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Sunday, 22 May 2016

My Arse is Sore. Over One Thousand Kilometres on a Guzzi

The last week has been a rough one. Rob's passing on my second night away took the wind out of my sails before I even arrived in Jersey to start five days of training, and at times like this you just want to be with the ones you love. So after two full days of ground school, and three days in the simulator it was time to get home.

My flying schedule for the next week also has me away from Tuesday to Friday, so I decided to Iron Butt it home all in one day. Just over 1000km. It would be the longest, single day ride I have ever taken.

I had the trip planned out on Garmin Base Camp, 1005km and a moving time of 9hrs 45mins. The plan was to take the George Washington Bridge, with it's money liberating $15 toll, then connect with the Merritt Parkway, then the I84, I290, I495, I95, I Am Lost, I Don't Know, I Don't Like the Interstate, and I Hate Toll Booths.

That was the plan anyway.

Friday night, my training partner, windsurfing, dog walking, trail running, and drinking buddy, Pudge (apparently his real name is Jim) celebrated the end of our last sim session as we always do.....in the hotel bar. Chicken wings and too many IPA's were consumed leaving me a little foggy at 4am on Saturday. Not an auspicious start to the day.

It was a nice predawn morning in East Rutherford, sky was clear and it was 13C. I loaded up the bike gave it a quick once over and headed off into the darkness at 0500. I left early to avoid the infamous NYC traffic.

I only road the bike once since arriving in Jersey. Thursday I took a run over to Motorcycle Mall, the local Guzzi dealer, as well as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Ducati, Victory, Aprilla, KTM, Polaris, Kymco, MV Augusta, and Yamaha. It's huge. I wanted to pick up a litre of engine oil to have, just in case. It was cool to see that many bikes all in one place, especially Guzzi's. They had the entire line of V7's, including the new Sternello, the new V9's, a Griso, Audace, and the beautiful Eldorado. I can see myself with one of those, and an Africa Twin in the garage.

New V7 Sternello Scrambler

The V9's

Ducati MultiStrada Adventure

The brand spanking new MG21 Flying Fortress

Setting off from the hotel, I had a rough idea of how to get over the GWB to cross the Hudson River to New York. The almighty (Garmin) was the voice in my head leading me in the right direction.......right up until I came to the on ramp for the I95, which was closed. The detour sign was of no help and I just ended up riding in circles around the Gillette Stadium in the dark. Garmin was bound and determined to put me back on the closed on ramp. Fuck. I managed to find my back to the area near my hotel and reset Garmin and told it to take me home the fastest route instead of the preprogrammed route I had made with Basecamp.

I had planned on fueling up in Westchester, NY about 60km away, since I was down to about 1/4 of tank, but since I was now riding around aimlessly in Jersey, why not save time, and get gas now. When paying at the pump in the US, most gas stations outside of Maine require you enter a zip code of your address that is attached to your credit card. Not possible if you have a postal code, resulting in having to go inside and prepaying.

The kind gas station attendant, who apparently was also Canadian, but I'm guessing by the accent, his journey to America originated in India, showed me a neat trick to cheat the system. Say your postal code is A1A3S9, enter the numbers only 139 followed by 00. 13900. Works like a charm.

I was finally on the move again, and made to the GWB, where $15 later I was now in the state of New York. Since I had the route change, Garmin kept me on the I95, and I was now headed into the Bronx, where I am glad it is not the 1970's. I'd be lucky if I made it out of there alive.

It's Saturday morning, it's not even 6am yet and there is a tonne of traffic, it's moving well, but it's busy. Do people sleep or take a day off around here?

My plan for a quick escape from NYC is thwarted when four lanes of traffic comes to almost a standstill. The road info sign above is kindly telling all of us that there is an accident ahead with major delays. Double fuck. Of course in typical NYC fashion, everyone is trying to change lanes in order to gain a two car length advantage on the next commuter, there are wall to wall tractor trailers, and then there is little ol' me on on my svelte Italian stead.

I know lane splitting is not legal, except in California, and the rest of world outside of North America, but being Canadian, with a foreign plate I figured if by the small chance I get caught I'll fake a Quebecois accent and plead ignorance. So nonchalantly I begin a slow weave through the traffic, that is moving at a first gear, clutch slipping pace. It's one of the times I'm glad I never had a sidecar.

