Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2016...ready or not... Happy New Year!!

Decided to launch this post I have a busy Holiday schedule ahead...and it would get lost in the shuffle, Happy New Year Bloggers!

Yep, it's been 16 years now....and I think I'm finally getting used to seeing a '20', instead of a '19' a century marker. Hanging out at one of the local coffee shops with free wifi the other day, I got into a discussion with Dennis about sidecars. Lately I've been missing having an operational outfit. I have a couple of sidecar frames that are missing their bodies...(for some reason in Sacramento, there are sidecar body thieves.) ...I have one that I bought for it's classic cigar shaped body. Yep, some one broke into a storage unit and stole the fiberglass body. Another frame I purchased from a fellow enthusiast that was relieved of his body.  

All the following pics were snagged from the web while doing a bit of research with Dennis. I'm thinking about attempting to build a body similar in design to the newer silvery Beemer below. Dennis is of the opinion that it would be just as easy to build a 'Zeppelin' style body, of course being a fabricator in sheet metal gives him the confidence I'm lacking in trying that out as a first body project.

Clever photoshop work? or just another farmer combining work and pleasure?

This ones been all over the web, do you think there is a factory somewhere in South America making VW van bodies for carnival rides....?

Another photoshop job, or a top secret Chinese Army project?

I like this one a lot, and think I could replicate a similar body style.

The Zeppelins are nice, but it would be more problematical for me to mount a body like this on a more conventional sidecar frame.

For those of you on the other side of the big pond, Sideburn Magazine has announced "Snow Quake" the Italian Alps...check it out at Sideblog.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays...

....out there in "Bloggerland".  Here in my neck of the woods in Northern California, Winter is setting in...cold and wet... leading into Christmas. Was hoping to get a trip into the snow country this weekend...but,  the rain and snow put the brakes on that idea. It's all good though...we desperately need the rain and snow to help out the drought situation.

Here is a pic I posted here four years ago, before the current drought set in...hopefully things are looking like this again. This is Chipmonk Ridge near Loon Lake. This is one of my favorite places to Backcountry ski in.

Hope this finds all in peaceful situations, or at least with time to get away from the daily grinds...picking this up a few days later...and the weather is really hitting now. The "Chains required" sign was up on the freeway into work...warning travelers heading up to the summit and beyond. Maybe after New Years will be a good time to go up and visit snow country.

One more, from Loon Lake area , back side of the other pic.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hashtag profundity/buzzwords/keepyoureyeontheball...

or, Fear and loathing on the E-bay...

borrowing from Hermit of the Hermit blog, and that other fellow famous for frantic forays into gonzo journalism....

Had to take a break from my spree of buying on E-bay... so far it's been good, no burns, parts as described, fair prices, no surprises. Been purchasing parts for my '71 CL 450 Scrambler....(an old school Scrambler, I like to think of it as...when 'Scramblers' had high level pipes....that set them apart from their 'Street brothers'....unlike what passes for a Scrambler these days...( Not that I'd poo-poo a new Ducati version...)

Yeah...started to look at what was available for Honda 350's...SL 350's in particular. There seems to be plenty of 350 stuff out in the world still...a lot more than 450 stuff it seems....and therein lies the problem...I believe. As I dug deeper into the morass of new, used and abused 350 seemed there was more flim and flam, double talk, mis-representation and mis-information, and down right stretching of the truth...or, is  it just naivety on the sellers part? Buyer beware! ( a voice in my subconscious bellowed )  Illegetimi non carborundum!! another shrill voice uttered... a half remembered memory of the only bike purchase I ever really got burned on....kept surfacing...a 1974 Honda CB 350 I purchased for $ 400.00 ( back when 400 bucks was a lot of money ) I paid about 375.00 too much...I used the frame and cases to build a bike from many other was that worn ran when I parked it, the seemingly friendly seller had said. Well, I'm certainly older now...and possibly a little, best to take a break on the buying spree.

I'll admit I'm pretty new to this on-line buying thing... some years ago I sold some stuff on a friends E-Bay account, and used to listen to the horror stories...

N.O.S....hmmm.... new...old...stock, O.K.... as long as it wasn't returned to the original point of purchase because it was defective and shoved back into the original wrapper and returned to stock....'shop worn'...'shelf wear'....both terms set off my buyer beware radar... 

Fuzzy out of focus pictures, with wear surfaces conveniently obscured or out of the frame...beep! beep! keep scrolling.

