July 26, 2011

Family Biker Blood

Today I'd like to introduce you to my family. As you might have guessed from the title of this post, the passion  for motorcycles runs deep in our family. It all started with my grandmother, when she used her NSU "Quickly" everyday in the 50's to go to work.

My dad, growing up in the 50's and 60's, got influenced by the British Pop and Rock scene and developed a taste for fast bikes. He worked as a car mechanic during the day while working on his bikes at night.
Starting a family meant for him a stop of his biking career, but not for long. He slowly came back to it with a Vespa 150, then a big jump to a Kawasaki GPZ 1000, an extremely heavy and powerful bike, then back to a more relaxed Suzuki 650 Burgman. Eventually he found his Holy Grail in a 2006 Honda Goldwing. 1800cc of touring smoothness and enough LED's to decorate 5 Christmas trees. Not my type of bike, but I admire the fact that at his age he still rides 10 times more then I do!

My brother Stefan started his biking life on a ________ at age 14. At 16 came a naked Honda NSR 125. 125cc's were very popular in Italy between the late 80's and all through the 90's. They were 2 stroke rockets and were proper racing bikes (Cagiva Mito, Gilera SP02, Honda NSR, Aprilia Futura etc). Anyways, he tried his fortune on the racetrack, but sadly, the lack of a generous sponsor meant the races were not always affordable for us. 
Since then he's become an avid bike collector with a great taste I might add. His current stable looks like this:

This Moto Guzzi LeMans, one from the first series of 1978, is an icon of the 70's. It's stylish, fast and reliable.
"For me", says Stefan, "this is the best bike Guzzi ever made and fits perfectly between my Ducati 900SS, which is more racing inclined, and the BMW R90S of the 70's, which is more of a tourer. I prefer the LeMans when she's slightly modified."

The Ducati 350 Desmo was made in 1974 and was the best Desmo single produced by Ducati.
The 250 was too weak, while the 450 vibrated too much. The avent of the Japanese 4 cylinders meant the end for the small singles.

This is a 1961 BMW R69S. A perfect machine for long trips: comfortable, reliable and quiet and was therefore called the "Queen of the Highway". The 69S was also the fastest production bike in the world at that time! The big tank is a Hoske aftermarket product of the 60's.

The next picture shows his 1973 Ducati 750S and in the background a 1975 Ducati 350 Scrambler (a friend's bike). Both bikes are pretty rare. In fact, not even the Ducati Museum in Bologna (Italy)
has a 750S in its collection. "In my opinion the best bike Ducati has ever buid!", says Stefan.

Lastly, a splendid Ducati 900SS from the year 1976. Rides like a train on tracks once it's on the open road, but due to a "difficult" ignition it's a handful in the city. Also, the turning radius is basically nonexistent. The sound is something otherworldly...once you hear it, you'll never forget it.

With all these piston heads in the family my wife has no choice but come along for the ride. Here you can see her expressing pleasure for having a heated backseat on a chilly mountain trip.

...and posing with the 750S...

And finally the youngest rider in the family, yours truly, who went through a Gilera CB 50, Malaguti RST 50, Piaggio Ciao Teen 50, Gilera SP02 125cc, Piaggio Zip 50, then had a loong break while living in London, then back on the saddle with a Tiger Boxer 200ST, a Suzuki Bandit 400V in Thailand and found his Holy Grail: the great Yamaha SR400.

One day my kids (if I manage to get some) will carry on the family legacy. Maybe on electric bikes :-(

July 22, 2011


This weeks' "Bike of the Week" goes to a mint Yamaha SR. I love those white-walled tires. They would look great on my bike too :-)

Unfortunately I don't have any information about this bike. My guess is the bike is located in Japan...

July 21, 2011

Biker Food #1: The Piston Pasta

I told you already in a previous post that I consider myself Italian from the waist down. I therefore decided to share one of my most precious recipes for bikers. In Italy every biker worth his salt knows how important a good meal is before embarking on the next life-changing bike trip. As you know, Italians love pasta, and so do I.

So then, this is called the Piston Pasta, but really it's "just" a "simple" bolognese, also called "ragu`" in Italy. The whole process takes about 3.5 hours so this is no fast food. It might seem time consuming, but the result is well worth the effort, I promise. Once finished, as you are about to take the first fork-full of heavenly pasta, you will hear angels singing praise to your creation, thanking you for bringing a piece of paradise into this dark world of ours and.......well, you get the point.

If you follow this recipe you will have enough ragu` for about 10 generous servings. No point in cooking the whole day for only 1 meal. Put the rest in the fridge and eat within a week...or make your family and friends happy with a delicious jar of ragu`! This is how my mom taught me to cook it and her mom taught her and so on and on to the beginning of time itself.

 Ready? Here we go:

Take 1 whole carrot and cut in small cubes. Finely cut 2 onions and 4~5 garlic cloves into small pieces.

Chop a lot of fresh tomatoes (I had approx. 20) into small to medium size pieces

About 500gr of minced pork or beef (or both)

Also, 1 big tin of peeled tomatoes and 2 spoons of double concentrated tomato paste.

Some dried basil

Cold pressed olive oil (essential!)

Chicken or pork stock

Red wine (here, incredible but true, a very nice Thai wine from PB Valley in Khao Yai, )

Some sage...

