I'm in love



Yes, that's the baby. Maybe some day. Not now though, I have to many other things that have a higher priority.

Like kids cloths,

YZ seat and tank,


new tires,

food for family,

cool exhaust for my truck,

new computer,

bigger stereo for my truck that Bill,

etc. etc.

My wife of course might not approve of the above list and especially their priority. But what else is new?


Originally posted by Brian Meadows:

Um, what's the old joke..

"Why don't the Brits make TV's? They haven't figured out how to make them leak."


Whats the old joke.....

why do yanks grow such big potatoes??....

..they grow them to fit their mouths



[This message has been edited by Darren Santilli (edited 08-11-2000).]

Darren - touche

Bryan et al - below are two emails from a friend of mine. He has been riding for years - has a couple of cross country trips under his butt. I put a fair number of miles on a street bike myself and may be in the market for another one now that I'm living in area that doesn't require an hour of freeway riding to get to the good roads. I sold my bike because I wasn't riding it much - the 14 mile work commute on the 405 in LA was too nerve wracking to be worthwile.

Not trying scare tatics, just sharing some insight. Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous - so can getting out of bed in the morning. Some of the risk can be mitigated some can't. Some of the risk is due to the rider - a lot of it is due to other drivers. It is a personal decision to ride on the street - make it carefully, be prepared for the worst, enjoy the ride, remember you are on public roads not a race track and most of all BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.



I just got back from my Saturday morning ride. It started out well. I rode to the Rock store on Mulholland blvd and arrived about 7:30. Very few people were there so I parked and went inside to get a cup of coffee. Back outside to talk with other riders about their bikes. After an hour or so I headed up Mulholland and rode down to the beach. Down PCH and back up Decker Canyon and then Mulholland again past the Rock Store. A few miles further east on Mulholland I was approaching an area where some houses have been built close to the road and there are a few small side streets. The area is shaded by trees and there are some gentle curves. The speed limit is 30.

When I got a couple hundred feet from the intersection with the first side street, a strange motion of something in the road caught my eye. To my horror I realized that it was a motorcycle sliding and flipping on the pavement. It bounced off the short cement wall that bordered a small bridge over a drainage ditch that runs alongside Mulholland there. Then I saw a white, cargo style minivan parked sideways across the road blocking my path, and 5 or 6 other motorcyclists coming the other way who pulled over and jumped off their bikes. I looked for the rider who had crashed but couldn't see him. Just then, one of the riders who had stopped jumped up on the rail of the bridge and looked down into the ditch. As I got close to the van I could hear the injured rider screaming out in pain even over the noise from my own engine. I couldn't see him but I knew he was down there in the wash. As I rode slowly around the back of the van I saw a woman on the drivers side holding a cell phone. I had the feeling that she was the driver of the van. 5 or 6 bikes were parked nearby and their riders were trying to get down in the wash. A wrecked late model GSXR 750 lay on it's side next to the road.

With the number of people who had stopped already and knowing that somebody had a phone to call for help I didn't figure there was anything I could do to help. I rode on at a slower pace feeling sick to my stomach and hoping that the rider would survive and that his injuries weren't as awful as they sounded when I heard him. I wasn't close enough to see exactly what happened but from what I did see and the positioning of the vehicles I have a strong suspicion. A group of riders were headed west on Mulholland. The rider on the GSXR was in the front of this group. As they approached the side street, the driver of the van pulled out directly in front of the group to either make a left turn onto Mulholland or to cross the road and continue on over the small bridge. The van driver either didn't see the riders at all or made a gross miscalculation about how close they were and how fast they were going. The lead rider is suddenly presented with the broadside view of a van blocking his path. He gets on the brakes hard and either puts the bike down on the pavement or glances off the side of the van as he tries to avoid it then runs into the short concrete wall at the edge of the bridge and gets thrown over the rail into the wash. His bike rebounds off the wall and back onto the side of the road.

Who is at fault? I don't know if it really matters. Maybe the riders were creeping along at 30 and the van just suddenly pulled out in front of them and there was nothing the lead rider could do to avoid the crash. Maybe the riders were going significantly faster, the lead rider feeling pressure from those behind to run a fast pace. This would have made it harder for the driver of the van to see them and correctly determine their speed and how much time he/she had to cross the road or make a turn. Increased speed would have made it harder for the lead rider to stop in time to avoid hitting the van. Maybe the driver of the van was distracted by something or couldn't see well in the shadows of the trees.

What really matters is that the accident happened. As I rode away feeling sick I thought about the poor guy who seconds earlier had been enjoying a Saturday morning ride with his friends on a nice winding road. A moment later he and his broken body are dying in a ditch on the side of the road. Experiences like this make me question my decision to ride on the street. All I can do is make sure I stay alert at all times, assume other drivers can't see me, and ride in a way that gives me the best chance of avoiding an accident. I do know that even if I do everything right, there are still situations beyond my control. Despite my best efforts, someday it could be me laying in that ditch, wondering if I'm going to be a cripple or if I'll even see another day.

