Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle maintainence


Did someone say Spring…..

According to the internet: Spring began with the vernal equinox at 7:02 A.M. (EDT) on March 20, 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere. However, someone forgot to send Old Man Winter the memo. I saw a post on Facebook that said, “I think its time for Old Man Winter to get Mother Nature drunk and have some fun making Spring”. I promise to provide the alcohol!! Anything they want!
But, smile… it is coming so get that bike in shape and get ready to ride!!

Lady Godiva on wheels… loosing patience with that darn Old Man Winter!!


Summer heat and motorcycle riding…

I didnt think the summer here in Oregon would ever come. We were lucky to get temperatures in the 70s. That was Monday… Today, we are in the triple digits and HOT, REALLY HOT. In fact, when I took the bike out for a ride and meet a friend for coffee, I found out that my spring riding gear was too dang hot. I could feel the sweat dripping down my back bone! Phew… That made me think about the fact that coffee/caffeine wasnt such a good idea and I should have had water with a pinch of salt! With that said, I thought it was time to re-post my blog about summer heat.  So, here is the re-post about the summer heat that hadn’t crossed my mind until today…

On my website I have “beat the heat suggestions” and what to do in the event of sunstroke ( ) and was planning to put motorcycle specific advice in as well.  There are actually quite a few that don’t always pop into your mind until you’re out there and in trouble. The sun can be a nasty fellow if you’re not careful! Hope these tips help!

1) Always remember to re-hydrate! Caffeine drinks are diuretics and you need at least two non- caffeinated drinks to make up for one caffeinated one. Salt helps you absorb and retain water so put a pinch in your water bottle or eat a salty snack. A camelback water backpack

CamelBak Hydration Backpack

( here at webBike World) is a great way to carry water and sip as you go. If you fill it half full of ice, it lasts a bit longer while being  more soothing when thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrating! A headache wont be far behind, so drink up. As gross as it sounds, be aware of the color of your urine! Pale yellow is perfect. Anything darker is a sure sign that you are headed for dehydration. Also, and this one is gunna hurt….lay off the alcohol! 
2) Consider clothing that allows you to sweat and your body to breathe.  My buddies at Motosport ( ) have a great selection of hot weather riding gear but you can even consider some of the better work-out clothing to achieve the same results. Long sleeves keep you from sunburn. I always take any opportunities to drench myself, my clothing and, even the inside of my helmet on very hot days.  Wetting your head is one quick way to cool off after your helmet has trapped the heat in. Also, consider one of the neck bandannas that have the absorbing crystals inside (here’s instructions to make your own called “Cool Ties”. ). “Cool Ties work on the  principal of evaporative cooling.  Once the polymer is hydrated, the fabric surface of the Cool Tie draws the moisture from the polymer to the fabric surface, which evaporates resulting in an effective body cooler”.
3) Remember that your air and oil cooled bikes are going to get hot! You may want to ride forever but the bike is going to need breaks to cool off.  Its better on the open road but, pay attention to the bikes temperature just to be safe. Along with the heat comes soft asphalt!  When you park your bike, go for the shade of course but, when you can’t find any, remember to take something along to put under your kick stand. I have seen them get pretty buried in that soft black mess and be plenty tough to wiggle free. Left long enough in asphalt

Whitehorse Gear Kickstand Foot

that is soft enough and the asphalt actually wraps around the kickstand like the “blob”! My friends at Whitehorse Gear have these trick little things called “kickstand feet” ( ). They are very reasonable so if you get stuck leaving it, you wont be TOO unhappy although, I have never had to.  If you get in a pinch, crush a soda can and use that. I used to laugh about it every time I would find one in a parking lot, buried in the asphalt.  It’s what the motorcycle boot was designed for….drink the soda and crush it with the boot, viola’!
Always remember to carry your medical and emergency information with you. Bring something for a headache and wear a hat, sunscreen, and good sunglasses. Take your time and have fun! 
If there is anything I am forgetting, please let me know. I would love to hear suggestions so that I can include all your fabulous ideas when I update the website.  Experience is the key and passing the good ideas along to our motorcycling brethren is what we do at Motorcycle Travel America ( ). 

