Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dizzyness...and idiocy...

I'm ashamed to admit it...I am an idiot...

Well...I did something stupid at least.

Let me start with my disappointment of the day. I am laying in bed, unable to rise due to dizziness. This means, that despite the nice weather outside this afternoon, I'm not out in it. This is frustrating of course. It's scary enough when I ride under normal conditions, but with these intermittent dizzy spells, I dare not.

Ok, that is out of the way...on to my stupidity...

Unfortunately...I have no video...probably a good thing...


On Friday, my best friend wanted to hang out, so he said, "I need to head out to Kerper's Gun Shop to pick up my rifle that I just had a new scope put on. Why don't we put your scooter on the back of my truck so you can just ride back from there."

So problem...except that I decided to ride it up the ramp instead of simply pushing it up...

I started out with a good running start, got about halfway up the ramp, and I didn't give it enough throttle...and we went down, the Streak and I.

Yeah, I know, I should have gotten video...

Thankfully, I am fine, and I have learned my lesson. When loading a cycle on a truck, push, don't ride.

The scooter suffered a broken lens to the rear left turn signal, and the top case mount broke. So, I need to replace my topcase (probably with a basket), and the lens will run $17.00. An expensive lesson. Otherwise, the scoot runs great and the bulb for the turn signal still functions.

So, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I'm sure this will be amusing reading for some of you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Bike, Little Bike - Take 2

Over the last few days, I have had several opportunities to use either my scooter or my cycle.

On Sunday, after church, I took my son to ride his dirt bike, then after we returned home, we took a ride on Natasha.

We wandered around a few roads that I had never before explored with him, though I'd ridden on them by myself. The Honda performed very well, and I found myself settling in to the process of shifting more and more. It's really not too far removed from shifting a manual tranny in a car, just moved around a bit.

After riding around the county, we came home and then took a ride on the Silver Streak. We didn't go quite as far as we had on Natasha, but one thing was readily apparent. My son, all 75 lbs of him, doesn't feel like much of a burden on the Honda, but on the Kymco, every little move he makes seems to throw the bike off course. I hardly noticed it before, but now, after riding the bigger bike, it's very obvious. The Kymco is such a light scooter that it responds to every movement of its riders. In away, it's agility works against it when riding two-up.

I rode the Honda to get it inspected on Monday. It has an issue with the speedometer, which the mechanic stated he had run into before when the magnets inside the sensor got gummed up. We had some trouble getting the assembly apart, so we were unable to clean it out entirely. A project for another day. But everything else checked out and I have a nice green sticker on the bike, declaring me good for another year.

I rode the bike over to WalMart to check out some motorcycle covers. $20.00 for a motorcycle cover sounds good on the surface, but I hesitate to plunk down cash on something that may only last a year. I also looked at their full face helmets. They have some for $90.00, but they are some off brand and are only DOT approved. I need to get an FF helmet before winter since my 3/4 helmet is starting to wear out (It wasn't that great to begin with), but again, I do not wish to be stuck with an uncomfortable helmet that will perhaps last a year.

I didn't purchase either item since I did not have my scooter with the more capacious carrying abilities. In a way, going shopping while riding the cycle might prove a good way to save money, at least until I get a back rack and some side bags.

This morning when I left for work, I took the scoot. I was glad I did since its nimble handling and light weight kept me from plowing into a car that pulled out right in front of me, crossing to the far lane on the opposing side of the street. The driver had not even looked to his left before pulling out and glared at me when I leaned on the horn as if I were to blame for his incompetence. Of course, he was driving a Mercedes and I was only riding a lowly Taiwanese scooter. At least I could have had the decency to ride a Vespa. The nerve of some people. **insert sarcastic eye roll here**

I left work at around 9 am and reveled in the agility of my scooter as I puttered along toward home. At about 1:00, I recieved a call from the nurse at my son's school stating that he was ill and needed to go home, so I strapped his helmet to the little sissy bar on the back of the sabre and went to pick him up. After settling him in at home with some juice to drink and a blanket over top to keep him warm, I hopped back on the Sabre, since it was warmed up anyway, and rode to work. It may not be nimble and spritely, but the rumble of the engine and the visceral feeling of all those horses pounding the pavement beneath me was invigorating. Strangely enough, I arrived a work a little earlier than expected.

This evening's ride home was equally enjoyable, and thankfully, filled with none of the excitement of my earlier ride on the scooter this morning.

I am really not certain how that would have turned out on the bigger bike. I didn't have room to counter steer and my only options were to modulate the brakes or lay the scooter down. Thankfully, the braking worked and I did not lock either wheel. I was going slowly enough, having just crossed an intersection, that I did not have a tremendous amount of momentum, but I ended up within about three feet of the other vehicle's side panels. Looking back on it, I am thankful to the Almighty that He was watching over me.

