The Price of Parking
T and I decided to head over to the LA County Fair on Saturday to see it before it closed. We head out on the 5 to the 55 to the 91 to the 57 to the 60 to the 71 to the 10 (= 339, he he). We get off at Fairplex and merge in with the rest of the fair traffic. It is getting hot, and I am in my full leather coat. We get up to the ticket person, and she informs us that parking is $8. No biggie. But wait...$8 a bike! That's $16 just to park, that's not counting admission! Needless to say I didn't see the fair. The OC County fair lets bikes park for free, and even has reserved parking for them. Just one more way that OC is better than LA.
The same thing happened two years ago at the Calendar Show at the Queen Mary. They didn't plan this event out very well, and the Queen Mary parking lot was full. The event planners didn't set aside any room for motorcycle parking near the motorcycle event. So they instructed everyone to go park at the structure near the Aquarium. We get there and notice there are warnings all over that motorcycles shouldn't park in the structure. T gets through the gate arm okay, but my Vulcan was so light it didn't trip the arm. I had to ride around, and didn't get a validation ticket. So we walk the mile to the show, hang around a few HOT hours, and then walk the mile back to the bikes. We ride down the spiral ramp to exit and have to stop on a decline to wait for the cars in front of us. I ask T the cost of parking so I can get my money out, and it says right there on the sign $9 per motorcycle. Absurd! We had parked with three other bikes in one spot, and they want $18 for the two of us, in a structure we were warned not to park in in the first place? Well the car in front of us needed to back up for something, and the dumbass parking attendant asked us if we could back up our bikes to let the car back up. Um, no. He wanted us to back up 400 and 600 lbs. of motorcycle up an incline? Yeah, no. So we just road around the car, past the gate arm, and out onto the road. No $9 per bike, and no struggling to straddle-walk a 400 lb. bike backwards up a hill.
Huntington Beach recently changed their parking rules for bikes. Not sure when the law actually changed, but when T and I road there during Labor Day weekend, I almost got ticketed. T usually backs in his bike into a spot, and then to make sure no one parks in front of us and blocks us in, I then pull in front of him. So we parked this way in HB, and then sat down for lunch, almost in front of the bikes. We were eating our appetizers when T pointed to my bike and asked me why a cop would be writing me a ticket. I jump up and run over there and asked the 'traffic enforcer' what the problem was. Apparently motorcycles have to be backed into a spot, and the rear tire needs to be touching or near the curb. Bikes are not allowed to park in front of other bikes. You can fit 3 sports bikes across in a space, but they have to be next to each other. I promised to move my bike right then, and he voided my ticket. The law makes sense, but it is a hassle now to find parking.
I'm just venting. In my reasoning motorcycles take up half the room, and should only be charged half the price of parking and toll roads, etc. Maybe one day.
A little something to know
I was reading a Full Throttle magazine I had picked up at OC Road House, and read an interesting article in there about DOT helmets vs. Snell helmets vs. skid lids/brain buckets/novelty helmets. They dropped a 30 lb brick on a full face helmet (DOT and Snell approved), a half or shortie helmet (DOT approved) and a novelty helmet (Satan approved). The first two helmets had a slight indent where the brick had hit, but held up otherwise. The novelty was crushed.
The article went on to point out that Snell only approved solid, full face helmets (they have yet to approve modular helmets), while the minimum thickness to receive a DOT approval was 1 1/2 inches of solid foam. The soft padding doesn't count, only the hard stuff. It also said that it is illegal to sell or purchase a novelty helmet with the intent of it being worn on a motorcycle. Even in states that don't have helmet laws, it is still illegal to wear a skid lid while riding.
I just thought that was interesting.
Edited to add:Rider
was nice enough to add the following link in my comments. It is from Motorcyclist Magazine, June '05 Issue:http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/
Very informative and in depth. If you don't know how your helmet was tested, I recommend reading it. More $ doesn't equal more safety.
A new learned trick
I seem to have a thing for getting motorcycles with sloppy shifting problems. My Vulcan would slip into neutral when I was trying to shift up to 2nd or down to 1st. I got really good at shifting up two gears so it would either slip into neutral and then into 2nd, or it would hit 2nd then 3rd and I would just chug along in 3rd.
Some of you may be cringing at this, but I asked my mechanic about it and he said Vulcan 500's had sloppy shifting and there wasn't anything I could really do except learn how to deal with it.
So now I have a Honda Shadow ACE, and while it too will slip into neutral, it has a few other annoying quirks of its own. It will slip out of gear if I don't flip it hard enough into gear. It will also not switch gears if I don't get it solid in gear. I will be in 2nd and try to shift up to 3rd, and nothin'. The gear shift will toe up okay, but it won't engage the gear change. I have to roll off the throttle real fast and then roll on, and then change gears. Not very cool sounding... nor is it very cool looking to be crusin at 40 and suddenly have your bike drop out of 4th into 3rd and you get all jerked around. Not cool at all.
So I once again ask my mechanic and log onto the Honda Shadow forums and come to find that Shadows are also known for having a bad shift mechanism. I was told to try and move my shift lever back and the added leverage of having it nearer the peg and closer to my toe usually (I don't like how they used the word usually
) gives it the extra kick it needs to get into gear properly.
I figured out this one on my own... I can NOT use the clutch. For some reason the little tiny extra bit of resistance from not using the clutch seems to get the bike into gear. Who-da thunk it?
I know I can harm my bike from doing this, but I can feel and hear when it is time to switch gears, and my new mechanic (Mach One!) said he didn't notice any unusual wear on the clutch or the transmission.
I did want some input on it though. What do you all think? Do you even use your clutch to shift gears? I still use it to shift down, just not up.
Anyway, thanks all!
The easy way out
I gave in to laziness and took my motorcycle to Mach 1 for a chain clean and tighten. Best 15 bucks and 20 minutes of my week! They were a little concerned that my chain had gotten so loose so quickly, but couldn't offer an explanation. The chain looks good, the sprockets are okay, and my rear axel isn't loose. Mystery!
I will ask for a new chain when I hit 12,000, which is only a few months away. 11,361 miles on my baby!
And I need new tires soon. Does the money ever stay in my grasp?
As I mentioned before
, I had to have my very loose chain tightened at about 9,000 miles. Well, it needs it again.
I was again riding into work, when I hit a bump and heard my chain hit the chain guard. When I deccelerated, I purposly rolled off the throttle real quick to see it the chain felt loose. Yup, it was. I then accelerated quick and felt the chain snap into place. Damn, again?
I can't believe it! Only 2,000 miles later and my chain is slack again. How did it manage to go from 3,200 to 9,000 miles just fine?
So I am debating whether I should try and tackle the job of tighening the chain myself, or taking it into Mach 1 for a clean and adjustment. It does need a good cleaning, and I just don't want to do it. Well, that and I ran out of red auto rags to clean the chain with, and don't feel like going all the way to 1 of 3 Costcos in a 10 mile radius to get another pack.
I know, I know, poor baby!
Oh, and I still haven't found my spare set of motorcycle keys. I had them when my aunt and uncle visited from UT, but haven't seen them since.