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Ely, NV – Back Home again – Day 7

Today we got up earlier than we normally have been getting up. I think we were all eager for home. As fun as these trips are, it is always good to come home to our families and sweethearts (And in Kent’s case, his dog).

mcdonalds After having our showers this morning, and getting packed up, we had breakfast at Mickey D’s (McDonalds). It became one of our favorite stops. Probably not a good thing.

Speaking of McDonalds, did you know that the very first McDonalds opened where I grew up in California? In 1953 Mac (I wonder what food item is named after him) and Dick McDonald opened the first franchised restaurant in Downey, California, right next to Bellflower. I can remember going to this McDonalds when I lived there.

 

After McDonalds, we set our GPS for “home.” We made pretty good time, reaching home base in about 4 hours.

Looking back on the last 7 days, we had several “first’s” on this trip: Adam’s bike ran out of gas; breathing toxic smoke from Yosemite’s largest forest fire on record, as well as getting up close and personal with the fire; riding on some of the  twistiest roads in the US. (I seriously think we encountered about a 1,000+ curves on this trip. My front tire is proof. It is completely bald on the left side. Must have turned more lefts than rights)

So, as we conclude another journey on our iron horses, the fun of the trip isn’t necessarily in the route or the scenery, it is in the companionship of the guys. We have good times laughing and experiencing the adventure together. I personally appreciate the relationship I have had with my riding buddies. They are fun to be around, as well as safe and cautious in their riding. We’ve never had any accidents or issues due to exceeding our risk limits, except for an occasional tipped-over bike. And I do believe they enjoy having an old guy to keep them in check.

Motorcycle Riding Partners

Motorcycle Riding Buddies

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I’ll now close the book on this trip to the Northern California Coast.

…until the next one.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 28, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Categories: Lake Tahoe, Motorcycle Rides, motorcycle trip, Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, redwood forest, San Francisco, Yosemite Park   Tags:

Yosemite to Ely & Motel 6 – Day 6

After breakfast this morning, we toured the Yosemite Valley (Well, we stopped for a couple of pictures), and then headed east. Exiting the Park, we went over the Tioga Pass. We came just a mountain ridge away from the largest forest fire in California history.

In speaking with a ranger about the cause of the fire, she said it more than likely was not caused by lightening, as there were no clouds in the area when it started. They think it was someone backpacking in the area.

After exiting the Park we hooked up with hwy 6 toward Tonoapah, NV and Ely. We had a few light rain showers along the way. One particular storm had some pretty sizable rain drops that hurt when they hit the body.

We had one stretch of road, from Tonoapah and Ely, that was 172 miles with no gas stations. We didn’t want to experience what the Wild Hogs experienced in running out of gas, so we topped off our gas tanks and kept our speeds around 55 to 60 mph. We all made it with gas to spare.

With thunder storms in the forecast, we decided to check in to a Motel 6 in Ely, because they left the “lights on for us.”

Here are some pictures for today, and maybe even some from other days.

Tomorrow we head for home, like a horse heading for the barn…

Enjoy!

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 27, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Categories: motorcycle trip, Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, Yosemite Park   Tags: ,

Oakdale, CA to Yosemite Park – Day 5

We left Oakdale, CA this morning at 9:00 headed for Yosemite Park. We had to take an alternate route which added an additional 100 miles to our route, due to the fire that is only 15% contained. It is now considered the biggest fire in California history, having burned over 150,000 acres.

The fire is north of Yosemite Park, and not considered a threat to the Park. At least, not at this time.

On our way to Yosemite, we passed a large outdoor Aircraft Museum, called the Castle Air Museum. It had over 56 planes on display. Anyway, as we passed it, I looked in my side mirror and saw Mike just drooling. He is a commercial airline pilot, having flown 27 years, for UPS.

So we pulled over and stopped. As we went from plane to plane, I was impressed with his knowledge of each aircraft. As we would approach another plane he was say, “Oh, that is a B23, or a C56.” Then we came to a plane called a Convair RB-36H Peacemaker, and he went ballistic. He was like a kid in a candy factory. He said, “Do you know how rare this plane is?” “This is one of four still in existence.” He spent a lot of time kicking the tires, pounding on the body and just gazing at it. We were finally able to pull him away.

