Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Finally Finished!!!

Sort of...

I got all of my LED's to work off my People 150's main battery. Thanks to "Kiwiscoota" and "Scooternut" at "Scooter Community", I was able to determine that I was hooking the LED's up in a series rather than in a parallel configuration. The conversation can be found in this thread.

The result is even brighter than the last attempt and very snappy looking. They are quite noticeable now compared to the prior photos I took.

Right side, no headlight:

Left front, No headlight:
Right Front, No headlight.
Of course, I ride with the headlights on, but for better photos, I turned off the scooter.

The only thing that remains is to clean up the wiring and get some wire nuts and terminal connectors, but electrical tape will work in the meantime. It ain't pretty, but it's stinkin' cold outside.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 Mid-Atlantic Scooter Rally

When: May 15 - 17
Where: New Holland, PA

More info is available at

I will be there. There will be a ride on the 16th for 150cc scooters and up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More lighting fun!!

I tinkered some more with my LED's and connected them directly to the scooter's battery. They are substantially brighter now and illuminate the scooter much better than they had. I also found a five inch LED strip in white which I have placed on the inside of the access door for the spark plug. It illuminates the ground under the scooter nicely and shows through the vents on either side, which is really quite neat looking.

I had a little difficulty connecting the LED strip to the circuit I installed previously, so for now it has its own 9V battery. I'll have to do some digging to figure out why the strip won't work on the same circuit as the LED pods. In the meantime, at least I have it working.

Unfortunately, I could not get any really steady photos, so I'll have to find my tripod and get some. It does look very nice at this point.

Now hopefully we can get some warmer weather.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Night pics of lighting upgrade

I took some pictures, and my son shot a video of me riding the scoot with the blue lights. Unfortunately, the lights aren't terribly bright, but I think that's due to using a 9V battery rather than hooking the lights up to the scooter's main battery.

Here's the video my son shot. The rear lights are hard to see.

Lighting project complete!

I wrote on January 14th that I had purchased some LED pods to mod my scooter with, in an effort to improve visibility. It was warm enough today (upper 30's) and I had nothing else pressing, so I decided to work on my project.

I purchased The total cost of my project was about $20, including the cost of wires, batteries, the LED pods and a clicker switch. I placed one LED pod above the front fender, on the fairing, just below the steering column and laced the wire into the glove compartment. I then used a coat hanger (thanks to the innovative suggestion of my neighbor) to pull a wire down through the front portion of the chassis, and under the floorboard. I then threaded the rear LED pod through the rear parts of the frame, being careful to stay clear of the engine, past the scooter's battery and up above the rear tire's splash guard.After using my dremmel to bore a small hole in the glove box door, I popped the switch through, fastened it in place with the nut it came with, and attached the wires to it. I used a 9 volt battery to power the circuit rather than the vehicle's battery since I didn't want to mess up my warranty or mess with the wiring that was already in place. I will probably connect the lights into the headlight circuit eventually, but for now, it was easier just to rig a completely independant circuit.

The whole project took me about an hour to complete, including the time it took to test the circuit inside before installing it on the scooter.

All in all, it was a fun project. I can't wait for nightfall so I can see how it looks in the dark.

DISCLAIMER: The above is not a step by step walkthrough. The author assumes no responsibility for any damage/loss/voidance of warranty, etc. that may occur to anyone else's vehicle should should they decide to try the same or similar project. The above is simply a recounting of the author's own experience.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Harley Topper and Government stupidity

Yesterday, I was dropping something off for my wife in Columbia, and as I was headed into town, I noted that The Cycle Den (on Lancaster Ave, just up from Mussers), had a kids 50cc dirt bike out front. After I dropped off my wife's stuff, I stopped in to look at what they had for sale, and perhaps ask if they were aware of the so called "Consumer Product Safety Improvement act" (CPSIA) of 2008.

The act effectively bans the sale of any motorsports equipment marketed for use by kids 12 and under. Motorcycle Daily had an article about it on Tuesday and it has a lot of folks steamed since the last thing we need during difficult economic times is to shut down one of the few corners of the market that was prospering.

There are even some rumors that this may effect the sale of on-road vehicles with engine displacements of less than 400cc. From what I can tell at this point, those are only rumors based upon the missinterpretation of the law by a congressman in Missouri. Just the same, I wouldn't put it past our congress to add further legislation that would limit the purchase of small displacement vehicles at some point in the future.

In any event, I stopped in at the Cycle Den to browse, and mentioned the CPSIA to the woman who emerged from the shop. She said she hadn't heard of it, and the owner came out and was rather abrupt with me for suggesting it was so. I simply explained that I was just a concerned citizen, trying to help out a fellow American and he seemed to cool off a bit.

As I was browsing, I found a Harley Topper sitting in the back of their "lot." It was in so-so condition, but it could be a fun project for someone to fix up. If I had the money, I would be sorely tempted to make an offer. As it is, my wife is finally back to work and is just now starting to bring in some income again, so such projects will have to wait. And yes, it does have a sidecar

They also had a nice looking white Honda Elite 80, which also was very tempting. Next to that sat four "tank" scooters which weren't quite so tempting. Tank is a Chinese importer with a less than stellar reputation for "quality."

