Curious Mileage

For the past few months (and 5000 miles) my ST has been averaging a solid 42 miles per gallon. Some tanks net a bit more between fill-ups, some a bit less, but their combined average is right at 42mpg. Three of those tanks have netted less than 36 mpg. One less than 33 mpg.

I usually let the tank run about 3/4 of the way down to near empty (and into the flashing bar) between fill-ups, with somewhere between 250-300 miles per tank. When I do put gas in it, I always fill it up. There have only been a few times - three to be exact - where I filled a mostly full tank, with about 100 miles or less on the bike since my last fill up.

I should add that I do the math the old fashoned way, with a pencil & paper. The fuel consumption average-o-meter on the bike is next to useless, and while the speedometer & odometer are generous in their numbers, they are consistent, which is key. That consistency is reflected when I fill up by filling the tank to the same point every time with the bike on the center stand. To take it one step further, most of my fill-ups have been at the same pump at the same station. (That may actually be an OCD.)

The thing I found interesting was that the three tanks that netted my worst mileage were the same three tanks where I hadn't gone very far between fill-ups. The tanks where I've netted the best mileage were tanks that I ran nearly dry, whether commuting or riding on longer day trips.

My riding style doesn't change from fill-up to fill-up. I certainly haven't changed it to see if riding slow vs. faster changes the mpg; I just ride it. I also haven't been riding with it loaded down one day and unloaded the next, or spent large amounts of time with the windscreen all the way up instead of down. The only thing that changed was the amount of fuel still remaining in the tank at fill-up time. Granted, this bike is still relatively new, with only 5500+ miles, and three tanks of fuel (out of 23) really isn't a lot to make a good comparison, but it seems like the ST gets poor mileage when the tank is full, and that the mileage gets better as the tank drains. This is only an assumption, but since the bike is averaging 42 mpg overall, I don't know what else to make of it. I know that a gallon of fuel weighs more than a few pounds, but I can't see the weight difference between 7.5 gallons and 1.5 gallons making a lot of difference to the 1300cc mill in the ST.


The First 5000 Miles.

This past Thursday I hit 5000 miles on the ST. Not 5000 on the odometer, but 5000 miles since I've had it. For those of you who may be counting, the bike had 376 miles on it when I got it, meaning I passed 5376 miles on the odometer. (Hey, I knew all that math I took in college would eventually pay off.) Since I bought it in the first week of July, those 5000 miles have happened in about 10 weeks, mostly commuting.

As a whole, I'm very happy with the bike. It's money well spent. I've found it to be comfortable and fuel efficent, which, at this point in my life, are two things high on the priority list. With so many options with the windscreen position, it's almost impossible to not be able to find a sweet spot for the wind. All the way down and you receive a full face blast of air from mid-chest up. Half-way up and the air is directed just over your head with a bit of back pressure on your shoulders. Put the windscreen all the way up and the world goes silent. Quiet enough to hear the engine valves ticking. In addition, the created back pressure pushes you toward the dash, which is a bit un-nerving the first few times you feel it.

The gas milage has been great. It's averaging a respectable 42 miles per gallon. Considering my GS gets in the low 30 MPG range, it's about a 33% increase. Most of the tanks have been fairly consistent, but I've had some oddball tanks in there too, with milages in the mid to high 30s. Interestingly, the three tanks with the worst gas milage, also had the shortest distance between fillups. The tanks that got the best mileage out of them were when I stretched the distance between fillups to 250-300 miles. All I can figure is that it has to do with the weight of the fuel. A full tank weighs more - a lot more - and the mileage suffers accordingly. The mileage increases as the weight of the bike decreases with the draining of the tank. If it's getting in the high 30s with a full tank, it would be safe to assume that it's getting hig 40s to low 50s when the tank is near empty. I don't know if that's correct, but the theory works in my head. Of course, the ST gets the best mileage on the freeway. One run to the coast and back netted 46.3 mpg over nearly 260 mostly freeway miles.

