Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It’s Only Flat On The Bottom!

The bike seemed a bit squirrelly in the curves, giving the distinct impression that all was not well south of the seat. Pulled to the side of the road with the BMW on the center stand, the cause of the questionable performance became evident: there was a nail planted firmly in the tire. The air leak was very slow, but enough to impact the machine’s corner-carving capabilities. There is never a good time for a flat... (Unless, of course, it occurs in front of a motorcycle tire repair shop, adjacent to a strip club.) Yet this flat didn’t bother me in the least... For two reasons; 1) I had everything required to plug a tubeless tire in 15 minutes or less, and 2) it wasn’t my bike.

Matt Piechota, a friend of mine and a dedicated member of the Mac Pac (southeastern Pennsylvania’s premier chartered BMW riding club), had just posted notice that the rear tire of his flawlessly naked 2004 “R1150R “bike had hammered a nail into itself, burying the head flush with the rubber. Despite the fact that the tire still had a couple of thousand usable miles on it, Piechotta was taking the safe route and planned to replace the tire with a new one.

“The bike is in my garage,” he wrote. “I’ll pull the back wheel off and deal with it this weekend.”

This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. Having learned my lesson about riding with marginal tires at a BMW rally in Vermont four years ago, the rubber on my bike is always in very good condition. But shit happens, and road debris shows no discretion in the tires it chooses to ruin. So I carry a plug kit, complete with oversize C02 cartridges for inflating the tire, in addition to a Cycle Pump Air Compressor. But I have never tried any of this stuff out; and consequently, had no idea how well it worked. There was no way to ruin this tire of Matt’s any more than it was, so there could be no harm in screwing around by trying to plug it. And that’s what I said to him.

Above — The offending nail. Photo by Matt Piechota.

Like 98% of the Mac Pac’s riders, Piechota is an engineer. He is incredibly even-tempered and believes everything in the universe is part of a vast inter-related equation that is revered, massaged, and tended by those of his profession. (However, I do get the distinct impression that he regards those of my profession as coming from the part of the master equation watered by the cosmic septic system.) Matt welcomed me at his open garage door with the ancient Mac Pac salute of pressing an ice cold beer into my hand.

Piechota looked on in mild amusement as I spread out the parts of the Progressive Suspension & Tire plugging kit, the pump, and some other stuff. Men accustomed to working with tools often respond to my attempts to imitate them “by having stuff” with a patronizing look usually reserved for a three-year-old with a toy toolbox. He was good enough to conceal his smirk by covering it with his hand though, and converting an obvious laugh into a cheap stage cough.

Above — Early in the game, Piechota and I discovered the tube of cement was empty and petrified in its own juices. Photo by Matt Piechota.

The directions were simple enough. Start by removing the nail from the tire with pliers. This took a second. Then run a rasp-like tool through the puncture a few times. The next step entailed smearing a miniatuire ice-cream cone-type plug with rubber cement and jamming it (using the rasp-like tool), into the hole. According to the directions, the plug was supposed to snuggle into the hole with a resounding little snap.

This is where the plan went awry as the plug did nothing of the sort.

The kit came with three plugs, each residing in a little semi-soft clear plastic capsule affair, like the sort of package designed for leprechaun condoms. I have been carrying this kit for over three years, during which these little capsules became the greenhouses of hell, with its own little bit of fouled atmosphere. Each plug was banded by a green strip of tape that the directions demanded be removed. Peeling back the green strip then revealed a red strip, which was not mentioned in the dispatches. (This was because it was the backing of the green tape, and was now semi-fused to the plug.) Piechota just shrugged and attempted to smear the glue over it.

This was the point at which we discovered that all of the glue in the little cement tube (about the size of a tiny Tabasco sauce bottle found in an army “K” ration) had dried out leaving a petrified vulcanized glaze on the container. Matt and I looked at each other and busted out laughing.

“This is not the sort of thing you want to discover in the middle of nowhere, at night, or in the rain,” said Piechota. He retrieved a fresh tube of cement from a tool box and picked up where we left off, smearing the red-banded plug with cement. He then speared the plug on the rasping tool, and jammed it into the hole. The plug held for a second before firing back out like a cork from a champagne bottle.

“Do the directions say anything about that,” asked Piechota?

