So a couple of weeks ago my friend Levi posted a picture on Facebook of a 71 CB 450 that he had just picked up at the magical place where Levi finds his bikes. This place is a mystery to all but Levi but wherever it may be it seems to be a veritable font of interesting 2 wheeled machines. I expressed my interest in purchasing the Honda, you see I owned a CB 450 in my tender youth and I’ve always wanted another. Levi got the beast running then in usual Levi fashion he decided to sell it. I bought it and thus begins the saga. I drove to Levi’s, he fired it up for me, then after 10 seconds of negotiation where I believed I paid too much and Levi believed he got screwed, we loaded the Honda in the truck and I was headed home with my prize. Prize? Hmm interesting choice of words. After blasting up and down my street a couple times (much to the annoyance of my neighbors. Straight pipes on a Honda twin are loud as hell) I parked the CB in the garage, put it on the lift and began the process of “fixin her up” and ordering cool parts. As soon as I pulled the tank and seat I realized the project was going to be a lot more expensive and time consuming than I originally thought. For starters the wiring looked like it was cobbled together by a meth head with a hard on for zip ties and electrical tape. I then made the fateful decision to rewire the entire bike. I stripped out all of the old electrical to clear the way for a Motogadget m unit then did some cutting and grinding on the frame for a more “Cafe” style look as the bike really was too much of a mess for a good restoration project anyway. I also purchased a new seat that has a seat pan that will fit exactly as the original (hinged in back on the K4) as well as a few other goodies.
That’s about it for now concerning the current project but stay tuned loyal readers. There will be more exciting installments to come.
Well I’ve finally gone and done it. Crashed my Ural. Its not a total loss, mostly sheet metal damage but it will be getting a new sidecar body and sidecar fender. I wish I could blame the unfortunate mishap on some idiot in a Prius, Road debris, or even a blind goat escaped from a local farm and seeking to end its miserable existence by standing on the center line of a busy road and desperately hoping for the sweet embrace of death by automobile. But alas no. This accident was caused by one of the most infamous of all motorcycling hazards. The extreme unbridled stupidity of the the rider himself. Yep, you guessed it…Me.
It all started with a beautiful sunny day. The warrior goddess and I attended the Rat Patrol spring opener in Georgetown (an area south of downtown Seattle) where much fun was had checking out the classic cars and bikes lining the street along airport way, listening to great live music, and of course great food and drink. I even got the Tshirt. When we decided to leave we departed in classic Sidecar Mark fashion and flew the chair all the way down the block with my trusty monkey waving to the appreciative onlookers. I admit it. I’m a show off but dang if the people didn’t just love it.
We stopped for lunch at Local public house near home for a quick lunch al fresco and then it was time to head home to relax and reflect on a great day. This is where it went horribly wrong. On a road approaching our neighborhood I noticed some kids on the side of the road. As I approached I decided to do a bit more showing off. I pulled in the clutch, revved the engine and prepared to impress my new audience with my incredible sidecar driving skills. Too much throttle, too rapid of a clutch lever release and OH SHIT. Boris launched to the right so violently that it launched me out of the saddle like a Kevlar clad, helmeted, human cannonball. Of course since the goddess and I ride using a Sena communications system I was treated to the sound of my terrified wife screaming my name while she in turn was treated to the sound of my body bouncing and rolling across the pavement. All clearly heard on our helmet speakers in wonderful stereophonic sound.
After doing my best stuntman street roll and slide. I looked up and realized the most terrifying part of the ordeal was still playing out. The rig was still rolling merrily along with my wife sitting helpless in the sidecar. Holy fuckballs this was not good. I then began my sprint after the rig. I love my wife dearly so I’m pretty sure even Usain Bolt would have been impressed with the speed the middle aged retard achieved that day. I was like a fuckin Weight Watchers Cheetah running down that street.
Fortunately the Warrior Goddess is cool under pressure and reached up and grabbed the front brake to bring the bike to a stop. Pretty impressive for someone that doesn’t even ride. She walked away with nothing but a bruise on the leg. Thank god. I would rather dive head first in to a wood chipper than cause harm to my beautiful and brave wife. I walked away with bruises pretty much everywhere and a decent sized hunk of meat off of my left hand where my piece of shit Joe Rocket glove failed. Yes I said “failed” because it was a seam on the glove that failed not friction damage. We were lucky and are okay which is the most important part of this story.
