Thursday 16 April 2015

First ride of the year, almost.

Okay. The new tire is installed. The front fork oil has been changed, as has the engine oil and oil filter, and the transmission oil. The additional USB outlet is installed and ready to accept the GoPro plug-in. The bike has been gone over in detail to make sure everything is nice and tight and there won’t be any bits falling off as I go down the road. I even cleaned last year’s bugs off my riding glasses (although they remain on the windshield – tsk, tsk.)

It’s a bit cool this morning but the sun is out and it should warm up quickly. I’m good to go.
All right then – gear on, helmet on, gloves on, ignition on… click… click… click. CRAP!
The 8-year-old battery decided it had finally had enough. I knew it was getting on but I thought I had a few more months in it. Apparently not.


So instead of the first ride I got a 160-kilometre round trip 4-wheel jaunt into the city for a new battery. I guess I’ll try again tomorrow.

And if anyone wants a dead battery, you can have it. It’s free of charge.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Guest post: State Route 21–Arkansas

At just under 100 miles in length, State Route 21 is one of the most enjoyable rides that Arkansas has to offer motorcyclists. Beginning at the south end in either Clarksville or Berryville, riders will travel north until they hit the Missouri state line. With switchbacks, tight corners, beautiful scenery and a clean, natural environment, riders will find themselves closer to nature than anywhere else in the state. While State Route 21 is a popular travel system, it's never too crowded to enjoy. Whether you're local or simply passing through, State Route 21 has something for riders to experience time and time again.
While the entire length of State Route 21 is easily covered in a single afternoon, riders should focus their attention to the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway. At just over 35 miles, this stretch of SR-21 offers riders both a white-knuckle ride and beautiful scenery over the state's most recognizable natural features. Sweeping corners, death-defying drop-offs and gorgeous backdrops mark the Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway journey from start to finish. Because the wildlife in this area is so abundant, riders should be cautious of animals entering and exiting the highway at all times. But don't let that deter you from opening the throttle and dragging those knees!
From highway 16 in Newton County to U.S. 62 in Carroll County, State Route 21 intersects with many important highway systems throughout its 99 miles. Riders can choose to follow 21 through its entire journey – and it's very much encouraged – or they can opt to choose a more popular route, such as U.S. 62, and continue east to New York or west to Texas. Whichever path is chosen, State Route 21 helps motorcyclists find more fun and exciting roads for their adrenaline needs.
There are plenty of campgrounds along State Route 21 if you wish to connect with nature in a personal way, but other lodging options are available if you desire. The great thing about State Route 21 is that it truly has something for everybody, no matter the budget or recreational preference. Before heading out, though, you should check the local area for forecast and traffic details. You wouldn't want to suit up for a brisk ride through the Ozarks if rain is guaranteed to stand in your way, because that area gets really wet!
This was a guest post provided by the people at Motorcycle House. Proper attire for a motorcycle outing can be as difficult as choosing the right tires for your whip. If you choose the wrong gear or equipment, it could greatly impact the rest of your journey. Of course, it really does not have to be a difficult decision as a flexible but snug jacket will make your ride that much more enjoyable. For a region such as the Ozarks, Viking Cycle makes a great line of vests and leather jackets that fit comfortably and allow riders to breathe. Of course, riders may choose to wear something a bit heavier and weatherproof during the fall and winter months, and Icon's Patrol lends itself nicely to that need.

Saturday 4 April 2015

Getting ready.

My regular readers are probably tired of me and every other rider in the northeast complaining about the lousy winter we’ve had and the late spring delaying that first ride of the season well into April. So I won’t complain any more. Besides, a recent scientific study comparing the level of vitriol spewed in the direction of the weather gods and the hoped-for results has proven they (the weather gods) don’t really give a damn what we think. So we suck it up.

It was –5C this morning as we enjoyed (!) a fresh inch or so of snow that fell overnight. My driveway is still covered in places with 4” of ice, and where the ice is gone the mud is equally deep and very, very slippery. In other words, perfect conditions to spend some time in the garage going over the bike from stem to stern. (Nautical terms, I know, but I don’t know the motorcycle equivalent.)

There is no shortage of checklists offered up by virtually every motorcycle mag and various bloggers providing a step-by-step process to ensure the safety of your ride when you do hit the road, so I won’t go through them here. Suffice to say Google is your friend.

But I did find a few things that, left unchecked, could have created problems, probably at the most inopportune time, as usual.

Tires. The new Dunlops I put on a couple of years ago have not worn well. Actually the rear is still okay, but the front is worn out after only 6,000 miles. I thought I might get a bit more out of it but looking at it today, nope, needs to be replaced. And why not? It’s the perfect storm. This spring I need to put new tires on the Escape, the Focus, the 4X4, and now the Dyna. Take a number. Get in line.

Discovered a few loose bolts here and there, including a saddle bag mount. Maybe that’s the rattle I was hearing at the end of last year’s riding season. Now it’s been found, and fixed.

My 12V to USB cable and connector arrived, so that needs to be installed which will happen tomorrow. Getting the wires properly routed will take some time but better that than having them melt against a hot pipe, or chafe through at a rough contact point. 

Other than those things, and the fact that it’s filthy dirty, everything looks good. No decent weather is expected any time soon, so next week I can go searching for tires so I’ll be ready to ride when Old Man Winter finally says “Enough!”.