Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I was never a Scout, but I’m pretty much always prepared anyway. My V-Strom’s panniers contain a very complete toolkit, a tire repair kit, a 12-volt tire pump, fuses, a roll of wire, terminal ends, assorted zip-ties, small rolls of electrical and duct tape, a back-up electric-vest controller, some spare SAE connectors, shop rags, nitrile gloves, hand cleaner, a bungee net, some cargo straps, and a few other things I’ve forgotten.
This explains to some degree why I seem to wear out rear tires faster than most people. I think it also explains why I’ve never been stranded by the side of the road, except for one time when my ST1100 blew a radiator hose, and another time when I bent its front rim running over a wooden four-by-four post, which was lying in the middle of the lane I was merging into, and which I didn’t see until the car ahead drove over it and flipped it into my path where I hit it dead-on—at 75 mph. It’s the only time I ever got a 600-pound bike completely off the ground. Once was enough. Trust me on that.
Anyway, I’m getting ready for a ride up north to Vancouver Island, and I was out in the garage a while ago checking the stuff in the panniers to see if there was anything I didn’t have and should take along. There wasn’t. All I need to pack for my trip are clothes, a passport, a camera, and sunglasses.
I need new tires, though, and I’m getting them put on next week, a few days before I leave. In my road-racing days I learned how to scrub in a set of tires in two laps of any racetrack. It doesn’t really take much longer on the street if you approach the task with the appropriate respect.
On Friday my friend Larry is heading out for a ride to Nova Scotia (read about it here). He’ll be riding through town on the way and I’m going to join him for an hour or so. I haven’t been on a long ride for several years, and it’ll be good to get out there and taste that excited/queasy feeling that marks the start of a big journey.
And it’s odd to think that at some point during the next couple of weeks, we’ll both be in Canada at the same time—except at the extreme opposite ends, so the chances of meeting up for a cup of coffee at a Tim Horton’s are pretty slim.
At around the same time that Larry and I are Yanking around in Canada, two other riding buddies, Ron and Dick, will be riding around the Southwest. Monica’s coffee shop will be awfully quiet in the afternoon with all of us out of town, but at least there’ll be somewhere for the other patrons to sit that isn’t covered with spread-out maps surrounded by a bunch of motorcyclists hunkered over them, tracing routes with yellow highlighters.