As a former bike mechanic....on E-Bay, as it was when you used to be able to get parts at a bike shop...I'm thinking I'm probably a tad more knowledgeable than the sellers...and am particularly disgusted, with compatibility with various models claims, that seems to happen a lot...but, to be fair there are some sellers who seem to have done their homework and don't mis-represent their wares.

done here and there...

Some Scramblers I remember them...

The new Ducati Scrambler

And the bike that inspired it...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Parts is parts....Vern...

Feeling like a kid at Christmas, as parts from around the world are arriving at my door step for the Honda CL 450 project. A good crankshaft, new cam chain, two sets of rings, gaskets and seals. Various cam chain rollers and tensioner parts are on their way. From Japan, Canada, and several states of the US.

Sadly, something I learned while trying to source parts for my little Honda SL-100 project a couple years that Honda shops are more interested in selling new bikes and accessories . Gone are the days when your local Honda shop was the place to go for parts when restoring an old bike. So far I've found most of what I need on E-Bay. There are a couple of good motorcycle wrecking yards in town....that have some older bike stuff. In the summer time there is a big Japanese bike show and swap up in the foothill town of Auburn, California, that can yield good results at times. Last summer the attendance of vendors was down from previous years...but I did find some good stuff.

And I have my rathole of parts acquired over the years..

A low mileage crankshaft from was the cam chain. The rings came from Japan.

Just got in from a trip to Monterey find more E-Bay items had arrived. This time an NOS top tensioner sprocket, good used front and rear tensioner assemblies, and a genuine Honda cam chain "smash link". 

The NOS sprocket from Arizona, the other sprocket and roller assemblies from Florida, believe they are from the same motor that the crankshaft came from. The NOS sprocket from San Francisco. Waiting for some parts from Canada as well.

Need to find a good used or new.. bottom Cam chain roller now. I'm ending up with two different sets of standard rings. One is an NOS factory set with the original one piece oil ring design. the second set are new replacements that come with a three piece oil ring. Will have to think about which type to run. I do have another 450 twin, a four speed "'Black Bomber". That bike is a runner, but is stuck in gear...possibly just a shift mechanism part that has loosened up and jammed...but that's a whole 'nother project.
Black Bomber ad...from the web.

An action shot of a CL 450 from the web.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

" Cold rain and snow...."

Been dipping into the 20's, Fahrenheit...a few nights recently below the freezing mark of 32 degrees...tonight will be in the 30's...about 52 degrees at the present ...with cold rain falling in the valley, and snow in the mountains. Winter is settling in with a vengeance it seems...small groups of homeless Sacramentens huddle under eaves of closed shops...having been run out of the 'McCafe'...after pushing the limits of the no-loitering signs... Having finished my burger and salad, I nurse my coffee and bury my head in my computer...hoping not to be noticed when my 'time-limit' expires...

In a foul mood to match the weather...another day of work ...then will head South to my mother's to do some needed work'll be a bit warmer near Monterey Bay...though lately not too much...seems some cold Artic air has found it's way down to Northern Californy...

There is a lot to do at her place...the important stuff like getting the furnace working correctly, and fixing or replacing all the plumbing that required attention, and chasing down some minor roof done. Now it's the cosmetic stuff...painting, weed control, trimming of shrubbery, one cracked window pane to replace...and the ants...( life would be a picnic, if it wasn't for the ants...some one once said...was it the punch line for a vaguely remembered R.Crumb cartoon? probably not...)...maybe it went, It wouldn't be a picnic...without the ants....  a bit of clear silicone here and there to seal off the ants entry points....seems to be working at any rate...

Been buying on E-Bay....a lot of Honda CB 450 parts. It started when I spotted a 450 crankshaft that appeared to be in good shape, at a good price. Decided to buy it and begin again on a long stalled 1971 Honda CL 450 project of mine. I took the bike apart years ago, when the pistons started hitting the head...due to extremely worn out connecting rod big ends...more about that some other time...

I might even put it back to it's original configuration...always loved the sound of the Scrambler pipes. When last I rode it, it was in a CB configuration and for awhile it had a sidecar be continued...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Killing time at the McCafe...

...and playing around with my little portable computer. haven't figured out how to get pictures from the phone to this device (other than e-mailing them to myself...which is too much bother...), but I have retrieved some of my own pics from the web....that are 'floating' around out there.  This is a pic I've posted before, that I took at the first DirtQuake US last year. This is a chopped 750 Honda with an Equalean sidecar that was raced at DirtQuake US. The leaning feature on this particular rig had been disabled. 

Been thinking about sidecars lately. Been looking to be a wet winter and thinking I'd like a light weight rig again.

