Maintenance Stand-Down

12 November, 2005 Temperatures in the 40-60 range.

Maintenance Stand-Down is an old custom in military aviation, where you take a day or two to fix up the aircraft after a particularly intense operational cycle. Having completed my first week of commuting and the break-in mileage, I took some time out today for an oil change and general going-over of the Red Baron in preparation for next week’s nasty weather.

The first thing I did was to remove that nice carpet on the deck. While luxurious and aesthically pleasing in nice weather, I didn’t want to expose it to the mud and gunk which will be prevalent next week. That little rug is now hanging in the garage, waiting for spring and the transfer of ownership to my girls. This is the first step in converting the Red Baron to full-on tactical mode for winter.

After changing the oil, I pulled the trapdoor over the battery compartment and wired up my Aerostich Quick Connect 2 wiring harness. Here I found a bonus: the connector on my Battery Tender will fit right into the plug for the vest, and hopefully I can recharge my battery through that without removing it from the scooter. This looks promising, as it will eliminate the need to pull the trapdoor whenever I need to charge the battery.

After I got everything buttoned back up, I took the Red Baron out for a test ride. Two blocks from my house, I was pulled over by a West Saint Paul squad car. I don’t have my license plate yet, and the 21-day permit is in my wallet. I showed this to the nice officer, and he dutifully ran my license. When he came back, I asked him to drive ahead of me at the 30mph speed limit so I could get a calibration read on the speedometer. I followed him down the road, matching his speed exactly, and when he reached 30, he flashed his brake lights. I glanced down at the Baron’s speedo, and it read 43mph. Well, I guess that qualifies as “wildly optimistic”. At least I have a datum point now to gauge my true speed on the road. I can’t wait to check this with a GPS.

So, I have done everything I can to prepare for the bad weather coming next week. This brings us to a “Good News/Bad News” situation. The good news: Kenda USA have agreed to sponsor me for a set of their K761 knobbies, and Bob’s Cycle Supply is going to mount them for me. The bad news: They don’t have any in their warehouse, and it may take a couple of weeks to get them here. I am going to have to be very careful not to get stuck in an untenable situation if the snow accumulates on the road.

Some guys go to the ends of the Earth to find adventure on two wheels. All I have to do is ride out of my driveway during an unfriendly season. I’m such a lucky guy….

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