Ride to Work

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ride to Granite Run

Another flight plan change.  Saturday morning I only had time for a quick ride since I had other obligations during the day so I got out early with a simple plan.  Ride up Goshen to Providence Road, make a left and follow Providence to 252, make another left on 252 to Goshen and then back home.  When I was approaching 252 the light was green and I made a change on the fly to make a left onto 252.  Following 252 across the West Chester Pike I continued on to Route 1 and took that towards Granite Run where the Media Bypass merges with West Baltimore Pike to the 352 turnoff.  Route 1 had very little traffic and it was moving pretty fast so it gave me a chance to open the Bullet up a little.

Once on 352 I ended up following two crane trucks but they were moving fairly fast so it wasn't a problem.  This road has some good turns before getting to the West Chester Pike so it was an enjoyable ride.  The work still continues on the road just shy of the Pike but luckily there was not much of a backup.

On the other right of the Pike I made a right onto Strasburg and began following that for the ride home.  When I got to the point by Bartram's Covered Bridge, where the groundhog had crossed my path the day before, a pack of riders was coming my way in the opposite direction.  I had never seen a pack on this road, mainly singles and pairs at most, but it was nice to see about 25 to 30 riders taking this road.  It was a mixed pack with some cruisers and sports bikes running together.  It would be nice to find out who this group is and maybe I could join them for some rides.

Another nice easy ride.  By the end of the ride the odo clocked 943.5 miles.
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wildlife Encounters

Friday's afternoon ride took me to West Chester via the Paoli Pike.  The original flight plan was to head up Goshen/Strasburg to get to the West Goshen Shopping Center on the Paoli Pike via the West Chester downtown.  That was the target because I need to go to the pet store there to buy treats for my new kitten, Lucifer.  When I reached the 252 and Goshen interception I made an on the fly decision to change the plan and take 252 to Darby Road, Devon Road, and the Paoli Pike to test traffic conditions in the early afternoon on the Pike.  As I headed up 252, I startled a red-tailed hawk that was on the grass at the right side of the road.  She took flight and at first attempted to fly across my path to the trees on my left but as soon as she was up, she veered right and came to perch at the top of a phone pole on my right.  The reason she was on the grass was that she had caught a snake which she took with her to the top of the pole.  If that was not a good omen from the shades of my ancestors, I don't know what is.

The rest of the ride out to the shopping center was without incident, traffic was light and moving at a good pace.  Traffic in the opposite direction was fairly light as well.  After stopping at the pet shop, I continued up the Pike into town and used the Wawa, right after the merge of the Pike with  Gay Street, as a turnaround and refueling point.  At that point the odo clocked 895 miles and tank required 2.597 gallons to fill up, still averaging 67 mpg.  Next refuel at 1095 miles.  While at the pump, a guy that had pulled up on a sports bike came over and asked me "what's that?"  We talked about Enfields for a while; he had never heard of them and was really interested in learning.  It was nice to chat with someone about the Bullet and it really confirmed that people will just walk up and ask about the thing.

The path back followed the usual run down Strasburg/Goshen and was nice as ever.  At a point shortly before reaching Bartram's Covered Bridge on Boot Road a big fat ground hog ran across the road from my left to my right.  I say him with enough time to react and slow down so there was no problem but it definitely was amusing to him waddle across the road.  Since I had slowed down almost to walking speeding, I decided to pull over on Boot Rd and get a shot of the Bullet with Lewis Run and the covered bridge in the background.  The bridge is not really visible because of the trees and the quality of the phone photos is not great but is not a bad shot overall.

I continued down Goshen all the way to it's end over Darby Creek at Darby Paoli Road.  Took a left after the creek and followed Darby Paoli to Godfrey for a run by my office.  I stopped in to check on somethings I had forgotten to do before leaving earlier in the day and the headed back home on my regular commute route.

It was a great ride, no problems from the Bullet, great to see wildlife up close without any negative effects, and to be able to put in some more easy miles on the odo.  At the end of the ride, the odo read 917.5.
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Return from Pottstown

Randy Kiss called me yesterday to let me know that the Bullet was ready for pickup.  Evidently it had a bad kickstand switch with they replaced at no cost to me since this was under warranty.  My wife and I drove up to Pottstown this afternoon and within five minutes of getting to the shop, I was ready to get on the road.  The Bullet roared to life without any problems and I headed up High Street to take my usual route back from Posttstown via 724 to 23, across Phoenixville to the Village of Valley Forge and through the Valley Forge Park to 252.  The ride was easy and uneventful, we left Posttstown a little after 15:45 so by the time we reached Phoenixville, I could see traffic starting to get heavy but it cleared on the far side of town.  The repairs on 23 leave a lot to be desired and the stretch of road between Phoenixville and the Village of Valley Forge is pretty rough and bumpy.  No potholes left but just a really bad road surface.  This time again I took the right at 252 under 202 rather than continue on to Waterloo.  That is an easy route but at that time of the day 252 north of 30, where it chokes to single lane under the rail overpass, was backed up fairly solid.  No big deal but all the idiots on the left trying to force the right and not looking over their shoulders make me feel a little uncomfortable.