Boris however made contact with the guard rail before coming to a stop. My insurance company wouldn’t let me do the work on the rig because I owe money on the loan the rig was purchased with so it was off to the shop with Boris to get a new sidecar body and fender. Which brings up another shitty aspect to this debacle. There are no olive drab sidecar bodies in the United States. This means it has to come from Russia, more accurately FUCKING SIBERIA! I was told by the dealer it would take two months to get here. My guess is some guy named Sergei has to hammer it together, then put it on a big ass six wheel drive truck across the Siberian tundra to an airport where it will be placed on a sketchy Russian aircraft which may or may not crash on its way to a port city where my Sidecar body will be placed on a Russian cargo ship which may or may not sink on its voyage to America (deep breath). Not to mention getting through customs. Side Car Mark is not a happy camper.
So looks like I will have some free time this summer to work on some two wheel projects that have been neglected in the garage and also some time to regain the trust of my beloved hack monkey who is probably still having some reservations about climbing back in to a Sidecar. Moral of this story…Don’t be an idiot. Especially when the life of someone you love is riding next to you or behind you.
Grow a pair and fly the chair
On 7 May 2017 I participated in the Immortal Regiment festivities in Seattle. A celebration honoring the sacrifice made by Soviet and American Soldiers in World War II. I was asked by my friend and fellow Ural rider Tracy to join her and several other riders to show up for a static display and then a parade through the streets of downtown Seattle. It was a great honor to be asked by the organizers of the event to participate and participate we did. Eight Urals were in attendance and as this is a mostly Russian event the Urals were a hit indeed. I have no idea how many pictures were taken of kids and adults sitting on the Urals or posing next to them but I have no doubt there were hundreds. Here are a few images from the event.
After the event we hit a local brewery for some pizza beer and great company. A few laughs were had and then the crew scattered for home. Thanks to Everyone, Comrade Tracy, Orange Crush Mike, Crazy Steve, Mike and Tinia, Maico Ron, The Warrior Goddess, Weird Mike, and everyone else that made this great event possible.
A couple of weeks ago Levi, my friend and coworker invited me to the Cretins MC Spring opener ride and party. I thought it might be a good time and for once I actually had the weekend off work. The weather was threatening to unleash its typical Pacific Northwest liquid deluge and my wife being much smarter than I decided to sit this one out. This day I would be riding solo without my trusty (and cheeky) monkey in the hack.
The plan was to meet at the Fauntleroy ferry dock at one thirty and catch the two o’clock ferry to Vashon Island. We would ride to the town of Vashon for lunch and a beverage and then a tour of the Island arriving back at the ferry dock around six thirty. Then across the pond again to the party. My individual ride plan was a bit different however. The Cretins are a Café bike culture which means pretty much everyone riding that day had a much faster bike than mine. Having been a sportbike rider for many years I just couldn’t stand being tail end Charley all day. So I decided to ditch the Cretins after lunch and head off on my own to explore a little bit of the Island. After which I would catch the Talequah ferry at the south end of Island arriving at Tacoma. From there it was just a short 30 minute ride home.
I left the house and thought to myself “Hey, at least its not raining” Oh why do I tempt the gods so? As soon as I hit the highway I ran in to a big traffic snarl. Then it began raining. Not a light sprinkle, not a misty drizzle. No this was some shit that Noah witnessed right after finishing his yacht. Fortunately the deluge was short lived and by the time I arrived at the Ferry dock I could actually see a bit of blue sky through the clouds. I met up with my pal Levi on his cool CB 1100 and another friend and coworker Morgan on his Buell. Dang I was missing having a fast bike and vowed to myself I would add one to the stable by next year.
After a short wait we boarded the Ferry for the 20 minute crossing to Vashon Island. Most of which was spent on the car deck checking out each others bikes. What a great variety. Triumphs such as the Thruxton and Bonneville. Classic Hondas like the CB 450, 500, and 750, a Yamaha 500 Seca owned by a Ginger haired girl and even a Ducati thrown in for a little style Italia.
After disembarking on the Island it was a quick blast up the road with the locals wondering what sort of foul hooligans had invaded their peaceful Island. No worries, just the Cretins. A very amiable bunch out for a ride. We stopped at the Red Bicycle bistro and bar for lunch. I think the two staff members were a bit overwhelmed with the sudden influx of customers but they did an amazing job and my Burger dip arrived quickly. After washing down my food with a pint of Guinness and enjoying some great conversation with some like minded individuals it was time to part ways. The Cretins went North, and I went South to check out point Robinson and its historic lighthouse.
After a short but beautiful ride from point Robinson to the Talequah ferry dock it was time to head back to the mainland. The Ferry crossing here is very short and arrives in Tacoma near Point Defiance park. The ride home from there encompasses a ride along the Scenic Ruston way waterfront, then through downtown Tacoma, and then some pretty boring highway riding to my home in Bonney Lake. It was a great day that started out looking pretty grim but turned out to be a great time. Thanks for the invite Levi, lets do it again next year.
