Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


 I didn't want to leave the Scrambler as dusty as it was, after yesterday's ride, for too long.  I have to take it in for the first warranty service, on Friday, and I hate to hand someone something dirty, if they are going to work on it.  So, today after work, I washed it off and shined it up. 

My neighbor, Reed, is a Harley guy from way back, and he swears by the Show Time spray cleaner/wax.  He buys it by the case, and says it is better and cheaper than the HD-branded stuff.  He brought me a can to try out, Sunday. Today I put it to use.

It puts a nice, quick shine on everything. And, it's supposed to prevent water-spots.  With a black-painted bike, festooned with chrome and polished aluminium, that is a big sell.  We'll see how well it works.

(As an aside, I think one of the best things I have done to this bike is to remove the rubber tank pads.  They don't bother me on the other colors, but having a big patch of matte-black rubber stuck in the middle of all that shiny black paint just didn't suit me.)

I walked over to Reed's house to get some pictures of this:

It's the remains of a 1969 Honda CB-350.  It was a show-winning Custom, at one time.  Reed tells me that it was built by a buddy and his son, and won First Place in the first show they placed it in.

The son later committed suicide, and the dad lost all interest in the bike.  I suppose it harbored too many painful reminders of better times...

Looking at it in this condition, after years of sitting derelict, one can only imagine what it must have looked like in it's glory, with the psychedelicious paint and all the chrome. (Even the frame-mounted tool box is chromed.)

Sadly, that is the actual mileage on the bike.  No one ever got to enjoy riding it.  Now, it is a shipwreck of a motorcycle, with the engine locked up, one carb hanging from its cables, and every thing that hasn't rotted is rusty.  No matter how much you customize a bike, polish, paint and chrome it; it's all for naught if it never gets ridden.

Well, that's my opinion, anyhow.  That's one reason my bikes tend to be dusty more often than shiny.  I  prioritize the riding over the polishing. 

Just look at my Trident, sometime...


Monday, May 30, 2011


 It was windy, today, but I had been  unable to get out on the bike for any any real amount of time, all weekend.  So, I took off at about 10:15 and headed south.  I rode down Santa Fe to Sedalia, then cut over to Highway 105 to Monument, then gassed up.

From there, I went east to Colorado Highway 86, and went north to Franktown.  Then, west through Castle Rock, back to 105.  From there, I took Jackson Creek Road up to Rampart Range Road.  It had been a while since I climbed up Jackson Creek, and even longer since I rode a motorbike on a gravel road.  So, I wasn't particularly fast, but I had a lot of fun.

The cell phone was obviously having trouble with the exposure levels on this sunny day.

I took Rampart Range Road north to where it hits Pine Creek Road (67), then turned back east to return to Sedalia.  From there, it was back up Santa Fe, to Denver and home.  I pulled into the driveway at about 1:15.

All in all, it was a nice ride, though a bit windy.  I put 150 miles on the bike, and got it a little dusty.  At least it will look like it has been ridden when I take it in for the 500-mile warranty check, this week.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Bikes, Trees and Tomatoes

It's been a pretty full day.  Dave showed up at about 8:15, then Carol showed up at about 8:45 and we rolled out on the bikes to do a short coffee shop tour.  I rode my orange Peugeot fixed gear, Dave was on his DeBernardi fixed, and Carol rode my XO-2.  We stopped at Wash Perk for coffee and scones, headed up to the REI flagship store and had Starbucks iced tea there.  Then, back down the Cherry Creek trail to Steele Street, and back around to my house.

Dave headed home to do some yard work.  After sitting around a while, and eating, Carol and I were inspired to do some yard work as well.  We went over to the garden center, on Iliff, and Carol bought some ground cover and a tomato plant for her house.  I bought a maple tree, and a tomato plant, as well.

Carol planted the tomato plant for me, in my upside-down planter, while I planted the tree.

I planted the tree right-side up, though.  All the rain that we've had, lately, had softened the ground up pretty well.  So, I was able to get the hole dug, easily, and the tree was in the ground within 45 minutes.

When I moved into the house, seven years ago, there wasn't a single tree in the back yard.  Now, I have volunteer aspens, from the neighbor's tree, the maple I just planted, and some sort of "weed tree" that I dug up from beside my front door, a couple of years ago. 