After we cleared 30 I took Sugartown to Church and at the intersection of Beaumont, seeing the road clear behind us, I pulled over to the right and asked my wife to lead the way so we could get an early dinner at the Chipotle in Wayne.  I didn't want to lead because I'm never quite sure if, after we take Brooke Road, we should stick with Brooke on the left or fall back to Church on the right.  The answer is to fall back to Church on the right.  We stopped at Chipotle for dinner and after I went back home via 30 to Spring Mill and my regular commute route.  On Sproul, before hitting the Godfrey turn, traffic had backed up quite a way so I split the lane to right to get to Godfrey.  Not a wise move but with traffic standing still and me moving at about 20 mph I risked it.

The Bullet started without any problems after every stop and once again after I got home.  I hope that that was the only issue and that things are fixed now.  After this trip, the odo is at 879.9 miles.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Long Way on a Royal Enfield

Getting started in Sydney
Found this bit on Jorge Pullin's blog.  There is a young man in Australia that has set set of to make the journey from Sydney to London on a 1969 Royal Enfield Bullet 350.  At least I think it's a 350.  His name is Jonathan Gibson, a former bartender and urban designer from Sydney, and he is keeping a record of his travels in his blog, The Answer is Always Yes.

He started of on March 26, 2014, from Sydney and has endured an incredible run of bad luck with breakdowns, lost gear, and dead kangaroos.  The last entry on the blog is from June 6 and he has gotten as far as Darwin where he is stopped with a hole in the piston and serious engine issues.  The blog is a really good read and I hope he can continue, on with better luck, to regale us with tales of his long journey.

1969 Bullet 
I wish him fair seas and following winds.

Photo credit The Answer is Always Yes blog.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

It Did It Again

On the way
 Well, this morning the Bullet started, sputtered, and died.  Several tries later, all that happened was that the ignition would try to spark but there was no engine catch.  Tomorrow the tow truck is supposed to come to take it back to Kiss Honda.  Maybe they can figure out what's wrong.
At Kiss Honda

Addendum (24 June 2014): Tuesday morning, Bill from Peg's Towing showed up as scheduled and picked up the bike.  We made it Pottstown without any problems.  After I dropped off the Bullet, I watched as the service technician got on it and it turned over right away without any issues.  Of course it would!  They'll be keeping it to see if they can figure out what the problem is.
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

First Casualty of the Thump

Missing rear shroud round head bolt
I noticed yesterday that the rear round head bolt holding the muffler shroud had fallen out with the shake of the Bullet.  Figured that it was around a 6mm bolt, I tried removing one of the others to checked the length but at the time they were both still firmly attached so I judged from the cavity that it would not be very long.

Today, on my diagnostic trips around the neighborhood, I took a jaunt to the True Value Hardware Store in the shopping center on the West Chester Pike and 252 to get some bolts.  The shortest I was able to find was a 6mm x 12.  I settled for that and brought it back home.  Once home, I was able to remove the side bolt and it turns out that it's probably a 6mm x 6.  I put the original bolt in the rear hole of the shroud, where I have lost the original, and the replacement 6mm x 12 in the side hole.  That fits much better there, I could probably get away with a 6mm x 10 in that spot but in the rear spot it really stuck up.  I used blue Loctite on both bolts.  When I next go to big box hardware store, I will look for a 6x6 or a 6x10 to replace the 6x12 I have now.  I will also have to keep an eye on it just in case.
Original front shroud round head bolt
Replaced rear bolt with original side bolt

Hardware store 6mm x 12 temporary on the side bolt  hole
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DK Diner in West Chester

At the DK Diner
This morning my wife and I headed out on the Bullet for a late breakfast at the DK Diner in West Chester.  I had a little trouble getting the bike started because it seemed to be struggling to catch.  Once the throttle was engaged and the engine started to rev things seemed to settle down.

 We took our usual route up Goshen/Strasburg to the West Chester Pike and into West Chester.  The ride up Goshen/Strasburg was perfect, the llamas were out in the pasture and I thought for a second to pull over and get some pictures but I saw a pelotón of bicyclists assembling off Goshen under a tent and I did not want to get caught up in their madness.  The Parcae smiled on us and we hit every stop and light without opposition and were able to reach the Pike from 252 without putting our feet down once.
Charlene at the DK Diner

The DK Diner is on Gay Street before getting to downtown to it was an easy off right into the parking lot for a prime parking spot.  After breakfast we headed up Gay into downtown West Chester and then turned around on New Street to take Market Street out of town.  We took the Paoli Pike to the Chester County Book and Music Company and hung around there for a little while.  When we returned to the Bullet there was a gentleman in his pickup truck waiting to talk to us about the Bullet.  He was a flat track racer and had Triumphs and BSAs when he was still riding.  He had been born in West Chester and had grown up in the area but had eventually moved to San Francisco a lived there most of his adult life only returning to West Chester after retirement.  Besides motorcycles we talked about things California and because I grew up in Southern California (Anaheim, to be precise) we ended up talking about In-N-Out Burger.  You can't talk about California without talking about In-N-Out.  It was great to meet him and to talk about motorcycles and burgers, it really is hard to go out on a Bullet and not meet someone.

