Ride to Work

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Fourth Day of Christmas - The Feast of Saint Thomas à Becket

Willistown Quaker Meeting Graveyard
The Feast of Thomas à Becket broke blue and bright but still cold.  By mid morning the temp had rising to 40 and it stayed there most of the day.  At about 14:00 I stopped by Gene's to talk to Harold the mechanic about the tank on the MG.  He had not found a solution to coating the inside to prevent any further rust and suggested that I look for a kit to do this.  My answer was to replace the tank, as it is not only rusting inside but also leaking from the filling spout.  Harold said that if I could find the right tank he would install it.  

I searched the web and found this 1961-1967 tank to be the closest thing to what I have. According to the website they are on back order but the cost is not bad at around $160 plus shipping.  I would have to find someone to cut and reattach the top of the spout as the stock model would protrude from the hood of the MG.  I will have to do some further research on finding someone to do this but a cursory search on the internet has led me to Angelo & Son in Havertown who might be able to do the work.   

By the time I got home, shortly after my stop at Gene's, the temps had not gotten much better, maybe around 43, but Fortuna fortes adjuvat and I made the decision to roll out the Bullet.  The run did not last long.  

I headed up Goshen and made it as far as the Willistown Quaker Meeting House where I did a quick turn around.  The layering up worked for all my body but not having winter gloves really put the strain on my hands.  I think that by the time I had reached Providence Rd my hands were already frozen but I pushed just that little bit extra to make a good turn around.  If I want to ride in this weather, even for short distances, I have to find a glove solution.  The Meeting House is about 5 miles from my house so the whole trip was just a little over 10 miles.  I did stop at the graveyard there for a couple of pics and to rub my hands together until the circulation returned.

When I left the house the odo read 2663.6 and when I returned it was at 2675.1 

Willistown Quaker Meeting Graveyard

Willistown Quaker Meeting Graveyard

Willistown Quaker Meeting Graveyard

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Third Day of Christmas - The Feast of the Innocents

Winter came back with a vengeance on the Feast of the Innocents.  It rained overnight and temperatures dropped to the mid 30s.  Morning broke overcast, misty, and cold.  By noon there was a brief break in the clouds and for about 2 seconds I thought I would take the Bullet out to beat last year's record but just as quickly I thought better of it.  So no ride.

The Bullet and the Midget
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Monday, December 29, 2014

The Second Day of Christmas - The Feast of Saint John the Apostle. bis.

St David's Chapel
After returning from the ride in the MG I decided that the weather was too good to waste and took advantage of it for a short ride on the Bullet.  This time I headed out Earles Lane towards Goshen despite the steel plates, I just skirted around them.  Once on Goshen I followed that to 252 for a right turn towards Sugartown Rd.  Traffic was light on 252 and I used that opportunity to open up the bike since the road was free and clear.  The Bullet reached 75 mph without trouble and was able to maintain it but that was as high as it got.  While on 252 I noticed a black Maserati headed in the opposite direction.  That is two exotics in one winter's day.

At Sugartown I turned right towards 30 but I had no intention of going that far, the plan was to go to Devon for a right turn and follow that out to St. David's Church for some pics.  I already have some pics in front of the church but I wanted to go up the hill to have a picture in front of the chapel.  Curiously, the chapel is about five time larger than the church itself.  While on Devon, I passed a group of kids playing in their front yard and one of the little girls stood up to wave wildly at me.  I waved back, it always brings a big smile to my face when kids wave.

I pulled into the empty lot at the top of the hill and no sooner had I set up that a SUV pulled up and parked on the other side of the divide.  A man an two women stepped out carrying cameras and tripods and the man started walking towards me.  It turns out that not only is he an avid photographer but also rides a Triumph.  We talked for a while about bikes and photography and the man asked if he could take a pic of the Bullet.  I of course agreed and asked if he posts his work on line.  Turns out that he has a Flickr account at Live2RideRide2Live with a ton of really awesome stuff.  They were really nice people and it really was a great pleasure to meet them and talk to them.  The pic he took of the Bullet can be seen on his Flickr page here.

