Thursday, November 29, 2012

There is nothing better than

planning another trip.  I am not a mechanic but I do carry a few tools when I tour on my bike.  Under the seat of my Vstrom I have a small selection of tools, tire plugs and a small air compressor.  The compressor has been under my seat for over 3 years.  It was new and not used so imagine my surprise last year in Baker City, Oregon when I needed it and found that it didn't work.  I was toying around with buying something better like the CyclePump from Best products but I have read conflicting reviews, so in the meantime I bought

something cheap, like this for $10.    My intention was to get rid of the case and just use the guts

So I took the case apart with the idea of trying to make it smaller so I could put it under the seat

Everything came apart easily except that I had to cut the case to get the switch out

The plastic was harder to cut than I thought

but I had a small pair of wire cutters that did the job

It seems like a well made unit.  I even like the part that screws into your tire valve, instead of those spring loaded ones.  It even has a pressure gauge attached

I have cigarette lighter adapters installed on both of my bikes

On Black Friday I also managed to purchase a Spot2

I was on the fence about buying a spot tracker but next year I am riding into uncharted territory and I thought  it would be a good idea for people to know that I was okay, or not.  You just never know when you might need help somewhere with no cell service.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An excellent day

for a quick ride.  This is a continuation of the previous post .   It feels like an eternity since I had ridden Nu2Me my Beemer R1200R.  After my brake flush I headed South without a destination in mind but I had things to do like grocery shopping and some carport cleanup which I cannot do on weekdays as it is dark before I get home.  As I was navigating the local roads, for some reason my mind went blank and I could not figure out how to turn off my turn signals.

Fraser River near Steveston, BC

BMW's have a challenging turn signal arrangement.  I was trying to change lanes and I hit the left button, and then after the lane change I hit the right button but instead of the signals turning off, the right signal started blinking.   It took me a while to figure it out and after the signal lights were finally off it was just easier to not change lanes as it was just too much trouble.  I was chuckling inside my helmet as I was following this slow car ahead not wanting to change lanes.  All the other cars were passing on my left and right sides but I just hung in there at a slower pace.

It was a pleasant 8°c (46°f) when I started out, cool but not too chilly and you could feel the warm of the sun when you were stopped.  For some reason I had ridden my Vstrom, but not the Beemer.  I find that the Vstrom is more maneuverable on slower speeds within the city.  It has better throttle response.   The "R" likes to go fast and thrives on the highway but I really haven't tested the performance of my new Michelin Pilot Road 2's.  Actually the tires have not yet been broken in.  The release compound still has to be scrubbed off so I had to be careful on my lean angles

I was just enjoying the day at scenic speeds and looking for places to stop.  The traffic seems very light for a Saturday.  Everyone must be at the Black Friday sales looking for bargains.  I just couldn't help but think of how lucky we are to be on the Wet Coast of Canada where it seldom snows.  Our lowest temperatures hover around freezing during the Winter, yes we sometimes get a bit of fog and frost in the mornings, but it has usually melted off by noon.  I feel so sorry for those who live here or here .

It is harder to park my Vstrom here as the side stand is too high and I don't get enough lean angle.  For my "R" (Nu2Me), I have no problems.  During the heat of the afternoon our temperatures went up to 10°c (50°f) which is much warmer than we are used to for this time of the year.

I actually had to do a U-turn and ride back for this photo.  That is our BC Ferries maintenance facilities.  I don't see any trains around so I stopped on the train tracks.   As a safety precaution I left the "engine running", just in case.

My stomach was grumbling so I took the highway back to town and for the first time since I bought Nu2Me I tried out my heated grips.  There is a switch on the right handlebar for high and higher.  I am happy that it works.  I am not so happy with the wind buffeting.  I have the low Cee Bailey windshield and I have to find a way to angle it back a bit.  Even at only 120 km/h the vibrations and noise are unbearable.  I have to look into ear plugs at our upcoming Motorcycle Show in January.  The bike was very stable at that speed and I have lots of passing power.  There was no problem merging into the traffic and watching the specks get smaller in my mirrors

I was just taking my time and enjoying the appearance of the sunshine.  It rains here more than you can imagine and it is so depressing with the lack of colour.  Going back to Standard time only makes it worse, as it is now dark before we head home from work.  I had a few errands to do so I headed home after a quick snack with a friend

I ride my bike over the curb and prepare to roll it into my back yard on the narrow sidewalk.  I am too wide

so I had to remove my luggage first

This bike is much easier to handle than my Vstrom which I need the engine to help me move it.  With Nu2Me I can push the bike all the way to it's parking spot

and soon it is right back to where it belongs just like my ride never happened.   My insurance will run out in about 2 weeks and then I will switch to my Vstrom which is insured for the whole year.  Insurance is very expensive here as it is run by the Government and there are no discounts for multiple vehicles.

