Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spare Givi & BMW keys while on a long road trip

I am a worry wort.  I worry that someone may take my helmet so this is the reason that I like to have a top case which I keep clear enough to store my helmet if I should park my bike to have a meal or sightsee nearby.  I also have security cables to loop through the sleeves of my riding jacket, and pant legs and lock them to my bike on a hot day.   There is nothing worse than having to sweat in riding gear when you are on a riding vacation.

When I purchased my Nu2me BMW R1200R it came with two ignition keys and two key fobs which turns on the optional security alarm.  It is also keyed to the sidecases, so the one key is able to unlock both side cases and start the bike.   The key has a RFID chip which is sensed by the RF antenna near the key slot.  When I am away I like to have a spare set of keys with me, Just In Case.


While I have two keys I like to keep a Master Set at home in a safe place so I felt a bit uneasy to bring both sets with me.   Obtaining a BMW key (here in Vancouver) is not that easy as the key has to be programmed to your specific VIN number.  Even if you have a key cut exactly and even if it fits, the RFID chip would not be recognized and you would not be able to start your bike, but you would be able to open your luggage.

I had to special order another "spare" key and I was told that it had to come from Germany but would already be programmed when it arrived


My key arrived last Saturday.  The original is on the left, with the Alarm FOB and the new "spare" is on the right.  I used it to ride my bike home, and it worked !   I didn't think that I needed to order another FOB.  If I lose the one I use then I still have my spare when I get home

When I was looking at top cases I did not wish to spend the price for the BMW case and I also did not want it to be keyed to my bike.   I thought that if I ever brought my bike in for service, then I would have a safe place to put some personal belongings and not have to worry that some one else could have access to the contents.

I settled on a largish GIVI  47 Liter topcase but it only came with two keys.


GIVI makes  two types of keys/locks;  RED and SILVER.   Notice that I have the silver model.  I bought my Blade (Model) case last September, and at that time I asked the Dealer to order me another key.  I told him no rush but that I needed it in the Spring.   A few months later around Christmas in a middle of a snow storm I made my way to the Dealer to ask where my key was and he made a note in his book to look into it.  Same scenario as with the ignition key.  I like to keep an original at home in a safe place but would like to carry a spare when I am touring on my bike.

Okay, it is now May (last month) and I still do not have my spare GIVI key so again, I went to this Dealer to inquire where it was.   The owner was not in but his pretty assistant said she would look into it.   The next day she called me at work and said that she had found a blank RED key, but since I had the SILVER model it won't work.   Red and Silver keys have different profiles.

Then I got a brainstorm, I remembered when I bought my GIVI/KAPPA cases for my Vstrom I needed another set of keys and I went to a locksmith who specialized in motorcycle and odd type of keys.   Last week I showed up there and there was no profile which matched the GIVI ones.   There was a similar one but not quite the same, sort of.  It had a wider groove but looked like it could work


He grabbed this ILCO key blank and cut me two keys.   I had to go home to try them out but I was getting excited that my problem may have been solved.

I got home and one sort of worked, but was stiff and hard to turn.   The other one would not turn

I went back the next day and had my top case with me this time.  He looked at the keys and did some fancy filing and I left with two working keys.


Here you can view it "in action".   Now I truly have a spare set of keys which I usually give to my riding buddy to carry for me, just in case I may need them.  I wouldn't like to be stranded in the middle of no where just because I dropped/mis-placed my keys somewhere


I actually like the flatter ILCO brand more as the key is flat.   I am not enamoured with the bulky silver plastic of the original GIVI key


Here are my two sets.  I like to keep the luggage keys on a detachable ring so that I do not have to turn my bike off when stopping for a quick photo op, when I have to open my topcase to retrieve my good camera.


On my Vstrom I have keys hidden behind body panels and you need tools to access and remove them.  Because my R1200R is a naked bike, it is hard to find a place to hide keys.  I like to bolt them to the frame somewhere.   I have also done this with cars too where you need a wrench to unbolt a hidden key along a frame rail but out of view


One less thing to cross off my pre-flight checklist . . .

Oh, almost forgot.   It is one thing to get your bike ready for the road, and other thing to keep your household functioning as if you were home.  I also did some other subsidiary planning during the past couple of weeks.

For a two week trip it is easier.  You cut your grass on the last day before you leave, and the first day you return.   For utility bills I usually just double pay with estimated amounts and just add $10. as a buffer.   Since I am the only one going away I don't have to worry about bringing in the Newspaper every morning, nor do I have to bring out the Garbage cans every week.