All of us were impressed with the SR-71 Blackbird Jet. Just to give you an idea of how fast this plane is…one flew from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 64 minutes, at an altitude of 80,000 feet.

If I can load any pictures tonight, I include a picture of this plane.

We were able to find an open camp site right in Yosemite for the night. It seems there were a lot of cancelations from people concerned with the fire.

At camp we made friends with a couple of chipmonks.

Tomorrow we’ll start making our way home.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 26, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Categories: motorcycle trip, Northern California Coastal Hwy, Yosemite Park   Tags: ,

West Coast Through San Francisco to Kent’s Mom’s Place

We left our campground in Olema, CA for San Francisco, along historic Hwy 1, across the Golden Gate Bridge socked in with fog and into San Francisco.

The America’s Cup races were taking place yesterday and today. We took some time to watch one of the races.

We then rode our bikes down the steep Lombard Street. I must say we were all a little nervous going down, trying not to tip over the bikes. It was interesting to see all the people taking pictures of these biker dudes riding their bikes down the zig zag road.

We then headed east across the Bay Bridge toward’s Kent’s Mom’s place in Oakdale, CA, as our resting place for the night.

We pulled into Oakdale around 8:00 pm tonight.

Kent’s mom was not home, but left this note on the door. See the note below. It said “Welcome M H A’s” The M H A stood for Mormon Hells Angels. We got a good laugh from that.

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Posted by Brad Stone -  at 12:14 AM

Categories: Northern California Coastal Hwy, San Francisco   Tags: , ,

Humboldt Redwoods to Coastal Hwy 1 – Day 3

Today was another long day. Going between hwy 101 to hwy 1, the coastal hwy, we traversed through some more twisty roads. And then once on hwy 1, it was slow, going through a lot of small coastal towns, construction zones and a not-so-straight road, following the contour of the coast.

We did see some beautiful vistas, and filled our lungs with good, clean ocean air.

Going through a giant redwood tree this morning, we met Matt, a young boy from England. He offered to take our picture.

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He was very interested in our motorcycles, telling his Mom that when he grows up, he wants a motorcycle.

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The giant redwoods were amazing, some trees are over 2,000 years old.

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Since I was not able to load any pictures from last night, here are some pics of our camp in Humboldt Redwood Forest. We stayed at the Albee Creek Campground, and woke up this morning to a bear and her cubs.

Here are the pics from last night, as well as the pics from today.

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Tomorrow we’ll head into San Francisco. I’m tired, so I will say good night.

Posted by Brad Stone - August 24, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Categories: Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, redwood forest   Tags: , ,

Lake Tahoe to Humbroldt Redwood Forest – Day 2

We only traveled 363 miles today, but it took us 12 hours to do it. Leaving Lake Tahoe at 9:00 this morning, we arrived at our camp destination at 9:00 tonight. The reason for the long, slow day was due to our route. We traveled through several mountain ranges in Northern California, with roads that were very twisty and narrow. So our average speed was around 35 mph. But we traveled through some absolutely beautiful countryside. We are now camped in amongst the Giant Redwoods of California. We don’t have very good reception here to upload any pictures, so I’ll upload them tomorrow. It is late, so I’ll sign off tonight and see you tomorrow.

Posted by Brad Stone -  at 12:07 AM

Categories: Lake Tahoe, Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, redwood forest   Tags: ,

Lake Tahoe – Day One

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We left this morning at 6:30 and hooked up with I-80 heading west towards California. We hit a little bit of rain as we passed Tooele. Temps were pleasant until crossing the center of Nevada, then it warmed up. As we approached Reno, the skies were filled with smoke coming from a couple of fires around Yosemite. We heard that over 60,000 acres have been burned so far.

Adam’s bike ran out of gas just outside of Lake Tahoe. We were able to siphon some gas from one of the other bikes, and made it to a gas station.

We arrived at the Tahoe State Park Campground at Lake Tahoe around 7:00 pm, having traveled about 600 miles today.