Before long I make my way to the accident scene, a couple of badly crumpled yellow cabs and pieces of yellow cabs are laying at odd angles occupying three lanes of the interstate. Sorry I never stopped for pics. Once clear of that mess it was clear sailing.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful, I had a nice tailwind, and Guzzi was cruising comfortably at an indicated 120kph, which translated to 113kph on Garmin. I wasn't flying, but I wasn't worried about being pulled over by the boys and girls in blue either.

Traffic was moderate for a Saturday morning, I was either passing someone or someone was passing me. The traffic really doesn't let up until Freeport, then it just disappears and your by yourself on the road.

Best part of the day, and thankfully it was near the end was the Airline, or Route 9 from Bangor to Calais. It's a wonderful stretch of single lane, with enough hills and curves to make it interesting. With a speed limit of 55mph, it's the Guzzi's happy place, and after a long day of interstate droning, it kept me awake and wonderfully entertained.

It was a long day when I finally got home, almost 12hrs of being constantly on the move. I stopped twice for more than 15mins. The rest were gas and goes. 

The Guzzi turned out to be a very worthy steed for a long trip, 1000km in day was a bit too long, comfort wise, but I wouldn't hesitate taking it on a cross Canada trip. A casual 600km a day would be wonderful. It just goes to show that you do not need a $30K Gold Wing to see the world.

Rob's memorial was held in Toronto yesterday, and on the long ride home my thoughts were with him and his family.

Then something weird happened.....

Once I was back in Maine I turned off the Garmin voice guidance to my Sena and started listening to music on my phone. I put on the whole playlist and hit shuffle. Everything from Van Halen to Stompin' Tom Conners. Just after I cleared Canada customs in St. Stephen, one song ends and then a voice starts talking to me about a 1200GS. It's Rob's voice, explaining how well the GS does off road. It sends cold shivers through me, and tool me completely off guard. 

Last fall I helped Rob with a short video review of the R1200GS, he sent me an audio file with a narrative. Somehow when I updated my music on my phone, that file made it's way there too, unbeknownst to me. 

It freaked me out to say the least.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Gear Review

Last Friday, the 13th of May, I started my annual road trip to East Rutherford, New Jersey for recurrent flight training. Since I am spoiled private jet pilot that never sees an airport terminal, or has to go through airport security, the mere thought of having to fly commercially makes me....well sick. Jammed into an uncomfortable seat next to people you really don't want to be around, and then having to wait hours at another airport for a connecting flight, etc, etc, etc. It sucks. If you watch the news, the line ups at TSA are off the hook. Three hours to clear security.......WTF.

So each year I make it a motorcycle trip, which is way better, even if it is to Jersey. This year I took three days to get here, took my time and saw the sites along the way.

I made the pilgrimage to the school of flight on the Guzzi this year. I was a little hesitant since it was a smaller bike, and with the clutch issues from last fall, wasn't 100% confident in it's abilities to deliver me to school on time. I certainly didn't want to have a tardy on the first day. Part of my problem is reading bike specific forums, where mechanical issues of a few owners can dominate a thread, and before long your doubting the mechanical abilities of your motorcycle, even though there is nothing wrong.

The Guzzi performed flawlessly, and turned out to be a surprisingly good, and comfortable touring bike. No problem pulling 120kph on the interstate, and easy to put in a long day.

Prior to leaving I added a few things to the Guzz, to make it more comfortable for the 1200km trip to The Garden State.

Top priority was the Dart Merlin Flyscreen, that I reviewed before. It is a must have to ride comfortably at speeds over 100kph for any length of time. It doesn't provide the protection the Strom Givi screen did, but it more than does the trick.

I had a set of old Gears, soft saddlebags that I threw on, they were less than $100 new, and work pretty good. They are expandable and hold quite a bit of stuff. I keep some tools, tire plugs, air compressor, bike cover, rain gear, jacket liners, and spare gloves in them.

I will say the rain covers suck. Water pools at the bottom, and soaks through the bag. The easy solution was to stuff my gear inside the rain covers, and put it all in the saddle bag. Viola, problem solved.

My trusty Airhawk seat cushion was also added. The stock seat is not bad for day trips, but for three days of riding, one which was close to 11hrs, the added butt comfort was welcome. I don't think any seat is perfectly comfortable after 10 hours.

The FirstGear tank bag I bought, worked really well, and the GPS pouch was awesome. It's not too big, but is also expandable in case I need to squeeze in a few pints of microbrew.