Enjoying breakfast
Enjoying breakfast
We headed back up the Pike towards West Chester to turn around towards West Chester Pike.  I didn't want to stay on the Paoli Pike because my rides on that road have not been enjoyable and I did not want my wife to have an unenjoyable ride.

From the West Chester Pike we got back on Strasburg and followed that down all the way to 252.  The light caught us there and when it turned back to green the Bullet gasped and died on the spot.  I tried to restart it and despite the engine priming and the electrical giving it the best it had it refused to ignite.  After the next light cycle, I trundled it off the thoroughfare and began again.  After several unsuccessful tries we both decided to trundle it across 252 to the parking lot of the Newtown Square Presbyterian Church.  This, of course, had to happen just as people were arriving for services and filling the parking lot.  We found a spot in the far end of the lot and I began trying to restart the Bullet again.  I tried with the kick start but despite several tries nothing improved.  Eventually, I could feel the engine trying to start at the bottom of the kick so I switched to the electronic ignition and it finally caught.  We went straight home from there and after dropping my wife off I did several starts and stops, a couple of loops around the neighborhood, and even as far as the hardware store on West Chester Pike and 252 without any other problems.  I have no idea what the issue could have been.  I will keep using the bike with the intention on taking it in to have it checked by next Saturday regardless of a repeat of the episode.

At the end of the day, the odo clocked 822.7 miles.
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Valley Forge Ride

National Memorial Arch, Valley Forge
Headed out towards Church Road with no particular flight plan in mind.  There was a work crew doing some repairs to the grounds by the old Ardrossan gate.  I have had that gate in mind as a place for a photo but with the crew in the way and the grass being all torn up it didn't seem like a good idea at the time.

General Mad Anthony Wayne
Not having that possibility in mind I continued down Church towards Waterloo and once there followed Waterloo to Valley Forge.  Once in the park I just followed the roads and wound about the hills, this is a good ride for a helmet camera video.  Some of the side roads were closed, I assumed for repairs or debris removal, but most of the park was accessible.  Made two stops for photos, first in the parking lot behind the National Memorial Arch and then at the Mad Anthony Monument.  The bit of cobble stone in front of the Arch was no fun to negotiate, have to take it slow through there or you might jar your teeth loose.  The road that winds up to the Mad Anthony Monument winds down to 252.  Traffic on Waterloo/252 on the way up was rather heavy from the Baptist Church in the Great Valley (another target for photos) area to the Chesterbrook turn off so I decided to follow turn right on 252 under 202 rather than to take Waterloo back.
After clearing the one way bridge on 252 traffic started getting heavy there too so I took the Sugartown turn off to Church for the way home.

I would like to do the Valley Forge ride again with a helmet camera and earlier in the day when there are less tourists in the area.  The park wasn't congested but it would have been nicer with fewer cars.  Great weather, clear and nice temps with just a little wind.  The heavy forecast for yesterday's rain did not really materialize.  It stated raining around 13:00 and probably stopped a little after 16:30 and it was never heavy rain.

After the morning commute the odo was probably clocking at around 758 miles.  By the end of the Valley Forge ride it is at 786.8 miles.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yesterday's Early Evening Ride

After a day of forecasted rain that never materialized, an early evening ride was definitely the way to go.  Tried for a little variant on the Goshen run that included a loop around Providence Rd towards Sugartown Rd.  Once at Sugartown I made the big block back to Goshen and then for a second run on Providence in the same direction as before.  At the T intersection of Providence and Sugartown I took that road towards the Paoli Turnpike and then the Darby and Devon roads loop to the Sugartown Rd beyond 252 to Church and home.

That ride is also a great load of fun.  The Goshen Rd. terrain is continued on Providence with nice twists and low hills.  As the sun was low in the sky there were good long shadows and cool temps but in some stretches of Providence the sun was right in my eyes.  On the first turn from Providence to Sugartown I wanted to take Dutton's Mill Rd and do that loop to Goshen, giving me a longer run on Goshen before the second turn on Providence, but I miscalculated where Dutton's Mill comes out on Sugartown.  It is beyond the Providence T towards the Paoli Pike not in the direction of Goshen.  There was a Verizon crew on Sugartown, close to the Pike, but the timing worked out right and I got the go ahead without having to stop.

After the morning commute there were about 727 miles on the odo, did the Ithan loop on the way home which must add a little mileage.  By the end of this ride the odo is close to 749 miles.  Trying to get to 1500 by the end of July if possible.

Today the forecast was for heavier rain.  It is now 11:30 and it hasn't happened yet.  However, I needed to use the car for work today so no commute on the Bullet.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Oh, the Humanity!

