Sunday, June 30, 2013

Small Tool Tube for my R1200R

My bike is ready but I am still working on loose ends

   I bought some DWV 2" ips plumbing pipe and fittings

I needed a place to store some small tools.  I made a small tool tube

Access is through the removeable threaded plug on the right

I mounted it behind the frame on the right side of the rear tire and NO it doesn't hit the tire.  I did a test ride on Saturday to check it out

Here it is in position

and another view from below the fender

Here it is with the left side case attached

It is hardly noticeable

I decided to wrap some small tools in zip lock bags and roll them up

I have some zip ties, socket extension and a small ratchet

So I don't have to unmount my tool tube I put these rolled  zip bags into another larger plastic bag and put them down the tube.   This way I can just grab the end of the bag and pull it all out

There is more room to put sockets but I am not bringing any as my bike uses Torx for all the fasteners

I do not have much storage room under the seat of my "R".    On my Vstrom there is a tool tray where I can put open end wrenches, tire plugger and worms,  screwdriver set, and even a small air compressor.   I needed to create a bit more space for my "R"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vacation thoughts & a Can Am Spyder

I've always been considerate of my time and the time of others around me.  It would be selfish of me to horde all of my vacation time to ride my bike all over the country and leave my partner to fend for herself.   I also had a young family and my thought was to have a less risky hobby and wait for the time when I could ride again.  So I sold my bike and gravitated to sports cars during the Mid 1980's

Can Am Spyder, Limited Touring edition

Because I came from a broken home I have always had to work for my own money.  It wasn't easy to live a life without a loving family and without siblings.  Even during the time I went to elementary school I had to maintain an after school job and work during my summer vacations.  Except when I was very young, I could not remember a time when I had a carefree summer with nothing to do.   Then came work and a family of my own which left me with limited vacation time.  I have always envied those who have had a happy childhood without the worry of knowing where your next dollar is coming from

Lately I have been feeling the effects of ageing more than before.  You never know what the future may bring, nor if your health will wait for the time you are able to fulfill your dreams and ambitions on your terms. Time waits for no one.  I passed retirement age a couple of years ago and I keep wondering when I am going to be able to ride my bike to a far away land.

 Meet Rob, This was taken last Saturday morning and he only just picked it up the day before

About 6 years ago I started to take long weekends away on my bike.  These were mainly to rallies in Victoria and Kelowna and then a longer trip to the Oregon gorge.  I was always careful to limit my solo travels, at first to one weekend a year.  Then it expanded to two weekends and over the years it reached 10 days when I went to Hell's Canyon last year.   While I like to ride I am not obsessed with riding.  I respect that I cannot dedicate all of my vacation time for riding and as Mrs Skoot cannot ride I make sure that we plan vacation time where we can be together and we go on a road trip in our car.   This is also the reason that I don't generally ride my bike on Sundays.  I call it our Family Day and we go in our car, have brunch somewhere and go for a drive.

Whenever I go somewhere where Mrs Skoot has not been it is my duty to go back again in our car so she can see where I went.   So a solo ride will turn into a together ride where I must duplicate the trip so she will not feel left out.   Those of you who have partners that ride do not know how lucky you are to be sharing the riding experience to see new vistas together.

  Rob & Connie.   Look, the Spyder has a front trunk

Whether by car, Maxi-scooter or Motorcycle I have traveled extensively within the PNW: Pacific NorthWest which includes; BC, WA, OR.    It will also be my longest solo trip to places I had never been before.    While the destination was only decided upon last year,  the allocation for the amount of time I could take has been in the "works" for nearly 3 years.   Remember that without spousal support I could not horde all of my time for myself, I would feel guilty . . .

When I first started my present job back in 1998 I decided that my company needed me so I didn't take many vacations and Mrs Skoot went on a few vacations without me.   She went with her Mother.  They went to Mexico, took an Alaskan Cruise then a cruise to the Orient.   She was on a waiting list for her pending surgery so a couple of years ago (before surgery) she wanted to travel to China and Hawai'i, as she knew that she would be in healing mode for half a year and not be able to take a normal vacation this year, so I was free to take my own vacation while she stayed home to recover.

