Staying in the game - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Staying in the game

I wrote this a couple years ago. There's a lot going through my head right now with what I want to do this season and which direction I want to take my riding so I thought I'd post this back up....

I’ve been roadracing and doing trackdays now for almost a decade. Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of other riders come and go. This sport that we love so dearly has a high turnover rate. You meet people who absolutely live and breathe for riding their motorcycle around a racetrack, then suddenly they disappear. Why is that?
I’m sure the single most common reason for people to quit the sport is that it costs so damn much. But that’s not the only reason. Incurring an injury or the concern over the possibility of getting hurt can often play a large roll as well. There’s no denying that racetrack riding is a dangerous pastime. Children are often mentioned as having an influence on a rider’s decision to quit the track. How about free time? Preparing and maintaining a track motorcycle is a labor-intensive task. Don’t underestimate burnout. Sometimes enough is just enough and it’s time for something different. While my love for racing and motorcycles runs deep, occasionally I find myself pondering if I really want to stay.
First, let’s consider the money involved in racing or track riding motorcycles. I’m not going to display bar graphs or charts to illustrate how much money I personally spend every year on this sport. Frankly I don’t even want to know. If I ever really thought about it, that might be enough to make me quit! For the last decade, as long as my head’s been above water, the mortgage was getting paid and my bills were all up to date, I’ve been pretty content. Any funds beyond that have gone straight into the track pipe!
I suppose that there are people who set aside a budget for this sport but I’m usually just counting my pennies in hopes of making it to the next weekend. Once you reach a certain level, your tire bill alone can break the bank. If your motorcycle doesn’t have good rubber, why even go to the track? I’ve been pushing harder and harder lately, so I can’t go as fast as I want to without good traction. Sliding around on spent rubber isn’t fun or safe. Then there’s fuel, both for the bikes and the van. I can’t even head for the track closest to my house these days without dumping at least a C note into the van, gas cans and bikes. The cost of simply getting to the event is keeping many riders home. This season, I’ve been rolling into the driveway on fumes at the end of a weekend, with my wallet as dry as my tank

Even if you can afford the gas, tires and entry fees for your next trackday, there’s still the cost of motorcycle maintenance to overcome. Consumables like gaskets, clutch plates, bearings, brake pads and engine oil all cost money. What about gear? Without the proper protection nobody should be out riding at all, much less dragging a knee at 85mph at any race track. That nice five-year-old helmet may still feel ok but the fact is that it needs to be replaced. Those ragged boots with Velcro that doesn’t work and a hole burned through the side have no business on your feet when you’re blasting down the front straight at 150 + at Road America. Without a freshly shod, well maintained motorcycle and intact riding gear, your risk of injury skyrockets. Injury has its own costs, which are the next part of the equation.
Many folks quit due to injury or the fear of it. Since getting hurt interferes with your ability to earn money, there’s no wonder that it’s such a concern among racetrack riders. If you fall down, get banged up and can’t support yourself, was it really worth it? For me, the answer to this question is, “No, but….” No it’s not worth it if the worst happens but I love riding so much that maybe it is worth the risk. Catch my drift? It’s an addiction thing. It has to do with loving the rush of seriously hauling butt around a racetrack enough to ignore the possible consequences. Actually, you can compare racetrack riding to sex; both pose risks to your health that can range from minor to life-threatening, yet people are doing it anyway because it feels so good! Like sex, your best plan of defense as a track rider is abstinence. Failing that, wear protective gear and don’t do anything stupid.
Balancing a racetrack addiction with normal life is a challenge and that’s where time becomes an issue. It takes quite a bit of wrenching to keep a track bike in tip-top running condition. Some people pay professionals to do this work for them but unless you’re filthy rich, the money can be even harder to find than the time. This is how garage rats like me and my friends can afford to play but it costs us a big portion of our personal lives in the process. I’ve spent countless late nights working in the garage before track weekends to make sure everything was working properly. I love wrenching just about as much as riding and there’s a certain amount of pride involved in knowing that I’m willing and able to keep my bikes properly prepared and maintained. The problem is that there are only so many hours in a day. What about my family, my girlfriend and the lawn that needs to be mowed? It’s hard to realistically budget time when you’re feeding an addiction.