I extracted another plug from its little greenhouse condom, and peeled the green strip from the new one with a similar effect. But this time, I also removed the remaining red strip too, which exposed three fine circular ridges. (Ribbed for the puncture’s pleasure?) Once again the glue was applied and the plug was jammed into the hole. This time it went in with a little “pop,” and stayed there. Matt trimmed the excess plug and the whole thing made a very nice presentation. He then attached my Cycle Pump directly to the valve on the tire, periodically checking inflation progresss with a pocket gauge. I would normally use the "EZ" Tire Pressure Gauge as it is a bridge connection from the tire valve to the pump, giving an accurate and progressive reading, and is easier on my knees.

Matt regarded my collection of stuff the same way a curious — but naturally suspicious child — approaches a live rabbit that appeared from a magician’s hat. I knew he was thinking, “Riepe had all the gadgets, but no cement.”

Whole blogs, essays, and environmental impact studies have been written about the preferred inflation systems for repairing flats or topping off tire pressures on the road. Many repair kits include C02 cartridges for refilling tires. And many of these same kits come with a three-inch length of hose to connect the cartridges to the valve stems. What you may not know is that the gas will rush right out of the cartridge if you connect the hose to the shiny little cylinder first. And in doing so, the temperature of the cartridge (in your hand) will drop to zero degrees Kelvin. Many tubeless flat tire repair kits offer false confidence in providing three of these C02 cartridges. Be advised that you are likely use all three to reach a minimum degree of inflation. And if you were to botch one, you’d could still be screwed.

Above — The first plug popped right out with a smear of cement taking on the color of the protective strip that remained on it. Photo by Matt Piechota.

The Progressive Suspension & Tire plugging kit has a C02 dispenser device that controls the gas coming out of the cartridge, allowing you to save some if you have a bad bite on the valve. It also prevents you from getting freezer burn on your hand. But as far as I’m concerned, inflating a tire this way is still a bit of a science project. (This kit came with three plugs, patches for tubes, the rasping tool, the gas dispenser, cement, a connecting hose, and simple instructions, all contained in a neat pouch for $55.)

Above — The Cycle Pump fully inflated the tire in 5 or 6 minutes. Photo by Matt Piechota.

That’s why I also carry an electric compressor that fits in my tailpiece. The one I use is the Cycle Pump. Clad in armored aluminum, with four folding legs and a slider switch that rests between two protected bolt heads, this unit has a generous length of connecting hose (2 feet), a realistic length of power cord (8 feet), and multiple connection options including an SAE fitting, plus a plug for a cigarette lighter outlet or a Powerlet fitting, along with clamps for battery posts. It weighs a pound and a half and comes in a very nice heavy duty red bag. (Every aspect of this pump hints at precision.) While it has a fairly large footprint (insert dimensions), it is flat and fits perfectly in my K75’s tailpiece.

Now for the bad news: it costs $100.

And for that princely sum the Cycle Pump does not come with a tire pressure gauge. The “EZ” Tire Pressure gauge is a clever device that gives you highly accurate tire pressure readings, and attaches to the valve stem with a hose. You can fill the tire by attaching the compressor to a valve right on the gauge. This enables you to stop filling at the exact pressure you want, or to easily bleed off a pound or two with precision. This unusual tire pressure gauge makes life easier on my knees, as I do not have to crawl around to get a good fit with the air pump. So I carry one of these too. (I have heard that the rotors on the F800 BMWs crowd the valve stems and that the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge may not get a tight bite under these circumstances. The company that makes this accessory also makes right angle valve fittings to sidestep this difficulty. These are $7 bucks. The gauge was $25.)

There are many other compressors out there that are much cheaper. I used an Airman Sparrow pump for three years. This little beauty cost $25 and included a decent stretch of power cord, a good hose, and a tire pressure gauge. It worked very well — right up until it caught fire while topping off my back tire. My research for a replacement led me to some of well-written promotional material for the Cycle Pump. Somewhere, I read that this unit is standard issue for British Commandos. I could just imagine super-tough British Special Forces, inflating their Triumph Triple Speed tires, while being shot at, shelled, or otherwise inconvenienced. As a BMW rider in a Harley environment, I know that feeling. I forked over the $100 gratefully.

