Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ram-mounts & Tuesday Bike Nights

Ram-Mounts for Camcorder or Garmin GPS:

I have an older Garmin Nuvi automotive GPS which I downgraded for bike use. No, it is not waterproof and I have been moving it back and forth between the bike and the car. I have been using bungee cords to temporarily mount it in position but it is a nuisance as it keeps shifting. As mentioned before on a previous post I use cling wrap when it threatens to rain. With fresh cling wrap it is easy to view and the touch screen still works. I would have purchased dedicated mounts a long time ago but there are no stores in town (that I know of) that physically carry these mounts and I didn't want to order the wrong thing on-line. Last Friday I went to a few websites and ordered some components. On Tuesday, at work my package arrived.


I rushed home and opened the box and this was inside


I ordered a Nuvi cradle, another mount, and a longer extention piece


As you can see the extension is a lot longer than the standard one and still clamps onto the same ball mounts. It was always a problem mounting my camera (or GPS) on the scooter, as the windshield is fixed and the handlebars move. It is less of a problem on the SV650 as the windshield and headlight both move with the handlebars.


With the shorter extension the camera hits the windshield when you turn right. On my SV the handlebars are "exposed" and you can mount a "U-clamp" virtually anywhere along its width. The scooter has more plastic panels and there is no where to mount anything so last year I purchased a Ram-Mount brake reservoir mounting plate. As you can see in the above photo I mounted it with the ball on the left and the short arm hits the windshield.


The left mirror also gets in the way. I got the bright idea (bright ideas don't come very often) to change the direction of the mounting plate so that the ball is on the right side


Now I can mount the GPS and view it more easily. If I detach the short arm, and replace it with the longer arm, I am able to mount my camcorder in a position which just clears the windshield which is okay with me. It is waterproof and shock resistant so being exposed to the high speed that my SV is capable of should be of no concern. The next job will be to reroute the wiring/power to come from the dash, but that will require some panels to be removed.

TUESDAY Bike Nights @ 5th Gear, Richmond, BC

With my little GPS/Camcorder Ram-Mount project completed I decided to put the scoot to bed and bring out the SV650 and ride down to Richmond for Bike Night. This event is held every 2 weeks during the summer and they are also BBQing hamburgers (donations for charity)


I arrived late around 8:30p and when I got there I noticed Mark (Scooby) on his Majesty with his friends who were just leaving on a ride. There were bikes parked everywhere


There were more bikes around the back


The BBQ smelled yummy and had a continuous line-up of riders waiting for their hamburgers


I was tempted to purchase a hamburger too, but I was late since I already had dinner at home and I am trying very hard to keep the lbs off


It's very hard to control yourself from eating when you can smell the BBQ


There seemed to be a lot of bikes here tonight. I lost count as some had already left, but I am thinking around 60 bikes or more. It was very well attended


Bikes in every direction. This was in the parking lot of 5TH Gear, a dual sport dealer in Richmond, BC. They also sponsored the live music


Live music always adds to the ambiance at any event.


While it is close to 9pm it is still daylight


Oh, what do you know, an image of my mighty Suzuki SV650


It was great to see other riders having a good time, socializing and having a meal. Thank you to 5th Gear, Richmond for hosting this event every 2 weeks during the summer


And here is a glimpse of some members of the "Flying Swan Hot Chicks" leaving for the evening.

Monday, May 25, 2009

RTE: BBQ ride to Tsawwassen / Westham Island, BC

What can I say, most of our group rides lead to an eating establishment. We should call us the RTE scooter club (Ride to Eat). It is taking a long time to get rid of Mr Winter, so when the forecast changed to sunshine, James decided to post a BBQ ride


James rides a Derbi 150cc and was our group leader today. Tagging along are a couple of new scooterists on their 49cc.

(Diana with her Pinky)

She is parked next to her dad, Ed's scooter. This is the first time that we have met them. We converse a lot on our local forum ( That's the beauty of the internet, behind anonymous names we get to meet real people. As we are not aware of their riding abilities, and whether they are privy to group riding rules, we slot them behind our group leader, James. Most of our rides are 49cc friendly and we adjust our routes and speed accordingly. Being right behind the group leader he is more aware of them behind and can monitor their progress. I usually ride sweep and can observe the vehicles behind and change lane position to block the aggressive ones. It's all about protecting the group.

