Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Triumph America Days

My 2006 Triumph America.
On this blog, you’ve probably seen some posts with the introduction, “From the Triumph America days...” I've been sharing old stories from my first motorcycle. I’ve been migrating over to Blogger for a while now and have a new audience.

The Triumph America was my first motorcycle. With it I also got my first bike jacket and helmet. For the jacket I went with an Olympus Hi-Viz. For the helmet I went with a Nolan N103, and Rev'It! riding pants.

My first jacket and helmet.
Those days were special. I'm learning. I'm honing skills. I'm figuring things. I participate in classes. I practice in an industrial park. I weigh and inspect other riders advice, which usually fell into one of the following categories; the good, the bad and the ugly.

I read a few books, but not the popular ones. I've learned through experience the popular books are not always the most informative. I searched for books like Road Craft, the London Riders Police manual or books and information from David L. Hough.

Practice in the industrial park.
I think fondly of that first bike and that time period. They say never get rid of your first motorcycle and I now see why. I traded it in for a more powerful bike and what I considered the next step in the evolution of my skills. While I wish I still had it, compared to the Road King I have now, it would just be setting there neglected. I hope its serving its current owner like it served me.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Riding in the Rain on Easter

Planned a nice relaxing ride on Easter, but it rained dammit. So I sat on a beach front after the sun came out. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Motorcycle Fuel Taps

From the Triumph America days...

I ride a 2006 Triumph America. While I rode a few bikes before its purchase, it’s the first bike that’s my very own. It’s not fuel injected, but with an old fashion carburetor.

As with any piece of machinery that uses carburetors, they normally have what’s called a petcock or fuel tap. In short it’s to release and close off fuel from the holding tank. If you don’t turn it off and your bike sets for a long time, you can end up with gasoline mixed with your oil. For mechanical novices, that’s bad.

Triumph America Fuel Tap or Petcock
I've suffered with a very sticky and troublesome fuel tap. Sometimes turning would be difficult, to downright stuck and frozen. Doing what is most often recommended, spraying it with WD-40, wasn’t cutting it. Sometimes I felt WD-40 made it worse when the weather warmed.

I was starting to desire a fuel injected bike just to be ride of this tap. Seeing new fuel taps were $100 USD and reading the problem just comes back, I was weighing the options of trading my bike in for something newer and fuel injected. It was that irritating.

I solved my problem or at least learned how to manage it. My fuel tap works well with the right kind of lubricant. One theory for stickiness is the ethanol fuel that is commonly sold today. That could be true, but my bike also sat unused for a few years until I adopted it. A combination of E-10 fuel and storage are a recipe for problems for sure.

Holding screw to remove innards.
I’m not a trained mechanic. What I’m about to write, I’ve tried but the long term affects are untested. You take the risk.

Some internet forum posts recommend loosening the screw at the bottom of the fuel tap to release pressure. This screw holds the innards in place so I passed on doing that. When the screw loosens and falls out, there’s a spring behind the lever and the innards will come flying out.

For starters on solving my problem I turned the fuel tap to OFF.  I removed the small screw below the fuel tap and held the on/off lever in. There’s a spring behind the lever and it will all come flying out if your not prepared. I found out the hard way and thank goodness and found the little spring that sprung

I cleaned the inside of the tap, cleaned the turn lever, cleaned the spring and took out the rubber O ring and cleaned it also. There’s another piece for fuel shut off that was blue, but I didn’t take it out. I sprayed a petroleum based spray inside the open tap (Blaster). I then put it all back together and it’s been working like it just came off the show room floor.

I don’t think you have to take the fuel tap apart a lot, but maybe a once a year cleaning, like in the spring season could be a good idea. Most times you can spray a lubricant into the fuel tap and not take it apart. There’s a lot of back and forth on the internet about WD-40 and what’s best to use. Here’s what I think…

◾WD-40. It’s good at breaking things loose, but I find it’s not a long lasting lubricant. Others have had excellent results in making their problems go away. Seems to turn sticky in hot temperatures.
◾Teflon Chain Saver. Yeah, call me stupid, but I was desperate and tried chain lubricant. I got mixed results and still its sticky sometimes.
◾Blaster Penetrating Catalyst. I’ve had good results with this.
◾Blaster Garage Door Lube…mixed results but more to the positive. Seems to turn sticky in hot temperatures.
◾Seafoam Deep Creep. Really good results.

YMMV. There you have it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Proficient Motorcycling

You've got to plan for the stupidity and arrogance of other motorists, including other motorcyclists. -- David L. Hough, Proficient Motorcycling.
If you want to improve your riding, I highly recommend Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well. This book is a best seller. There’s a reason for it.

The author encourages riders to be prepared for anything. That’s includes inattentive drivers, and crazy motorcyclists. The book opens with a chilling story of life altering events unfortunately created by an aggressive sport biker.

