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martinkap

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Blog Entries posted by martinkap

  1. martinkap
    Not that it matters and not that I expect anyone had noticed, but to those who sent me "where are you?" I would like to say I am back. Not only that I am officially returning to VFRD after nearly 2 months break but I have also ridden my Hawk last weekend and had FUN! Let me restate that; I had major fun riding! Something I have almost given up on.
    Most of you have been riding your whole adult lives and riding is not only a hobby to you, it is part of you. But I started riding three years ago and even though I have encounter some setbacks, till this spring I loved riding with whole my heart. However, I have always considered riding as my hobby. As a hobby which suppose to make my life better, more fun and more rich. Life is too short to do something which we don't fully love.
    My love of riding received a first major scar this spring: I lost a friend on the racetrack. He was a total stranger who offered me his help after I lowsided at CMP track last year. I still remember hearing his "Hi, my name is Todd, do you need help?" while I was duct-taping my roadrash from ripped jacket. He helped me straighten up the shifter and we kept in touch. The next time we saw each other was the day he died.
    With 9 months delay, I can say that Todd's death shook me more than I have realized. It rooted fear in me which was fueled by seeing and hearing about others getting hurt over and over again. If I was to summarize this year - it would be one big accident report. I became sensitive to every broken bone, every roadrash, every lowside. And even though I did 10 track days this year, I became slower and slower and slower. Suddenly, I have acquired this 'grandma' riding style on the road, frozen with fear that behind every corner there is car standing in my lane, or major sand trap or deer staring at me ... I was crippled with fear not only for me about also for my fellow rider.
    So, at the end of this year, I rode more and more by myself. I could not bear the feelings of responsibility for others on the road and my lines were crippled by my own fears. It all culminated this fall at WDGAH. In a freaky accident Love2rideh82crash was taken down by a truck crossing into our lane. I was done. I finished the weekend, locked the VFR into a garage and took a break.
    Until the last weekend, I pretended that motorcycles do not exists. As a last instance after 2 months break from riding, I decided to go to CMP track to see if I can still have fun. I also felt like I should go for the memory of Todd. I went and I had fun! I had much more fun than I expected and the most fun on track I can remember. Suddenly the whole track connected into an uninterupted line of turns and I felt one with the bike riding around! I was giggling like a little girl in my helmet and keep on giggling ever since
    Granted I was not the fastest one and through out the weekend, I have never exceeded about 60% of my riding abilities, but I had no "oh-shit" nor 'blond' moments. I could have maybe go faster, I could have brake later for the turns and I could have lean further, but I am no Rossi nor Stoner. I decided to ride for fun and I had amazing blast riding well within my comfort zone.
    I was proud of myself when, after bandaging Ricks arm, I was able to distance myself and go back to riding without the year-long fear. I did feel bad for him but the feelings were not crippling my lines nor my mind. And when a total stranger came to me and said "Hi, my name is Todd", my heart stopped for a minute though but I suddenly knew that my life went a full circle. I probably will never win MotoGP :idea3: , but I am back! :wheel:
  2. martinkap
    It does not take one too much time to realize that New York is one of the most tolerant cities in the world. Or simplier said, the Newyorkers just don't care. They don't care if one wears the latest designer clothes or the dirtiest rags. Would you like to put a pink feathers in your hair, paint your face black and white and drag chains behind you? Please do, but do not expect that anyone will turn their head after you. No one will care. Only tourists with maps will take pictures. Pink feathers, painted face and chains are not enough to become one of the elite New York freaks. The ones who make natives to turn their heads.
    It is very safe to say that till yesterday I have never crossed that very distant line and draw attention to myself. Even when I was in full leather motorcycle outfit, hopping through New York streets on one foot, in one hand holding helmet and supporting myself with a broom in the second. Even then, I was just part of the everyday crowd.
    However, I am afraid, yesterday evening it happend. I became one of them. One of those freaks who make the natives to stop in what they do and just gawk. And yet, I did not feel out of my element; Part of my daily life is reparking the motorcycle from one side of the street to another - four times a week. Street cleaners and the police are good enough reason to wake me up in the middle of the night horrified that I forgot to repark the bike, put on the t-shirt and run into dark streets to do the chore.