The STs powerband is scary linear. You don't really feel it coming on, but all of a sudden, there it is. All of it. I jumped around a semi a few days after I got it and the engine just burbled along. When I settled back into my lane, I looked down and saw that I was into triple digits on the speedo. The speed didn't scare me as the bike was rock steady; the fact that I got to that speed without realizing it did. Most bikes let you know you're going fast, either with the wind blast or engine noise. (Add semi-knobby tires, like on my GS, and you think you're going fast before you actually are.) Not so much with the ST. Between the lack of (traditional) engine noise and a monsterous pocket of quiet provided by the faring, I'm is fairly sheltered from the outside world. There's not even wind around my legs.

Some people do have complaints about the ST, but I find them to be fairly minor annoyances rather than things to really complain about. The biggest complaint I've read about was the engine heat that roasts the rider's legs. Well, the exhaust headers are located just in front of the pegs and the heat exhaust holes in the lower cowl do direct the heat toward the riders feet, but I wear boots and long pants every time I ride so the heat's not really an issue to me. I feel the heat more if the windscreen is up in a mid to high position. The low pressure vaccuum created by the unfurreled screen sucks the engine heat up toward me. I don't really think it's something to complain about- it's an interesting example of physics and thermodynamics - and I think in the winter, it'll be a nice way to keep warm. It can be annoying in the summer heat, but when the air coming over the windscreen is just as hot as the heat coming off the engine, it's kind of a non-issue.

Some of the other complaints I read about were the snatchy fuel injection and the bike's weight. It is a big, heavy bike. No doubt about that. The heft does disappear on the road, but at low speeds, in an uneven intersection, or just trying to push it up my driveway, I become painfully aware of what 750 pounds of bike feels like. It carries much of the weight low (except when it's fully fueled), and once I found out "where" the bike was, it became manageable. The throttle snatchiness is also managable, but it does require some thinking at times. Every fuel injected bike I've ridden has had some degree of snatchiness to it. Some more than others. The ST is on the 'more' side of that list. If the throttle is closed all the way during a ride, it will jerk a bit when you give it more gas, unless you use the clutch. If I roll the throttle back without completely cutting off the fuel, it doesn't jerk when the time comes to give it more. Use the throttle correctly in conjunction with the clutch and the ST is silky smooth. My only complaint about the throttle comes when riding over rough pavement. The throttle and fuel injection seem to be more sensitive to wrist input than on other bikes I've ridden. If I get shook around, and my throttle hand gets shook around, the bike sometimes begins to lurch making the rough road worse, making the shaking worse, making the lurching worse... and so it goes. A handfull of clutch stops it every time.

A couple of complaints I do have about the ST have to do with the rear "luggage" rack and the handlebars. Even thought the saddle bags are huge, the rear rack is next to useless. It's too small to be of much good and there are no tie-down points anywhere near it to strap a bungie to. A larger, aftermarket rack may have to be installed in its place. While I like the bars risers on the handle bars, and the sitting position they provide, I wish they could be rotated out a bit, maybe 2 or 3 degrees, to a more natural hand position. As they are, I have to ride with my elbows in a bit more than natural to keep from kinking my wrists too far. (It's not as bad as it sounds, but the problem does exist.) Also, I can seen the bars ends, or more particularly, the clutch & brake levers, in the mirrors. I don't know if that problem is created by the bar risers or not. I don't think so.

My biggest complaint, and this is a true complaint, is the speedometer/odometer inaccuracy. Comparing the indicated speed & distance with a GPSr found the ST to be 6%-7% generous. For Honda - or any company for that matter - to make such a high precision motorcycle, they should be able to figure out how to make an accurate speedometer & odometer.

I've long been interested in long distance riding, particularly in long distance bicycle touring. My Cannondale touring rig is very capable of tirelessly chewing up hundreds of miles at a time, however the CDale's motor (me) needs a break now and then. The ability to travel long distances, where the ride is more important than the destination is very appealing to me. I like to be moving. With that in mind, I've wanted to become a member of the Iron Butt Assocation for a number of years now. The GS seemed like a logical choice to do an IBA ride on, but it never happened. With the motorcycles I had prior to the GS, an IBA ride was not an option. At least not a smart one. The ST, like my C'Dale, is a very capable machine. An IBA ride will be happening soon. With a sister that lives just under 500 miles to the east, and a cousin who lives about 750 miles north, I have two turn point around destinations for a 1000mi/24hr or 1500mi/36hr ride. (Both my brother-in-law and my cousin are motorcyclists and understand that it's about the ride, not the destination.)