After saying goodbye to them I continued on South Valley Forge Rd towards Church.  At Church I made a right and rode all the way back to Waterloo.  There I made a left and followed that to Newtown Rd and then took that to St. Davids to come back to Church.  At Church I caught up with another rider and just followed him out.  He was headed my way but continued past Spring so I followed him.  My intention was to follow him as far as Goshen and then go back home that way.  However, he made a ride at Goshen so I had to continue following him.  When we got to Malin he got tired of me being behind him and he pulled out fast.  I made no attempt to catch him but continued on Goshen towards Earles Lane.  At Earles Lane there was a three wheeler in front of me which I followed until the entrance to my subdivision.

The weather held through out the ride and I'm glad I did not waste the day.  The nicest thing was meeting Rob Royer, his wife, and his sister at St. David's and being able to connect with such nice people.

At the beginning of the ride the odo was at 2643.6 and at the end it read 2636.6.  Twenty mile exactly.  This ride ties my last ride last winter which happened on the 27th of December.  Last year I clocked approximately 2100 miles between April and the 27th of December.  This year, I've clocked 2636.6 miles on the Bullet, not counting the miles I had on the VStar before I traded it.

The exotic car tally now stands at 9 Ferraris, 4 Teslas, 2 Lambos, 3 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, and 1 DeLorean.
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The Second Day of Christmas - The Feast of Saint John the Apostle

Baldwin's Book Barn
The Feast of St. John the Apostle turn out to be an even more beautiful day than St. Stephen's.  Clear blue sky and temps in the mid 50's, probably as high as 56 or 57 at some times.  A great opportunity to take the MG out for a spin.

We headed up Goshen to gas up at the Wawa on 352 and 3 and to gauge how feasible a longer ride would be.  My wife bundled up fairly well and brought along a riding blanket; I didn't wear thermals just a t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt and my old A2 leather flight jacket.  That turned out to be enough for the weather.

After gassing up we decided to continue on with the ride since the weather was so good.  We headed out on 352 to 926 and followed that to the Brandywine where followed Creek Road north along the east bank of the Brandywine to 52.  At 52 we made a right towards West Chester and headed to Baldwin's Book Barn.  Surprised to find it open, we stopped and went in for a browse.

In the parking lot of Baldwin's

We left Baldwin's and headed back on 252 but instead of going all the way back to Creek Road we made a left on Birmingham Rd.  This is a really nice windy country road.  I've been on it once on my regular car, the first time we came to Baldwin's, but now I realize I need to added to my Bullet rides.  Birmingham took us back towards 926, which was not marked at that intersection (the street sign just said "W New Road") so I overshot but once I was over it I realized that I needed to turn around.

At the foot of the Lafayette Memorial
Fortuitously, the next possible place to make a turn around was the Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery.  It is an odd little graveyard that played a part in the Battle of the Brandywine as its stone walls were used by the American Revolutionary Army as its first line of defense during the battle.  At the entrance there are two monuments to two Colonels that fought in Wayne's Division at the Battle, beyond that there are monuments to two Revolutionary War Generals, the Marquis de Lafayette and Count Casimir Pulaski.  It is a little cemetery attached to a Quaker Meeting house and there is what looks like a single room octagonal school house in the back.  A place well worth returning to for further exploration.

From the we headed back to 926 and the way home stopping at the Goose Creek Grill for a little late lunch.  Monste got at sorts of attention when we pulled in the parking lot, some ladies coming out of the restaurant stopped to chat with us about the car, the chef came out to look at it, the bus boy told me it was "bad assed", and while we were inside some guys milled about her checking her out.  The lunch was good, we both had steak salads which were pretty good.  While sitting in the restaurant I noticed a red convertible Ferrari pull into the parking lot.  After we finished lunch we drove around the back of the restaurant and saw the Ferrari parked in the back.  Its license plate read "SNAIL", yeah, right!

