Monday, June 30, 2008

Motorcycles on Palomar Mountain




In the "blow out" post I mentioned I got a ride from a photographer. He was on the mountain taking pictures of sport bike riders dragging their knees--or trying to--through the 21 switchbacks up and down Palomar Mountain. In fact each of the half-dozen times I have cranked my bicycle up Palomar, my entertainment has been listening to the Ninjas, FZRs, Ducati twins and other crotch rockets roar up and down the mountain. And since I am climbing at 5 mph I can hear them coming five turns behind me and hear them going away five more turns up. The best is when I am in a left bend--the wider radius going up--and a really good ride goes through the turn. I hear them coming out of the last turn 2nd gear, third screaming to redline then down to 40 mph, smooth through the turn and for about 50 feet through the middle of the turn I hear the plastic puck on the riders left knee dragging along the ground. At the exit, the rider nails the throttle and rips to 80 mph in four seconds before braking into the next turn.

Of course, not all the sport bike riders rip through the turns--some brake hard and wobble, some think they are going a lot faster than they are, and others ride Harleys. Whatever the virtues of these La-Z-Boys on wheels, they look pathetic on Palomar. After watching the virtuosos rip through the hairpins at 40 and the not-so-skilled ride through the turn at 35, it is sad hear the 800-pound Harleys rumble up the mountain and idle through the turns at 20 mph. Any faster and they are scraping footboards, pegs, kickstands, etc. They look like Amish mules at the Kentucky Derby.

Family Black Sheep Flies a MEDEVAC Blackhawk

Brooklyn-born Amira Talifi, (not her real name) is a helicopter pilot I served with in the Army National Guard. She is one of seven ch...