Monday, July 12, 2010

Uraling the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail: Day 3

Sunday didn't turn out as expected. We got up early which was hard after only six hours of sleep. My shoulders, arms, and upper back were aching from all of the recent exertion riding the Ural.

The normal routine is to eat and then pack the bike. I also take the time each morning to do the Ural's daily maintenance. I checked the oil and the tire pressures. I had to add a bit of oil which was messy since I forgot a funnel and was too sleepy to think of using a piece of paper. The tires were all a few pounds low, but the little 12v pump made short work of that issue. Next was the spokes.

The Ural's manual says the spokes need to be tightened every 500km (ie: 300 miles). They are NOT kidding. The pusher (rear) tire takes the brunt with the cart wheel next. I found a few spokes loose and tightened them up. I jacked up the cart wheel to begin tightening them, and found one spoke that wasn't connected to the spoke nipple. I tried as best I could, but it wouldn't seat. Not good. We already used up our spare tire as the previous pusher ate itself on the first day.

We didn't want to impose further on the group, so we told them to continue on without us. The repair would take at least an hour. I would have to take the tire completely apart to get at the nipple under the tube. It was a hard decision to make, but I think it was the right one all things considered. With my newly purchased GPS III not handling the route, we gassed up and headed for home. Kevin and PK also decided to break from the group and take the scenic road home.

A few hours and 150 miles later we were at home. We went out for a nice lunch. We unpacked the Ural and began packing the SV650. We didn't have to be back to work until Wednesday! Our basic plan was to leave early Monday morning and head up to Bayfield, WI on Lake Superior where we would have been about Monday lunch had we stuck with the group.

Since we were in town, we took the time to go visit Paul in the hospital. They moved him from PDC, to LaCrosse, and then to Regions Hospital in St. Paul via ambulance. He wrote a quick email from the back of the ambulance which was neat to receive.

Paul's leg is broken and his ankle is pretty messed up. They have some serious hardware bolted to the outside of his leg since the swelling is still so severe. He's already had one surgery to remove bone fragments and they are waiting for the swelling to decrease before they can do the next one. They think maybe one to two weeks. He'll be in the hospital for a few more days and then rest up at home waiting for the operation. After the operation, he won't be able to put any weight on it for 10+ weeks. I think his riding is over for 2010. This is very sad as he is an awesome resource for the local riding community. He is still in good spirits, and really appreciated our visit. Kevin and PK visited a few hours before us. It was good to hear his great laugh again.

I made a small mistake on my Flickr permissions. It is fixed now, so all the photos I've taken with my phone are now posted here.


  1. Chris, I was not aware of the "check spokes" every 300km....good to now, will just make it part of the weekly checks.

    I wonder if loctite on the spokes would be a good thing?

    Bummer about Paul's leg but I guess its better than being dead due to the idiot who hit him.

  2. Charlie6: Rough ground = spoke checking. I don't know if loctite would be a good idea or not.

    Yes, the dumb girl freaked out when she saw the bikes, drove off the road then freaked out even more and turned back on and broadsided him at 35 mph. Amazing she didn't take out more people in the group.

  3. Dear Chris:

    I had no idea the spoked wheels on this rig were so sensitive! Now at the risk of sounding really stupid, doesn't tightening one spoke affect the positioning or tension of another? You must be out truing those wheels every month?

    God bless cast wheels.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twiasted Roads

  4. Jack: Yes, the lateral forces on a sidecar cause problems for the spokes. I've put thousands of miles on my WR and on my wife's GZ, and I never had to tighten one spoke on those bikes. I think in my efforts to keep up with the two wheelers I made things worse. Yes, tightening spokes does potentially tighten others. It's an art I am not very good at. I haven't had to true a wheel yet other than the one that was replaced under the warranty.

    I'd love some cast wheels on the Ural, but they aren't as strong as a spoked wheel off road.