I found a great 1.5 hour ride from my house. It’s got twisties and elevation changes, a nice relaxing slow “sight-seeing” section with plenty to see, then on the return trip, the twisties again, but from the other direction. I’ve been down Cow Creek before (video) but this time was a lot more fun just because I am a lot more comfortable riding now. There are a couple potential water crossings (they were dry this time) that lead up to some tight turns and they were a little tricky the last time I went this route. This time was a breeze, however. The slow-speed maneuvering practice really pays off.
The weather was absolutely perfect for riding – plenty of clouds overhead to keep the lighting interesting and the temperatures down, a very light wind. I really like Cow Creek because there is no traffic to speak of. I saw two cars and one person out for a morning walk.
The highlight of the ride was seeing my first-ever skunk in the wild. I was riding at around 25mph and I saw it crossing the road from right to left up ahead. By the time I passed him, he was on the edge of the road and I saw his tail flip up. I scooted out of there pretty quickly then had to laugh to myself.
After Cow Creek, I headed back south to meet up with 1431 again for the ride back. That stretch of 1431 is the most fun part IMO of that road. I kept it in 4th gear the whole time, which kept the bike in a nice powerband. I saw more people riding their motorcycles than ever before on 1431, which was pretty cool. But I honestly was getting tired of waving at everyone. Still, I stuck my hand out at everyone to not be a jerk.
Anyways, this is one of my favorite rides and I am sure I will be doing it many more times.
Time: 1H 35M
Odometer: 65.36 Mi
Moving Avg: 41.0 MPH
Max Speed: 68.1 MPH
On Fathers’ Day morning I went out for a ride that I found out about on Two-Wheeled Texans. It follows Old Hwy 20 which runs roughly parallel to Hwy 290 east of Austin. It’s a pretty nice ride with a couple miles of hard-packed dirt. That’s the part I was really looking forward to actually. I haven’t really ridden off-pavement so I was pretty excited to ride on it. The Metzeler Tourance tires did fine on the hard dirt; the bike never got squirrelly except when I hit a larger stone. I even got to stand up on the pegs (even though I didn’t really have to).
Another nice thing about Hwy 20 is that the route goes past pine trees, which are not common in Texas, at least central Texas. The pine trees smelled so good too!
One part about the ride that I didn’t enjoy was that I had bought a coolmax skullcap. It’s supposed to act as a helmet liner which will soak up the sweat and keep your helmet padding cleaner. Well, about an hour into the ride I started getting a headache and it got worse and worse. I was thinking it was because I didn’t have any caffiene yet or that I was getting dehydrated or something. I was actually drinking plenty of water, and the headache didn’t feel like it usually does when I skip my morning coffee. Plus it was a little early for the caffiene withdrawal to hit. So eventually I figured out that it must be the helmet liner. Sure enough, as soon as I took it off, the headache went away and the ride was enjoyable again! I guess I got too small a size or something, which is a disappointment because I spent $10 on the thing.
I learned a couple things on the ride. First, riding on the hard-packed dirt is fun! I also learned that the footpegs on my bike are too narrow. Most people replace them with wider pegs. Standing up on the pegs is really fun too, but you need to kind of use your knees to stabilize yourself against the tank. Also, you can’t look in the mirrors when you are standing up! I’d really like to take some off-road classes sometime. Maybe for my birthday I will ask for some as a gift. Would be really cool!
Odometer: 147.43 miles
Moving Time: 3:38
Moving Average: 40.5 mph
Max Speed: 74.0 mph
Ever since I first fixed up my Supercub, I’ve been pretty good about keeping the chain in good condition. There’s plenty of debate as to the best way to take care of the chain, but a trusted source on the Honda C70 Yahoo! Group used PJ1-Black so I bought a can and used it. It seemed to work well, and when I got my GS, I kept on using it. A guy at the local motorcycle dealership gave me some more tips on cleaning the chain and I’ve been using the technique he gave me. Basically use some chain cleaner (I have the Motul stuff) and a brush (I have a grunge brush) to clean the chain. Wipe off with a rag. Then go for a short ride to warm up the chain a bit and finally apply your lube of choice. Let the lube set for a couple hours and then you are good to go.
Like I said earlier, PJ1-Black seems to work fine, but I think I spray on too much of the stuff. The sprocket cover has quite a bit of the black gunk on it. Cleaning that off was a messy affair! I did recently find a can of PJ1-Blue while cleaning up the garage. Not sure when I bought this but I might as well give it a try sometime.
But after reading a bit more, I think I will try just using Automatic Transmission Fluid. The advantage of this is that it will clean and lube all in one shot. Plus ATF is really cheap, and I like the CBOA approach. Some people apply it with a brush, while others use a spray bottle. I guess I will use a brush and see how it goes. Anyways, after 7,000 miles my chain and sprockets still look great. I really don’t know if the lubes really help all that much or if it is just another way to spend money. From what I have read, I think that the most important thing is to keep the chain clean and free from dirt and grime and the tension adjusted correctly.
Incidentally, I just saw a video from Touratech and Helge Pederson where he talks a bit about chain maintenance. Enjoy!