Lady Godiva on wheels wishing everyone good, safe and healthy summer riding!!  You know where to keep that shiny side, my friends. 
P.S. Will say a prayer so that everyone gets a little motorcycle angel ridin with them…….


The adventures of Dorothy; the first 100 miles, part two..

To refresh your memories, The adventures of Dorothy; the first 100 miles; part one, was about Dorothy’s purchase and arrival. . Now that she has a home, see what Dorothy and I do with our days.

Dorothy, my Brammo Enertia electric motorcycle, is a fantastic commuter bike. The zero emissions makes it great for the environmentalist in me and makes my green-granddaughter proud! The bike is light weight, less than 400lbs, which makes it a perfect bike for the newbie rider and especially for we women since it is such a manageable weight. The fact that there is no clutch or shifter makes it the best motorcycle for learning to ride with confidence by putting some time in on the road, thinking only of learning to maneuver a motorcycle. Ask anyone who has learned to ride and they will tell you that in the beginning, before riding becomes a robotic act, there is a lot to think about. With this bike, there are a couple less things to add to the list. You can log lots of hours and ride with confidence before transitioning into a more long distance bike and still have the commuter for the short rides around town.  

Here are a few of the things Dorothy and I like to do when we are out an about:
We go to the bank drive through line. They really appreciate that the bike is so quiet!
I actually had a man chase me down and catch up to me in the bank parking lot just to ask me questions about the bike. It’s amazing how far this guy had to follow me around town before he caught me..LOL

We go to dinner with friends. It’s amazing how people look at me when I pull off my helmet and my hair falls down. It’s that moment when they realize I am a woman, and one of the over 50 group, and riding a motorcycle to a nice eatery! Here too,  I become very popular and have had my dinner interrupted by one of the patrons, saying, “Do you own the white bike in the parking lot that has a name “Enertia”?”  That started a conversation that ended up outside and took about 30 minutes. The gentleman was very nice and bought us all deserts for my time.

We hit the movie theatre!  This was actually the place that, while talking to a young man about wanting a bike for his wife, a leathered up cruiser rider walked past me and muttered, “I only ride American!” to which I commented, “Well then you should love this bike! Not only is it made in America, its made right here in Oregon.” He spun around and looked at the bike and asked, “Isnt that European?”  He was my funniest conversation, to date.  I even let him take a spin around the parking lot….. while I held the keys to his Harley, of course. LOL
We go to church. My pastor has given me a key to the outside maintenance room so I can plug Dorothy in during services and while I’m serving at the church. He is very much in love with the bike and would gladly have me make a nice donation to him in the form of…. yes, you guessed it.. Dorothy!!  There are some funny looks on the faces of my church family members when I stow my motorcycle helmet in the cabinets that are designated for ladies purses!  Or when I greet church members at the front door in my leathers.  The best is passing out communion in a shirt that has a motorcycle and rider on the front and states, “These are my church clothes!”.  I will sum it up with words from my dear, sweet pastor….” Only you, LaParne” as he shakes his head!!

We go to the grocery store. Albeit, I only have a backpack to carry the groceries in, she is great for a stop to Whole Foods for my favorite sesame seed crackers that I can’t live without or the fantastic burger that exceeds any other and has spoiled me forever!! I really need to break down and get the saddle bags for the bike. I was talking to my field rep, Dave Murray, and he said they are discontinuing the soft bags and going to the hard lockable ones, seen (to the left) on the Enertias currently used by the police in Tokyo. Very cheeky!

My favorite trip with Dorothy was to my granddaughters middle school for parents day. My daughter was spending the day with her and I decided to surprise them at lunch time. You can imagine the ruckus that I created by coming into the middle school cafeteria with my helmet and leathers. When they found out I ride an electric bike, I was the bell of the ball!!  That’s why my granddaughter adores me.. And I adore her right back!

Well, that is the end of the story of Dorothy and our first 100 miles. But, fear not….. we are currently working on the third hundred and the adventure continues!! 

Lady Godiva on wheels…. goin for a ride.  Later all


South Side Kustoms 5th anniversary..and how they roll.

