Saturday, December 3, 2011

Norton on Skyline


Great ride on the Norton today. Went up 9 and 35 to Alice's
Restaurant. The transmissions on the Norton shifts amazingly smoothly.
The bike does vibrate a lot as noted everywhere on the Internet but
this one nowhere near as much as before now that the carburetors are
adjusted. Brakes still keep me cautious as they are nothing like I am
used to in stopping power. There are some sweet spots where the
vibration settles to near nothing in the rev range and the motor has
plenty of power. And yet, I rode very slowly getting use to the bike
an probably always will as precautionary on this bike to leave plenty
of room to stop. I'm getting pretty good with remembering to use right
foot shift with down for a higher gear and left foot as brake. I need
to think about it but it's becoming more natural. I met a guy named
Steve with an amazingly beautiful and custom 66 Triumph. He parks next
to me at Alice's as I was admiring my own bike and said "this must be
the pretty section for bike parking.". We had the two coolest and only
vintage bikes there. Nice guy. I almost went and sat alone for
breakfast but decided to ask if I could share the table he had gotten
to before I was up at the patio. I am so glad I did. Sometimes I am a
little shy about talking to people I don't already know. Alice's has
big tables where people often share the space and a part of me said
"no, just talk to the guy" though there were empty tables. A great
decision. Steve is an interesting guy who owns many classic bikes,
paints and builds and fabricates his own work and builds these classic
bikes for others. He's had an interesting life and was genuinely
excited to hear that I had two young children. He loves kids and gave
me a fist bump and congratulated me. That's just how I feel about
having them. His kid is 15 and he was in his 40's when he had his son.
He's been riding up at Alice's for over 40 years. Then he was
genuinely happy for me to have the Norton and to have been riding up
there for over 13 years. He nearly glowed and then gave me another
fist bump when he found out my wife is Puerto Rican. Steve is too. He
said "man, you're all right" when he found out I'm a vice principal.
It's pretty fun to have someone asking all these questions and then to
be excited for me with all of my answers. And he has stories. We must
have talked for over an hour about his life, being a father, growing
up, working, his parents, cars and motorcycles. He knows it all about
the old British bikes. Steve gave me some advice about the rear wheel
adjustment that I was wondering about, offered me some nice exhaust
cans he has that he does not plan to use, told me he has some paint
that will be perfect when I am ready to spray the Norton, and told me
he'll show me how to lace the wheels and help me whenever I call and
am ready. Keep in mind that I did not ask for a single thing from this
guy. I only asked about him and his life. A cool guy and to think I
could have missed it all if I decided to eat alone. Sometimes I just
make the right decisions. Got a couple of good pics (which I will
update this post with tonight) and Steve's number. A great day for
riding and meeting good people. Also, I have never talked to so many
people who have come up to me on any other bike as I did today on the
Norton. People are just happy to see it and talk about it and the
bikes they have had. Some just want to compliment it. And one guy
likes to talk and wants to help to do and teach to do anything an old
bike needs. I like people, motorcycles, and curvy roads on a Saturday
morning. And now, time to put down the phone and talk to the friends
who have shown up here at Katie's since I started writing this here in
Campbell.

Added Pics:

(Warming up for the ride.)

(On Skyline.)

(The '67 Norton and Steve's '66 Triumph)

(A good day's ride.)

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