All zipped up with the GPS hidden from site. Nice cellphone pouch. I can quickly glance to see if I have any messages waiting.

I keep toll money in this pocket, it closes with velcro. The bag also comes with clips if you do not want to use the magnet attachments, or have a plastic tank.

Magnetic attachments

Lots of room for stuff, plus two exterior side pockets.

GPS pocket. Touch screen on the Zumo works through the plastic cover.

Only downside is it's not waterproof. There is cover that comes out of a pocket at the front of the bag, but I have yet to use it. My experience when riding in the rain is, deflection from the windscreen prevents the bag from getting wet. I rode for an hour on Friday on the I95 in light to moderate rain and don't think there would be a need for the cover unless I was parked somewhere.

Until recently I only had one full faced helmet. My old Icon Alliance was 9 years old and had seen better days so that was retired from service quite awhile ago. I have a Bell Bullitt, which is nice, but the retro look also has a retro noise level at speed. It's extremely noisy and drafty. I am not a fan of ear plugs so that idea was out.

I spent a lot of time researching helmets, wanted something quiet, comfortable and light. I knew that came with a premium price tag. I looked at Schubert but the one I wanted was not available in my size and the others were a cool $1K. 

I stumbled on to the Shoei RF-1200 Terminus. The graphics were kinda old school and matched the Guzzi, and the helmet received great reviews. I was looking for something that was quiet since my head was no longer tucked behind a big windscreen. 

Sizing was a gamble since I ordered it from Canada's Motorcycle. Typically I wear a size small in a Bell helmet, except the Bullett, which was a little tight in that size. My LS2 Bobber helmet is a medium and fits well. The small would have been too snug. I guess my old noggin is a medium/small. 

I ended up ordering a medium and it fits perfect. First impression......beautiful helmet, great graphics.

After three days and 1200km of riding I've come to the conclusion that this is the best helmet I've owned yet. It's very comfortable, and light weight. At first the cheek pads were a little tight, but either I'm used to it or they have "broken in".  At interstate speeds, 120kph, the helmet is relatively quiet, I have no problem hearing the Sena BT. It cuts through the wind nice with no buffet. There is a slight whistle with the chin vent open.

Vents....yes there are many vents on this helmet, no excuse for being a hot head. The above mentioned chin vent, a forehead vent and two more side vents near the top, plus a rear exhaust vent.

The helmet comes with a breath guard and chin curtain, both which I have installed, and Shoei's pinlock anti fog system which I cannot comment on since I haven't used it.

My ride down consisted of rain, fog, sun, and temps between 10C and 27C, and in typical east coast fashion....all in one day.  No real issues of fogging except when stopped, and cracking the visor alleviated that problem.

My only gripe, and it is a minor one, is the field of view. I find it to be slightly narrow. Mind you I have been wearing open faced, and dual sport helmets for a long time and that may have skewed my view. No pun intended. 

Is it worth the hefty price? I think so, especially if you do a lot of riding and long trips like I do. The weight, comfort and noise levels are worth that alone.

So what's up next? The Fundy Adventure Rally documentary will need some tweaks in the wake of  Rob's death, also the future of the rally itself is in limbo at the moment. A rewrite of the storyline is in order. 

Tomorrow I head home from Jersey. I had planned to ride home in two days and stick to the backroads and do some more exploring and sightseeing. However since Rob's death all I've wanted to do is go home and see my family. It's been really tough being away from them this time, so I'm basically getting on the Interstate at 5am tomorrow morning and heading home in butt numbing 1000km ride.

Some pics from the ride down

Some ADV fun on a gravel road in Maine. Need some scrambler tires once these wear out.

Mount Washington, NH

This was just after I crossed into New York State from Connecticut. What a beautiful road with smooth pavement. The switchbacks on one of the hills was awesome.

I'll save the real bike trip for another time. My longtime friend James, or Jimbo as I like to call him just bought a nicely setup BMW F650GS and is eager to go on a road trip. So I'm thinking we need to head off on a long weekend in June or July for some 2 wheeled fun.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Rob Harris, Editor and Chief Of Canada Moto Guide.........Thank You

"Terry mate, how's it going" Rob's voice with the Yorkshire accent booming through the phone. It's how every call started. We have had many calls over the past couple of years, most of it focused around The Fundy Adventure Rally.

