'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

10 July 2012

Ride - Preparation And Day One

Car Guy (hereinafter referred to as simply CG) arrived on Thursday evening after a 16 hour, 640 mile run from California. I spent all day Thursday prepping and getting BigBandido loaded up and ready for the ride. Part of that was installing a Throttlemeister cruise control.

The Throttlemeister is a friction throttle controller as opposed to a true cruise control. It works by twisting the controller until a brass ring contacts a plastic cup installed over the actual throttle. Here's a picture of the controller as it ships from the company.

It's actually a pair of bar ends with the controller installed in the right hand unit. That worked out doubly well for me as BigBandido came without any vibration damping bar ends when I bought it. That black plastic piece is the friction cup that goes over the inner handlebar throttle. This is how the empty bar looks without anything installed. Just as I bought it.

Peel back the rubber throttle grip

And install the black plastic cap over the end

Then assemble the controller. Those rubber o-rings will be compressed by a bolt that goes through the unit to secure it in the handlebar.

And stick it into the open end of the handlebar

Once it's properly assembled and installed you have to tighten and adjust it. Adjusting it consists of getting the gap between the controller and the grip exactly correct. When done correctly a back twist on the controller tightens it against the cap and holds the throttle in place. A twist forward releases it so the throttle can be operated normally. It took quite a bit of time and a lot of fudging to get it correct and I still had to fiddle with it a bit all that first day.

The Throttlemeister has two functions, bar ends to dampen the vibrations put out by the big 1200 cc motor and as a cruise control. I bought it in it's 'Heavy' iteration and it did indeed do a good job smoothing out any hand tinglies from that engine. But it's not a true cruise control. That is you can't simply select a speed, flip it on and forget about throttle input. It works by friction so when you get to a certain speed you twist it on and you're set at that throttle position. If you're on a consistent piece of road it works fine. If you're in a rolling section, not so much. Even then, on either a flat or gentle uphill, I found myself having to make frequent throttle corrections. Minute adjustments to keep a consistent speed. It also requires you to closely monitor your speed but that's nothing you don't already have to do on any motorcycle without true cruise control and there are precious few motorcycles out there so equipped. Still, it allowed me to set it and with small inputs keep my speed within a fairly small range. That also allowed me to rest my throttle hand and even take a picture while moving. I only did it once but it is possible. All in all I recommend it for anyone doing long distances, just for the chance to shake out the numbness from time to time if nothing else. At 168 bucks it ain't exactly cheap but in my opinion well worth the investment.

A word on gas mileage and range on a motorcycle. Motorcycle speedometers and odometers are notoriously inaccurate, generally reading on the high side. In my case I'd checked my mileage and compared it to my odometer and gas tank capacity so I'd know what my maximum runs were going to be. The BigBandido was disappointing in mileage, averaging about 33 mpg. I was confused until I calibrated the speedo and found out it was off by 10 mph and I was pulling 5000 rpms at 75 mph.The culprit was the rear sprocket. It's two teeth bigger than stock. That emphasizes the torque of the motor but at the cost of gas mileage. It was too late to address before the ride. In the next few weeks I'll drop two teeth on that sprocket and maybe go up by one on the counter shaft. I'm estimating I can improve my mileage by 5 mpg and my total range by 25 miles. That's significant when you're tooling around in areas where signs like this are frequent.

We saw one sign that was 167 miles. Considering that my range on the main tank is 150 miles with 175 to totally empty on reserve it's important to know exactly how far you can go before running out. Hiking down the road in hundred plus degree heat in boots and gear is no fun at all.

Finally all was set and ready. On with the ride.

Ok. Friday dawned bright and hot. CG and I got up fairly early, ate a good breakfast and by 10:00 we were on our way. The first leg took us north on I15. Salt Lake City was the destination. We stopped in Beaver and later Nephi for gas and lunch. We arrived in Salt Lake at the Marcia and John Page Museum building on the campus of the University of Utah at 4:00. Here's where I screwed up. We decided to stop in at the museum to check their open times before we checked into a hotel. Good thing because it closed at 5:00 and didn't open again until 11:00 the next morning. So we decided to go ahead and take the tour right then. When we went in and bought tickets the employees graciously checked our tank bags and helmets. It was only after we started the tour, with no out and back privileges, that I remembered my camera was still in my tank bag. Oh well, CG had his and I could get some from him later. Something I have yet to do. Sorry, no cool car pictures. But it was really cool. Totally. I swear.

