Hi to all. I am now been in the States for over a month, living just outside of San Francisco.
I started work last Monday, so I had to rush out and buy a motorbike for the commute - so I looked at a couple of bikes that were available to buy immediately (because I got very late notice that the contracts for the work were signed and I had just the weekend to get setup (or use public transportation!).
The first was a Buell Big Trailie - bloody agricultural thing. Had an HD engine that nearly shook it apart when it started up. The guy had all sort of “modifications” that seemed aimed at keeping this thing going. Nope. The next was a Ducati Monster 696. It was red and pretty - so my wife and kid wanted me to buy it - so I did.
Now I am a big fella and this bike is a small middleweight so it probably isn’t an ideal match. For now though it is doing the job nicely. It’s underpowered compared to a Street Triple of something, but apart from the KLV (The Tank as Blade calls it) I also used to ride an ER6-f for commuting - so that gave me a sense of what to expect.
My commute is about 25 miles each way, mostly freeway. Filtering is legal in California (illegal almost everywhere else in the USA) so that is good. The freeway is up to 6 lanes each way, and the lanes are built for vehicles the size of tanks, so there is plenty of room. The Yanks are all asleep at the wheel though - much worse than the UK - so you need the extra room to avoid the morons.
I also understand the obsession with bikes like HD and trans-continental cruisers. The road surfaces are sometimes bloody awful. The last 4 miles of my commute is likely to break my back - and of course the Monster is not exactly ideal to smooth out the ride. till couldn’t bring myself to buy an HD though - even though every other bike here is an HD.
Bikers seem a friendly bunch. There is a biker greeting of a peace sign to the side - and it is very rare to NOT get that sign…
So - if anyone fancies a rideout around Norther California - feel free to look me up. I will probably get bored with the Baby Monster pretty soon and get something a bit sturdier - but I’d be happy to keep it around for a guest bike!
Nice one! Interesting read and congrats on your new contract!
Did you get a perm job or are just contracting for now? Motorways, cough freeways cough, sound fun. It was the same thing in Florida when I was there - 5-6 lanes each way is a norm for them. Boring as hell though if you ask me.
My visa was based on contracting through my brothers company - so I have to do that until we get the Green Cards this summer. However, the company that have taken me on contract is a previous client and they are very motivated to keep me, so they want to convert me to a perm once I get the GC. If I like it I will probably do that. They are about to IPO so they will have very deep pockets…
I can imagine “monster” after The Tank is a bit underpowered… you can say loot of things about The Tank, except: underpowered, slow, uncomfy. For City traffic I’m sure monster should be as nimble as vespa.
Time to reconsider Cisco job offer so I would travel to HQ and have a nice host around the area
I went down the pacific road from San Fran to LA in 2011 …fantastic road with some of the best scenery in the world! …but as you say the amount of HD’s on that rode is mad I would say over 95%. That road is bulit for sports bikes!