I have been suprised by the amount of comments I've received from other people about the bike. I'm used to getting comments about the GS. It's an odd bike and most people just want to know what it is. But I expected the ST to blend in and not be noticed as much, but I've found the opposite to be true. Many people think it's a BMW R1200RT, then do a double take when they see the Honda wings on the tank. Some ask if Honda is copying BMW. Maybe, but this is the second iteration of a bike Honda's had since 1990 when BMW was still producing the R100RT. The early ST was radically different from the RT of the same period. I don't think Honda or BMW copied each other, as much as I think that they just ended up in the same place from two very different directions.

I've got a list of add-ons that seems to grow continually. Headlight and radiator protectors, driving & fog lights for the front, LED Brake lights and reflective panels for the sides & rear, and a sheepskin seat cover for my rear, to name just a few. Tires will be needed eventually too, but right now, the Bridgestone Battlax BT020s seem to be wearing very well.

It's safe to say that I'm looking forward to the next 5000.


Bear vs. Bike

After reading these articles about cyclist Jim Litz, I won't complain about the suicidal squirrels I encounter as much.
(Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian )


From Wendmag.com blog posted September 24, 2008

Bicycle commuting in a city can be dangerous and frustrating, no doubt about it. If we endure a honk or middle finger from an obscenity-spouting motorist we grumble about it for the entire morning. Hell, we might even let it ruin our day. But the next time you think you have a rough bike commute, try to imagine that of Jim Litz, a 57-year-old science teacher in Missoula, Montana, who collided with a 300-pound black bear on his way to work earlier this month.

The Commute
Litz was on his typical morning ride down Bear Run Creek Road, a veritable bear gauntlet, where he regularly sees (and avoids) the bears that cross the road or hang out to eat the berries and bear feed on the side. He was going at a good clip - 25 mph - to Target Range Middle School, where he teaches science to seventh- and eighth-graders.

The (Bear)icade
As he crested a rise in the dirt road Litz saw a massive black bear in the road 10 feet in front of him. The bear was likely not paying attention, as it didn’t run off the road and out of sight, as, in Litz’s experience, they always had. Litz didn’t have time to stop and slammed directly into the animal, T-boning its broad side.

The Crash
According to a report on the Missoulian, “the bear rolled over Litz’s head, and its mass cracked his helmet. As the duo toppled over one another, the bear clawed at Litz’s cycling jacket, scratching his flesh from shoulder to buttocks before scampering up a hill above the road, where it stopped and whined.”

The Aftermath
Litz’s wife picked up her husband and took him to the doctor. He immediately called Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to report the accident. Wardens reported that the bear, like Litz, was likely suffering from bruised ribs but otherwise fine.

The Moral
Some motorists might be loud-mouthed pigs, but at least they aren’t bears.


And from the Missoulian, posted September 10, 2008...

Bear vs. bike: Teacher riding to school runs into bruin above Miller Creek
By TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian

Jim Litz has a broken bike helmet and bruised ribs to show for the 25-mile-per-hour collision with a 300-pound black bear Monday morning while riding his bike to work from his home in upper Miller Creek. “I was lucky. I was truly lucky, because I accosted the bear and he let me live,” Litz said, while recovering from his injuries Tuesday afternoon at his home.

Jim Litz is accustomed to pedaling past 300-pound black bears on his morning commute to work.

“I've come close to them this time of year,” Litz said, clutching his side and grimacing. “I know bears. The entire creek bottom is just hammered by bears. That's the beauty of living here. But typically, they're crossing the road and I have plenty of time to avoid them.”

That wasn't the case during Litz's Monday morning ride down Bear Run Creek Road, up above Miller Creek. The 57-year-old man passes slender serviceberry branchlets and dogwoods festooned with bear feed, and frequently spots the animals noshing berries on his way to work at Target Range Middle School, where he teaches science to seventh- and eighth-graders. Usually, the animals barrel off the road and out of sight.