So, my earlier impressions have held true. The two machines, though similar, are very different, with their own unique charms and disadvantages. I think, on the whole, while the power of the bigger bike is intoxicating, after my morning experience, I'm inclined to say I prefer the smaller vehicle, simply for it's lightfootedness...if that's a word.

The scooter is whimsical and fun, while the motorcycle is more serious and earthy. It's so nice to have both.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

East Pete Day 2009 report

Well, today was the annual East Petersburg Day festival. East Petersburg, the town I reside in, is a small borough in Lancaster County, PA. It's a small town, which means there is that small town charm which comes out at festivals such as today's.

I met Gerry From Scoot Lancaster at the Prince Street Garage in Lancaster this morning. We rode in to East Pete and parked our scooters along the edge of Pine Street. We watched the parade from Broad street, then wandered down to the basketball court where a group of folks with Ruckii had shown up. There was also a nicely painted turquoise met and a silver Vino.

Soon, a gentleman on a Harley chopper showed up as well. I decided to show my Honda since it is technically a classic. I cleaned it up a little bit, then ran it over to the show area on the basketball court. After paying my entry fee, I parked my cycle and wandered up onto the festival grounds in the park. My wife and I enjoyed some fair food. She had a funnel cake and I had a Sausage sandwich from the Lions club's stand. I also had some fried oreos and we wandered around to look at the various stands.

All in all, it was a beautiful day for it. The sun was shining and there was no cloud in the sky. My wife left for a hair appointment and I laid in the grass and took a nap in the shade. I haven't done that in years and it was quite refreshing.

Around 2:30 or so, I found my son in the crowd and we went for a short ride before returning home.

Tonight, there was a fireworks display to finish off the day. It was simple, but nice just the same. Since my home is not far from the park, we were able to watch the display from our back porch.

I'm looking forward to next year's event. I'm thinking I will work on trying to put a coinciding scooter event together a bit earlier so as to avoid the last minute rush.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Bike, Little Bike

I spent much of the day riding my new bike. I started off the day by running to Leola to visit my doctor due to some odd health symptoms I have been experiencing. I took my son with me since he was home sick from school and I wanted him to get checked out too.

We passed my buddy as he was taking my scooter back to my house on the back of his truck. He dropped it off and went his merry way, forgetting to drop off the key (important piece of the day's story).

We arrived in Leola, and waited a while for the doctor. We had our appointments, and the Dr. diagnosed me with possible vertigo and ordered bloodwork to check for sugar issues. I found the Vertigo diagnosis a little odd, since I get nauseous, then dizzy, not the other way around, but I think he may have just been shooting for a temporary answer. Funny thing is, when I went to the pharmacy later to get my medication, I received the following pill bottle, with the following warnings:

Pay closest attention to the bottom sticker. Isn't that just a little counter-productive?

In any event, I took my son home, and was going to take my scooter to the store to pick up the aforementioned prescription. I noted that my key was nowhere to be found, so I called my best friend to ask him where he put which he responded, "guess what I found in my pocket?"

So, I rode to Terre Hill to get the scooter's key, and wandered around a bit on my way home.

Later this evening, I finally had an opportunity to ride the scoot again. I needed to fill it up with gas so it would have enough to make it through the day's events tomorrow, should my plans go through.

Upon starting out on the scoot, I was amazed at the fact that I felt as if I were floating on air. The scooter is so nimble and light, it hardly felt like it was beneath me. The acceleration on the scooter is seamless and smooth, and it seems to jump right out onto the road.

The motorbike, on the other hand, feels very much alive and present beneath me when I ride it. Rather than flying, I feel a true connection to the road. Due to the manual transmission, acceleration, is not seamless and smooth, but rather visceral and aggressive.

The difference between the two vehicles is drastic, and I am glad I chose to keep the scooter instead of replacing it with a big bike.

The Kymco is perfectly suited to suburban and urban commuting and errand running, while the Honda seems most at home eating up the miles on long rides. I find myself feeling relieved that I chose to go with both a motorbike and a scooter rather than one or the other. Having both gives me the versatility to handle all sorts of different riding situations. It's really quite nice actually.

If you were to ask me which of the two machines is my favorite, I'd have to say that it's too soon to tell. I still feel more at home on the scooter, but the motorcycle is growing on me at a rapid pace. 80 horsepower certainly has an alure all its own.

Change in time for East Pete Day ride!

Ok, New plan! After thinking about it, and reading Lee's post about the road closure, I'd like to start a little earlier. I will be at the East Pete Garage in Lancaster, in the scooter parking area, at 8:30 am. I will leave from there promptly at 9:00am. I am trying to get us into the parade if we can, so if we are there by 9:30 am, it is completely possible that we might be able to join in.