    The Spyder is a substantial machine

Mrs Skoot's surgery was nearly 2 months ago and I think things are progressing nicely but she still cannot drive and I am still performing the domestic duties.   This worries me a bit as I want to make sure she will be okay if I am not home.   Her surgery had been rescheduled a few times and it was originally planned to be during March or April, which would have been better.  

    It gets attention everywhere we go

Since I am going a great distance I also decided to take a few more weeks of unpaid vacation.  I have planned to be away for 6 weeks

    Instrument panel of the Can Am Spyder

   Belt drive

More trip details on a future post . . .

I met Rob for breakfast on Saturday as he wanted to show me his Can Am.  The plan was to go for a short ride but we both had errands to do.   I still have some loose ends which have to be done before I leave.  This day I bought my Travel Insurance and he wanted to tag along to meet my insurance agent.  I also had to buy more Rok Straps so I told him I could meet him at the Dealership where they were having a BBQ.  While we were there I saw Jack who happened to be the previous owner of my R1200R

Here Jack is admiring Rob's "new to him" Spyder

after I had my beverage, I skipped on the hot dog, I took the scenic way home via:  River Road

There was a car behind me approaching very fast so I pulled over for a photo.  I dislike tailgating drivers who follow too closely

It was another nice day on the Wet Coast.  Not too hot, nor too cool.   Just perfect

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Neglected Vstrom & a couple of British Bikes

We had such good weather on Saturday so we went down to the Fraser River to have a simple picnic dinner.   We bought a BBQ chicken and took a few leaves of Romaine and a couple of apples.

Even though it was after 7pm, it felt very hot under the beating sun.  You will notice the very high water levels.  When we had our dogs we used to bring them down here so they could enjoy the water.   

I am very happy with my new lens.   About 3 weeks ago I bought a Sigma 18-250 multi purpose lens as it is more 

convenient.   Whenever I take my bike on a trip I always had my 55-250 with me but I seldom used it as it was buried in my luggage.   To give you an idea of it's quality the following was taken at full wide angle (set at 18mm)

   Sigma 18-250, set at 18mm

Notice the lady at the end of this boardwalk

    Sigma 18-250, set at full zoom (250mm)

It focuses very fast.   This shot was taken a millisecond later.   I also wanted to check for flare

It is not yet sunset but I saw the sun shining through the trees.   For the price, this lens is not too bad and is considered a bargain

On Saturday I wanted to buy another set of Rok Straps so I headed down to my Dealer where they were having a BBQ and had invited those with British Bikes to display them

It was also Triumph Demo Day and you could have taken a test ride as they had bikes "ready"

The fellow who owned the Black Vellocette was also the previous owner of this very nice BSA

While I was there enjoying my Dealer supplied beverage I noticed a familiar face.   Here is Jack with his new to him Vulcan cruiser

I bought my Nu2Me BMW R1200R from Jack  (he was the previous owner)

He told me he regretted selling his Beemer and asked if he could sit on it again, so here he is

For the past month or so, actually more than a month I have not ridden my Vstrom.  I have been riding my "R" to get used to it but last Friday I decided it was time to take it out and commute to work

This was a last minute decision and when I checked the tires they were down a few PSI so I had to dig out my portable compressor.   The first thing I noticed was how heavy it was, not as nimble as my "R"

I decide to take a slower way home and snap a photo or two

As compared to my "R" the engine feels like it is lacking a few HP and has to rev higher to get moving.  Must be my imagination but my "R" feels much smoother & quieter with effortless acceleration.

The Brakes on my "R"  are excellent and can "stop on a dime".  It makes my Vstrom feel like it has no brakes.   I guess I'm bonding to my "R" faster than I thought

Trip Update:    Will post details soon.   Preparing to leave on July 10th, which is 11 more work days, 2 more weekends

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This years riding season and small Tool Tube

Richard recently made a comment about my riding my Vstrom when I take my trip this year.   For the past few months I have been getting my Nu2Me  BMW  R1200R  ready for this years riding season.  I bought it for highway travel as I feel it is safer.   It has Traction control (ASC), TPS: Tire Pressure Sensors and on-board computer system.  It also has ABS and shaft drive so there will be less maintenance than my Suzuki.  The items that I had serviced were just regular maintenance that should have been done by the previous owner, but I had a feeling that it was neglected.   I have previously bought new Michelin Pilot Road2 tires and now I have my new battery.  The brake pads are virtually new so I didn't change them and I have already had all fluids changed; including brake fluid flush, transmission flush, diff flush and spline lube.   All of these items are just regular items that have to be done whether I go on a trip or not.

