Thursday, April 30, 2009

Preston's Scooter Commuter, Langley, BC

Last weekend a new scooter dealer invited us to their open house and BBQ.


They recently opened their doors for business and their scooters have finally arrived and sitting on their showroom floor. They carry SYM and PEUGEOT scooters of all sizes from 49cc to 500cc

(SYM RV250 scooters)

The Sym line has earned a very good reputation for reliability


Langley City is about an hour east of Vancouver. I left from Kitsilano after breakfast and headed slowly in their direction making a few stops along the way. The forecast was for scattered showers in the morning and it did "spit" a bit along the way, but by the time I arrived at the Scooter Commuter, the clouds were disipating and the sun was trying to shine through.


Yes, that's my Kymco X500Ri nestled among the 49's. I really wanted to ride my Suzuki SV650 to test out my new windscreen but since it was a scooter event, I decided at the last moment to ride the scoot instead. It's nice to have a choice.


They did a bit of advertising so consequently there were quite a few people expressing interest in these frugal machines and asking questions

I believe that there were two SYM reps there helping out. We tried to make conversation with them but they seemed to be busy running about and preparing the hamburgers and hot dogs. Here they are again working the grill.


Here's the rest of our group from (<--- click LINK)


The scooters were out in full force huddled under their own tents


and here is a row of SYM Mio's

(showroom inside)

I think James found his next ride, nice looking passenger too

(Driver=James and Passenger=Robert, the Reverend)

I think that this is SYM's 3 seater Mio (a new model ?)


Another angle of their showroom


Guess who took turns test riding the SYM RV250?


Did you recoqnize that bearded person right behind James ?

Here's a better shot of them talking to Robert, the Reverend


Why it's SCOOTERDUDE and Mrs Scooterdudette (Diane). Welcome back to the group and see you both on a ride soon. Don't be shy, we really miss you. Time to exercise your B&W250 .

It was a great day for an Open House. Thank you for the food and beverage and meeting all the staff. So many scooters and the Peugeot line is new for Canada. We finally get to see all the new models.

If you are in the market for a scooter, then go to Preston's Scooter Commuter and see Russel or Kenny. They are most helpful people and if you are in the area do drop in for a visit. They are on Logan Avenue, just east of 200th, in other words just around the corner from Preston Chev Olds (200th & the Langley By-pass)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Maintaining the Chain

As I am riding back and forth to work I get to thinking about my chain which is nearly new. I had it changed when I purchased the new Michelin Pilot Powers to save installation charges as the rear tire had to removed anyway. When I parked the bike at the end of last season, I made sure to clean and lube the chain as well as flush and replace the old antifreeze. I also replaced the oil and filter for it is not recommended to store your bike with dirty oil.
Anyway I got my Suzie (my new name for my Suzuki SV650n) home

(Suzie, resting at home plugged into a battery float level maintainer)

and then I decided to dig out my rear stand


It's not too bad to lift the rear end by yourself as you can steady the bike "on the way up" , but I always worry that something will go wrong and the bike will come crashing on her side, the reason for the frame sliders.

(8mm spools installed on both sides of the swing arm)

The swing arm is already threaded to accept the "spools" which come with the stand(s). I have both stands: front and rear, but I do not know how to set up the front for its use, so I don't use it.


I don't understand why most bikes are not supplied with centre stands as standard equipment. They are special order, optional equipment items and they are very pricey. When I was checking out a V-strom they told me that a centre stand would cost around $150. plus installation was tricky. I am often reminded that a certain person has an exclusive brand which comes with a "self retracting centre stand". I suppose that is the way of the future, cost cutting to supply products with less features. For some reason they forgot to include a gas gauge on my model, but thankfully I have a low fuel reminder light, and a tachometer as standard equipment.
I am using Motul chain lube (for road bikes). It comes with a long tube which makes it easier to spray the lubricant into the correct spots while you manually turn the wheel. It doesn't take long to complete the circumference of the chain. It is always recommended to lube your chain after it has been warmed up and let it sit overnight to soak in.


My Kymco scooter is sitting idle watching the whole proceedings and probably chuckling to herself as a CVT requires no maintenance during its lifetime. The Kevlar belt will probably last upwards of 15,000 kms before replacement.


And my dog is happily resting oblivious to this whole maintenance thing dreaming she was in a warmer place sleeping under a coconut tree under a warm Florida sun.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New WS & RTE 4 F & C

It seems that everyone I care about is working on their bike. Jack has gotten his beloved Fireballs spruced up and ready for summer. He started with a full tune-up and installed his new powder-coated crash bars, muffler and custom Russell Day long seat (with those special plastic retainers). Yes, I am talking about his fabled K75, the one with auto retracting side stand and parabellum windscreen. My other friend, Michael down in Key West has been doing a bit of rust removal. (you can read about his rusty Bonneville here)
I've been using my bike as my main vehicle for the past few weeks


going to and from work and doing errands on the weekend and I too have been noticing that dreaded rust which has accumulated in a few spots.


Luckily it has settled mostly on the hardware that holds the windscreen.


and on the 4 screws which are needed to attach the plexiglass to the stabilizer rods. I've been meaning to attend to this for a while now and on the way home I stopped at a Suzuki dealer and purchased a new "smoked" (rather than clear) windscreen.