It should be noted that many of my esteemed friends and colleagues in the Mac Pac are as tight as a clam’s ass when it comes to money. (And a clam’s ass is water-tight.) They will buy some sort of inexpensive pump — housed in a 2-quart Tupperware-like case — and reinstall it in a Band-Aid box for less than $9. One gentleman of my acquaintance retrieved a Jarvic Seven mechanical heart from his mother-in-law (who was at death’s door anyway), reconfigured it to pump air, and mounted it in a metal box the size of a tea bag. (It works great but can’t be made to pump faster than 92 beats per minute.) I lack the skill of these guys, and prefer to buy something once, if I can. Enough people use the Cycle Pump (as per their testimonials) to support company claims regarding durability and effectiveness. The Cycle Pump is made in the United States and looks as if it would stop a .45 caliber bullet.

The Cycle Pump inflated the tire to 40 pounds or so in about 6 minutes. There is a cautionary tale that accompanies the use of small tire-inflating devices. It appears that they can overheat after prolonged “continuous use.” “Continuous use” is defined as about three our four minutes. Even the immortal Cycle Pump carries an advisory to switch the pump off if it gets hot. (But the Cycle Pump’s aluminum case acts as a sump to draw off excessive heat, and we did let the unit rest for a minute or two in pumping up the tire.)

Matt hooked the pump up to the standard BMW Powerlet socket on his rig, and filled the tire without starting the engine. When I expressed some concern over this (as I believe motorcycle batteries will use any excuse to crap out), he hit the starter button and fired the bike right up. Since it is a “R” bike, it makes a noise like a horse fart when the engine catches. (As a "K" bike rider, it is important that I make these useful distinctions.) Personally, I have the engine idling at 1000 RPM (using the idle advance on the handlebars) to keep the alternator charging when I’m topping off a tire.

This little adventure took us about a half-hour, but that was because we were unfamiliar with the parts and process. I think Matt could easily replicate our results in half the time. Also, if it was up to me, I’d carry the Kermit Chair too, so I could park my fat ass in comfort as I screwed around with a flat tire on the road.

So, what is the moral to this story? It actually has two. The first is that it is not enough to simply carry all the shit required to plug a tubeless tire; you should also get some experience using the stuff. The second moral is that the components of these kits seldom last forever in the harsh biking environment. Go through your emergency flat kit and check to see that the plugs are still functional (supple), that the cement is still usable, and that your onboard inflation system works well.

Author’s note #1:
I received no compensation in any way from the manufacturers of the Cycle Pump, the “EZ” Tire Pressure Gauge, nor the Progressive Suspension & Tire plugging kit. This is not because of my untarnished ethics, but because no one offered. I have yet to have a bad experience with any of this stuff and believe in sharing good news about great performance with other riders. You can buy this stuff with confidence... And if you have a problem with one of these products, or with service, please let us know.

Author’s note #2:
Twisted Roads does not advocate riding any great distance on a plugged tire— other than to a new tire dealer. While we have received numerous stories of riders plugging a fairly new tire and riding 4,000 or 5,000 more miles on it, we still recommend (as do most accomplished riders) replacing the tire as soon as possible. Twisted Roads acknowledges that it is a rider’s right not to wear a helmet or ballistic gear. Sliding on the pavement, face first, offers great birth control as you will not be getting laid anytime soon. As firm supporters of the iconic BMW riding lifestyle, the editorial staff of Twisted Roads strongly encourages all riders — particularly new ones — to wear a full face helmet, full ballistic gear, and gloves.


Twisted Roads is again rewarding its readers with prizes! Two great prizes will be offered for the month of August: A Progressive Suspension & Tire Plugging Kit, and an EZ Tire Pressure Gauge.

1) To compete for the Progressive Suspension & Tire plugging kit, please answer this three question survey:
Do you carry a first aid kit? (Yes, Or No)
Have you ever had cause to use your first aid kit? (Yes or No)
If the answer to the above question was “yes,” did you find it adequate? (Yes or No)

Copy, cut and paste your response to jpriepe@aol.com. Mark the subject line "Tire Plugging Kit." Include your first name and email address. Winners will be selected at random and notified by e-mail.

2) To compete for the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge, just leave a comment at the end of the blog. You can even say, “This blog sucks,” but then I’ll know you were either Chris Wolfe, Scott Royer, or Michael Beattie

To leave a comment, read through to the blog’s end (sheer torture). For those who see the comments posted, just click on the option “leave a comment.” If you click the “anonymous” option, be sure you leave a readily identifiable name so you can be announced as a winner.
If comments are not automatically listed, read through to the end of the blog. At the end you will see something like “15 comments.” Click on the word “comment”. Type in your comment in the space provided. If you click the “anonymous” option, be sure you leave a readily identifiable name so you can be announced as a winner.

• Winners for both contests will be announced on the “Twisted Roads Blog,” on Monday, August 16, 2010.
• Winners will be chosen at random.
• Relatives and former wives of the editorial staff of Twisted Roads are not eligible for prizes.
• No substitutions
• Void where prohibited
• Prizes are awarded new as they are shipped in their original packaging from the manufacturer. Twisted Roads is not responsible for any defects in awarded prizes, nor for any incidents, accidents, injuries, damages or death perceived to be caused by defective prizes. Riding a motorcycle is a dangerous activity with special risks. We all ride at our own pleasure and peril.
• Unclaimed prizes will be held a year. It is up to all contestants to read the Twisted Roads Blog dated August 16th, 2010 to see if they are winners.
• Any additional taxes or fees due on prizes are the responsibility of the winners. Twisted Roads is happy to pay for shipping and handling.
• Topless contestants who send pictures of themselves usually do a lot better at winning prizes. My email address is posted on my blog. (I dare you.)


Anonymous said...


The Cycle Pump is the best preventative medicine I have ever had when it comes to flats. I bought the complete kit at the BMW rally in Spokane,WA (July 2004) and have not had to use it since. I have used it because I wanted to, but I have not had to. Big difference. Also, when it has been put to use, it works great.

Big Jim

Charlie6 said...

Jack, good idea to exercise/learn the use of your tire plugger kit in the comfort of a garage rather than at night, while being rained/hailed on, in the middle of nowhere.

I've had two flats, both on my 1150RT, the first one I discovered the kit from BMW sucked and CO2 cartridges (as you surmised) don't cut the mustard.

first flat tire

11K miles later, got me another flat, again on the 1150RT. This time I had the tire plugger kit I'd bought and practiced with...much better results:

second flat tire

Your timely post reminds me that the plugs on my kit have not been checked in a while and have probably "dried out". I'll be checking them tonight. Thanks.

I guess I'd fit right in with the Mac-Pac guys in terms of "tightness", as I also have taken apart of car's electric air pump and use the innards as my tire pump!

As to the Ural you so denigrate, it carries a spare tire/wheel! : )



Redleg's Rides

Randall Z said...

I ride a sidecar rig which has a spare tire. But I still carry a spare inner tube, patch kit, and a pump, in case of emergency. Never had to use the patch kit on the road, but the spare has definitely been helpful.
I need to check to make sure the rubber cement and patches are still usable.

Randall Z

Anonymous said...


I read your blog with enthusiastic anticipation knowing that I would learn a lot about what NOT to do to properly plug a flat.

I was not disappointed.

Now, keep this reader happy and send me some cool SWAG, so I can ride in style with you on the "Hotter than Hell" Centrailia ride, Take II.


Woody said...

Good suggestion to try the whole system out before needing to use it.

We don't think people of your profession come from the cosmic septic system, we know you come from the part of the gene pool that is lacking chlorine. Does this qualify for a "This Blog Sucks" comment?

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Riding Buddy Jack:
Why would I ever stuff my panniers with tire repair crap when I can sit in the shade sipping a cool iced tea in the knowledge that within an hour or so you'd be catching up to me with all the shit anyone would ever need to do the job.
Re: First Aid Kit. I carry one. I've used the band aides and Alleve that I added to the kit. Other than that it's there for a real emergency - like if you fall off of your bike, there's a rolled up bandage I can stuff in your mouth so I don't have to listen to your jokes while we wait for the wrecker to get you up on your feet.

cpa3485 said...

Very suspicious timing for this post. I am planning a 600 mile trip in about 10 days and I don't have one of those thingamabob kits. Should I be worried?

How soon can you send me one?

Premeditated Scootin'

jasiii said...

Great reminder to practice before you need to do something.. and, again, funny..

bobskoot said...

Jack "r"IEPE:

I follow in your footsteps and carry a cheap air compressor for the day when I need it and someone passes by who knows how to use it. Procedure sounds simple enough, if you can do it then it must be easy. I carry those worm types but I suppose they dry out after a while.

Wet Coast Scootin

Nikos said...

Dear Jack

I took Tubby out on her acceptance test run this evening having fixed the essentials such as the electric screen, the HID headlamp conversion and new tyre - after some internet faffing to determine what pressure a Bridgestone should be inflated to (42psi)I can report the twitchiness has gone but there is a slight wobble at the front end on braking (maybe the forks need rebuilding) but nothing too serious.

