Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Black Betty gets to work

 - or - Horses for Courses...

I've got choices.  I'm blessed.

Pouring rain in the forecast?  Take the black Civic.

No real precipitation expected?  Take the black Vespa.

No real precipitation expected, and feel like a total retro badass? Take the Black Betty!

And that my friends, is precisely the kind of day it was today.  Plus I had an early doctor's appointment.  The prospect of sitting around the waiting room with the (mostly) geriatric set sealed the deal.  Badass it had to be, and badass it was.

Though I don't look the part of a renegade with that stupid goofy grin plastered on my face, now do I?  Who can tell once the faceguard's down?  Oh, right, the real badasses all wear those ridiculous tiny black helmets.

Since I am a barely competent shifter and frequent embarassing staller, I took the slow coastal route with lots and lots of stops, and a few little-ish hills and inclines. I only stalled once, on the final hill, just before the parking lot entrance.  Not so bad.  I'm now at least twice as good at shifting without stalling as I was this morning, when I stalled in the driveway, on a slight downhill incline (let out the clutch thinking I was in neutral).

In my defense, a good number of my starts were semi-flawless.  Other than the full face helmet, a casual observer might have mistaken me for Travolta in Wild Hogs.

Sonja is fidgeting with impatience... "So how was the ride!?!?!"

It was great.  The Shadow handled the six or eights sets of railroad crossings like a champ, the des Seigneurs bridge across the Lachine Canal with the steel grate road bed was only just a tiny bit squirelly, and motoring down to P3 in the parking garage wasn't the reverberating nightmare of rolling thunder I feared it might be courtesy of those damn Cobra pipes.
Black Betty is a truly a great, quintessential retro badass ride, that's for sure.

What else is there to say?  I feel like the most blessed person.  A very minor version of Doug Cooper, but instead of a Jay Leno style barn, I have one half of a two-car garage full of really, really cool motorbikes.

18 comments:

  1. It's looking pretty good. The bags cover enough of the flames to make the ones on the tank look pretty good.

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  2. I know, the super sober simplicity of those bags somehow balances the over the top flames, and I quite agree with you, the Viking bags vasty improve the look.

    Not to mention the vital storage a commuter needs.

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  3. I really enjoyed this post David. I love the tongue in cheek with which you write.

    Those bags do look pretty good, but I bet the style is not complete until you are on it. You bad ass.

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    1. Oh dear, you're making me blush. Thanks for the kind words Brandy.

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  4. You just have to get in a fistfight from time to time, whether in a parking garage or at a, well, a French café or in a, um, a boulangerie… You know, places known for fistfights. ;)

    Before you know it, your reputation as a badass will precede you.

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    1. I have to start fistfight, eh?

      The last time my fists landed on another person in anger I was maybe eleven or twelve, and I gave as good as I got, and I still feel a little bad about it.

      But I understand why true badassdom is bound to elude me for all time. Thanks for the wry observation Ry :)

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  5. I only have a few questions regarding your new motorcycle:

    1. What kind of knife do you carry?

    2. Which pocket do you have your wallet chained to?

    3. Speaking of chains, how long a length of chain to you carry for rumbles?

    4. And most importantly, I'm curious to find out in the future whether you actually will ride two machines or if one will fade away?

    Any insight you can provide will be appreciated.

    And a pretty nice motorcycle Hoss!

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    1. Happy to oblige as best I can, Steve.

      1. What kind of knife do you carry?

      Me: Either a Gerber or a Leatherman multi-tool, each with locking blades.

      2. Which pocket do you have your wallet chained to?

      Me: Touché. No chain on the wallet. I do wear a silver chain around my neck with a small blank dogtag and lately a FitBit activity tracker.

      3. Speaking of chains, how long a length of chain to you carry for rumbles?

      Me: Touché again. What an oversight. When in the past I have felt a threat, I form a fist around a decent key, and make a mental to go for the eyes. Any real weapon would surely end up in the hands of my attacker being used against me.

      4. And most importantly, I'm curious to find out in the future whether you actually will ride two machines or if one will fade away?

      Me: Phew, the badass quizz is mercifully over.

      Today I commuted on the Shadow. My skill at the controls is on a steep upward curve. Yesterday on the way home I actually found myself shifting and launching almost well, if not consistently. Nerves when I have a clearly impatient car on my six still leads to a predictably poor performance.

      Right now the Shadow might as well be a delivery truck. Zero filtering last night resulted in dragging the commute out to an unacceptable 1.5 hours, much to Susan's chagrin.

      The Vespa will always be the commuting choice I think. But in the short term I need to complete my self-imposed motorcycle training course.

      Lastly, thanks for the kind thoughts Steve. I would so like to find the time to spend some time over coffee with you, and Paul and Gordon.

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  6. We'll have to get you a head scarf or beanie, Mr Badass. And you need to lose the business attire for good because badasses don't do office work (or do they?).

    I LOVE the looks of the bags. Not only do they elegantly cover up the flame job, they provide secure storage. We were very lucky with our choice.

    So, David, if you are not planning on using BB for the commute you'll need to find other places to visit ;-) She needs to be moved regularly (please?).

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    1. No worries, Sonja. Betty has been commuting. It's the Vespa that is being neglected.

      My riding skills are improving by leaps and bounds. I am no longer obliged to run the checklist in my mind every time I have to come to a stop or start from a stop (clutch in, brakes on, downshift, downshift, downshift, downshift, left foot hovering, more brake, left foot down. Hold rear brake, clutch out to the friction point, throttle, brake off, let the clutch out, clutch in, shift, clutch out, throttle...)

      I actually find myself enjoying the ride.

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  7. I laughed out loud as I watched the end Mr. Badass! Truly cool badass bikers wear the full face helmets, they don't need to rely on the kitschy image of the beanie. I think BB looks lovely with her new saddlebags and fairing. Roll on through moto nirvana. hint: if you are stalling just up the revs before you release the clutch, roll on the throttle a bit more and all will be good. I can't tell you how many times I said that last weekend!

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    1. Dar, your coaching was hugely helpful and gave me the confidence to rent that Harley in Florida. I owe you big time.

      Who knew it was possible to take corresponce moto-courses.

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  8. David, I really like your bike, yours bike; you've built a very fine package there! I focused on two things in your Post, 1) the decibels from those pipes. There are combinations of pipes/engines/revs/loads, etc. where exhaust note can be mellow or at least mellower. Is there a combination that you've found where you can be quieter if you try? Easing through a neighborhood at a more subdued level? 2)"....garage full of really, really cool motorbikes...." As far as I'm concerned, 2 defines a spectrum and I can only agree you've picked two fine machines to enjoy The Ride on.

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    1. Doug, if ever you come to Montreal, you've got a bike to ride and a place to sleep.

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  9. I am rather shocked those tight laced Frogs let badasses ride on the Seigneurs' bridge.

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    1. Michael, the des Seigneurs bridge is not really worthy of its lofty moniker, and no one cares how you cross it. Oh, and we frogs are nowhere near as straight-laced as you might think. Quite tolerant actually. Montreal is much more relaxed than Toronto, or Vancouver, for instance.

      Though no place in Canada is quite as relaxed as Key West :)

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  10. You bet. I saw a bronzed hairless man in a white body suit and tutu cycling up Caroline Street this afternoon waving to a mother and child who were smiling madly and happily at him. I felt quite normal riding an elderly Vespa, me in a 911 shirt on my way to the police station.

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