Rob was a lanky lad, one of the few that could dwarf a KLR

Rob and Zac working tirelessly at the FAR 2015
picture by Tammy Perry

I met Rob Harris, or Ed 'Arris as he is known, shortly after Pete and I did the Two Wheels Thru the Bigland videos, Zak Kurylyk reposted my blog reports from our trip on CMG, and once the videos were done, they were also hosted on CMG. That led to being asked to video and edit the Dawn to Dusk rally, which led to the Fundy Adventure Rally.

It was after the first rally that I got to know Rob fairly well, I went up to Sackville to visit him, hash out ideas about the rally, solve the problems of the world,  help him change tires on bikes, liberate his basement of some of Ed and Rachel's Canadian leftovers. In fact I met the infamous Ed March in Rob's kitchen for the first time. (he's much taller than he appears in the film).

I was supposed to go back to Sackville again in June to interview Rob and his wife Courtney for the "On Any Fundy" documentary. I had hoped to make the trip in May, but figured I'd have more time in June once he returned from his travels. He invited me up to stay the night, so we could have a few pints.

I'm away on my own travels, making my annual trip to Teterboro, New Jersey for flight simulator training. So I rode down again, this time on the Guzzi. Yesterday I put in an 11 hr day on the bike. Riding through some incredible scenery in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, through Massachusetts, and ending my day in Danbury, Connecticut. It was a near perfect day, sunny skies and warm temperatures.

My euphoria of the day came to a screeching halt last night when I received word that Rob had died in a motorcycle accident at an adventure rally in Ontario. I was shocked, and could not belief what was written in the text.

I've spent the day, like many of Rob's friends trying to come to grips with this. I am surprised at how much this has upset me. Maybe, with age you begin to value life more, maybe it's questioning your own mortality, maybe it was just that Rob was great guy, who left behind a lovely wife and two young daughters.

All I know is that it was a hell of rough ride from Danbury to New Jersey this morning.

Thank you Rob, for letting me get to know you, inviting me in for a peek at the world of CMG and motorcycle journalism. For a guy who loves motorcycles, what you did for me was awesome. I got to spend two entire days riding an 800GS and 1200GS off road with no chaperone, have Clinton Smout teach me some new skills, get me a media pass to the AIMExpo in Orlando, and show my "Riding the Trans Labrador" video at the Toronto Motorcycle Show.

I'll never forget sitting in the CMG office sorting through hours of FAR video, and for a moment pretending to be a moto journalist.

Thanks for all your contributions to the world of two wheels.

Friday, 29 April 2016

On Any Fundy - Documentary on the Fundy Adventure Rally

We are in the middle of spring, sort of. Well at least that's what the calendar says, despite the recent dusting of snow in certain parts of Canada. In Newfoundland a spring dusting is 30cm.

After taking the winter off, and removing myself from the two-wheeled motorized world, I'm once again fired up to get the documentary on Fundy Adventure Rally finished up. Of course I have been racking my brain to come up with some kind of storyline. I finally have something figured out, and have started work on it. Last fall I went through all the video from 2015, and identified what was good, and what was not. There were many minutes of footage that went in the "not" category. Luckily there are a few good nuggets.

I also had a scare when I thought all the 2014 footage was lost, but luckily I discovered it backed up on a flash drive. Whew.

I still have to get some additional footage, interviews, and extra scenery shots.

I'll pick away at the editing over the summer and my plan is have the first showing of "On Any Fundy" at this years rally.

This years FAR looks to be another good one. BMW will be returning again, along with Honda Canada which will be exciting. I'm guessing there will be quite a line up for the Africa Twin demo.

Clinton Smout will be returning as well to show us how to ride our bikes, and entertain us with his unique brand of humour. If you've never taken his course, make sure you sign up, well worth it.

My plans for the rally are up in the air. One, I have to get some vacation time, and two, I need a bike. I'm sure the ol' Goose would more than handle the A routes with some scrambler tires on it. But why do that to a beautiful bike. So I may just show up on Friday and Saturday, help Rob and Courtney with Rally things.  I might, and it's a big might get a small DS bike and ride the rally. I still want a Honda CRF250L, but right now the monetary situation is looking a little bleak.

Hell, I might even just drop a copy of the movie off at Adair's on the Thursday, and bugger off on a road trip for a few days instead and skip the 2016 edition. Nah..... it's too much fun, even if I don't ride it, just hanging around and helping out would be a blast. Plus I could probably scam a bike or two for a dirt ride.

