2013-07-07

With Only A Motorcycle: First Rainy Days, The Move, The Oil Change



It's been a bit since I've written a post, sorry about that but really there hasn't been that much moto-action for me.  Mostly commuting and doing the daily grind.  The fact that it has been in the 100s for a the last week and off and on before that hasn't been making me feel too inspired to get out and ride either.  I did get to experience my first two sequential rainy days since being in California.  I believe that brings my rainy day tally to three so far.  As you can see in the picture above my old motorcycle cover left something to be desired.  It's not surprising that the thing is ill-fitting.  After all it fit my SV650s nearly perfectly and that a much smaller bike than the FZ1 and my luggage rack makes it even longer yet.  You can see in the picture above that the luggage is even off the bike because there was no hope of the cover fitting on there with them on the bike.  One sad think that happened with trying to squeeze the FZ into the cover was that I ended up bending the front right turn signal enough that the flexy rubber mount gave way and the signal broke (more on that later).  So it was time for a new cover.


This little number is (due to lack of options) a Walmart motorcycle cover it cost me $29 the brand was ADCO I think and the size was specified for an 1100cc bike.  It's a little billowy but as you can see in the picture it covers the bike very well with all the luggage on it and it doesn't take up too much space when it is in it's bag.  It's not the most durable material but it seems to be doing the job.

On thing that I found to be an issue over the two rainy days was that my waterproof gear is too warm to be wearing when during a summer rain.  I am going to have to find some lighter more breathable waterproof over-clothes that I can just hop in and out of if I am going to be riding in the wet more often during the warmer months.  The Tourmaster items I own are uncomfortable at best on an 80 degree rainy day.

Some good things have been going on though.  I moved out of the Extended Stay America on June 25th which was a joyous day.  After living there for 70 days I was definitely ready to gone from there!  There was one small detail that I was going to have to deal with and that was the furniture wasn't going to be delivered from Wisconsin to California for another two days.  I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to sleep on the floor.  I will tell you this; when I was in my early 20's it was no big deal to crash on someone's floor for a weekend.  Now... Well I've never felt so old after sleeping that first night on the floor. I use the term sleep loosely because I was tossing and turning trying to get comfortable the whole time.  The next day I got a call from the movers telling me that the delivery driver had a death in his family and had to turn back and that my delivery was pushed to following Monday.  Fack!!!  That added 5 days to be without a bed or any other sort of furniture! I wasn't going to make it.  So I decided that I would at least need to get a cot to sleep on.  I should have taken a picture of the thing strapped to my motorcycle.  The box it came in was about 3 feet long and I had the thing strapped perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bike so it stuck out pretty far on each side!  The cot was no better it was the folding type and in the center there was a tension strap that didn't sag at all and that did my lower back no favors.  Sunday night I was so sick of the cot I decided to sleep on the floor what was one more night right.  Well Monday morning I got a call saying that the delivery was pushed back to Tuesday because there were issues with the trailer so tack on another night on the floor.


Did I mention that there was no other furniture either and that it was the hottest week I have experienced since moving to California?  So for someone that only had a motorcycle anywhere you go you are going to be cooking.  So my choices were hop on the bike and go somewhere cool but be sweaty as all get up once I got there, or stay at the Condo where my options were stand up, sit on the floor, lay on the floor or lay on the uncomfortable cot and watch shows on Xfinity (at least the cable guy showed up on time).  Suffice it to say beer played a role in me getting through that week I was almost ready to go back to the Extended Stay!

Things are good now though the movers showed up last Tuesday, you have no idea how much shit you have in your house until someone shows up and dumps it all in your doorstep in one sitting.  Well they carried it into the house and unpacked things and set it on the nearest open spot.  Once again it was hot as hell and I couldn't just sit around and drink beer while they were working I and to check everything they moved in because as soon as they were done and I signed the delivery forms they were free from any liability for broken items so I was opening and unwrapping things all day.  Once we were finished at the house we had a second stop at a storage a unit to put what was basically seasonal stuff and garage contents into a storage a unit (our condo doesn't have a garage just a covered parking spot more on that in a little bit).  Anyhow if the condo was hot the storage unit was insane, no AC and of course the unit was indoors.

I had had the guys follow me on the motorcycle to the unit and when we were don there I released them from their responsibility and headed back to the condo.  The facility is gated so I pulled up to the gate and when I was going to get off the bike and go key in the code; I don't know if was the heat and then the combo of sleeping like crap for all that time but I could have sworn I put the kickstand out and when I got off the bike I was hanging onto the handlebars and all of a sudden I didn't feel the bike stop at the normal spot where the kickstand should have started supporting the weight of the bike.  Too late... It was on it's way down... Luckily I sill had my hands on it and was able to slow it down and basically just gently laid the bike on it's side.  A few seconds later after I adjusted my position to a better lifting point I had the bike back up with only a slightly bent clutch lever and a bruised ego to show for it!  It just goes to show you that motorcycle riding takes concentration even in the simple act of putting the bike on a kickstand.  It's important to be sure you are in the right state of mind to be riding.  Unfortunately being solo-moto sometimes you end up riding in non-optimal states the trick is to recognize those times and avoid hopping on the bike if at all possible.  I'll need to me more cognizant of this in the future; a lesson learned with a fairly cheap price $11 for a new lever.

That makes for a nice segue onto the story about what I did yesterday.  Sorry about the lack of pics at the start of this post lets get to some multimedia shall we.  Yesterday was the first day in a while that was going to be a comfortable temperature and with the contents of the home delivered I now had a full range of tools at my disposal.  On the list of things to do was:

-Fixing the aforementioned clutch lever
-Fixing the front right turn signal (I broke it putting on the bike cover)
-Changing the oil
-Changing the air filter

I wanted to see if I could find a shop nearby to buy the stuff and the only two moto shops in Vacaville are Motoexotica and the HD dealer.  Motoexotica is OK but they specialize in dirt and scooters so they weren't going to have anything for my FZ in stock and if a shop is going to have to order something I might as well order it myself on the Internet and save myself some money.  So Fairfield and Suisun had a few shops I wanted to check out or at least they were supposed to... 