This time, however, Litz was clipping along the dirt road at 25 mph when he came upon a rise, spied a massive black bear 10 feet in front of him, and pedaled directly into the animal, T-boning its broad side.

“I didn't have time to respond. I never even hit my brakes,” Litz said.

He tumbled over his handlebars, planting his helmeted head on the bruin's back, and man and beast went cartwheeling down the road.

The bear rolled over Litz's head, and its mass cracked his helmet. As the duo toppled over one another, the bear clawed at Litz's cycling jacket, scratching his flesh from shoulder to buttocks before scampering up a hill above the road, where it stopped and whined.

Litz's wife drove by soon after and took her husband to Community Medical Center, and he immediately called Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to report the unusual collision. Game wardens told him they didn't think the animal was seriously injured, but was more likely suffering from some bruised ribs - just like Litz.

“Yep, that's my bear story,” Litz said Tuesday afternoon, too sore and bruised to go to work, but certain that he'd be back in the saddle by Friday. “That day it just happened to be on that particular corner of the road, and all the stars were lined up against me.”

The rib contusions are painful, and the scrapes down his back aren't pretty, but Litz figures he made out on top given the circumstances.

Litz's wife rides her bike to work, too. But she drives down past the feeding gauntlet on Bear Run Creek Road and parks along Miller Creek Road before pulling her road bike off the roof of her car.

As for Litz's bike, a cyclo-cross, it survived unscathed aside for the front wheel coming slightly out of true. But pointing to his cracked helmet, Litz hopes the story inspires his students to wear their helmets.

“I was lucky. I was truly lucky, because I accosted the bear and he let me live,” Litz said. “I truly respect them. They're beautiful creatures.”

Tour of California

The AMGen Tour of California is coming to Clovis in February, 2009. I've signed up to volunteer at the event. I don't know where they'll need me yet, but I'm hoping to be a course marshall, or better yet, I'd like to ride the ST alongside the peloton, (maybe with a cameraman on the back).

From the Tour website:

"About the Amgen Tour of California
The largest cycling event in America, the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding, recently expanded, 800-mile course from Sacramento to Escondido from February 14-22, 2009."

For the past ten years, I've volunteered with the Fresno Cycling Club for the Climb to Kaiser event. After riding in the event in '96 & '97, I worked as SAG support - support vehicles for the riders - between 1998 & 2007. I was the first person to use a motorcycle as a SAG vehicle in this event and that number has grown from one motorcycle on the course to as many a 15. (In 2008 I worked in the kitchen feeding the riders as the came in from the course.) I'm hoping that I'll be able to use some of that experience here.

See: http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ for info.

Dates of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California:
Stage 1: Saturday, Feb. 14 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Sunday, Feb. 15 – Davis to Santa Rosa
Stage 3: Monday, Feb. 16 – Sausalito to Santa Cruz
Stage 4: Tuesday, Feb. 17 – San Jose to Modesto
Stage 5: Wednesday, Feb. 18 – Merced to Clovis
Stage 6: Thursday, Feb. 19 – Visalia to Paso Robles
Stage 7: Friday, Feb. 20 – Solvang (individual time trial)
Stage 8: Saturday, Feb. 21 – Santa Clarita to Pasadena
Stage 9: Sunday, Feb. 22 – Rancho Bernardo to Escondido

The 2008 Tour went through Modesto


Bike Balance

Here's an interesting bicycle accessory, or accessories. It's called the BikeBalance. The main unit looks like a pair of bicycle forks with a third leg. The forks attach to the rear dropouts of a bicycle and the third leg attaches to the seatpost. (The attachment is similar to a rear rack.) Once attached, there are a multitude of components that can be used on or with the bike.

The component on the company's website front page, and the component from where the company got it's name, is a handle attachment to aid beginning bike riders called the Training Handle. From the website: "The Training Handle is the original Bike Balance attachment. It can be used either with training wheels to create a stable, safe bicycle platform for very young children or can be used as an attractive alternative to training wheels for an older child learning to ride a bicycle for the first time."

