Monday, May 24, 2010

British & European Classic Motorcycle Day

Yesterday I braved the weather and took a drive up to Butler's Orchard in Germantown, Maryland for the British & European Classic Motorcycle Day.

The folks that put on this great show couldn't have planned for a better location. Driving down heavily wooded back-country lanes, dodging oncoming lorries, and through a slight stretch of the imagination, one is transported easily across the pond. The rainy patch we've experienced here in the Washington Metro Region further enhanced the British-ness of the event as the show's concourse was a muddy mess...and to view the great bikes on display it was necessary to slog through the grime. But the payoff was so worth it.

Be sure to link to my web album on Picasa and enjoy the videos below.

Picasa Web Album:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Modernism Alive and Well in NOVA

Modernism is an absolute passion of mine, but having lived in the Northern Virginia/DC Metro Area most of my adult life I have grown accustomed to the stodgy conservative architecture encompassing the region.

That is why I was stoked to stumble across an article in the Spring 2010 issue of Modernism magazine about the Hollin Hills neighborhood.

Situated a couple miles north of Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House, this 450 home development is anything but bland.

According to the article:

Hollin Hills got its start in the late 1940s when Robert Davenport, who had previously developed an experimental neighborhood in the same area, called Tauxemont, with colleagues from the Department of Agriculture, teamed up with Charles Goodman, one of the few modernist architects practicing in the Washington area. In Tauxemont, Davenport had drawn on his agricultural and New Deal background to build simple rectangular houses made of low-cost materials purchased in bulk and arranged to reflect the topography of the site. After acquiring a tract just north of Tauxemont that most developers thought unbuildable because it was so hilly, Davenport engaged Goodman as the architect. In Davenport, Goodman found a like-minded partner willing to build modern houses instead of the ubiquitous colonials then being constructed by the thousands across northern Virginia. The challenges of the site led Davenport and Goodman to bring modernist landscape architects into the mix. Their collaborative efforts to design, develop and market a subdivision based exclusively on modernist principles was unprecedented in the United States. The quality of their product garnered immediate attention; indeed, Hollin Hills won its first of many design awards in 1951, barely two years after the first homes were completed.

I took a short drive over to the neighborhood this afternoon and was instantly blown away by the modernist sophistication and level of care that has gone into these homes. Many of them were listed for sale, but I'm not sayin' which ones. Apparently I missed the spring homes tour by just two weeks, and instead had to settle for the stalkerish photos below. I hope to visit again soon in a more "official" capacity.

Large floor-to-ceiling windows, some in the form of doors, were standard on all Hollin Hills houses, enabling indoor/outdoor living and making the interiors of the modest houses appear larger. The interiors were so bright that many residents painted their walls dark colors. © Robert C. Lautman, Collection of the National Building Museum

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This Ain't No Picket Fence

How does one man make trippy/awesome 60s pysch rock without all of the self-defeating incestuous band relationships?

Like this hombre Tim Presley and his band White Fence.

Shuffle on over to MySpace and give it a listen.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Her Majesty's New Shoes (Part 2 of 2)

Saturday morning (Day 2) I took a trip out to Fairfax Cycles for the mounting and was quoted a $35 install. Fine. I waited two hours but enjoyed the company of fellow bikers. The work was completed for free because the mechanic was having a horrible day. He was running behind on work and completely gouged the BMW rim ahead of mine…a $1300 (oops!!) mistake. His loss, my gain!

Despite ridiculous winds I was able to reassemble my bike. Man, am I EVER pleased with the results. This baby has a much more aggressive stance. I can't wait to take her out for an evening stroll in her new shoes!

Her Majesty's New Shoes (Part 1 of 2)

It was quite a busy few days as I make headway into getting the bike road-ready.

As of this week *The Duchess is now titled and licensed in my name. I removed the stock rearview mirrors (Mickey Mouse ears) as they were pretty much worthless and destroyed the vintage appearance. According to Virginia state law at least one mirror is required to be mounted, but for safety I will be adding two bar end mirrors. Much more authentic and they look way cool.

A week and a half ago I ordered a new shoe for her Majesty from DomiRacer because she had a broken rear heel, and it arrived in the mail this week. I had seen videos on YouTube and had read on the Enfield community forum that changing the rear tire is cake. I figured this could be a take home project I could handle. And it was...almost.

After watching this video I figured I'd need the aid of a friend:

But then on Thursday David Blasco posted this video to his blog and I became convinced I could do this myself:

Friday afternoon I began work...which lasted all of five minutes before I realized that I did not have the correct heads for my lug wrench. Four back-and-forth trips later (yes, FOUR!) to Auto Zone and Wal-Mart and I finally had the correct tools.

Here I am with my gear spread across the parking lot. It's really inconvenient not having a garage. I had to remove my saddle seat as there wasn't enough clearance to unhinge the rear fender.

All of this is going on underneath the seat.

And a closer view.

After having unscrewed one of the nuts holding the fender in place.

Fender pops up easy now.

Cotter pin and castle nut.

After removing the cotter pin...

You remove the castle nut, you remove the axelrod and...

The tire rolls right out.

Another view...using the old shirt to protect my exhaust pipe.

Boom. Tire.

And now the extremely unpleasant part...tire and tube removal.

So I gave the new tire mounting the ole college try, I really did, before I grew completely frustrated and decided to take it to a motorcycle shop to have it professionally mounted and balanced. Part of the difficulty of the installation had to do with the upgrade in tire size from stock to custom... 3.50 x 19 to a larger 4.00 x 19. Not the right tools and too much hassle.

Day 1 wrap.

* I just started calling her by this one day, the monicker stuck, and I like it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Fixx

I was lucky enough to see The Fixx perform live in concert at the Celebrate Fairfax festival in 2009.

I'm a big fan of their music.

One Thing Leads to Another

Stand or Fall

Saved By Zero