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  1. #1 Admin: Short Story of Crazy Carl 
    Administrator-tron CrazyCarl's Avatar
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    As the creator and administrator of MyChinaMoto.com I figured it only appropriate to introduce myself, experiences, background and interests in Chinese motorcycles to anyone who may be interested. I also encourage you to post your own introduction as I know the life stories of riders range far and wide!

    Getting into motorcycling had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on my life. Words can’t begin to describe the countless ways in which riding has impacted my personality and attitude about the world.

    It all started rather simply back in 01’ when my friend Donald called me up and wondered if I’d like to take a project 1982 Honda Magna VF750C off his hands as he needed to make space for his new shiny blue Yamaha YZFR. Up to that point I had been into working on cars and owned a 97’ Prelude, one of the first off the showroom floor in Northern VA. Donald wanted to give it to me for a dollar and while I didn’t really know what I would do with a project bike, I didn’t turn it down.

    With the help of my girlfriend at the time, we loaded the bike onto a horse trailer and moved it into the basement of my group house where I stared at it for several months. The tires were dry rotted and the starter clutch was fried so it wasn’t an easy start or ride but sitting in my basement I’d spend endless hours walking around it, looking at it from different angle like some strange puzzle I was compelled to solve.

    I’d sit on it and think to myself “Yeah this feels nice.” And from that point on the bean-stalk grew into the clouds. After a failed clutch master cylinder seal change I decided to Franken-bike two Magnas together to make what eventually became know as “Mystery Ship”

    - Mystery Ship – 82’ Honda Magna V45 VF750C -


    She was real purdy and shined up real nice cuz’ 82’ was back in the days when chrome plating was put on real metal. I say that not because I’ve been riding for all that long but in recent years I’ve come to appreciate old metal. That appreciation and my riding got even deeper when I mixed up with a good-fur-nuthin’ group of rebel rousing old farts named “SabMaggots”, a Honda V4 owners club. I figured these guys weren’t so bad and with their occasional guidance on many mechanical and even spiritual issues I prepared for take-off into the world of motorcycling.

    A couple years passed and I’d taken “Mystery Ship” on countless long day rides plus a group meet at TWO (Two Wheels Only) in Suches, Georgia. Slowly, I a fire grew inside my heart for long distance riding. I used to be into mountain bike training and racing and even worked in several bike stores for several years but this was entirely different. Don’t get me wrong, I love bicycles and think that pound-for-pound they are a more elegant form of transportation but a motorcycle I saw as a living-breathing machine and that made a great difference.

    For 9 years I worked in the IT field and for 8 and a half of of those years I chiseled away at my undergraduate degree. After receiving my degree, I was ready for a massive change in my life. I wanted to take a real long distance ride across the US, up into Canada and back. Although now 750cc’s seems massive, at the time I fell it wasn’t enough to carry me and lots of camping gear. Hard times befell the US economy and my families business so sold my Prelude in a desperate attempt to reduce insurance costs and the endless stream of BS speeding tickets.

    The Prelude got replaced by a 1,000USD 1989 Acura Integra, no more credit debt and a Black 1998 Bandit 1200S. I named the Bandit “Shadow Cat” and slowly equipped her for long range touring, GIVI luggage, heated grips, the whole deal.

    - Shadow Cat in West “by-God” Virginny -


    We left on our trip around North America in early 2003 which, in the interest of brevity, will say was unbelievably fantastic and picked up an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 certification on the last day. I learned more about the country than you could ever learn in 100 years of school and just reaffirmed my belief that experience is the best teacher.

    - Myself and Shadow Cat on the PCH in Cali -


    I was in Custer, South Dakota meeting with some Sport-Touring.net folks and while checking my pay-per-minute email in a diner received an offer from a University in Chengdu, Sichuan that said “You are welcome to teach at our university…” I turned around and through a sh*t-eating grin said to some of my new riding buddies: “I’m goin’ to China.”

