Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dear Curt

Dear Curt,

Today's weather forecast promised great motorcycle riding weather and so I did what every rider does given the opportunity; I fired up my motorcycle and rode to work.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at work and entered the light of our offices (I don't like riding to work in the dark, but oh well), I discovered that I was the victim of a wardrobe failure with my jeans. It probably happened as I got on the bike this morning. I never heard anything tear since I had my iPod playing and earphones in. It does, however, explain why my commute this morning, while quite enjoyable, did seem a little more "breezy" than usual.

My modesty (and fear of arrest) will keep me from participating in today's lunch gathering. To my disappointment, "the breech" is large enough that even my riding chaps won't hide the failure! The ride home this afternoon - in the daylight!!! - should prove... well, interesting.

Please accept my sincere apologies for not being able to attend and let everyone know of my regrets and at the same time my hope that my misfortune has provided the group with a "brief" moment of levity. I know I'll miss seeing all of the old work gang. I won't miss their reaction at seeing too much of me.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Riding A Singer

I started hearing the strange sound coming from the front of the motorcycle on some of our early morning rides in West Virginia. It wasn't a constant sound, but was intermittent and made the V-Twin sound more like a sewing machine than a motorcycle. It seemed as if it was RPM related, somewhere around 2800 to 3000 and most of the time it was when the engine was under less torque.

Some of my research indicated one of the cam chain tension springs. Yikes! With over 41,000 miles on her, Lady is not a spring chicken anymore, so it is possible that some parts may be wearing out, even though I didn't want to admit it.

So Friday I rode her to the dealership carefully listening for the intermittent sound. And like any intermittent issue, when the experts at the dealership listened, they heard a well behaved, well tuned 805cc engine, purring smoothly throughout its RPM range.

I had to admit, I didn't hear the sound either. So we returned home, wondering why she wouldn't sound off for the service techs.

The next morning I fired her up and let the engine warm a bit before starting off. Five minutes down the road the sewing machine sound began trumpeting itself. I pulled into a parking lot and kicked Lady into neutral while revving the engine at the specific RPM range that produced the sound.

Leaning forward I listened for the source. Definitely front of the engine, maybe the front cylinder. So I could listened more closely, I put Lady on her kick stand and leaned down toward the right side of the engine, placing my hand on the tank mounted instrument cluster.

The sound ceased. What?!?! I lifted my hand and adjusted the throttle. The sound manifested itself again!

I thought, "You've got to be kidding me!" I sat there a moment lifting my hand from the instrument cluster and then replacing it causing the sewing machine sound to come and go at will.

A week's worth of concern about Lady's engine and the resignation that she needed to see the doctor was for naught. A loose connection somewhere under the cluster housing telegraphed engine vibrations and caused Lady to do her best imitation of a Singer sewing machine.

What a relief. Lady, I'm sorry I question you.

Next time, I won't jump to conclusions.

Ride Safe!
Doug C

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I recently received an email telling me about a new riding site, I get a few of these every so often and if I find them interesting or they provide useful links or information I pass the link along. is one such site. They offer original content and provide informative links to other sites on the web. I've noticed several blogs listed that I have frequented before.

This site caught my eye and held my attention for more than a few minutes. Check them out at

Ride Safe!

Doug C

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There has been a whirlwind of activity in my life for the past month. I promised to post some pics and stories about my trip to the UP of Michigan. (I haven't gotten that done yet.)

While I was in Michigan, my first grandson Noah was born 9 weeks early. (I've seen him a couple of times and he's doing so well, he may come home in a week or so.)

Then when I arrived home from Michigan I got a call from my support engineer relating some issues with my company's computer network. I decided to look into it the day of my return and worked on solving the problem for the next 10 days - 7 work days.

Turns out a memory leak in a program nearly brought the system down to its knees. Instead of having +50 users accessing their data, I could only sustain 10 users. For a static system that hadn't changed in a year, this was confusing.

It turns out an automatic update to a software package caused the needle-in-a-haystack problem and disabling the software was a quick and easy fix.

The solution came just in time for me to take off for the Labor Day weekend to eastern West Virginia. Seneca Rocks, WV.

I always thought that Southeastern Ohio had some great riding roads, and they do. For Ohio. But the roads in and around Seneca Rocks are the most incredible riding paths I've ridden to date.

The mountains are gorgeous, the highways are well maintained, and the curves and switchbacks are engineered perfectly.

My advice:

Ride US-250 between Elkins, WV and Monterey, VA
And ride route 72 between Hendricks and Harmon, WV

In fact, ride every paved road in the Monongahela National Forest.

Then turn around and ride it again. Slower this time, and let the bike navigate itself almost. It will be an almost spiritual experience.

Here's a slide show of some of the places we visited.