I spent my Memorial Day holiday riding street bikes with my dad, his co-worker Brad Clevelend, and my little brother John.
Brad, and my dad, and I rode from O’Fallon IL to a gas station in Eureka, MO to meet my brother. He was there when we arrived.
We wound our way from Eureka through Pacific, to Gray’s Summit, up to Labadie, in to Washington, across the Missouri River, and finally to Augusta.
When we arrived in Augusta, we had a confrontation with an awkwardly placed stop sign. Three of us made it past the stop sign unscathed. Could have been worse.
We had lunch at the Augusta Brewing Company. Motorcycle parking was tricky, because their parking lot was on a steep incline, but it was worth it – the food was good, and the view over the Katy Trail was very nice. Their IPA was pretty good too.
It’s the youth outreach program that has been so sadly missing from our nation’s businesses: Take Our Neighbor’s Kid To Ride Day. Did you observe this day? Did you put your neighbor’s kid on a motorcycle? You didn’t? I weep for your neighbors’ children. Because their neighborhood sucks, and you didn’t do anything about it. Booo.
I brightened my neighborhood today. I took my neighbor’s kid to go ride. Jason Wilson Jr. is a big 15, smart, polite, and responsible. He is the older brother to my children’s playmates. I needed to get the YZ out and get myself some seat time in anticipation of next week’s races, and it’s always more fun with company. I invited. Jason accepted.
I picked Jason up at 8:00. He was ready to go. We got to the riding area at 10:00. I gave Jason the basics of the “friction point” and sent him around the parking lot. He figured it out almost immediately. So I took him into the deep sand and up and down the steep rocky slopes all day, and he had a great time.
I had a great time too. Jason is good company, and he’s a natural dirt rider. He’s welcome to come on future rides.
Next week is “turn your helmet cam off before you go pee week.” We’re working on getting the message out.
I had the house to myself all day. My wonderful wife and kids had their own plans, and I had no appointments. I decided that since applying the numberplate graphics to Helen’s bike starting with the hardest body panel worked out so well, I would tackle the hardest, messiest job in the garage this morning: Rebuilding the forks on the YZ. Everything after that would be cake, right?
It was destined to be a big job. I had new springs from Cannon Racecraft, and new bushings and seals from Pivot Works to install. And of course that also means a change of fork oil – I chose Maxima Racing Fork Fluid.
Part way through the job, my 2 year old son visited the garage, and was alarmed by the missing wheel on the front of the YZ. I told him I would fix it. He checked in on me regularly to monitor my progress.
With the music blasting, I spent the whole day in the garage, using every wrench, fabricating a cartridge holder out of PVC, and cleaning up my filthy forks before replacing all the seals and bushings. My forks went together just fine with brand new springs (a lighter rate for my size and my style of riding) and new fluid.
I was pleased to tell my son the bike was fixed. He jumped up from his play and told me he would check it. We went to the garage and he surveyed my work. The wheel was back on. Daddy did a good job.
It was a day well spent, since it rained pretty much all day. I finished a big job, and won the approval of my two year old son. I can’t ask for much more than that.
Helen and I ordered a set of pre-printed numberplates from Attack Graphics for her TT-R 50 a few weeks ago. Today, since it was raining, I decided to finally apply the big stickers to her bike.
This wasn’t the first set of preprinted plates I had applied to a bike. Helen had a very nice set on her PW-50. That set was easy to apply because the stickers were small (it’s a tiny bike) and because a PW-50’s plates are flat as a pancake, with no severe curves or creases.
I have struggled in the past with pre-printed plates on my big YZ, especially on the right side number plate, which bulges out considerably to allow clearance for the muffler. I end up with creases and bubbles in the graphics, and it just makes me angry to have spent money to make something look nice and not have the satisfaction of a good end result.
So it was with some fear of failure that I set out to put Helen’s new graphics on her TT-R 50, which has all the trendy bodywork features of modern motocross bikes including bulging, curved, and creased number plates. I started with the hardest plate first, the right side plate with it’s big muffler bulge. The TT-R 50 has the added challenging feature of a pair of fake air inlets molded into the side plates, so the graphics had cutouts for those that had to line up perfectly.
It took me most of an hour to do the right side plate, but through patience, and persistence, I was able to stretch the thick vinyl graphics to sit perfectly on the piece. I was pretty proud. I did the left plate next, and it was a breeze. The front plate was so easy it was ridiculous – I spent maybe 90 seconds on it.
I am pleased with the outcome.
Now I just wish it would stop raining so we could all go ride. 😦
I rode to work today. I left late, and with not quite enough gas to make it to the office. I pulled off the freeway at Boone’s Crossing and found a gas station with an attached McDonalds. I filled up, parked, bought a soda and a Southern Style Chicken Sandwich, and sat down in a booth just in time to join a conference call.
After a successful call, I saddled back up and rode the rest of the way in to work.
My return trip at the end of the day was when the misery started. I was stuck in stop and go traffic no less than four times in the space of my 55 mile trip. It was hot, and other drivers were as cranky as I was.
There’s something about freeway commuting that can suck the fun right out of motorcycle riding.
My little brother John and I rode the backroads to Labadie, MO on Saturday. We had a nice lunch at a restaurant called “3 Brothers.”
The weather was ideal. The roads were clean. Lunch was excellent.
We came back via Wildwood, and the scenic portion of Wild Horse Creek Road.
It’s off to work I go.
I had a afternoon staff meeting – Tuesdays are usually my day to work from home. I worked from home in the morning and then rode in to work.
It was a bright clear day. A little cool, a little windy, but nice.