Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunrise Windows

I get to see sunrises on my way to work for two 3 week windows a year... once in spring, once in fall. Before that, I get to work before the colors appear, and after, the sun is up. But, for three weeks, I get to watch the sun rise. Right now is the time for my spring sunrises.

Hard to believe it's supposed to rain and snow for the rest of the week... the trails were dry, too.

However, I was in for a real treat on the way home. I had read about a B-17 (One of my favorite planes making a visit, but wasn't sure if I'd get a chance to see it. So I swung by the airport:
Aluminum Overcast, a fully restored B-17G, one of the very few still flying.

Mileage: 12.3

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Working on a different bike.

I like bikes. I like riding them, and I like working on them. I'm not sure which part I like more.

I'm not just talking about bicycles, either.

None of this is news to anyone, I'm sure.

Thus is why I spent most of today up to my elbows in the engine of my KLR, Slide. Slide's a great bike, but there was one flaw in the engine that I needed to take care of, which was to replace the engine balance chain tension lever, hereafter to be referred to as the "Doohicky." The original part tends to run away from its home, and take a grand tour of the engine, sometimes causing havoc, in the worst case. Often, it's as simple as just not adjusting the chain properly.

Better to take care of the problem now, instead of being stranded somewhere. I've been dreading doing this, because I was afraid of what I'd find when I took the over off. Fortunately nothing was horribly wrong, I didn't need to go fishing for broken parts in the engine, and once I had the right tool, everything was smooth sailing.

As I started bolting things back together, Josh showed up on his KLR, Tinkerbell. Turns out he needs a new doohicky too. Looks like I get to do it all over again next week.

I actually went a bit further in, but I forgot to take pictures. Still cool to see.

Old doohicky on the left, new one on the right. The old one makes a great keyfob.

While I waited for gasket sealer to dry, I bolted on some crash bars and a skid plate, further protection for the bike should I turf it. After all that, it was time for a test ride.

Tinkerbell and Slide.

This was work I had been putting off for a few months now. The bike doesn't feel profoundly different, but there are changes. Some knocks I've grown used to are gone, replaced by a sewing machine type whir, and it feels smoother at speed. The biggest improvement is the peace of mind, and the confidence in knowing that there's not a time-bomb in the engine that'll leave me stranded somewhere.

Since that was something that's limited my time on Slide, I can see myself putting more miles on it... if gas prices go down.

...or if I'm not riding my bicycles.

Mileage: this many! *points over yonder*