Maybe something like what Pete and I used to get around in during the late 80's.
(retrieved this pic from this blog's 'Picassa web album'). This is a CB 350 Honda with a Thompson Cyclecar sidecar that a friend gifted me with. It came with a basket case BMW he bought. I ran this sidecar on an SL 350, a CB 350 and on a CL 450. Each time I fabricated subframes to attach to. Not sure what I'd like to attach to this time...still mulling that over. This time thinking about making it able to haul a small canoe I have....( seriously thinking about getting a fishing license this year, especially if all the predicted rain shows up... )

This envelope contained some literature that came with the sidecar. Dogs in side cars..

And this is a Honda 350 powered high heel shoe...found this pic on the web...and I believe this is the one that used to feature in a television bank advertisement years ago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

water is falling from the skies....

...and the skies are gray...desert dreaming, on a California day... (to paraphrase an old radio song from most of ours youth...)

right now it's more of a drizzle outside of the McCafe... sitting here ruminating...looking back at the year and how it's unfolded...and realizing in hindsight, that this was not the year to try to enter anything. Due to circumstances way beyond my control...I've had to miss DirtQuake US two...and now this years La/Barstow/Vegas desert run. Looking on the bright side...the bikes for those events will be more than ready next time around. Another event I've wanted to do involves pre 1971 bikes, and is a road run in Northern California called the Moto Melee. It's a three day backroads adventure that looks like it would be fun. I have an old 450 Honda 'Black Bombër' that would be a good candidate for that one..(as soon as I figure out why it's stuck in one gear).

I'll be watching my fellow 'desert rats' via social media... sigh.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wrestling with computers,paypal,and various sign up apps.... LA to Barstow to Las Vegas

....making lists, and checking them off...   bought a replacement Lap top...check
                                                                   AMA membership ...check
                                                                   reserved a spot in the ride...check
                                                                   bought a suitable bike for the event...check

                                                                    To do list:
                                                                     Go through the electrical system on the bike
                                                                     find and buy replacement bulbs
                                                                     install heavier springs in front suspension
                                                                     install heavier spring on rear shock
                                                                     install digital speedometer/odometer
                                                                     procure roll chart holder and install
                                                                     change drive chain and possibly sprockets?
                                                                     oil change and filter clean
                                                                     fabricate additional 'bash plate' and install

                                                                      Book some motel rooms
                                                                      install hitch on the tow vehicle
                                                                      purchase a trailer (add a channel rail)
                                                                      and probably a dozen other things...
In Honda we trust


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Making lists, and talking to veterans...

Typical of most things I get involved in, time is short and the crunch is on... Lucky for me, I have expert advice to tap into. Travis Newbold and Mike of the Ranum brothers, good guys I met at the first DirtQuake US in 2014...are racers and veterans of the LA-Barstow-to Las Vegas. They participated last year , and I blame them for my desire to participate this year. Travis said that "metal mender" and whiskey were two important components of his kit. Mike says if I can stay on course and on time...I shouldn't have to do any night riding...oh yeah, he says I'll need to purchase a "roll chart holder" to hold the course directions...(think I still have a compass somewhere in my back packing gear.. )

I hope the "metal mender" Travis mentioned was of the liquid metal in tubes variety, and not the full rescue welder kit...(though that does look interesting)

Thinking I better see if I can find one of those chart holders.... 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

in Honda we trust?

I have a1986 Honda XR 200R....that starts and runs very well. I have heavy duty suspension components to add...some electrical issues to resolve. A trailer to procure and prepare...a tow vehicle that needs a hitch attached to it...gear and equipment to organize and pack...entry forms to fill out...

The usual things you do, to prepare for a two day ride in the desert... feeling just a bit anxious about it. One prerequisite is joining the AMA, which I was getting ready to do hopes of doing some flat track racing this year. was hoping to have most of this done by this point...but, so it goes....Yep, feeling a bit like the pic, hazy...lacking focus...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Time for some housekeeping....

Had a little look backwards at this little blog...started in 2011, at that time with a new HP mini computer that has started giving me "software issues". Turns out it was easier to start fresh with a new Lenovo 'ídeapad'  ...and started thinking it was time to try some new stuff. For a while I've been posting with the cel phone...which though really a bit cumbersome and frustrating. it's not bad for short "on the road" posts .

Noticing a lot of the blogs I have followed have gone dormant...Facebook and Instagram to blame for it, I'm it goes. That is an area I'll be looking at soon...culling the inactives. Now some of you, to your credit, post regularly....and I enjoy perusing your blogs....and now that I have a functioning 'puter might start commenting again...with the phone it was so hit or miss I pretty much gave up trying.

