Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day -1: Departure Tomorrow

After all the planning, departure day is Friday, June 01, that would be tomorrow!

The weather forecast right now shows showers start at 4am, turn to rain at 6am. Guess when I depart Mississauga? Guess when I clear customs the other side of the bridge at Sarnia? Well, that's why I bought the 'Stitch.

Basically, all packed, a bit of fine tuning to do.

A few things to do before I go, exciting things - cutting grass, cutting my hair (takes little time!), and packing the electronics, mostly battery chargers. I need to gas up. May use that as a practice run to see how the bike handles when loaded. I'm interested in how the adjustable suspension feels. With one-up, there is only a subtle difference. With the added weight, maybe more difference? I suspect so. May put the low seat in the high position, if not today, maybe tomorrow. May change it at gas stops, just to give the legs a different position. Lots of choices, which I never had on previous bikes.

This will be the first big trip with luggage on board.

Rodney says he too is ready, almost, will be here before dark, and we will have an early night, to get an early departure.

Update 1: my hard bag liners arrived in the mail at 4pm. Thanks everyone at TLC.

Update 2: seems packing might be done, except for this iPad and bits.

Update 3: Rodney has arrived. We are having a Bon Voyage bit of bubbly, but off to an early start just after 4am.

So, good night!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Suzanne, Emma, Nancy and Richard joined Dianne and me for dinner, drinks, and a bit of swimming (Emma and Suz).

Suzanne had the idea that I would need some biker tunes for the trip, so bought some for me from iTunes. She had some help from all of us in doing the selection, but had a good idea of what she wanted to do. She loaned me a Nano (boy, are they small, but work well) and this morning I downloaded them onto my old hard-drive Classic style iPod as well. Yea!

Today also saw an oil change and inspection at the dealer. Nice wash job too!

With the mercury at 27C, and humidity at Liquid, Mr 'Stitch was a bit warm. In motion, fine. Well, I don't like to stop much anyway... . Am going to pack a few short sleeve Tee shirts, just in case the weather stays this hot.

Got some cash, did a bit more packing. Sorted out what to do with the spare keys, for example.

Ready to go, almost.

Forecast is for rain on Friday, but too soon for details. 4am departure, rain or shine.

Oh yeah, Gravol for the ferry - got that too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Discovered TrackMyTour

I did not have luck with Google Latitude on my non-xG iPad. So, I wen looking. Found and it works very well. Free for 2 maps, but I think I will be sending them some money for the full version.

I did have the usual learning issues. Sent an email as the help page suggested, and got almost chat-like response. This was yesterday and I'm still impressed!

Look over on the right, above the list of blogs, and you will find a title called "map" or something like that when I figure out a better title. If you have a suggestion, post a comment...

Continuing to pack, and that's a different topic...


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Might say the trip has officially started..

...except I have not departed.

We did have the official trip party at my sister Mary's place in Cobourg. Food, drinks, sleepover (not a good idea to drive). Mary even gifted me with a Maglite LED flashlight. Rugged, bright, long battery life - a great safety feature. Mary is more excited than I am at this point.

Although, can't sleep tonight. Suffering from pollen allergy big time for fourth day. Even had to raise the chinbar on the modular helmet so I could sneeze on Sunday's ride. Twice. And, I have a sore nose. Not from sneezing, I think I burned it on Mary's deck. Or broke it sneezing. Anyway, can't sleep so I'm blogging and watching the finale of House.

And thinking about packing...

I ordered fabric liners from TLC back in April. Lot's of time to ship them from California right? Well, it's a small operation and Jenn's husband recently had a stroke and this caused huge problems. I wish them well. But, chances are I will be gone before the liners arrive. I'm going to have to see if those reusable shopping bags fit anywhere like liners. The hard bags are easy to get off the bike, but they are heavy, even when empty. Lugging them up to a second floor hotel room is not attractive.

What to take for camera equipment? Body plus three lenses, no tripod. Padded bag. Maybe a padded insert in the tank bag for fast grabbing of the camera.

The big green bag? Normally this is for the camping equipment, which I am not taking. Yes, even if not much in it...

Four oil filter and filter wrench kit on the way to a friend's in Seattle. Dealer will change oil next Tuesday, then John will help in Duncan, and I will do on my return.