Is it time to try something different? It’s occurred to me. A different sport or perhaps just a different form of motorcycle racing could be a nice change. I’ve been thinking about trying kayaking or doing more bicycle riding. I’m really leaning towards more dirtbike riding though. It’s a far less expensive way to still be on a motorcycle and ride hard. Trail riding can be both relaxing and exhilarating in the same breath. There’s something about the adventure of going for a long trail ride on a dirtbike that I’ve loved since I was a kid. Sometimes I think I’m getting a little burnt out by the whole road racing and track day routine but my mind changes quickly if I’m railing through Dead Bear at Putnam Park bar-to-bar with a good friend. All of a sudden there’s nothing I’d rather do. It’s just that the money, the time and the worry of getting injured can all stack up together to make me feel that I might need to step away for a little while. There are times when it seems as if I need to let my love for the sport rekindle itself. Then the phone rings and it’s one of my pusher friends, saying, “Let’s go to Grattan this weekend. They’re short on coaches.” Wow, I managed to stay away from the racetrack for a whole three weeks!
The fact of the matter is that I’m deeply tied into this sport. It’s more difficult than I realized to just drop it and try something new. I’ve been riding the racetrack long enough to become good at it, something that’s hard to give up. In the process, I’ve developed a circle of friends who have become like family. Through coaching and helping newer riders, I’ve learned that I really enjoy seeing a student’s smile when I’ve helped them figure out how to put a knee down. It would be really hard to give all of that up and start over with something else. So how am I planning to stay in the game? I keep on telling myself, “Moderation.” If I can moderate my participation so I don’t burn myself out, I can continue to play this game for a long time.

Thanks for editing my thoughts and emotions K3...

http://www.trackdaymag.com/Articles/...-the-Game.aspx

"I pity the poor people who don't ride motorcycles"
-Malcolm Smith, champion motorcycle racer

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Last edited by Grasshopper; 12-29-2010 at 09:48 PM.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:12 PM
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What I am doing to cure myself from being burnt out on roadrace bikes is spread my hobby out like dirt biking and sumo racing. I have been doing it as long as you Nick and I stepped away a couple of years ago from racing and miss it a little. Trackday coaching helps this but dirbiking and sumo riding and racing will fill the void
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:15 PM
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Just kidding Nick, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think many people in your similar position have had the same feelings. Since I am more of a newbie these types of concerns havent really hit me yet.

"When in doubt, use full throttle. It may not improve your situation, but it will end the suspense."
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:15 PM
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Tis the season many people minds go up and down around this time. When your ready to stop u will without looking back then you know its time

go time traveler style and go back in time, fuck his grandma, then shoot forward in time and then fuck his mom. Then return back to present state and call him a the product of two incest whores and hes your son and show video of you plowing the both members of his family. .
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:21 PM
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I used to have so much disposable income before I started riding on the track. This is an expensive sport. If I quit, it will be because I couldn't afford to do it anymore or that I simply lost interest. Street riding doesn't do it for me anymore. So if I stop riding on the track, then my motorcycle days might be over.

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image v. substance. Some people want to be motorcyclists, others just want to be seen as motorcyclists.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C2M View Post
Tis the season many people minds go up and down around this time. When your ready to stop u will without looking back then you know its time
this is true. its winter time and i'm not even thinking of motorcycles right now. i've got other hobbies to keep me busy for now.

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image v. substance. Some people want to be motorcyclists, others just want to be seen as motorcyclists.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:27 PM
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Great write up Nick!!

One thing that people who take up racing or track days lack is balance for the most part. I am speaking of life balance. In order to be good, or better than good at this particular sport, it requires dedication and passion that is typical for those of us with addictive behavior.

And as you so clearly articulated, addictions are expensive. Thanks again for sharing it with us.

===========
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
What about my family, my lawn and the girlfriend that needs to be mowed?
Wat?

I quit because I didn't get a Factory ride. So there. Good writeup dude.

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 06:55 PM
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Nick - I was in the same boat when I had the Duc, minus the track of course - Riding became work and not fun - Got the SuperDuke and got busy with the fun - Then I met the Sumo crew and they opened my eyes to what riding can be, FUN

Come on out Homie - It is cheap and it is FUN

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 07:17 PM
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Exceptional, excellent post Nick!

