Monthly Archive July 2017

2017 The Point Prim Lighthouse Ride

In which we do a classic Sunday Afternoon ride out to Point Prim then to the closest Tim Horton’s because we could, and flirt briefly with the idea of running out of gas, but opt not to this time out. 

Point Prim Lighthouse PE

Charlottetown to Point Prim Lighthouse and return via Tim Horton’s Montague

A friend of mine is scheduled to take her motorcycle permit road test later this week, and I offered to go out riding with her on Sunday afternoon and offer her some advice such as “Try to keep it going in the direction you want it to” and “If in danger or in doubt, a little throttle will get you out” and other useful nuggets that I’ve picked up over the years.

As all good rides start, in the parking lot of a Tim Horton’s just by the bridge into Stratford and once I’d downed my tea and agreed that “Yes, it is a warm day to be wearing leathers.”, and we were off!

Just to keep things entertaining, the last kilometre to the lighthouse is gravel, as is the parking lot on the way there. Definitely something to keep in mind if you are not happy riding on it.

Driftwood cast up onto the rocky shore. Many of the rocks here were placed to prevent the erosion of the lighthouse itself

Scenes along the way

I’m a sucker for photo op like this

So we had some time to kill, and headed off to Montague to practice riding a roundabout or two. They can be so much fun, but for a new rider a tricky to in order to coordinate clutch controls and timing for entering as well as the corner itself as it quickly turns into more of a chicane or “S” curve for the rider, with curbs upsetting the unwary. 

On our way back to the Trans Canada, Pauline hit reserve and ended up on the side of the road while I was a bit further ahead and had to loop around and head back. The Suzuki Boulevard M40 aka Suzuki Savage has a tiny little tank of only 10.5 litres capacity, and she had overestimated how far she could ride on the remainder. A couple weeks ago my mate Zac hit reserve on his Savage, and ended up on the side of the road, and I had no wish to repeat this.

We put another 19 kilometres on the tank after reserve, and made it into the gas station, thankfully.

Back in Charlottetown we hit a parking lot that has a nice incline to fine tune her uphill starts, as she had a tendency to not give the bike enough gas when starting on a hill, and I took her two up around the lot to show her how I used lots of gas and clutch to do it, but I found there was play in her bars due to a loose clamp on her goose neck, something I’d never run across before. There was a 1/4 in gap where the surfaces should have mated!

A 1/4″ gap on the left makes these bars wiggle!

The bars had to come off so I could tighten the bolt with my underseat tool kit (non OEM mini ratchet to the rescue!) courtesy of my Gearwrench mini ratchet and some metric hex bits. Once we had everything tightened back up she worked on her throttle and clutch control and improved quite a bit in short order.

The bars have to come off to expose the gooseneck bolts

Now I’ve got you, you pesky little blighter!

And with that we headed our separate ways. All told about three hours of riding on a fabulous Sunday afternoon.

Cheers!

P.S. That Gear Wrench Microdriver set is the bomb for motorcycle toolkits provided you replace the hex bits (SAE) with Metric hex bits. Sold at Lowes in Canada as a kit for under $30, when I take only the parts needed fits quite well under the seat of my motorcycle. The ratchet is strong enough to drop the forks out of the triple trees, but you will want to be wearing your riding gloves if you use that much force on that tiny little handle!

Gear Wrench MicroDriver Set

 I’ve seen them in Lowes in Canada, and they sell them at Walmart and Sears in the U.S.

Update 2017-08-02: 

Pauline sent me a text this afternoon to say that she had passed her test for her motorcycle license! Congratulations!

Campsite Chairs

I did a five day ride this past week. And spent a full day at the racetrack and didn’t bring a chair. I got to watch the races sitting on a comfortable cement block, or if I got lucky, an over priced camp site would have a picnic table for my use. 

Anyhow, I’ve packed along a foldable metal chair a few times, and while I got plenty of use out of it, it was so much easier sending it up with the purse rather than trying to fit it on my motorcycle. Nor do I want to pay $200 or more for chair made in China, so I did some research and found a compromise in the form of an OUTAD chair sold on eBay.ca for about $40 CDN. 

   
    
    
 
I’ll be sure and review it for you once I get it on the slow boat from China. Perhaps a trip sometime in the fall. 
Cheers! 

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The Versys Gets a Kickstand Plate

I’ve been riding for a while now, and had been pretty content to use whatever came to hand to place under the kickstand to prevent my motorcycle from sinking into the dirt. I’ve used plastic water bottles, soda cans, rocks, electrical cover plates and plastic kickstand pucks. But when you arrive on the spot and even have a kickstand puck in your tank bag, there is still quite a balancing act to drop it and get the kickstand over top of it. Now add in the weight of a bike fully loaded for touring, and a ten or twelve hour day of riding, and I can tell you that sometimes I nearly fell or dropped the bike while getting that support under the stand. And what about those quick roadside stops where all you want to do is get off for a minute or two?

The KLR will get you there

The KLR will get you there.

At Rocky Point Newfoundland, while on my heavily loaded KLR, I got off the bike to take a few shots…

Only to find it taking a dirt nap.
Dirt nap

Problem solved the cheap way… A kickstand plate from eBay.ca

  
A search with keywords such as “kawasaki versys 650 kickstand plate” brought a whole list of decent kickstand plates,  that were certainly a whole lot cheaper than those that I’d seen on other online websites, especially when you view the selection available with free shipping.


  
I went with gun metal grey to match the worn kickstand of the Versys.

I knew that it wouldn’ be SW-Motech or Touratech but I’m on a budget and was able to find a few styles coming in at under $12 with free shipping!

Touratech wants $59 before shipping for this model:

Touratech Kickstand Adapter

Touratech Kickstand Adapter

I placed an order for the eBay special and sat down to wait out the month or more it took to arrive from China.

It was made from a piece of aluminium with stainless steel fasteners and looked like it had just come off the CNC machine. supplied with a hex key all I had to do was use some thread lock (I’m an Ex-KLR rider remember) and it was on the bike in under ten minutes.

Pros: Price and performance is brilliant.

Cons: 5% of the time when parking on very loose soil I still needed a kickstand puck, but that was due in part to a heavily loaded touring bike on boggy earth. The Touratech model is larger and probably would have worked in all fairness, but I saved about five tanks of gas plus! 🙂

that 5%...

Parked on that 5% patch where I still needed that kickstand plate.

 

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