    Well, going to China for me was kind of like stepping through the looking glass or falling down the rabbit hole. Funny thing is five years ago doesn’t look like a long time on paper but it might as well be 10 lifetimes as far as I’m concerned. Thanks to motorcycles and an extremely complicated and ancient country I began to understand how people can find happiness and achieve great things with very few resources; overcoming great hardships with ingenuity and working together.

    My first trip there was with an Australian fellow named Charles who took me and his wife into the mountains of Western Sichuan and he must have spent an hour cleaning my face prints off the micro-bus's window from when I’d desperately try to steal every sight of motorcyclists on the road.

    Coming from North America I was in denial about riding small displacement engines and looking at hundreds of poor abused 125-150cc bikes in China I thought I’d try my hand at a 12 year old Honda AX-1, named “Misty Mountain Hop”, and ride around NE Tibet which is actually full of misty mountains. If members are interested, I’ll post a report on this in the future.

    - MMH and Me -


    Owning a Japanese bike at that time in China was like owning a Chinese bike in America last year – “Problems, problems everywhere and not a part around.” MMH made the trip but came back with a busted cam-chain tensioner and streaming thick white smoke.

    I immediately knew that I had to use a Chinese bike and figured if locals could do the same rides on rough roads with two people and full gear on 125cc scooter then I can do it on a 150!

    After some difficulty I got my Chinese license and for 2,500RMB (at the time about 320USD) a ZhongXin ZX 150-5 which is basically a Nighthawk 250 body with a Chinese made 150cc engine I dubbed “Cannonball”.

    - Cannonball in the rough -


    After a few test rides in the local mountains, complete with 4,500meter (16,000ft) passes we were ready to make our way to Kashmir, the border of Pakistan and China over 5000kms away.

    - Cannonball and I at BalangShan Pass -


    To make a long story short, I pushed both of us too far crossing mountains, rivers and a violent sand storm resulting in a truly psychotic experience and mid-night crash.

    - Qaidam Salt-flats -


    With a shattered left collarbone I had an emergency operation to put a titanium alloy brace in my shoulder near the oasis town of Dunhuang. I couldn’t ride for a few months but knew I had to go back and try again the next year or I’d never be able to live with myself. Six months later I got my first ever brand new bike, the Jialing JH150GY-2 (“Big Wheels”) and set out once more for Kashmir in 2006.

    The 2006 trip took us through the world’s second largest sandy desert called the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang and even ran into a couple Can-adians on ZongShens on their own China-moto adventure.

    - Myself, Geoff and Mitch -


    - Big Wheels and mounted video camera at Muztag Mtn, near the Kazak border -


    I recorded the ride and self-produced a feature length film about these two years of riding experiences called “The Return – Riding Western China”. If you want to see what a Chinese motorcycle can do with a complete nut behind the bars, check it out. Any sales of the DVD will help support MyChinaMoto.com.

    Click the pic below to learn about the film:


    Time went by and just recently 200cc motorcycles became available. Excited about the prospect of climbing passes at speeds exceeding 20km/h I was happy to step into a QingQi QM200GY (unnamed) which has yet come under long distance testing. Hopefully, this summer I will get to stretch her legs a bit and see how these fair steeds hold up.

    - QingQi 200GY: The side panel says “ZangAo” which means “Tibetan Mastiff” -


    - The current horses in the stable -


    So some may ask what’s the point of all this and what’s my interest in Chinese motorcycles? That’s a good question with a simple answer which comes straight off the road:

    We all have a lot to learn from each other…in all corners of the world.

    Ride Safe, Have Fun,
    Crazy Carl
    ---------------------------------------------------
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    Help support MCM!! Buy "The Return - Riding Western China" DVD! -

    http://www.motocyclops.com/buydvd/

    Personal China travel info, photo and video site:

    http://www.carlparker.com

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  2. #2  
    C-Moto Guru Jim's Avatar
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    You forgot to mention model:thumbup:
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  3. #3  
    Administrator-tron CrazyCarl's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, the "model" thing. I got lucky on that one! Since then I have come to know more about the Roadcrafter/Aerostich company and it's founder Andy Goldfine.

    He's a great guy who's ridden all over the world and is truly passionate about riding and making/selling quality motorcycle gear. I hope to be able to work with them more in the future and have to say that my experiences were made much more comfortable and enjoyable thanks to their riding suits.