From there it was just a quick jaunt down 926 to Garret Mill Rd and the Goshen for the way home.  A great day for a ride and a fabulous ride.  The Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery is definitely going on the list for places to explore.

The exotic car tally now stands at 9 Ferraris, 4 Teslas, 2 Lambos, 2 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, and 1 DeLorean.  The MGA I removed from this tally and put in the Classic Car tally.

Col. McClellan - Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery

Baldwin's Book Barn

Baldwin's Book Barn

Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery

Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery

Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery

Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

The First Day of Christmas - The Feast of Saint Stephen

Historic Sugartown
Good King Wenceslas went out, on the Feast of Stephen,because the snow did not lay round about, deep and crisp and even.  Actually, there was no snow at all so I took advantage of another beautiful and relatively warm day to take another short ride on the Bullet.

This time I left the house at around 13:00 when temps were expected to be at their highest (around the low 50s) and headed out towards Church Rd.  My plan was to follow Church to Sugartown Rd. and then North towards 30 to go to the Game Stop in the shopping center at Sugartown and 30.  On reaching Waterloo Rd., I changed the plan and took that to Sugartown.  The Game Stop was completely swamped with people so I did not stick around long.  However, I did kick start the Bullet on the second kick which was pretty bad.  Haven't used the kick start much because I don't seem to be very successful with it.

I reversed my direction on Sugartown but followed it out towards Darby Paoli Rd. and the Paoli Pike loop back to the other Sugartown Rd.  Once on Sugartown Rd., I stopped at Sugartown itself, on the intersection of Sugartown Rd. and Boot Rd., to take some pics in the ruined house behind the built up area of the "town", if you can call it that being mainly four or five houses on the road.  After the pictures I got the bike running again with another kick so that is town successful attempts in a row.

Historic Sugartown
After that I proceeded to Goshen for a left and the continued loop back home.  At the intersection of Goshen and Providence, there was what might have been a burgundy 1950s Jaguar XK120 south bound on Goshen making a left onto Providence.  I say might have been because I'm not sure I identified correctly.  I think with this sighting I will begin a "Classic Car" tally.  I have counted a MGA in the exotic car tally before but I just don't think these types of car qualify as exotic, they are more in the classic venue.  So the classic car tally is now one MGA and one 1950s Jag.

A beautiful winter's day for a ride, clear, brisk, with light traffic and great road conditions.  I hope this winter continues in this way.  On the way out the odo read 2621.4 and on return 2643.6.

Historic Sugartown

Historic Sugartown

Historic Sugartown

Historic Sugartown

Historic Sugartown

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Christmas Day

Ashbridge Preserve
Christmas brought the first day in a little over a week without either rain or low temps so it was a perfect reason for a short ride on the Bullet.  The absence of low temps is relative, it was probably between 49 and 50 degrees at around 11 o'clock and since we had a Christmas commitment with friends in the afternoon, I could wait for it to get warmer so I doubled up, layered up, and shuffled to the door.

Because of the temps, I had a short flight plan in mind that consisted on riding out Goshen as long as it wasn't uncomfortable and turn around at the point that my hands started to feel the cold.  The ultimate goal was to make it to the Wawa on 352 and 3 to gas up if possible but if not, not.

I headed to Goshen the long way via Malin, to avoid the steel plate on Earles Lane and continued out.  The sky was blue and clear and, because of the layering effect of my riding attire, the cold was not really an issue.  There wasn't much traffic out but there was a pickup truck in front of me most of the way and the road was still a little damp from the rain the night before so I did not feel the need to go very fast.  I got to the Wawa without much problem from the cold, although my hands could feel it, and gassed up.