First ding.  Don't like that, first implies that there will be others to follow but that is the nature of things.  Have no idea how this happened.  Found it last night when I came back to work to pickup a couple of things I had left behind at the office and as I walked towards the bike I noticed the scrape. The first suspect was the Fox Tactical Fork Bag; it could have scraped the parking sticker so the bag is gone now.  On close inspection of the bag, however, there was no sticker residue and nothing hard enough on the bag itself to have caused this scrape.  It is a pretty serious scrape that has taken a whole layer of paint off.

My next thought was that somebody had tried to scrape the parking sticker off and caused the damage but I can't imagine why.  The parking stickers are cheap enough as to be practically free so there really is no reason to try to steal one.

The Bullet is never parked close enough to cars for this to be a door ding and it isn't a ding but a scrape.  So, that leaves that option out and it doesn't appear that the Bullet had been hit hard enough by a door to cause this much loss of paint without leaving a ding.

It has me baffled, I guess I'll never know.  The next step is to get some touch up paint, clean off the goop left behind by the sticker's adhesive, and cover it up as best I can.

As Tony Soprano was fond of saying, "what're you gonna do?"

On the way to work this morning, I stopped at the Shell station on the corner of 30 and Spring Mill to fill-up.  This is never a good idea because this Shell has to be the most expensive gas station in the whole tri-state area.  The odo was at 720.2 and it should have been good to go up to at least 747 miles but last night on the way back from work the gas light was flashing intermittently.  Supposedly, that light comes on once you are into the reserves and stays on solid.  Didn't think there was any need to risk going dry even when it meant having to pay extra for the gas.  The tank took 2.52 gallons to fill and it should be good up to 920 miles for the next fill-up.  Mileage figured out to 67.82 mpg.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You Know Muffins, John Snow! (Not Motorcycle Related)

That's the new bakery in Winterfell.

Not motorcycle related, but if you enjoy New Orleans jazz and Game of Thrones, you will enjoy this:

Just a small tribute by the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys (who are just amazing) in honor of last Sunday's season finale of Game of Thrones.
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Lunchtime Ride to Bartram's Covered Bridge

Lunch today was taken over by a short ride to check on one of my old cameras.  Left work via Ithan to Conestoga.  Ithan Rd has been completely resurfaced south of 30.  This is a very good thing because the stretch in from of the Agnes Irwin School had gotten pretty bad since the winter snows.  There was some electrical line repair going on in front of the school but they had divided the remaining lane for traffic and there was no need to stop. 
From Conestoga I took Spoul out to Bryn Mawr Ave and out to the West Chester Pike heading away from Philadelphia and out towards Chester County.  Traffic on the Pike was fairly light for midday and the lights seemed to be in my favor as there was a run of several clear greens past 252.  The Pike brought me to Providence Rd where I headed north to the intersection with Goshen.  A right turn there led me back towards 252 and home for a little lunch.  

Bartram's Covered Bridge
One of the reasons for this ride was to test my old Fuji S9100 as a possible carry camera on these jaunts.  The Nikon D7000 and D80 are to big and bulky to carry comfortably on the bike and the D80 lacks live-view which would require helmet removal to take pictures.  As intended, for a while, I stopped in front of Bartram's Covered Bridge, the last covered bridge left in Delaware County, and snapped a couple of shots.  They didn't turned out half bad but I still think I would rather have a good pocket camera so as not to have to carry a bag.   

On crossing the road back to the Bullet, there was a one pointer feeding on the edge of the road just about 75 yards from the end of the bridge.  The capture is not the best as this is a crop of the resulting shot taken with the lens cranked out all the way to 300mm.  The little buck bolted away back into the woods to avoid the oncoming truck not giving much of a chance to get much more than this one shot.
One pointer feeding by the covered bridge

The way back from the covered bridge followed Goshen home, although the detour around Goshen east of 252 is still in place.  After lunch just took the regular commute route back to work and now to wait for maybe a ride this afternoon if it doesn't get much hotter.

The photos below are test shots of the S9100 taken this morning in the parking structure.  The mileage on the odo after this lunchtime jaunt may be around 700 miles if not a little over.

In the parking garage

Ten miles since yesterday morning

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Bullet Engine Schematic

We did not ride out to Adamstown but I ended up there Sunday afternoon doing a little antiquing with my wife.  It would have been a nice ride on the Bullet but not very practical if we had bought something like a framed poster.  Not that I bought a framed poster but I came close.  As I was wandering about one of the shops, Adamstown Antique Mall to be more precise, I noticed high on a wall an engine schematic for a Royal Enfield Bullet.  They wanted $75 for it and I thought that was a little much for a disintegrating poster but it sure was cool.  It appears to be English and from the fifties.  Here is a fuzzy cell phone picture of it.  

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Today is Ride to Work Day!

Nice commute to work this morning.

