Monday, April 4, 2011

Tires — A Beginner's Stupidity And A Lost Day At The Fair

The 2011 riding season has kicked into gear this weekend, with hundreds of clubs and thousands of riders observing “National Gassing Day Rituals, on Saturday, April 2.” Initially conceived by the legendary moto-writer Peter Egan, Gassing Day occurs on on the first Saturday in April, when riders roll their bikes out of the garage, and fill their tanks with fresh gasoline. (For those with multiple bikes, this means a circuit back and forth from the garage to the gas station, terminating in lunch at a local diner with a bunch of the guys.) It is like having the swallows return to Capistrano... Or the whales returning off the coast of Maine... Or the hookers returning to stand in their underwear on 10th Avenue in New York City.

Above: Out for "Gassing Day 20011," Todd Trombore on his 1952 BMW R68. Trombore was warned about showing up on a bike that predated the Lincoln administration. About 40 riders showed up for Gassing Day ceremonies at the Quentin Haus restaurant in Quentin, Pa. Photo by Rebel (Brett).

Above: Ken Bruce, the Mac-Pac Monthly Dinner Chairman and a proud BMW GS rider, demonstrates how turning the ignition key and pressing a button lights the coal-burning boilers on his bike, which are cooled by breezes that pass over the cyclinder heads, prior to melting glaciers in Finnland. Mention "green" to Ken Bruce and he rubs his wallet pocket. Photo by Chester Heaver.

Above: Surprise Guest Speaker for the Gassing Day Ceremony was Mac-Pac rider Bill Zane. Bill has said less than 28 words during the past five years. His welcoming speech — a scowl and a smile — was the best this group has ever heard. When asked by Ken Bruce if Twisted Roads publisher Jack Riepe could sit on his Burgman, Zane responded with a look of horror and pain that caused Bruce to withdraw the request. Photo by Chester Heaver.

Above: Rider Floyd "X" pulls out on his BMW K1200S, a motorcycle that is fast as blazes, as stealthy as a divorce lawyer, and as cool as James Bond's martini, owing to an incredibly efficient cooling system that does not require air to fill its sails nor oil to be pumped through a 40-foot tower. We'll publish "X"s last name if someone sends it into us. Photo by Chester Heaver.

Above: This 1986 BMW K75 is a low mileage number with minor cosmetic damage (on the right crash bar - civilian version). $2500 takles it, according to Rebel (Brett), who rode in on it. The bike belongs to his son. This machine would be a great candidate for a "Sprint Fairing" or a Parabellum "Scout" Fairing. With very little effort, it could become a "signature" bike. K75 cult members are likely to snatch this bike before too long. Any interest parties should leave a comment to that effect or contact the author via email. Photo by Chester Heaver.

Above: Iconic BMW R100 with that great orange to black paint job. Photo by Chester Heaver.

About 40 riders turned out for the April 2nd, Gassing Day ride to the Quentin House, in Quentin, Pa (the junction of Rt. 419 and Rt. 72). Members of the “Air Heads” and the Mac-Pac broke bread in joint celebration of the spring. Present were Todd Byrum (the motivator behind the event), Chris Jaccarino, Ken Bruce, Bill Zane, Todd Trombore, “Floyd,” Dave Hillbrandt or Zillbrant (I can never remember this guy’s name, even though I’ve ridden with him 5 times), Jay Scales, Horst Oberst, Gerry Cavanaugh, Rebel (Brett), Marge Bush, Rich Neuman and Dave MacVaugh. And about 32 others. (Dave MacVaugh told me a great story that will run in a future blog.)

The day started out cold, with temperatures as low as 30ยบ (F) in West Chester. Bikes ran the gamut from Todd Trombore’s 1952 BMW R68 to the standard BMW GS (as personified by bikes belonging to Ken Bruce and Gerry Cavanaugh). Floyd “X” didn’t get the “antique” memo and pulled up on his K1200S, which looks like speed right out of the can. Billy Zane arrived mounted on a Suzuki Burgman Scooter. I began the day happy enough, then fell against the bathroom wall (at home) while taking a piss, when my left hip joint popped. So I opted to attend the ride in Leslie’s Subaru. I made quite an impression on Todd Byrum, who said, “Good to see you, even in a foo-foo, country club, Izod, Bonwit Teller, Chester County upscale, creative class, marble countertop, headlamp LEDs, botox injected, red carpet, PING driver set, creased trousers van. Always a pleasure.

“I don't suppose you're going to write about that for your column in the BMW Owner’s News,” Byrum concluded.

Well Todd, I’m man enough to own up to my shortcomings — and yours too.

The event drew an overwhelming response from BMW “R” bike owners, who like riding out to central Pennsylvania, where they can get an ample supply of coal for their engines. As Todd Byrum hissed at me in the parking lot, “We don’t need no stinking efficient cooling systems.”

The first burst of warm weather will also see a surge of riders rush their bikes into the shop for tune-ups, oil changes, and a hundred other things that were not properly addressed from last year. For many riders, venturing into the garage this weekend will be the first time they have laid their hands on their true love since last November. I have fallen into this category, I’m afraid, and I have made at least one or two really bad mistakes over the winter. For example, I just found the unopened bottle of fuel stabilizer I bought at Hermy’s last fall, on the work bench, where I left it, when I got distracted on my mission to pour one or two ounces of it into the gas tank — 5 months ago.

This means that the fine nylon, mesh gas screen on my new $350 genuine BMW fuel pump has been sitting in that rotten, de-stabilized, ethanol-laden shit gas for at least 5 months. Hopefully, it is not now covered with varnish and crud. My chore today, on Gassing Day 20011, is to siphon this fuel out of the tank, get the crap out of the corners, and refill it with 5 gallons of premium, high-octane, ethanol-free fuel, available at a service station in Gap, Pennsylvania. With any degree of luck, the new fuel will purge that screen and spoil the pump with the champagne taste of gas the way it should be. (Since the bike is fuel injected, with the pump on the high end — in the gas tank — none of the rotten gas will be in the system unless I start it without switching out the petrol. If the pump chirps like a bird, then I will go fucking berserk.)

My other pleasure is to remove the seat, the seat lock, the tray, the auxiliary fuse box, and motronic brain so I can get at the battery. While the battery has been on a tender all winter, with the meters reading “ strong charge,” the constant percolating may have reduced the water content in the genuine BMW lead/acid battery. This means having to get an actual look at the battery and popping the caps. Not a big deal, except for having to remove 20 different fasteners and things to get at it. Which reminds me that I have to secure the battery vent hose to it’s tiny nipple with a piece of very fine wire. (I have found it disconnected twice. Does this mean it fell off, or does it mean it was blasted off by explosive battery gases? I have no idea. But who wants battery acid dripping on anything?)

The final inspection will be to check the rig for mice. Ron Ye is my resident expert on what happens when you ride a BMW with a mouse nest among the hot parts. (His bike caught fire for this very reason.) But my real issue at the beginning of every riding season is the inspection of the tires. Going beyond checking for the correct inflation levels, I will spin the wheels in a search for hairline cracks or any funny business along the bead.

Most of my motorcycle riding buddies hate to spend an extra nickel at the dealers, if they can avoid it. And they love to wring every cent out of the normal maintenance stuff before resorting to the replacement. This is especially true with tires. With the average cost of a tire running $120 to $140, plus $50 to mount and balance it, my friends will ride them until the “wear bars” are thin too. (Depending upon the compound, some tires are shot at 4,000 while others may go three times that. And oversize tires or specialty brands can run $400 plus.) My preference is not to push the envelope, but to replace a tire immediately when the wear become obvious, or when a dramatic difference is noted in performance. Regrettably, the first dramatic change in performance may be when a tire lets go on a wet curve, blows out with a tiny piece of glass in it, or yields to dry rot.

My tire philosophy is relatively simply: When doing 95 miles per hour someplace, I do not want to worry about the thickness of the tread because I did not want to waste $11 worth of tire with a premature change of rubber. And yet I had to learn this lesson the hard way. In 2006, I inadvertently rode off to Maggie Valley, North Carolina, on tires that had more than 12,000 miles on them. Then I turned around, and rode to the BMW rally in Vermont on the same wheels. It had been 25 years since I bought tires for a motorcycle and the tread on these wheels seemed fine, if not a trifle shallow. On “Day One” of the four-day rally, Mac-Pac rider and K75 Guru Brian Curry looked at my front tire with ill-disguised alarm.

“You’re not planning on riding home on that front tire, are you?” asked Curry.

My response was the kind of look one gets from sheep or Congressmen (when campaign contributions are not at stake).

“Because the treads would be deeper if they were drawn with a Magic Marker,” said Curry. Without going into specific detail, he pointed out that the machine was carrying about 10,000 pounds... That it was being ridden hard... And between the summer heat and being slammed into bridge expansion joints, my K75’s tires were about to give their last gasp. “You must change that front tire immediately,” said Curry. “You might get another week out of the back.”

I discovered there was a tire vendor at the rally, and I sought him out directly. The gentleman had a Metzler for the front, in my size, and could put it on the next day.

“What ho,” I said, dripping with enthusiasm. I really didn’t give a shit what it cost. What I wanted was a new tire on the bike. I would have paid $300 for it.

“What time should I present myself at your tent,” I asked, with relief.

“Eight a.m.,” said this snake oil merchant.

I was there at a 7:30am... And found myself “number 11” in line. There were 8,000 riders registered for that rally event. And if one percent of them needed tires — for any reason — that meant 80 sets of tires, or 20 sets to be mounted per day. In a 12-hour day, that works out to .6 sets of tires to be mounted in a hour — by one guy and two assistants. Now this may seem doable, if you consider the straight mounting time. But then add to it the time required to remove the wheel from the bike. Not everyone routinely removes their wheels in the garage at home, and so they are not familiar with the process.

The tire vendor cheerfully assigned the ten guys before me, and myself, pick-up times. Mine was 1pm.

When I returned to get my bike 5 hours later, I was astonished to see eight of the original 11 motorcycles still in line (with tires piled against them), and six or seven guys with their wheels in their hands standing at the vendor’s truck door. The owners of the unserviced machines were justifiably disgruntled. But this was nothing compared to the looks on the faces of the riders who were on line behind me. It became apparent there was more money to be made just throwing tires on rims than in removing wheels from bikes.

The proprietor encouraged those who claimed to have a little experience to dismount tires from other patron's motorcycles waiting in line for service, allowing him to throw tires on rims for line-cutters who arrived with wheels under their arms. It was one of these well-intentioned "volunteers" who split the brake calipers on the front on my K75.

The vendor then explained to me that this was my fault for driving a bike with defective brakes, most probably a bad seal. (Remember, I was new to this.) He ranted and raved about the necessity for finding a caliper rebuild kit (closest one was in New Hampshire) or a replacement caliper assembly (closest one in New York). The vendor made a point of emphasizing his potential liability for installing tires on an unsafe motorcycle. He neglected to mention his culpability in letting anyone try their luck at pulling tires off other riders’ bikes under his aegis.

Three additional hours were spent searching vendors at the rally, and on cell phones trying to locate parts. Much of this search was conducted by friends of mine, Gerry Cavanaugh, Pete Buchheit and Chris Wolfe, who stood in various lines for 45 minutes or longer (multiple times) while attempting to locate brake parts. It was Brian Curry of the Mac-Pac who reassembled my brakes, with a vague apology from the tire vendor (which did not include any substantive offer of assistance).

Brian Curry explained to the tire vendor — in his soft, gentle manner implying that one is too fucking stupid to breathe — that the brake seals were probably still good if the "volunteer" help hadn't ripped them out removing the wheel. Suddenly, the tire vendor understood what Mr. Curry was saying, and just as suddenly, my machine seemed unlikely to need a caliper rebuild kit or a new caliper. In the meantime, hundreds of riders were now standing in line, with wheels in their hands, demanding and getting service before the folks who had made pre-arrangements. My tire was mounted on the wheel (which had been removed at 1 pm) at 6:30 pm, 11 hours after I had been told to arrive. Many of the machines that were scheduled for service and promised before noon -- along with mine that morning -- were still without tires as night fell.

I got the tire mounted on the rim as my friend Chris Wolfe refused to leave the tire vendor’s side until it the job was completed. The job was completed in the sense that the tire was inflated and balanced. Brian Curry then remounted the tire to the bike and reassembled the brake. Chris Jaccarino, another Mac-Pac member, then bled the brake mechanism and got everything up to factory spec. The tire vendor then had the balls to explain to me that he could have fixed my brakes in 10 minutes. Odd that he didn't do so. Odder still that it took two skilled guys the better part of an hour to clean the brake pads and bleed the brake lines before the unit was safe to ride.

Yet the day was not without entertainment value. The tire vendor held hundreds of conversations that afternoon: telling the fortunes of potential customers by looking at their tire treads and detailing their riding patterns; explaining in great detail his philosophy of work excellence; and awing the crowd with stories on how he changed tires the day before until 1 am in the morning. In my estimation, the guy was a total asshole and dealing with him taught me a great lesson. Going on a long ride? Make sure the tires are good enough to get you there and back — without becoming marginal for heavy use.

I do not doubt that the tire vendor worked until he dropped on each day of that rally. But the work was without organization, without a support team, and without any consideration for customers who got in line at the crack of dawn. This is not a formula for success. He may be a nice guy. He may be well-intentioned. But he was in over his head at that rally. I lost a whole day at this event, as did several of my friends (Chris Wolfe, Pete Buchheit and Gerry Cavanaugh), through beginner’s stupidity. It will never happen to me again.

I was prepared to pay a premium for getting a tire changing service under difficult circumstances. If the tire vendor had said to me, “Wheels removed from the bike will get serviced first,” any one of ten guys would have been delighted to pull that wheel off for me. And I never would have written this story if the guy had apologized, shaken my hand, and said, “How can I make this up to you?” That was his last mistake in a long chain of errors.

My bike will be out on the road this week. I spent a pleasant hour looking at the tires today. They’re fine. Too bad I can’t say the same thing about my hips and knees. Changing them out will be a bit more involved.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011 — All rights reserved.

38 comments:

Charlie6 said...

A well thought out and written review of someone who should be avoided at rallies....any hints as to a name for my reference?

Then again, I don't tend to go to rallies...

dom

Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

What a tale, Ihor said...

Good thing the event wasn't scuba diving or parachuting!!
Hope your weekend was enjoyable. When your joints get attended to, don't forget to demand the old parts for inspection and for the sake of good record keeping.
Future Show and Tell!

Chris Luhman said...

I didn't learn from personal experience like you did, but I also like to change my tires frequently. the feel of fresh tires is great. sliding is fun, but usually not desired.

I'm hoping the tourances I put on the GS will make it 10k. We'll see. I purchased tires for the other bikes over the winter at a substantial savings. Now I get to spend a day mounting and balancing. :) Takes me nearly an hour to do one. whee.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dom:

I attempted to raise bloody hell about this and ran into a dead-end 5 years ago. You can't miss this clown... His mouth runs like a 2-stroke engine and he has a nick-name associated with the darkest period in 20th-century history. No coincidence, I guess.

Like I said... It was a lesson well-learned the hard way.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

You know the stuff I carry on my bike for tires. We were tooling around Cape May with Helen, Ihor's hot squeeze, when she decided one or more of her tires needed air. (We were in her Volkswagen.)

The one place in town with an air pump had just hung the "Out of order" sign on it, when I told Helen, "Let's go back to my bike in your driveway."

I whipped out my "EZ Tire Pressure gauge, and my Cycle Pump, and had all four of her tires up to spec in nothing flat. That was my first ride to Cape May. I want to go there again, and hope Helen will invite me.

Helen is a statuesque red head who makes a man wish he had discovered a cure for cancer, an alternative energy source, or a process to creating an indefinite spring season — prior to meeting her. She once told me I am the personification of Ralph Kramden. I cried for a week.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris,

The last time I got new rubber, the mechanic went out and put 50 hard miles on the bike to get rid of the ejection mold lubricant on the tires. He said, "I don't want you to dump your fat ass on the way home from my garage."

But you are so right. There is nothing like the absolutely round feel of a new tire — after the first 50 miles. It's like the bike has rocket-assisted power steering.

Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regaerds,
Jack • Reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Nikos said...

Jack

I have spent a small fortune this winter past on caliper rebuild kits consisting mostly of piddly rubber O rings that look no different to those that they are to replace. I have probably introduced more problems than existed before but then that goon who split your calipers should win the Nikos World accolade for complete bafoonery.

The real issue with tyres of course is the shape that they have worn to. Tread is only useful in the wet.

Best wishes from somewhere North West of Stoke on Trent, N

Allen Madding said...

reep,
Another well written tale. These kinds of guys need rapped in the teeth with a tire spoon. They make me grateful for the local tire vendor. I should send them a token of my gratitude come Christmas.

Hope you've been able to ride a bit

-Peace

Steve Williams said...

Dear Mr. Riepe,

Thank you for the entertaining reminder to get good tires. I am about to have the Heidenau SnoTex tires removed and was planning to put the old tires back on. A quick look this morning revealed the wear bars almost ready to wear off on those so I think a new set of summer tires is in order.

I have to add that reading about the experience at the rally only makes me less likely to attend one. My natural avoidance of crowds is reassured when I think about the tire vendor.

Should I stay away from the BMW event in Bloomsburg and preserve my serene state of mind? Besides, a Vespa would never be welcome at a Bavarian event. Unless I bring soft pretzels and wurst.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on TWITTER

irondad said...

It's cool to have friends so willing to help. If I needed new hips and knees I'm pretty sure my friends would be eager to rip the old ones for me. Comforting, isn't it?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

My first K75 was 21-years-old when it met its demise, and it never had a caliper rebuild, even when it was accidently split at that rally. Fireballs is 16-years-old and is on the third set of front brake shoes. There is no indication of caliper wear. Maybe I'm lucky...

I am going into this season with a change of oil, and a change of transmission lubricant. Everything else is up to snuff.

Thanks for reading my blog, and thanks for leaving a comment. I hope to see you at Stoke-On-Trent this summer.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

ADK said...

Jack, He was not a nice guy. He was The Tyre Nazi, a lying, two faced, manipulative, narcassistic, arrogant, coksucking blowhard. And I would gladly have told him so had you not asked me to refrain from annoying him, lest he fuck up your bike further.

You owe me a beer.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen:

This particular tire vendor may know exactly what he is doing in a setting that is not quite the combat zone, but he was in over his head at this rally. An d I would never let this guy, nor his stooges, near my bike ever again. Now I know. My tires are replaced by my mechanic, or by one of the season riders at the Mac-Pac tire changing room. Long before my next set is due, I am going to conduct exhaustive research on what will fit a K75, and what the masses think of them.

Thanks for writing in, and for reading Twisted Roads, the motorcycle blog for bikers and naked street dancers in Rio.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad


Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve Williams (Scooter In The Sticks):

One becomes an expert on motorcycle tires damn quick... Either through a close call, an unexpected flat, or an experience like mine. I'm sure your shop would have notified you regarding thre questionable condition of your old tires.

Despite the fact that I was seriously aggravated by a twit selling tires, that BMW rally in Vermont was one of the best times I ever had, and has left me with a dozen compelling reasons to attend others.
The crowd was large, but never slow-moving, and only antsy at the tire concession.

It was like attending a family re-union in a family were none of your cousins are douches. By the way, Chris Wolfe pulled up to that rally on a 1970's Triumph, and was regarded as a conquering hero.

Showing up on your Vespa would be like arriving on a K75 as far as the guys go... Except the ride would be a lot more boring.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

The club I belong to is the civilian version of the Marine Corps. I mentioned I was fooling around with stuff in the garage the other day, and three guys rode up (separately) to make sure I didn't hurt myself.

These are the best friends I ever had (for the exception of Ihor, Chris Wolfe, and that dancer in the Amish bar).

And let me tell you, several of these Mac-Pac guys have offered to install a Jarvic 7 mechanical heart for me — in my ass.

Thanks for readinmg my blog, and for making me your lifestyle role model.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris (Wolfe):

Don't hold back... How do you really feel? You'll get that beer and a swimming pool full of rum at the next rally. And I wan t to introduce you to Steve Williams, a real party animal.

Fondest regards,
Jackl • reep • Toad

You should buy that K75, Ihor said...

,have the two then welded together with a sedan chair betwixt. Steering would be the next difficulty but corrected with imagineering.
You could get the whole rig custom painted to impress the jealous gawkers.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I spent 20 minutes in the shower scrubbing my ass today. It is really clean, so feel free to kiss it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

RichardM said...

Another good story. At the last rally, I noticed a pile of partially disassembled bikes around the tire vendors. I got the impression that they left it to you to remove and re-install the wheels. For some, their puzzled looks suggested that it was the first time they ever removed the wheels themselves. Fortunately, help was generally available.

I have been shopping for tires and there is a real limited choice in the stock inch sizes.

I would second your recommendation of the MOA rally. I went there not knowing anyone and ended up having a great time. Especially after discovering the Airhead tent. But then again, I didn't have any expectations....

Stacy said...

This is the kind of stunt that could only happen at a BMW rally. Anywhere else and this scammer would have found himself brained by a tire iron in short order.

The BMWRO Chief Joseph Rally in beautiful John Day, Oregon always has a competent tire vendor. *hint, hint* But like the MOA, the expectation is that you remove the wheels yourself. After all, isn't that why BMW bikes come with a centerstand and the best tool kit in the business?

slappy said...

I needed a front tire at the Tennessee rally. This was after asking my trusted mechanic if the front would last me there or back. Well after thrashing Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway it was looking thin. I removed the wheel in the parking lot and walked it over to the guys doing exhibitions for the No-Mar tire mounting system. This was a good way for them to show the system and make some money selling tires. They charged no labor and would not take a tip. I got a Premium tire at a good price (comparable to what you see on the internet) and no drama. All told the process took about 1 hour. So you can have good luck at rallies.

Woody said...

Dear Sir,

Did you ever wonder ...

... why you can't attach a container of distilled water to the vent tube and refill the battery?

Respectfully submitted,
Gaston "I fart in your general direction" Plante

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard:

I am often slow to come to the right conclusion, but I can follow instructions. If the tire vendor had said to me, "I can get the tire on your front rim, if you can get the wheel off the bike," I'd have had the wheel off in 15 minutes. Someone in my group would have done it, or showed me how to do it.

And if I had been around the block once or twice, I'd hasve realized that myself. But I was not alone in my thiunking. There was a long line of guys who had followed the vendor's instructions, and left their bikes.

The MOA Rally's are part classroom, part party, part ride, and part Mardi Gras. I am really looking forward to the one in Bloomsburg.

Thanks for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regqrds,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Stacy:

I deeply appreciate your stinging implication of, "You shouldn't be riding the damn thing if you can't get the wheels off." LOL :)

The most commonly used tool in my kit is a Visa Card. When something on the bike needs attention, I call, drop it off, and bang the card. This is the preferred method of repair for someone of my unusual mechanical apptitude.

However, getting the front wheel off a K75 is not rocket science. I learned how to pop the wheel off after the great tire debacle. It still requires loosening the brake calipers on their mounts, and the use of three separate tools to free the wheel.

And it is true, that using the standard BMW tool kit, you can virtually disassemble and rebuild the whole bike. Again, in my defense, the vendor never said, "Take off the wheel." He said, "Leave the bike."

My new mantra now, however, is "Make sure the tires are up to the task before rolling out of the garage." Still, that can easily change on the road. Especially if one were to pick up as nail or whale into a pothole. It happens.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Slappy:

I had great luck at the Tennessee Rally. Her name was Cheri Pie. (A charming rider agreed to show up as my legendary character, Cheri Pie, and it was hysterical.) I arrived at the Tennessee rally lloking like I had ben dragged behind a horse, but my tires looked great as they were brand new. And while the wheels were off, my mechanic said to me, "Those brakes are shot too."

And I looked at him, smiled, and replied, "Bang the card," and got new brakes too.

That was a great tip you offered and one I will not forget.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gaston:

I have indeed pondered that question, along with, "What is your favorite color?" Now I must go forth and find a shrubber.

Sincerely,
The Knights Who Say "Nee."

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
Sorry I couldn't have made it over last week to assist in shoving that Jarvi 7, a torque wrench, or motolites up your ass; I would have brought the lubricants and sand. We were otherwise occupied housesitting with three teenagers, two smelly dogs, and a dying cat. I remember your experience with the tire vendor at the rally. That was before you and I started riding together and before I knew you as well as I do now. I thought you demonstrated exceptional composure by not killing him; as a matter of fact your demeanor at the time is probably why I feel safe riding with you. Let's try to do that this week.....I mean ride, not kill tire guys.

Conchscooter said...

Where I come from we call people who take off on trips with no rubber on their tires, let me see, douche bags - is it?
Remember your roots and consider the parable about the money changers in the temple, my son.

bobskoot said...

Mr Jack r:

I went to a Rally a few years ago and they had a tire vendor there giving great deals on tires. You ordered them before the Rally and he would bring them there to install. They had lots of bikes there blocked up waiting for tires to be installed. Never heard any complaints from anyone.

I like your idea of "banging the card" . Perhaps you should send me your card and I'll let you know how it worked out

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

How big was the rally you attended? I wasn't kidding when I said there were more than 8,000 riders present at the Burlington Rally. And the one percent figure looking for tires was probably conservative. I have an idea that more than half the tires sold for the run were impulse purchases. And many were probably purchased on contingency.

I would never expect to "re-tire" at an event like that, without making specific arrangements. And like I said, I'll have new tires on my bike when I ride into an event like that. I wouldn't want to waste an hour of rally time standing on line — for anything. And that includes a shower too.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Lady Ridesalot said...

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but having been to several rallies myself... I've come to a few conclusions.

There are two things I would never, never do at a rally. (If I can help it)
1) Service work of ANY kind. It's a rally, not a garage.
2) Get a tattoo.

In my simple mind, either of these could put my life at risk if not done properly.

I like to go to rallies for two reasons... revelry and debauchery. Recess for adults!

(BTW... I halfway expected a scathing retort to my answering comment on my Dear Diary post. I figured you must be busy... or asleep.) Have a nice day Mr. Riepe.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lady Ridesalot (The State Flower Of Alabama):

All good points... And again, I must emphasize, I thought the damn tire was okay. We live ((sometimes) and learm. The BMW MOA group (one of the most influentisal and kindly BMW associations in the country) does have a very good facility for changing oil at the rally, as many riders may have pushed the envelope riding from the rings of Saturn to get there.

And I did leave a rather informative and pleasant respponse to your "Dear Diary" post. I just assumed you opted to ignore it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad


But all other maintenance — especially tires — is bes performerd by your mechanic of record, barring unforeseen circumstances.

I do think tattoos can be a plus at a rally. I must conferss I like tramp stamps and would like to see thm become US postage. (I could lick those all day.) I have noticed that women with great tramp stamps never tell me to kiss their ass. They wouldn't have to say it twice. (In Bobskoot's land of paradise, they'd have to repeat it in French.)

Doc Rogers said...

Dear Jack,

Sorry to hear of your experience with the tire vender. Hot tar, lice-ridden feathers, and a stout rail should cure what ails him.

I just recently found your blog as well as the wonderful articles in BMW ON. I look forward to each and every one.

When you next find yourself near MM90 on the Blue Ridge Parkway (e.g. Peaks of Otter area), let me know. I will furnish Cigars & Liquid Tonic of your choosing.

Take care,
Doc Rogers
'77 R100S

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Doc Rogers:

Aren't you kind! I have a special piece about the Blue Ridge Patkway running in the May issue of the Owner's News.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

PS: What kind of "Doc" are you? I have a great cardiologist who I'll be riding with this weekend. But if you're a research surgeon specializing in hips made of cast iron, I could schedule a trip to the Peaks of Ottar sooner than later.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Shannon Baker said...

There is an event/location at many bike rallies called a burnout pit. Riders with too much testosterone and alcohol in them bring their bikes up and, usually on a metal plate, proceed to spin the back tire until it smokes.

Crowds of people watch and cheer these fellows on. Sometime women flash them to further encourage them. Such displays frequently end with a loud pop and the rear tire explodes generally doing significant damage to the rear of the bike. This is in addition to the damage to the engines and drive train that is part and parcel to this exhibition of bravado.

My favorite moment standing around said pit was at a small rally way out beyond civilization with few vendors in attendance. None sold or mounted tires. Upon waving cheap, Chinese-made lead trophy in the air to celebrate "winning" the burnout contest his buddy leaned in and asked "how are you gonna get home now?"

Like in the credit card commercials, the look on the winners face was...priceless.

Hang in there

-Buddha

Doc Rogers said...

Hey Jack,

You inquired as to the type of "Doc" I am. Sadly, not the type that deals in hip replacements. No, the PhD/PE is in mining and geological engineering, so mines, tunnels, shafts, rock testing, rock blasting, rock reinforcement, etc. The moniker "Doc" was given to me years ago from friends while hunting in Wyoming due to my (in their view) southern accent and propensity for shooting things with reasonably large bore pistols and rifles. But hey, not to fear, I have a swiss army knife, duct tape, a bottle or two of small-batch bourbon, and a bandaid. I helped neuter a cat once, I ride an older R-bike, and if memory serves I have stayed at a Holdiday Inn Express, so a hip replacement should go pretty quick. I would gather that some of your "buddies" from the Mac-Pac would probably assist as well. I don't know why visions of the movies "Mr. Roberts" & "Ensign Pulver" and marbles come to mind now ... it escapes me. Look forward to your article on the Blue Ridge Parkway along with future blogs! Take care, Doc p.s. starting to save marbles now, just in case

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