East Pete is a small enough town that I think they should be flexible with us.

So, here is the info again:
Meet at: Prince Street Garage in Lancaster, PA (corner of Prince and Orange Streets)
Time: 8:30 am
Departure: 9:00am prompt
Ride to: East Petersburg Day Parade staging area (tentative)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

East Petersburg Day Events

I was contacted by the East Petersburg Day organizers with the website address for the event.

I will be at the scooter parking area of the Prince street garage in Lancaster at 8:30 am. If anyone wants to meet me there for a ride to East Pete, I'll be there on my scooter. We can take a meandering ride to the park in East Pete. I will leave from the garage at 10am prompt.

I know it's a bit short notice, but if anyone would like to come out, it would be fun to show off our scooters.

**This ride will be 50cc friendly**

BIg change, but not so much

Well...I did it.

Today I crossed the great divide.

I am now the proud owner of a Honda Sabre V45. It is a 750cc V4 with a liquid cooled engine and a shaft drive. The previous owner is a motorcycle mechanic and it is in very good condition for its age.

I was uncertain whether I wanted anything with so large an engine, but with the prospects I had and the bikes I looked at, thise seemed the best one of the lot in my price range.

See, I sold my car. I didn't want to, but I ended up having no choice in order to make ends meet and have some liquid assets to work with for various unexpected expenses. So, I took the plunge and used part of the car sale proceeds to buy a motorcycle to sit next to the Silver Streak.

I rode Natasha (that is the new bike's name...perhaps I should rename the scooter Boris...), for several hours and after getting used to the clutch and tranny (that was an interesting adaptation for me, but I got it and feel mostly competent at this point), I found that the bike is much more comfortable to ride for long periods, yet is not as easy for cornering due to its size and wheel base, but it is the exact type of bike that I wanted in that it is a street bike with a shaft drive and liquid cooling.

My best friend helped me get it from the cycle shop (JR's Cycle in Ephrata), and we loaded it on his truck so I could start out in our church's parking lot.

In related news, I talked to him and the dealer who sold him his Wildfire scooter and the dealer replaced his clutch, variator, and so on with brand new ones. In effect, he has an entirely new CVT. The dealer had looked at the variator rollers and could not find any visible defect, so he simply replaced the whole assembly to be on the safe side.

He still hasn't ridden it though. After four blown belts, he's a bit nervous. I don't blame him of course.

He did ride the Silver Streak (AKA: Boris) a bit today while I was getting used to Natasha, and now he has the bug for something with a bit meatier accelleration and top speed. Who can blame him.

He'll be bringing my scoot to me tomorrow on the back of his truck and she will get plenty of use. She's much easier to ride than the motorbike. While I loved the exhilaration of the bigger bike, I still have this longing inside of me to take it slow.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

East Petersburg Day

On the 19th of this month (Saturday), East Petersburg, PA will be throwing its annual town festival. I've heard a rumor that there will be an event for motorcycles and I would like to get a bunch of scootsters together.

I've e-mailed the organizers for more info, but it would be fun to meet someplace and ride in together.

I will post more info as I have it.

Updated to add: Please note Lee's Comment on this post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor day weekend

I was away for the weekend, and despite having my netbook with me, I didn't have opportunity to visit a Wi-Fi hotspot, so I wasn't able to do any blogging.

I spent the weekend with my wife's family out near DuBois, PA. Nice area. Lots of mountains.

We went to Lakemont Park in Altoona PA on Saturday, and despite my better judgment, I rode "Leap the Dips" which is, purportedly, the oldest standing roller coaster in the world.

By today's standards, it isn't much of a coaster, but when it was built in 1902, I'm certain that it probably tickled the liver out of park goers. unfortunately, despite restorations that were completed in 2000, the coaster seems to be in less than stellar condition. It seems to be serviceable still, or they probably would not have it open, but there were signs of chipped paint and some rotting wood here and there (though not in any of the load bearing structure that I could see) that made me a little nervous.

I was a bit underwealmed by the park's lackluster, even dingy appearance. The admission was cheap (my family were given tickets actually), at $10.00 a piece, but even so, I was a bit saddened to see the shape of many of the rides. Perhaps it was just a season's worth of wear and tear, but there was so much chipping paint that it seemed that more than just one season's use was to blame.

In any event, we had a good time, despite the condition of the rides.

Sunday and Monday were spent with family, then I headed back to work this morning. I didn't have opportunity to do any riding over the weekend, though I did see quite a number of motorcycles and a few scooters in my travels. I found myself watching the cyclists from the confines of my car and longing wistfully for the freedom of my scooter.

So, this morning, I took the cover off the Silver Streak and rode to work. It was very pleasant to be back in the saddle again. I'm hoping to see my friend with the Wildfire scooter tomorrow. Hopefully he will have some good news. We shall see.