The museum was cool and so were the cars though the display was small, only 19 cars in total. We wandered around, oohed and aahed and generally enjoyed ourselves. With one exception. Car Guy is irreverent and I admit to a certain amount of that myself. At one point he squatted down and got within about a foot of one car in particular for a close up picture. He was still outside the Line Of Death demarcated by a string but that was apparently not quite good enough. At that time there was exactly one security guard in the rooms housing the display. He approached CG and made a somewhat snide comment about having Zoom on his camera and told him to back off from the car. CG complied but I must admit that he and I shared a few snarky comments that may have been at a volume Security Guy could have overheard. Apparently he did and most emphatically did not care for it because within just a few minutes there was approximately 500 security people in the room with us, following us around and generally being obtusely obnoxious. It may have only been a dozen or so but it sure seemed like they had emptied the security detachments for every institution in a hundred mile radius. All for us. Every time I got occupied examining a car I'd look up to see one guard leaning against a wall obviously watching me closely all the while trying to appear nonchalant in that charming, Inspector Clouseau in a disguise kind of way, while 7 or 8 others were walking around pretending to be concerned about the cars in essentially empty rooms. How do I know it was all for us? There were exactly 4 people in the museum at the time. A nice young couple and us. The ratio of security guards to attendees was at least 11 to 1. There is one and only one response to such. We engaged them in all manner of small talk, from weather to traffic to hotels in the area. All of them. Purposely forcing them to acknowledge us and recognize that were both no threat and really fun guys. We even got one young lady to laugh. I'm sure she went on report. Sorry about that.

Still, the young man at the desk who had checked us in was very nice even though he was making cow eyes at CG. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We collected our things and with a few inquiries about accommodations we were on our way once more.

We headed downtown because I wanted to see the Temple and maybe take a picture. Just to make up for forgetting to take any actual photos of cars. The reason we went to Salt Lake in the first place. Yes, I am indeed an ultra maroon.

The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City.

Car Guy on his V-Rod taking a picture of the Temple. Sigh. Better pictures on Day 2. I swear.

We headed toward the airport because everyone knows there are always decent hotels around them. Except when there's not. We finally found a friendly airport police officer who directed us a few miles down I80 and a Marriott. The young gal at the check in desk was polite and friendly and we even managed to charm her out of a couple of white chocolate/macadamia cookies. I found the Hoyt Archery factory just down the street. We ate dinner at a Subway and turned in for the night. After checking in with Lu and Mrs. Car Guy (AKA BikeNurse) of course.

94 miles to Beaver, 116 miles to Nephi and 110 miles to SLC for a Day One total of 320 miles traveled. We were feeling good and before leaving Saturday morning we discussed where we wanted to go. Instead of East we decided on West and an encounter of the Close Kind with beings not of this earth.

Tomorrow.....Central Nevada.



The DO said...

CG got hit on by a guy in Salt Lake?? Yeah, THAT'S gonna help deflate his head:)

Tango said...

If I knew you were in the area (I live in Ogden), I'd have fed you some BBQ or something equally as awesome and pointed you to the John Moses Browning Museum!

agirlandhergun said...

Lol, I have always had a suspicion that you required a little extra "babysitting"

Murphy's Law said...

LOL. Did you lean over the cars with your fingers just above the paint and say "I'm not touching it....I'm not touching it.."? That's always fun.

Six said...

You know how that boy is DO. Tall, dark and handsome. Even the boys can't keep their eyes off him!

Where you at Tango? Heck yeah, next time I'm in the area it's BBQ for sure!

I do require adult supervision at all times Girl. Lu insists :)

Ha! I never tried that ML. That is so on my list of things to do. I love it.

Tango said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tango said...

Ogden, UT. JMB's hometown.

Six said...

Next time for sure. I'm trying to get The Mad Ogre, George Hill, to do a Crusader run. If we do I'll e-mail you and we'll set something up.

Tango said...

Larry Correia is in this neck of the woods, too.