As I continued my ride and thought about what had happened, I ended up on Scheuren road. Halfway to Stunt road I came around a corner to find 3 bikes coming the other way, 2 of which had crossed the double yellow and were on my side of the road. I had to stand the bike up and get to the edge of the road to avoid a head on collision. Needless to say, I rode home in a high state of alert and was glad to park the bike in the garage.

I'm sharing this experience with you in the hopes that it will make you pay that much more attention when you ride. Maybe you will take a few less chances. It would sadden me greatly to have something similar happen to any of you.

In the past 5 years I have witnessed a couple accidents and ridden past a number of others shortly after they happened. Ladd and I watched a guy who had just passed us cross the line on Hwy 9 and broadside 2 cars coming the other way. He was exceptionally lucky and walked away with road rash and a modified bike and left ankle. It was all we could do to avoid hitting him or his bike as they skidded across the pavement. A month ago on Angeles Crest I was stopped by a helicopter landing on the road to pick up a rider who had crashed. A few years ago I saw a guy broadside a car in a parking lot across from Alice's. I'm sure all of you have seen similar things. For some reason it seems to me that it has been happening more often in the last year or so.

Be careful out there

Ride Safe




It's Saturday afternoon and once again I find myself sitting at the computer. I went for a ride this morning, was on the road at 7:30. I rode Soledad Canyon from Canyon Country out to Palmdale and then Fort Tejon from the desert near Littlerock up into the San Bernardino mountains. I picked up Angeles Crest hwy at Big Pine (Mt. High ski area) and rode it west to Newcombes ranch. It was warm in the desert even as early as 8:30 but it cooled off as I climbed the hill. It was a sunny beautiful day in the mountains with just the right temperature. I rode 60 miles of twisty roads without having to pass a single car. From the ridge I could look down into the Antelope Valley on one side and towards Pasadena on the other. It doesn't get much better than this.

When I got to Newcombes ranch around 9:30 I went inside to get a cup of coffee and then back outside to mingle with the 15 or so riders who were already on the porch. Shortly afterward I heard the high pitched wail of a 4 cyl sportbike approaching. This guy was obviously on the gas. A blue 99 ZX9 appeared and the rider sat up, cranked on the brakes, and rode into the parking lot. He went inside and shortly came back out with a beer and sat down near me on a bench. A minute or two later 4 other bikes pulled up. These guys along with the guy on the ZX9 were co-workers. All in their late 20's to early 30's. A CBR600, Harley Sportster, Suzuki SV650, and a Bandit 600. Seeing and talking with them reminded me of the days when I rode with the rest of you from SVG.

The guy on the ZX9 was short and thin with short blonde hair. He mentioned that he had moved here recently from Michigan so I talked with him a little about what street riding there was like. It was obvious that in this group, he was the hot shoe, the wild man. He was wearing a leather jacket and Levis much like I do but was talking about how he was going to buy a full leather suit as soon as he could come up with $800. A lively, personable guy.

I finished my coffee and then spotted a guy I'd met a month earlier who rides a Superhawk. As I was helping him remove the play from his bike's throttle, the group of 5 riders I'd been speaking with earlier mounted up and took off down the road. I put my gear on, warmed up the bike, and rode away maybe 10 minutes after the other group left. 5 miles down the road a rider coming the other way motioned to me to slow it down. My first thought when I see this is that a cop is nearby and the other rider is trying to save me a ticket.

A couple corners later I saw why he had warned me. At the entrance to a left corner, cars had stopped in both directions. I stopped next to a couple guys on touring bikes and behind 2 cars. A couple cars had stopped in the opposing lane and I could see some bikes parked on the dirt shoulder up ahead to the right of the pavement. Beyond this shoulder the mountain dropped away. From 100 ft away I recognized the jacket of the rider of the Sportster (part of the group I'd been talking to at the ranch). He was standing on the shoulder. Obviously there had been an accident. I told one of the touring guys next to me that "I was getting really tired of this" and explained what had happened the weekend before near the Rock Store. Shortly the cars in front of us started to move forward. I wasn't prepared for what I was to see next.

As I rode past I saw a short rider laying face down on the edge of the pavement with his head turned completely to one side. He wasn't moving at all. I recognized the helmet and leather jacket. It was the guy on the ZX9 I'd been talking to not a half hour earlier. His friends were standing helplessly on the side of the road. A ranger had arrived and was headed toward the fallen rider. Other people were looking over the cliff. I assumed this is where his bike had gone and hoped that there weren't other riders or a car over the side.

