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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Detailed Ural

I have never seen my Ural as shiny as it is now since the day it was delivered from the dealer.
A few weeks ago at the ridercoach night, I saw Greg's handiwork on a bike he had detailed. I have been wanting to get the Ural detailed since last year, but di.dn't know a good place to go.
We agreed on a price, and I dropped it off. It took him almost two weeks to get it clean, so I paid some extra. He said it was the biggest detailing challenge he had so far. Specifically, the Boeshield T9 I use for anticorrosion in winter was very difficult to get off.
I am really impressed at how great the bike looks now. It is tempting to sell it and get something else before winter.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Motorcycle First Thursday - August 2014

After missing the July first thursday because I was in India, I was excited to see all the bikes and my friends.

It was a good turnout, but not as many bikes or people as I had hoped given the very nice weather.

This Morgan was cool to see. I was hoping James May would appear and start talking about it, but that didn't happen.

The obligatory photo of the new crossbow from polaris. At the risk of alienating myself, the expression on the kid's face sums up my feelings about it.

This Bajaj scooter and sidecar covered in led lights was more interesting to look at.

A couple rat bikes to enjoy. I love the vacuum canister gas tank on the one and the beer can shock covers on the other.

This bike was also fun. Clearly lots of custom work and it was very clean. The wood luggage platform was a nice juxtaposition.

I was sad to see my friend is selling his FJ1200 sidecar. It is a fun rig. If I had the cash, I might buy it just for riping around in summer. I don't think it would be a good winter replacement for the Ural. It is low and setup for sport riding.
It was a good time as usual seeing motorcycles and catching up with friends.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Indianapolis MotoGP: Day 2

Sunday was race day in Indianapolis. I was looking forward to watching the races! I regularly follow MotoGP and Moto2 on, but don't always get to see moto3, so it was a treat to see all three in action.

I picked up a 2014 Yamaha Racing visor from the Yamaha tent. The line was long, but it will look nice next to the one I got in 2013.

In the morning, I watched the warm up from the grassy hill on the outside of turn 10 at the end of the back straight. It is quite a long walk, so I never made it on my previous visits to IMS. It was a nice place to relax and watch for a time.

I was happy to be able to meet up with my friend Rania aka @madsocial and her boyfriend. We watched most of the moto3 race together near turn 9. It was nice to catch up and share some racing with them as it was their first time to a MotoGP event.

I watched Moto2 and MotoGP from the amazing seats @todkapuz has overlooking turns 1-5. I have been grateful to sit in his extra seat for the last few years. Thank you again!

The Moto2 race had to be restarted because of a serious crash near turn 10. When it restarted, there was a crash with several riders near turn2. I captured part of it in the photo above. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.

The MotoGP race was entertaining for the few laps while Rossi was leading. Then Marquez took over as usual and ran away with it. Marquez has won every race this year which makes it a little less fun to watch. There was some nice action again around turn 2 which was nice to see in person. The weather cooperated nicely and it didn't rain during the race even though the dark clouds were threatening.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to watch the races from such great seats. Thanks again @todkapuz.

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Ray from MN. He hauled his Ducati in the back of his truck. He offered me a space on the way back which I took. The 670 mile on the freeway solo isn't that much fun, so I eagerly jumped at the chance to have some company for the journey home.

I bought some extra straps from one of the vendors, and we loaded my SV650 into his truck. The cases easily fit inside. It was a comfy and dry ride home inside with some great conversation. Thanks Ray!

It was a great motorcycle-filled weekend.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Indianapolis MotoGP: Day 1

I'm happy to be in Indianapolis again for MotoGP this year. I am again thankful to Todkapuz for sending me a ticket. I'm also sad he couldn't join me this weekend.

I parked my SV650 in the VIP parking area next to the museum. This is a great spot since it is so close to the action. The only thing better is the Ducati spot in the middle.

I packed very light and only partially filled on case, so I was able to get all my gear: helmet, gloves, boots, coat, pants, and back protector in as well. It was nice to walk around in sandals and a tshirt.

Like last year, I was happy to enjoy the XDL freestyle stunt show. The same riders as last year put on a great show. I watched it twice.

New this year, was a trials demonstration.  I always enjoy watching trials. The motorcycle control is amazing! He did the entire 15 minute show without putting a foot down once. I also watched this one twice. So fun!

In between the shows, I watched free practice and qualifying of all three classes: moto3, moto2, and motogp. It was fun to watch them live. I enjoyed moving around to differrent parts of the track for the various views. I made my 10,000 steps by lunch. IMS is a huge place.

I love feeling the sound the bikes make. Amazing. Yes, feel the sound. My favorite spot is the bridge over the back straight. The sound the bikes make at full throttle sounds great and the sound waves virbrate the entire bridge as they pass underneath. Awesome.

I tried to see an interview with Pedrosa and Marquez in the Honda tent. I briefly saw them as they came in. Then, I could only see arms in the air all waving cameras, so I just listened instead.

There was also a small and slightly sad motorcycle show for such an international event. Our local monthly bike night in Minneapolis has more interesting and a better variety of bikes. These are two of my favorites.

Luckily the weather cooperated again today. It wasn't too hot, and more importantly, it didn't rain. I hope race day tomorrow is as much fun and is as dry as today was.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

SV650 Rack Fixed Again

The rack on my SV650 broke a weld again. Granted, the last weld wasn't good one. It lasted less than a week. The overall design of the rack is quite poor which leads to the failures. Last night it failed with nothing in any of the cases; only the pressure of the wind and the weight of the empty cases.

Step one was to grind off the old weld material.

Then lay out the two pieces to be welded back together

The new piece welded with a much heavier duty welder this time.

A little paint and it looks as good as new. I am really hoping it stays together this time. I will be riding to Indiana soon for MotoGP.