Leaving the house

At the garage at work

666 miles!  Oh, oh!  XD

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Brunch in West Chester

For father's day my wife and I headed out on the Bullet to West Chester for brunch in a downtown restaurant.  We didn't have anyplace special picked out we just wanted to go and find something there.  The quickest way would have been to head up West Chester Pike but the more fun and twisty ride is up the Goshen/Strasburg to West Chester Pike route.  We both love that route because of the scenery, the hills, and the twists and turns of the road.  No geese on the road today but as we crossed 252 we picked up a New Yorker in front of us who must have been leaf peeping in the wrong season, the guy could go no faster than 30 mph.  All that road is double yellow and with many blind turns so it's hard to pass someone.  Luckily there was a spot along the horse farms before the Providence Rd. intersection where it was clear enough to make a break for it.  Once we cleared him the ride was definitely more enjoyable.

The downtown area of West Chester runs between Gay St. and Market Street from about Bolmar St. to New St.  As you head into town on the Pike it turns into Gay St. and continues up through downtown as a one way street.  At some point, if you bear left, the next street over is Market which runs the other way back to West Chester Pike and the Paoli Pike turnoff.  We followed Gay all the way to New and made the turn to come back on Market settling on a parking lot near the corner of Gay and Walnut.  Leaving the Bullet there, we walked along Gay to find a place for Brunch.

We settled on the Side Bar because they had seating outside and a good looking menu.  The food was great and the weather was perfect for an outside brunch. While we were waiting for our food, a nice older gentleman approached us and compliment me on the Bullet.  We chatted about it for a little while and he was surprised to learn that they are still being made.  He though it was a vintage bike not something with just a little over 600 miles on it.

After brunch we headed back on the reverse route.  No New Yorkers this time and the road was free an clear.  At a couples of places, where I had a tailwind and a downhill slide, the Bullet reached and maintained a little over 60 mph on less than half throttle.  It's nice to know that even with two people on board it is still game. Much fun was had by all.  By the end of the ride we had clocked  a little over 661 miles on the odo.

Looking forward to Ride to Work tomorrow.
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Tomorrow is Ride to Work Day!

Make plans to support Ride to Work Day and ride your motorcycle or scooter to work tomorrow.

Ride to Work History from the Ride to Work Day website:

"Ride to Work Day was inspired by "Work to Ride - Ride to Work'" marketing materials created between 1989 and 1991 by the Aero Design and Manufacturing Company, a Minnesota based manufacturer of motorcycle riders clothing. In 1992 these items inspired motorcycle magazine editor Fred Rau to write an editorial calling for a national ride to work day.

The first annual Ride to Work Day event was proposed in Road Rider magazine (now titled Motorcycle Consumer News) in the May 1992 issue. This is an excerpt from that "Ride to Work" editorial: "You may remember several months ago when Bob Carpenter, commenting in his 'Two Up' column, mentioned how neat he thought it would be if there was one day a year when everyone who owned a motorcycle used it to ride to work. That comment was prompted by a T-shirt produced by Aerostich RiderWear that simply said, 'Work To Ride, Ride To Work.' Everyone seemed to think that a national 'Ride To Work' day was one heck of a good idea."

The first Ride to Work Day event date was July 22nd, 1992. For several years various motorcycle businesses informally promoted every third Wednesday in July as Ride To Work Day. These early advocates included Road Rider Magazine, Dunlop Tires, and Aerostich/Riderwearhouse. The event continued to grow as an informal grass roots demonstration every year until 2000. That year a non-profit organization, Ride to Work was formed to help organize and promote Ride to Work Day. The first Ride to Work Day event led by this group was the third Wednesday in July of 2001. This day was the annual day until 2008, when it was changed to the Third Monday In June. This change was made to climatically better accommodate riders world-wide, and to give more riders an opportunity to participate.

Ride to Work is a 501 c4 nonprofit, all-volunteer effort. Organizers include Andy Goldfine, Lynn Wisneski and Christine Holt."
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clocks 4 Bikes

Step 1 - In the package
As an early father's day present my wife gave me a Clocks 4 Bikes stem nut clock for the the Bullet this morning.  Fist of all, what a great company to do business with!  My wife called to ask about measurements and got a call back immediately from Linda Harjes, one of the co-owners.  They worked out the particulars and the clock was here from Flora, Mississippi in two days with free shipping.

Step 2 - Out on the package
As you can see from the pictures this is a beautiful product.  Ross and Linda Harjes run the whole thing the old fashioned way with customer satisfaction as their number one priority.  The thing that impressed me the most was that the clock arrived running and set to my local time.  Talk about minding the details!

Step 3 - Installation complete
The clock is beautifully made and it fits the Bullet as if it was an original part.  They also have a handle bar mounted model but for the stem nut you will need to ask for the 30mm.  It is just positioned on the stem nut and all you need to do is tighten the securing bolt with the included hex wrench.  If you notice the time on the clock you will see that time from taking out of the package to complete installation is less than 3 minutes.  That includes the time to take pictures, without that it probably would have taken less than a minute.
Step 4 - Ready to go

Clocks for bikes offers several models for different kinds of bikes and they would be a great addition to any bike.  As you can tell, I am highly impressed with the product and the service.