    If you plan on doing any sustained long distance riding, I seriously suggest getting some kind of riding suit. All of them have imperfections and need maintenance over the years but are worth it in terms of comfort and therefore, safety.

    CC
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Subscribe to the hippest, most happeneing Adventure Motorcycle Magazine around!
    Adventure Motorcycle Dual Sport News Magazine

    Help support MCM!! Buy "The Return - Riding Western China" DVD! -

    http://www.motocyclops.com/buydvd/

    Personal China travel info, photo and video site:

    http://www.carlparker.com

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  4. #4 Awsome story 
    Master of Thump
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    Awsome Story Crazy Carl,
    I am abit envious of your travels to China. If I ever get the chance , well, you know .
    I see I am not the only one that can write around here :thumbup:

    Nice Ponies you got too , and had. I really like the Bandit, big powerfull, beautiful .

    I rode my Norton cross the USA too . I had no fillings left in my teeth when I got back home after 6,000 miles though :biggrin: Just kidding, but I was rode wearry indeed after that .

    I like your site alot, it looks good, is pretty easy to navigate if I pay attention LOL !
    Good folks around here, finally had time to parooze the site and it is VERY nice. I hate to compaire things, but your site is 100% better done than Frostbites uptight powered boredome festival .
    Cheers to ya !

    Snortin Norton out
    Last edited by Snortin Norton; 05-23-2008 at 11:39 AM. Reason: More bad spelling
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  5. #5  
    Administrator-tron CrazyCarl's Avatar
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    SNorton,

    No reason to be envious dude, I'm sure we've all had our experiences! Hopefully in the coming years things will chill out and you can have your own adventures in China. It's really an amazing country for adventure riding if you're down.

    The Bandit. Yeah I still have fond memories of the Bandit and man what well balanced pieces of engineering they are. Put some cash and time into getting her ready for some long distance sport touring and fit me like a glove. Did a SS1k on the last day of my North America trip and felt just fine!

    Nothing like riding into a sunrise...

    Welcome to the board man! And you know....everything in due time!
    CC
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Subscribe to the hippest, most happeneing Adventure Motorcycle Magazine around!
    Adventure Motorcycle Dual Sport News Magazine

    Help support MCM!! Buy "The Return - Riding Western China" DVD! -

    http://www.motocyclops.com/buydvd/

    Personal China travel info, photo and video site:

    http://www.carlparker.com

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  6. #6  
    Master of Thump
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    Thanks , and I actually feel welcome here too .
    Cheers,Snortin Norton out
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  7. #7  
    Senior C-Moto Guru culcune's Avatar
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    I just purchased the movie produced, directed, starring, edited by Carl himself. I think that once he got a high paying modeling gig, all his ego has gone to his head! :thumbdown: Just to flaunt it, he went so far as to get rid of his 150cc bike, and bought a 200!!cc Qingqi--what a prick! It better be good... :angry:
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  8. #8  
    Administrator-tron CrazyCarl's Avatar
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    Yeah well you know, all the pimples from sitting behind the computer for hundreds of hours every month and the debt still owed to get the DVD's produced can really go to someone's head...or gut as it is.

    :blink:
    CC
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Subscribe to the hippest, most happeneing Adventure Motorcycle Magazine around!
    Adventure Motorcycle Dual Sport News Magazine

    Help support MCM!! Buy "The Return - Riding Western China" DVD! -

    http://www.motocyclops.com/buydvd/

    Personal China travel info, photo and video site:

    http://www.carlparker.com

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  9. #9  
    Senior C-Moto Guru culcune's Avatar
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    I thought I was the only one with pimples, but those are from ingrown hairs, not the computer.

    All kidding aside, I really do look forward to the video, and I can live vicariously through your adventures--until I get my own bike to go with "my" "new" 3 chip camera and I get some riding into Mexico.
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  10. #10  
    C-Moto Guru Jim's Avatar
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    I think it's a pretty cool dvd, well made, and informative :thumbup:

    The packaging is purdy too.
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