Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: May 2012


Eleanor hangs out with Dirk Blacker Graphix

A couple weeks ago, my store held an Armed Forces Day Celebration event where I invited several vendors to come and advertise their businesses/services. Among them was custom pinstriper and sign painter Dirk Blacker. He brought his samples and paint with him, and after seeing some of his work, I had him help me fulfill a dream that I had in the back of my mind for many years: to draw Traveler and Tommy Trojan somewhere on my FJR1300.

Here's a little photo collage of what he did to my motorcycle. Here's the image that I gave him, and Dirk got to work on it.
This design is originally a sticker, but simply slapping this on the machine wouldn't do it any justice.

Food Review: Buckeye Pho (Columbus, OH)

Here's another local eat I had the chance to enjoy with a friend a couple weeks ago, the same one who helped me explore the Mazah Mediterranean Eatery back in January. This time, we've traveled to another continent with Buckeye Pho in Columbus.

It's a very casual place with multiple TV screens and a open table seating. We sat around the middle of the restaurant to enjoy the open scenery. Since it was a Tuesday evening, the place was relatively empty so service was quick.

We started with fried calamari with a tangy sauce. The squid was a bit heavy and had a deep-fried taste to it, but the sauce helped to cancel it out and give it a bit of flavor.

The pho, however did not disappoint. I ordered their deluxe pho (fully loaded) and received it piping hot and loaded with noodles. It was a well-balanced soup and I could taste the various types of brisket, meatballs, tripe, and tendons. I would have liked, however, more tripe and tendons but overall it was a great rendition of this staple Vietnamese dish.

For dessert, I went for a mocha bubble tea. It was quite tasty. My only qualm about full slush with tapioca boba balls is that the huge amount of ice tends to freeze the tapioca and makes it hard to suck them up with the straw. But for the seasoned boba drinkers, it's half the fun.

Overall, Buckeye Pho is great place for cheap eats, filling food, and casual dining. It's located at 761 Bethel Rd, Ste. E195, Columbus, OH 43235.

 Buckeye Pho on Urbanspoon


600cc Sportbikes: Idiots Not Recommended...

I'm still watching the young bucks come into the motorcycle store asking for a 600cc sportbike as a "first ride" when it's obvious they know nothing or very little about riding. When I hear their attempts to hide the fact they're completely clueless, I giggle a bit in my head and then go back to work at my desk.

This is a subject that I touched on in a previous blog post, "On 600cc Sportbikes: Some Experience Required."  If you'd like to see where I stand on beginner riders on "crotch rockets" and to understand the context of this blog post, please read that first.

So, for the entertainment of my seasoned riders out there, here are a few of the many idiotic statements that I've heard from a number of young, inexperienced riders in the last few months.


Food Review: Knight's Ice Cream (Westerville, OH)

I will ride. For ice cream.

This one's a local, seasonal ice cream stop right near my place, and it beckons for mass groups of motorcyclists looking for a place to meet and hang out. It's quickly become a favorite of mine for its convenient location from I-270, simple storefront, and vast selection of delicious flavors.

The ice cream is made in the store, with dozens of flavors to choose from. So far, I've sampled scoops of their White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Bailey's Irish Cream. For the more calorie conscious folk, they offer zero/low calorie flavor selection as well. Just give them a's all tasty!

Some of the multitudes of flavors of ice cream.
Quick shot of their "Knightsticks." Think freshly-made drumstick cones you can purchase individually or in quantity.
With outside seating, ample parking, and options ranging from triple scoops, waffle cones, and quarts to-go, it's the perfect hang-out or quick snack stop on a warm summer night. Bring the friends and enjoy!

Knight's Ice Cream is located at 596 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081. You can visit their website @

 Knight's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon


How to make religion fun again - with motorcycles.

I've had some interesting run-ins with Christian based motorcycle groups.

One of my favorite stories was my rest stop at Zion Harley-Davidson in Washington, Utah in 2009. I was riding from Los Angeles to Columbus, OH and parked at this dealership to take a break. (When you're a long-distance rider, you learn very quickly that H-D dealerships along interstates are great places of refuge, regardless of what motorcycle you ride!) I was still two hours from my final destination for the night in Salina, UT, and as I got up to leave, a representative from the local Christian Motorcyclist Association chapter stopped me and invited me over for a BBQ they were roasting near the dealership's front entrance. I ended up sticking around for another half hour and chatted it up with other riders about my journeys while filling myself up with a free dinner. My experience was so positive that I even got out of there with H-D dip dot* from that location stuck to my bike's fairing and is still there to this very day.