Grow a pair and fly the chair
Well folks, here is another video that I created a couple of days ago. In the future I hope to create more polished videos. Mostly this is just practice for the future of my blog. I’m hoping to create more professional looking videos that will include much more than just action cam footage and still shots. Of course there will be lots more boring entries in the future. Thanks for bearing with me on this and I hope you enjoy this short video. The music is the Red Army choir singing The Red Army is Strongest.
I have been undergoing the very difficult process (for me a relative caveman) of learning to shoot video with an action cam, save it to my computer, edit it using Filmora software, and then sharing it. I am nearly bald from pulling out my own hair and have developed a pretty bad drinking problem in the process. I am now going to attempt to add a video to this post. Bear with me if it doesn’t work. I will just have a few more drinks and try again after much cursing. Thank you for your patience.
Today I was thinking to myself while I was at work instead of thinking of work while at work…huh? Well anyway I was thinking “Wouldn’t it be great if I had never sold a single motorcycle that I have previously owned? What a glorious thing it would be to have all of those great, and not so great bikes from my past. Yes it would likely lead to my untimely death at the hands of a frustrated wife but as you may well know, you can never have too many motorcycles right?
So lets take a little trip down memory lane and I will show you a few of my lost loves from the past…
First is my first. My beloved Honda CT 70 that my Pops bought me when I was a wee lad. Mine was manufactured in 1972 and came in “Mighty Green.” This ferocious beast was a mean green dual sport machine. Yep, they were actually street legal. This killer two wheeled terror sported a 72cc OHV four stroke, two valve, single cylinder engine and had knobs at the base of the handlebars that you could loosen to fold the bars down for transport. The dang thing would fit in the trunk of my Mom’s Oldsmobile Cutlass. I have fond memories of tearing up the countryside on my Trail 70. My Grandparents had a home on lake Osoyoos in north central Washington and I will never forget how pissed off my Grandma was one day when she walked down to the beach and discovered I had terraformed the beach into some sort of weird modern sand sculpture by pretending I was Malcolm Smith racing along the Baja coastline in the movie “On any Sunday.” The mean old lady made me rake the entire fuckin beach afterwards. I bet Malcolm’s Grandmother wouldn’t have made him do that!
Next on my list is my trusty Suzuki TS 125, No worries about the grandparents beach with this bike. My Grandmother banned all motorcycles from the property after my day at the beach on my CT70. The Suzuki was heavy, had a crappy suspension, a weird exhaust, wasn’t all that fast, had crappy brakes, and I freaking loved it. It had to be one of the most forgiving bikes I have ever ridden and that’s a good thing because I was (and still am) a freakin idiot sometimes…ok most of the time. We had a powerline road just down the street from our house in Renton, Wa which also connected to an abandoned testing area where Pacific Car and Foundry used to test their Armored Personnel Carriers. Miles of trails for a kid to ride his bike and a place where most days after school and chores I could be found tearing it up. Great memories for sure.
My first street bike was a 1974 Honda CB450 and barely resembled the above pictured pristine machine. Mine was purchased from the Bass player in our shitty garage band. I loved her. I loved her with all of my heart. My 450 wasn’t just a motorbike, she was freedom. she was escape, she was all cool, and she sure as hell wasn’t pretty. Straight pipes, a hideous, silver metalflake gas tank, She sounded like an enraged Wildebeast having a bad acid trip. The neighbors hated her, I loved her. She wasn’t the girl you take home to meet your Mother but she was the one you sure as hell will never forget.
This list would not be complete without including “Brutus” my XR600. Pretty much the all time heavyweight of dirt bikes the XR for me was a love hate relationship. I loved the XR in the desert, hated the XR on the single track trails. Dump the XR and you will probably be in need of spinal surgery after picking it up, or a massage therapist after a day of riding. In the open desert country of eastern Washington it was a blast. the bellow of the thumper was heard in the distance and the desert creatures did tremble in fear seeking refuge in the burrows from the lumbering behemoth that was the XR. Friggin thing would wheelie too!
Yep, I went through my Squid years as well and the 1990 CBR 600 was the one I did them on. I chose this picture because of the mangled plastic. Just like mine. I crashed it, dropped it, hell I probably even barfed on it a time or two. Those days are a bit hazy. Honestly, I really don’t want another one but dang I had some great times on that silly thing.
