GUEST BLOG: The Dangerous Summer -or- Matador scrutinizes the Rhine Rider in Nimes

Continuing the series,

A guest blog, by Chuck Ritley

“Manuelito stood there waiting for the bike to charge as had all of the bulls in his career and all the bulls before that when he was young and he twitched the cape hoping to see some action so the crowd wouldn’t think him a coward since crowds judge matadors not only on their courage but on the courage of the bull but the bike had no courage and wouldn’t charge him and the crowd left one by one which is the worst insult to a matador until there was only Manuelito standing alone in the square and he knew he could have killed the bike had it but charged but it didn’t and he thought perhaps another day and another bike or another bull and I can redeem my honor.”

A snippet from the famous book by Ernest Hemingway:

This guest blog was submitted by Chuck Ritley, an adjunct professor of computer science with several major universities in the San Antonio area.  

The Rhine Rider at Lake Zürich

Since 1997 I’ve followed the tradition of naming my vehicles.

In 1997 while studying physics and living in Urbana, Illinois, I bought a 1983 Oldsmobile for USD $200 from a good friend of mine, Andrei Botschkarov, at the time one of the top semi-conductor physicists in the world. (He was not personally a semi-conductor, but rather he did research on them). Anyway, it had a maximum speed of 40 mph, it turned itself off after 20 minutes, and the tires were so flat that the steel was mostly worn away. That car was classy – and there was no other approach than to give it a classy name: Urbana Cruiser. Sadly, I don’t have any photos.

There followed the Eiger Chopper, the Zurich Cruiser, the Euro Cruiser, and now the latest addition to my personal fleet: the Rhine Rider:

No, that’s not the Rhine. That’s Lake Zürich, also known as Zürisee.


The Euro Cruiser

The latest addition to my personal fleet is a 150 PS, 2.0L 2017 Peugeot Business Traveller van that comfortably seats 9 people:

The main way to interact with this vehicle seems to be the voice system, so I am in the process of learning dozens of voice activated commands.

By the way, it all began with the Urbana Cruiser, 20-year-old 1978 Oldsmobile that I bought in 1998 for $200 from a good friend of mine, Andrei Botchkarev, one of the world’s most well-known semiconductor physicists.  It was too cool to resist giving it a name.

The tradition continued with the Zürich Cruiser.

Eiger Chopper search continues…


The search for an upgrade for the Eiger Chopper continues.  I spent about 500 km on a Honda CTX1300A this weekend – here it is shown parked on the south shore of the Bodensee, also known as Lake Constance, between Germany and Switzerland.

Very nice bike. Very comfortable upright touring position. Center of mass very low to the ground. Terrific power. Windscreen very effective. Saddlebags and top case made of cheap plastic, could scratch easily. Handgrip heating system very nice.

I couldn’t go wrong with this one, but I’m still looking.