The first stop was Cycle Gear (which I understand is a chain?) they were right off 80 and they were open so those were both pluses but after walking in the door I knew the drill.  There were two guys working and I was the only one in the store.  Nobody welcomed me, they were stocking shelves and bullshitting with each other.  Luckily they had the parts catalog out by the levers and after about ten minutes I found the part number I needed and they actually had one in stock, off to a good start then! However I must say that there seemed to be absolutely no rhyme or reason as to how they had the brands and models arranged no alpha numerical logic anyways.


It was dumb luck that I found the entry for a 2001 FZ1 in there.  It was a printed out Cycle Gear list too not a manufacturers catalog if that says anything.  Having found the lever I moved onto the oil filter they had only a small selection for Hiflofiltro brand and a much larger selection of K&N and why wouldn't they? After all, they cost twice as much!  They did stock the K&N for my FZ though the catalog only went back to 2006 models so lucky for me a quick visit to K&N's website on my iPhone got me the correct part number, god forbid a sales person would have approached me.  Once again there was a sea of K&N air filters but no other this was more of an issue than the oil filter because I have some concerns about adding a K&N to my bike.  The previous owner installed the Yoshimura slip on on the bike and didn't re-jet the carbs it runs a little rough at idle this way but it's acceptable, I can see why he didn't bother.  My concern is that once I introduce a more free-flowing air filter in the intake side the bike may lean out to the point that I will need to re-jet the bike.  No matter, after consulting the website again it turned out they didn't have one for my bike anyhow.  Finally I had to interrupt the guys discussion about employee discounts to have one of them ring me up.  I decided to check and see if any of the other shops had a stock air filter.

I tried to find Fairfield Cycle Center and I couldn't.  That may be partially Siri's (Apple GPS) fault as she seems to get confused when there is a dense area of stores/shops around.  The area this store was supposed to be at if it was still there was not prominently marked and would have been a small storefront at best.


I managed to find Xtreme Cyclez in Sisun... But they were closed and had no hours posted on their door so who the hell knows when they open.  I tried to look up the website listed on the window but the two attempts I made with my iPhone redirected me to the App Store to buy Candy Crush Saga!?! What the Eff!?!  Add that to the irritating way they spelled their shop name and that was enough... On to the next one...


The next one I tried to find was House of Power but they appeared to have gone out of business.  So I decided to just order the air filter online and do it another day.


The weather was still great when I got back to the Condo above you can see a pic of the covered parking spot that comes with the rental.  I haven't met the owner of the ZR-7S yet but the two bikes make a cute couple I think it's a 2001 as well.  The Hyundai Genesis coupe in the background gives a great primary color composition as well.  I have to do a little more looking into this but the day I moved in the on-site manager gave me a letter called "Condominium Community Living Tips" which basically is a bunch of common sense suggestions about how to get along with your neighbors.  I did take exception to one portion of the letter which said: "Do not wash or work on cars on the premises." Now I am pretty sure that when we were signing the lease that this did not come up and I'll have to do some checking into that but I would have definitely said no to the place had that been brought up or been on a legal document I was to sign.  Either way being a motorcycle rider sometimes means being a bad-ass rebel so I decided to change the oil in my spot anyhow!  And heck the letter says "cars" so there... As you can see it's not as if there isn't a huge oil spot in out spot anyhow.  I did put down some cardboard to be considerate though.



As you can see in the pictures above something went amiss during the oil change, I ended up enlisting an old tactic to get the old filter off check out the video below for my explanation... DESTROY!!!



It got ugly there for a bit,  it just goes to show you that sometimes even the simplest jobs can turn into an unexpected mess!  I would never have though that I would be reaching for my tin snips to change the oil on the FZ that day!

As luck would have it the on-site manager happened to stop by while I was working on the bike and don't get me wrong; her and her husband are both super nice and I like the both of them.  She did bring up the letter and I kind of explained to her that when it comes to motorcycles you can't just ride up to an oil change place and have it done for you in 30 minutes, let alone any major work.  In so many words I explained that my situation with my bike being my only mode of transportation that I would have to work on my bike at the condo.  Shew was understanding and didn't really know that was an issue and basically said that the idea is that you don't want to encroach others personal space and I could see how working on a car in one of those spots would make me concerned about someone banging up my car if I had one.

I got the clutch lever replaced and threw the bent one in my tool box I carry on the bike in case I have an incident where I have an off and break the lever clean off.  I didn't take any pictures of that because its a lever... nothing special.


The last thing I needed to do was fix the turn signal you can see in the above pic that I had already started the repair.  Basically the part still attached to the bodywork is a soft rubber meant to flex and the housing for the turn signal is hard plastic.  So I got out the safety wire and first looped it around the housing and then poked the other end through the soft plastic.  I did the same thing again only the other direction so that I would have two ends to twist together using my safety wire tool.


When it's all said and done it's not the best cosmetically but functionally it is back to normal and the safety wire isn't too strong so it should break away in a lie down situation if one arose.  Either that or the soft rubber would tear so job done!


I was so happy with the days work I went and bought myself a 6-pack of beer and to my surprise I found the first beer that I would actually say was great since moving to California.  Though it was brewed in Oregon.


That's about it for now, I'll leave you with this picture of a Yamaha RD 400 Daytona Special I saw when I was a the library the other day.  Super clean... Someone wither took really good care of it  or did a great resto-job!

Thanks for reading!



1 comment:

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