Of course, being on a bike doesn't mean continuous riding.   Lately I have been stopping more often to relax and just enjoy my surroundings.

While "some" of our Eastern blogger friends may be cloaked in snow, we are still trying to hold onto Summer

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Finally the rain stopped

and I was planning on riding my bike to Saturday morning breakfast with the guys

Both of my bikes have been patiently waiting to be taken out.   I even tested my sandy driveway to make sure I could make it out to the lane

It's still an obstacle course out there but I moved some things around to make a bit more room, but it was not to be as the fog had rolled in

It was still early around 7:30am.  The fog is expected to burn off by noon so I headed out in my car

I am approaching the Patullo Bridge which crosses the Fraser River from New Westminster over to Surrey.  So far I have made the right choice as I worry about visibility

I return home after breakfast and it is now around 10am so I remove my bike cover and the BMW Canbus battery tender and get it ready

I make it a habit to check my tire pressures when it has been sitting for a few weeks.  Both tires were down about 2 lbs each.   I keep them at  36 psi Front &  38 psi Rear.   These are my new Michelin Pilot Road 2s which still have to be broken in.   The last couple of times I have ridden my Vstrom.  I am very glad that I bought a new Air Compressor as it is very easy for me to check tire pressures on my bikes and also my cars

I put all my tools away and started to move my bike out

to the lane.  There is less construction material now and soon they will be working inside

Our back yard is surrounded by a wire security fence and sometimes it is very heavy to move.  I like to ride with my saddlebags attached for it gives me a larger footprint as viewed from the rear

I have been doing a bit of reading on the R1200 and BMWMOA forums about  ABS pump failures.  I don't think there is a specific problem with this particular model but I notice that some members have experienced ABS failures and it is very costly to repair with prices around $2,500 to $3,000.   For no reason your ABS warning light may come on and that's it !   Your brakes will operate like a non-ABS bike and the red light cannot be turned off when it finds an error.   My ABS light came on about a month ago for no reason and after a couple of starts and stops it went off.

I read that one of the preventative measures was to do a brake flush every 2 years, just in case, to keep the fluid clean and clear of impurities.   I tried to obtain the service file from the previous owner and while he said  all service was up to date I don't know when or if these things have been done.  It's the same with the drive line fluid change.  So I decided that I would have the brake flush done as soon as I could so I headed down to my Mechanic

and my heart sank when I saw his doors closed.  I thought he was not open but I tried the door and it was open, so with no one else there and no lines I got the preferred treatment

I watched as he explained what he was doing and soon all the brake lines were flushed with new DOT4 brake fluid, including the clutch master cylinder, and the rear brake cylinder.   The fluid that was in there before the flush look fairly clean so it is possible that a flush was done not long ago.

Now I was free to go for a short ride which eventually found me in Steveston.  Here is a teaser photo

More photos coming on my next post . . .

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My grocery drawer at work

I have a couple of inquisitive minds ( Richard & Lori ) wondering what my grocery drawer looks like.

These are my snacks and emergency food.   This morning it looked like this . . .

It was time for my morning coffee break and I had one piece of blueberry pie left.   I usually just divide the pie into quarters and have 1 piece every morning .   When I arrive at work at 7:30am, I have a cup of boiling water.   I cut down on coffee a few years ago and limit myself to one cup a day which I drink around 9:30am

It is hard to see what I have in there so I did a quick inventory for you:

So here are the contents of my drawer:

3 containers of instant Kraft Dinner
2 tins of canned salmon
1 tin of sardines
6 small boxes of granola bars x 6 per package
1 large box of granola bars x 18 per package
1 spare box Girl Guide chocolate mint cookies
1-1/2 bars of Belgium dark chocolate 400 g
6 small bags of Lays potato chips
7 cans of ready to eat Chef Boy R Dee Ravioli
3 large tins ready to eat Chunky soup
1 tin Cream of Corn
2 bags microwave popcorn
3 cans of Sanpellegrino natural fruit beverages
1 tin coca cola

I didn't have any Girl Guide chocolate mint cookies today even though my ration is for 2 per day, so you can see that I had good will power.  I could probably have 4 tomorrow

I neatly packed everything away .  It's like a jig saw puzzle getting everything to fit.  I have so much stuff that I am spilling over into a 2nd drawer

Right now Drawer2 only contains my cutlery, bowls, plate and extra cups.  I am running out of filing space.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


