Wind in your face, bugs in your teeth

So about a month ago someone tried to steal my motorcycle. All the managed to do is bust the windshield.

So I took it off. I have to admit it looks pretty bad ass with no wind screen. Much more aggressive.

It also hurts driving at dusk getting bugs slammed into your chest. And face.

So I’m kinda shopping around for a full helmet. I just don’t want a dorky one. I want one that is “cool.”

I’m having some trouble with that though. I can’t seem to find a full helmet I like.

Right now, I’m leaning toward this helmet. But I’m not sure.

The things you learn owning a motorbike.

I’d hazard a guess that like most first time bike buyers, I bought new. Unlike most, I also bought rare.

Most first time buyers get a Honda or a Harley-Davidson. Something name brand. Another large number buy Asian disposable bikes. (you’ve seen these; Pretty bikes with small engines that sell new for a couple grand) I bought a custom bike with no local support.

So I had to learn a lot on my own. Like how the odd ball turn signals work. Or how often to grease the chain. (bloody often) Or which bolts need lots of attention. (many)

Then there is gear to think of. Where to put your registration and insurance. How much do you need for a particular ride. Why a full face helmet would be a good idea. (winter is cold)

Then there are the odd things like why a belt would turn inside out.

My bike is an automatic. It has a continually variable transmission (CVT) that is driven by a belt. The first time I replaced that belt I had the broken belt in hand and it had teeth on it. I couldn’t find a local replacement so I went shopping for close enough. I was quite worried that the new belt needed the same tooth arrangement as the old belt. I was wrong.

See, the teeth aren’t going into gears on a CVT. The belt is squeezed between two plates and the teeth are there for lateral strength. So how in the world does a belt turn inside out?

Still not sure how it happened but I have a working idea. I know it happened at a stop sign on a hill, so as I engaged the belt it was under maximum strain. When I took the belt off to turn it around, it was looking somewhat worn and had about the mileage I’d expect it to last so I replaced it instead. The new belt was a good bit wider than the old belt.

That’s key, because I bought both belts at the same time and they were the same width then. I think the new belt had been stretched (it was also longer) and when put under the strain it figured eight on me and flipped.

Mechanics agree. Talked to several and they’d all seen the same thing before. It happens at times when belts wear out.

So I have a new belt on the bike and it’s ready to ride. Which is good because a big ride is coming up Saturday. There is a rally in Lynchburg and I plan on going. A big local group is headed up there.

They have an interesting and fun plan for the ride. We are going to literally swing through Lynchburg, looking at the bikes while we whip through. Then continue on to Tim’s Ford and eat lunch at the Blue Gill Grill. Assuming no rain, we’ll pass through the rally again in the afternoon on our way to Tammy’s Tavern, a roadside pub just outside of Lynchburg for dinner before heading home. Should be a good ride.

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Rains coming!

Rain is coming. Garage is full of popcorn. Bike got the Christmas wrap.

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A Negative Response

So in general, people seem to like my bike. I get all sorts of comments about how good it looks or how it sounds.  I ride and people tend to smile at me.  I like that.

I do try to be nice when I ride.  If it’s late and I’m in a neighborhood I ride as slow as is safe so the loud pipes aren’t annoying people. I am not one of those crazy riders that weave through traffic. I like to think I’m a fairly nice guy riding a bike.

But I had what had to be the most obvious negative response I can imagine on the bike recently.  More negative than if someone actually blessed me out, I think.

So I was riding over to, of all things, deal with some Cub Scout stuff for the boy. I was in a neighborhood, so riding slow and as quiet as the bike gets. Up ahead there is this old guy using, get this, a chain saw.  He sees me coming. He turns off the chain saw, sets it on the ground, turns his back to me and… COVERS HIS EARS.

I’m like… really?  I mean, you had a chain saw in your hands running at full speed.  I know my bike is loud but it isn’t louder than holding a chain saw while cutting up a tree.  I’ve tried to put some other face on it.  That he used to ride but can’t anymore.  Than he lost someone to a bike crash.  But it just doesn’t fit.  It was too… obvious.  He wanted me to SEE him cover his ears.  He wanted me to KNOW he disapproved of my bike.

I’m still stunned.

First Poker Run

Ran my first poker run today. Sixty bikes left Black Water Hatties at 11am headed south on US231. The ride was for Asperger Connection. The destination was The American Legion in Guntersville. The ride down US231 over Brindly Mountain was beautiful.

After pulling a card at the Legion, we headed to Scottsboro for lunch. Then back to Huntsville. Good ride.

A sad honor

I had a very sad honor yesterday.

A friend passed away this week.  He was a navy veteran. Yesterday, I had the honor to escort him to his final rest.

The Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcycle riding patriots who love our troops, were there to escort him, but he hung out at the biker bar I’ve started hanging out at. A group of us from the bar showed up on our bikes and the family asked that we escort him to his rest.  The Patriot Guard Riders graciously allowed us, and they went from the funeral home to the cemetery to set up their flags.

Really, this was my first ride.  I’ve ridden with one or two people in the past, and attempted to ride the Trail of Tears, but this was my first true group ride and it couldn’t have been for a better cause. Although… I still learned a lot.

Like hand signals.  While they were all clear and I got them quickly, I had no idea that they existed before this ride.  Signs for turns, single file, stop, OH SHIT STOP, and plenty others I’ve forgotten.

Since the ride was officially part of the funeral procession, we had a police escort for the trip.  That was also interesting.  Riding in true staggered formation was a first, and frankly made me nervous but I got used to it.

Afterwards, I rode by my parents grave.  I don’t go out there often.  That was the first time in about four years.  I was glad to see fresh flowers on the graves.

So a very moving day yesterday.

A quieter ride

So I got the parts today. A tranny belt, several sets of replacement screws, exhaust gaskets all arrived in a plain cardboard box left on the front porch. I got home from work and ripped into the box, sorting everything out.

I pulled off the transmission and broke it down. I cleaned it and lubed it and got it looking spiffy. Unfortunately I found that the front clutch had several burrs along the edge. Im afraid that the time is rapidly coming that it will have to be replaced. That means $$$$. Hopefully my work on it today can extend it’s life.

Before putting the transmission back on the bike I pulled the pipes off the engine and replaced both gaskets. Then I put the bike back together and took it for a test drive.

I couldn’t believe how quiet and cool the bike rode. I clearly had a leak at the engine that made my leg quite warm. This ride I didn’t even change out of my shorts before riding. I also could just hear the rumble of the engine instead of the normal roar.

I believe in loud pipes, so I was happy to no longer burn my leg but a bit upset that the bike was so much quieter. That is, until a friend rode behind me later. They said I nearly blew out their windows. Nice!

Parts are due

The parts to fix the bike are due today. I hate UPS tracking. No idea when, just today.

Correction. The parts are here. I am at work. So I’ll be spending some quality time with the inside of the bike later tonight.

The Trail of Tears

So I tried to ride The Trail of Tears this past weekend… and instead had a trail of tears all my own.

I left early Saturday heading east to pick up the ride where I could along the way. But then, the engine started sounding funny and the bike seemed to be loosing power.  Next thing I knew, pieces of rubber were flying everywhere.

I got the bike off the side of the road.  Luckily I had a support vehicle following me, and so I had access to my tools.  I took the transmission cover off, and there it was… a mess that used to be my transmission belt.  So I took the transmission off, managed to reset it, and got everything cleaned up.

Then after a stop for breakfast that we didn’t get to stop for before tearing the bike up, it was off in search of a transmission belt.  I found something pretty close to the right size, took it back to the bike, and put it on… with a little cussing and extra encouragement.  It isn’t quite right, but the bike runs.

I get the bike home, and have ridden it a little bit since then.  I’m somewhat conservative about riding it on this belt.  I’ve ordered a replacement belt from Ridely, and will ride sparingly until it arrives.  Then the current belt gets put up as an emergency back up.

So instead of riding the Trail of Tears, I had my own.  I sat on the side of the road as motorcycles cruised past… and I wasn’t with them.  But then, after it was all over, I had to stop and think about it a bit.  I rebuilt a transmission.  On the side of the road.  By myself.

I am made of awesomesauce.

That’s why I ride…

So I was stopped at a light after looking for a new mount for a camera on the Ridely.  I’m jamming out to my Hayseed Dixie channel on the Pandora iPhone App when I glanced over and saw a fellow eyeballing my bike from his cage.  He rolled his window down, so I stopped the radio and we had the following conversation:

Shawn on Ridely

Everyone wants to ride

Guy:  What kind of bike is that?

Me: It’s a Ridely (as I move my knee to make sure he sees the nameplate.

Guy: Never heard of it.

Me: It’s a custom shop out of Oklahoma City.

Guy: American made?

Me: Yep.

Guy: Kick ass.  (So he’s not a ricer anyway.)

Me: She’s fun.  I like her.

Guy: Sounds like a Harley.

Me: Yea, I like the sound.

Guy: Nice bike.  Like the colors.  Ride safe man.

Then I nodded and rev’d the engine good as I went under the overpass.  And that’s what I’ve loved most about riding.  The people.  People like bikes.  They just do.  I think they realize they are riding around all day in metal coffins and some deep instinct makes them want the wind in their face again.

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