Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not Rain!

As I pulled out of the motorcycle parking at our building to begin my 42 mile commute home yesterday, this is what my windshield quickly began to look like. "Ugh, Rain", I thought. I do not mind riding in the rain. In fact, I carry a set of FrogTogs in my saddlebags for such an occasion. What I do mind is riding in Atlanta traffic in the rain.

Take this traffic, add rain. Mix in quick stops and un-signalled lane changes and you begin to get the idea. As I leave town and proceed northward, the highway loses lanes but the traffic stays the same density.

Fortunately for me, Dan Batemen wrote a very good article on his blog, Musings of an Intrepid Commuter on Friday addressing an issue I have struggled with for several years. I admit it. I have struggled with properly applying the rear brake on a motorcycle. It seems whenever a quick braking situation presents itself, I tend to slide the rear tire with too much brake pressure. Once a couple of years ago, such a situation sent me sliding across the highway on my face. The rear tire lock up was severe it put me into a tank slapper and down I went. With that experience firmly planted in my subconscious, I think "easy on the rear brake" every time I am faced with a quick braking situation, but was still encountering a bit of rear tire sliding be it ever so slight.

In Dan's article, "I got it!!!", he says, "...my answer would be to tell the rider to brace their knees up tight against the tank of the bike. With knees out, the large muscles of the upper leg are pressing down on the brake pedal. By pressing the knees hard against the tank, it both helps keep the rider down in the seat of the bike and forces the smaller muscles of the lower leg and foot into service. Since these muscles are less powerful but capable of receiving greater feedback from what they feel, much more control of the rear brake application is possible."

I had been mentally processing on this recommendation ever since I read it. In fact, I had rode to work practicing pulling my knees into the tank on the bike every time I reached for the rear brake. So, now riding in the rain with traffic as thick as screaming teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert, I set out on the highway with my new rear braking strategy firmly in my mind.

For the first few miles, the rain was light and the road was somewhat dry, but that quickly changed as the rain picked up and the road began to shine with moisture. The tires of the cages ahead of me were making dry tracks in the wet lane, so I concentrated on positioning the bike in the dry tire tracks for maximum traction. I had several opportunities to try applying both front and rear brakes successfully without sliding the rear tire in the slightest even with wet pavement.

Before long, the road was wet enough that the cages ahead of me were no longer making dry tracks in the lane. I made mental note, left more spacing between myself and the cages and continued using Dan's recommended braking technique. Cages continued to make sudden un-signalled lane changes diving in and out of lanes. And the cages ahead of me sped up and suddenly slowed down as is typical in my commute. I manuevered through the "choke point" where the left hand lane of the highway suddenly ends and snarls traffic without issue.

By the time I turned into our neighborhood, the rain had stopped, and I had ridden 42 miles of maddening Atlanta traffic in the rain without locking up the rear tire a single time. The experience bolstered my confidence of riding in Atlanta traffic in the rain. I was mentally exhausted but very pleased with the experience.

Thanks, Dan!


Sunday, April 24, 2011


John 3:13-17 (New International Version, ©2011)

13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[a] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[b] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[c]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 20 (New International Version, ©2011)

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus died. Jesus arose from the dead. Jesus will come again.

Death no longer rules. Sin is finished. You are free from the wages of sin and death. Jesus died in your place as a perfect unblemished sacrifice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ABCD – Will You Take Part?

Guest post by Gary France

Maybe you would like to join in with this…..

A Bloggers Centerline Day, or ABCD, will take place on Sunday 1st May 2011.

The plan is to inspire as many bloggers as possible to go outside and take a photograph of themselves on this day, wherever they are in the world. The photo can be creative, arty, contain more than one person, be in any type of location and can contain anything else you like. It must however contain the centerline of a road and at least part of you, the blogger.

There are 5 rules….

Rule 1 – the picture must be taken on 1st May 2011.

Rule 2 – the picture must be of yourself, and you must be a person that publishes a blog. You can include whatever else you like in the picture, including other people if you wish.

Rule 3 – the picture must include the centerline of a road.

Rule 4 – you should publish the picture on your blog on 1st May 2011, along with a few words about the picture and why you chose that location or pose.

Rule 5 – when you have posted the picture on your own blog, put a comment on Gary France’s blog and include in that comment the address of your own blog post containing your own picture.

Gary France will then pick his favourite photos and publish these as being the winners. There will be a prize of $100 awarded to the overall single winner, as chosen by Gary.

In order to get this event known as widely as possible, please copy and paste this posting onto your own blog, including the title. Please do that today!

As a reminder to yourself to take the photo and post it, put an entry into your diary for 1st May 2011.

Let’s see if we can get as any people to join in as possible.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Get Out of Town!

Listening all week to my wife decompress from the pressures of the end of the month processing at her job, I thought that she needed some downtime without any requirements. And, even if it were for just a day, going out of town would probably be a good idea. So, that is just what we did.

Saturday morning, we hit the interstate and made our way to Chattanooga. It had been several years since we visited the Tennessee Aquarium, and we had heard they had expanded since our last visit.

We recalled the Tennessee Aquarium being a top notch attraction the last time we visited the "River Journey" - the fresh water aquarium. They raised the bar and set a new standard when they built the "Ocean Journey" - the salt water aquarium.

This trip I took our camera and shot over 200 photos. I will resist the tempation to make you endure all 200, but here is a sampling of this great treasure.

River Journey

Ocean Journey

Chattanooga has done and incredible job with the development of the area surrounding the aquarium campus with a variety of hotels and restaraunts within walking distance as well as an IMAX theater. Built on the banks of the Tennessee River, there are even two-hour river boat excursions available.

One of the restaraunts that is with in easy walking distance from the aquarium is Big River Grille & Brewing Works. I have to give them kudos. The service is top notch. The food is unbelievable and for those who like beer, they brew their own.