Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Harley Sportster Nightster XL1200N

Sportsters have been around as long as I have, 50 years. This year they came out with a new version of the Sportster called Nightster. There are 7 versions of the Sportster and the Nightster is the newest addition to the family.

The Nightster is low to the ground with a seat height of just 26.3" with an engine displacement of 1200cc. It has an anti-chrome, no bling bling look about it with it's gray powder coated engine, black handlebar and black rims. The gas cap is "silver satin". The rest of the bike has that 50s bobber look with a side mounted license plate, bobbed rear fender and solo seat.

This bike is low and compact, only 2 other Harley models are lower, the Night Train and Softail Deluxe. Anyone approaching 6' or more will find this model cramped. Almost anyone else would settle into this bike comfortably.

All Harleys this year went to fuel injection which is a good thing for better gas mileage and less exhaust emissions. The engine has that same Harley sound as the carbureted models thanks to computer mapping.

I ride a 2006 Sportster 1200C and am very happy with it, not a single thing to complain about. I would however prefer having fuel injection instead of a carbureted model. Since Sportsters are the lowest priced Harleys, often 1/2 the cost of a big twin, the Nightster should prove to be a big hit. At less than ten bills the Sportster models are an affordable way to ride American iron.

Seat Height Unladen-26.3"
Ground Clearance-3.9"
Fuel Capacity-3.3"
Dry Weight-545lbs.
Engine-1200cc Air-cooled, Evolution
Fuel System-Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Miles per Gallon-57hwy/42 city
Transmission-5 speed
Brakes-Dual Piston front, single piston rear
MSRP Vivid black-$9,695.00
Nightster Info Links
100 Years of Harley Davidson

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Story Behind Kano's Coffee House

I just got home from work. My last day on the job. That job anyway. I have another one that will start in a few days. My old job had to go. I just wasn't into the culture of the place anymore. It was demanding, stressful, high pressure, hard physical labor and all for low pay.

I'm now 50 and have been working since I was about 7, picking berries and beans out in the fields during the summer. Then when I was 11 or 12 I got a morning newspaper route, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 111 customers. At 16 came the canneries, sorting fruits and vegetables on the belt. At 18 the military and so on.

I'm tired of working for someone else and I crave Independence. About 5 years ago I quit my job of 13 years working in an institution for the criminally insane. My job title was Mental Health Therapist. A fancy name for the unglamorous, often ugly task of keeping order on a ward. Not a happy place to be.

One day I was badly injured from being attacked by a patient who decided to kill me for whatever delusional reason. I recovered for the most part minus 3 teeth and went back to work. Then I started wondering why I was working in a depressing place, dealing with violent people day in and day out. The job had a lot of the characteristics of being on the front line of a war that never ended. Never knowing what was going to happen and when. Never knowing if I was going to make it home in one piece.

Then I decided it was time for me to do work I really enjoyed and to be my own boss. Master of my own destiny. I packed up the family and moved to Texas from Oregon and opened up a coffee shop and art print gallery, Kano's Coffee House. Within 6 months I was out of business, my retirement money and life savings gone. 20/20 hindsight tells me it was a fools act. I was too depressed and desperate to make good decisions.

Unable to even pay the rent in the house we were living in I was faced with the toughest dilemma of my life. Completely unable to provide for my family.

We moved in with my Wife's sympathetic Brother and his Wife in Houston. (Bless you Juan and Raquel!) Our family of 5 lived crammed into one bedroom of a small trailer house for nearly a year. We were in effect a homeless family.

I worked a few various low paying labor jobs before finally giving up on the last material possession I owned and loved. My Sportster. I sold it with a promise to myself that I would get another one someday. With the money I moved our family back to Oregon where we belonged.

Since then I have managed to once again support my family, just barely, the credit card debts are piling up! I do have another Sportster, a shiny black 1200C. I still work for someone else but haven't given up on the dream of Kano's Coffee House.

Kano's Coffee House doesn't physically exist but it lives on in cyberspace. It's open for business, ready to serve anyone who walks through the door. Welcome!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cappuccino Anyone?

New Rule: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the a**hole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one Nutrasweet," ooh, you're a huge a**hole. -George Carlin's New Rules for 2007.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Buddha On a Bike? Sportster Consciousness?

I fired up the Sportster to go to work today and I thought about what I was reading earlier in the waiting room at the doctor's office. In a magazine was an article about Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist Monk and author of the best selling book "Living Buddha, Living Christ." The article described what he called walking meditation.

Walking meditation is a way to be fully aware and conscious of the here and now. He said that since we spend so much of our day walking that it would be good to incorporate walking with meditation.

We motorcycle riders are already familiar with the concept. When we ride we are completely aware and in the moment. That must be part of why we ride. I know it is for me. When I'm riding all worries are forgotten. I am in the here and now. Aware of only what my senses bring me. I feel completely alive.