I was planning to write the same old blog on May being the second annual Women Riders Month…  then I changed my mind. We all know it’s the second annual Women Riders Month; check any motorcycle blog out there!  I decided to spotlight someone who celebrates women in a really big way.  Let me explain………  
My friends at South Side Kustoms have hit the five-year mark on May 4th, being in business in the town of Buffalo, New York.  Quite an accomplishment for a guy that started out helping his dad in the backyard. Even with the celebration of their own anniversary, they give to the patrons!  Great work guys and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY WITH MANY MORE TO COME!small5year So, keep reading….  (And, I realize I wrote 10th anniversary on the previous blog.. sleep deprivation is not a good place to be when blogging! My appologies.)
 Here is a little info about Jason McCudden, owner and operator of SSK. I will take the words right from him because I have learned that no one says it quite like the masters themselves;
 I am a machinist and certified welder by trade, so “CAN’T ISN’T IN MY VOCABULARY” – I started hotrodding as a kid with my dad in the backyard helping him paint white walls on tires. Cars are my first love and always will be. It won’t be long before you see 4 wheeled beauties rolling out of SSK. I bounced around doing warehousing management for years until I found myself jobless. Then thought “now what am I going to do?”  So I went to welding school – got my certs – still couldn’t find a job (no experience – really I can weld better than most who have been doing it for years – but such is the course) So I figured why not start getting paid for my hobby. What else was I gonna do, go work for someone else again for years until my use ran out and I found myself unemployed again? No, I was tired of working for someone else. Time to do something for my family and my kids’ future. Thus, South Side Kustoms was born in May of 2005. Since then – it’s been a struggle, the impending doom of lights being shut off and so on. But now I can see the fruits of my labor. Coming up on 5 years in business we have been featured in 8 magazines from Outlaw Biker to Easyriders Magazine. Featured as one of 13 great budget builders in Barnett’s, even graced the cover of ‘Wheels of Grace’ a Christian Biker Magazine, with no less than our Jack-O-Lantern Bike that put SSK on the map.”
“Yeah and I cut the fender out with a jigsaw and files NOT a water jet. Hell, I do all my cutouts that way. Handmade ALL AMERICAN bikes. I pride myself on quality bikes at reasonable prices and ALL AMERICAN Parts. I would rather sell 10 bikes and make a couple of bucks then make 30K on one bike. But that’s me……”
“We have 3 new base models for 2010 (the Rock-n-Rolla, the Hitman and theValiant Evolution) ALL REASONABLY priced especially for what you get with no corner cutting.”
“Where is the future leading us – bigger and better – I just moved into an old 1940’s gas station (nice modest place) with plenty of room to grow on the property. 4 builds currently going and parts sales on the way up.
Plus like I said, you will see 4 wheeled beauties coming from us soon. We are already a dealer for all the top of the line auto wheels – air suspensions and yes hydraulics!
Click picture to ZOOM
Now, there are a couple of reasons I think of  this guy and his crew as special but, one really hits home on a very personal level.  Jason, being a big burly motorcycle dude,  has managed to put together a smokin hot motorcycle, “Limited Edition Real Divas Ride”, to honor women. And not just any women but, women that have, are, and will be battling breast cancer or anyone who knows someone that has fought that battle. There is even the option to put dates and a name inside the pink ribbon on the tank!   Along with the thoughtful development of this motorcycle,  there is also $1500.00 of the proceeds being donated to “Divas for a Cure” for Breast Cancer Research so that someday they may eradicate this deadly disease.

Click picture to ZOOM


From the $1000.00 discount on all bikes to military, law enforcement, firemen, and EMTs to the American Red Cross motorcycle built for a charity raffle, these guys just know how to give back!
In addition to all the other accomplishments, SSK has gone global! Kudos, Jason!!     

 It’s hard to find a true “class act” but, I have found one here.  If you want to look at all the fine motorcycles SSK have available…and I hope you do, go to their website ( and enjoy the sights.

In closing, I am privileged to have had dealings with South Side Kustoms and want to wish them a very HAPPY 5th ANNIVERSARY.  Here’s to many more years of clients enjoying the amazing bikes, the community reaping the benefits of their giving spirit, and watching SSK grow and prosper. I, personally, can’t wait!!