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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 08:36 PM
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Great post Nick. It seems like just yesterday when you were a spring chicken. I remember waaaay back when you and patrick cuddled all night long in the rain in that borrowed and collapsed tent at BHF.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 08:40 PM
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You need to figure out a way to turn this love/addiction into a career; no question you have the passion.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 09:30 PM
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Like others said, nice post. Anyone need a track bike?

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kegger View Post



Just kidding Nick, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think many people in your similar position have had the same feelings. Since I am more of a newbie these types of concerns havent really hit me yet.
Sometimes I wonder if my hobby is out of control man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C2M View Post
Tis the season many people minds go up and down around this time. When your ready to stop u will without looking back then you know its time
Sometimes I wish I could slow down and chill out. I think too much about this shit. It's definitely a financial burden, but then I think about how much fun I have had and jones for the track pipe more.

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I used to have so much disposable income before I started riding on the track. This is an expensive sport. If I quit, it will be because I couldn't afford to do it anymore or that I simply lost interest. Street riding doesn't do it for me anymore. So if I stop riding on the track, then my motorcycle days might be over.
Disposable income?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wink View Post
Great write up Nick!!

One thing that people who take up racing or track days lack is balance for the most part. I am speaking of life balance. In order to be good, or better than good at this particular sport, it requires dedication and passion that is typical for those of us with addictive behavior.

And as you so clearly articulated, addictions are expensive. Thanks again for sharing it with us.
I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out. I can't "just" do trackdays and be happy. I need more variaty. Racing tickles me pink but I can't do that every weekend. Ice, Sumo, Dirt, Roadracing, trackdays in the right moderation spread out properly is my ticket to motorcycle happiness.

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Originally Posted by G2G View Post
What I am doing to cure myself from being burnt out on roadrace bikes is spread my hobby out like dirt biking and sumo racing. I have been doing it as long as you Nick and I stepped away a couple of years ago from racing and miss it a little. Trackday coaching helps this but dirbiking and sumo riding and racing will fill the void
The void. Elaborate Steve. I have a pretty good idea where you are going with that.

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this is true. its winter time and i'm not even thinking of motorcycles right now. i've got other hobbies to keep me busy for now.
I need to play more hockey and buy a kyak. The nice thing about a kyak is that you don't have to pump gas in it.

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Wat?

I quit because I didn't get a Factory ride. So there. Good writeup dude.
Factory ride? Does that happen to everyday, working class folks ever?

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Nick - I was in the same boat when I had the Duc, minus the track of course - Riding became work and not fun - Got the SuperDuke and got busy with the fun - Then I met the Sumo crew and they opened my eyes to what riding can be, FUN

Come on out Homie - It is cheap and it is FUN
Gus has to modify some wheels for me and I'll rip the KX250 out there.

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Exceptional, excellent post Nick!
Thanks Kim. You've been there since the beginning

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Great post Nick. It seems like just yesterday when you were a spring chicken. I remember waaaay back when you and patrick cuddled all night long in the rain in that borrowed and collapsed tent at BHF.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kruz View Post
You need to figure out a way to turn this love/addiction into a career; no question you have the passion.
That was a miserable night. It took us 2 hours and a case of beer to set that tent up and the monsoon blew it down it 5 minutes. We were so cold and miserable. I slept underneat the tono cover and Patrick's tall linky ass slept in my single cab, 2 door S-10. Ohhhh the good old days.


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Originally Posted by JRSMAIL View Post
Like others said, nice post. Anyone need a track bike?
NO!!!! No more bikes!

"I pity the poor people who don't ride motorcycles"
-Malcolm Smith, champion motorcycle racer

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 10:28 PM
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Void meaning the adreniline (sp) rush you get while roadracing.
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Void meaning the adreniline (sp) rush you get while roadracing.
Not the void in your life if motorcycles went away?

"I pity the poor people who don't ride motorcycles"
-Malcolm Smith, champion motorcycle racer

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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 10:39 PM
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Well thats a given. LOL
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 10:48 PM

 
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With the OP I have shared many of those years.Loved every one of them (most anyway)

I find my self up to my eyeballs with this passionate hobby once in a while.I'm heading into 40yrs of motorcycling and have found that just putting down the wrench for a few days will help me catch my breath (pun intentional).