My birthday is coming up in May, and that's also the buy a new bike month. Maybe my generous wife will surprise me. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

More Changes and Back to The Two-Wheeled Lifestyle

2016 had started off on the right foot. My triathlon training was going well, and I had high hopes for a good return to the sport. My swimming had bounced back really well, and so had my cycling. In fact I had come to enjoy riding more than anything else.

I had typed up a long bit about how my running was sucking, and how it was beating me up physically, but decided it was boring and suffice to say I have since given up running on the road and running long distances.

So I decided that instead of beating the shit out of myself and get injured pounding the pavement, that I would give up the Ironman dream and look to something else to keep me motivated. I already had an Ironman finish, was it a sign to look for something different.

I signed up for the Great Cycle Challenge. It's a cancer fundraiser where you set a mileage goal for the month of June, and people sponsor you. I set a fundraising goal of $1000 and 1000km. That's a lot of riding in a month. I even took a weeks vacation to ensure I get it done. To date I have raised $770 so far. My longest training ride was 93km, which felt pretty good. I have no trouble sitting on a bike for hours on end watching the world go by at 25-30kph.

If anyone would like to sponsor me and help kids fighting cancer click the link. Every little bit helps.

The Guzzi, the Guzzi, what about the Guzzi? Well..... I think it is all sorted out finally. After a lot of research, and seeing a video on youtube, the loud squealing noise was in fact a clutch adjustment issue. The slight whining noise from the gearbox.....appears to be a normal thing on some V7's. The dealer checked everything over, drained the gearbox oil and checked for metal bits, and supposedly the oil was clean. I also read that the V7's like to have the gearbox slightly overfilled, this also cuts down on the whine.

I have put a couple of hundred clicks on it so far and it seems good. Rode it home from the dealer that is an hour and half away. I still have 18 months of warranty, I hope I don't need it.

I go to East Rutherford, New Jersey for my annual flight simulator training at FlightSafety, because, really why would anyone voluntarily go to New Jersey.  It's a nice ride, I'll take two glorious days to get there via the backroads of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. After my week of boringly long ground school, and three days in the simulator where the instructors do they're best to try and kill you, I get to ride home again. Fun, fun, fun.

Why am I mentioning this?????? Well, I added a couple of accessories to the Goose. Most important one was the Dart Flyscreen. It's not the little one they sell, but the Merlin. I had heard good reviews for it, and it hasn't disappointed. On the highway it's a godsend. Takes all the wind blast from my chest and makes cruising at 100kph plus enjoyable. The airflow around my helmet is smooth, therefore no buffeting.

I also picked a new tank bag. It's a FirstGear Laguna GPS unit. I wasn't a fan of the GPS mount permanently installed on the bike, around town and for most of the riding I do I don't need a GPS. Plus on occasion I get to ride other bikes and need a GPS (Fundy Adventure Rally), so having a tank bag with a "mount" is ideal.

I installed a double USB power outlet on the handle bar, so I can charge the GPS, and my phone, and just about anything else. Works perfect. The tank bag has magnetic mounts so no straps to dull or scratch the paint on the Guzzi tank. It also comes with straps if I use it on bike with a plastic tank. Appears to be a nice well built bag.

The last time I rode to Joisey, I was on the mighty Vstrom. Now the one benefit to owning a Vstrom, is that it is so fugly that there really is never any fear of your bike being stolen. Unless the perpetrator is a Strom fan, and chances are they already have one.

The Guzzi is a beautiful bike and garners a lot of looks. The other day I was visiting a local sports store and when I walked out there was a guy admiring the Goose. That I don't mind, it's when admiration turns to wanton lust and criminal behaviour (not that that is prevalent in Jersey) and my lovely Guzzi disappearing in the back of blacked out panel van to an undisclosed location to have the serial number filed off so it can be shipped to the Middle East.

In an effort to deter such thievery, I bought a Grip-Lock.  It's a small deterrent that will help me sleep at night. I will probably get a nondescript cover to go over it as well. Maybe something with Honda written on it.

Other news.....well there maybe a big, and I mean big adventure in the works for 2017. It involves dirt, ADV, DS bikes and long trip. I have been invited to take part in the event, riding, filming, blogging, etc. Until it's all confirmed I'll leave you all guessing.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2016 is Here and There has Been a Radical Change

2016 is here, I didn't ring it in much differently the any other year. Few too many pints of beer with family and friends. I didn't wake up with some kind of epiphany to change my life or anything like that. Actually it all kinda started back this fall when I bought a new bicycle.