*NOTE: A dip dot is a small emblem that is placed over a Harley-Davidson motorcycle's oil dipstick cover. Dealerships have their own dip dots that help identify the origin of the bike's sale. Riders have been known to collect these as a reminder of where they've traveled on their bikes. Here's an example (left).

Anyway, the easiest way to make something relevant and motivational to a group of people is to (1) be happy and positive, (2) find a common theme or interest that binds everyone together, and (3) hold activities that brings everyone together. In this case, the draw for this group is the love for two wheels, the chance to ride down the open road with others, and charitable work that benefits others with special needs and/or are less fortunate. When I was growing up, the only church fundraisers in my Catholic parish (which I will not name to save them the embarrassment) I dealt with only benefited the church's maintenance department and paying for some priest's vacation - no joke.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Saturday Night Biker Blessing event hosted by the GEARS Motorcycle Ministry who are based out of the Grove City Church of the Nazarene.

I'm standing in the worship center in my Aerostitch suit and surrounded by other like-minded motorcyclists in their respective vests, colors, and patches while watching a choir and full-blown concert. And these guys are really into it too!

One of the few places where your church clothes is your riding gear. WIN.
I will admit that I'm not at the point in my life to seek any sort of religious group or return to a regular routine of weekly worship - I'm still suffering from the scars of a decade of deceit and hypocrisy that have separated me from the people who are biologically related to me. However, it is refreshing to know that there are people out there who still use Christianity as a banner of goodwill and charity toward other human beings regardless of their faith (or lack thereof), which Catholicism has failed at miserably over the last several years and still continues to do.

GEARS is one of several motorcycle-based ministries in the Columbus region. Other wonderful groups I have had the opportunity to meet are Leave a Mark Ministries and Sons of Thunder. I recommending checking them out to see what they're about, and at the minimum, meet a few new friends.

If you'd like to continue hearing about my issues with my former "faith" (and aren't easily offended by personal opinion), you can continue clicking below. Otherwise, go out there and make some new friends at a motorcycle ministry.


Food Review: Scooters Dawg House (Mentor, OH)

I don't usually start a food review with the goods first, but this is some serious culinary porn. Want to see more of this Super Dawg? Read on.


Quick Peek: 2009 Honda ST1300 Police Bike

Just had to share this one today. My motorcycle store just picked up one of the more interesting bikes I've seen in a while. It's a de-badged, but not decommissioned, 2009 Honda ST1300 Police Edition.

Living in Southern California, the Honda ST1300 is a very popular police motorcycle that is used by several departments in LA and Orange County. Some of these departments include the LAPD, Irvine Police, Newport Beach, and Fullerton just to name a few. In Northern California, the San Jose Police use them heavily. And they're often used as a cost-effective alternative to the BMW R1200RT that is used primarily by the California Highway Patrol.

Out here in Ohio, there are no known police departments that use sport-touring bikes; in fact, all the police motorcycles I've seen out here are Harley-Davidson cruisers. So it's quite unusual to see this bike here, and it's very nice to see (and sit on) a little piece of home.

When I rode on SoCal freeways in heavily congested traffic, following a police bike while lane-splitting in between stopped cars was like catching an awesome wave while surfing. Cars would move in their lane to provide more space, and you'd just take advantage of it on your motorcycle. Although it's technically not illegal in Ohio to perform this move (I checked), most people out here would try to kill you out of sheer anger and stupidity. For more thoughts on what I consider to be one of the greatest privileges in motorcycle riding, click here.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to ride it down the street; it is illegal in Ohio as a civilian to ride any motorcycle with police lights and siren still installed on it, whether or not they are used during operation. Darn. But enjoy the photos!

Front of the bike.
Rear of the bike. Passenger seat is replaced with a plastic cowl and additional bracket added to hold the lights.
Honda factory installed police bike controls (throttle side). settings 1-3 are for police lights, 4 is siren, 5 is preset on/off. Headlights and running lights can be turned off independently.  
Clutch side controls. No difference from a stock Honda ST1300 except for an added intercom push-to-talk button. Windshield is electronically adjustable with a toggle switch.
This is about the furthest I can travel with it, but it never hurts to dream. :)