Four years of SVS

Four years ago today, I was sitting at home — a very beige, 400 sq foot studio for which I was paying $1000/month — when Cole from CC Rider Tow South in the East Bay rang my doorbell to deliver my new motorcycle.

Not surprisingly, I wrote about it.

Year One: February 2001 – February 2002.
Well, I bought the SVS on February 4, 2001; due to an immense respiratory infection at the time of purchase, I had it towed home the following day instead of riding it.

The first photo of me and the SVS. Yes, I lived next to a dumpster.

March: Peter and I did our first day ride together with the SVS. I also dropped it a couple of times (not on a day ride), setting the tone of my relationship with the bike that would last for the next two and a half years.

It’s too bad that I hated those pants, since they actually look pretty good.

May: My all-day ride to Calistoga with Kim, Cat, Judy, and Tai. A literally life-changing experience for me that would immediately addict me to motorcycle travel.

July: Redding. My first solo ride; my first overnight ride; my first Women on Wheels event.

The very first picture of the SVS ever geared up for travel.

The rest of 2001 brought lots of tweaks and mods to the bike. The carb sync write-up, the gel seat, the clip-on swap, centerstand…all late 2001. I had about 7000 miles on the bike by its first anniversary and I knew I had the bug. The riding bug, I mean, not the unsatiable shopping/consumerism bug. Well, now that I think of it…maybe they’re pretty interrelated.

Year Two: February 2002 – February 2003.
In February 2002, I moved to a new apartment with An Actual Locking Garage. Thus, my mechanics obsession could begin in earnest. I began acquiring tools with a craze akin to Midwestern housewives collecting Precious Moments figurines. Peter found me a faux-Craftsman toolchest at a garage sale for $20 — an achievement we still talk about to this day.

The Year of Grease.

In spring, I decided that I needed custom leathers. This led to a summer spent almost entirely at Helimot.

June brought my very first (and so far, only — knock on wood) accident. I remain indebted to Dingleberry, however, as the accident resulted in many new shiny parts for the bike and no injury to me. Two and a half years later, I still highly recommend the low-speed, no-injury, not-your-fault accident.


I got my Helimot leathers in October. Yum.

This may still be my favorite picture of me on the SVS. There’s a signed, framed, copy at Helimot, too, if you’re ever there.

I ended Year Two with about 14,000 miles on the odometer.

Year Three: February 2003 – February 2004.
I got restless in early Year Three and took off for the desert for a week. If I thought I was addicted to motorcycle travel before….well, that had nothing on after. The SVS found itself wearing saddlebags more and more often.

Valley of Fire State Park

Keeping with the “desert” theme of 2003, I rode the SVS to Prescott, Arizona. In July. I learned two very important lessons: 1) Neither the SVS nor I mind riding in 100+ F weather; in fact, we both sort of liked it. 2) No one else on earth feels this way.

It’s probably 115F in this photo.

Another short trip in October, this time on the opposite end of the temperature scale: the Northern California Adventure Weekend. I learned that as much as the SVS and I liked the heat…we didn’t like the cold. I bought a heated vest the day after coming home from this trip.

Yosemite National Park

I started the blog in this format in November. I still can’t decide whether I liked the old journal better. Any and all opinions welcome.

Year Three ended with about 29,000 miles on the odometer.

Year Four: February 2004 – February 2005.
Early Year Four was taken up by bad batteries and bad voltage regulators — the first and only major part to go south on the bike. One voltage regulator in 30k miles doesn’t seem so bad.

What else can I say about Year Four, really, that doesn’t involve Alaska?




Year Four ended just shy of 44,000 miles on the odometer….and there are already some grand plans in the works for Year Five. Watch this space.

I’ve met so many people, and gone so many places, because of this motorcycle. I know one could probably argue that that could — and does — happen with any bike, but to quote Full Metal Jacket: there are many like it, but this one is mine.

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