Now that my R is ready for the road, it will always be ready for the road as it will always be "highway and vacation" ready

My Vstrom needs nothing done and it is also "highway" ready but if I were to take a long trip with it I would have new sprockets and chain replaced.  They look new as I am not a fast rider and I always keep it lubed up but with nearly 30k  kilometers I would rather not have to deal with replacement "on the road".  I would rather pay extra and have them changed out before I leave.  It is not easy to find a dealer in an unfamiliar area and of course any failure would happen at the worst possible location, or on a Sunday.

Now I have two bikes perfectly capable of extended travel.  Both are set up for touring with hard side cases and top box.   My Vstrom, which I bought new has taken me to Montana, Idaho, Oregon & Washington.  In fact I have ridden to Oregon the past 5 years since 2008 and this year I wanted to go somewhere where I had never been before.  I trust my Vstrom, it is reliable and is able to eat up less than perfect road surfaces.

Most of my riding prior to 2008 has been within a 250 mile radius from home.   I have ridden to Vancouver Island and Kelowna on my Maxi-Scooter.   In fact I even rode my Kymco X500Ri as far south as Mount Hood for the Sound Rider Maxi Scoot rally.  I have probably owned more than 25,  2 wheeled vehicles from Hondas, Suzukis and many scooters but all my riding has been within our Urban area.  I bought a brand new Suzuki GS1100L in 1981 and I think the farthest I rode was to Bellingham, WA.

My limited range was mainly due to not wanting to selfishly horde all of my vacation time for my own pleasure.  I was always respectful of Mrs Skoot's time and our desire to be together on road trips which we  took in our sports car.  For the past 30 years we always had a "spare" car, mainly convertibles.  Mostly MGB's, Alfa Romeos, VW Westfalia, Firebird convertible, Sebring Convertible and a couple of Corvettes.  I still have a C5 Corvette Roadster.  Somewhere around 2005 I started to take 3 day weekends to go to out of town rallies.   My first multi day solo ride to Oregon was 5 or 6 days (in 2008).    My plan was to take one riding vacation a year and perhaps another couple of 3 day extended weekends.   I also don't ride on Sundays so you notice that while I like to ride, it cannot be an obsession as I must be respectful to others around me.

I am past retirement age and I feel that I haven't really traveled anywhere on my bike so I am trying to make up for lost time now, before my health fails.  You can grow old and have regrets about not doing something.  You can dream but your dreams may never come true.  You can wait for the perfect time then find that you are physically unable.

This year I have planned for a much longer trip which will take me to the far side of the Continent.  This may be the first of a few so I have investigated the possibility of leaving my bike somewhere and flying home with the idea of flying there next year to continue my trip, and if I did this, I would rather leave my Vstrom, thus the idea that at the last moment I may change my mind and not take my R even though that is currently my plan.    This is the reason that I have not yet sold it.   The other idea is that I may not like my R after I return, thus I would have the option of selling my Beemer and just keeping my Vstrom.

My Vstrom is more fuel efficient, uses Regular fuel and has a much larger gas tank (nearly 23 litres).  It also has ABS but has more storage with 40 L side cases and 44 ltr top case.   I regularly get 500 kms per tank with city riding, more on the highway.  Mr R only has 32 L sidecases but I bought a 47 l topcase but the gas tank is only 17 ltrs and it has to use Premium fuel.   The R is more relaxed on the highway as at highway speeds it is turning nearly 2k RPM slower and has much more power on demand with brakes 4x better, with traction control.   It is hard to decide which is better.   The R is about 80 lbs lighter and easier to push around.