In this book you will be exposed to analysis techniques, how to enter corners to your advantage, more on steering, etc. This author hasn’t recently trained or been riding for the last decade. These tactics come from his study and lifetime on the road.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Triumph America, Robbed!

From the Triumph America days... 

I was robbed at work. They got into my saddle bags. It wasn’t too bad in a way because it appears the actual bike wasn’t damaged.

They weren’t locking bags but they cut and tore both my saddle bag rain covers. They could have just pulled them off. Instead they had to ruin them.

A fellow employee saw them in the act but couldn’t get out of the building in time. They were on bicycles. I called the police and then I did a quick search of the area. I had a good description from my co-worker that witnessed the act but they were long gone, with all my stuff.

I’ve used this bike for some pretty long trips. I mostly pack a few cheap tools in case I get stalled or have a flat tire. This changes things up. It looks like I’m going to have to switch to some hard cases with locks.

A ripped rain cover.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Encyclopedia Of The Motorcycle

The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle: An Illustrated Guide to the Classic Marques 
I purchased the most wonderful book, The Encyclopedia Of The Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. This almost 500 page book and in colorful photos covers almost every motorcycle manufacturer that’s been in existence. It’s already been the cause of a number of late night reads.

Classic Suzuki's, Honda, Triumph, Harley, BSA, etc. its all here. This book covers motorcycles worldwide. It not just isolated to a region.

Yes, included is a bike from Czechoslovakia, and other places that have produced motorcycles outside the norms of Japan, America and England. While I would love to display more photos, I'm sure that would be breaking a copyright something. Do check it out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Trip to the beach

The beginning of March in the west coast of Washington is always a cloudy and rainy experience. A trip to the beach is at best cold and dreary around this time. However this day a reprieve opened.

This morning I woke up to the sun somewhat beaming through my window. Would it last? Would it stay the afternoon?

I headed early to the beach of Ocean Shores. It was oddly warm and I immediately headed for my favorite Fish & Chips place. The City of Ocean Shores is on a peninsula. Before European settlers the Chinook, Chehalis, and Quinault American tribes used the area for trading.

Today Ocean Shores is used for recreation, vacation housing and events. While it's not a grand place to visit, it's one of the easiest recreational beach areas to get to in Washington. While places in Oregon and elsewhere are more elegant, you won't find the tasty Fish and Chips you do here, Bennett's does the Halibut just right.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Spirit Lake Highway (State Route 504)

From the Triumph America days...

My Sunday ride was a romp down Washington State Route 505 cutting over to Spirit Lake Highway. Riding up to Mount St. Helen's started out cloudy but quickly turned to rain. Halfway up to the mountain I decided to turn back. The clouds and rain had thickened to a point it wasn’t going to be possible to see the old Volcano.

On my way back down I stopped at an abandon Army Corps of Engineers post. Their purpose back in the day was to control the volcano's debris. Near the post I found an abandon road into woods. It went to an odd shed that was probably used to lock things up. I’m not sure what was being secured.

On the way I saw so many businesses that I remember from past trips. Quit a few were closed up. The ones that were open were in disrepair. They keep telling us it’s getting better, but I’m not seeing it.

Is that an old building in the woods?

It sure is!

But for what?

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Signs of the times

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Olympic National Forest

From the Triumph America days...

With the weather becoming sunnier, this weekend I wanted to spend the night in the Olympic National Forest. The forecast was perhaps a bit of light rain. No big deal. After work I loaded up the Triumph and I was off. I needed to get away.

Halfway I stopped at the last open store for a few food supplied and a sandwich. I then realized I had left my video camera at home. Rats. It took longer than I anticipated getting to my destination.

I reached Olympic forest at dusk. There was still open sites in the campground and found a good spot. This one had a soft moss floor for my tent and sleeping on.

The next problem was trying to find where to pay the camp fee. Round and round the dark campsite I go with my motorbike, probably annoying the sleeping campers; only to realize the camp host collects the fee and they weren’t there.

Like my last trip, I’m setting up my tent by flashlight. The better part about this trip was, it wasn’t so wet and cold I couldn’t start a fire. The next problem was half way through my dinner sandwich, I’m eating an odd taste…mold! Good thing I brought a bottle of brandy…I needed it to get the mold taste out of my mouth!

At about 4:00 am I wake up to pouring rain and my tent mostly soaked. Fortunately I had my backup rain jacket in my saddlebag. So I broke out the flashlight, tore down my campsite and loaded up the drenched bike for home.

I didn’t feel safe riding at full speed in the dark down a mountain road. I mostly putted in 3rd and 4th gear. I did stop for a few photos with the cell phone. The night was wearing off. The Olympics having a reputation as a rain forest and didn’t disappoint.

Dawn is breaking

Spooky forest at dawn.

Long rainy road home.