Back on May 2nd Vinney and I made the trip out to the ECTA’s Ohio Mile event. All in all it was a fun weekend and we set a new class record upping the last by 7mph. We learned a lot that weekend and came back with ideas on how to make us faster in Aug. Here are a few photos,
With all this machining and making parts as of late, got to me thinking about the places that used to do these things on the regular and how there disappearing. Soon we will only have ourselves and the cottage industry to rely on to keep the machines we love on the road. I ride by this now abandoned building every time I go down to the shop. Reminds me of a time about 12 years ago I had needed a carb serviced apon moving to the city. I asked around south philly where I was living at the time and the general consensus was North Philly’s Palacio Carburetor. This was an old clapped out 2 bbl on a 74 Plymouth Valiant. After riding about 60 blocks on my bicycle I was there. Despite all the windows on the side of the building when you entered it was like a cave in there. There were boxes of carb cores and ac compressors piled to the ceiling blocking off all light. I was told by the old guy behind the counter that it would be ready in a week or so. Week goes by and I get a call from them to pick it up. A half a day bicycle ride later I was there again. The old guy and I talked shop a while and I asked him a about the 100% engine tested on his sign. He gave me the old “come here kid” and we meandered through hallways with walls of parts and carbs to a back room with an old flathead 4 on a test stand. He asked me for my carb out of the box that he had just given back to me.
This intake manifold on the flatie had a big square sheet metal box on it where the carb would go. Looked to have been gas welded 100 years ago. He reached up to a wall of adapter plates made of mahogany and put the 2bbl one on and set my carb on top. There was some kind of quick action ratcheting lever arm to press down on the carb body to make a seal. He pushed on a fuel line and fires that old flathead 4 right up. Cool.
After that I brought it home and put it on the Valiant, It ran great after that, I can’t remember so well now but I think they re-bushed the shafts and changed out the jets and powervalve. It makes me wonder where all the industry has gone. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.
Spotted this near perfect Bonnie at the WALGREENS in Hobe Sound FL, visiting my mom for thanksgiving Guy just out picking up some things at the store. Made me want to have year round good weather to ride in too.
Casey and I had an amazing riding day Sunday. Rode about 170mi. We left promptly at 8a, bundled up good for the 40F weather. At 70mph on the highway, it was REALLY cold. Easy enough to ignore when you know it’ll hit spring temps and be sunny as hell later in the day. Willpower and mental discipline will serve you well.
We hit a couple off-road sections which were fun. Went around a few “road closed” signs. Stopped for coffee a few times. Then we headed to Oley, PA for the 2011 Turkey Pro National, an annual memorial event for Snuffy Smith. Great turnout and even more cool bikes. The kind you don’t see every day. . . Vincents, Knuckleheads, rare Italian bikes, old Velocettes, etc.
Despite the crash on the way home, it was a great day that I’ll remember for some time.
All the time. Sure glad I had mine on yesterday. Sliding to a stop from 30mph on pavement kind of sucks otherwise. My left eye was about an inch from the street as I slid on my head and left shoulder. I could hear the helmet grinding away. SO thankful it went like this.
Holes in my 20 year old leather. Almost a hole in my helmet. Scuffed up palm on my glove. Swollen and bruised hip and elbow. Sure glad I didn’t leave any hand or arm meat behind. And it is meat and nothing more at that point.
My fault. Most crashes are the rider’s fault. Making excuses won’t help you improve your skills for next time. Failed to pay attention for a second looking off at some scenery and hit the leaves. Boom! Instantly down and sliding.
Casey took good care of me. We relaxed for a while and took stock of the situation before deciding both me and the BSA were safe to ride the remaining 50mi home.
Glad to still be here.
3/4 helmets, heavy gloves, leather boots and heavy jacket, minimum. Please.
Left arm. Got a little rash under there, but nothing major.
Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since I took a two month long trip around the country. I rode 11 thousand miles. I was snowed on, rained on, burnt by the sun, flooded out in my tent, swam under the Golden Gate bridge, threw snowballs off the Big Horn mountains, came face to face with a Buffalo in WY, snakes in NM, cops in Long Beach, lizards in TX, hiking in Trinity CA, stripped down bare ass naked and sunburnt when I reached SF and ran down the beach into the Pacific. Met and stayed with new folks almost every day. Picked wildflowers and put them on my bike every few days, watching them turn to dust slowly with wind and miles before picking more. Met up with old friends. Made new ones. And so on, and so on and then some. I still daydream about that trip. While cliche, to call it a life changing experience is perfectly apt.
At Lassen Volcanic park in N. Cali
Some observations and mental meanderings I quickly wrote down upon returning . . .
I came home.