Lady Godiva on wheels……. I love you guys cuz that’s how you roll!!
me on jack


Our “Seasonal Thinking” and Thawing Out From Winter.

Here in Oregon, we have been blessed with good weather, this year. Not that it is great riding weather but, certainly it has been a season of weather right for all those winter projects I planned in the fall of ’09. That season was then and this season is now……..
As I crawled out of bed to embrace the lovely sunshine coming through the windows, I immediately thought about going outside with my cup of coffee. The garage was calling my name! Out to the kitchen, coffee retrieved, I headed out the door. With a quick push of the code, the door rolled up and I was in the garage.  Could this really be the garage belonging to a person with a winter project list?  Standing amidst the frame, the tank, the tires and small boxes with the “this and that” that had come via the UPS truck,  I realized that I was drastically behind with my project list due to some very dangerous thinking.  In the fall I remember thinking, “No hurry, I have plenty of time!”  Well, time up!
Fortunately for me, I have a bike in one piece that is ready to ride.  But, if I weren’t that lucky, I could be in for a rocky year. I would be scrambling to get the bike put together. I could make mistakes. I may not be as respectful of the small things that need addressing and could find myself along the side of the road calling AAA for help. I could live with the primed tank, due to the fact that I didn’t have time to finish.  I could live with the possibilities of using some of my mis-matched chrome while waiting for pieces. What I don’t want to do is run out of time to check and recheck and get anxious to get out there and ride!  I don’t want to find out it ran too hot, had a leak or that I hooked something up wrong. One thing I HATE is taking things apart once I put it together……and yet, I do it all the time.  The moral to this story is that it all takes time.  In the fall of ’09 I had time.  It seemed to me that I had lots of time. That was foolish to think and now Im out of time!  So, I am reluctant to say that my “bobber” project will have to wait. Yes, you can all feel really bad for me…….
Now, lets talk about what really needs to be done to thaw that bike out from the winter and on to the rides you want to take.
I sat down with my two favorite biking fanatics, father and son, Bill and Mike, and they helped me compile a list of the most important things to do to get your bike ready for that ride you want to take. Now, these guys could go out in their garage right now and jump on any bike and it would be travel ready. That’s just the way they are (and the reason I picked them to help me with this). But for you newbies and the rest of we “normal folk,” here we go…….
When you buy your motorcycle and bring it home for the first time, its like being in love. Now you need to resign yourself to the fact that maintenance is the one thing that will keep the love alive. As my buddy Bill says, “Today’s bikes are pretty much bullet proof. But, regular maintenance is the key. The goal is never to be stranded!!,” Here is a summary of what you need to do to make sure your bike is ready for the road ahead from the mouths of two of the best. 
Owners Manual
The first thing you need to have in hand is the owner’s manual. If the bike didn’t come with one, get one ( It has so much bike specific information in it that you can’t be without it. The second thing you will absolutely want to have is the shop manual for your particular bike ( They are worth their weight in gold and are a true “must have” if you plan to work on your own bike. Although it might seem like an awesome job, working on your own bike can have a most rewarding feel. It’s not something you are born knowing but, you can learn it like the rest of us did…by doing. It’s also good to know a little about your bike in the event you do break down on the road, heaven forbid!!
The second thing on the agenda are tires ( Now, there is a wide range here but once you know the tires you are riding on, you will know the approximate mileage for that tire and you can keep track of that mileage. For example, Z rated tires are for racing but are street legal. They give the greatest in traction but you sacrifice some mileage. They are good for about 3,000 miles. V rated tires are for the 150mph and below….like we ever go that fast;)…and lose a bit of traction compared to the Z rated but, manage to double the mileage at about 6,000 miles. The H rated are for the 130mph and below and are good for touring. They manage somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 miles. Now, if you are caught with tires that have worn down to the wear bar (the little bump that reveals itself on the tread) it is considered not street legal and will result in a ticket, not to mention that its dangerous, and we want safety first! So, check those tires from time to time. 

