Milestone Maintenance

As of this morning, the Baron and I have clocked over 6,000 kilometers of winter riding together. Since winter is about half over, I consider this a milestone. We have commuted together every workday this winter, except for that one day when I had to return the rental SUV I used for the long audit trip to South Dakota. We have never missed a day due to weather or mechanical issues. Not bad for a machine the “traditional scooter community” said would fall apart underneath me.

Today he is going into the Baron HQ shop to get a thorough “physical” and see if they can figure out the cold-start problem. It’s also time for his first valve check and another oil change. I was going to ride him over there, but when I pulled into the lot at work this morning, the rear end felt “squishy”. Upon inspection, I found a small piece of metal embedded in my flat rear tire. So I called up my trusty Baron pitcrew, and they are going to send an ambulance. (Funny, but it looks exactly like Lorne’s truck!)

I’m still sick myself. The virus, or whatever it is, has settled in my left ear. It’s been decades since I had an earache, but it hurts every bit as much as I remember. If I’m not over this by Friday, perhaps I’ll take off early from work and get some maintenance done on myself.

That’s it for today. This blog will get better again when I do…

10 Responses to “Milestone Maintenance”

  1. Steve Williams Says:

    Aside from the fact that what you are doing is pretty amazing, your BLOG project is as well—despite how you feel. I also understand your comments about the “traditional” scooter community’s reaction to your scooter. Being a Vespa owner I have more than once seen it in action. The Vespa is a nice scooter but…..

    So your tire just sort of went squishy….? My only concern riding is a blowout that will send me hurling through the air in a slow motion manner right out of Casino. Does that ever happen or do they just go flat?

    This is a help site right?

    Good luck with the next 6000KM.


  2. Andrew Onan Says:

    I had to leave my bike at the university during winter break in a cover and under a tree, and when I came back I was astonished to see what I did. My bike is an ‘82, so any weaknesses that it had before I left, such as chipped paint and such, turned instantly into bright orange rust. Right now since the weather is so crappy and I’m waiting for a new brake lever, I’m taking parts off to sand and repaint them. The weather around here in upstate new york has definitely worn on my machine a bit.

    Hope you get better!

  3. Bill Sommers Says:

    Gary, I went through the earache hassle a couple of weeks ago. Like you, it was the first time since I was a kid that I had one. So I went to the local clinic, and sat there for 2 1/2 hours before a really huge, loud woman told me to come on back. She dug around in my ear like she was looking for keys in the bottom of her purse, then decided to “flush it out” so she could get an idea what was wrong. I watched as she ran hot tap water into a plastic container, then walked over and told me to tilt my head and hold this tupperware bowl under my ear. She then poured some hydrogen peroxzide into the steaming container and lifted it up to my head.
    I knew that I should have yelled “I’M WELL” and run out, but she started pouring, so I just yelled without words. She stuck her pumpkin sized face right in front of me and asked if it was too hot. Now, I’m 47 years old, but I had some child sized tears in my eyes because, as far as I know, you shouldn’t have hot, fizzing water inside your head.
    She cleaned me out, then sent me back to work telling me that “I should be feeling better soon”. And I did, so I felt like I could relate a bit to what you might be feeling. Anyway, I hope you feel better soon. Have fun…Bill

  4. mnscooter Says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I feel like I’m letting folks down if I’m not finding something wonderful to write about every day.

    I’ve had flat tires happen on all manner of motorbikes, and I can tell you that it is almost always a manageable situation. You just have to remember a few basic rules.

    The sort of blowout that you describe can only happen at speeds over about 60 mph. Even then, if the rider remains calm and figures out which tire has failed, the next actions taken can still save the day. If you know for sure it is the rear tire, then gently applying the front brake can bring things to a stop in a controlled manner.

    However, if it is the front tire going flat, then the only way to stay alive is to ride a wheelie to the next motorcycle shop… er, no, that’s not right…

    With the front tire going flat, you must be very careful to coast down gradually and try to steer for the side of the road, out of traffic. No brakes, unless it is absolutely unavoidable.

    The tires on the Baron have a very stiff sidewall on 13-inch rims, so I could have had that flat tire for a couple blocks and not noticed. I suspect this is the same on most other scooter tires, but I can’t claim to know for sure. Kenda really did set me up with some great rubber.

    I hope this helps. Don’t be afraid of flat tires on a scooter. Just remember to take careful, controlled action if it happens.

    Ride well,

  5. irondad Says:

    mnscooter wrote: I feel like I’m letting folks down if I’m not finding something wonderful to write about every day.

    I know the feeling. You said it would get harder as time goes on. It does. Right now there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of things to write about but I wonder if it is just drivel. Do folks really care to read the mundane with a little humor thrown in? Or do I try to be “hard hitting” and slightly controversial once in a while. Especially considering that you have been at this a while and I still look forward to the next installment you have it down. Awesome job! Hope you ear gets better REAL soon. Nothing like a chronic pain to zap the enthusiasm.


  6. Kurt Layman Says:

    Ear ache? Have you tried the Layman’s guarantied TWO HAT method to attain healthy happiness?

    Put a hat at the end of your bed. Get in bed and drink a bottle of good single malt scotch until you see two hats. Sleep. Repeat as needed until desired results are obtained.

    Do not operate motorized equipment during treatment.

    Good health and good riding!

  7. mnscooter Says:

    Hah! TWO HAT method… That sounds suspiciously like my “Poor Man’s Chemotherapy”. Of course, your Two Hat method uses single malt, and so must be a bit easier on the old organism.

    Poor Man’s Chemo is essentially the same sort of treatment, except there are no visual cues to limit the dosage, and the medicine is whatever you can get on sale down at Boozemart.

    You drink until you kill all the germs, then wish you were dead, and then slowly, you get better. This is a method of last resort, after all conventional remedies have failed.

    I like yours better. It seems more…civilized.

    Ride well,

  8. Mad Says:

    Bill that made me laugh! Took me back to when I had an ear infection in Malaysia. I was on a tiny little island in the middle of nowhere and I’d been doing loads of diving and snorkeling. No one had told me there was little critter in the water there that causes ear infections and I got the mother of all ear infections. I was in agony and it was an island with little or no medical facilities. So this hippy decides to “help me out” he poured clove oil in my ear… end result? Stuck on a tiny island with a sore smelly ear instead of a merely sore ear.

  9. David Eakin Says:

    “I feel like I’m letting folks down if I’m not finding something wonderful to write about every day.”
    I love reading well-written travel stories (e.g., “Blue Highways”). It is not so much what is being described as it is the talent of the writer to send my imagination to the same place as the author’s. You do that. Get well and fight the discouragement that this season (and the flu) brings on.

  10. Jim C. Says:

    Hey Gary, you may wish to be a bit careful if you have an earache. They can adversely affect sense of balance, and you wouldn’t want that to happen during your ride.

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