few days, the title is imminent. For Slater to clinch the ASP Crown at this contest (and not have to wait until the final showdown at Hawaii's Pipeline), the following scenarios (courtesy of Rip Curl) must occur:
  • If Slater finishes Equal 3rd or better, he clinches the 2010 ASP World Title.
  • If Slater finishes Equal 5th or Equal 9th, Smith must win the event to send the ASP World Title Race to Hawaii.

  • If Slater finishes Equal 13th or Equal 25th, Smith must finish Equal 3rd or better to send the ASP World Title Race to Hawaii.
  • Essentially, if Smith fails to finish higher than Equal 5th, Slater claims the 2010 ASP World Title.
The Round-1 heats have been selected and with the new ASP contest format (eliminating the bottom 13 surfers), every heat promises to hold some excitement and probably the most progressive surfing ever seen in a contest.


Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: Dane Reynolds (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Brett Simpson (USA), TBA
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Daniel Ross (AUS), TBA
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS), Andy Irons (HAW), Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Bobby Martinez (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF), Chris Davidson (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)

Made by hand

Having grown up with a carpenter/contractor father, I have a great appreciation for anything hand made... I mean who doesn't appreciate the time, commitment, focus and dedication to perfecting a craft that requires a keen eye and steady hand? I've dabbled in several different hand-skill endeavors. Although most of the projects fell victim to my impatience and laziness, I still consider myself "handy" relative to most. Just liking catching your own food or building your own transportation (ahhumm, motorcycle...cough) or shaping your own surfboard, the reward will always be that much sweeter...

Which leads me to introduce another (and more dedicated) connoisseur of hand-made goods is the fine gentleman from A Time To Get, who has another blog dedicated to the art of individually crafted items - (are blogs and websites considered hand made? I mean you do have to write up all that html code etc...)

Anyways, one of the many items that caught my eye was the handmade surfboards (obviously) from Timberline. A couple of artsy, retro riding surfboard making, wood workers from Santa Barbara. They use a mostly Paulownia Wood for their boards, which is known for it's incredible strength to weight ratio and water resistant qualities. The same wood they make Alaia surfboards from. In Asia they use this wood for coffins, because it lasts forever...

Which reminds me of the beautiful boards made by the folks at GRAIN Surfboards, where you can buy a do-it-yourself balsa surfboard kit. I've been tempted but it's a serious undertaking and costs about as much as retro twin fin off the rack... but still, you made it... by hand.


Happiness is warm BMW - Part II

For me, it doesn't get much better than old fashion German engineering... slightly modified of course.


Dreaming in Black & White- Sara Eileen

Sara Eileen is the real deal. Her long legs and flowing hair might have you mistake her for a model, but she is a serious rider and has a beautiful custom made Triumph Bobber. Recently featured on the cover of Big Twin magazine (the name of that magazine makes me think of so many other things than motorcycles) for just being a rad chic apparently (I haven't read the article).


Tsunami Wipes out Indo Surf Camps & Boats

Wow, so Indonesia really gets the sh*t end of the stick. Not only were they rocked (again) by a massive 7.7 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, a couple islands get completely wiped out by a tsunami AND a frickin volcano erupts! Since bacteria and disease is imminent from the damage caused by the tsunami/earthquake/volcano, plague and famine will soon follow and the Apocalypse will be upon us... starting in Indo of course.

The tsunami hit the wave rich Mentawai Islands off the coast of Sumatra. Home to some of the best waves in world, surf charter boats and surf camps are all over the place. There is still a boat with 10 Australian surfers and crew missing. 500 Indonesians are missing and the death toll is about 200. I heard through the wire that the surf camp/ resort at Macaronis is demolished and so are 2 other camps

An article from Stab Magazine details the events on a surf charter boat that was demolished by the Tsunami.