I rode away, feeling sick to my stomach much the same as I did last Saturday. Hoping that he wasn't hurt badly and would recover. This time I had an image of who the rider was. Last week I heard the rider screaming in pain. This week he was unconscious or dead. What was a half hour earlier a happy, vibrant young man was now a motionless body lying on the pavement. I don't know how or what happened. I wish I did so I could learn something from it.

Back at the ranch before I left, the guy on the Superhawk and I were talking about how we both have been riding at a more conservative pace. Riding the Crest pretty much in one gear. Watching carefully and taking it easy near side streets. Enjoying the scenery at or near the speed limit on the straights, while trying to maintain that speed through the corners by staying off the brakes. I explained to him what I had seen last Saturday at the Rock Store. He had heard about it. Little did I know what was coming.

As I rode down the hill, fire engines, ambulances, and police cars raced to the scene. At one point a ranger going up the hill in a truck passed on the double yellow coming out of a corner right in front of me. When the danger had past I thought of my near head on with the two bikes last weekend. Was somebody trying to send me a message?

As with last week, writing you this letter is my way of thinking about and dealing with what I have seen. It's my hope that relaying this story will make something positive come from this event. I sure hope this isn't going to become a weekly occurrence.

As before, be careful out there.


The serious and the fun:

Serious- I have ridding street bikes for a long time. Prior to shifter kart racing I rode fast through canyons working out my racing urges. Then I started racing karts and never did the fast rides on the bike again. The risk reward ratio is just way out of balance. Riding a steet bike fast on any kind of road is just way to dangerous to me compared to any organized racing. Plus the rewards of racing are much better. Now I cruise conservately on streets (although I do split traffic here in California) and I'm much happier.

The Fun - the real love.

A few months ago I'm at the Lake Elisnore MX track. Been out for a while. Sitting down looking like hell, beat up, tongue hanging out. Up pulls a truck. 2 guys 1 girl. This girl is gorgeous. 5'10, 120, long hair, medium chest, nice curves. She hops out of the truck, unloads all 3 bikes (RM 125's) in less than 3 minutes. Suits up and rides pretty well. I'm still kicking myself. I should have asked that woman to marry me on the spot.


This happened to me two years ago on my Honda 750F SS. I was driving my bike through an empty department store parking lot(Montgomery Wards for those who care...and yes, they did file Chapter 7). It was a beautiful Sunday summer late afternoon. I had been restoring this Honda for about 3 years (hey, I was busy!). I had just left the movie theatre. This f-ing Honda had some serious carb trouble. I turned left at a stop sign and was riding directly in front of the store, the 12" high concrete sidewalk to my left. To my right was the 8" high concrete median that has the plants growing out of them to beautify the black, hot asphault. I was shifting up through my gears (now in 3rd) when the bike stumbled. I looked down at my instrument cluster, namely my tach. I looked up again and a car was broadside to me, completely blocking any path I could take. I hit the brakes and skidded. I was using hard compound touring tires. Plus, that front brake was mushy (1982 vintage good-meaning bad). I had almost stopped when the ass end drifted to my left. I hit the cars bumper tring to squeeze through the gap between the bumper and the concrete median. My ankle was PRESSED onto the swingarm pivot bolt. I flew over the hood of the car. Now, being an ex-motocrosser, I just knew I could handle ANY situation on the road, that is why I was not wearing my helmet but wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers for protection. I immediately knew something was wrong with my left ankle. The bitch, I mean woman, wanted me to drive my bike home and call it a day. Instead, I had her call the ambulance and had a joyous ride to the hospital. When the bolt went into my foot, it removed about a nickle size chuck of meat. The Doc sewed it back together as best as he could. He did not have much to work with. 3 days later, the outside of my left ankle started turning black. I was told the skin was killed due to the impact. The scab was about 3/8 inches THICK. I was on crutches for 2 weeks. I found out my ankle did not want to move. There was permanent soft tissue damage. I declined physical therapy. I knew what had to be done, and racing mx for a while I learned how to deal with all these injuries. The Doc was very impressed with my progress. I did win a lawsuit. After the lawyers took $12K, I had $13K left. I used $10K to put money down on my to-be-constructed New England Colonial. Beautiful house design. My wife, Alisa, came up with the plans. My builder declared bankruptsy and ran off with my $10K. Unless I can sue my Buyers Broker Realtor (for $6666.00), I am out every penny.

Now, how did this happen? The driver had parked along the storefront curb. She apparently didn't see my headlight pointing right at her. She pulled out, now broadside to me, and panicked. Slammed on the brakes to ride it out. No skill in the world can stop the momentum of this 400# bike with my 170# on it, unless I had a launch ramp to jump over the car.

For those of you that want to slam me for no helmet, save it. I did pay the price for not wearing the right gear.

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