Tim & Bikes

 

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I’m a professional photographer (video & stills)  based in Olympia, WA, a very small city on the southern tip of Puget Sound. Most of the work I do at my company, Inventive Pictures, is in the Seattle area. It rains a lot here, especially in the winter and spring. The rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula are a stone’s throw to the northwest and the towering Cascade mountains are a short trip to the east. It’s a beautiful part of the country that offers a lot if you can make do with the wet climate.

Bicycle touring through the pacific northwest in 1988

I’ve been self-employed since I was 21. During my teens and twenties in RI and NYC I commuted and toured on a bicycle and enjoyed trips through New England, northern California, Oregon and through the Rocky Mountains from Yellowstone to Banff. Although I still bicycle around town, these days I’d rather venture out on a two-wheeled motorized machine. When I’m not working I like to escape on the motorbike.

Travelling by motorbike is fun and it makes it easy to meet new people and make friends. Most people find motorcycle travelers both approachable and vulnerable, and that combo is a good conversation starter.

I pack a couple of cameras wherever I go,  as well as tools and a few spare parts. On long tours I’ll bring basic camping gear but mostly I stay in motels and eat at small restaurants. My armored riding gear keeps me dry and warm down to about 40 degrees F. Ideally I prefer to tour on old highways and back roads that pass through small towns, maybe covering about 400 miles a day, but I’ve been know to super-slab it from RI to WA in less than four days too. I enjoy riding solo or with friends.

 

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Hurricane Ridge Road in the Olympic National Park

My first bike was a Yamaha Maxim 650 I bought in the 80’s in NYC. It was ruined in a slow-speed wreck. Another Yamaha Seca 550 I got soon after got stripped in Alphabet City in NYC. I had a Honda Nighthawk in Seattle in the 90’s and rode it to Brooklyn where it was stolen in two days. Clearly NYC is not the best place to have a bike.

Today I own  a 1991 BMW K75 with 170,000 miles on the odometer, and a new 2014 Kawasaki Versys 650.

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Tim’s 1991 BMW K75

The BMW was an “RT” model when I got it in 2011 (at 83k miles) with a full fairing and BMW panniers, but I took all that fiberglass and plastic off and added top-loading aluminum panniers that are made in Idaho.

The 550-pound water-cooled K75 is a touring bike so it is fairly comfortable to ride long distances. As a road bike it’s better suited to pavement than gravel and dirt, but I’m happy to ride dry unpaved forest roads in the summer.  Currently the K75 is hibernating in Rhode Island.

The Kawasaki was brand new in August 2016 when I bought it.

Tim's Kawasaki KLE560
Tim’s Kawasaki KLE560

I’ve outfitted it with Happy Trail panniers, heated grips and a variety of LED illumination to see and be seen. It’s been broken-in around Mt Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula, and most recently carried me down to the September 2016 Horizon’s Unlimited Travelers meeting near Yosemite, and then back home along the Pacific coast.