And so the Sportster once again delivered my daily dose of peace, on the way to work and on the way home. I'll call it a rolling meditation or maybe Moto Meditation. I drink too much coffee to meditate any other way!

Thich Nhat Hanh quotes

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Triumph Motorcycle Makes A Movie Appearance

Last weekend I rented a new movie called "Peaceful Warrior" starring Nick Nolte. The movie is based on the book written by Dan Millman about when he was a somewhat reckless Triumph motorcycle riding college athlete.

At the time he thought he had everything going for him until he met a grizzled old gas station attendant (Nick Nolte). The old man had a thing or two to teach him about life. He also learned how not to ride his Triumph.

The movie's message on finding peace and happiness is delivered in a thought provoking and entertaining way. I won't go into any more detail, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

10 Good Reasons For Owning a Scooter

Once again scooters in the U.S. are on the rise. As the price of gas goes ever higher people start feeling the pinch and turn towards more economical modes of transportation. Many other countries especially in Europe and Asia have far greater scooter riders than does the U.S. but I predict we will some day catch up to the global trend. For as long as we need internal combustion engines, scooters are a practical and greener choice.

10 good reasons for owning a scooter:
1. Scooters are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
2. They are cheap to maintain.
3. Use less gas than a car or many motorcycles.
4. Emissions are low.
5. They don't take much raw materials to produce.
6. Have decent storage space, depending on the model.
7. Are light, maneuverable and easy to park.
8. Newer models are very reliable.
9. They're great for short trips, errands, and commuting.
10. Scooters are a lot of fun!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Do Motorcycles, Blogs and Coffee Mix?

Some of you regular visitors have probably noticed the appearance of lots of advertising on this blog. I apologize if the ads distract from the content, that is not my intention.

I blog because I love to write and I love everything about motorcycles. I drink a fair amount of coffee too! As the time of this post will verify, it's 4:26am at the moment.

Why then the ads? Not because I'm some sort of Internet wizard trying to make a fast buck. I'm in it for the long haul and I hope you join me for the ride. I made the decision to place ads so that I can earn money through affiliate programs. That money will allow me to do what my intention is and that is to entertain you, help support my family and to donate 10% of my earnings to charity.

It's a perfect match, Kano's Coffee House-Motorcycle and Scooter Talk, and the ads are for motorcycle stuff. Coffee loving motorcyclists will find coffee ads as well.

I invite you to help sponsor my endeavor in any way you can. You could tell someone else about my blog, send someone a link, click on one of the ads and buy something, buy one of my hand made sticks for your key chain ($20, but hey it's for a good cause), or make a donation.

Anyone who donates $40.00 or more will receive one of my key chain sticks as a token of my appreciation. Those who donate will also be added to my list of sponsors on the blog sidebar if they wish. Send me an e-mail with your name and/or website and ask to be put on the sponsor list. To donate just click on the donation link in the sidebar.

If you do nothing more than just read my blog that is OK too and I owe you my gratitude for that.

e-mail me at oregonian@netzero.com

Friday, July 20, 2007

Are You a Motorcycle Maniac?

Take this quick quiz to find out where you stand in the world of motorcycling. Answer yes or no to each question.

1. As soon as you get your new motorcycle home you're already thinking about your next bike.
2. You read motorcycle magazines cover to cover, even the technical stuff you don't understand.
3. You read motorcycle magazines cover to cover, even the technical stuff, which you do understand.
4. You are on your bike and half way down the street before your wife can finish the sentence, "Honey can you go get a loaf of bread from the store?"
5. When you're walking through a parking lot you veer off course to take a look at a parked bike.
6. When you hear a motorcycle coming up the street you stop and watch it go by.
7. You read motorcycle blogs.
8. You have your own motorcycle blog.
9. You belong to a riding club and you are the current Secretary, Historian, Treasurer, and Road Captain.
10. When not riding you're thinking about riding.
11. Your idea of dressing up is putting on some leather chaps and a leather vest to match.
12. You've spent almost as much money in chrome and other doo dads as you spent to buy the bike itself.
13. You're a year rounder and ride rain or shine.

Now add up how many yes answers you got.
*13 yes answers earn you the title "Moto Maniac." You need to get into some kind of 12 step program such as Moto Anonymous.
*11-12 yes answers gets you the distinction of being a "Moto Enthusiast." Congratulations. I won't be seeing your bike parked in front of a Psychiatrists office any time soon.
*4-10 yes answers puts you in the category of "Moto Dabbler." Maybe you were born without the motorcycle gene or maybe you haven't been fully enlightened yet, a motorcyclist in the making.
*3 or less yes answers makes you a "Moto Poser". You're better off driving a cage. Stick to knitting, basket weaving or worm ranching.