Picture this: It's 10 pm and you're sitting on a charter boat in the middle of a bay in the Mentawais, peaceful and serene. There's 15 of you sitting on the back deck, playing music and relaxing. Suddenly, there's a brief tremor and the boat shakes, but it's gone as quickly as it came. For several minutes, everyone wonders what it was exactly. Everyone begins to relax again. Then, slowly, amongst noise of chirping birds from nearby land, you begin to make out an ominous rumble growing out of the silence. So you stick your head over the side to see what's up, and are faced with a three-metre high wall of foam, powering straight towards you through the bay.

Panic surges the boat. The boat anchored next to yours is picked up by the wave and slammed onto your boat, exploding and bursting into flames. Within seconds, there's a fireball on the back o' your boat, charging through the saloon.

Hard to imagine, huh? Well, this was the stark reality for Captain Rick Hallet and the rest of the crew aboard the Saranya yesterday.

"I ordered everyone up to the top deck to get as high as possible, then the boat exploded and we had to abandon ship," Hallett said.

"We threw whatever we could that floated - surfboards, fenders (the rubber savers on the side of the boat) – then we jumped into the water.

The wave swept the posse 200 metres in, where they took shelter in the high trees 'till they were sure no more nasty little surprises'd be coming along. They waited up in those trees for 90 minutes until rescue came in the form of another boat.

The 7.7-magnitude undersea quake hit Indonesia's Kepulauan Mentawai region at 9.42 pm, 240km west of Bengkulu on Sumatra and 280km south of Padang. Five hours later, a 6.1-magnitude aftershock shook the same area. – Elliot Struck


Pieces of the Pie - Rubber

It has been almost a month since I have made any progress on the bike. Mostly old paint removal, general scrubbing here and there, a little poking and prodding, but no major milestones. The 9-5 grind, finding time to surf, socialize and keeping the better-half happy leaves little time to dive deep into any mechanical undertakings.... I really only have 2-major steps left to do, motor-wise... but I'll get to that in another post when I recap all the progress.

I recently ordered and just received new set of vintage-looking tires from some dude in Thailand. It was quite difficult to find the right size rubbers for these little Japanese bikes, everything was either too big or too wide (insert pun here). Even more difficult was removing the old tires without tire irons. Yes, I removed a tire unaided by the one simple tool that makes this task so quick and easy. Yet, it took me a frustrating 20 minutes, which ultimately had me sawing the rubber through with a hack-saw and pulling it off with my teeth (not really, but that's how I felt). Don't judge me. I did what needed to be done with what I had. So at least now I don't have dry-rotted, cracked tires. I do feel bad for adding to this pile though...


Machines - Beauty in the eye of the innovator

Hundreds of meaningless individual metal pieces, when combined according the intricate hierarchy designed by a visionary engineer, form a sculpture of both mechanical and aesthetic beauty. An art form which holds the value of design and functionality equal. Starting from a factory made, carbon copy, identical to the hundreds or even thousands of clones pumped out of the assembly line and shipped across land and sea. These cloned models are the canvases. The creativity and artistic expression comes in forms of bent metal, welded steal, black rubber and stitched leather. Turns of a wrench show a faint semblance to brush strokes. Stripping down and reassembling, tuning and tweaking, constantly in pursuit of perfection. The finished piece will reflect one of the many branches of motorcycle culture or historic periods which the artist identifies with. The creative process stems from the heavy feel of metal, greasy fingernails, the smell of gasoline and burnt rubber. The motorcycle is in fact just metal, grease and rubber; it is the individual - rider/mechanic/artist, who animate them into a (practically) living, breathing, roaring machine... forging the stories of their creation and rides, which give meaning to all those metal pieces so intricately assembled.


KELLY WINS Rip Curl Pro!!! - 10th World Title in the Bag!

Kelly Slater does it again. Winning the Rip Curl Pro Portugal and basically securing a 10th World Title! (if he doesn't get immediately knocked out in the next event)... Proving that he is in fact an alien from some aquatic surf-planet in a distant galaxy, here on earth to show us how much we all suck at surfing.