I'm going for the Sherwood Forest look.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fixed, Again

 I decided to ride fixed, for a while, on the commute.  So I got the snow bike down, and prepped it for summer riding.

I swapped the studded tires for the 700x35c SpeedMaxes that I had originally bought for the Panasonic MTB 700c conversion..,
I thought this would be a good opportunity to test out this racy leather saddle.

It is branded as Origin8.  It is a Cardiff/Velo Orange/Whoever Else Needs a Private Label Saddle from Taiwan.  I like the standard Brooks B-17 copy version, so I thought I'd give this one a shot.

The saddle comes laced from the factory.  This is a good thing with the short-trimmed skirts.

I rode yesterday, and realized that I had gotten interrupted as I was getting the bike ready for dry roads, and I forgot to re-gear it.  I was riding with a 34x18 ring and cog combo, spinning 120 rpm to go 15 mph. 

So, after work yesterday, I swapped the old Dura-Ace crank with the 45 tooth ring back on, and mounted a 20 tooth cog.  That puts the gear at somewhere around 67 inches, just about right for the terrain around Denver.

I had forgotten how much I like riding fixed gear. 


Friday, May 20, 2011

I Don't Really Have a Use For This

...but, I picked it up, anyway.

 It belonged to a gal I know, down at the coffee shop.  Her son rode it, when he was in college, but doesn't want it, now.  She needed to get rid of it (needed some cash), and really didn't want to try to sell it on Craigslist.  So, I offered her what I thought it would be worth to me, and brought it home.

Unfortunately, it is a 60 cm frame, about a size or a size and a half too big for me.  I can ride it, and I'm sure Grant Petersen, at Rivendell Bicycle Works, would approve.  But it just seems big to me.

Unfortunately, the original flat-crown fork has been replaced.  At least the replacement is a high-quality fork.  I find it amusing that the sticker specifies "Front Fork", just in case you aren't sure what to use the piece for.

The same goes for the crank.  This is a Specialties TA half-step-plus-a-granny touring crank.  It's probably worth as much as what I paid for the bike.  I may pull it off, reinstall a Sugino (which the bike came with) and sell this crank.

The wheels are 8-speed Shimano 105 hubs laced to Mavic Open 30 rims.  The shifters are SunTour Bar-Cons, which control Suntour XC derailleurs.  Other than the Bar-Cons, I think all of those parts were "upgrades", back in the day.

It's a cool bike, just a bit big.


3, 2, 1...Ignition!

The Triumph Twins (Bonneville, Thruxton, Scrambler, etc.) have an oddly-positioned ignition switch.  It is located on the left-side headlight mount/fork shroud.  To me (and a lot of other people, apparently), that just doesn't look right.

I say that a lot of other people must not like it, because there are a number of adapter kits that you can buy to relocate the switch.  Recently, I bought a Joker Machine relocation kit for my Scrambler.  Today, I decided to install it.

The JM kit is kind of pricey, to me, particularly in light of the fact that it doesn't include all of the hardware that you will need to install it.  I had assumed that I would be reusing the allen bolts which hold the switch in the stock mounting bracket, in order to mount it into the JM bracket.  But, the new bracket is drilled and tapped for a smaller bolt.  Luckily, that smaller bolt is commonly used as the water bottle mounting bolt on bicycles, so I had some lying about.

Other than that, the installation was very straightforward.  And this is good, because the entire wording of the installation instructions was, "Use blue Lock-Tite on all hardware."

Once it was done, the installation was very neat and clean.  It puts the ignition switch in the same place as the switch on my Honda CL-450, so it seems familiar and convenient to me.

Unfortunately, I don't have my new headlight, yet, so I can't pull my fork shrouds off.  That means I still have the ugly mounting bracket hanging off of the fork.  After thinking about it for a minute, I figured out what I believe to be a pretty good temporary fix.

I pulled my British tax-disc holder off of the Trident, inserted a picture of Bettie Page, and bolted it to one of the ignition-switch mounting holes on the bracket.  The disc is just the right size to cover the bracket.  I was looking for a way to stick a little cheesecake on the bike, and I think this works well, for now.