On the matter of punctures, the previous owner had filled the tyres up with disgusting gloop as an anti deflation measure....complete shite.

Yes I carry a first aid kit but I forgot to augment it with "wasp ese" so Mrs Nikos stung arm went untreated until we found a nice cafe.

Best wishes from England, N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Big Jim:

I'm with you... Having the right stuff seems to act like a talisman when it comes to preventing trouble. Of course, it also serves to get you rolling that much faster in the face of trouble... Especially if you ride with guys wgo know how all that shit works.

Thank you for reading my blog... You are entered into the drawing for the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Not only is it a good idea to deal with a flat tire drill in the garage, it's even better to do it in someone else's garage — especially if they drink really good beer and have a lot of it.

I have just ordered new cement and new plugs (as they came in a package deal for $7). I am amazed that anything I said could have been construed as a good idea by a crackerjack shade-tree mechanic. But I am going to practice this all by myself as soon as I find out that someone else in my club gets a flat again.

I can see you building a pump... But I found it very exciting to just open the box when it came from Cycle Pump.

Even though you are a regular poster, you name has been entered in the EZ Tire Gauge drawing. Good luck, and thanks for commenting.

Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Randall Z:

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Not only do I wish my Beemer was carrying a spare, I often dream of being followed by a SAG wagon, complete with a bar and a sushi chef.

I have entered your name in the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge drawing. Good luck.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear DougBob:

I have you down as one of our outriders, when Bregstein and I do our "Delaware In 5 days Or Bust" Tour. Our ride will include viewing the countryside from the highest point in the state, the best place for steamed crabs, the most exotic topless bar, the hottest coed crossing, and the most exciting stram train ride. And our goal is to find all of these things by cruising the entire state in 5 days!

And riding through the wild stretches of Delaware, I'm glad I have the gear to deal with flat tires.

Thanks for reading my blog and for leaving a comment. You've been entered in the drawing for the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge... And I think you may have dropped a line in the survey contest too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

It has taken you a long time to get me back for a certain comment I left a while ago, but you got me. Yes, your comment does fall into the "This blog sucks category," but you have successfully entered the drawing for the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge.

It is always a kick to find a comment from you, regardless of the left hand that types it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

Who the hell are kidding? The most important thing that you and I carry is a credit card, to call the tow truck and the limo when something on the bike shits the bed. And the biggest challenge that we ever faced was arranging our trips to have a bar within 50 feet of our respective hotel rooms.

You're entered in both contest too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA 3485 (Jimbo):

Step one is to make sure you have tubeless tires. If they have tubes, step two is to use the Bregstein/Riepe repair strategy outlined in my response to Dick (just above).

Believe me, nothing is more aggravating than getting stopped by an annoyance that can be rectified in a few minutes, provided the plugs and cement haven't dried out.

I am looking forward to your 600-mile ride report. Where are you going? Key West.

You are entered in the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge drawing. If you win, it will be one less thing that you need.

Thanks for commenting.

Fondest regards,
Jsck • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jasiii:

I am glad I made an impression, and I'm glad I made you laugh!

I hope you win the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge!

Thanks for commednting!

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Thanks for the comment summing up my mechanical skills. You should be an honorary member of the Mac Pac. And you might qualify when you dump those Crocs.

I went for the expensive pump as I decided I wasn't going to rely on discout stuff to get out of a jam, especially after the other one burned. When these tires on this bike are shot, I am going to have a garage night, with burgers and dogs on the grill, while I conduct a class on plugging punctures.

But you can bet that when I do get a flat, it will be in the sidewall.

Thanks for commenting... Your entered in the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Drawing.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Radar said...


As a Harley rider, I guess I'm considered a non-conformist on your blog. In that spirit, I hereby submit my entry into your very generous contest.

Yes, I carry a First Aid kit and have found it most useful on several occasions. My theory is if one is involved in a serious incident, proper emergency medical assistance should be immediately summoned. However, the far more common pains and injuries that occur while on the road are sore butt cheeks and body aches.

As such, my First Aid kit consists of a 750ml bottle of Crowne Royal, six Rocky Patel Robusto Corojo cigars, a punch (we must rough it on the road and size matters), and a butane flame thrower lighter capable of lighting said cigar in 50 mph wind gusts, as one never knows when or where such an injury may occur. To complete the kit, one should also include a travel size containder of their preferred pain medication, i.e., Ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. I find that said kit has a freshness period of one ride, not to exceed four days.

