The Baron at Christmas

22 December, 2005 Temperature: 21 to 39 degrees

The old café racer bared his fangs this morning, when I took the Baron out onto snow-free roads for the first time in weeks. Not totally ice-free, mind you, but close enough. I had ridden this very route last night, at twenty degrees, and I knew the road conditions well. We made good time, and had a great time doing it.

I slid through sandy corners on East River Road in the time-honored flat track style, one foot draggin’ the ground, and the bike sliding sideways in places. On a scooter, fer cryin’ out loud! This was Serious Fun.

Traffic was absent this morning. It was very early, and I’m sure lots of folks had burned up some vacation time to extend their Christmas holiday. We railed through the darkness in glorious solitude, and made it to work in less than an hour.

The workday was very casual. Those of us who actually showed up had little to do but plan for the weeks after the holiday season. Time dragged, but the sunshine and soaring temperatures raised my spirits as the day wore on. At lunch time, I grabbed a bucket of warm water and a brush, and went out in the parking lot to wash the Baron. This was his first bath in a month, and he really needed it. Dirty brown slush clung to all bottom surfaces and leading edges. I got rid of all that. We were going over to Baron Motorcycles HQ after work for a drive-belt change and a bit of a tune-up, so I wanted him to be presentable.

After work, I picked up a six-pack of holiday cheer for my Baron pit-crew. We arrived at the warehouse, and I played Santa Claus, while they put the Baron up on a stand for his 3,500 km checkup. Crew chief Lorne changed out the drive belt, cleaned the cooling vent, and went over all major systems while I watched and learned. Then it was time to go home.

I will be taking the holiday off from this blog, and spending some time with my family. This is long overdue. When I return on Tuesday, I will tell you about my Christmas scootering adventures. Happy Holidays, everybody!

11 Responses to “The Baron at Christmas”

  1. Tiff Says:

    Indeed, happy holidays. I’m riding home myself this afternoon, no doubt id’ll be 120 miles of queuing traffic, all of which I’ll sail past making “baa, baa” noises. In the past, if the queue’s particularly long, I’ve been known to pull up alongside a random car, tap on the window, and ask the driver how he’s enjoying the queue. Yes, I am evil…….

  2. Mad Says:

    Merry Christmas!

    Tiff that is truly evil (I may try it myself one day…)

    What condition was your drive belt in? The transmission/drive belt was the area of weakness on my Gilera scooter. I knackered the variator so many times I could change it with my eyes open. I guess it was my fault for reving the nuts off it with the brakes on full to get extra quick get-aways from the lights.

  3. Convict Says:

    Merry Christmas. Bout time I cleaned my bike too, it’s changed from blue to sludgy grey.

    Tiff that is excellent, I’ll definitely be using that one.

  4. Mad Says:

    I suspect I meant “eyes closed”

  5. Dave Eakin Says:

    Gary, Merry Christmas to you and yours too! An item that may be of interest to you was listed in the Dec ‘05 edition of Motorcycle Consumer News as one of LT’s picks in their Holiday Buyer’s Guide - Boeshield T-9 Rust and Corrosion Protection (http://www.theruststore.com/Boeshield-T-9-12-oz-Aerosol-P3C4.aspx).
    Their description - “Boeshield T-9 was designed by Boeing Aviation as a corrosion inhibitor for aircraft components. Through licensing, this product is available to consumers and businesses. Boeshield T-9 is a combination of solvents, lubricants and waxes designed for penetration, moisture displacement, lubrication and protection.

    Boeshield T-9 dries to a thin waxy film that clings to metal. Because it adheres to metal so well, it works directly on exposed metal surfaces. The product can be used in two ways to prevent rust.

    A thicker coating works in places where additional protection is helpful such as on hinges, chains, undercarriages, cables and on items put into storage. To apply a thicker coating, just spray it on and leave it.

    A thin coating works well when direct contact is made with the surface such as on cast iron table tops, garden tools and other hand tools. To use a thin coating just spray it on and use a rag to remove the excess. Applications of T-9 every few months maintains the rust inhibiting barrier.

    Unlike some sprays, it is safe on paint, plastics and vinyl. As an added benefit it will also loosen rusty and corroded parts.” Sounds a lot better than the WD-40 you are currently using to keep salt-inspired rust at bay.

  6. Steve Williams Says:

    Washed my Vespa after the ride yesterday. It’s nice and clean and now I don’t want to get it dirty. Too much to do today to get ready for our Christmas Eve party tonight. The scooter will probably rest until Monday.

    Season’s Greetings and Merry Christmas.

    steve

  7. Laurence Says:

    Well, as a husband and father I’m glad to see you’re taking some down time w/family. Merry Christmas from the GWN! (15 degrees C in Vancouver BC yesterday - a record for the date, and we thank George Bush for our good fortune…)

  8. mnscooter Says:

    Yes, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas to all.

    Our Holiday celebration was grand, and my girls have some new adventures to look forward to come Spring.

    My little brother got to ride the Baron, and he was greatly impressed.

    My daughter got spoilt, as she does every year.

    And my favorite author acknowledged my existence, which is the very best present a writer can wish for. So all is right with the world in these waning days of 2005.

    Ride well everybody,
    =gc=

  9. Bob Jackson Says:

    Seasons Greetings. How come they changed the belt after 3,500km? Just curious, was it a Gates belt?
    Keep the rubber side down,
    Bob

  10. mnscooter Says:

    Hello Bob,

    This was just a checkup, really. They recommend checking belts at 4,000 km. Yes, it was a Gates belt. The original belt showed some wear, but was otherwise in good shape. But since they went through the trouble of removing the cover, they changed it out.

    Remember, this scooter is seeing hard use in a hostile environment. Since Baron is one of my sponsors, they make sure that maintenance issues are taken care of. This is a new experience for me, as I have always done my own maintenance on my bikes, but a guy could get used to this…

    I’m not sure what other twist-and-go type scooter manufacturers recommend for belt-check intervals, but I do know that the Baron crew are being extra cautious with this project.

    Thanks for writing.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  11. Bob Jackson Says:

    Thanks for the quick response to my questions. My manual for my Bandit DC150z has no check marks at any milage for the belt. I have replaced my Gates with a Polini kevlar belt for my own peace of mind. There was nothing wrong with the Gates since it only had 500km on it. I am going to rearrange that breather on the cover and put a Uni filter on it.

    Thanks again,

    Bob

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