Well, should go back to bed.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Improved Vest Adapter, Etc

Took a bunch of 2 lane sideroads to Fergus this morning. On departing Mississauga, it was10.5 C, so I plugged in the electric vest, and off I went. Sunny, no traffic at 7am, and the trees, cows, fields were lovely.

No, I did not take any pictures. That would mean stopping...and I wanted to ride, not stop.

In Fergus, I stopped at a favourite place, Tim Horton's, for a coffee. Dismounted and unplugged. Let the Powerlet cord (fancy cigarette lighter thingy) dangle. Walked to Timmy's, kicking the cord as I went. I was inspired to improve my adapter. Yes, the one I was so pleased with yesterday - now I could not abide it.

So, on the return ride, the Engineer pondered. Et Voila:

And, installed on Mr. 'Stitch:

More innovations? Sure, you can buy short straps with loops on both ends for $20 a set plus shipping, and wait for Canada Post to relay them from the US Postal service...

Or, get some nice cordage, and tie a couple of Knots and ...


And finally, a picture of The Bike sitting outside my house, waiting to be garaged:


That's it for today!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Meet Mr. 'Stitch

Here he is, looking really fine:

Took him for his first ride last evening. Cool, sunny, not much traffic on the slab (Hwy 401), or back roads. Was average 14 degrees C. Proved to be wind proof. Had all the vents zippered up except the back horizontal just below the shoulders. Felt a cooling on my back, so zipped them up when I got home.

On the bike, feels great. You forget it's there.

Only problem is, where to attach the controller for the heated vest? I need something near he left pocket, but it is smooth there. So, I made an adapter. Not my original idea, but I could not find a key ring large enough for the controller's clip. Oh well, good for a first try.



Now I ask you, does that not look neat?

Not bad for an Electrical Engineer...


Sunday, May 13, 2012

You have to be determined!

This is going to get a bit philosophical. Here is how the topic came to mind, I was on the test ride with the lowered pegs, and came to stop, and got off the bike, when I noticed the left peg rubber had rotated. I rotated it back. The instructions had said a factory plastic piece of plastic might need to be discarded, or not. Since I found the fit was tight, I chose to remove these fancy plastic keep-from-rotating items. But, I did not throw them away...

When reinstalling them I knew I had to compress the rubber cushion to make it shorter, to allow the securing pin to go through all the holes. I had built up a mental image of this being hard, maybe needing one of my woodworking clamps. In the end, hand force did the trick. That, and determination.

Too often, a lack of determination makes a doable job look so hard that we give up, maybe try an alternative. I'm glad that I decided I could not live with these rotating rubber cushions and found the determination to reinstall those clever keepers.

And, success is sweet.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wrenching is Bloody Work...

... If you're a klutz like me.


Above is the toolI was using to shorten a bolt, repairing a jewelry cabinet.


Cutting the bolt took a bit of force, but finally it was cut, and so was I!

I'll live, I suppose. Sniff...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lowered Pegs Test Ride – 2011 R1200RT

Well, the difference is astounding and outstanding! Who would have thunk it?

Me, for one. Same problem on the old Triumph Legend TT (2000). Knees hurt badly after riding in traffic or for more than an hour. Solved it by having the seat rebuilt about “these three pieces of carpet underpadding” higher. Worked great.

And the Suburban Machinery Peg Lowering Kit works marvelously for me. I now find it easier to lift my leg up and off the peg and down to the ground. In traffic, I do this a lot, and it was so much harder before! Also, I can more easily push down on the pegs to raise my rear from the seat. This makes going over railway crossings more comfortable and safer too.

After a bit of thought, I think I might now know why this works for me. The first clue was the alteration necessary on my Aerostich Roadcrafter pants. Had to have two inches taken out between the hip and knee. That’s two inches of lever arm. That lever arm raises the lower leg, foot, and boots. All these are heavy. With lowered pegs, down a bit and forward a bit, the knee angle is less acute and the upper leg lever action works better. Better is good.

So, I am very happy. I think this will be a great improvement for the Big Ride starting June 01.

Shifter & Brake Lever Adjustment - 2011 R1200RT

A test ride (blogged separately) reveled the definite need for both levers to be adjusted. The need arose from the installation of Suburban Machinery's exquisite Peg Lowing Kit. Adjustment was expected, and filled me with a bit of trepidation, me not being much of a mechanic.

In the end, it was easy and took less than an hour.