Clock still on DST!
I left the house with 2600.3 miles on the odo, almost about 90 miles since the last fill-up and when I got to the pumps the odo read 2611.5.  The tank took 1.588 gallons which set me back for $4.89, gas prices are getting better.  Figuring 98 miles since the last fill-up the mileage stands at 61,71 mpg.  I need a little more data but this might be due to the new air filter.  There was another hardy soul and his girl on a Harley at the gas station.  I guess I'm not the only nut case waiting for any excuse to get the bike out.

By the time I got the Wawa the sky had completely overcast but the temps had not drop at all.   Although I had considered going back by way of the 352/926 loop the look of the sky made me change my mind and stick to the original flight plan of a turnaround on Strasburg/Goshen.

On the way back I stopped at Ashbridge Preserve on Strasburg Road for some pics of the bullet.  I figure, no pics, no ride.

The ride back was pretty uneventful, except that I took the DelChester turn a little fast and had to swing really wide to avoid trouble.  It's funny how easy that can happen but not funny if you kiss pavement.  In the end, no harm, no foul and it was a very enjoyable morning ride of just a little over 20 miles.

I took the engine guard off last week before taking the Bullet to work on one of the good weather mornings.  I have the new muffler and Power Commander from NfieldGear but haven't have the time for installation.  The installation the Power Commander requires the removal of the gas tank, so I've asked the husband of one of my co-workers to help me out with that because I don't trust myself not to screw it up so I have to wait on his schedule.

Ashbridge Preserve

Ashbridge Preserve

Ashbridge Preserve

Ashbridge Preserve

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Military Style Engine Guard

Inside the box
Friday there was a package at the door from Nfield Gear.  The package held the contents of some of my Black Friday purchases.  Specifically, an engine guard and a free poster that Nfield Gear was giving away with purchases on Black Friday.  There's still another package on the way with a sports muffler and a Power Commander unit but that has not arrived yet.

Having some free time on Sunday afternoon, the installation of the engine guard began but unfortunately it was not completed.  The engine guard came without any installation instructions but it was an easy matter to figure out how things "tied together" as it were.

The lower bracket attached easily enough.  The bolt fit through the holes in the engine mount and aligned perfectly.  However, there were two other hurdles to overcome during installation.  The first was the location of the oxygen sensor on the exhaust pipe.  The sensor is right in the way of the upper starboard bracket and to attach the main upper bracket, the sensor wire has to be separated from the frame.  This was easy enough to do by removing the plastic tie that holds the wire in place.  Not the best fit but it could be maneuvered around.  The wire is not really the big issue, it just that the sensor is right in the way of where the bracket should be.  I figured this would not be a great problem because once the new sports muffler is attached, the oxygen sensor is going away.

Sweet Free Poster!
The second hurdle came on trying to tighten the bolts holding the brackets in place.  The outside upper starboard bracket bolt is right up against the bend on the exhaust pipe making it impossible to get to it with a wrench without removing the exhaust pipe.  Had it not been for the fact that I had planned to replace the exhaust anyway I would have been majorly ticked.  Finally I decided to leave the bracket loosely in place, since the weather will probably prevent me from riding this week, and not mess with the whole deal until I have the new muffler to install.  That means probably next Sunday afternoon I might try this again.

The engine guard appears to be of solid construction.  The seam welds look a little rough but not extremely ugly.  There was a little rust discoloration along the lower part of the guard which came out with a little polishing cloth and elbow grease.  I believe that the U bolts could be a little longer to make installation easier and I may go the hardware store to see if I can find something longer.  All that is needed by ways of tools is a couple 13mm wrenches.  A socket wrench works fine in the installation of the lower bracket and I suppose would work just as well once the the exhaust pipe is out of the way.

The attached pics illustrate the install.

All the parts out of the package.  The rust stain is visible in the lower left of the photo
Lower bracket attached.  I should really clean that engine mount bracket. 

Guard attached to lower bracket.  Had to twist it down to accommodate the oxygen sensor. 