This day we had quite the assortment of machines. My Kymco X500Ri, Doug's Burgmann 400, Rob's Yamaha Maxim 650, James Derbi Boulevard 150cc, Robert, the Reverend's Vespa PX150, Diana & Ed's Sagas, and an (Ben's ? sorry) Honda Ruckus.


We managed to stay away from the faster arterials and Zagged and Zigged our way south towards Tsawwassen on busy surface streets and over the Patullo Bridge. On our way we took the "COW TUNNEL" under the freeway


By using this tunnel, which is a courtesy "one way" we are able to reach idylic farmlands which meanders its way towards our intended destination. Finally we reach the BBQ and rush to stand in line to order our food. Fresh air makes you hungry


I was told that this BBQ was started hours ago and you had several choices. BBQ Pork, BBQ beef, corned beef and I believe Ham. They cut generous slices of meat and jammed it all into a toasted bun along with lots of condiments.


They had two people manning the BBQ station and they were doing a brisk business. Looks like all of us were hungry at the same time. After we filled out bellies with food and beverage we left towards Westham Island to visit a honey farm


We were allowed to sample some of the Honey, and several of us bought some to take home


Traffic is very light on these roads and along the way we spotted numerous Bicyclists out for their weekend exercise.

Westham Island is accessed by a one way bridge just west of the Village of Ladner, BC


It's a lucky thing they had a 50 ton load limit as we collectively were carrying a lot of un-digested food


This is a neat wooden bridge, looks like it has been freshly painted. You have to be very careful when the road is wet and wood can be very slippery. It is only 1 lane on the centre span so you come up to see if it is clear before proceeding


There is always room on the side for scooters to park when taking pictures, and this one does look familiar

As you look southward while on the bridge you will see many houseboats along the shore. At least they don't have to manage their lawns


On the other side, there is a whole community of house boats


You can tell from the muddy brown fast moving water that this is the mighty Fraser River. It was a great sunny warm day for a ride in the country

Friday, May 22, 2009

Victoria Rally: day 1

The Capital City Scooter Club hosts a Rally every year on the May Victoria Day long weekend and this is their 25th anniversary. Festivities start on Friday evening, but we went over on the 1st ferry on Saturday. We ride, we eat, we stop, we eat, we ride, we talk, we take pictures, we talk, we eat, we ride and the cycle continues.

(Saturday morning group ride, easily over 100 scooters)

Group rides are a really organized affair. The "riders" are used to keeping large groups together and it doesn't matter which club you are, where you come from, you just step up to the plate and do what you need to do. I imagine that over the years we know and trust each other. I realize that a lot of you will not agree with what I am going to say, but it works to keep the group safe and cars out of our way, but once in a while you get a renegade/aggressive car who doesn't wish to go along with out plans. We have lane blockers on both sides as we enter controlled intersections, and without regard to RED lights, our group continues to block cross traffic while our scoots snake their way along. Of course we always give the thank you wave to waiting cars. I am accustomed to bringing up the rear (Sweep) and keep a mindful eye for those with mechanical problems. After we pass "the blockers" we pull over to let them catch up with the front of the line to be in proper position to block again.


While this is technically a scooter rally, and comprised mostly of Vintage Vespas, lots of other modern TnG's and motorcycles tag along, everyone is welcomed. You would be surprised to find that a lot of Vespa owners also own large displacement motorcycles

(another Vintage Triumph)

While I have been mainly riding my SV650, I brought my scooter . . . after all, it's a scooter rally

(My Kymco X500Ri parked across the street from the Empress Hotel, Victoria, BC)

And others left their scooter at home and came in their Isetta


We went for a ride and ended up with ice cream

(Rocci, couldn't decide which flavour she wanted)

Between events there is time to contemplate by yourself, so I went for a ride along the ocean drive

(South, facing Port Angeles, WA - on the other side of Juan de Fuca strait)

I also posed my scoot at "MILE Zero" of the Trans Canada Highway

(Mile Zero, TCH, Victoria, BC)

Further down along the scenic drive, I came across a tour guide (possible summer job for Mr Conchscooter when he visits BC)

(scooter sure looks familiar)


Behind me is one of the hotels invaded by scooterists


I also found this lonely Suzuki at the Hotel


I made my way downtown and found the entrance to Chinatown, Victoria, BC


What can I say. A great weekend, great Key West weather. Renew friendships, EAT and Ride.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Taking the BC Ferry to the Victoria Rally

The plan was to be on the 7am BC Ferries from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Vancouver to Victoria). I had been packing mentally for the past few days wondering what to bring and what riding gear to wear. I normally wear armour padded riding jacket and riding pants while on the highway. If I am travelling any distance I also bring tire repair kit, compressor and tools but this was Victoria, close enough to pack light. I was taking advantage of the economic times and purchased a new Olympia Hi-viz riding Jacket.