*Disclaimer-I am not knocking knitting, basket weaving or worm ranching. I present those ideas as viable alternatives to motorcycling. By the way I've always thought it would be cool to be a worm rancher. I know my kids would be impressed!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Motorcyclists-Today Is Ride To Work Day

Wednesday, July 18 is a good day to ride your motorcycle or scooter to work. You can make a statement by just being on the road. It's the Annual Ride To Work Day!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Change Is Good (as long as I can keep the Sportster)

Yesterday I submitted my resignation from my job. I've worked there about 3 years and that's long enough. As the saying goes, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Life is all about change. Life itself is change.

I got another job but it's always a little unsettling not knowing what I'm getting into. I remind myself that if for some reason I don't like the new job, there are plenty more out there. It's an adventure and adventure makes me feel alive.

I ride off into uncharted territory, my faithful Sportster will gather no moss either.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Take a Motorcycle Ride Up To Mt. St. Helens, WA.

Near Coldwater Ridge Visitors Center
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
July 9, 2007. 7:34pm

A group of Gold Wings appeared out of nowhere, taking up residence on my motorcycle's mirrors. They were more eager than I to get down off the mountain. I pulled my Sportster off the road to let them pass and to take a last look at the panoramic scene behind me. The Gold Wings went by. The riders were concentrated on the road, oblivious to the wonder that was all around. Not me, I wanted to linger. Peering into the very breach of hell from where I was near Coldwater Ridge was a scene both terrible and beautiful all at the same time. I wondered what it must have been like on the mountain 27 years ago when everything changed.

Spirit Lake Lodge near Mount St. Helens
May 18, 1980. 8:31am

The stubborn old man oddly named Harry S. Truman may have been sitting in his comfortable deck chair. A few of his many cats might have been lounging nearby. Harry could have been taking in the beauty of the mountain's peak in the early morning sunlight. It was an ordinary start of a day on the mountain. Nothing lasts forever.

The ground shook violently, a deafening roar filled the air that could be heard from 225 miles away broke the quiet solitude of Harry's last morning on earth. A tremendous explosion 500-times greater than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima ripped the top of the mountain off. A wall of ash, debris, and super heated gas raced toward Harry at hundreds of miles per hour. He was vaporized in an instant.

Somewhere between 57 and 60 people died on and around the mountain on that day. The blast destroyed 200 square miles of forests, leaving behind an unfathomable amount of downed trees. 27 years have gone by and new life is emerging out of the utter destruction of the area. The government made it into a National Volcanic Monument. They have re-built many of the roads and made lots of scenic places to stop and contemplate the enormity of it all.

If you haven't been there, then you must go, and what better way than on a bike! There are good paved roads that make a loop all the way around the mountain with a variety of different vantage points and panoramic vistas. Stop at the Johnston Ridge Observatory just 5 miles from the volcano and gaze into the enormous gaping crater that once was the top of the mountain. You will feel small and as insignificant as a flea as you begin to comprehend the magnitude and violence Mother Nature is capable of.

Mount St. Helens is still a very active volcano but is deemed safe at the moment. No more cataclysmic eruptions are expected any time soon. If you plan on visiting take at least a day, 2 or more would even be better. The place is a motorcyclists dream. There are plenty of twisties to negotiate and unforgettable awe inspiring scenery. Only about an hour's ride from Portland, Oregon, Mount St. Helens is very accessible except during the winter months. There are campgrounds to stay at within the shadow of the volcano. It's a ride you won't forget, I know I wont.

©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's eCoffee House

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's Your Favorite Bike?

Hey, check out my new poll to find out what type of bikes readers of this blog like the most. Look up at the top right of the blog page and click on the link to vote. You can even see the results yourself. If your bike choice is not represented let me know. Thanks!

Motorcycles, Allergies and Global Warming

Just in case anybody out there needs another reason to park the cage and ride instead, listen to this. Motorcycles and scooters are far more environmentally friendly than their 4 wheel cousins. They use far less raw materials to produce, use up about half the fuel, and add less pollution to the air from exhaust. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have gone up significantly. Too much carbon dioxide has become an ever growing problem. What's any of this got to do with allergies?

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study soon to be published, allergies are on the rise because of an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This pollution encourages plant growth, which means more grass, ragweed and tree pollen. In fact, ragweed alone makes nearly twice as much pollen today at it did 100 years ago. That production is predicted to double again in this century, due to predicted increases in carbon dioxide levels.

If you have noticed more people are suffering from allergies than ever before, now you know why. Every time you jump in the saddle instead of climbing into the cage, you have become a part of the solution to the problem and you are setting a good example for others to follow. Now if we could just get about a billion other people to start riding! Maybe us motorcyclists can make a difference, by doing all we can to promote riding over driving. For every bike on the road that's one less car or truck, and that's a good thing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Work To Ride - Ride To Work

Remember to ride your motorcycle or scooter to work on July 18. Ride to work day is a good way to show America there is a fun and more environmentally friendly way to get around. Who knows, your presence on the road along with lots of others that day may just plant a seed. Maybe your neigbor or co-worker will decide to park the SUV and get a bike.