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Posted by Brad Stone - August 22, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Categories: Lake Tahoe, Motorcycle Rides, Northern California Coastal Hwy   Tags: ,

Northern California – Redwoods, Coastal Hwy, Yosemite

It’s that time of year again. This year our group is small, but experienced and aged. We will be traveling to Lake Tahoe, the Giant Redwoods of Northern California, Coastal Hwy 1, San Francisco, Yosemite Park and Carson City.

Our route

Our route

Day 1 – Well travel to Lake Tahoe and spend the night, lakeside, at the Tahoe State Park (Reserved). (They have showers, or just dip in the lake) I stayed at this place a few years ago with Barry. The beer is really Barry’s. It is really nice with beauty scenery.

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Brad and Barry – Barry just got out of the State Mental Hospital

Day 2 – We’ll spend the night in the Humboldt Redwood State Park (Reserved), in the midst of the big, giant redwoods. They have showers.

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Humboldt Redwood State Park

Day 3 – We’ll hit hwy 1 and follow it down, taking our time stopping and seeing all the sights. That night we’ll stay at the Olema Campground on Hwy 1 (Reserved). This is an RV park with showers. (About 37 miles north of San Francisco. I couldn’t find anything available any closer. I even considered a motel 6, but they are all booked)

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Hwy 1 – Coastal Hwy

Day 4 – We’ll go into San Francisco, and do whatever we want to there. We’ll need to stay with our bikes and gear, so can’t stray too far from them. We can discuss this, and how we want to see the sights there. That afternoon/evening we’ll travel over towards Yosemite Park. There is a place called Indian Flat RV Campground, that is close to the Park’s south entrance (I haven’t reserved it yet, flexible). All the camp sites in Yosemite Park are booked. We can decide if we want to spend a day or two days there. I haven’t reserved anything from Day 4 on, thinking we may want some flexibility.

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Yosemite National Park

Days 5 – 8 – Flexible on the itinerary. Stay longer in Yosemite; head over to Carson City: Split up our ride home over two nights.

Let me know if you have any questions. Since we are all experienced riders/campers, I didn’t send a packing list. However, if you would like one, I can send it.

Once I have a final on the camp fees, I’ll let you know. Right now I have spent $138 for three reserved nights, so that is averaging about $16 a night a piece.

I will probably do a blog post each night for our families, pending wifi connections. The blog will be located at: http://usamotorcyclerides.com/blog

Looking forward to a fun trip!

Posted by Brad Stone - August 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Categories: Motorcycle Rides, Northern California, Northern California Coastal Hwy, redwood forest, San Francisco, Yosemite Park   Tags:

History of Motorcycle Jackets

Motorcycle JacketsBack in the 1920’s jackets used for motorcycle riding were the aviator, military style jackets. These were very popular to use from the World War II supply. They were constructed out of goatskin and horsehide. The hides were readily available prior to World War II because the army Calvary and most farmers used horses and provided hides from their stock to the clothing industry.

The first manufactured motorcycle jackets came from the Schott Company which opened in 1913 and started producing jackets for motorcycles in the 1920’s. Later in 1933, a company in Detroit called The Joseph Buegeleisen Company, who was producing accessories for motorcycles, got into the business of making leather jackets for motorcyclists. That officially started in the 1940’s. They later went bankrupt in 1953.

Harley Davidson, who started business in 1910, has supplied quality leather jackets for the motorcycle industry. In the 1940’s they branded two versions, the “Cycle Champ” for men and the “Cycle Queen” for women. It was a popular style and fit.

Over the years motorcycle jackets have taken on a lot of pockets. That seemed to be what the market wanted. The “pistol pocket” holster shaped on the Harley jackets was a popular one, along with a backside pocket.

The Marlon Brando movie “The Wild Ones” popularized motorcycle jackets. Manufacturers couldn’t produce them fast enough.

Aside from the look and style that people like, leather jackets have provide protection from the elements, as well as the pavement, in the event of laying your bike down.

Posted by Brad Stone - November 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Categories: General   Tags:

Motorcycle Storage

Motorcycle GaragingDepending on where you live, storing your motorcycle for the winter is critical to keep it looking great and avoid harsh winter elements that can wear down the condition of your bike.

