In Palo Alto, on Stanford University's campus, bicycles are ubiquitous! A tour guide said there are 14,000 students enrolled there and 12,000 registered bicycles . I don't know if this includes faculty and staff who ride to work, but the place reminded me of images of China's congested two-wheel traffic. Riders zipped around campus, which appears devoid of overt bicycle lanes . How they manage to avoid crashing into each other is beyond me. But bicyclists seem to know who has the right of way and how to avoid cell-phone talking strollers immersed in conversations so important that they are exempt from following any rules of the road, and bicyclists seem also adept at avoiding tourists, who stop wherever the mood strikes to read the campus map.
I didn't miss the special parking set aside for motorcyclists either. Very thoughtful.
He told me that he pays a nominal fee to park on campus but that all street parking is free for motorcyclists. He's able to literally ride to his classroom building. He also introduced me to many of the bike's upgrades, none of which he added, by the way. He got a "great" deal because the previous owner did all the work. He had Givi luggage and rack, Corbin seat, and a "slip-on" exhaust system, which gave his bike a nice, deep throaty sound--definitely not loud. Still, his neighbors complain about it. Their problem, he said, is that they simply don't like motorcycles. They've complained but his landlord, who lives on the premises has sided with him and also contends that the bike's exhaust level is a non-issue. Frankly, I'd add that "slip-on" in heart beat. It wasn't loud at all! It brought to mind a Ducati I once heard...
San Francisco, near Fisherman's Wharf, was a haven for motorcyclists. By then, I'd become less obvious in my glee at seeing and hearing a bike go by. I focused on the riders. Every one I saw wore a helmet--including the passengers. I did notice that many wore the beanie helmets, which I surmise is an attempt to circumvent the mandatory helmet law 'cause those helmets sure didn't look very protective.
I'm not a clothes horse; however, I've become a fashion maven about motorcycle wear. I don't ride comfortably when the jacket I'm donning doesn't fit well and reminds me of being a child trying on her father's coat. I've made too many purchases that initially seem suitable, only to find out later that they don't ride well. One doesn't wear such garments, they sort of just hang on you. So, now I have these two jackets that ride well that I absolutely fancy but can't get professionally cleaned!
Fortunately, I have other jackets and pants that can be handwashed. But I tell you, they are not as much fun. They are functional, yes, but not necessarily fun. I desire and deserve both. For example, I love my FirstGear Kilimanjaro jacket--it's definitely my favorite.
For long trips, I never leave home without it. There are those days, however, when the FirstGear is in the laundry and it's a beautiful day out, where I know I don't need to worry about rain protection or plummeting temps and I want something a bit more stylish.
I bought a silver TourMaster Transition jacket, which I wore around the store for a long time, debating its practicality. I bought silver to match my helmet and the trellis on my bike. Bad idea! The jacket is a dirt magnet! I can stretch three, maybe four outings out of it before desperately needing to toss it in the laundry--that's way too much work. Thus, it hardly gets worn.
The quest for an intrepid cleaners to tackle my jackets and pants continues. But just in case the search fails, the back up gear is clean and raring to go.
It is 22 degrees F this morning. Still, if I take a really deep breath, after the nose hairs thaw a bit, I can smell spring in the air. I really can...