Black pepper, grounded by hand like in the old days....but if you're lazy you can opt for the easy way


Heat up the olive oil in a medium sized pot. First add the onions and the carrot, fry with the pot closed on low heath until soft and brownish. Next add the minced meat with the sage. Add salt and pepper. Fry with the pot closed until the meat is cooked .  Now add a bit of red wine so the meat can absorb it.

Add the peeled tomatoes from the tin, the double concentrate and the fresh tomatoes. Fill up the pot completely...it will sink while cooking. Mix in the stock (1 piece) and the basil.
Now let the ragu` simmer on low heath for about 2 hours. Leave the pot open, stir from time to time and make sure the bottom doesn't start to burn up. Let the liquid evaporate and then add water again and again, until you can't see any single piece of tomato.

 The ragu` in the beginning
 After 2 hours, this is how it should look like

Choose a type of pasta. Luckily they sell real Italian pasta here in Thailand...
 (put water in pot, add salt, boil, add pasta, stir, DO NOT OVERCOOK, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!)

If you are lucky enough to have a dad in Italy who sends you big pieces of GRANA (also called "pasta cheese" by the culinary challenged), now is the time to grate some....

 I can almost see Frodo's ring fall down in this lavic deliciousness and melt away into mouthwatering, unspeakable pleasure....

 Serve hot with butter...

Serving suggestion: red wine, grana and maybe some white bread to make sure you scoop up every remaining spec of ragu` from your plate.

That's it! Not too difficult, is it?!
If you have followed these instructions and now you would like to thank me from the bottom of your heart (and belly) for sharing this with you, please do so here.


July 20, 2011

Omega Tank

We're getting there.... The painter called me today as instructed, before spraying on the lacquer.
The design is not really as I designed it and to be honest it could be much better, but this is Thailand and it still looks better than I feared it would. It will definitely look much better and shinier once the lacquer is on.

Here a couple of pics of the job so far....

July 15, 2011

My Favourite Motorcycle Movies

As I'm a bike lover AND a movie enthusiast, especially SF, I thought I'll write down some of my all time favourite motorcycle movies.  I will list them in no particular order.

1) The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
     The one that makes me feel good every time I watch it. It's a movie about an extraordinary person who dedicates his life to his passion and it's made by people who share this passion. 

The life story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years building a 1920 Indian motorcycle -- a bike which helped him set the land-speed world record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967.

2) The Girl on a Motorcycle(1968)
A pretty unknown movie starring Marianne Faithful in supertight black leathers riding a big bike. Sweeeet!

A married woman leaves her husband and zooms off on her motorcycle to see her lover.

3) Roadside Prophets (1992)
Kind of weird but funny movie with interesting actors: Timothy Leary (of LSD fame), one of the Beasty Boys, David Carradine (of Bangkok asphyxiation fame) and Arlo Guthrie (who wrote a very funny motorcycle song song in the 60's).

Two strangers meet on the road and travel through Nevada on motorcycle to find an elusive spot where they can dump another man's ashes. ____________________________________________________________________________

4) Long Way Round(TV mini-series 2004)
Not strictly a movie, but a must see for motorcycle fanatics like myself. 

This documentary series follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska, before finally ending the journey in New York. The filming will be done by on board cameras and one ride along cameraman.

5) Easy Rider (1969)
A classic. I don't think I need to say more....

Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of freedom. 

6) Freebird (2008)
A very funny and very unknown British movie. The magic mushroom scene is priceless!

Three friends out for a weekend motorcycle ride through Wales stumble upon a marijuana field and biker gang war.

7) The Motorcycle Diaries(2004)
Che` riding around South America with his friend on an old Norton. Very enjoyable movie.

The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.

A KIND OF PASSION, a tribute to classic motorcycles and the people who love them

The title says it all really...

Man, I can't wait to get my tank back!!

A KIND OF PASSION, a tribute to classic motorcycles and the people who love them from Squadra Sutge on Vimeo.

Shinya Kimura custom motorcycles

While I'm working on my leather badge I found this great video about Shinya Kimura, a fantastic and ueber-creative bike builder from Japan. 


shinya kimura @ chabott engineering from Henrik Hansen on Vimeo.

Liberty Vintage Motorcycles

Wish I could have the bikes, the space to keep them and the knowledge to fix them....

Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles from Etsy on Vimeo.

July 14, 2011

New Project: Leather Badge

I had a day off from work today because one of the princesses of Thailand decided to grace our city with her royal presence. Works for me...you're always welcome here, princess....come again! :-)
"Idle hands are the devil's playground" they say. Not for me! I started a little project I had in my mind for some time now: to place the same logo of my tank (the one that is still at the paint shop) on the back of my leather jacket.
So I went out and got myself some scrap leather from the local shoemaker for 100Baht, cut out the various pieces and glued them back together with some rubber adhesive. Now I just have to stitch them on the jacket.

Here is how to do it:

1# Find some scraps of leather of different colours

2#  Print your logo and make sure it's the right size

3#  Next, cut the paper logo into smaller pieces and use them to cut out the corresponding leather pieces

4# Make sure all the pieces fit before you glue them together

5# Now it's time to glue and for a better fit I used a couple of clamps


6# Now it's time to glue it on the jacket and start stitching away

7# The finished logo
Not perfect, but that's what's "handmade" is all about, right?