Rust Never Sleeps

12 January, 2006 29 degrees F

Am I being sucked into an ambush? This was my thought as I rode, yet again, out onto the unseasonably dry roads for my daily commute. This is too easy! Here I was braced for a challenge, and old man winter seems to have taken a vacation elsewhere. It’s just not right!

Is the wily old bastard taunting me? Is he waiting for a day when I might cheat, and leave a layer or two of riding gear in the closet? I don’t think so. As so many people have reminded me lately: It’s not always about me.

I don’t know what to make of all the media reports about global warming. But if the weather here in Minnesota lately is any indicator, there must be something to that theory. The jet stream is remarkably stable right now, bringing relatively warm air and high pressure right over the part of the country where the Baron and I operate. This is not helping me come up with new topics for this blog!

Yesterday, I was going to report on all the corrosion I found in the nooks and crannies of the Baron. Here again, I was let down. All the frame tubes and structural members are painted with a resilient black coating. No rust there. The untreated aluminum of the engine cases and valve cover have grown a fuzzy white coating of aluminum corrosion. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a decent photograph of it, because of their location and lack of lighting, and it wasn’t really very dramatic anyway. I cleaned the portions I could reach with a brush, and sprayed them down with Boeshield. Hopefully, that will take care of them.

I did notice that the ground for the battery and electrical system was starting to rust, but again, it was in an inaccessible location for photographs. I pulled that loose, cleaned it up, and sprayed it with Boeshield. Hopefully that will take care of it. If not, I will resort to old, reliable axle grease.

The thing is, I am going to have to totally dismantle this scooter come Springtime in order to fully assess the damage caused by salt corrosion. I know it’s there somewhere. But I don’t have the room to do this in my garage right now, and there is too much snow on the driveway to spread all the body parts, screws, and clips everywhere in such a manner as to reassemble them again. All I can do is make sure I coat everything as well as possible, and tighten all crucial fasteners regularly.

But let’s go back to the ambush scenario… What if all my brash bellowing has aroused some kind of karmic backlash? Maybe Old Man Winter is allowing me to wear my Kenda knobbies thin on our dry pavement, just before he nails us with a month-long blizzard of heavy snow and freezing cold. I had better call my Kenda reps, to see if they can locate replacements for these excellent tires. I may well need them.

8 Responses to “Rust Never Sleeps”

  1. Nick Says:

    Howdy GC,
    I’m thinking all this talk about Old Man Winter being too easy will definately wake him from his slumber. Frankly I think global warming is real; yeah there will always be warmer than usually days, but such a high percentage of record breaking years for average highs makes me wonder. I do believe there is some cyclical pattern to weather but when I think of all the cities, with all its people, driving all those vehicles belching out all the clouds of smog, it must make some differance.
    Anyways on a lighter note, I did talk to you at the ICD. I’m thinking you should continue the BackRoads Diaries. It was the first article I’d read in the MMM. As far as the I-Cycle Derby is concerned, next year I’ll try to crash less. Maybe tipping the bike helped dislodge the road salt from the KLR’s moving parts. I may have to invest in the Boeshield.
    Keep Riding, Nick

  2. Mad Says:

    Winter’s letting me down too. We were promised a proper old school winter by the weather people and frankly they’ve let me down. I haven’t even seen that much frost let alone snow. How can we look like proper hard bikers in such a mild season?

  3. Dan Says:

    Gary, just curious about how many miles the Baron has on it at this time. I remember you changing the drive belt and wonder if you think it was a necessary procedure. Don’t try to second guess the weather, just enjoy it while you can. Dan

  4. mnscooter Says:

    Hi Nick,

    You might try Pam cooking spray as an economical alternative first. Victor Wanchena rides a Ural sidehack outfit all winter, and he told me he switched from Boeshield to Pam because it works, and is quite a bit cheaper. I wonder if that comes in garlic flavor…

    Mad, I’m afraid the whole “proper hard biker” image is scuttled by my choice of ride. On the Baron, I’m just a looney masochist in most people’s eyes.

    Hi Dan,

    The Baron has roughly 3,500 miles on him right now. We changed the drive belt at something like 2,500 miles, and there was nothing wrong with it. You could see wear along the edges, but that’s normal.

    So, you’re telling me to relax and just enjoy my good fortune? What a novel concept! Why, that would be irresponsible, wouldn’t it? You’re right, of course. It would be nice to lighten the tone a bit.

    I’m getting a good nights sleep, starting in about fifteen minutes, and I will blog about Friday the 13th in the morning.

    Ride well,

  5. Mad Says:

    Hah! Yeah it’s hard to look rufti-tufti on a scooter.

  6. Steve Miya-blah-blah Says:

    winter rides are meant to be, or should be, disposable. Rust will have it’s way.

    Beyond that? Keep the rubber down. Don’t hesitate to do a physical inventory if you find yourself standing dazed, a downed and idling mount, hopefully some where close at hand.

    Enjoy the grey days.

    Sleazing my way through this winter in SE WI in a “cage”,
    Steve M.

  7. Mike Says:

    Maybe, just maybe, the daily routine of driving to work by car, truck, suv had become so mundane that these normal winter days passed unnoticed, leaving only the truly horrid weather to memory. But now, having escaped the steel cage, you are much more a part of the weather, aware of every day, not just the bad ones….

  8. Dan Jones Says:

    Hi Gary.

    About stripping down the bike when nice weather arrives… I’m not the kind of guy who can take something apart and remember how to get it all back together again. A trick I use to make sure everything goes back to where it came from is to use my digital camera to shoot each step of the disassembly. Just follow the sequence backwards to make sure it all goes together in the proper order. Also helps me figure out where that last leftover piece is supposed to go.

    Of course if your fingers are all greasy perhaps you should have a friend or partner handle the camera.

    Another advantage to using Pam is that the bugs that splat on the cylinder head will be fried up properly with no messy clean up.

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