There are a couple of winter factors that can harm your motorcycle. Water, temperature and sun.

The ideal storage, of course, is a closed in facility like a garage or shed. Keeping it out of the wind, rain/snow and sun will give your bike a longer life and keeping it lasting longer.

I have a 2004 Honda VTX 1300S, with over 80,000 miles on it. By keeping it stored in a garage, it looks the same as when I drove it off the dealer’s showroom.When on long cross-country trips, I’ll cover the bike during the night stay-overs. By covering it, it not only keeps the weather off of it, it is also a deterrent to theft.

When storing the motorcycle, it is important to keep the battery plugged into a battery tender or trickle charger. It is also a good practice to go out and start it up once a month to keep the oil lubricating all the internal moving parts. It also keeps me motivate and looking forward to the spring, when I climb on the bike and start it up.

Another factor to consider is that by garaging your motorcycle in a locked garage, you are improving your risk of it getting stolen. Motorcycles sitting out at the side of the house, or even in your backyard, make it enticing for thieves to  haul it away. I have a relative who had his motorcycle stolen from a parking lot. A couple of months later he was contacted by the police from a neighboring state saying that they had found his motorcycle. Problem was it wasn’t in one piece. the thief had wrecked it and also broke it down to sell off the parts.

So, keep your motorcycle safe. Keep it garaged.

Posted by Brad Stone - October 31, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Categories: Motorcycle maintenance   Tags:

Colorado Trip – Day 5 – Home

Today, we left Grand Junction for home. We headed west on I-70 out of Grand Junction, connected with Hwy 6, heading north to Price, Utah then down Spanish Fork Canyon, connecting with I-15 north and home. We were like horses heading for the barn. It was nice to be home safe. This was a great trip, with no issues or accidents. We didn’t even have anyone tip over their bikes. Now that is a first.

Because of the slow upload speed with the wi-fi connections at the RV Camps, we were not able to upload any videos. So here are a few from the trip.

Video on the road with a GoPro video cam.

 


After riding through 102 temps, we cooled off in the pool. The scream you hear at the end of this clip is an underwater attack from a fish called Jared.

 


Some underwater fish.

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Posted by Brad Stone - July 22, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012   Tags:

Colorado Trip – Day 4

Trying something different tonight. I’ve loaded all the photos into the gallery below. Enjoy our day!

 

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Posted by Brad Stone - July 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012   Tags:

Colorado Trip – Day 3

Today we traveled from Durango to Gunnison, about 250 miles. Saw some spectacular countryside. Everyone is still safe and having a great time. Almost too great.

The first image is a picture of my trustworthy deer whistles. Basically they put off a high pitch sound that let’s the deer know you are coming. They must work because I have never hit a deer in over 80,000 miles.

Brad’s Deer Whistles. They really work. In 80,000 miles Brad has never hit a deer.

Mike’s Mosquito’s whistle. In over 80 uses, he has never had a mosquito bite. It must really work! (As a side note, Mike is selling these on his website “Mike’s Mosquito Monitors.” They can be found next to the Deer Whistles)

RIP. We lost Wayne on the trip. We are shipping his body back UPS, because Mike, who is a pilot for UPS, gets a real good discount.

Group photo – Near Wolf Creek Pass – Colorado

“Hey, I’ve got this growth on my head” (Jared and Kent)

Jared, having a quiet moment overlooking North Creek Falls, Colorado

Jared and Quin having a quiet moment together overlooking North Creek Falls, Colorado

“Wow, this is really high!”

Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado

 

On the Road.

Finished the day with a nice Mexican dinner in Gunnison at one of the local joints.

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Posted by Brad Stone - July 20, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012   Tags:

Colorado Trip – Day 2

We had a great day today, filled with fun, frolics, and Cops…

 

Between Ouray and Silverston, overlooking a waterfall.

 

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The Durango & Silverton Train

 

It rained hard tonight. We were fortunate enough to be allowed to pitch our tents under this large circus tent. We stayed dry.