So where am I going with this? Well sometimes to go forward in life you have to go back. For me it's going back just over fifteen years. On November 4th, 2000 I finished what was, and still is, one of the greatest athletic accomplishments of my life. Ironman Florida. The Ironman is a triathlon that consists of a 4.8km swim, 180km bike ride, and a full 42.2km marathon, and it has to be done in under 17hrs.

It was a long day, taking me 12hrs and 48mins to get to the finish line. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. The ultra marathon I did last year was tough, and the last 5km was painful, but I was undertrained and not prepared. The Ultra did reignite something in me, and I realized that I was at my happiest when training for a long distance event.

As most of you know, by reading this, my brain fires on all cylinders in the fall and winter, coming up with crazy stupid ideas revolved around motorbikes. That's all fine and dandy, but I get drove nuts thinking about things that will undoubtedly never happen. Take the Scooter Cannonball for example. It is an awesome idea, race, whatever, but other than a few days of planning, it's a long wait until July. A long wait through a depressingly long winter.

So in my search for the next "great idea, event or thing" related to two wheels and a motor I am actually setting myself up for a depressing winter with not much to do, but mope and whine about how long it is taking to get to the next riding season.

The other issue is, I turn 47 years old in May, then it's a short three years until the big 50. For some reason 50 bugs the ever loving shit out of me. To me 50 is the start of old. No offense to those of you over 50. For some people turning 30 or 40 is life altering, or has a big meaning, it wasn't for me, I really didn't give it too much thought. But 50 has me spooked.

So I decided that the year I turn 50, I plan on being in the best shape of my life, better than 31. The age I was during my Ironman. I don't plan on just beating my old Ironman time of 12hrs 48mins and 52sec, but I plan on destroying it.

November 4th 2000

So folks, I'm going to take the next three years to get there. Everything motorbike related is getting shelved, except for the Fundy Rally documentary, and helping out with the Cannonball 500/1000 for Dave Purdy. No big adventures or bike trips, other than my yearly ride to New York for training, and of course commuting. All my effort will be focused on my family, work and Ironman.

So for 2016, I need to get back in triathlon shape, time to get back to the pool, and hit the bike trainer. Everyday there is a workout or two to be done. It keeps me busy, my brain quiet and happy.

No full Ironman this year, I plan on competing in two half Ironman events to get warmed up, and then in 2017 Ironman Mont Tremblant, 2018 Ironman Muskoka, and 2019 Ironman Canada. Thus completing every official Ironman event in Canada. Lofty goals? Yup. Can it be done? Yup, barring any health issues or injury, I can do this. Will the plan change? Probably, but the end goal will remain the same.......toe the line at Ironman Canada as a 50 year old, in way better shape than I was at 31. Simple.

So there won't be a lot of updates on the blog from now on. Progress on the FAR documentary, and the Cannonball 500/1000. That's it.

Monday, 28 December 2015

2016.......What's In Store, and What the Hell Happened to My Guzzi?

2015 is almost over, three more days until the new year. The down time over the Christmas season has had me doing a lot of thinking about my plans for the this upcoming season.

First of all, I have to get to work on the Fundy Adventure Rally documentary. It won't be a long one, maybe 30mins. I have most of the video all categorized and filtered through. Holy crap there is a lot of bad, and boring helmet cam footage. 20mins of video gets you 20sec of something good.

I do have to shoot some interviews with the event organizers, and grand rally master 'Arris, plus get some "B" footage for certain things. Hopefully I'll have the storyline and the guts of the video all done, so I won't be doing too much editing come riding season.

Speaking of riding season, I set some lofty goals already. The Scooter Cannonball, well lets just say that stands a good chance of NOT happening. Between the logistics of it all, and the already sunk Canadian dollar, it could turn into a very costly event. The Canadian Scooter Cannonball is still on the table, but for 2017. I need more lead up time to put that together, and save up some cash for a scooter.

The Cannonball 500/1000. That is a go. I have been working with Dave Purdy, and so far we have one dealer onboard for the New Brunswick edition. I'll be harassing other dealers first thing in the new year. I think this is going to be a fun event, whether you ride a scooter or a full dressed Harley.
Stay tuned for confirmation, and when to register.

The saga of my Moto Guzzi. I haven't written about this yet. 