I will say though that like an old dog that gets an extra step with a new puppy in the house.People have helped me rekindle the bike fever. such as Nick with his contagious sickness.

I might add that people skills are a very demanding part of motorcycling from a service perspective.

An equal dose of both over the years along with a project bike and I may grow old with a wrench tightly clinched in both hands.

Love ya buddy and good luck in the new year.

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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 06:19 AM
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I like what you guys wrote...

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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 09:44 AM
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i would ONLY leave track riding if my body was unable to continue or age stops me.
other than that, my core will remain as hard as yours. the money aspect, well, if its
what you love than its worth what we spend. 2011 will be my 4th season on the track.
and i "have" noticed some people come and go, watever, i'm stayin. i look forward to
us riding soon

418
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post #21 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENutz View Post
If I quit, it will be because I couldn't afford to do it anymore or that I simply lost interest. Street riding doesn't do it for me anymore. So if I stop riding on the track, then my motorcycle days might be over.
+1

This sport brings me joy. Unless I find new joy, I'm not quitting.

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post #22 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 10:42 AM
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I certainly would like to try Sumo, I did have a YZ125 back in TX and that was a blast but when I moved back here to IL the bike had to go as I came back to Street/trackdays and purchased a bike for that reason, this sport is expensive (especially for me with 1 income and a family to support, there are 6 of us) so I try to do at the very least 4-5 TD's a yr which is by far not enough for me and street is fun but no where near as fun or adrenaline filled as the track. If and when I can afford a 2nd bike it will be a dirt/sumo type machine, I won't give up trackdays on the 600 but it will be great to have a less expensive option.

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post #23 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 12:23 PM
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Nick,
I've seen you ride on the dirt...you are a talented rider and you should continue to ride, but you are experiencing a change, part of which is that you are getting older. You are now starting to feel a bit of the self preservation instinct that kicks in with a few more years under your belt. Diversafy what kind of riding you do ...a little pavement here, a little dirt there and start training yourself not to take the competition so seriously (not easy, I know). Face it, you're coming to an age where the dreams of being a star in the Superbike Nationals or MotoGP are becoming unrealistic. Instead of entering the super serious fast guy classes start competing for fun in age based classes like Vet or Senior (when you get there) or look into vintage racing which is much more laid back and "for fun" oriented. Vintage road racing, flat track and MX are very satisfying, comparitively inexpensive and competitive without being exceptionally risky compared to modern bike racing.
For the burn out factor find something that will divert you from bikes completely that is fun and won't eat up money at a rate that hurts the motorcycling. For me that has become trap shooting and upland bird hunting.
Bottom line...A rider with your talent and desire should definately stay in the game. It's just that you're coming to the time where you need to change the way you play the game and evaluate the level at which you play it.
I'm looking forward to seeing you at the new District 17 GP series events.

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post #24 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 12:29 PM
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"When in doubt, use full throttle. It may not improve your situation, but it will end the suspense."
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post #25 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 12:38 PM
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post #26 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 12:54 PM
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That effing tent...

I was forced out of trackday riding due to injury/illness. Can't operate the clutch on a streetbike to this day. Drives me nuts - but the passion for the sport and the people was enough to get me on a dirtbike and back out doing what I like to do (i.e. scaring the bejessus outta myself) with the people I like to do it with.

In time I might be able to get back on a trackbike - but for the last few seasons, I haven't missed it nearly as much as I used to. Filled the void as it were.

Nick - you should follow in CP's footsteps. Turn your passion for riding into a business and work there until you loathe the industry so much that you start riding bicycles.


<---- Patrick

Property of Evil Monkey Racing

Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.


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post #27 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Underdog View Post
Nick - you should follow in CP's footsteps. Turn your passion for riding into a business and work there until you loathe the industry so much that you start riding bicycles.



This! It's a dream come true!

------->> Best motorcycle shop ever!

http://www.chicagoperformance.com/
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post #28 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 01:13 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Naperville
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post #29 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 01:15 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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CP=big ballin!

"When in doubt, use full throttle. It may not improve your situation, but it will end the suspense."
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post #30 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Northlake, IL 60164
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How you found us: In a fortune cookie
           
All my shit rolls on chrome dubs.

------->> Best motorcycle shop ever!

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