Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Unpacking & opening "THE BOX"

Earlier in the year at the annual motorcycle show in Abbotsford, BC I had the opportunity to actually touch a new Kymco Xciting 500Ri. This is the new fuel injected 500cc scooter. The Xciting was never imported into Canada until now. I have noticed on the Kymco forum that a lot of members had the Carbureted Xciting 500 and the concensus was that they were very happy with its performance. I was thinking that this scoot could do everything I needed, including the out of town overnighters and freeway travel if necessary. I'm trying very hard to lower my insurance costs and in order to do this I have to weed out "the Stable" but it's easier said than done. At the show I noticed that they were going to offer WHITE as a colour option and I told the rep right then that I would take delivery of a White one. White is such a clean and simple colour, sort of understated elegance. Well, the scooter finally arrived earlier this month. I'm not very good at selling things, so I just bit the bullet and traded it in.

So here it is:

Actually, this is the way scooters/motorcycles are shipped from the factory. In boxes that can be easily stacked in containers, and stacked in warehouses. When you go into a showroom you see the scooters all parked in a row, all clean, detailed and waiting for customers to come and sit on them. Some work is required to get them to this stage.

The next step is to remove the cardboard cover:

Hardly looks like a scooter. It saves shipping space by making the package smaller. As you will notice the front wheel has been removed (to shorten the shipping container) and there is protective plastic and cardboard covering the scooter to eliminate damage in transit. On the production line, I was told that all scooters are assembled at the factory, tested, then dis-assembled and put into its own shipping container/box. The engine/transmission oil, brake fluid and antifreeze are all filled at the factory. You just have to add the fuel and activate/install the battery.

Yep, looks more like a scooter now:



The scooter is now assembled, but not yet ready for delivery. More PDI stuff to do, gas to fill and things to check out. Then there's the paperwork and insurance to transfer.

Here's my new ride when I went to pick it up:

I traded in my '07 Bet&Win250 and for comparison purposes you will notice the size difference as compared to this BW150 (same size/frame as my prev BW250):

The BW150 is on the left (Xciting 500Ri is on the right). There is a noticeable size difference.



Not only is the X500Ri a significantly larger scooter, it is much heavier too. Whereas you could 'fling' the smaller BW250 around, you have to be more commited on the Xciting. It is probably another 80 lbs heavier than my old scoot but I have gotten used to it now and like the smoother ride on the highway. I have been taking it to work to get more break in miles and it feels quite comfortable nestled amongst the other bikes.


Even tho I had ridden larger bikes before, this scoot had a larger presence than I was used to but the the scoot has a low centre of gravity and while you are moving it feels very easy to maneuver. I took it to the Victoria Rally last weekend but was trying to keep the speeds down, esp for the first 500 kms. Now that I have over 800 kms on it I decided to take the HOV lane home from work today. It more than holds its own and the additional weight made it more stable, at higher speeds. I'm beginning to like it a lot and there will be more scooter adventures to come.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

While I prefer to use the scoot all the time, we had established a long time ago that Sunday would be family day. It is a day for a ride in the country (in a car), family get togethers, Sunday brunch, visiting friends and other car related club events. And so it was on Mother's day that we got our family together for Mother's Day brunch along Commercial Drive (Vancouver, BC). Of course, we all have our favourite haunts but sometimes you just have to experience something different. Commercial drive has been evolving over the years and how has turned into a sort of trendy place, reminiscent of the old Robson Strausse before the big name fashion megastores took over. Away from the prying eyes of tourists, Commercial (also known as "The Drive") is mostly frequented by the 'Locals' . We arrived at the restaurant early so that we could put in our reservations, but as luck would have it, you cannot be seated until your complete party has arrived. So it was not to be and we had an hour to kill.


We decided to walk north for a few blocks and then return on the other side of the street. There are a lot of neat little stores jammed into these few blocks which makes for interesting exploring. The passageways are also decorated with art.