The shifter lever rotates on a splined shaft. To get at the shaft, you remove a long piece of casting that has the left footpeg (and now a lowering block too). If I had thought the installation of the lowering kit through, I would have removed this casting / peg assembly, taken it to the bench, and installed the peg lowering block in comfort. A bit less effort than lying on the ground. Cold ground.

The lever is secured to the splined shaft with a reverse Torx 8 screw, requiring an E8 (female) Torx socket. I bought a boxed male and female Torx set from Princess Auto for $15 earlier today. There is a marking line on the shaft and the lever showing the factory setting. Necessary, but I don’t remember one on the Triumph.

The splines are finely spaced. Yet, when I tried two splines distance, it was too much. The lever is long enough to magnify the effect of the fine spacing. So, I ended up installing the casting assembly several times. But now it is correct and I know it is correct.

Over on the brake side, things went nicely too. The rear of the brake lever moves up, pushing an adjustable length rod that applies the rear brake. Remove a clip on the rod and the other end of the clip is discovered to be a shaft going through a hole and securing the rod to the lever. Nicely designed! With the rod disconnected the lever would hang straight down, except for a spring. At the forward end of the lever is an adjustable stop bolt and locking nut. Rotating the lever to a vertical requires a bit of force to overcome the spring tension, but lets a couple of wrenches get at the bolt and locking nut. Easy.

I found the lever needed to be lowered a lot for me. Not totally at the bottom of the adjustment range, but it is much lower than factory settings. I think dealers should customize the fit for the new owner on delivery or at least explain the adjustability to you. Locked the setting.

Back to the rod at the rear of the lever. Up at the top is a 9mm wrench nut and at the bottom is a 10mm wrench locking nut. Use the 9mm to hold the rod, rotate the bottom U-shaped fitting to loosen, raise the locking nut, raise the U-shaped fitting to fit (holes in lever and U-shaped fitting re-align), insert the clip shaft, secure the clip, tighten the lock nut, and …

Go for the test ride!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Peg Lowering Kit Installed 2011 on R1200RT

Installing the peg lowering kit was easy. Less than 45 minutes. This must be a record for me for any mechanical job. And, none of the anticipated problems popped up. That does not mean there were no problems.

The E clips were no problem on either side. Came off without springing away into the darkness forever... . Went back on again nicely too. I did have to check to make sure it was seated properly, and it was.

Getting to that point of replacement was a bit of a struggle. The spring did not allow the plastic spool to line up with the axis of the pin. I had to push the spring a bit sideways a bit. At that point, the pin slid through all the holes it needed to. When the spool was rotated a bit, the slanted end slid into place and the pin protruded the correct amount to allow the E-clip to be seated. This was the case on both sides.

No chance for a ride (thunderstorms) but sitting on the bike suggests I will not need to adjust either pedal. I had heard that smaller size feet might not need pedals to be adjusted, and this might just be the case for me.

And, the bike does feel different. It feels smaller. That is goodness. More when I get out for a ride. Must go check the weather forecast...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Discovering Blogsy

This program should make posting on my blog a bit easier.

Let's add a photo:

Triumph Legend TT, year 2000
Above is an old photo of my beloved yr 2000 Triumph Legend TT. A 900cc bike, it served me well until I traded it in September 2011.

Flowers Test

Above are some flowers in the back garden.


Not yet riding today...

Yesterday was a pool day. No, I was not swimming! The new liner was installed last fall, but no salt or other chemicals. When I took the winter top cover off, the water looked pretty clean, but it never is. Had done the plumbing (replacing drain plugs, replacing the mineral cartridge ($89), and filled up to the correct level with water. Primed the pump, and had good circulation.

The Zodiac Baracuda pool cleaner stopped and started fitfully. Google said to check the diaphragm and sure enough, a stress crack just below where a plastic ring secures it to the main pipe. So, count two of these last season, ($12 each). They charge now, for years these were replaced free, but the units last so long now... . So, for $300 (dealer honoured end of season sale price as they said (liner was $3000+ after all) and the new T5 model seems to work better than any before it. 

After 3 backwashes, 2 pump basket empties, one hose section removal (hose was into the well for the stairs and T5 head was stationary), the pool was clean(er) and just about ready.

So was I. For dinner and TV and two rum and cokes. Off to bed, slept for 3 hours, lots of muscle pain, TV, back to bed.

Saturday morning now, water level topped up, basket cleaned, filter backwashed, ready for salt and chemicals.

Now 10am, might get riding this afternoon.