Sunday, April 15, 2007

Three Quarters to Happy (addendum at bottom and noted)

Things have been busy around here. Opportunities to ride have been few. I spend a lot of time thinking about the rides. Places to go, my neighbor's new Moto Guzzi Grizo (sp?). On a whim my wife bought me one of those ultra cheap tire changers from Harbor Freight or something. The Vespa needs a new rear skin.

Following Vanslam's excellent video I got the tire off the bike and off the rim. Half the job right there. I even managed to use the tool to get one side of the new tire under the rim again. Now we're at three quarters. But bless it, I cannot for the life of me get the last bead inside the rim.

OK, its Sunday so I should be able to play with it, right?

My wife's birthday is tax day. That's right, today is her birthday. I have the time to write this because she's at the hospital and won't be here until sometime around noon. That's the plan anyway.

So here I sit. Vespa resting on its front tire waiting for the rear. I suppose I could take the Harley out but I really don't feel like riding that one today. Annette enjoys hanging out behind me but I really was hoping to take a spin with both of us on separate machines.

I have to say I got further than I thought I would with that tire changer from the catalogue. But I didn't finish the job and that really bugs me. I may try again this evening. If I can't get it by tomorrow morning I'll take it to a local shop.

Tube tires were much easier.


I took a nap yesterday afternoon. The in laws came over and they all went for a little stroll in the neighborhood. My wife woke me to tell me my father in law had seen where I was on the tire and decided to help. He got the thing on pretty much the way I was working it but the guy is easily twice my size. Suffice it to be said Al won that battle haha.

Annette and I celebrated her birthday with a little trip to the mall and then to a restaurant called the Stone House tavern and eatery in a little town named St. Joseph. The waitress handed us a card which read... Scooter Wednesdays along with the dates 6/13, 7/11, 8/8 and 9/12.

I know what you're thinking. Could there be so many scooterists in the St. Cloud Minnesota area that a restaurant would hold a night of discount food and live music for them? Some of you already know the answer. Naturally its for motorcyclists but I've had good reception with the bikers met on the road in that area. And I do own a Harley if I really felt the need. Still, its a prospect which deserves further inquest.

After the good food we caught the film Wild Hogs (or is it Hog Wild?). This is a truly funny movie. It does a fine job defining what real enthusiasts are looking for and the words come from the cameo appearance by the biker's film godfather himself, Peter Fonda. It made me laugh for the truisms that define a part of our riding culture. There's a satisfaction in how the movie wraps up. Hard not to like this picture.

Home fairly late I decided to wait until this morning to finish up. The tire was inflated at the local Shell station and reassembly was completed about thirty minutes ago. I am very happy with how things turned out. Although I'm the kind of guy whose first attempts warrant concern because I usually manage to botch something, I think I did pretty well.

But the best part came just after discovering my father in law had helped me out. That made my day. Just as incredible was the phone call not minutes later. It was our own Gary Charpentier calling to see where I was at and if I needed help.

What's so amazing is that Gary was ready to come up to my place all the way from St Paul! Just to help a fellow rider see his way to getting back on the road. How incredible is that! Scooterists and riding enthusiasts in general seem to have their own code. We will do what we can to help each other out. This time it was my turn to receive and I did, in a very big way. From the unexpected help from Al all the way to Gary's offer. From a call just a bit ago from our local scooter club's own Chauncy. From Combat Scoot John and some good ideas from my dear old dad.

I owe you all thanks and you have my gratitude. Let's all hope I jiggled this thing together right haha.



Bryce said...

Trust me, it could be much worse. Your scooter could be close to 10,000 miles and it could have a sudden and presently inexplicable electrical problem that keeps it from running at all.

The idea of finding a slightly used Stella is really appealing right now.

Combatscoot said...

I've been through that, too. Make sure that the portion that is on the rim is far down, in the middle where it's lower. That will give more room for the rest on the other side to go on. Sometimes, I even stand on that part to keep it in the middle. You may even have to purchase some larger, longer tire irons. I have some old automobile ones that have come in handy. Cut out some pieces of soda bottle to put between the lever and the rim to keep it from marring the aluminum. Hope you get it on!

American Scooterist Blog said...

Bryce, I hope its just weak ground or a disconnection. But I would still get the Stella in order to quell any concerns about it ever happening again. ;)


John, I was lucky this time. Al decided to take it on as a little gift to me. Guess whose going to get a fine running Express to toodle around on. He gave me that thing last spring and I got it back to good running order. Now I can return it to him as a roadworthy bike with a little better top speed. I need to catch up on your blog, bud. I've been reading but I haven't responded yet.

Thanks again for the tips.


Steve Williams said...

I got tired just thinking about fighting with a tubeless tire. I almost decided to change the front one on the LX150 myself but figured I would really bugger up the wheel so I took it to the dealer.

I was thinking of seeing Wild Hogs but wasn't sure if it would be any good. Your description will send me to the theater.

It is nice to know how helpful riders are towards each other. Gary's offer mirrors what I read about people who adventure. I am half way through Lois on the Loose and she seems to find help from riders from the top of the globe to the bottom. Or at least to Panama which is where I am now.

Happy birthday to your wife and good riding as the roads clear and the thermometer rises!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

irondad said...

Gary knew that by the time he got there on a scooter you'd figure the tire thing out by yourself! My goodness, did I write that in my "out loud" voice?

I've got to spend some time rummaging through your blog. There seems to be a lot of good stuff here I don't want to miss.

Take care,


American Scooterist Blog said...

Thanks on everything Steve! The tire was a real bugger but it got finished. Oh happy day that was haha.

Irondad, its an honor that you read here. I do my best but you know, it always falls a little short in my mind. I love to write and work hard at it. As you say, practice towards improvement (in so many words)