Having to learn Windows 10, which hasn't been too bad...though I haven't figured how to get pics from my phone to the puter time I will. So I'll do that via the phone for awhile....kind of a back and forth process.

The new puter...thinner, bigger screen, longer battery life....we'll see if it last 4 years...

Truth be told...been going through a bad time family wise...with a death in the family...but that's all I have to say about that...on ''Social media". This is supposed to be a blog about motorcycles and the here we go!

I'm going to try like crazy to participate in the L.A. to Barstow to Las Vegas  desert ride comin up very soon at the end of this current month. So the next several posts will deal mainly with that.

The bike...a 1986 Honda XR 200 Travis Newbold is fond of saying "In Honda we trust"

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day before Halloween...

These are pics from last weekend...
A nice group of different make bikes parked out front of the local caffiene stop in Sacramento. 

Dennis in the blue shirt owns the BMW. Mike with the black jacket owns the Harley FatBoy. The tall gent in brown owns the Honda 550.

Here Is a shot of the Fatboy

This pic doesn't catch the way the eyes glow in the sun. This is a factory custom paint job.

Might be purchasing a new computer this replace my old cantankerous machine. Been posting with the phone...which is tedious. Heading down to Monterey area tomorrow... might snow at Tahoe this time catching up with the upcoming 'Desert ride.' 

Probably going to buy the 'heavy duty ' trailer with 12 inch wheels to carry my dirtbike to LosAngelos with.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sidecarcanoes, step one...acquire a canoe.

Years ago a friend and I had bikes with sidecars...actually we still have them...they just haven't been in use for awhile. Ahem...truth be told between us there are about a dozen of the things...a couple are missing bodies. So...we used to sit around drinking coffee, and design 'Saloon' camping bodies and 'boat' bodies...on napkins...and occasionally in a sketch book.

Recently when 'The Vintagent' posted some pictures of old canoe carrying rigs, and started expressing a desire to build one , it got me thinking about building one. The canoe I bought from a friend for 15 dollars. He found it submerged at a river marina he was working at. Apparently abandoned, his boss let him take it. After cleaning a few years worth of algae is now seaworthy once more..

I have a nice suspended British made sidecar frame...that was 'relieved' of it's beautiful cigar shaped body ( a few years back there was a rash of sidecar body thefts...which still make no sense). they say...the race is on...who will concoct a sidecarcanoe first? To be continued....

Speaking of 'The Vintagent' , here are a couple of screenshots from Paul's Instagram of the aforementioned Sidecarcanoes. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

what do you mean my rig handles a little squirrelly ?

Probably have posted this, a repost of a post of a pic from an old sketch book of mine. A friend of mine added the squirrel. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

what's canoe with you...?

Not a sidecar...but a motorcycle towed trailer, with a canoe. This 
is from a 2013 'Kneeslider' article about a 1930's 'Popular Science' article about this rig by a German inventor.

This canoe equipped Sportbike originally was 

in 'The Woodenboat forum'. General consensus is that it is photoshopped.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Marginal ballpoint thinking...

Was hanging out at a McD's today...thinking about a post ' The Vintagent ' had at facebook expressing a wish to have a sidecarbike with a as to carry camping gear and all the equipment he uses for doing wet plate photography. On a placemat with a ball point pen I doodled up a 'saloon sidecar' rig with a canoe... the race is on to see who comes up with a canoe carrying rig first.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Desert riding....

Los Angelos /  Barstow /  Vegas

The the day after Thanksgiving, I'll be joining a throng of other ride thorough  desert for two days....

Pictures borrowed from the La/ Barstow / Vegas site.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Side dogs....

Past....and not so far past...

Stole these from the web...then manipulated them...and posted to Instagram...and then borrowed them for here....well, the top pic of me and my old dog Pete....was mine...taken by a co-worker...still disconcerting to see myself out there in the web-zone.....

Monday, September 21, 2015

Time to get busy...on the XR 200R project

Rode the XR 200R up to the local Taco Bell...for a breakfast burrito. The bike starts first kick, off choke in about 4 seconds...runs like a champ and shifts through the gears smoothly.


Time to tear into it , and install the heavier springs front and rear.I miight hold off on installing the parts that will give me about 3 more inches of ground clearance. As you can see it has quite a bit of clearancec as it sits....we will see. Thinking of fashioning a skid plate and maybe some sort of small rack on the back. Also have an electronic speedometer/ odometer to design a mounting for....Stay tuned.