At work about mid-afternoon my stomach tells me that it needs more input.  I bring snacks and put them in the Company fridge.  I also have a drawer full of sustenance filled with mostly junk food which do not need refrigeration.  Chips, granola bars, canned soup & chocolate. It is like a grocery store in there, thank goodness you didn't ask for a photo of my drawer, I would be embarrassed.   It is time for me to go to the Company kitchen

I usually put my stuff on the 2nd shelf.  I have a Gala Apple and a box of Chocolate coated Girl Guide mint cookies.   They taste better when they are chilled a bit.  So which to choose

should I choose the apple or the cookies.   I decided to take the more healthy option

and chose the Gala Apple

I find that apples always taste better when they are cut into segments.  I take them back to my desk

and started to munch on them as I continued to "work".   I was proud of myself for making the right decision of eating more fruit

Soon thereafter I had finished all the apple segments and my stomach was asking for more . . .










so I had no other choice but to dig into my cookies too

but since I have tremendous will power I managed to stop at two

Monday, November 19, 2012

No, I didn't forget

about the Chocolate Angel Food Cake.  I thought that I had baked a dud Bundt Cake until I discovered that Bundt cakes were supposed to be heavy and substantial.  I wrote about it HERE .  After all those comments I decided that my Bundt cake wasn't a dud after all and Richard wanted me to post up the recipe, which I finally did.  So I thought that was the end of it until I received a couple of comments from BeemerGirl/Lori and BikerBaby

so here we are, a proven recipe which I have used many times
Chocolate Angel Food Cake

A)  Melt, in a small pot:
4 oz  bakers semi-sweet chocolate in 1 cup milk
Cool the chocolate mixture

B)  In a separate container
Beat  4 egg yolks creamed with 2 cups icing sugar
          Then add: 1 tsp vanilla

Add part B to Part A to form the liquid ingredients,
Then stir in the dry ingredients (c) as follows

C) in a separate container add
1-1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
½  tsp      salt
2-1/2 tsp  baking powder

Beat until stiff,   4 egg whites and
Gently fold the beaten whites into the mixture

and bake @ 350°F for about 50 minutes
in an Angel Food Cake  or 9" square pan
(check with a toothpick should come out clear)

This cake is very light because of the Baking Powder which adds air,
the use of the finer cake flour and the air included by the beaten, and stiff
egg whites.  Be careful to just fold in the egg whites and bake immediately.

There is no vegan equivalent for Angel Food cake as I am discovering,
as only egg whites can incorporate the air needed.  Ener-G or corn starch
will not beat up the same way

for a topping I suggest a European type chocolate drizzle.  You can figure out
your own proportions

Melt: 1 oz chocolate semi-sweet, butter, whipping (heavy) cream and Icing Sugar
until you get the sweetness and consistency you want.  I use this combination as a 
topping for my cream puffs

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Grandpa, do you have any more

of those carob cookies you gave me last time ?" chirped our Granddaughter .  She was referring to those Vegan Gluten free Carob chip cookies I wrote about here.   Our Daughter was feeling sad for us and brought over a BBQ chicken and visited for a while.  They didn't want us to starve.

Also it just happened that our son-in-law twisted his right foot playing ice hockey and had to use crutches.  What a sad family we are with so many injuries.  Luckily my foot just got a bit better so I am nearly walking normally

Tomorrow is also our Granddaughter's 9th birthday and we were expected to come for dinner so I just knew I had to get my mixer ready

I sifted the flour and started to mix the sugar and butter

Added the dry mixture and it wasn't long before the cookies were ready to come out of the oven.  I won't bore you with the details . . .

I prepared them a bit differently this time.  Instead of small cookies I rolled them up into larger balls and pressed them a bit so they were much thicker than I usually make them, so instead of 350°F for 8-10 minutes I had to leave them in OUR  oven for nearly 15 minutes

I waited a few minutes before I moved them onto my cooling racks using my metal spatula

The batter was much dryer than normal as I used butter instead of margarine this time and I thought they would fall apart after baking, but they didn't

Just as the cookies were cooled down enough to transport we put them into a small container and were on our way to dinner.  They are a mixture of carobs and semi-sweet chocolate chips as I am getting low on baking supplies

Here is the "Birthday Girl",   9 years old today

along with a photo of her Grandmother (Mrs Skoot), both still sporting their casts

Recipe:  Chocolate Chip Cookies    (vegan in brackets)

Dry Ingredients:
2-3/4 cup     sifted flour
1 tsp             salt
1 tsp             baking soda

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup           margarine (or vegan margarine)
3/4 cup        white sugar  (I used 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup        brown sugar
1 tsp            vanilla
1 ea             egg   (or sub ener-G)
1  cup          semi-sweet chocolate chips (or carobs)

Mix wet ingredients in order listed, fold in dry ingredients and then the chocolate chips

bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes