Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday ...... "Sun" day

There is talk of droughts and snow and crazy weather everywhere.  I was not concerned with the relatively dry fall and early winter we have been experiencing.  As of late it has been feet of snow, ice, and rain.....  Days on end filled with rain, rain and wind, and finally fog and rain...  

Or, "Welcome to Oregon".. its winter and once it starts to rain, it isn't likely to stop any time soon. 

Today, the sun shone down upon us and graced us with its radiant brilliance.  Time to get the bikes and have a little practice session in the yard.
 Well, that, and the fact that I needed an excuse to test out some recently acquired obstacles to play with
So, I got the cub out and had a little fun a little offroad slalom using the cable spools and a long 4x4 timber that I acquired.  I tell you what, it is a lot harder than it looks.  I think there was 1.5 - 2 meters in between them, and they are almost a meter in diameter.  The ground is very uneven, holes and ruts.  The soil is super saturated clay, that kind of squishes out water when you step on it.  Today was a lesson about clutch control and steering.  The exercise  was to enter down either side of the 4x4, cross over between that and the first spool, slalom the next spool, circle around the last spool and reverse the pattern.  Ohh... did I forget to mention.. Don't hit the van or the fence... and that he has the attention span of..., well,.. a 10 year old.

 Yes, it was a challenge for him.  He was learning the importance of covering and pulling in and releasing the clutch to smoothly apply and take away the power.  This is a very important skill to have since traction tends to be at premium around here.  Just ask Troubadour.  After a couple of hours, he was starting to get pretty comfortable with the clutch and how slowly or quickly it needed to be applied as well as some throttle control.  It is a little 2 Stroke Honda CR60R and revs really quickly.  We were outside in the sunshine and that was good.

For myself, I upped the ante.  My goal was to enter, circle each spool, reverse it and back out, without putting a foot down.  This too, is harder than it looks.  The front wheel would get stuck in a small hole or up against a rock and throw my balance all off.  Its all about practice, right?  If it were easy, it wouldn't be any fun.  I did manage to clean the section a couple of times.  That is a phase I hope to use much more often in the future.  Trials is about control.  Slow deliberate movement and balance.

Yes the best in the world have figured out how to overcome amazing obstacles with ease, (Check this out)
 But for the rest of us mortal men, Trials is test of ones skill against himself and his environment.  A test of how well you have mastered your motorcycle riding craft, and every foot down is another lesson learned.

PolarBear and Bud E.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Is a Polar Bear To Do With All Of This Snow


    I awoke to a layer of white as far as the eye can see...

No problem, just part of the job, and the weather is supposed to be better up north.  After warming up the service van, I head out on the road. Traction is okay, not slipping too much. I arrive at the interstate, tiptoe down the onramp and cruise about 40 mph, noting the numerous vehicles off in the median and shoulder.  Reach the next metro area and everything comes to a stop..  Ohh Crap..

    I start to navigate through the maze of stop and go trucks and cars.  People can be very impatient.

I decided that I had had enough fun and called it a day and turned around.  Near white out conditions and an improperly equipped service vehicle make for a bad combination.. 2 1/2 hours later, I arrive mostly in one piece. The passenger side wiper arm could not hold up to the volume and weight of the snow and detached itself. Now I have near white out conditions and only half of my windshield is cleaned.


Report.. More snow falling.. had over a foot yesterday and more overnight.. This is not your light fluffy snow.. This is what they call Cascade Concrete.  It is very heavy and has a super high water content. So, though the depth does not seem to be growing significantly, it is being compacted into a solid mass.

So, What is a Polar Bear to do with all of this snow?
I couldn't let Troubadour have all of the fun from the last snow..

We get out the SWM and practiced wheelies in the snow.. I actually wasn't sure how much traction would be available... Last motorcycle I dumped in the snow was a 575 lb  Tiger... I was still a bit gun shy, but it was good fun and I got my ride fix in.

This bike has been Bud E. approved


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bud E's Home for Wayward Motorcycles Adopts Another

So, a little bit of history about me for context.
  I can already hear people say, "Another one.. Doesn't he have enough already??"  Okay, maybe that is just my wife.
    I am a fourth generation motorcyclist.  There is a photo of my great grandfather standing on the seat of his old Indian sank in the mud up to the axles.  So, apparently doing foolish things on motorcycles is a hereditary trait.  My  grandfather raced boats, and cars. Worked the Motor Patrol in LA County, was CHP and die hard Goldwing Rider.  My father raced cars, and rode misc. old Honda's until he had a spill when I was younger,  and that was the end of that.  He soon developed MS and poor balance.  Before I was married, I goofed around with my cousins on ATVs and raced amateur dirt track cars.  So, I  LOVE anything mechanical. Trains, Cars, Airplanes, Motorcycles, Tractors, Heavy Equipment, all fascinate me with their engineering and craftsmanship.  I make a decent wage as a Forklift Tech.  It's not great, but it keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and keeps the lights turned on. So, there is no way that I can afford to mess around with cars.  The math formula for that is $$$$speed.

    Motorcycles, on the other hand, can be found on the cheap, if you are patient and know what you are looking for and can perform any repair work on your own.  I love "Vintage" motorcycles, but the price of anything that is not a total basket case is through the roof.  So, I have settled in on motorcycles that were important for one reason or another.  I try to keep the price below $500.  That way it is mostly just the little bits of overtime that I acquire rather than playing with House money.  The 1974  Honda MT125 is one..
Granted, it is not the CR125R, but is a very close cousin and was street legal.. The Elsinore completely changed what motocross was.. It was developed completely without Mr. Honda's knowledge or approval.  He hated 2 strokes.  It is a great story to read.
    The Suzuki Jr50, I bought to try and pass on my love of all things mechanical...
  Jury is still out on that. Can't say I didn't try. He had short legs and it is one speed with a centrifugal clutch.. It had some carb issues that needed sorting but was a good start for my son.

    The 1983 Honda Cr60R, was only imported in '83, '84 and part of '85.
   Honda was winning everything.  It was the battles between David Bailey, Johnny O'mara, Bob Hannah, Rick Johnson, and Brock Glover, and Chuck Sun.  It was the days when they left it all out on the track and then left just a little bit more.  ( Okay, going a little of tangent there, but I was in my formative years then).  Honda made all the motorcycles look relatively the same, but they all came with big power.  It is a little rough, and doesn't run.  I pay the guy a $100 for it and haul it home. Quick search on Ebay.. $50 in parts and a bit of labor later. It fires every time.  I love it when stuff works the way it was supposed too.  It spins up a little too quickly for him and is still getting used to the clutch.. I have ridden it, and it damn near threw me off the back in a wheelie at 50kph.. It was awesome...

    1987 Honda CR250R.  They jacked the compression up this year and added a factory rear disk brake.  This was The motorcycle I wanted when I was in my teens..  It started and ran, but needed some work.. still does, but I ride it anyway.

Strike that.. I try to ride it, but I suck at it.. It is tall, awkward, and I just haven't been able to put it all together yet..  Yet... I say..  Which brings us to the latest member to reside at Bud E's Home For Wayward Motorcycles.

In an attempt to gain more practice and control, I started watching Motorcycle Trials riding techniques.  They have been referred to as the ballet of motorcycle riding.. Precision and Control is the name of the game.  I thought to myself,  that looks cool. I wonder if I can do that.  I tried to do it on the CR250, but it had other ideas.  I need an inexpensive specialized motorcycle for this.  I found one.
   For Sale, 1982 SWM TL320 motorcycle  $350.  Hmmm.. never heard of them before.

    Turns out I should have.. Bernie Schreiber used to ride for them after a fiasco with Bultaco.  Anyway, it was kind of the "IT" bike to have.  Rotax motor that pulled like a freight train.  Betor suspension all the way around.
     Talked my loving wife into letting me purchase it.  Offered him $250.  Drive way up the coast with the trailer.  Look at it.  It is a little rough and has a small leak from a shift shaft seal.  Okay, owner said it has spark but won't start.. kick it over several times to confirm.. No spark.. What's up dude.. So, he knocks off another $50.  Haul it home.. Clean it up a bit.. start messing with it.. Found the spark plug boot is corroded.  Cleaned up the boot and cut the plug wire back just a bit.  Hook it all up ... Kick, Kick, Kick, Pop, Pop, Pop.. We have ignition...

This is so much fun to ride.  I get why they ride them, every obstacle can be ridden a thousand different ways. It just chugs along, I had no idea that a 2 stroke could run that slowly.  I now am beginning to develop the control necessary to help achieve my goal of one day racing my CR250 without doing bodily harm.  If not, it is still fun and challenging to ride.

I love all aspects of riding motorcycles.  Going into a corner trying to put knees and elbows down is awesome.  Flying across gaps on a motocross bike is amazing.  I want do it all.  Hmm might have to see about a Flat Track Single now...
    How much fun can you have on a limited budget.. A whole heck of a lot don't you know..  Do I still want a fuel injected two stroke enduro motorcycle with an electric start and a kickstand?  Yes... Will it make me a better rider.. Not a chance.

Dollars for dollars,  I will have more fun on my old, beat up, wore out motorcycles; than a guy who just dropped 10k on a new 450f.  Why, because these machines and I have a connection across time.  They evoke memories of growing up wanting to ride like Marty Smith, and David Bailey, Rick Johnson, and Bob Hannah.. They all just seem so much tougher than riders today. 

And if it completely goes to crap.. I am out less than $500... Dang near costs that to take a date to dinner and show these days....  

Polarbear and Bud E.