I have storage under the seat of my Vstrom where I can put wrenches, tire plug kits extra tools and also my small air compressor.   The R is space challenged so I thought I could make a small tool tube so I could carry a ratchet with a few standard sized sockets.  There is not much room anywhere to hang it

Here is a 1-1/2" IPS DWV ABS plumbing pipe which I cut down to size with end caps and the only place is behind the side case rack on the backside of the bike frame, near the tire.   I just hope the suspension doesn't bounce low enough to dislodge it, or get jammed into the wheel rim

With the side cases mounted I don't think you will even notice it.  I just have to figure out how to fix it there

I still have time to figure out what to pack.  I have two small folding chairs but I think I can pack one with my sleeping pad in one of my dry bags

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

I didn't think that I ate that much but after I was finished I couldn"t stand the sight of food.  For the past few years we have gotten out of the habit of going for an upscale buffet luncheon but our daughter called the other day and asked if we were free for lunch on Sunday (Father's Day).  I knew that I was not going to be around for a few weeks so I am purposely making myself more available to do family things

I dusted off the car and off we went.   I had not been able to drive the car much even though I bought insurance nearly 2 months ago as Mrs Skoot had her operation and was not recommended to sit in the low seat, but we managed to squeeze her in.   I don't really find it that enjoyable to be driving around by myself

I am also not a fan of buffets as I am like a fish with no sense as to when to stop eating.   I prefer defined portions as I have no self control

I must say that this was an excellent buffet with above and beyond service and a great selection of items.  It was a Country Club in sunny Richmond which was more like a luxury ocean liner

Look at all the hot food, then the salad table behind and there was also a dessert table in another room

Of course this table was full when we arrived, not so much now as we are leaving

You couldn't have asked for a better day.    They have indoor squash and tennis courts but we sat outside by the pool after our meal to soak in some sun

I tried to keep my portions on the smaller side.    I know, no vegetables but this is my day to eat what I wanted.   I love Perogies with onions and sour cream,  eggs benedict and custom omlette with a smidge of Halibut and salmon

Small cup of soft ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup and fresh raspberries, a small chocolate eclair and a Pink mousse of some kind

and a home-made Father's Day card made by our Grandchildren.   "Ang" = Grandpa in an unusual Chinese dialect

Another relaxing day on the Wet Coast

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Oiy Vey (slap my forehead)

Like the rest of you, I want what I want.   When I was getting my bike ready for the highway, I told my mechanic that I wanted a good battery.  We discussed this and that about battery types and I decided to just get a regular sealed lead acid, rather than those new LiPo or AGM even though they may be better as I didn't want to have to purchase a new charger/maintainer.

Last Saturday my battery arrived and I decided to install it myself  (read here) .    You will read where I mentioned that this battery was only 12 amps,  but the one that was removed was 14 amps

Here is my new battery, notice the model number,  YTX12 xxx   which was installed last Saturday.   Now, I am not really happy about having a battery of less capacity but I thought I was "stuck" with it, for now.   I was actually thinking of buying another one of the correct amperage

Last Saturday when I arrived at EMS: Essential Motorcycle Services they were busy so I told Ted I would take care of installing it

Bobskoot, bESS:  "Ted, where is my battery ?"

Ted:  "It's under the staircase"

bESS:  "thank you"

My mistake was not going "under the staircase" to obtain it.   There was a table next to the staircase where there looked to be a new battery waiting for me.   So I grabbed it and found that it was smaller than the original one and I had to put a wooden spacer Under the battery so that it would fit under the battery bracket .   Anyway the battery was replaced and I made my way home and parked my bike.   All week it was bothering me that this battery was under spec'd

Yesterday night I was looking at my photos and remembered that I was at EMS when Ted unboxed my battery.  I forgot that I snapped a photo of the chemical pack being emptied into the empty cells

Here's where I noticed the model number of this battery was  YTX14 xxx    which meant that the correct battery was ordered.   Because the chemicals have to be absorbed by the plates in the battery it has to sit for a few hours before use and the reason that I left and came back later, but grabbed the wrong battery to install.

I contacted Ted and sure enough, my battery was still under the staircase waiting for me and somehow I must have installed a new looking battery which belongs to someone else

On the way home tonight I stopped by to pick up my 14 amp Yuasa battery

It was still on the shelf under the staircase.   Below is a closer look

I put it into my car to take it home

I dug out my socket set and torx bits and went to work.  First I removed the seat

and then I had to grab my screwdriver and torx bit

I eventually swapped out the batteries .

The correct 14 amp Yuasa on the left, and the 12 amp Interstate on the right.   I don't need the wood spacer anymore as this battery is the correct size

There's nothing like having to do a simple job twice but now all is well and my bike is ready.   I might do a windshield wind test on the highway this weekend to see how my spacer worked