Thursday, July 31, 2008

El Capitan

Every once in a while, especially on Twitter (drumrboy93) and Facebook (kevin.lindstrom1), I'll mention El Capitan, usually in reference to an FC Dallas game.

What is El Capitan you ask?

See Wiki - and yes, I'm the one that fires it. As described in the Wiki entry, it is a Civil War Era, muzzle-loading mountain howitzer. El Capitan ain't no two shotgun shells and a pull-string, that is for sure.

Love the smell of gunpowder. Smells like . . . victory!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Motorcycle Rider Resource Page(s)

Originally, this was a very detailed set of recommendations and information resources. Unfortunately, the original pages have been shut down so I will need to rebuild them.

For now, a few things. First and foremost, if you are a new rider, learn as much as you can. Motorcycling can be a great experience, but it does take more than just hoping on and going. It certainly is more involved than driving an automatic transmission car, truck or van.

The statistics about new riders is awful - a large portion of motorcycle fatalities happen in the first year of riding - so learn what you need to so that you don't join those statistics. (The other large factor is riding drunk...)

A great resource for that is It is a great community of riders who are either new and learning or experienced and willing to share their experience in a positive way. I can't recommend it enough.

If you have specific questions, you are welcome to email me.

Also, take a look at one of my most popular articles, Why Motorcyclists Wave.
I'll update this page with more detail later, but as a starting point, here are some Motorcycle Rider resources:

Beginning Riders: Get In The Saddle (my original BR resource page) -

More advanced Riders: Highway Child (my original resource page w/ info about me) - Beginner and

Get In The Saddle has a number of good sections, including stuff about information sources for bike evaluations, insurance options, used bike evaluation tools, along with a number of notes about how I learned to ride and the things that challenged me and the things that helped me. Ideally, GITS is an all-encompassing resource page for beginning riders. is a wonderful internet discussion site that has a bunch of great contributors. Especially for a beginning rider who doesn't have people they personally know to ask questions of, or if you're just looking for a community that has a positive attitude about riding (have fun, be safe), it is a wonderful place to check in to.

Highway Child was my original website and chronicles how I got into riding, a number of the notes and comments from GITS but in a more raw form as a lot of it was written as it was happening. The GITS stuff is more condensed. It also includes Stephanie's Corner, a section of websites geared towards women riders.

Beginner and is a website that is - as the name implies - for beginning and more advanced riders. It includes some of the Beginner Bikers stuff, but also has stuff for riders that have been around the block a few times, so to speak.

I intend on revising GITS and Highway Child through this website down the road, but for now, here is a good starting point.

Also, I came across an interesting website out of Oregon - HinesSight. An interesting set of (wait for it....) in-Sights! (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) Seriously, very cool take on the world.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why Motorcycle Riders Wave

Those of you who don't ride motorcycles probably don't know this. Those of you who do ride probably do.

Motorcycle riders wave to each other. It usually is a small thing - a simple raise of a few fingers or nod of the head in a lot of instances. This article includes some of my thoughts on this great practice.

Thank you for joining us at Implausible Dreams. This is my website about motorcycling, sports and music. Enjoy and share your feedback!

It has always given me a sense of community and never ceases to put a smile on my face. It means we're brothers and sisters on the road.

Today, though, it became a lot more - a reminder of what it really is all about.

I was riding home from work when I saw a guy riding a Harley coming into the intersection from my left. He waved, and as I was holding down the clutch with my hand, I just nodded. Then he entered the intersection to turn left in front of me. His front tire lost pressure, his bike lost contact with the road and he dropped the bike.

It took me about three seconds to really get what had just happened. Once it sunk in, I pulled my bike to the median and went over to him. As bad as things can be when you drop a bike, he was relatively okay. But I stood with him and made sure everything was okay. We checked out the bike and noted the scrapes and scratches, and then he got his bike back up and I followed him down the road to a gas station where he refilled his front tire. We talked a bit, making sure that he was good to ride home, etc.

That experience was a bit startling, but not what really drove home to me the issue of why motorcycle riders wave. What drove that home was one of the stories he shared - about a night where he was basically ridden off the road by a van and left behind in oncoming traffic, and about how no one stopped to help until two motorcyclists stopped and helped get him out from under his bike and out of the road.

My point? In many instances, we're all each other has. I've stopped a number of times for riders who look like they might be in trouble. This is the first time for someone who had dropped their bike, and I'm damn glad I did. Thinking back, I am sure I could have handled a situation like that on my own, but I'm sure I would appreciate having someone who understood riding (or even just someone to make sure I was okay) there to have my six, so to speak.

On the rest of the way home, I saw a number of riders. Bikes of all kinds - cruisers, crotch rockets, touring bikes. And every time someone waved, I could feel the camaraderie - and the underlying "when we waive, we celebrate enjoying riding together, but we also say 'I've got your six', too."

So if you ride - thanks. Thanks for being a part of that family that takes care of each other.

If you don't ride, please, watch out for the motorcycles out there. Car and truck drivers have a tendency to not notice motorcycles because they are more focused on the larger vehicles like themselves. I'm asking you to be proactive in noticing the motorcycles out there, and if you happen to see someone on a bike in trouble, consider checking to see if they are okay. The vast majority of the riders out there are not the stereotypical biker gang dude, but rather people who have found the joy of riding motorcycles.

If you are considering taking up motorcycling, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. The VAST majority of serious motorcycle accidents happen in the first year of a person taking up riding. Reduce those odds by taking a MSF course and then riding carefully for at least six months.

If you want more information, take a look at my old "Get in the Saddle - A Motorcycle Rider Beginner Basics" page. It has a lot of solid information about how to evaluate bikes, links to resources, etc. Some of them are outdated, and I plan on doing a revised version here on this Blogspot page, but for now, it is still a useful page.

Also, in checking out articles about riders and waiving, I found an old friend, so to speak -! This was a wonderful resource from when I started riding. It included a forum that was great for discussing all things a learning rider needed to see and read and talk about. I met friends there who rode with me in the Hill Country - what a great ride! Unfortunately, that version of the organization apparently hit a road bump or two and was offline for a bit, but apparently it resurfaced and is back, stronger than ever. I HIGHLY recommend it to any rider with two years experience or less, and would even recommend it for experienced riders who just want to stay in touch.

Keep the shinny side up, folks. And remember - when riders wave, it not only means "ain't this cool?", but also "I've got your back."

By the way, there was a follow-on article that happened soon after the events that inspired this post.  It resulted in this article, "Karma = Good (Motorcycle Version)."