Last but most assuredly not least is the VFR 750. Hands down in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful bikes ever. With its single sided swingarm, sweet lookin color matched wheels, and its VFour grunt coupled with a fairly comfortable seating position, its hard to beat the V beast for sport touring. Yes the GSXR, ZX and CBRs were faster, and maybe handled a bit better but for an all around, do it all sportbike you just couldn’t beat it. Hell in my opinion it would still be an extremely relevant sport touring machine today. I rode mine through Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, I carved the twisties in northern California and rode the coast highway all the way to Monterey for the World Superbike races. I rode through Yosemite, crossed the high Sierras viaTioga pass at nearly 10,000 feet, and sampled the hot arid land to the east. The VFR never once let me down. Hell it never even hiccupped. I would be hard pressed to decide which I have enjoyed more. The VFR or the Russian Ural that I own today. Soon I hope to add another two wheeled memory maker to the stable but for now I have my Ural and some amazing motorbike memories.
Like the song says. “It doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you are there.” It doesn’t matter what you ride as long as you are there in the moment, and making lasting memories. Go ride.
Well folks its been quite some time since my last blog update but I suppose if I wish to have a proper Moto blog and if I want people to actually read it, I should write something occasionally. And therein lies the problem. There has not been much Moto junk to write about. I don’t think all that many of you want to hear about my kitchen remodel, my horrific experience trying to buy a new truck, or the stupid amount of hours I have been logging at the bad place (known to many as work).
One ride with Shawn in the past two months. Thats pathetic and just goes to show that I have lost my sense of priority. Priorities meaning ;Sanity first, (which means getting a ride in occasionally), spending time with my peeps, then work. If I could avoid that whole work thing I would. It is a soul crushing, life eating place that daily tests the limits of my will to live, and makes me wish for the sweet sweet embrace of death. If your kid comes to you and says “Daddy I want to be a Railroad conductor or an engineer, disabuse your child of this frivolous notion. Slap some sense into your progeny, and tell that kid “If you want lots of time to ride your bike then for fucks sake don’t work for a class I railroad. Phew! now that I got that off of my chest we can move on.
Well on to the ride such as it was. I sent a text to Shawn to see if he was still up for a ride even though the weather was your usual, run of the mill northwest gray and wet. He said yes but he was having issues with his bike. Seems somebody else hadn’t ridden in quite some time as well. He had to jump start the street glide. I informed him that if he was a genius like myself he would have a battery tender. Apparently not every one is as prepared as yours truly. Well ok to be honest I got mine because the person selling me my Ural tossed it in with the deal. Shawn had stated earlier in the week that he wanted to check out the Kapowsin alehouse. Its just a short distance away (17 miles) so we were off.
We arrived right at opening like a couple of alcoholic drinking professionals and immediately struck up a conversation with the nice lady barkeep named Jo while consuming a delicious breakfast of Coors lite. Yeah I know but Shawn was buying and that’s his beer of choice. There is just no accounting for some peoples taste in beer but I am not complaining. I’ve even been known to drink a PBR now and then.
After a pitcher of Rocky Mountain diet beer and some chit chat with the rather colorful locals we decided to mosey on down the Kapowsin highway to Spanaway and a little hole in the wall called the Oak Tree. A few other intrepid riders willing to face the somewhat crappy weather showed up and it was a mini party. well ok, it was kinda lame but Shawn and I are pros at amusing ourselves by annoying those around us (in a nice way of course).
I’m going to diverge somewhat from the topic now and say that I really wish Stewie (Shawn) would buy some sort of dual sport bike. Sometimes it makes me a bit crazy knowing that when we ride together or take a honest to god road trip we are limited to pavement only. There are so many great places to see and camp when you can add a little “Gravel in your travel,” I know you are reading this you crazy bastard. Sell that Milwaukee boat anchor and get yourself something you can get dirty. It doesn’t have to be a Ural (lord knows they aren’t for everyone) but why limit yourself. lets really camp in the boondocks. Ok time to step off the soapbox now.
After the Oak Tree it was back to the Bonney Lake area and home. The clouds were getting gnarly looking, it was starting to rain, and it was getting dark. After working out of town for several days I promised my lovely wife that I would keep this ride short. I stopped at the local mini mart on the way home and in keeping with the days theme I picked up a 20 rack of cheap domestic beer and made my way back to the homestead and my wife and two dogs Lulu and Shelby. I know this blog entry was pretty “blah” or “Meh” if you prefer but I had to get something down on cyber paper. Ride on,
Grow a pair and fly the chair
It all started in 1981with a group of friends that decided to take a ride to Anacortes for some Oysters and has since become the largest motorcycle rally in the Pacific northwest with a turnout of over 20,000 bikes. It’s called the Oyster run and well…it’s kind of a big deal.