Wait, we noticed someone we know having a beverage. It was Diana and her friend on their Vespas:

It was a beautiful day to be riding your scooter, any my scooter was at home. There is no place better than Vancouver (when it stops raining):

Eventually, everyone arrived and we were seated at the window table:

That's our Grand daughter, Natassi and she is becoming quite the photographer:

We were famished. Must have been the neighbourhood walk and the long wait for everyone to show up. But my food came first so I had no choice but to gobble it all down. This is a mexican version of eggs benny:

It was a spectacular day. Warm, sunny and perfect short sleeve weather:

That's our grand son MAX, who recently turned 2:

That's Grace (Rear), then front row (L-R): Tami, Natassia, Ryan & Max

Happy Mother's Day to Yvonne, and many more

Love, Bob

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ride Report: Chispa Open House, April 26, 2008

Now that riding season has started I find that there is not enough time to catch up on my backlog of video/picture projects. It seems that every weekend is just full of activities and computer work is best left to the non-riding, rainy, winter season. As mentioned before I am always on the lookout for new topics to post, but YouTube is getting in the way and I have diverted a lot of my energy and resources over there, thus now you know the reason for lack of recent posts on this Blog. I'm not sure how many of you do video editing but it is very time consuming. Often it takes 4 or 5 hours to complete, render and post up on Youtube, as you will see in the video to follow (this took over 4 hours to produce). If you have time you could check out my Channel. (log into www.youtube.com and search for "bobskoot" channel).

Last month a few of scooted down to Bellingham to experience Dirty Dan Days, and also Chispa, Fairhaven sponsored an Open House and scooter show & shine. It was a sunny warm day and except for the long lineup at the Canadian/US border everything went smoothly. During the past year or so we have made contact with fellow scooterists who belong to www.ScootersofBellingham.org SOB's for short. I manage to keep in touch with Todd & Dorcie (SOB's) and they volunteered to meet out group in Custer, WA and lead us on a scenic route into Bellingham. I find it more enjoyable to experience the backroads of the Pacific Northwest rather than the boring fast past of the I-5 .

At Chispa, after the show & shine they had a draw for some prizes, and I must say that the Canadian contingent got their fair share of things to declare at the border. You might say that we cleaned up.

Around mid afternoon we left and rode the famous Chuckanut Drive close to Burlington. As Dorcie so kindly offered to prepare us a beverage at her home after our ride we ended up there. Thank you again Dorcie for your invitation. We appreciate it.

I think the Video says it all . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ucluelet, BC March 2005 weekend

It seems like only yesterday when we went to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The weather wasn't great, we were in the torrential rainy season of the Wet Coast.

Here's a rainy day view of Wickaninnish Beach, where the restaurant used to be:

They have now turned the Restaurant area into a tourist information area. The new Wickaninnish Inn was constructed a few miles north on MacKenzie Beach. March is typically not tourist season and we were glad that we made the decision to stay in Ucluelet again at the Terrace Beach Resort (this is previously owned by Roots).

The Cabins are built on the side of the hill, and the raised boardwalk are sort of on stilts, so be prepared for many steps:

We had our own 2 bedroom (three level)cabin. Top floor, master bedroom and bath, Middle floor, kitchen, living room, and washroom, and on the lower level, another bedroom. Oh, almost forgot, there is a jacuzzi on the upper level with a view of the ocean, with balcony. There is really no where in Ucluelet to purchase supplies except for the co-op so we made the 45min trek to Tofino to visit the seafood store. We had a meal fit for a king.

We discovered this newly constructed, Wild Pacific Trail:
The trail follows the ocean/cliffs around the Ucluelet area:
from the lighthouse at Amphritite Point the trail goes North or South from this point, and there are numerous overlooks:
and don't fall in, the waves are just churning and smashing the rocks below:
They have built some staircases so you can access the beach below:
The trail covers a few kilometers:
I can still hear the power of the ocean:
The intrepid trekkers, Bob & Yvonne:

Currents are dangerous this time of year:



It was a pleasant break from the pressures of daily life and to experience 1st hand the power of the ocean and nature's fury. On our final day we had breakfast at the new Wickaninnish Inn and returned to Vancouver. It's a four hour drive back to Nanaimo, 2 hours on the ferry, and about an hour from Horseshoe Bay to home.