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Saturday's Ride

The intention this morning was to head out Goshen/Strasburg to 352 heading towards Brookhaven but turning around at Granite Run Mall and following the reverse route back home.  Soon after crossing 252 on Goshen there was a flock of Canada geese gently strolling across the road.  They did not seem to mind the oncoming traffic and were not deterred or hurried by the Bullet's horn.  I slowed down to pass amidships of the flock and got a lot of honking and flapping of wings for my efforts.

After that the ride up Goshen was clear and fun.  The Bullet appears to be running smoother than I remember but that may all be in my head.

Shortly after crossing West Chester Pike on 352 there was a crew working on the road.  I got stopped at the top of the key and as soon as I pulled up, the lady in charge of the stop signed wandered over to ask about the Bullet.  We chatted for a couple of minutes about motorcycles while oncoming cleared and then I was on my way.  The opposite line of traffic was getting pretty backed-up by the time I cleared the crew and I decided not to reverse the route.  Crossing over Route 1, I took the on-ramp to Rt. 1 and from there to 252.

In my new Fox Tactical Fork Bag I was carrying by Nikon SB400 which I had dropped and broken and intended to take to the camera shop to see about getting fixed.  Keeping that in mind, I headed down 252 all the way to the Paoli Shopping Center at Rt. 30 where there used to be a Cardinal Camera.  Cardinal is now gone but there is a Ritz Camera there now.  They couldn't fix it so I headed home via Sugartown and Church.  (I took the SB 400 apart when I got home and fixed it myself.)

Great ride with no hold-ups other than the brief stop at 352 for road work.  That road has some nice twists and traffic is light enough that they can be run well.  Did push the Bullet up to 70 mph on Sugartown for just a brief period, probably no more than 100 yards.  It handled it well.  Can't wait to see if it can sustain it.

At the end of the ride the Bullet clocked 631 miles on the odo.
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Fox Tactical Fork Bag

Yesterday, while waiting for the Bullet to be serviced I wandered in to the Army Navy Store in downtown Pottstown.  Not looking for anything in particular, just looking to kill time.  There I found a Fox Tactical Modular Deployment Bag that would do the perfect job for a fork bag tool kit.  The bag cost $25.95, plus tax, and measures 11.5"x6"x5.5".  The outside is Cordura nylon and the inside is rubberized for waterproofing.

After a few minor alterations it fit fairly well on the fork and should serve well as a tool kit holder or small catchall.  I altered the bag by cutting the retaining fold on the front buckle straps so that they could be folded around the back of the bag and used as attachment points to the fork cross beam.  The attachment straps on the back of the bag are not long enough to wrap around the fork crossbeam as they are designed to attached to a belt or to modular tactical equipment.  At first I thought about buying or constructing extensions, and this is a possibility, but the original idea was to have a low cost fork bag and I didn't feel the extra hassle and cost could be justified.

A pretty neat solution, now let's see how it holds up in use.

Fox Tactical Fork Bag
Close-up Fox Tactical Fork Bag

Close-up Fox Tactical Fork Bag

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Mystery Solved

This morning there was a message from the towing service (Flatt's Roadside Assistance, if that's not an unfortunate name for a roadside assistance service I don't know what is) that they would be here by 10:05 to pick up the Bullet.  That was an hour after I requested but a little flexibility goes a long way.  Having been left on the side of the road by AAA once for over three hours, I called the number they left in the message by 10:20.  The voice mailbox for that number had to been set up and Flatt's wasn't answering.  Not wanting a recurrence of my AAA experience I immediately called Progressive to figure out the deal.  They were able to raise Flatt's who said they could not be here for another two hours.  Accident this morning, blah, blah, blah, excuses.   I asked Progressive to get another service and by 11:00 I got a call from them saying that Infiniti of West Chester was on its way and that they would be here in 60 minutes.  This would put them at about the same time frame that Flatt's would have been but after my bad experience I feel better with someone who says 60 minutes rather than two hours.

In the meantime, I continued fooling around with the bike to see if I could get it to run.  At one point I noticed the amp meter light flicker and that gave me a little hope.  Right after I hung up with Progressive at 11:00 I gave the Bullet on more try.  This time, magically, the light came on and the bike kicked over.  Mirabile visu!  Not wishing to risk anything, I ran upstairs, put on my riding gear, and asked my wife to cancel the tow.

Despite a forecast of heavy rain the sky was clear and blue so I headed down the road with high hopes of getting to Pottstown dry.  I took Church to Waterloo and headed to 252 to cut across Valley Forge National Park to link up with 23 to Pottstown.  When I left the house I had 539 miles on the odo.  I knew that it would be a tight squeeze to get to Kiss Honda before I ran out of gas.  I figured a little over twenty miles to get there and I had calculated that the odo would read 561 when I ran into the reserves.  I didn't want to stop at the Liberty station on 30 and Waterloo for fear of not being able to start the bike again.

