Friday, April 16, 2021

The North Shore

 We left the house! It's been a long time since we wandered around the north shore. When Jr. North's spring break popped up on our calendars, we booked an Airbnb in Duluth and got out of Saint Paul for a bit. We were only gone for a few days but it was a good few days, and we had the place to ourselves. 

Rock hopping.

Gooseberry Falls

Sunrise ove Lake Superior.

Beaver Bay

Beaver River

Looking for agates was a highlight.

Everything we found was pea sized or smaller, which is normal.

The Agate Shop in Bevear Bay is worth a stop.

The view from Palisade Head, and more rock hopping.

Highway 61, south of Palisade Head.

The Crew.

Sipping on some flights of beer with Mrs. North.
It's been over a year since we've done that.

Stopped at Damage skate shop and picked up a soveniour.
It's on the same block as Aerostich, Bent Paddle Brewing, and OMC.

Early the next morning we hit up a skete park 
just up the street from the shop.

Ride North Sr. dropping in!

Point Park beach.

It was 45f and the water was in the 30s.
Not long ago there was ice on the lake, now there are ships carrying taconite.

- Ride North

April 4th -6th | 45f - 50f | overcast, spring storms overnight

Some big "eyes" up there.

Friday, April 2, 2021

I don't know why you say, "goodbye."

 I say, "hello!"
2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii, March 2021!

But first, a little archeology because, why not? 

2011 Moto Guzzi Norge, 2019 - 2020

The Norge was my dream bike. Not too heavy, great weather protection, all day comfort, great sounds, and fantastic handling. We've been on many all-day rides through all kinds of weather. It always left me dreaming of epic rides. The kind of rides I'm just not in a position to take at the moment. Someday I'll be on those journeys but these days I'm enjoying exploring the world with my family.

1996 Triumph Trophy 900, 2016 - 2018

The Trophy. This was probably my favorite bike for two reasons. It was extremely capable without being cumbersome. It was old enough that I didn't care if it got dirty, scratched, or broken. I did work on it all the time, but my son was little and I was pretty much a home body anyhow. There is no better bike to ride in the rain than this one. I felt like it was living up to its dreary English heritage. This was the bike I rode on a frozen lake in February and through August storms.

1978 Yamaha 500E, 2012 - present!

A 1978 Yamaha XS500 was the bike I chose to see me through those sleepless and sleepy days of keeping an infant alive. It needed to be cheap and easy to use, its sole job was to give me the occasional break from early fatherhood. I bought this bike in the summer before my son was born and, as it turns out, it's the bike I ride most often. It's the bike I've kept the longest because it's just so easy to use and fun to ride.

2000 Moto Guzzi V11, 2005 - 2012

A Moto Guzzi V11 with Mistrial exhaust, big, green, fast, and the noises it made! I've never ridden a more exhilarating motorcycle. I was told the previous owner rode in bright read cowboy boots, which suits it. It was love at first sight. By the time it exchanged hands again it travelled over 60K miles, 35K of those were mine.

1982 KZ550, 2003 - 2005
It had a lower bar and was rattle-can-satin black. 
(before digital photography was common)

Coming off of dirt bikes, the KZ550 was my first road bike. It was purchased from the side of the road for three figures. I was working on my undergraduate and a great many other things too. I took out a loan from the wonderful people at the credit union. That bike only ran when the sun was shining, I had to park it in the sun before it would start. Not the best but it was the start of my street riding career and my credit score.

Honda dirt bikes, where it all started! 1997 maybe?
Thanks Dad!

Taking home the V7 from Leo's South.

One last photo opp. with the Norge.

The purchase of the V7 was heavily inspired by my experiences with the XS500, it brings some things to the table that the Yamaha lacks. While the Yamaha will cruise at 70mph no problem, it isn't comfortable there. It has a 55 - 65mph sweet spot in fifth that's fantastic. The V7 is a longer, more stable bike with 6 gears. It will cruise at 80 without a second thought. The ergonomics: seat height, pegs to seat, reach, are almost identical to the XS. The weight is the same too but the power is just a bit more in places. Both bikes handle superbly if not sporty. It's not a sport tourer, it feels slightly more "crusier" than the UJM standard riding position without dipping into HD Sportster territory.

The V7 is not fast at all. It's fast enough to be moderately exciting but that may be overstating things a bit. It was a deliberate decision to get a "slow" bike. I was tempted by a great deal on a 2020 Kawasaki Z900, I had to remind myself the goal was to slow it down. I was looking for a bike where I can use 90% of what it's got and not be breaking too many laws. It's a bike with a purpose. It's ment to relax, explore, unwind, and have fun. I think it will serve its purpose well.

My first new bike.
All it needs now is some sunshine and greenery.

- Ride North

March 22nd | 58f | 100 miles (of 300 total)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

What was old is new again

 I have so many good things to say about skateboarding. It's art, exercise, and community; and I missed it. It was probably 2004ish since I was last on a half pipe; nobody was listening to pop-punk anymore.

What started as "gym" during lockdown has turned into a full scale passion. Jr. North is driven to go, try new tricks, and hang out at the park (with his dad!). For the boy who was shy around strangers and doesn't like people watching him, he gets up in front of older kids and just rides without worrying about it. He's talking to kids, calling them out when they cut in. (a big part of ramp skating is taking turns) Confidence, exercise, passion, joy, and he's good at it too.

Early March, we shoveled off the half pipe and let the sun work its magic.

Dad gets his sea legs.

Shoveling, a Minnesota tradition.

Our now weekly pilgrimage to the 3rd Lair skatepark.

Carving the bowl, February.

Carving the bowl, March. (and dropping in!)
At one point, clearing the second tape mark was a big deal.
Last week, he cleared the third.

It's been incredible to watch him grow, to learn with him, and to cheer him on. He loves to work for it. He falls down and gets back up. We work on frustration, build confidence, manage risk, progress, and celebrate. It's a solid foundation and I can't believe how blessed I am to be able to share this with him. If I knew anything about baseball maybe we'd be doing that, but I don't. This is something I do know about and love.

Skateboarding is the thing we have to look forward to every week. To get out of the house and experience something new and exciting after being cooped up and isolated all winter. I can't over state the positive impact it has had on our physical and mental health.

- Ride North

Someday he'll realize that I'm not cool.

But, not today!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Good night Saint Paul


- Ride North

January 19th | 3ish mile walk | Cherokee Park | 15f

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

the Pig's Eye lap

 It's been a warm and dry December, the snow for October is long gone. On Sunday, the weather was perfect for a long bike ride down the Mississippi River. 

Taking advantage of the new bike paths that connect Saint Paul to the South Saint Paul trails, it's never been easier to bike a lap of Pig's Eye Lake. It's almost all asphalt bike path. The only real road riding is a one block section of downtown and the Robert Street bridge; I took the sidewalk for both sections.

New bike path on Plato, it's so nice!

Through the airport.

It took three or four of these bridges to connect the Saint Paul trails to the South Saint Paul. It would be a shame to let those tax dollars go to waste. I passed bikes and dog walkers in this section. It will be interesting to see how well used it is come summer.

Through the woods, south to Kaposia Landing.

West bank of the Mississippi River.

Looking north from the 494 bridge.

Battle Creek slough.
I didn't take a picture of Pig's Eye Lake, maybe next time.

Dayton's Bluff

Port Authority signage.

Looking back at the Lafayette bridge from Dayton's Bluff.

The opposite of this image from my commute to work.

Looking back downstream.

Saint Paul's most famous fur trader and bootlegger. (1830's)

- Ride North 

Dec. 20th | 38f | partly sunny