I decided to go "paperless".   I visited all the websites of all our utility companies; telephone, hydro, natural gas and cable so now I get email notifications when their bills are available and then I can check how much to pay.   I have been paying them online for years through internet banking and pay when the bills come in the mail.   Now I can pay faster when I get their invoices by email.   I can either pay using my laptop, or through my iPhone apps so I can take care of these "on the road", while I am away


Cutting the grass was the only problem that needed to be solved.  I mean, Mrs Skoot is in no condition to cut the grass and I doubt that she would be able to start the gas lawnmower engine even before her surgery. In fact, I even have problems starting that engine and did you notice that our grass is growing like a million weeds.  It has been growing so fast and thick that our lawnmower is struggling and getting stalled out each time


I find that this is a chore and I don't look forward to it.  It is hot and sweaty work and I have to shower after each cutting


I hired a Gardener last week to cut and trim our yard, both front and back so this may be the last time you will get to see green feet this year.  You don't realize how hard it is to clean up grass stains

Tomorrow is also another milestone in our lives.   We got married on June 5, 1969  so tomorrow is our 44th Wedding Anniversary.    I decided to take a vacation day and we plan to do something to celebrate our day.      Hard to believe how many years have passed since we were just teenagers.   We feel young but the reality may be something different.


37 comments:

  1. First off, congratulations to you and Mrs Skoot on 44 years!

    Hiding a spare key on a bike is a real challenge, and even getting the key blanks are difficult. I still have to find a spare key for the sidecar trunk. And it was a challenge to find a locksmith willing to cut the BMW folding key blank due to the hardness of the metal.

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    1. Richard:

      thank you for your well wishes

      I keep thinking what may happen IF I happen to misplace my keys

      Delete
  2. Happy 44th anniversary! Where to keep spare key is always a challenge when riding alone. I usually keep mine close to me and not on the bike when I am traveling solo. It is definitely easier to exchange keys with a riding buddy...

    As for the chores... I was just thinking how easy apartment life is. No chores to think of, just turn of the water, close the door and off you go ;-)

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    1. Sonja:

      I like the idea of not having chores but with renting, you own nothing & then there are the Rules & the committees, & the politics of where you are. I have always taken a spare set of keys with me

      Delete
  3. You should really wear steal cap shoes when you mow the lawns Bob, happy 44th by the way.

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    1. Roger:

      I am very careful with machinery. I used to have steel toed boots when I worked at the lumber yard and when I got started in the Metals industry. I also have a hard hat somewhere too.

      Delete
  4. Bob

    I have a plastic emergency key for my BMW that could easily be hidden or stored in a wallet.

    N

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    1. Nikos:

      I just checked . . . I also have that plastic BMW emergency key. I didn't know there was a chip in it. I'll have to try it out.

      Maybe if it works I could hide it somewhere with black tape, like Richard

      Delete
  5. So many keys Bob!! Terry and I have each others spare keys, I really dread the thought of trying to get another one if either of us losses one. Before any trip we always spend at least an hour working out which keys are what and where they all are .. sigh.

    Love the green feet .. bye bye :)

    Happy anniversary to both of you :D

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    1. Brenda:

      We had a problem years ago when Mrs Skoot had the keys to her scooter in her Jacket pocket. It was a warm day and she put her jacket away in the under seat storage and then we had no keys to ride home. Ever since then we had always had each others keys stored under our seats, just in case.

      I really want to hide them somewhere on the bike, for emergencies

      Delete
  6. Bob, congrats in advance for yours and Yvonne's anniversary - a wonderful achievement.

    I also carry a spare set of keys, mainly because we have key Elves that spirit them away. Chipped keys cost the earth in NZ which is why we're down to one key on the RAV4. Really must investigate importing some.

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    1. I didn't feel like an Elve when I took the spare keys out of the country...

      Delete
    2. Geoff:

      Oh Oh, Geoff, I hope you didn't jinx yourself. You'd better go now and purchase a 2nd key. Can you imagine how much trouble you will have with NO key ? and how long it will take to get one.

      I bought extra FOBs on Ebay and they were much cheaper than the dealer.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Martha;

      Thank you. For some reason the years are flying by, faster than the speed of light

      Delete
  8. Happy 44 you guys!

    I think you've got it together in the key sense now. Great idea!

    Sometimes I miss mowing now. I used to ride a big mower and do two farm properties. I miss the time just riding and thinking and smelling the grasses.

    Enjoy your day!

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    1. Deb:

      thank you. I find that having spare keys are a necessity.

      I also like the smell of freshly cut grass, and of cut lumber and the smells as you ride. I just don't want to be the person who has to mow or cut

      Delete
  9. On a road trip, I carry my spare key set in my right front pants pocket. I use a short shoe lace and attach one end to the belt loop and the other to the keys. Unless I lose my pants, I'll always have my spare keys.

    Congratulations on the 44!

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    1. Erik:

      I may have to figure out some little pouch to wear on my belt so I have it with me all the time. I would prefer a bike hiding spot like I have on my Vstrom where I have extra keys available but accessible only with tools.

      Delete
  10. I have a keep it simple policy. I only take one key and just don't lose that damn thing. You have too many keys bob.