It's not a hard job but it is finiky to try to align everything so that the windscreen is parallel and equidistant on each side with just the right rake. You have to place it in approximate position with all the screws not fully tightened. And the hardware on this windscreen are cast aluminum rather than the cheap bent metals strips on the old one that I removed.


With the new hardware and mounting screws replaced it looks much nicer than those old rusty ones. I like the slightly tinted (smoked) rather than the clear one.


I wasn't timing myself but I wanted to finish the installation before sunset. It took around an hour to get it all sorted out


Can't wait to try it out tomorrow when I take a ride out to the Fraser Valley to attend a free BBQ at a dealer's open house.

Cockney Kings, the Best Fish & Chips in British Columbia


That's what the sign says. As voted for by the British Community across British Columbia. The really do make really good fish and chips, light batter, tender fish cooked just right. Think of it as a Fish Sandwich without the sandwich. (Probably better than those fish sandwiches I have been reading about down in Key West)

If you happened to go there on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, then you would get a very economical meal indeed


That's right. Only $9.50 Cdn including unlimited soda refill. They start you off with 3 delectable pieces of scrumptions fish, with chips which is a meal in itself


and you just keep ordering until they roll you out and on your way. Did I mention this also includes your unlimited fountain drink refills.


It is a very popular place and it is rare that you would arrive without having to wait at least a half hour or so to get your table. They have been winning awards for years with their consistent preparation and quality fish.


They have two locations and we frequent both, from time to time, and usually on AYCE days, which is Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday

(this is their Westminster Quay location, New Westminster, BC)

If you are ever in the area, I would heartily recommend a meal here.

Comments: Quay is pronouced KEY, as in Key West, sounds the same but Canadian pronunciation. AYCE = All You Can Eat, We have a lot of AYCE restaurants in and around Vancouver, esp in Richmond, BC

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blaine, WA: Harbor

As soon as you cross the Peach Arch border crossing, you arrive in Blaine, WA.

(Peach Arch in the distance)

There is not really much here except for a tavern or two and a place to fuel up

(The main street: Blaine, WA)

Many years ago this small border town was bustling with BC residents, that was back in the day when WA state had a lower age of consent and liquor establishments in British Columbia were closed on Sundays. Of course, Expo 1986 changed all of this when we welcomed the world and took a more civilized approach to liquor consumption.

After you cross the border you will find a causeway that takes you out to the Harbor where there is a pier at the end

(You can see Canada in the background, just left of the Peach Arch Crossing)

This is a working harbor, mostly fishing vessels and fish processing plants administered by the Port of Bellingham


Forget what the sign indicates. Bellingham is another 20 miles South, we are in Blaine, Wa so I suspect that this is Blaine Harbor. At least this is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here we find ourselves at 7:30am on a Saturday morning the day after Easter Friday. Not a soul in sight, except for Mr Seagull admiring the view. I think he is looking for coconuts and thinks that this metal lamp standard resembles a Palm tree, wishing he was in a warm place somewhere south of Miami at the end of the Great Ocean Highway.


Ah ha, another sign which confirms that we are actually in Blaine, and not Bellingham as we were previously led to believe


If somehow you managed to bypass this sign . . .

(Land's End, Blaine Public Pier, end of causeway)

. . . you would very shortly come to the end of the pier and encouter a great body of water with nowhere else to go and you would come to the same conclusion.


You will find a lot of buildings weathered by ocean winds and rain. A photographers paradise


There are not many pleasure craft for this is a working harbor filled with commercial fishing vessels, at rest possibly because there are no more fish in the ocean to harvest


It was a chilly day in spite of the fact that the sun was trying to peek out of the clouds


Those buildings in the background and the water tower belong to the Semiahmoo (Luxury) Resort & golf course. While it looks close enough to touch, you have to take a meandering route and circle around Birch Bay to get there. It is a place for the upper crust of society, not for us mere mortals.


Canada is just a stone's throw away

(Peach Arch, Blaine, WA)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The power of horses, that is.

(Cowboy, with his ONE HP machine)

I belong to a local car club and every year we go to the races, er . . . I mean we get together and go to the clubhouse for their Buffet dinner which just happens to be at the Local race track

(Fraser Downs, dinner buffet)


Fraser Downs RaceTrack & Casino is located in Cloverdale, BC, a little community just less than 1 hour south-east of Vancouver.


The "Clubhouse" overlooks the track and the levels are tiered so as to retain a good view of the Oval. There are also flat screens on each table so you can see the action and also the betting action

(screen shot of one of the monitors, located on each table)

The waging wickets are conveniently located just left of the buffet, and there is ample time to bet for your favourite horse/Jockey


We had a ringside seat with an excellent view of all the action


It's easy to get carried away so we mainly limited our wagers to $2. It's hard to develop a system when you are an occassional attendee. Sometimes you go for gut feel, sometimes you go with a catchy name, or a jockey with a lot of wins.


Sometimes you win, but mainly you lose. My horse #6 (Yellow) came last again.


The racing got underway at 7:30p. There were 13 races and continued to around 11:30p. After sunset they turned on the lighting which made for a nice glow.


It was actually quite exciting watching the action and cheering on your horse. The evenings are still quite chilly but we were in the Clubhouse, warm, relaxed, and chatting with our friends. And the best thing of all is not having to smell the horses, and also full and contented from all that buffet food and beverages.

Here are the results from the last race . . .


#4 to place, so at least we left on a winning note (but slightly down for the evening)