The new front brake fluid reservoir, which I installed last week, and the relocated ignition switch really make a difference in the look of the bike, to me.  I am almost through with the planned modifications.  I am waiting for the new headlight to arrive, before I can do anything else.

Slowly, but surely, she is becoming mine!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Catching Up

Sometimes a week flies by.  This past one certainly did.  Nothing of any great import went down, in my life, so the only blogging I did was the daily story and helping out at the MG.

Saturday, I ran into Brian G at the coffee shop, and we sat for a while and caught up with each other's lives.  Brian asked me what had ever happened with the guy who knocked me off my bike, in March.  As I told him, I realized that no one else really had heard the story.  So, I figured I'd pretty much just restate what I told Brian:

When the DA refused to prosecute the assault, the police talked him into signing off on a misdemeanor Careless Driving in the school zone.  With that charge, I was told, the driver could not plea bargain it down, and a court appearance was mandatory.  I was also told to wait to be subpoenaed as a witness.  Court date was set for April 25.

I never heard anything else.  Misdemeanor charges, it seems, don't require a personal appearance, if you plead No Contest or Guilty.  Your attorney can show up and handle everything.  (So I've been told.  I'm no expert.)

Anyway, I've decided it's just water under the bridge.  People keep telling me I should sue the guy, but I don't know what I'd sue for.  I am fine, the bike was unharmed. 

If I had found myself mentally unable to commute, any longer, I might go after him for "Pain and Suffering", or something.  But, I have commuted straight through, even after the crash.  So, I really don't see that I have been "harmed".

I feel this way particularly in light of today's fatal hit-and-run against a cyclist on his way to work, not far from where I work.  I think I'll avoid clogging the courts up with my little crash, so that maybe they will have more energy to go after whoever killed the cyclist, this morning.

Sorry for the downer post.  It's been a bit of a downer day.  I heard about the hit-and-run as I left for work, and found out the details when I got home.  In between, I was hoping that the rider was okay.

Be careful, my friends.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Night Rider (Remember me when you look at the night sky...)

After working on the bike, today, I just couldn't help going on a ride.  The sun was down before I left the house, so I turned west and headed for one of my favorite nighttime rides: Lookout Mountain.  The road is temporarily closed, near the top, so I pulled off at the last overlook before the closure and took in the city lights.

There was fellow rider there, when I pulled in.  We were talking bikes when a third rider pulled in on a KLR 650.  He was a young guy, just out of college, and he told us that he was going to Alaska to be a fire fighter.  He is going to fight fires in order to make the cash to fund a ride to Argentina on the KLR.

He took off, after making a phone call, and the first fellow and I kept talking bikes for about a half an hour.

It was a fun ride, even though Brad and Randy were both unable to join me.  It would have been nice to make it a Scrambler run on the mountain.  As it was, the weather was fine, traffic was light, and the bike was awesome.

I love warm weather!



I finally drilled the heat guards and polished them and the alloy fender.

Not perfect, but pretty good.  I prefer them to anything else I've seen.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

More Work on The Scrambler

I put some different handlebars  (modern motocross bars) on the Scram, today.  They are lower, and have less pull-back.  Plus, they are black.

 After I got the bars on, I started looking at the front fender. For some reason, the front fender has never really suited me.  I was thinking that I might do a shorty front fender, like the Deus bikes always have.  But, I wasn't sure it would really suit the Scrambler profile.

I had a Royal Enfield front alloy fender sitting about, so I test-fitted it, then drilled it and mounted it.  I think I like the longer, skinnier fender better than the stock one.  It looks more "vintage"to me than the stock unit.

Now, I just need to figure out the rear fender.


Monday, May 02, 2011

Fifty Years Old

...and I got a Barbie for my birthday!

 Those who know me understand...

I'm a huge Joan Jett fan, and this Barbie just cracks me up!  I've wanted one, ever since I heard they were coming out.

This is the kind of thing my dad never really got...


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Four Years Old

It was four years ago, today, that I started my daily bike commute.  Since then, I have ridden to work 808 consecutive work days, for a total distance of close to 14,000 miles.

Tomorrow starts Year 5 of bike commuting.

People ask me how long I plan to keep it up, and I don't really have an answer.  I'll do it as long as I enjoy it, I suppose, and I have no idea how long that might be.