I encourage any rider to customize any and all 'treatments' in your own First Aid kit to meet your most common ailments and to terminate that portion of your ride (for the day) once the kit seal is broken.

Consistent with my non-conformist status, please consider this an entry for the EZ Tire Guage so that I can practice proper BMW preventative maintenance.

Thank you.

Richard Machida said...

I've plugged truck tires before but my bike uses tubes so my bicycle experience will be more useful. I tried pumping up the bike tire using the manual tire pump BMW supplied. What were they thinking? I guess if you are sitting on the side of the road with nothing else to do, it'll work.

Nice post.

classicvelocity said...


Tools, repair work, and success, in the same post. What has gotten into you these days? Next thing you know, you'll be changing your own oil !!


Goman said...

Jack,jack,jack,jack,jack...............get my drift? Enjoy your blog. As a displaced "Joisey Boy", I relate to your east coast adventures.
Try a "Stop and GO" pocket tire plugger kit. (MOA mag. advertiser) No cement is necessary! You may need to carry a "Binford 5000" cordless drill to make the hole bigger as those puny rasps suck.
Go ahead, spend the money, cause a standard casket has no pockets in the lining..........Goman (FL West coast) "REtired and lovin it!

Conchscooter said...

Dear Sir,
This blog put me out of sorts for all of my work shift as I contemplated the short comings of my tachless Triumph.
My motorcycle now has the valve cover leak plugged but you managed to remind me that spoked wheels require inner tubes and thus when I get a flat I either a) call Triple A or b) my wife. I am sure this is not really up to the mac pac standards of BMW self reliance (despite your nice attempts at making light of calling for help).so I should probably go out now and wrap an inner tube round my neck and jump off a bridge.
It will be all your fault.
ps Wichita to Key West is further than 600 miles.get a map not a gps.
yours as sincerely as I can manage it
anonymous badger.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

How can you call that beautiful machine "Tubby?" That would be like me calling "Fireballs" something like "Cinnamon Buns."

Unless you are getting some wobble under other conditions, I doubt it is the forks. Are they leaking? It could be that you have a high spot on one of the brake rotors, or a set of cheesy brake pads, or the wrong pads. This narrows it down to just about anything.

The cost of sending a prize out of the country is exorbitant, but I will be gladc to do it if your name comes up in the drawing for the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge.

Thanks for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Radar:

I have many readers who pursue the Harley-Davidson lifestyle. And we have two members of the Mac Pac who have Harleys as their primary rigs. They always get a big round of applause when they show up in their Halloween costumes. Off course, they claim we are a bunch of Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle look-a-likes.

I was out on a week-long run with Nite Owl (Wayne Whitlock) a number of years ago. He has A Harley-Davidson, Wide Fatboy Golden Eagle (Limited Edition). We were up at ther crack of dawn, headed for breakfast, when Wayne said: "Jack, I gotta stop at a gas station to check the pressure in my back tire."

"No big deal," I replied, reaching under the tailpiece and pulling out my EZ Tire Pressure Gauge. He clipped it on the back tire valve, and discovered the tire was down about 4 pounds.

"I still gotta hit the gas station to pump it up," he grinned.

I pulled an electric tire compressor out from under the seat as well, and handed it to him.

"This Harley doesn't have a place for me to plug it in," he said, now openly laughing. I showed him my 18-year-old Beemer had two power outlets (factory standard).

When we got through this bit of housekeeping, Wayne said, "We still have to stop at the gas station as I want to add some oil to the engine."

"Does it take 20-50w," I asked, handing him a quart from my topcase.

A hot Asian cutie (leaning up against a pickup truck) had been watching this exchange. She sauntered over and said, "I love a man whose prepared." With that, she lifted up her shirt and shared with me a long, lingering look at the beauties within."

"I gotta start carrying some of this shit," said Wayne, shaking his head.

Radar, your emergency kit, howsoever original, is closest to my own in spirit. You are hereby entered into both contests.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Fondest regards,
Jasck • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard Machida:

Technology evolves, and BMW produces some of the most technologically sophisticated motorcycles on the planet. Yet I am amazed by shortcomings some of their support accessories. But this is why the aftermarket exists. Each company has its own core strengths.

I have entered you into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge drawing.

Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Classic Velocity Blog (Wayne):

Please don't let this current blog episode of mine go to your head. I would no more attempt to change my own oil than I would attempt to build a bridge.

"Fireballs" spent a day at Cutter's last week. (Cutter's is the "Rubber Chicken Racing Garage, under the direction of legendary BMW wrench Tom Cutter.) I had the coolant, the transmission oil, and the brake fluid changed.

You are now entered into the EZ Tire Pressure gauge drawing. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter (Michael of the Pink Crocs):

Nothing compares with the classic profile of a motorcycle with "laced wheels." And while the staggering majority of these do have tubes, the Progressive Suspension and Tire flat repair kit I carry has patches for punctures in the same.

But you would probably want to carry a pistol to blow your brains out rather than the bead buster and the tire irons to fight the rubber off the rim. And if I was in a situation like this, I'd just carry a could of spare tubes.

Then again, I also have a Kendon trailer in the garage for the times when I get easily bamboozled with unforeseen mechanical circumstances.

I have entered your name into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge contest... And hope you win! (Fat lot of good it will do you.)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Goman:

Thank you for pointing out that the "Stop And Go" plug people are MOA Owners News advertisers. And I do urge all of my readers who are MOA members to support their sponsors and advertisers.

And I am thrilled that you read my blog. You too are entered in the EZ Tire Pressure gauge drawing.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Electra Glide In Blue said...

Dear Jack,
Your blog sucks so bad I'm still two posts back and trying to catch up!

And now a fucking contest!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear EGIB:

If I wrote any slower, I'd be writing in reverse. You're entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge contest.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

bobskoot said...


sorry to cut our conversation short yesterday. I always appreciate your telephone calls.

Everything is falling apart and breaking. At the time you called I had the roofers there, installing my new roof, and my friend was just finishing repairing my kitchen sink leak and we were about have late dinner (just after 9pm), midnight your time.

hope you have an enjoyable ride to Delaware this weekend

Wet Coast Scootin

FJRBikerEd said...

Jack, your writing is always a good read and I never know where you are headed 'til you get there!

Glad it wasn't your bike that had the flat.

Colin said...

After waiting three hours for a "free" tow from BMW NA, I need to invest in all of this crap too.

irondad said...

Woody is partly right. The problem with the gene pool isn't a lack of chlorine. It's the lack of life guards.

I've always heard that engineers are blowhards. You ride with several engineers. ipso facto, who needs an air pump for your tires?

ADK said...

"Sucks" doesn't even come close.

I have a first aid kit. It came w/ a "one call" cell phone, a cheap and flimsy looking LED flashlight w/ no bulb, a box of matches that displays the warning "Will Not Strike On Any Rough Surface", and there's an American Express card w/ a credit limit of $7. It came in a small exquisitely embroided pouch decorated w/ the kind of thing one usually sees on Bedazzler ads.

It was a birthday present from J.P.Riepe.

I've never used it, but I do look forward to the opportunity.

FYI, British commandos carry a spare tyre and a set of tyre irons, and inflate the spare w/ lung power. IOW, Real Men.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris Wolfe):

Fuck you... Cantwell rode down here last night, and he and I tied on a real shitter in the garage. Your name didn't come up once.

Whatever the hell it is you think you have to do this weekend is just a lot of bullshit. Jump on the "Yellow Peril" now, and you could be here by dark, if that piece of shit doesn't throw a rod.

Cantwell and I are headed to the open waters of he Chesapeake tomorrow... To sample the squeezings of Jamaica, eat steamed crabs, and look at steamy asses on hot tomatoes toplessly sunning themselves on passing yachts. What the hell are you waiting for?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

The water at my end of the pool will never bear close inspection for the details. But you'd be amazed how the very relaxed dress code encourages the best people to just jump in.

Do you know what engineers use for birth control? Their personalities.

And you sir are entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge drawing.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Colin:

The truth is that the average tubless flat tire, holed a nail, can be repaired in less than 20 minutes. And that beats standing by the road with your thumbs up your ass.

Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I see you answered the survey and you are entered in both contests.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear FJRBikerED:

In truth, I never know where I will end up in one of my stories either. I'm delighted you like my stuff and left a comment. You are now entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge drawing.

Good Luck!

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobscoot:

There comes a tme when the strongest of house require a little paint, some nails and some hammering. That is why I live with a syrong woman who is good with tools.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Steve said...

Always a good read, Jack, always a good read.