Upper brackets.  The oxygen sensor is right under the far bracket.

Port side

3/4 starboard side

Starboard side.  You can see how the pipe gets in the way of installation.

Full on

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For sale in Newbury, NH

Found this Craigslist ad in David Blasco's blog.  This bike has all kinds of bells and whistles but it does look nice and the USMC branding does appeal to my sense of humor.  And at $7500, it does seem like a bad deal.  I would buy this, despite all the bells and whistles, if I had a place to put it.


The link will eventually rot so following are the pics and text from the add.

"2011 Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet with Inder sidecar. Many extras see photos. $7500.00 or B.R.O."

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday Rides

The Willows in the Snow
Despite the snow last Wednesday, Sunday turned out to be a great day for a ride.  Although the day was grey and overcast the temps were in the mid 50s and not a drop of rain came down.  Taking advantage of the good weather I took both the Bullet and the MG out.

The Bullet ride came first and it was a short (almost ten mile) jaunt around the neighborhood.  It was just a stretch out Church to Saint Davids for a right at Newtown Street Rd to Waterloo and back Church to home.  I did a quick stop at the Willows for some pics of the snow.  No problems and no worries with the new air filter.  When I left the house the odo was at 2570 and when I returned it was at 2579.9.

The MG ride took my wife and I down Church to Saint Davids but we continued on to 252 for a left at White Horse.  I wanted to go back to the Melmark School and drive around the grounds if possible.  The main gate was open but we were only able to go around the oblong drive leading to the main building.  From there we headed back on White Horse to Grubbs Mill and Goshen.  Somewhere on Grubbs Mill, we lost the front passenger hubcap but thankfully we both noticed and were able to back track to pick it up.  Checking that hubcap needs to become part of the pre-flight checklist because I have noticed that it works loose fairly easily.  At Goshen we headed out to Garrets Mill to where that roads runs into 3 and turned around at the little park there.  On the way back we went by way of the Sugartown loop to get to Church Rd and home.  That ride was a little over twenty miles and the MG continues to purr like a kitten.

There are some issues that still need addressing, however.  The gauges don't appear to be working in a reliable manner, especially the gas gauge.  The headlight keep blinking in and out without warning.  After the ride, the headlights were out and no amount of jiggling of the fuses could bring them back.  I also would like to see about coating or replacing the gas tank before the rust in it gets back.

This morning the weather was perfect and I commuted to work on the Bullet.  On the way home for lunch I saw a red Ferrari convertible making a right from Spring Mill onto Lancaster Ave.  I did not ride back after lunch because the sky threaten rain, which it delivered later on in the day, and I did not want to risk a ride home in the dark and the rain.

The exotic car tally now stands at 9 Ferraris, 4 Teslas, 2 Lambos, 2 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, 1 DeLorean, and 1 MGA.

The Willows

The Willows

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First Snow

Last Wednesday, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we had our first snow.  The media made a big fuss about a Nor'easter and expectations of a lot of snow but at least along the 95 corridor in Pennsylvania we didn't get very much.  About 99% of it was gone by Friday and what remains is only in the shaded grassy areas.  This is not the earliest I remember snow here, in 2011 I remember a much bigger storm on Halloween.

This snow doesn't mean the end of riding, there will still be a couple of nice days before the heavy winter comes in.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Royal Enfield Riding Gear

Just got an email from RE linking to their shop with riding gear that is available in the US.  They have jackets, helmets, t-shirts, buffs, etc., that you can get directly from RE or that can be bought at the dealers listed at the bottom of the page.  Supposedly this stuff will eventually filter down to the local dealers as well.

