Monday, May 8, 2017

Spring motorcycling

If you’ve read my site, you might have come across the page on motorbikes. I ride less now than I used to but I’ve ridden bikes in one form or another since the mid 1980’s. They’re a lot of fun, and a lot of car drivers cold learn a thing or two about driving if they were to spend any time on a motorbike.
Spring is here, which means I want to get out riding again. Around here, the valleys are flat and uninteresting so it’s the mountain roads that see the most motorbike traffic, and when Wolf Creek opens, that’s when the riding really becomes great because it opens up a lot of fantastic roads. Sadly it’s still 5m deep in snow right now.
Nevertheless, knowing that that time is coming, time to get the bike out of hibernation and make sure it’s good for the year. I used to ride year-round, but commuting 120 miles a day in all weathers in all seasons took its toll. I’m firmly a fair-weather rider now – I don’t have to do 100-plus miles in pouring rain. I’ve been there and done that. Yes, you’re on a bike, but it’s a shitty experience all-around.
Inevitably stuff needs attention. Already I’ve found a minor oil leak on the sump – probably the sump gasket. I could go down to my local Triumph dealership and be given the runaround from them, or I could pick up the parts online. I’ve relied pretty heavily on over the last few years for oddments like this. Odd screws and bolts, the occasional mechanical part, and two years ago a pair of sprockets and a new chain:
The tyres are good this year – they’re relatively new. I threw some Metzeler tires on last year and only put about 300 miles on them so they’re basically new. They’re one of my three go-to brands. I used to use Pirelli motorcycle tires a lot, but more recently I’ve tended to switch back and forth between Metzeler and Avon. I cleaned my bike too, which isn’t a vanity thing. When you spend time hand-cleaning a motorbike, you become re-acquainted with it if you’ve not ridden it for a while. It also helps you find leaks, broken fasteners, rust, sketchy brakes and any number of other things you might not normally be looking for. Yeah it looks nice once it’s cleaned, but the benefits of getting up close and personal with it are not to be scoffed at.
So now I just need the augers and plows to get rid of that last 5m of snow and I’m good to go.