Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday–October 2014


Last week was Motorcycle First Thursday at Dulono’s Pizza in Minneapolis. It rained heavily most of the day, so attendance via motorcycle was very low. I counted eight bikes including my own. I’ve seen more riders in December! It was quite a difference from September which had the parking lot crawling with people and the air buzzing with motorcycle exhaust.

Inside was warm and full of people talking bikes. I chatted with a few friends before calling it an early night. The rain finally stopped before I left which made the ride home much more enjoyable. I love the crisp feeling of a night ride in the fall. The cool breeze creeping in around all the vents and gaps in your gear to keep you extra sharp and attentive.

I wonder how many will show up next month…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chipotle And Legos

At lunch the other day, I was checking my email. In it, was a message from Richard saying he was in Minneapolis for a few days. Our schedules lined up, so we made plans to get together.

We met at the Mall of America. It was convienient given our transportation restrictions: neither of us had a car and he had no riding gear.

While discussing food options, we walked passed a Chipotle. Richard commented he had never been to one. I insisted that he try it then. It is one of my fave fast food places... well really the only one I will eat at.

We got our food and caught up with the legos looking over us. It was nice to see him again and talk bikes and traveling. I'm ready to take another trip.

It was an enjoyable evening. I always enjoy meeting other motobloggers.

You can read his post about our meetup on his blog: http://blog.machida.us/2014/09/bloomington-mn.html

Monday, September 22, 2014

Last RiderCoach Night of the Season


Earlier this month was the last RiderCoach track night of the season. We get together once a month on a closed course to enjoy practicing our riding skills in a safer environment while having a lot of fun.

The weather was beautiful. I was surprised more coaches didn’t show up to ride. It was nice to catch up with those who did. I only ran a few laps on my SV650. I was tired, so I didn’t push it by running fast. It was more fun to relax and watch the other riders.


My friend Rick showed up with his FJ1200 Sidecar. He let me take it for a few laps around the track. It was very fun. At first, I was worried it would make me hate my Ural. It was so different it doesn’t seem fair to compare them. The FJ was very responsive with impressive brakes, traction, and power. It was also very easy to fly the chair on the right-handed corners. I enjoyed riding it once I got past the initial “twitchy” feeling it had. It was really responsive.


I was also lucky enough to ride a Yamaha Super Tenere for a few laps. I’ve been wanting to ride one for a while, and that night was my lucky night. My first reaction was it felt a lot like my BMW R1150GS, but so much better! More fun to ride, and better ergonomics for me. I liked riding it. It felt fun; the BMW never felt fun. When I told the owner my feedback, he totally agreed. He said after riding it, he sold his 1200GS. I completely understand. I don’t think I’ll be spending $10,000 to get one anytime soon though.

I also rode a 750 Aprillia, but forgot to get a picture of it. It was a fun V-Twin to ride, but I think I like my SV more.

I had a fun time, and look forward to the next RiderCoach night in early Spring.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Heated Gear Kind of Day


This morning was my first ride of the fall requiring heated gear. It was just over 40F when I left the house this morning. I rode the SV650 which has no windshield, so the wind blast went straight into me. I was happy to have the warm heat of my Gerbing heated coat.

I just received the temp controller back from a warranty replacement. The main cord has failed. It was replaced under the warranty without much hassle. I’m looking forward to it keeping me warm as the temperature drops. It’s very convenient to dial up some more heat with just the turn of a finger.

The ride was beautiful this morning. The sky was clear and blue while I was cozy in my heated coat. It was hard to stop riding once I reached the parking lot at work. The ride home was even better with the temps around 70F.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sidecar + Trailer = Mulch Hauler

2014-09-01 20.16.28

Thanks to my friend Joe, I finally got the trailer wiring sorted on my Ural and on my DIY trailer. I wrote about the hitch I installed several years ago here: Ural Trailer Hitch. I’d been using the hitch to haul my bicycle, but always wanted to get a trailer going. Why not make a slow vehicle slower right??

I spent a few hours on the wiring and didn’t get anywhere; conversely, Joe figured it out in less than an hour. The Ural comes with a six post connector under the seat. We used a six to five converter and then a five to four converter. It works great! The wiring and hitch can also easily be removed to avoid the winter grime.


My mulch hauling friend posing for a picture. All the mulch is wrapped up in the blue tarp. The trailer is much more efficient than the tubs I used to use. I can get about four times as much per trip too. It’s also much easier to use the mulch from the trailer versus moving a wheelbarrow around. The Ural really is my Russian Lawn Tractor now!


PS: To those with a Ural warranty: towing could affect your warranty, so double check beforehand.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fun Times With Flat Tires

I have been lucky enough experience two flat tires this year. One on my SV650 and one on the Ural.

The flat on my SV happened on the way home from teaching a BRC less than an hour before I was to leave MN for my trip to India.

At first, I wasn't sure what it was. The rear started to wobble slightly like my luggage rack had broken again. A few miles down the road it was clear what was happening as the wobble became more pronounced. The rear tire was going flat. Arg!

I was only three miles from home and without my tire repair kit. I was also being picked up by a friend soon to leave the country. Not a great time for a flat. I decided, perhapaps unsafely, to continue riding slowly to see if I could make it.

The rear continued to get worse until about a mile from home where it leveled off just above absolutely unrideable. Riding on a flat rear felt a lot like riding on ice and snow, so it was weirdly comfortable. Yay winter riding!

I made it to my house and up the hill into the garage. I left the bike in disgust and left for India. When I got back, I put a new tire on and admired the large nail still in the tire. The bike suffered no other damage.

My second flat of the year was with the Ural during the sidecar ride for kids. After the first few hours of rides, the sidecar started to feel squishy. I stopped to take a look at it, and it was nearly flat.

I tried to put more air in with tire pump hoping denial would fix my problem. It didn't.

The Ural has a spare, so I set about swapping the tire. I had a small audience of kids asking questions about it. They were eager to get back riding!

The spare went on without trouble. There was a small nail in one of the knobs. Darn.

After the second ride, I decided to stop. The spare was grinding excessively. The bearing sounded like it was shot.

Fortunately, I have new tires, tubes, and bearings ready to go on. A fun weekend project to get the bike ready for winter.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sidecar Rides For Kids

I like riding, and I like sharing that joy with others. For the last couple years, I have been fortunate to do both at a local, annual block party giving sidecar rides to kids.

You can see Rick's FJ sidecar above with my super shiny Ural in the back. There were dozens of kids lined up for their turn to "ride on a motorcycle."

It was a fun event. With most of the kids laughing and having a good time. I especially appreciated the parents who took the time to say thank you.

Sidecar Rides for Kids 2013