The nicest thing, IMHO, is the leather riding jacket for $279.  This might be in my future.  I would hope that the sizing in these products have been adjusted for the American market.  We are some plus sized boys over here.  XD

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Monday, November 24, 2014

K&N Air Filter After Action Report

I see you! (At Llama Farm)
Winter has been with us for all of last week and there was not even a nice weather window to commute to work all week due to the cold.  However, yesterday the day was fairly clear and in the mid 50s so it was time to test out the K&N air filter.  I layered up and doubled up against the elements and headed up for a short run up Goshen/Strasburg to the Wawa at 3 and 352.  The Bullet did not need gas but it was a good target for a short run and nothing inhibits rust like a full tank so that was that.  Layering up and doubling up worked well except for my hands that got rather cold on the run but nothing to bad.

The K&N air filter seems to have helped with increasing power, it hasn't added much but there definitely is a noticeable improvement.  At some point before Providence Rd, the Bullet was clocking 80 mph on the speedo.  I know that the speedo is ambitious but before the change in filters it would not pass 70 mph, so there is some measurable gain there beyond my feeling of improved performance.  After crossing Providence on Goshen, I noticed what I thought was another biker in the distance in front of me and gave chase.  I didn't close the gap until Duttons Mill, where he turned left towards Rt. 3, but I did catch up to him.

From Duttons Mill is just a short run to the Wawa where I stopped for gas.  Two guys on Harleys pulled up to the pumps while I was there and one of them came over to ask how old was my bike.  He had a tremendous look of surprise on his face when I told him that it was built in 2012.  I probably told him more than he ever wanted to know about REs but he was nice enough to listen and compliment the Bullet.

Clock still on DST!
I left the house at around 12:25 with approximately 2513 miles on the odo.  I say approximately because I don't remember checking the mileage but I figure 10 miles between the house and the gas station.  At the Wawa the odo had 2523 miles and the tank took 1.906 gallons.  That's a total of 105.9 miles since the last fill up for a mileage of 55.56 mpg.  Most of that 100+ miles were commuting miles to and from work.

From there it was an easy shot across 3 on 352 to 926 and then a long loop back home via Garrett Mill and Goshen to a left on 252 to Newtown Street Rd and the Sugartown - Church Rd loop.  It was a great ride.  Nice to be out moving on country roads after a good couple of weeks with very little riding.  I would have liked to stay out longer a ride some more but my hands were staring to really feel it and it there's no joy in that.  The K&N filter has made a difference in my opinion and I'm glad that I made that change.  I am thinking, for next season, of adding the Nfield Gear Stage 1 EFI performance kit to the Bullet.  Supposedly this will increase power by 20% and improve the exhaust sound to make it more like the originals.  That will probably be good thing, we'll see.

When I got back to the house the weather was still great so I decided to take the MG for a spin as well.  I had some errands to run at the grocery store so that was the first stop.  I had noticed that the llamas were out in Llama Farm so after the grocery store I headed out that way and took some pictures from the car.  The llamas were in the back pasture but there were sheep in the front pasture.  I had never seen sheep there before but I am not surprised that they keep them together.  I came back via White Horse and got a little lost back there when I took a wrong turn onto Wayland Rd.  Ended up at the end of Wyland by the Melmark school that looks like a French chateau.  On the way home I took Sawmill Rd to avoid the steel plates on Earles Lane and I saw another Tesla, this one charcoal grey, merging from Martins Rd unto Sawmill.

The MG ran like a clock despite being in the garage for over two weeks.  I had not lost a lot of oil but I filled it up none the less.  I love taking it on those back country roads as much as I love riding them on the Bullet.

Snow expected for next Wednesday with a Nor'easter on the way so who knows when I might be able to ride again.  This afternoon, I took advantage of the good, clear, warm weather and took the Bullet to work after lunch.  Didn't do it in the morning because the roads were pretty wet from the rain last night and I had a ton of things to bring to work.

The exotic car tally now stands at 8 Ferraris, 4 Teslas, 2 Lambos, 2 Maseratis, 2 Cobras, 2 Unknowns, 1 Bentley, 1 DeLorean, and 1 MGA.

Llama Farm

Llama Farm

Llama Farm

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