08 September 2010

"Pizza Bike"

Several of you have inquired, so it's time for a Moto Guzzi update. What with personal chats, Facebook status updates, personal emails, blogging, and comments at the blogs of others, I can't remember what I've said to whom.
So some of this will be rehash... too bad for those of you who bore easily.

I've promised pictures. I'll take some and post them as soon as I have the spare time and a fair-weather day to take 'em. Tonight I'm at work on my last night of eight in a row. I'll be off work tomorrow, then back at work Thursday night to cover a shift for one of our guys that has mandatory training that day. Then I'm off Friday, only to be back at work Saturday morning to cover another pilot's vacation. That's how my life has unfolded these last few months...
I've not had a chance to enjoy summer at all, and I resent that 'cause it's my favorite season.
But until I take and post actual pictures, my bike looks almost exactly like the one pictured above except the Moto Guzzi logo on the side of the fairing is a more brilliant and visible red. My bike is a '93 model, but there apparently wasn't much change in the Guzzi SPIII from '91 to '93.

It's been a long time since I've ridden. I sold my 1100cc Yamaha back in 1984 and haven't ridden at all, other than to take short test-rides on machines owned by friends. In the 25 years I did ride I never had any formal motorcycle training. I learned via word of mouth, watching others get hurt, or through the school of hard knocks. Through sheer luck, I never had a serious incident. An old ARMY buddy I used to ride with confided that he schedules himself for some sort of advanced training every two years, mostly to un-learn the bad habits he's picked up. I think that's smart, and know in those 25 years of riding I picked up lots of habits that could hurt me and anyone riding along. Right after I bought the bike I made reservations to attend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course. Filling out the form for the course I had to indicate alternative dates I could attend. When I checked the course schedule online, the indication was that the upcoming class was still open. I selected that date first, then selected the next date I could attend... a month away. A week before the date of the course I hoped to attend I got a note from the MSF folks...
The course was full on the date I wanted and I was locked into my alternate date. Oh well.

I went to the DMV and got the bike titled, got new tags for it and bolted them on. So now it sits in the garage mocking me... a thoroughbred with its nose in the air, ready to go whenever I'm capable. The last two weeks have been nearly perfect for riding. It's been tempting to go out and throw a leg over it and just go, but I haven't had time to buy helmets yet and I refuse to ride helmet-less. I'm trickle charging the battery because there's an electric clock on the instrument panel slowly discharging the battery.
The 2-1/2 day course is now 15 days away and cannot come soon enough. My plan is to have new helmets waiting to be used after I complete the course so we can let "Pizza Bike" stretch its legs immediately after I put the motorcycle driver's license in my wallet.

I've been surfing the internet to absorb anything Moto Guzzi related I can find. The brand's followers are an interesting bunch, freely agreeing the bike is not perfect, but extolling the machine's pluses and insisting it's a great all around bike. There's no shortage of forums with folks willing to share information about the bike's character, and most members of those forums would ride NOTHING other than a Moto Guzzi in spite of some obvious shortcomings,
(a dearth of dealers across this land being the biggest one).

Motorcycles, like automobiles, are compromises...

Like Cadillacs, Corvettes, and Jeeps...
Some are sporty and ungodly(!) fast but not comfortable for rides whether the distance is long or short. Some exhibit a visual and aural "attitude" and are comfortable cruising, but may fall short on comfort for riding really long distances. Some are set up to be ridden all day while protecting their riders from the elements, come what may. Most are faster than most of the cars with which they share the road.
My online reading has been an education. I found out that the double zz's in "Guzzi" are pronounced the same way as "pizza"...

So I've decided to call it the "Pizza Bike".
I'll let ya know later if I think it's "Supreme".


Anonymous said...

Mamma mia, itsa gooda lookin bike!


camerapilot said...

Like yourself I learned from others so I knew I had bad habits. After I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course I found out I had A LOT OF BAD HABITS.
I have two suggestions for you before you take the class-
Bring your own helmet. The helmets that are provided can become very uncomfortable due to lack of size selection. Plus these helmets have been worn by many sweaty students, get the picture?
Next get your hands on a book by David L. Hough- "Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well".
Have a great time out there.