With the Training Handle removed from the main unit, other components can be attached, from wire baskets, an integrated surfboard carrier, a dog jogging attachment, and a collapsable utility trailer which can carry surfboards, kayaks, and even spare bicycles. (The thought of carrying another bicycle along on a bike ride is very intreguing to me. No more spare tube, tires, chain breakers, or dirty hands.)

The various components seem to be well thought out, although, many of the accessories put the weight of anything you're carrying high on the bike, causing potential stability issues. The components seem to be reasonably priced, but when I looked at the order page, virtually every component and accessory was presently out of stock.



Odometer/Speedometer Error

When I bought the ST, I knew there were some inherent errors in the speedometer. Much of the discussion on the Internet says that it's in the range of 6%-8% generous. I know that when my speedometer shows 80 mph, I'm actually only doing about 75+/- mph. That works out to be about 6%-7% for me.

Although all the discussions I've read have been about the speedometer, I've read very little about the odometer. That's not to say that the discussions aren't there, I just haven't seen or read them. Today I went on a ride with a few friends and decided to bring my GPS along. Bringing the GPS along is actually a regular occurrence, but today I wanted to compare GPS distance to the odometer distance; I hadn't done that before.

At the end of the ride, my odometer showed a trip of 151.7 miles. The GPSr showed 145.1. An increase of about 4.5%. I asked my riding buddy how far his trip meter showed: 144.8.

I've heard that motorcycle manufacturers make their speedometer with an error on the plus side. Apparently it's for safety purposes. If we think we're going faster than we are, we'll slow down sooner and not get hurt. I'm not sure what the logic is here: motorcycle manufacturers have created some very powerful, highly refined vehicles, why can't they get their speedometers and odometers to measure correctly. And, if they don't trust us to know how fast we're really going, should we really have, or should they manufacture. a bike that can go that fast anyway?

Saturday Ride

I went on a ride with some friends today. My friend Chuck was getting together with some buddies of his (from the National Guard base where he works) for a ride and he invited me to tag along. I'm glad I went. Saturday rides don't happen very often for me. I'm usually a weekday commuter with the motorcycle and any weekend riding (if any) happens on the bicycle.

We met at the Guard base near the Fresno Air Terminal. There ended up only being four of us. We were quite a different looking bunch. I was on my ST and Chuck was on his dual-sportish VStrom. The other two were on dedicated sport bikes although one was a 2007 and the other a 1990. No matter - they all worked - and we headed towards the hills. through Clovis, up State Route 168. Sample Road got us to Humphrey's Station for breakfast. From Humphrey's Station in Tollhouse, we were planning on heading toward Auberry. The original plan was to take Lodge Road, but I suggested we take Tollhouse Road to the top of the Four-Lane on SR168 and cross over to Auberry Road to decend into Auberry. Both routes end up in Auberry, but the high road is much more scenic.

Between Clovis and Humphrey's, I was between the sportbikes. I was able to hold onto them, and the ST liked to run, but I was right at the edge of my comfort zone. I prefered things just a bit slower. I kept watching Chuck get farther and farther off the back until I didn't seen him anymore. When we left Humphrey's, I got in the back, behind Chuck. The others took off.

When we got to the turn in Tollhouse, Chuck turned right up Tollhouse Grade and I followed. We enjoyed the scenery and the pace on the way up and were met at the top of the hill by about 15 cyclists. I immdiately thought I'd brought the wrong bike. I needed my Vitus, not the ST. Among all the cyclists, we expected to see the others we were riding with, but they weren't there. Chuck and I looked at each other and figured they'd headed down Lodge road when we turned up Tollhouse Grade. No matter; we'd catch back up in Auberry.

Down to Auberry through Alder Springs and still no sign of them. After a quick trip to Mom & Dad's, we headed down Powerhouse road to complete the chosen route. Toward Northfork to road 200, then toward O'Neals. That road had a surprise for us: new pavement. Construction was still in progress and the new asphalt was silky smooth... until it ended. Then there was no pavement. The road became a pot-hole marked, hard-packed dirt and gravel travelway for about 3 miles. Chuck's VStrom was the perfect bike for the road. The ST, not so much. But we made it through to O'Neals.

Road 200 took us to the remnants of the community of Foothill and from there went to Four Corners and the north end of State Route 145. After a quick stop in North Madera for a drink, we headed home.

151 miles total. It was good for both of us to get out.

View Larger Map


Low Fuel?

I filled up before work this morning after a slow, fuel-conserving ride into work. My fuel light came on last night on the way home. It's designed to flash when there are four or five liters (a bit more than a gallon) left. The info center on the dash then begins a countdown of how many miles you have left before you run out of fuel. When I run on the freeway, I can really stretch out the fuel consumption. Pick the right gear and engine speed and it'll tell you it's getting 55+ m.p.g. Pick the wrong gear, or get caught in traffic, and the countdown drops a lot faster than the amount of miles you're actually traveling. The first time I saw the countdown in heavy traffic, I watched it drop 9 miles from the timer in only 2 miles traveled. This morning, I got stuck behing a line of cars (30 maybe) going through a four-way stop at a construction zone. All the stop & go and idling sucked everything out of the timer. By the time I got through, it said I was out of fuel. No miles left. Game over. And I was nowhere near a gas station as I got on the super-slab freeway. I took the last 14 miles to the station near my office at a very law abiding pace to get everything I could of any fuel I had left.

It took 7.015 gallons. The manual says it'll take 7.7 so apparently, I still had a ways to go. But from that 7.015 gallons, I got 305.3 miles! That works out to 43.52 miles per gallon. Cost wise, it worked out to $0.091 a mile. Nice!

I'm liking this new bike.


Better Than Drafting

I've seen a lot of things happen in bike races I've attended over the years. Tacoed wheels. Missing saddles. Guys running with their bikes to stay in the race. But I've never seen this. I got my October 2008 edition of Bicycling Magazine today and this pic was on top of page 34. I sure got my attention. The short article reads:


"American Pro Billy Demong, 28, found a new way to finish a bike race when he completed stage two of July's Cascade Classic in Bend, Oregon, sitting on the saddle of Astana's Chris Horner - while carrying his own broken bike. Jason Gay spoke to Demong, a world class skier who races bikes to stay in shape, about the incident.

"What happened, Man?"
"I crashed with about three kilometers to go. I took one look at my bike an knew it was torched. I ran about one kilometer and some guy said, 'Get on my bike and we'll go'. I was like, 'Hey, Chris.'

"Did you hesitate?"
"There was a spit second where I thought: I can make it on my own. But I was psyched to have that ride. Running in cleats is not my favorite thing.

"Was this, um, legal?"
"Don't ask me man. I have no idea. As far as I know, we're the only ones who've ever done it. But the officials were cool.

"What did you and Horner talk about on the way to the finish?"
"Not much - we were just enjoying the day. He'd pedal 10 times and then we'd coast. The marshals radioed ahead and said, 'Get some cameras ready - you guys aren't going to believe this one.'

I never would have.



I have a cover for my bike that I use when I leave the bike outside for very long. It's nothing fancy, but enough to keep the sun and a bit of the weather off of it. It's fairly lightweight and it doesn't take much of a breeze to have it filled and/or blowing around everywhere. The bottom of the cover is a heavier, heat-resistant material that can lay against the hot exhaust pipes without any trouble.

This morning when I got to work I went through the usual routine of putting the cover on the bike. I hook the back of the cover over the luggage rack on the bike, pull the front down over the faring and front wheel, then pull the back of the cover over the saddlebags and exhaust. This morning as I was snugging up the front, a breeze blew the cover off the back and down to the side of the bike. The lightweight, non-heat-resistant top went right for the right-side pipe and immediately melted.

Now I've got a fist sized hole in the cover and a blue, gooey, smelly mess on the front of my exhaust can. That'll take a few months to burn off. Nice.


Lance Armstrong Plans a Clean, Victorious Comeback

as posted September 10, 2008, 10:38 am on the Wall Street Journal

He retired in 2005 after winning seven consecutive Tour de France titles. He’ll probably always be known as the tour’s best rider ever.

