Monday, February 27, 2012

First long ride of the February!

This past weekend was the annual men's retreat for the Terre Hill Bible Fellowship Church. It was held this year at a campground just over the Susquehanna river in York County, south of the Holtwood hydroelectric dam.

Since the retreat was closer to home this year and the weather was nice, I decided to take my scooter. I loaded it up with all my stuff and headed south out of town on route 741. Everything was going well, until I got to the intersection of Rohrerstown Road and Columbia Avenue. Suddenly there was a popping sensation from the front end. I still was able to stop, pulled over to the side and checked the forks. Everything seemed fine, so I wondered if it wasn't all the weight. My pastor had already agreed to meet me at the junction of 741 and 272, so, thinking it might be just the weight disrupting things, I slogged on and leaned forward a bit to keep the weight more toward the front. The popping seemed to subside after this, and I made it to my meeting with my pastor, only to have my front brake fail completely when I stopped the scoot on the side of the road right where we were going to meet.

My back brake was still working, as much as rear drum brakes ever do on a scoot, and I'd just had a new drive belt put on so my engine braking was excellent. I loaded my guitar, backpack, duffel and sleeping bag in the pastor's truck. and followed him south, giving a ton of distance between us. A short while later, I discovered I had my front brakes back, but they were weak and spongy. At this point it had started to drizzle and my helmet's visor was fogging up. Despite this, I made it to the campground with no further incidents. I parked the scoot and left it for the next day.

Saturday morning found the front brakes of the scoot almost completely restored. One of the men from my church is a competent mechanic and he suggested the brakes might have some air in the lines or there might be some other issue with the fluid. After consulting with Trans-Am Cycle's mechanic, they suggested I change the brake fluid since it hasn't been changed in three and a half years.

Despite the Scooter issues, the weekend went very well. The group sessions were good. The fellowship was wonderful. Spending time with other men of like faith was refreshing to my soul. There was an afternoon hike down to the Susquehanna River, through the woods and along a pleasantly burbling creek.

Sunday morning dawned warm and sunny. We had breakfast and our Sunday morning session, then a light lunch. The scooter sat there on the cement slab outside the camp building. It appeared harmless enough, but the possibility of a brake failure loomed like a specter peeking out of the woods. I loaded my bags in the church van and put on my riding gear and helmet, and despite my trepidation, I got on my scooter and rode out, following the church van carefully and with a fair amount of distance between us. The brakes worked well, if a little spongy, but I took it easy on them and made it home in one piece.

Riding in fifty degree weather in February is surreal. There's nothing I can really compare it to. It was a fitting end to a fantastic weekend. Even unpredictable front brakes could not dampen my enjoyment.

Ride on!

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