Wednesday, July 14, 2010
A co-worker stopped me today to share an experience from the night before. On her way home she had stopped at QuickTrip (perhaps one of the greatest creations in the world). While she was shopping for a cold beverage, she heard a disturbance. She looked up to see most of the patrons in the store running out into the parking lot. She made her way to the door to see what the cause of all the commotion.
When she got to the front doors, she saw a woman wearing high heels lying on the ground with abrasions on her forearm and a split lip. The woman lying on the ground was also wearing a silver half-helmet. Not far from where she was lying was a little silver scooter lying on it's side. The woman stood up and began trying to right the scooter and the friendly patrons were more than happy to assist the lovely damsel in distress. A few minutes later, the little scooter, which was paint matched to the woman's helmet, was back upright and all was well in the world.
I know that scooters do not go very fast and they are low to the ground. But the woman in the QuickTrip parking lot has a lip and a forearm that will attest that AGATT (All the Gear All The Time) is still a good idea. And as sexy as a pair of high heels are on the feet of a woman with long gorgeous legs, I would venture to say they are not the ideal footwear for scooters or motorcycles and very well could have been a contributor to her lipstick getting smeared that evening. I understand that everyone wants to turn heads when they are riding, and I will not knock that.
But, before you run out and jump on your scooter or motorcycle this summer, even if it is for a quick trip down to the local QuickTrip for milk or a lottery ticket, consider that the parking lot of a QuickTrip is as busy or busier than the parking lot of Wall World. Cars are coming out of the eight lanes of gas pumps. Cars are coming out of the parking spaces in front of the store. And, cars are coming in both driveways from the surround roads. It only takes one of those to not see you for a sudden braking maneuver to be required.
Sudden braking always has the potential of going bad if the rider locks the back tire or if the front wheel is in a turn and the rider gets on the front brake hard. With the front wheel turned and the front brake almost locked, the bike will transfer its weight forward and because the front wheel is not in line, it will cause the bike to try to fall down.
Not being there to see what happened, I can only speculate on what caused the spill. But being a patron of many a QuickTrip and observing the madness of the traffic at times, I would guess she was turning into a parking spot and someone made a quick move towards her. She probably made a quick grab of the front brake and things were headed South. Trying to stab a foot down at this point might possibly keep things upright, but could lead to a Tib/Fib fracture if the rider stomps the ground too hard trying to save it. And, if rider is wearing high heels, the rider runs the risk of the heel breaking and dumping them or dislocating their ankle.
Enjoy the riding weather but consider the footwear and gear you are wearing before you take off.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Bleary-eyed and ready for my first cup of coffee, I rolled into the motorcycle parking area of our office building's parking garage. As I approached my usual parking spot, I observed a behemoth two wheeled machine sitting in the space next to me. As I backed Rosie neatly in her usual spot, my eye wandered up and down and end to end of the Victory Vision Tour with its 106cc air-cooled 50 degree V-Twin four stroke engine sitting quietly in the next spot.
This was a work of art resting neatly on two wheels and a side stand. Much like a priceless oil painting created by the hands of a master, the beauty of this machine could not be taken in with a casual observation or a single glance.
As I began to unstrap my helmet, I saw a hardhat approaching. It seems there is always a floor being remodeled in these two buildings. He approached and unlocked the rear case on the Vision and retrieved an item previously forgotten upon initial disembark.
"That is one gorgeous motorcycle", I said.
His eyes lit up and a smile broke out upon his face.
"I am still getting use to it", he replied. "I rode a Honda Goldwing (aka hondapottimus) for several years before trading for this one. I still haven't figured out all the gizmos. It has an electric adjustable windshield and an electric butt warmer. I figure as long as I remember where the key goes and where the start button is, I'm good", he joked.
He inquired where I rode in from, how many miles, and did I ride to work(tm) everyday. And then we traded a few riding stories before I had to make my way to my appointed destination - the coffee shop before reporting to work.
It's always a good start to a day's morning to meet another rider and get to chatter a bit before starting work.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Declaration of Independence
Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton