France in the USA

Great little video from Gary France explaining the background to his USA motorcycle trip and his subsequent book.

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Chain maintenance on the road

I bought this device called a PackJack to make chain maintenance easier when away on tour. Our usual routine has been to get a couple of guys and man handle the bike levering the back wheel into the air, using the side stand as a pivot. The third person then sprays on the chain lube.

The PackJack is a small temporary stand that eliminates the “two guys”, and lifts the rear wheel a couple of centimetres so that it can be rotated to apply the chain spray. It’s  simple, really well made and comes with a small carry sack (pictured).  I stress that I purchased this with my own money and did not receive any price reduction incentive to post here. The postage cost from Canada is a bit of a killer at $20 CAD and brings the total cost to around $50 delivered to Aust – which is pretty pricey.

Here are some pics.


 

 

 

 

Here’s a LINK to the PackJack website with some video. For some reason I can’t embed any video on my blog at present. When I release the stand, my PackJack doesn’t just fold back as in the video – mine typically just falls over or flys off a bit. However, I’m guessing that this is a function of releasing the lift on such a heavy (250 kilogram) bike.

I emailed Greg from PackJack with a couple of questions about the stand before I purchased it and experienced prompt, friendly communication which made the online transaction easy and personal.

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It wasn’t like they said …..

Fog then fine and sunny was the forecast. Well, not where we went, though we started in sunshine. It lasted about 10 mins then we rode in fog for 20 min. After that it was overcast, then drizzly, then foggy and drizzly, then sunny, then raining! The whole time it remained a sunny winter’s day in Geelong – just as forecast!

We had a great ride nevertheless.375 kms is pretty good for a winter’s day in these parts. Our route – Geelong to Timboon via Colac. Timboon to Apollo Bay via Port Campbell, the 12 Apostles and Lavers Hill – some of that GOR leg was in fog and drizzle.

Timboon – they make stuff in this

But Mitch bought this …. Actually it was only 11.00am, so we all had hot chocolates to drink

 

Some fans. Marty’s relieved to have some respite! “She could talk under wet cement” is the phrase that comes to mind!

 

She’s still talking! …..get those earplugs in Mitch!

 

Apollo Bay for lunch

 

A ’57 I think. It sounded so sweet. A sensational V8 rumble as they took off.

 

Mitch headed home via the GOR, Marty and I went visiting, then headed home via Forrest with a stop at the brewery, though nothing but hot chocolates passed our lips. Despite some wet roads and less than ideal conditions, we had a sensational day of riding.

Lorne for coffee

It was a chilly 5C this morning, however, the bright sunshine and promise of warmer temps along the coast lured us out for a short ride along the GOR to Lorne, then home via Deans Marsh.

We sat out in the sunshine at a Greek cafe right by the pier.

Helmets by the bay!

As we were leaving a guy offered to take a shot of us by the ZX14

It got cloudy and cool as we wound our way up through the bush and the curves to Deans Marsh. We overtook a couple two up on a sport bike who were going extremely cautiously – I’m sure the bike’s stability was not helped by how high up the pillion was perched. As we came up behind them I actually thought the lass on the back was standing up as she was literally head and shoulders above the rider.Once we hit the Cape Otway Rd the sun came out and we enjoyed a good run home.

A familiar voice …..and flying Squirrels

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a drive to Lorne for a coffee. After a bit of procrastinating we decided not to ride the ZX14 and drove the car as the weather forecast was fairly grim. As we pulled into town I spotted a bunch of historic motorcycles parked,and I mean really, really old bikes. Naturally we pulled in to have a look and as I walked towards them to take a couple of pics, I heard a very familiar voice – it was that of my boyhood motorcycling mentor (and hero) Tom Kingston (TK).

Tom was my Dad’s boss, and friend, when I was a young lad in my teens and he encouraged my pre-existing interest in motorcycles. To a young ‘fella he was extremely charismatic and raced motocross (scrambles in those days) and was a highly competitive club road racer as well. Actions speak louder than words, and Tom coached me in riding technique around our huge backyard on his then brand new Yamaha CT1, and even succeeded in charming my very anti-motorcycle Mum into permitting it! Later I recall accompanying him to a road race meeting that he was competing in and I was given the thrill of my young life as Tom let me ride his XS1 650 Yamaha race bike through the pits. I recall blipping it far more than necessary to make sure that everyone could hear the glorious sound from its megaphone exhausts (and see me of course!). I guess I was around 15 or 16 years of age at the time. I’m guessing that these reminiscences sound a little self indulgent, however, I can see those events in my mind as clearly as though it was yesterday.

Anyway, although a huge fan of Japanese motorcycles, TK has spent the last few years restoring a 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel. When I last saw this bike 4 years ago it was a pile of rusty bits that I thought were completely beyond restoration. What has been achieved with this restoration is a great credit to TK. He is a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of Australia. All bikes must be pre Dec 31st 1930.

Tom with his Scott

Exposed valve gear on this 1920’s motorcycle. I’m not sure what bran it is, but TK told me is was a late 1920’s model.

Another Flying Squirrel . There were 1928,1929 & 1930 models represented in the group!

A lesson that TK taught me around 40 years ago was that good motorcycle control was achieved by getting your feet up on the pegs as soon as moving and looking ahead. Control of the motorcycle was characterised by little need to ‘dab’ once moving. Now take a look at the following video clip, keep in mind that Tom is 73 years of age, riding a hand gear change vintage motorcycle, and note the bike control – even whilst giving way at the roundabout.

Tom aboard the 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel

These guys must have ridden from Lorne up through the twisties to Deans Marsh and then back towards Geelong on the Cape Otway Road. We chanced upon them later in the afternoon and Mrs T took a few shots from the car window.

Keep in mind that these enthusiasts were out riding 70 & 80 plus year old motorcycles in 10C-13C temps, shame on us for taking the comfort of the car!

Some more high resolution pics HERE