On sale, of course. I actually wanted the lime-green/yellow version, but it was regular price, so I settled on the neon orange model. I loaded up my camera gear, chargers and electronic contraptions and I was packed and ready to go.


The weather forecast was 60% chance of showers so everything was double packed in plastic bags, and the bags were wrapped in garbage bags (just in case). My Garmin Nuvi GPS is not waterproof, so the poor man's method of waterproofing is to use cling wrap secured with elastic bands


The alarm clock rang at 4am. I got the few extra bits packed on the bike and I was ready to roll. My target time to leave was 5:20am, as I had to meet my riding partner at 5:30am and I still needed to make a quick stop at the bank machine. I rolled the bike out in the lane, turned around to close the garage door. When I turned around the Bike was laying on the ground. It was nearly 600 lbs of dead weight but adrenaline kicked in and I managed to get it upright. It was not a great way to start the day


It looks like my rear brake lever took the brunt of the impact. Nothing serious except for a few minor scratches on the plastic. As I am rolling down Cambie Street thoughts go through my mind as to how this had happened ? I am sure that I fully extended my side stand.


Actually, you couldn't have done a better job if you wanted to have a custom helmet holder made. It's very ergonomic and your helmet strap does not slip off due to the angle of the "bend". I actually used this several times during the weekend. The angle of the "bend" also gives your fingers more positive gripping force.

We arrive at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal just at 6am

(Pronounced: Tsawwassen KEY Market, spelled Quay in Canadian talk)

It is early and we are the only 2 bikes in the line. We brought the scooters on this trip because it is a scooter rally. Probably the largest in Western Canada held every year on the May long weekend (Victoria day weekend).


Here are two scooterists from Alberta with 2 vespas loaded


on their way to the rally too. Finally it is time to load and bikes are first on


Since this is the 7am ferry, the first run of the day from Tsawwassen loading starts at around 6:40am.

I was speaking to my Friend (Mr Jack Riepe) recently and he was unaware of procedures for securing your motorcycle(s) whilst on the ferry so I mentioned that I would explain it for those who may travel to the West Coast

The proper procedure is to put your bike in "gear" or engage your parking brake to stop your machine from rolling.

You should park your bike on a 45 degree angle to the flow of traffic

Then you extend your SIDE STAND, DO NOT use your centre stand

The BC Ferries Corporation supplies Stepped wood blocks to use on the other side

(Left: side stand Right: stepped wood block, supplied by BCFC)

We often have rough seas and this stops your bike from falling in either direction. If you put your bike on its centre stand you have a greater probability of having problems

There are ample blocks available for everyone

(extra blocks available)


They also block the cars immediatly beside the bikes, and also all those vehicles in the front and end of each lane


I previously mentioned that the journey takes about 2 hours. Tourists usually take the upper decks to enjoy the scenic views. We are locals and have taken this ferry numerous times so we enjoy a good breakfast.

(we pass another ferry in Active Pass, while enjoying breakfast)

Another view from the window


BC Ferries sign, pointing out the parking instructions


We are nearly at our destination, Swartz Bay. The Ferry Terminal is approx 20 miles from downtown Victoria located on the north end of the Saanich Peninsula

While we are 3 decks below in a steel structure, the Garmin GPS tracks our progress.


We are very close to docking. The weather has been overcast till now but the sun is trying to shine through


Both car decks can be unloaded simultaneously, and there is a separate ramp for passengers


Both loading ramps can be raised and lowered according to the sea levels


There will be more rally pictures coming. I am still trying to sort out a dozen or so pictures from the 550 I took during the weekend. Here are a few to show you the magnitude of participation. We had 25 scooters from Scooters of Bellingham (SOB's), a trailer load from Calgary, AB, and a large group from Vancouver, BC

(Causeway: Government Street, across from the Empress Hotel)

(looking South in the other direction. Parliament Buildings in the background)




Imagine a group ride with over 100+ scooters, and a handful of motorcycles