No athlete has ever been at the top and I mean very top of any professional sport for as long as he has. Having surpassed generation after generation of professionals and ultimately/hopefully a 10th World Title.

What will surfing's greatest do now? Retirement is in the talks, but I'm sure he won't be able to stay away... Congrats Kelly, you are in fact The King.


Rip Curl Pro- Finals Approaching - World Title looms

The 8th stop of the World Championship Tour completed Round 3 and 4 last night/thins morning and saw some pretty descent surfing (watch the Jordy vs. Owen vs. Jadson heat on demand HERE). Jordy posted a ridiculous 9.93 for a huge frontside 360 air, there were a few upsets (sorry Mick) and of course, Kelly Slater schooling everyone as he stays focused on his path to a 10th World Title (although there was some interference controversy during Damo & Davo's heat).

While discussing the Round 4 results and point standing for what the next couple rounds will hold, my good friend and surf analyst Gordo, broke it down..."Here's a scenario: if Kelly lost in the quarters and Jordy wins the contest then Kelly will still be up 2500 points with 2 contests to go. If Kelly loses in the semis and Jordy wins then Kelly will be up 3750. If Kelly loses to Jordy in the final then Kelly will be up 5250. GOD I'm a dork. If Kelly wins and Jordy loses in the quarters then #10 is in the bag"

It's true, he is a dork... just kidding, Gordo is freakin Rad. But the point spread is true. So basically Kelly needs to... how should I say... Not Blow it, to become basically the greatest, most accomplished athlete of all time. Although according to Mr. Slater "Each sport's different. I have figured out competitively how to win in our sport but you can't compare that to anyone else's skills or knowledge," he explained. "If you break it down strictly into a competitive thing I think you can compare it."

I'm very excited to see what will happen tonight... watch the contest live here.


Melali - The Drifter Sessions

So a few months back I was lucky enough to score tickets to the premiere of "The Drifter", Rob Machado and Taylor Steele's film project. More of an actual movie with a fictional story line, laced with the smooth stylings of Machado gracefully weaving through heaving Indonesian barrels. Machado's quest for solitude and discovering meaning to life or something, while he explored remote parts of Indonesia on a little vintage Honda motorcycle. Check out the post I did on it HERE. The movie was a bit of a gamble. Machado personally funded the production of the film and apparently it was as warmly accepted in surf society as Shane Dorian's "In God's Hands" (not well). For the most part, surf films try to avoid story line... It's about as pointless as a plot in a porno. We just want innovative camera angles, progressive surfing and a unique soundtrack. Throw in a couple exotic, undiscovered or previously disregarded surf destinations and the film will satisfy. So, to make up for the lack of actual surfing in "The Drifter", they compiled all the unused surf footage into an actual surf movie: Melali - Drifter Sessions. The surfing is of course ridiculous (can't fail with Slater & Dane) and Machado along with old friend Jon Swift, wrote and performed most of the score, which is actually pretty cool. Anyways, I'm sure Melali will be added to my video library shortly.


Powder-Powered... No, not that kind of powder-power

Ran across this article in Popular Science (Nerd Alert!) and the title piqued my interest... So apparently some geniuses (SiGNa & Pedego) came up with a way to make an eco-friendly, bicycle power-assist fuel cell. Using sodium-silicide powder, loaded into a cartridge that mixes with water and instantly becomes Hydrogen gas to power your bike. Stronger, faster and far more efficient than Lithuim-Ion batteries and not quiet as explosive as having a compressed hydrogen tank strapped to your bike (think Hindenburg). A lot of progress has been made in electric bike/ motorcycle technology (see Brammo & Zero Motorcycles), but the batteries are heavy, take forever to re-charge and the range isn't quite there. The Sodium-silicide cartridge can be swapped out when it's empty and weighs in at just 1.5 pounds (approximately 60-miles worth of power on bicycle). Although this technology was originally intended for a bicycle, why don't they use this on a motorcycle? Car? Small plane? Churro-machine? Anyways, I thought it was interesting and hopefully you didn't experience the typical side-effects of this blog (loosing braincells) and actually learned something.