And he’s baaaack.

Lance Armstrong, the Texan who beat testicular cancer in 1996, vows to compete in five races next year, including the Tour de France. His reasons: He wants to raise cancer awareness, and he wants to become the oldest winner of the Tour de France. At 37, he’d be a year older than Belgian Firmin Lambot was when he won the event in 1922. And despite Armstrong’s consistently clear drug tests in the Tour de France, he’s all too aware that there are many skeptics who believe his victory in 1999 wasn’t clean.

Maybe we should have seen his return coming. Mr. Armstrong finished second last month in a grueling 100-mile mountain-bike race in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. He’s also been inspired by 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres, the Olympics silver medalist from the Beijing Games.

While Armstrong’s drive to win and compete can’t be questioned, he admits in an interview with Vanity Fair that his back tires more easily than before, and it’s harder to get out of bed. “But when I’m going, when I’m on the bike — I feel just as good as I did before,” he tells the magazine.

“But at age 37?” writes Douglas Brinkley. “A 2,000-mile, 23-day race, much of it uphill? By next July? I asked him, rather ungraciously, if he wasn’t too old to get back into shape that quickly. He laughed. And he was off and running.”

Fort Worth Star Telegram columnist Gil LeBreton isn’t surprised by Armstrong’s comeback. “A part of him, Armstrong admitted, wants to return to lay the last of the doping rumors to rest,” Mr. LeBreton writes. “The cynics and critics still wonder how Armstrong won the Tour seven times, while so many of the others who finished second, third and so on have all confessed or been banned as doping cheats.”

In the Chicago Tribune, Philip Hersh writes that Armstrong raises more questions than he answers by returning. The biggest challenge will be mental, Robbie Ventura, a cycling coach, tells Mr. Hersh. “Physically, Lance can definitely do it,” Mr. Ventura says. “The hardest part will be to go back to the mental discipline of training, eating and sleeping with 110 percent commitment. Snapping your brain back into a mode of being perfect all the time is difficult.”

But the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins, who has written two books about the cyclist, believes Armstrong can raise the funds and mobilize the science to defeat cancer. “Lance’s enemies and critics, who are legion, will sneer that his accomplishments were dope-fueled and that his comeback is vanity-driven, and even some of his admirers will question whether it’s sensible to try to add to his record of seven Tour de France victories after three years away from the bike,” Ms. Jenkins writes. “But the fact is that cancer and improbable odds are the keys to his fierce personality, they’re what propelled him over 2,300 miles and up mountainsides in the first place. ‘Watch, I’m gonna win it again,’ he said, after the first one. ‘Know why? ‘Cause everyone says I can’t.’”

4000 Miles and Counting

This morning on my way to work the odometer on the new ST hit 4376 miles. I bought it with 376 miles on it. That gives me 4000+ miles since July 3rd. I know for some riders, that's not much, but when you consider that I ride more for utilitarian purposes (commuting) rather than for fun (weekend rides to the coffee house), that's quite a few miles in nine weeks.


R100GS For Sale

1993 BMW R100GS Bumblebee, 69,670 miles. $5500

Central California bike, daily driver, always garaged. Engine, transmission, & drive shaft are tight with no leaks. Very little off-road use; fire roads only.

Less than 100 miles on newly rebuilt transmission (new bearings & shift forks); work done in August. In June, the neutral switch and clutch switch were replaced and a full Service 2 performed. In April, the voltage regulator, throttle cables, and air box breather hose were replaced. In March, it got new steering bearings. The pushrod tubes and head gaskets were replaced in late summer 2007. Progressive fork springs and new a fork tube was installed in fall 2006. All parts were new OEM and the work and service was performed by Cycle Specialties BMW of Modesto.

Almost completely stock with two-tone, two-up seat and hard touring cases. It has a rebuilt (and rebuildable) starter, a newer, non-stock alternator, volt meter, throttle lock, and exhaust extension. Dealer installed options include heated grips, hand guards, handlebar pad, and a tinted windscreen. Tool kit, service manual, and owners manual included.

Contact kewaneh[at]gmail[dot]com for more info and links to detailed pics.