A lot of the bikes they have seem to be older and many are in poor condition, but would make great project bikes. If you like older motorbikes, it might be worth a look if you're in the area.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's really quite peaceful

I'm looking out my window at a dusting of snow. This winter has been very cold and we have been blessed with multiple snowfalls, for which I am thankful.

I have to wonder at the design of a simple snowflake. I cannot believe that something so delicate, yet so complex as the freezing of water to form a crystalline, lacy structure could happen by chance. The beauty of it and the balance in nature in which some plants cannot thrive without at least a little snowfall (more in northern regions to which such plants are native), completely amazes me.

I rode my scooter to a training at work and when the training was over, I came out to about a quarter inch of snow on my scooter. and a fluffy dusting over the fields outside the group home where the training was held. It was wonderful to behold.

I am, above all else, a student of the Scriptures, and as the Apostle Paul put it, "a follower of the Way." My faith is so much a part of who I am that I rejoice at seeing the handiwork of the Almighty in His creation. This is one of the reasons I take such joy in riding my scooter.

In the account of Job, God challenges Job to consider the Behemoth and Leviathan to see his power. I pose to you that even in the little things, the power of God can be seen...even in the seemingly simple snowflake.

For those of you that are not used to me discussing matters of faith, this is part of who I am, so the occasional foray into what some would call "the metaphysical" will occur. For this, I make no apology.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Library, errands, and baseball cards....

My son and I took a ride today. The weather was chill, but bearable. He's 12 and a bit small for his age (O.K., a lot small for his age. At 53" he's no giant), so he fits right in behind me and gets some decent wind blockage.

We dropped some books off at the Manheim township library and he was grinning broadly when he set them on the returns counter. We then went to the Giant in the Lancaster Center plaza to pick up some groceries, all of which fit in the storage units on my scooter. The under seat storage may not seem like much, but it fit a bag of carrots, a 2 liter of soda, and one jar of tomato sauce (plus all the other junk that was already there). The top case took the rest of the groceries, including a half gallon of milk and a dozen eggs.

We then went home, put away the groceries, and headed down to New Danville to check out a shop that sells baseball cards. My son was able to fit his baseball card binder in the top case with a bit of room to spare. We got to DMB's baseball cards and took his binder in to see if they would look at it. My first impression was that the place is terribly cramped. It seems well organized despite the smallness of it, and rather clean as such places go. My experience with places that cater to collectors is that they usually tend to have a rather sizeable dust collection with dust bunnies dating back to the time of Moses (those are the really valuable ones you know). The gentlemen behind the counter didn't really acknowledge my son at first until he called attention to himself, after which they were rather personable. Unfortunately, they wanted to charge him $60 an hour just to look over his baseball card collection. We politely declined, looked around a bit, and left.

We then went back up 741 and got warm again.

Today marks a special day for my wife and I though. It was on this date, 11 years ago, that we had our first date, as friends. I had recently broken off a rather bad relationship and she was recovering from sinus surgery and really needed to get off the college campus. We went to the Eat-n-Park on Oregon Pike for a late snack. I had a coffee and she had a muffin. It wasn't until a few years later that she admitted that she had been hoping I would have ordered a meal so she could get more to eat since she was famished, but she didn't want to seem impolite and had ordered something small since I was only getting coffee. At least it gives us something to chuckle about. Tonight was a different story. Tonight my wife and I got the salad bar at Hoss's and ate our fill. I suppose it isn't the most romantic place in the world, but we are simple folk with simple tastes.

I'm thankful for my wife. I'm glad to have known her for so long and still tickled pink every time she smiles at me or holds my hand...I hope that feeling never goes away.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

60 degrees and beautiful!

The mercury hit 60 today. How could I not get out and ride. I spent two hours this morning riding around parts of Lancaster and Lebanon counties that I had never visited, even in a car. The smell of the country air was invigorating and the cool breeze on my face left me refreshed and ready to go to work.

After work, I stopped in to meet my fellow blogger Lee, who writes the "Life is Good" blog found in the blogs I'm following links. He seems like a very pleasant person. It's nice to find common ground with people regardless of differences in background.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A link to the past?

I called my mother this evening just to chat and we were discussing my planned trip to Massachusetts in April. I suggested to her that riding a scooter through the Catskills and the Berkshires was something my father probably would have done in his younger years, and she informed me that when my dad was a young man, he had a scooter because his parents thought a motorcycle was too dangerous. My mother thinks she might have a picture of him with the scooter, but she's not certain.

I wanted more information, so I called my sister to see if she had my uncle's number. She tracked it down and I made a call to my 72 year old uncle in Florida. When he picked up the phone, I introduced myself and we chatted a bit, then I asked him about the scooter. It turns out that the scoot was his, not my dad's, but that he had loaned it to my father so he could use it during the summer one year. He also related an amusing (yet painful) story about my father hitting a patch of gravel with the scooter during a turn, after which he and the scooter when in opposite directions. My uncle recalled that he and my grandfather had spent two hours picking gravel out of my dad's backside (my grandfather was a country doctor).

I tried to find out what the make and model of the scooter was, but my uncle could not remember, except to say that it was British. I'm going to do some digging and see what I can find about British scooters that would have been available in the 1950's. Once I have that info, I'll give my uncle another call and see if any of the names ring a bell.

In any event, it was nice to learn that my dad and I had something in common. He's been gone now for almost five years and I miss him terribly, so this little connection means a lot.