Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Gearing Up San Francisco, CA, USA, Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:01pm

I got my motorcycle back from the shop this afternoon.

A couple weeks ago, I was parked in front of a club for a concert. When the opening act finished, their bassist said he couldn't stick around for the headliner because he had another gig to get to. I thought nothing of this, and enjoyed the concert. After the show I left the club and was about to start my bike when I discovered that my left handlebar was askew and the mirror was loose. As I was twisting it back into position, someone came up and mentioned that the bassist had backed into my bike. I was able to get his cell phone number and he confirmed it, apologized, and said he'd pay for the repairs.

I ended up having to replace the clutch lever, the kickstand, and my topcase (the hard luggage that I usually keep my helmet in). While the bike was in the shop, I had them do the 36,000 mile service (about 250 miles early), and put on a center stand. The new topcase is 55 liters, rather than 52, like the old one. It's remarkable how much difference that little change makes. It seems roomy even with two helmets in it. The center stand should come in really handy.

When you're riding long distances, you should spray the chain with lubricant regularly (every day or two). At home, I do this with a track stand that sits under the rear of the bike and holds the rear wheel off of the ground. With the wheel in the air and the bike in neutral, you can turn the wheel by hand and spray chain wax on the whole chain as it rotates by.

But it's impractical to take a track stand with you when touring, and it's a huge hassle to lube the chain if you can't get the rear wheel off of the ground. If you have someone else traveling with you, you can get them to spray the chain as you walk the bike forward. If you don't, you have to walk the bike forward a foot or two, get off, spray a section of chain, get back on, walk the bike forward a foot or two...

The center stand performs like a miniature built-in track stand. I should have had one put on years ago, but it took having the kickstand damaged just before a tour to get me to actually do it.

Oh, yeah. I'm planning a tour. The idea is that I'll leave on Monday and ride up to Seattle over the course of the week, and then spend a week or so in Seattle. If I enjoy the ride up, I'll continue to Chicago, by way of Yellowstone National Park, and then continue riding as long as I continue to enjoy it.

I've been making a map of places I might want to stop. Let me know if you know of any good roads, sights, or places to stay.


g-na (Anonymously) Wednesday, 03 August 2011 5:45pm

If you're going to be in Vancouver, consider taking the ferry across to Vancouver Island. (I've heard the Canadian ferries, which we've previously taken without problems, are much more reliable than the American ferries.) Butchart Gardens are gorgeous, if you're into that sort of thing, and there is lots of hiking and outdoor stuff, plus the quaint English town of Victoria.

aneel Wednesday, 03 August 2011 9:54pm