    Congrates on the aniversary, however you could have been out of jail twice over now in that time...

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    1. Steve::

      Nice way to look at it, but then are you saying that I am "still in jail" ? Must be a life sentence then.

      I usually only carry ONE key but this year I will be far from home, that's why I needed a spare

      Delete
  11. Bob, congratulations on your anniversary. Sept 05 1967 for Dianne and I.

    On one of my first camping trips, I was sitting at a table, luckily saw my key on the grass! I found some strong braided twine in the tank bag and made a loop. Then, I hung the key around my neck so I would not pull it out of my pocket again. I still do this.

    My RT came with two keys & fob, plus a small plastic key with chip. The plastic key is on the string, the spare in the side case. I must find a better place for the spare - hard to get to it if I lost the other two keys...

    I made a jacket tether and used it once. May need to find it again.


    It's all fun.

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    1. Ed:

      Lucky your key didn't land in SAND instead of the grass. I usually wear a lanyard where I keep my keys. I don't want it in my jacket or riding pants as that's the first to be removed when I stop.

      I do have that Plastic Key too. I'll have to see whether it works

      Delete
  12. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Congrats on 44 years, that is an accomplishment.

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    1. Trobairitz:

      Time flies faster than you realize. Make sure you make time for yourselves. Remember that a minute lost is a minute lost forever

      Delete
  13. The previous owner had taped a spare ignition key into the wiring harness. I just sort of stumbled across it while working on the wiring. It was pretty well hidden and awkward to reach so I left it there. Spare keys for the cases are in a compartment that I need the ignition key to reach.

    I think you worry too much...

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    1. Richard:

      I'm going to look for a place I can hide a key. I don't mind if I need tools to access it. It would be better that way. In an emergency all I need to ask if someone has a T-30 & a ratchet.

      Your system (above) is sort of what I have done with my Vstrom. One key is needed to access the others.

      Delete
  14. Bob, here I thought Susan and I were doing well at 37! Congratulations!! See what happens when you pick a good one? :)

    Our very best wishes to you both.

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    1. David:

      I suppose I am lucky. I am able to find time for myself for a trip or two every year but then again I have non-riding days, and we also go on Car Vacations. I like to balance things out so that they are fair and not always unilateral.

      Delete
  15. Wow, Yvonne has put up with you for 44 years? The woman should be canonized! :)

    As to the RFID signal on your key to your bike, I heard stories of certain models having "issues" with improper wiring leading to wire breaks causing riders to not be able to use their bikes.....you might want to ask your dealer if yours is of that persuasion?

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    1. Dom:

      My VIN is not in the affected range of those bikes with the RFID antenna problem but they did find the front brake line recall, which is what I had done. I think all my maintenance has been done so I am nearly good to go, just waiting for my new battery.

      You should have some nice roads in the Corvallis area to break in your "new" engine, and the weather is looking good too

      Delete
  16. Happy Anniversary, a little late. ;)

    Sounds like an ordeal to get a BMW key. Our dealer just told us it could be overnighted to us if we lost it on the road. (Of course, OIlburner did lose his keys the first day of our trip. And did have to resort to the backup set that I was carrying. And of course, I had to carry them the rest of the trip as he was afraid he would lose them too.) But he replaced the key as soon as we returned home and they told us the time frames.

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    1. Lori:

      I think our Dealers just don't want to carry stock up here. Everything has to be ordered and the key programmed to my VIN. I suppose I could have just ordered it when I am in the USA next Month and just show up at a large BMW dealership. It wasn't such an ordeal to get the key but something that I was planning before I leave

      Can you come with me and carry my spare key too ?

      Delete
  17. Congratulations on your 44th Wedding Anniversary! Aaahhh, to love! :)

    Your green feet are so vivid in that photo I can smell the wet grass! Maybe it wouldn't stall if you raised the blade for the first pass, then ran over it again with the blade lower the second time. Saves a great deal of re-start time! (Yes, I know how to mow a lawn.)

    Finally, Wow with the planning! Highway and I just aren't those kind of planners. We would rather get rid of all of our stuff than to manage it. I think we have spare keys for each bike somewhere around here. . . I'll have to ask, if I remember. LOL!

    I guess we are "fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants" people!

    Enjoy Bob!!

    Smooches,
    Sash
    www.SashMouth.com

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    1. Sash:

      You are not riding alone. There are two of you. If something were to go wrong then one of you can ride for help. I will be alone. I cannot afford to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. I need to make sure that everything is new or near new so I can minimize breakdowns. If I lost my keys I cannot afford to wait until some one FEDEXs my spare key to me.

      I bought this bike used last year and no maintenance had been done to it. I had to bring it up to my standards. Now it's ready to roll. My Vstrom, on the other hand, is ready to go anywhere because I take care of it

      You'll get your smooooch when I see you

      Delete