Since you are checking the tires, now is a good time to check the tire pressure.( )The psi (pounds per square inch) is printed right on the side of the tire. Not only does this maximize safety but, it gives you the greatest fuel efficiency and the greatest wear on your tires. Also, check it while you’re out and about. Once you get used to making it a regular thing, it will become a good habit.
The next thing is the battery.( These are a relatively inexpensive item and should be easy for all to replace and keep up. They range from $50.00 to $100.00. My buddies Mike and Bill replace theirs every three years and these boys ride ALL the time. On the off season, which would mean six feet of snow or ice, they always keep up the batteries with a trickle charger. These are the perfect thinking chargers. It charges until the battery is full and then it shuts off. If something is drawing power from the battery, the charger turns itself back on. It will not over charge! But, make sure you get the motorcycle proper one.
Now, if you have a sealed battery, you don’t need to read the next part. But, if you have a non sealed battery, you need to check the fluids. The only problem is that you have to remove the battery. Not that big of a deal! On the top you will find six caps to the cells. On the side of the battery is a view finder to find the level of the liquid in the battery. If it needs filled, get distilled water only and remove the caps on top to fill. Low fluids will kill a battery. It must have fluids to work.
Yamaha-R6-Sportbike-Oil-Change-019Next, the oil.(  Mike recommends you change the oil before any trip but he actually changes all of his bikes every 2,000 miles. He prefers the “old school” regular crude oil but he says that most people are going to synthetic oil. The synthetics break down much slower and will actually last three times as long as the crude, about 6,000 miles. Grab your owner’s manual and see what bike specific rules apply for oil properties for your bike.
 Spark Plugs we can take a look at the spark plugs. ( There are a lot of bikes that have spark plug wrenches in the tool kit that comes with your bike. If yours does not, take the time to buy one. This comes highly recommended for your travel tool kit, as well. Some of the crotch rockets have some ill placed spark plugs but with a bike specific wrench, it’s a little easier. Spark plugs last about 25,000 miles but, again, refer to your manual for specifics. Keeping those spark plugs maintained will limit the chance of misfiring and rough rides.
This one caters to the “fast bikes”…as Mike likes to call them. These are the “crotch rocket” breeds…as I like to call them. You need to check your chain tension and make adjustments when needed. Apparently, this is quite simple to do and is necessary every 500 miles or so along with a good lube. The other necessity is that you lube the chain after EVERY ride in the rain or wet conditions.
Belt Drives
Now, belt drive bikes get adjustments about every 5,000-8,000 miles. Refer to the manual for information.Some bikes are equipped with hydraulic valves that self adjust but if your bike doesn’t have them, you need to have them checked and adjusted. If you are a skilled maintenance person, you can do this yourself with the help of the “holly grail of motorcycles,” the shop manual that I talked about in the beginning. If that’s not the case, find a good mechanic and let them take care of it.
Image PreviewHere we start getting into the common sense stuff. Check those bulbs!! (  Especially if you ride a bike with much vibration….and you know who you are!!! Those bulbs vibrate too. Unfortunately, you don’t know they are out until a buddy tells you or the police stop you. The latter will make you wish you had listened to me.
 Here is a direct quote from Bill in regard to those group runs we all love. He says, with a smile,”Never show up to a ride unless you have a full tank of gas. That is a cardinal rule and the quickest way to get stuck buying everyone’s meals for the rest of the run!!.” Now, these two are the finest riders I know and I want to grow up to be just like them. I mean that. So any advice out of their mouths about anything motorcycle is gospel to me!!
With these guys, when the ride is over, the bikes are maintained again. They are put away in the perfect condition they started in. I joked with the boys saying that the only time its permitted to put a bike away before they are cleaned and prepped is if someone is in the hospital. Mike and Bill looked at each other, shook their heads, and revealed that when each one of them had been hospitalized, the other cleaned up the wounded guys bike and put them away. Now that’s fanatical (and love!).
A much too small but heart-felt “thank you” goes out to these boys. Sharing information doesn’t cost a cent and yet, its worth more than they could know. I plan to lean on them forever!! So, find yourself someone to lean on…and ride with. Now, enjoy and God bless and keep you safe on the road and in life.

Lady Godiva on wheels in a messy garage!