    Last year I made the effort to always go home, put on some leather jacket, take a helmet and repark the bike with at least some protective gear. This year, I have become slopy. I just stop by the bike on the way from work and repark it. Usually I don't have to ride more than several yards. But yesterday night, the parking gods were against me - the nearest free spot was about 500 yards away and in the 'wrong one way street' direction.
    I made sure that no police was in sight, jumped on the bike and nicely coasted to my spot. 500 yards later, I felt like I am on fire - almost everyone along my short ride was staring at me. I was surprise and tried to determine what is wrong. And then I realized that for a random pedestrian, a woman riding in the wrong direction on a motorcycle, wearing just a t-shirt, short skirt, high heals and having red purse dangling of her shoulder, well, she must have been at least a surprising sight. You know, one of those freaks you don't see anywhere else than in New York... :goofy:
  3. martinkap
    My typical lunch consists of soup, bagel and a can of sugar-free Red Bull which I buy in the cafeteria located in our building. My mother always taught me not to talk and not to read while eating. However, she was quite unsuccessful, especially with the latter and I have developed a habit of browsing news, vfrd posts and personal emails while eating lunch at work. Turkey soup should not be life threatening, so I do not need to devote it full attention.
    However, an unfamiliar crunch between my teeth has interrupted my peaceful lunch break today. Probably just a piece of a turkey bone, I thought, but it did feel rather weird. On a napkin, I have spat out what I thought will be little part of a turkey skeleton but to my surprise I saw what looked like 1in long, cooked cockroach. Mushed into the several pieces by my own teeth, I could recognize the head and the whole back. Needles to say, I spat immediately everything, almost threw up and washed my teeth for a very long time.
    Someone smart once said that shared sorrow is half sorrow. So, I hope that shared disgusting story will become less disgusting. But honestly, in a bigger scheme of the life, half eaten cockroach beats loosing a front in the puddle of transmission fluid anytime. But that is another story ...
  4. martinkap
    So, I was supposed to take my Hawk to Brooklyn tonight. A friend of mine is willing to trailer it for a track weekend at BeaveRun and back. However, today was not my day. The whole day I felt very tired and my brain hurt but the upcoming rainy weather was not giving me a choice. I had to take the bike there before the 'monsoon' starts. To make sure that I will be able to find his place, I typed his address into google maps and printed it out. My head was tired so I did not even read the name of his street, just looked at the map picture for couple of seconds thinking that I will properly read his address when I get near.
    Later in the evening I was finally in Brooklyn. I took the right exit and stopped by the sidewalk to figure out where exactly to go. When I reached to my tankbag for the maps, I suddenly realized that I left all the printouts at home. I had not even read the address! I did not know what to do. I could either return home to get the printouts or try some other way figure out where to go. I was so close to call my other friend to ask him to log into my mail account, find the guy's address and give me some pointers. But I hate asking people for help. So, I decided to try on my own first.
    I closed my eyes and attempted to imagine the map I saw for just couple of seconds earlier. I got a vague idea about where to go and I navigated myself through the streets in the assumed dirrection. The only thing I clearly remembered was that his mailbox was #2. That meant that he probably lives in an appartment building where the mailboxes are numbered than in a house. Finally, I was on the street which I believed was marked by little star on the map. And there it was - a small apartment building. I peeked into its backyard and was completely stunned by what I saw. There was a race bike on a trailer! A needle in a stuck of hay... :-)
  5. martinkap
    "What do you want? What are your goals?" people ask me sometimes. I hate those questions and I don't think much about the people who are asking them either. How lazy of them to ask and assume that I will sit down and tell them all about my aspirations, hopes and possibilities. I cannot describe all my goals in one sentence. So, I usually don't. And, I really hate those questions.
    I hate those questions even more than a question which people ask so seldom: "What is your life goal?" Sometimes, people rather ponder the small matters and avoid the principal issue. Maybe it is because they, even though with many short-term goals, often lack the one major 'life goal' and are afraid that my 'life goal' will overshadow their petty
    small goals.
    And yet, it is such an important question. "What is our life goal? What is the most significant ambition we want to achieve in our lives?"
    Nevertheless its importance, my life goal is simple. "I want to die!" That is the most important aim of my life. It makes me happy. More I think about it, more I am certain that I am right. I want to die!
    And the greatest advantage of my life goal is that I am certain I will accomplish it. It is inevitable. I am so sure that I will achieve this most important ambition of my existence, that instead of worrying about it and toiling for it as others, I can just relax and enjoy my life and the journey!