In October I dropped my V7 off at the dealer, G. Bourque, in Moncton for the 1000km break-in service. I had to trailer it up because of the required valve-check and of course the engine had to be cold. The service check also covers, fluid changes, checking cables, brakes, tires, etc, etc.

After bring the bike back home, I went for a ride. After about 5mins I noticed a slight whining noise coming from the bike. At first I thought it may have been my helmet, the Bell Bullitt tends to do that sometimes. Unfortunately, no it was coming from the bike. I turned around and headed for home, the noise getting more noticeable as I rode on. I checked the engine oil, and it was good, so my next worry was the gearbox. Now the gearbox oil is not addressed in the owners manual. It states, that it should only be checked, serviced and replaced by an authorized Guzzi dealer. Great. 

Of course this being a Saturday afternoon, and I was leaving the following morning for a week long work trip, it would have be dealt with later.

Upon return a week later I go to start up the Guzzi, and now it is making an ungodly screeching noise when idling in neutral. Pull the clutch lever in and the noise goes away. FUCK!!!
I call the dealer right away. Of course the service department is quick to say "it wasn't something we did" How the hell do you know that by not even looking at the bike. Well it wasn't something I did either. Perfectly working bikes goes in for routine service, and comes back with a gearbox issue. Who's fault was it? They didn't even reset the service message on the bike.

So I do some online research. Turns out some Guzzi service techs (I'll call them a tech for now, because they get about 3hs training on Guzzi's from what I have been told) sometimes under fill the gearbox oil. The Guzzi service literature is confusing, and some techs mix up final drive with gearbox. Guzzi calls the gearbox the transmission and the final drive the gearbox.

Not saying that is what happened, but from all accounts from others with this issue it is a very strong likelihood. 

Bike goes back on the trailer and back to G. Bourque. Which by the way is a 90min drive. I drop it off, and they tell me they suspect a bad bearing. Right.

I fully think that this will take weeks to fix, and they'll have to pull the transmission, and replace parts, etc. Wishful thinking on my part. A day later I get the call "bike is ready, clutch cable was out of adjustment" WTF. 

Back to Moncton I go....again, towing the trailer. It's November now, and Moncton has had snow already, so no one has ridden the bike, except the 200m from the shop to the warehouse.

I start the bike up, everything sounds normal. Load the bike on the trailer and head for home.

It's late November now, so riding days are few and far between, so I am cautiously optimistic that the bike is fixed, however the Guzzi gurus on the forums, say no, the dealer is screwing you and covering up their mistake. 

It's December and we have been blessed with a good riding day. The salt has been washed away from the road, and it's a balmy plus five degrees. I get geared up, pull the Guzzi out of the garage, let her warm up, and off I go. Hey, everything sounds good, bike is running good. I'm a happy boy.

Six kilometres into the ride, what's that noise? Fuck, a whine, ever so slightly. Must be the helmet again. I wish it was the helmet. The whine is still there. JC, fuck, those bastards, I hate that dealership, bunch of crooks!

I put on a 100km that day, the whine was there the whole time. At idle everything sounds great, get moving, roll on some throttle and it rears it's ugly head. 

Clutch adjustment my ass, I think they under serviced the gearbox oil, and then when I brought it back they just topped it up and came up with a lame clutch excuse. 

So what do I do now. We are in the grips of winter, there is no way the service "techs" can even take the bike for an extended ride to even hear said whining gearbox. 

So now I wait until spring, which I hope comes early, to bring it back to Moncton for a 3rd time in hopes they can fix the damn thing before I head to New York in the middle of May. If they fix it right. So now I have a great motorcycle that I don't trust more than to ride around the block on.

It will be the last time the Guzzi ever sees that dealership for service, ever again.

Why am I so leary of G. Bourque, well my buddy has an MG Stelvio, and has had numerous issues with his. They continually over-serviced his bike with oil. Not to mention they had to pull his entire transmission this summer, leaving him without a bike for 3 weeks.

I love the Guzzi, think it is a great bike, but don't buy one from these yahoos, at least don't get it serviced there.

That leads me to thinking of getting a second bike again. A dual-sport/adv bike. Something I can take off road and to ride in the Fundy Adventure Rally.

A used CRF250L or maybe a CSC RX3 if the Canadian peso rebounds at all. $3495 US for a decked out mini adventure bike is pretty sweet. Ideally I'd like to make it a fly and ride. Head to California and pick it up, ride it home. Be an awesome adventure. 

Now to go out and shovel that white shit off my front porch.