 

Quin was really happy.

 

Mike was really mad…

 

Good times with the boys.

 

Happy now, but these two fought like a married couple.

 

Jared and Brad. Ask Jared what we called his helmet.

 

Having a greasy burger at Maggies in Ouray.

 

Brad and the Gay Cop from Wild Hogs.

So here is the story. I got pulled over by this real friendly cop. He told me that the speed limit was 45. I told him that I did see the 55 sign, but didn’t see the 45 sign. He took my license and registration and walked back to his motorcycle. It was then that he said to the group, are you guys the wild hogs. Kent said, “Well if we are the wild hogs, then you must be the gay cop.”

When I walked over to him after they had that dialogue, he told me that he was only going to give me a warning until Kent made that comment, and that now he was going to give me a ticket. And I said really? And he said, “No, just kidding.” He gave me a warning, and allowed me to have my picture taken with him.

 

The Ironton’s mine.

All in all, it was a really eventful day. We are looking forward to tomorrow. We’ll be headed north up to Gunnision, Colorado.

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Posted by Brad Stone - July 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012   Tags:

Colorado Trip – Day 1

Today we traveled 321 miles, leaving Salt Lake at 7:30 am, picking up Mike in Orem, then up Provo Canyon to Heber City, then up Daniel’s Canyon and headed towards Vernal. Continuing on into Colorado, we stopped in Rangely for lunch. Then we headed south on hwy 139 and made it into Grand Junction around 4:30 pm. First thing we did, after setting up camp, was to take a nice dip in the pool.

Here are some great shots of today’s ride:

 

 

 


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Posted by Brad Stone - July 18, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012   Tags:

Our Motorcycle Group

Here’s our group that will be riding in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Trip:

Brad Stone

Brad Stone

Adam Anderson

Adam Anderson

Quin Farmer

Quin Farmer

Mike Jarvis

Mike Jarvis

Wayne Marion

Wayne Marion

Kent Johnson

Kent Johnson

Jared Ogden

Jared Ogden

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Posted by Brad Stone - July 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012   Tags:

A Rocky Mountain High Motorcycle Trip

Colorado Motorcycle TripIt’s less than three weeks before I embark on a trip with the guys up through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

We’ll start in Salt Lake City, hook up on Hwy 40 toward Rangely, Colorado, then head south on Hwy 139 towards Grand Junction. CJ will be our first stop for the night.

The next day we’ll continue heading south and hook up on Hwy 550 (Million Dollar Hwy), down through The San Juan National Forest, mining towns and the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Our 2nd stop for the night will be Durango.

We’ll then head east on Hwy 160, up through the Rio Grande National Forest, then north on Hwy 149 towards Blue Mesa Reservoir. We’ll spend the night in Gunnision.

After Gunnison, we’ll head west again, on Hwy 50, then north on 133 toward Glenwood Springs, taking I-70 West to Grand Junction for our last night.

The next day we’ll head home to Salt Lake City, like a horse heading to the barn.

We are looking forward to a real relaxing ride, with beautiful vistas and challenging roads.

Come follow along. I’ll be taking my laptop and will post pics and some narratives each night.

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Posted by Brad Stone - June 28, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Categories: Colorado Trip 2012, General   Tags:

Awe, The Riding Days of Spring!

My most favorite time of the year to ride is the spring time. It is the perfect temps for motorcycle riding, enough of a cool breeze to leather up and not sweat profusely.

Motorcycle ride across the desertSpeaking of sweating profusely, reminds me of the trip my brother and I took in the middle of the July heat, across the Nevada desert. Temperatures were around 110 degrees, adding another 5 to 10 degrees for the radiant heat of the pavement. We both sported camelbaks filled with ice water.

At each gas stop, after riding about 120 to 130 miles, our camelbaks would be bone dry, and we would refill them again with convenience store’s complimentary ice and water. At least I think it was complimentary. The store clerks never challenged us, or at least confronted us, with filling the packs with their ice and water. After all, we were bikers, and bikers were not to be messed with. I did, on occasion, ask permission before using their water and ice.