To keep you frothing through the weekend: Miike Snow - Animal

The first time I saw Miike Snow was a year ago, almost to the day. Simply amazing. So here is a little diddy to set the mood for the long anticipated weekend. Go ahead, don't be shy, pump that fist... just slightly, and make sure no-one is looking.

Miike Snow - "Animal" from Downtown Music on Vimeo.


QR Code - Take a picture/Scan it

If you don't know what a QR code is yet... you should probably crawl out of your cave now, it stopped raining. Take a picture of this with your smart (stupid) phone and it will send you directly to... well right back here. Yes, the internet is on computers now. What will they think of next?


Hump Day

There is nothing worse than corporate lingo. The Mondays, Hump-day, Casual Friday, Bagel-Tuesdays, shooting rampage Thursdays... I guess I just loathe the thought of actually thinking about being at work or having to go to work, even while I'm at work. I like to pretend that it's just a dream... The suite & tie become my pajamas (yes, I said pajamas), the quart of coffee is my nightcap, the morning news (that I spend the first half hour of work reading) is a tranquil bed-time story... I slip comfortably into my upright seated bed and fall into a deep peaceful sleep as my body continues to punch away at the keyboard. So happy hump-day, I guess it could be worse... You could be caught in the lip, getting thrown over the falls on a 40-foot monster of a wave right after you blew the take off, like Greg Long here at Jaws... (click to see the video)


Cannonball lands in my backyard... kinda

I realize that this is a little late... actually about 2- weeks late, but hey I have a life (kinda) and am predisposed to laziness in certain aspects of it. Namely, this blog and actually rebuilding my motorcycle. Which leads me to present the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run. A Coast-to-Coast vintage motorcycle race that hasn't been held in almost 100 years. Participants started out on the Kitty Hawk pier in North Carolina and endured the 3,300 mile trek across the country to the Santa Monica Pier, California, on bikes that according to the race rules: must be 95 years or older... I couldn't imagine riding for days on a bike with little or no suspension, breaking down all over the place, 100 degree heat, all sorts of weird roadkill to avoid and everything else that entails a race like this.

Anyways it sounded like an amazing time (minus the ass-chap from riding 3,300 miles on a Jurassic machine) and hopefully one day when the laziness subsides, I'll participate... All I need now is a 100 year old motorcycle.

As for the winners in the 3-categories of race bikes.... In category 1, the most 'primitive' form of motorcycling - no gears, no clutch, just an engine, and a belt connecting a pully on the crankshaft and the rear wheel - was Katrin Boehner (haha) on her 1907 JAP 500cc single - which is direct-drive and clutchless, so Ms. Boehner (haha) had to 'kill' her engine in order to stop, and run-and-bump to start the bike up when traffic lights turned green. The final run into Santa Monica passed through 55 stoplights! Imagine what the entire race must have been like... Wow, this brings my laziness to a new low. She won the top Cannonball prize, a Jeff Decker sculpture of Erwin 'Cannonball' Baker, for whom the race was named. Bradford Wilmarth won category 2 on his 1913 Excelsior, and Rick McMaken won the multi-gear, category 3 award on his 1915 HD.

(photos, words & facts from the web, The Vintagent & other places)


Surfland - Joni Sternbach Photography

Shot by photographer Joni Sternbach who uses the historic tintype photography technique (not sure exactly what that is), this series of portraits capture surfers and their environment in a kind of anthropological way - fierce sunburned faces stare out of the frame, with sometimes only a wetsuit detail giving away the era.

"These photographs are of the surfers in Montauk's Ditch Plains, at the eastern end of Long Island. Joni describes them as "persistent elements in a shifting scene."

"The singular, primitive act of surfing on the water is eclipsed by the social and negotiated state of human interaction on the shore. The surfers act as a bridge between the sea as an unbridled force of nature and the shore line, a place of leisure and cultural phenomena." - Joni Sternbach