When I got to Phoenixville, I decided to stop at the Citgo on 23 and White Horse because I was afraid that I wouldn't make it to High Street and if I had then how would I get back, the nearest gas station I knew at the time was just out of town.  I realize now that there is a gas station about a block away from Kiss Honda on High Street.  I pulled into the Citgo with 549.3 miles on the odo.  The tank took 2.772 gallons to fill up so I was running fairly close.  The average mileage the Bullet is running now is 67 miles per gallon.

I got to Kiss Honda a little after noon and the service technician was outside waiting for me.  We talked about the problem the Bullet had and he asked me if the kickstand was down.  I realized then that when my grandson was crawling over the bike he must have pushed on the kickstand enough to engage the safety but to make it appear as if it was still up.  I figured that as I messed with the bike this morning I must have re-seated the kickstand and that is what caused the miraculous recovery.

I also asked Randy Kiss to install a maintenance free battery to replace the one that came with the Bullet.  I don't like having to mess with wet cells and Randy sold me a battery for $85.95 which is quite a bit cheaper than I have seen on line or from nfieldgear.  He also threw in and installed a set of battery tender leads so I don't have to unhook the battery again and I can keep it hooked up to the tender when not in use.

They did the work in less than an hour an a half and I was on the road again by a little after 14:00 (that's 2:00 pm. to you civilian types).    The trip back was the outbound route in reverse, didn't have to go down 29 to 30 since the work on 23 appears to be over.  All the way from Pottstown to the outskirts of Phoenixville the Devil was beating his wife.*  He wasn't beating her hard but hard enough to be worrisome.  The sky was heavy and dark behind me and clear and blue in front so I hoped to be running away from the rain.  The beatings stopped in Phoenixville and it was clear sailing until I got to Devon.  As I crossed 30, I figured I would take Sugartown and stop by my wife's work to let her know I was back since she doesn't answer her cell at work.  No sooner had I made that decision that the Devil heard me and began to beat his wife again.  I passed on Sugartown to head home but by the time I got to Church the beatings had stopped again so I headed up Church to my wife's work in Eastown.  I got there and started back home.  No beatings but the sky kept getting darker.  As I pulled into the garage the heavens opened up and it came down in buckets.  The mileage on the odo read 595.5 when I stopped.  All's well that ends well.

*"The Devil is beating his wife" is a southernism for a sunshower, a meteorological phenomenon that occurs when rain falls while the sun is shinning.
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dead in the Water

So I got home from work and started getting the Bullet ready to take to Kiss Honda in the morning.  You might remember from last Sunday's (08 June) post that last week I thought the battery had drained from my grandson leaving the kill switch open so I had the battery recharging on the bench since then.  I hooked up the battery, not an easy feat until you figure out that if you hold the nut in place with a screwdriver while rotating the screw it will eventually fall in place by itself, and got ready to crank it over.  The headlights came on, the neutral light came on, but the amp meter light did not and there was no whirling noise like there usually is.  I tried kick-starting, something I've never been successful at, but I got nothing.  No surprise there.  Well, I'm dead in the water.

Luckily, I have roadside assistance through Progressive Insurance.  So I called and set up an appointment to come have the bike picked up tomorrow morning to deliver to Kiss Honda.  I will bet that it's nothing major, but if you read this tonight (12 June 2014) and have an idea of how I might get this thing rolling again, I would appreciate a note in the comments.  I would like to be able to get there under my own power.

Thanks in advance!
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Musket 998 V-Twin

Talk about needful things.  The Musket V-Twin is the creation of Aniket Vardhan, an industrial designed from New Delhi who is now living, working, and teaching at an art design college in Columbus, Ohio.  The Musket 998 was created by fabricating a V-Twin from two Bullet 500 top ends.  The test machine is based on a 2002 Bullet that has only been stretched 2.3 inches to accept the new engine.  It is, without a doubt, a thing of beauty.

Aniket is working on creating a beta model right now with the possibility of going into production soon.  This would be a fantastic thing for Royal Enfield aficionados.  If he can get this thing into production, I know my name will be on the list.

Check out his website to see more pictures of the 998 and his other test bike, the Musket 700, based on the 350 engine.  Also keep an eye on his blog for future developments.  I sincerely hope that he is successful because I would dearly love to have one of these things.  Best of luck to him!  

Photo Credit: Musket V-Twin website.
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chin on the Tank

I went down to Richmond to pick up my grandson and we have him with us until Tuesday, that doesn't leave much time for motorcycle riding this weekend.  As a matter of fact, haven't ridden since Wednesday's commute.  No matter, I'm having a great time with him.  I did let him get on the bike and play around and did not notice that he had turned on the ignition switch so yesterday morning I realized that the battery had drained.  Took the battery off and have it sitting on top of the work bench hooked up to the charger.

See full set on Flickr.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Royal Enfield Video

Found this great video at my favorite Royal Enfiled blog, My Royal Enfields.