The warrior goddess and I decided we would attend again this year, reservations at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge were made when we checked out last year, Boris was packed and ready to roll and the sun was shining. Perfect! We decided that we would meet my buddy Shawn in Anacortes later in the day. He was going to head straight there with big James and James’s father in law while the wife and I would be making a more leisurely trip with some stops along the way. First stop Whidbey Island winery for a tasting. Whidbey Island winery is a gorgeous little place. Carla did some tasting while I wandered around taking pictures. I was holding out for beer.
Next stop the town of Langley, Wa. I was excited to sample the craft beer at the Double Bluff Brewing Co. Interesting side note. While in my tender youth I lived on the Island at a place called Double Bluff.
Finding the taproom required a bit of wandering about but without too much fuss the mecca of hoppy goodness was successfully located. What a cool place. It’s tucked away down a small alleyway where it opens up into a courtyard with outdoor seating shaded by trees just outside the building where the magical brewing process takes place. You have to love a place that brews a beer as black as Joseph Stalin’s heart and is named “Crazy Ivan.”
After a couple delicious beers and declaring Double Bluff to be my new favorite craft brewery it was time to head north. The Oyster run awaits!
While getting ready to pull away Carla noticed a beautiful red Maserati parked in front of us. Just then a woman walked up, staring at our Ural like a kid high on sugar on Christmas morning. Turns out her name is Olya and she was from Russia. She posed for some pictures with the bike and we chatted for awhile. She was with her husband and daughter. As it happens the red Maserati was her husband’s. She offered to trade the Italian car for our Russian motorcycle. However her husband was not open to a trade. Dammit! I could have bought a new Ural and paid off a mountain of debt after selling that car.
Now it was off to the Oyster Run. We goofed off so much on the way that we pretty much missed the whole thing arriving at four pm. That’s ok. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. James and his father in law had already left but my buddy Shawn met us at H2O. A bar in downtown Anacortes. We had a beer and my pal Mike from Granite falls stopped by on his Ural to chat for a bit. They close everything in town at five o’clock and flush everyone out of town so it was off to our Hotel room.
After checking in at the Hotel I decided to make a beer run as evening festivities were planned. While at the local miñi Mart I was surrounded by a group of six members of the Bandidos motorcycle club. Much to my relief they were just interested in Boris. They asked me about a hundred questions concerning the bike and were a really cool bunch of guys. A classic “don’t judge a book by it’s cover situation. By the way, these badasses rode all the way from Utah for this event. I wish I had taken a picture with them.
Back at the hotel it was the same thing as last year. Set up at some tables outside, meet some fellow riders, get drunk, dance, and act stupid. One older hardcore biker at our table had a prosthetic leg. He had lost his leg in a motorcycle accident but was still doing what he loved. Riding. Funny moment came when he got up to head for a bathroom break. Shawn not knowing of his condition yelled as he was walking away “Hey man, why you limping?” I turned to Shawn and said “He’s only got one leg you fuckin moron!” When we realized the absurdity of that exchange we burst into uncontrollable laughter. Good thing our amputee brother had a great sense of humor.
The following day found us all quite hungover. It was time to head home. The plan was to stop along the way at Deception pass for a few pics, then breakfast in Oak Harbor, and a Ferry back to the mainland and reality. The plan was executed flawlessly and another Oyster run was in the bag. Can’t wait for next year!
Maintenance time again. Today it was time to grease the driveshaft splines on the th3 main shaft and sidecar. I approached this task with some trepidation due to the fact that the procedure involves completely removing the Final drive or rear differential for you cagers out there.
If you have a Ural and are apprehensive about doing a job like this, don’t be. If a mechanical neanderthal like myself can do it then even a one armed dyslexic Baboon could probably pull it off.
Moly paste is best for the splines. Wear latex gloves. This shit sticks to everything and is a bitch to get off. While you have the rig apart be sure to grease the u joints. Due to close clearances you will need a needle adaptor for your grease gun. (5 bucks on Amazon).
Important! Be sure the u joint are in “phase” when reassembling. In other words facing the same way. Front of main shaft has a football shaped plate on newer models that needs to be facing “pointy side up when reinstalling the FD.
When finished hooking everything back up drain the FD and refill with 20/50 oil then drain oil. I let it drain overnight to get it all, then refill with proper weight gear oil. (I prefer Amsoil). About 4.5 ounces. There you have it. Easy Peasy. It’s off to the Oyster run this weekend!