Two months, roughly eleven thousand miles, three or four hundred beers, and many new friends later. . . I came in from the cold. I paid the price on the last leg of my trip. It was around forty degrees Fahrenheit and I pulled every last ace from my sleeve in an effort to stay warm. Big deal. The Sun God was kind enough to provide me with balmy days up until the very end. Hell, I got to ride through Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia in eighty-degree weather in a sweatshirt, at the end of October no less. So many beautiful roads framed in bubbles of blaze orange and blood red and glowing yellow were put before me as I meandered through tiny little coal towns on the way back to my home coast. I was intimidated by the powerful beauty and richness before me. So much so that the thought of trying to capture something of it seemed a timid joke. I reverently kept my camera in my saddlebag. My natural inclination to want to borrow a snatch of this to share with my friends or to rekindle my own memories later in the bogs of grey winter were tugging at me. As I often do in times and places of great significance, I decided that this was intended for eyes and memories only. How lucky was I to have caught this perfect curl of Indian summer?
For a long time now Ive been wanting a Yamaha RD350-400 but just couldn’t justify the cost of buying one with all my there current projects. I bought a fancy app for my phone that searches craigslist for you under the search criteria you want. It cost the same as a good cup of coffee, best 2.99 I HAVE EVER SPENT! At work this past week this modern marvel of technology lets me know that there a pair of rd’s for sale in upstate NY for $100 with title. Called guy and he gave me the story, been sitting since 81′ was the fastest bike he has ever ridden etc. After getting off the phone I felt an immeadate call outta work sickness coming on. Me and Cleo Dog took the 10 hour ride there and back through the fall leaves and countryside.Lately Ive been rather disapointed in the amount of time I’ve been getting at the shop. This project will be done at my house only like old times. Get to put a few hours in after the kids go to bed.
So Simple and well designed, no wonder the brit's went out of business
This will be kind of a super bike build. Lots of fiberglass, the bike stock weighs in at 351 lbs dry, pretty light to begin with. Im going to try to shave at about 50 lbs off it. I split cases and crank the other night, The build sheet will include new bearings throughout, rods, pistons, banshee reed cages, yz125 reeds, boost bottle, updated brakes and shocks, and aluminum rims. Stay tuned.
I’ve been having a hard time getting out for a ride in the last couple months. Work is blown up and demanding mad hours (need to find a new job). Emmett is now walking. Cold weather has me tired all the time. There’s no end to things that need to be done around the house.
Got my chance yesterday. Almost folded when I woke up to see the 34F on the thermometer and the clouds in the sky. After breakfast and a snippet of sunlight, I decided I’d best take my chances. Good thing I did.
Per usual, I chose a general direction and tried my best to let my good road instincts guide me. Sometimes it works fabulously. Others, well, some of you have ridden through plenty of suburban sprawl hell zones that this city has so many mile of, with me. Sorry. Yesterday turned out right and I found some new great roads and routes to get out of Dodge with minimal foulness. I even wrote the names of the roads down on my fancy phone a few times during the day so I might get back there and continue scouting at some point.
I ended up at French Creek S.P. and Hopewell Furnace. I’d been camping at the former a few times but never had the pleasure of checking out the furnace. Wow. I had no idea. What a place. A system of sluices for carrying water from Hopewell Lake runs for miles through the woods to drive the water wheel for the furnace belows. The wheel house below is almost temple-like in its quiet and demand for calm. The coal barn and feed room set on the hill must be 100 feet above. Downstairs there were ten or more casting mold stations that appear to have been recently used. I wonder if they give demonstrations. The furnace is obviously not working, but there’s no reason they couldn’t make molds there at least. The pig iron troughs in the floor at the foot of the furnace were still full of old rusty iron. Stacks of pig iron lay about the building everywhere. Molds for frying pans and griddles and shirt irons too.
After a dynamite cup of coffee from a visitor center lobby vending machine (which spilled on me and took almost ten minutes) I made my way while I still had time. I suited up and pulled my ipod out of the tank bag. I spent the next few hours riding twisty back roads around Berks and Perkiomen counties through the blaze colored trees. Listened to Fleet Foxes and Fruit Bats and Black Keys. Perfect companion.
It was nice to be back on the BSA again. I finished this bike (again) in the Spring and spent the first couple months of the season riding it everywhere. Then for some reason I put it away in August and hadn’t been on it since. After pumping up the tires and changing the oil, she was a flawless ride. Nimble and perfect for this type of ride. You can flick this bike through the turns at 60mph just like a modern bike, or pretty close at least.
Got home by sundown and went out to dinner with my family.
An excerpt from a story about our Spring Opener trip in 2010 . . .
We met some new folks in Knoxville after suffering a mid-trip slump earlier in the day. Complete with a little bitching and tension from having spent the last so many days with five guys on the road. At a rest stop at dusk about 100mi from Knoxville, Vinny and I decided “Let’s ride as fast as we can right into the middle of the busiest place we can find in Knoxville, park right on the sidewalk, walk in like we own the place and talk to EVERYBODY we meet and buy them beer!”
Rather than entertain any further discussion, we were flying along at 90mph in the starry dusk with unseasonably warm winds ruffling our sweatshirts. We were there in no time and the plan was an irrefutable success.
Three people we met: Nathan, a young vet who now builds sick canyon bikes and rides it like he means it. His friend John, a musician and fellow rider, albeit of the gentler variety. Tony, plain fucking insane and builder of the Banshee-powered RD below. Fastest bike I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around the block a few times.