Motorcycle Splitting Lanes

After riding through Reno and over the Donner Pass, we dropped into the scorching heat of the Sacramento Valley. We were stuck in stop and go traffic for the longest time. The temperatures were almost unbearable. After putting up with the stop and go traffic, for what seemed an eternity, my brother said, “Hey, doesn’t California lawallow for motorcycles to split lanes?” Before I could get a reply out, he was off riding between cars, so I followed. About every 10th car, seeing us coming through their side view mirror, would move over and block the lane split. So we would stop until traffic started again, and continue our shooting through cars.

Motorcycle Tent

That night, as I prepared my air mattress, sleeping bag and tent for a tired biker’s body, I then realized just how hot it was that day. When I pulled out my mattress blower to inflate my mattress, it had gotten so hot that day that my batteries had exploded. Now that is hot.

Anyway, I welcome the spring temperatures and am saddened when they give way to the punishing summer temps.

Happy riding!

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Posted by Brad Stone - May 22, 2012 at 11:36 PM

Categories: General   Tags:

Spring Motorcycle Riding

Well, spring has sprung, and I’m riding my motorcycle almost everyday. It’s good to be back riding regularly again.

After winter, when you start riding on a regular basis, it is always important to check everything real well to make sure that your bike is ready for regular riding.

 

Here’s my quick check list to ensure the motorcycle is ready:

  • Check air pressure.
  • Check oil level. It is usually good to replace the oil if the bike has sat for a long period of time.
  • Check real drive fluid.
  • Check radiator fluid level.
  • Sight inspect the whole bike for any lose nuts and bolts.
  • Take some light-weight oil and oil all the exterior moving parts, like clutch lever, front and rear brake levers, etc.
  • Then give it a good cleaning.

Now you’re ready to ride!

 

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Posted by Brad Stone - March 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Categories: General   Tags:

Getting Your Motorcycle Ready for Summer

My motorcycle rideHere it is almost March and I’m itching to get my motorcycle ready for summer. If you are like me, living in a winter climate, I never completely put my bike away for the winter. Since I got my bike in 2004, and 80,000 miles later, I can honestly say I have ridin my motorcycle every single month. So, at least monthly through the winter months, I am climbing on my bike, getting the oil flowing through and over all the bearings and moving parts, keeping a coat of oil over everything. I do keep a trickle charger hooked up all winter, to keep the battery charged through those cold winter nights. This winter in Salt Lake City, Utah, we did get down to some single digit nights.

So, getting my motorcycle ready for summer may be different than others. In the early spring, I usually do the following:

  • Replace the oil. (I use synthetic. Have done so since my first oil change 79,500 miles ago)
  • Replace the oil filter.
  • Replace the air filter.
  • Replace the spark plugs.
  • Replace the rear gear fluid.
  • Lubricate all levers and exterior moving parts.
  • Check all nuts and bolts for tightness.
  • Check air pressure in tires.
  • Check radiator fluid level.
  • Check brake fluid levels.
  • Give it a good cleaning and a fresh layer of wax.

And I’m good for the year. Depending on the miles I travel during the year, I may change the oil and filter once more. When I change my tires, I always check the wheel bearings. If I feel any roughness when turning them by hand, I replace them. Bearings for a VTX are really inexpensive. I also keep an extra set on hand. And, as a side note. When it comes to changing my tires. I will usually do them myself, or at least take the wheel off and take it to the local shop to change the tire.

I will NEVER allow a dealership to ever change my tires on my bike. I had an experience (my last one with a dealer) where they changed a rear tire and HAND TIGHTENED my rear axle bolt, and HAND TIGHTENED my rear caliper bolt. I didn’t discover the problem until I was heading down the road and put on my rear brake stopping for a stop light and heard a “clank.” Pulled over and discovered my caliper bolt had come out and the caliper had slipped. At that time I also noticed the rear axle bolt had been hand tightened. I’ll never put my life in the hands of a stupid mechanic again. So I do all my own maintenance. Plus, I enjoy working on the bike.

Enjoy spring riding, and ride safe!

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Posted by Brad Stone - February 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Categories: Motorcycle maintenance   Tags:

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