Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: January 2014


The 2013 SoCal Holiday Excursion Recap: Part 1

**This is a recap of my vacation back to Southern California from 12/28/13-1/9/14.**

Seeing the familiar lights of Los Angeles from the window of that Southwest Airlines on that dark December night brought me to tears, and I sobbed with relief as the plane landed on the tarmac of LAX.

I was home again.

It had been six years since I had walked on my own familiar turf during the holiday season, and with the clouds I had anxiously waited to leave behind in Ohio, I was going to enjoy every second of it. After a relaxing evening with family (which included random conversations with Siri while eating leftover ribs), I hit the ground running on the first full day of my stay in Southern California.


Quick Rides: 2012 Zero S ZF-9 Electric Motorcycle

By just luck of the draw, I had an impromptu opportunity in Los Angeles to test ride a 2012 Zero S ZF-9 electric motorcycle. This was a very different ride to say the least, and the overall performance of this motorcycle makes me very excited for the limitless potential of electric powered vehicles.

No internal combustion, no cylinders, just an electric motor and a giant battery.

The bike from the start was easy to handle. It's super light feel made it easy to move out of its parking spot. It started up silently and power was instant with the twist of the throttle. Its acceleration was surprising, if not astonishing, for an electric motorcycle. I found myself halfway across the alley before I realized what was going on. Fortunately, the brakes were more than responsive enough to bring me to a crisp stop.

The controls are standard to that of a conventional motorcycle. The big difference? This model is clutchless. I found myself reaching into space with my left hand.
Closeup of the instrument cluster.
On my short, 5-mile test ride through the streets of Westwood/Santa Monica, I weaved it through traffic quickly and efficiently with no issues. The twist of the throttle started the whirr of that electric motor and off I went down the street. Acceleration was smooth and there were no breaks in the powerband. The bike itself was very well-balanced and just flowed cleanly into turns. I could imagine the critics having issues with the bike's silence on the street. Although the whole "loud pipes save lives" thing is a big to-do with a lot of motorcyclists (it's not true, trust me), the overall nimbleness of this bike will get you out of a mess long before it begins.

Don't let the alternate mode of power fool you. Suspension in the front (forks) and the single shock rear is just like a standard motorcycle.
There are two driving modes for this Zero, "Sport" and "Eco." For the more spirited rides, push the button.
Belt final drive ensures the most power transferred to the rear wheel.
I wouldn't be surprised if more of these started showing up on roads more frequently in the next several years.
For in-town shenanigans, this bike is more than enough to get you where you need to be. For more information about Zero Motorcycles' current line, visit


Two-Wheeled Soul Searching in Southern California

I spent over 600 miles last week riding through LA and Orange County on a dear friend's 2012 Daytona 675R over this past week, escaping the bitter cold and snowstorms of NE Ohio. In those many miles and many hours, I have journeyed through familiar places, reunited with old friends, and used these hours on the road to contemplate the challenges I have faced over these past few months. I have celebrated my little victories and have reflected on my shortcomings while weaving through the urban jungle of my childhood home of Southern California.

My favorite time to ride the freeways is at night. Nobody's on the road except me, so I can fly down the road with that full feeling of my helmet slicing across the cool coastal air. A drop of a gear and a quick blip of the throttle and I blast into another lane. On one of my last nights of motorcycle riding, I took the most illogical way home from Alhambra that involved the 5/605/60 freeways and eventually the 91 through a series of twisting, nostalgic roads. And that was just to get a coffee.

But these miles also revisited old wounds that I needed to patch up en route to moving on with the next chapter of my life. Old paths and destinations bring back a past that was filled with miles and memories, of a life that has taken me across the country. Although those days are history now, they were a part of what made me who I am now. Here in the present, I am grateful for knowing that I have so many supportive friends who will help me reach my goals and cheer me on along the way.

The motorcycle in full movement is a mind controller. When it travels at speed, it suppresses some thoughts and amplifies others. Fortunately, the thoughts that are amplified within me are the positive ones. My future is bright but it is still unclear. I continue moving forward with my personal aspirations and plans. I also wonder why it is now that my heart feels the way that it does, and for the first time in a long time, I can allow myself to experience those moments again.


2014: Marching on, one day at a time.

I bid farewell to a tumultuous 2013 in a familiar part of the country, a place where I needed to be after the sudden life changes during the last few months. I found myself floundering at times, but through those moments, I realized the true power of my own inner strengths. I found the friends and family who will stand up and support me during these emotional trials.

I know that I am not alone.

I resolve this year to not let anyone pull me down in the midst of their own weaknesses. I fight cowardice, cruelty, and immaturity with the knowledge that I am a person who deserves a much better life than what has been dealt to me.

I do not wish to rewrite history, as there are many wonderful, unforgettable moments amid the pain. As I heal from my wounds, I turn the calendar page and look forward to starting a new chapter in my own history, wherever that may be.