    Today, it is exactly 2 weeks till my first track day this year. Bye, bye PMS! :goofy:


  6. martinkap
    Luckily, I was not standing in the freshly digged grave and was not talking to Hamlet. But the picture I saw was not prettier. I was standing in front of a bike lying on her side and almost obscenely showing her guts. I don't know about you, but I feel that there is something ungodly and disturbing about bike down. It is never a pretty sight.
    The bike, nicely painted roadster with not much chrome, was lying on my favorite spot. I was too late to repark my Hawk GT and a guy who parks in the same area, snatched my spot. Just couple days ago, we parked next to each other on the oposite side of the street. We snuggled our bikes together and hoped for the best. Before he disappeared into the night, I had showed him my newly installed sliders, or as I personally call them, 'the crash bars'. He was impressed and was hoping to find similar for his bike.
    It was 2am in the night and I was standing alone next to his injured beauty. Seems like the crash bars were more needed that he thought. I felt lucky that my Hawk was not the one lying there.
    It was obvious that I could not pick her up alone and I did not want to risk being shot by approching complete strangers on the dark Manhattan streets. So, full of guilt I went home.
    The next morning, I left home and hoped that his bike will be already standing. She was not. She was on the right side and was obvious that someone was messing up with the cover. I stood for long time there. If that was my bike, I hope someone would pick her up. But, I don't have full coverage insurance nor very expensive motorcycle. So, after all the thinking, I have still not found any strong reasons for picking her up.
    Feeling more guilty than before, I left for work. The same night she was not there anymore and I haven't seem him or his bike since.
    But the question remains:

    Should have I pick up his bike? Or did I do the right yet painful thing?


  7. martinkap
    On Saturday, I decided to visit my friend in New Jersey. I zoomed through George Washington Bridge and enjoyed about 20 miles of nice freeway speed.
    Soon, I turned into his neighborhood. I remembered that the last time, I was almost hit by a car coming onto a street from nearby parking lot and thus slowed down. I was on the typical road in the shopping rural area. Two lanes each way, hard median and rather wide shoulder on the side.
    I kept my distance from ugly looking SUV in front of me and scanned for incoming traffic from the side.
    When suddenly, the SUV back doors opened and the driver hit the brakes. The distance which was safe moment ago shrank immediately. I hit the brakes and swearved to the inside lane. The SUV driver also start swearving but luckily towards the shoulder. And as he was in the middle of his swearving, a huge mattress comes out from the back door and goes flying on the road. The swearving car motion and the speed caused the mattress to rotate and smash it on the pavement right in front of me... It rotated and slided towards me as it was still in its protective plastic. Luckily, I finished swearving and barely missed a corner coming into my path...
    My heart was pounding while I was turning to my friends driveway.
    "What a stupid way to die!", I thought, "Killed by mattress while riding a motorcycle!"
  8. martinkap
    Thursday was just a weird day. In the morning, I have discovered that I got two parking tickets during one hour over night. I did not want to leave my VFR there anymore, so I rode her to work. From then, the crap started just pile up.
    I went home that night and first I realized that I left my knee protectors at work (which complicated my planned Friday ride out to upstate NY because I never ride without proper gear) and then it took me forever to find the 'right' parking spot for her. I had to park her on the street (since I did not want to get more tickets) but I managed to find a spot visible from my bedroom window. Not so clearly (there is construction site in the way), but still I could monitor if the VFR is there. To top the evening, I just could not fall asleep...
    So around 3am, I decided to shut the air conditioning off and open the windows. As I was wrestling with the window, I noticed that there are two guys walking around my bike and trying to uncover it. My heart stopped. I watched them for couple minutes and my adrenalin was just going through the roof. Suddenly, a black car parked perpendicularly to the street right in front of my bike and I could not see anything anymore.
    I was sure that they are trying to steal it but I was unable to do more than just stand there and watch. To run to my bike would take me good 15 minutes, since I had to get dressed, then get out of the building and then run around the whole huge block (there is no straight street to there - just construction). So, with shaking hands I dialed 911 and spent about 10 minutes describing the situation. Since the car and some motion was still there when I hung up, I changed my mind and decided to run to my bike and meet the police there.
    While I was racing through the middle of 4 lane streets to get to my bike, I realized that firstly, I might be there before the police come and secondly, the robbers can start shooting if they are still there. Before I turned the last corner, I ducked down and tried to hide behind some parked cars. James Bond would not be ashamed of me...
    Well, the street was empty... I finally run up to my bike spot, VFR was still there but the cover was put on a bit differently. The police arrived couple minutes after me. They were in undercover car and probably watched me already hiding behind cars and playing 007...
    In the end, I am not sure what happened. I am not sure if some guys were just interested in my bike and tried to peek under the cover or if they really tried to steal her but decided not too, since half of my bike is
    badly scratched from my last year incident with the deer. I glued and duct-taped the worst areas but it does not look pretty plus it makes the bike very unique (among other unique features).
    I was afraid but the police was really nice to me. I got home around 4am, with my heart still pacing and adrenalin almost higher than one can survive. I had fallen asleep eventually, but it took one more movie on the dvd and two glasses of Laphroaig...
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