The video walks through Royal Enfield's four distinct product lines, the Bullet, the Classic, the Thunderbird, and the Continental GT.  It is definitely geared towards the Indian market because they talk about the 350 model of the Classic and the Thunderbird which are not imported into the US.  However, it is a fun watch and very well done.

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500 Miles

The Bullet hit 500 miles on Sproul below Conestoga this morning on the way to work.  Considering the first ride on the bike was on the 8th of last month, and that there was about a week there (between the 22nd and the 27th) when I was too sick to ride, 500 miles in 27 days is not too bad of an average.  Time to call Kiss Honda and schedule the first maintenance iteration.

The first 500 have gone without a hitch, there was only one time in which the bike refused to start and I am not sure that wasn't operator error.  Everything seems to be breaking-in the way it's supposed to and I couldn't be happier with it.
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Monday, June 2, 2014

The King of Spain Abdicates

Totally not motorcycle related:

The Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, abdicates in favor of his son Prince Felipe who will become Felipe VI.

From El Mundo.  In English.

Picture credit: The Sun Daily
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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two Ride Sunday

Did not get out until later in the day but was able to squeeze two rides in anyway.  The first ride was out Goshen/Strasburg to 352 and there all the way across to my gun club in Brookhaven.  The 352 part of that ride was really nice.  A little busier than Goshen/Strasburg but still plenty of twists and turns.  Once 352 crosses Rt. 1 it opens up to four lanes and it's pretty flat and straight.  I looped around Dutton Mill Rd, Chester Creek Rd, and Knowlton Road by Linvilla Orchards to get back to 352.  The return ride was 352 to Rt. 1 to 252.  Much shorter but not as much fun of a ride.  The Rt. 1 portion gave me the chance to open the throttle a little to keep up with traffic.  The Bullet handled it just fine.  At the end of that ride the odo clocked 459.7 miles.

As soon as I returned home I took my wife for a pillion ride around the neighborhood.  We did the 252, Newtown Street Rd to Sugartown Rd loop.  From Sugartown we took Church to Harrison down St. David's to the roundabout back to Waterloo and Church.  It was a nice early evening ride.  We did run through Signal Hill a couple of times to enjoy that neighborhood loop.   That ride clocked us to 475.6 miles.

Soon I will have to schedule the first maintenance run with Kiss Honda.  I figure that between now and the following weekend I should clock close to 600 miles.  I know next weekend I won't be able to ride much but with commuting a couple of after work rides I should be able to get close enough to schedule the maintenance for the following weekend.
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Stuck Behind Grandpa Florida

Yesterday morning's ride was an extended version of the usual Goshen/Strasburg run.  The ride began with a traffic block at Goshen and 252 to let a foot race cross Goshen that should have been an indicator of things to come.  Once past the road block, the outbound portion on Goshen/Strasburg was a great ride, not much traffic and the opportunity to open her up a little.  On the way back I took Ellis Lane to the Paoli Pike to see if the traffic pattern in the Pike was different from the previous day's ride.  Not much changed on that traffic pattern but the worst part had to be making the acquaintance of Grandpa Florida.

Somewhere between 352 and Sugartown Rd I fell in behind a Camry with Florida plates being driven by an old man (I am an old man and a grandpa but this guy really took those roles to heart) on a Saturday drive with his wife.  I'll call him Grandpa Florida or GF for short.  GF is one of the those people of the school of driving 10 miles under the limit, no matter what.  That is bad enough but to add insult to injury he is also one of those people that has to slow down for every turn on the road and come to a complete stop at every opportunity.  He was driving me insane besides driving like an idiot.  To make it even worse, I had a certified Pennsylvania Yahoo directly behind me who felt it his duty, nay, his divine calling, to lay on the horn at every indiscretion committed by GF.  GF must have picked up a copy of my flight plan somewhere because he anticipated every turn and kept in front of me from the pick up point to Devon Rd, Darby Rd, and into Sugartown Rd past 252.  If I had been in a steel cage I would have forced my way on left despite the double yellows that plagued the route (I confess to being an aggressive driver, I've driven in California, Northern Virginia, Spain, Italy, and Sicily (which I consider a distinct driving experience from Italy on the level of aggression and daring) so I believe in pushing the envelope) but with the heavy oncoming traffic I could not find a comfortable window.  Finally at Sugartown, before the first dog leg, I was able to see a clearing ahead and cross the double yellow to leave GF and the certified Pennsylvania Yahoo to their own devices.

The rest of the ride was inconsequential, headed down Sugartown to Valley Forge to South Devon to link up with Conestoga because I needed to stop by my office.  Didn't take my regular commute route on the return from the office but went to Ithan Rd to Conestoga and then back.

Beautiful day for a ride and if it hadn't been for the aggravation of clueless drivers it would have been perfect.  The lesson learned is to avoid the Paoli Pike on pleasure rides because it doesn't seem to fit that profile.  At the end of this ride the odo read 418 miles.
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