Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WR250 crash -- Ouch! The pain!

This past Sunday was the 2012 Steve Garnsey Trail Ride and Dave, Jason, and I made plans to take part. Dave and I threw our bikes on my trailer to get there, while Jason rode. I offered to ride as the sweeper for the agressive dual sport route.  After everyone left the start line, Dave, Jason, and I waited a few minutes and we then began to follow. Just 5 minutes into the ride, we passed by what appeared to be a motocross track in the middle of a hay field. In order to let the other riders get ahead of us by a comfortable distance, we decided to take a few minutes to play on the track, as a warm up exercise, if you will.

Well, within about 90 seconds, I was regretting the decision. I was having a blast riding a casual pace and testing out my newly rebuilt rear shock when I approached a small jump -- or, what I thought was a small jump. Maybe it was the tall grass, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, maybe it was just me being stupid, but it really looked like a small jump to catch a bit of air in 2nd gear. Who knows? But just before I got to the top of this little jump, I realized the only way to clear the distance of this jump would be to have been speeds of 50 mph or more!  Holy shit, this is going to hurt! At the very last second, I attempted to abort the jump and exit to the left. Too late, I was headed down a very steep hill that was about 10 feet high. In hindsight,  should have pinned the throttle and hoped for the best. Here, just watch for yourself. I was wearing my GoPro camera with the chest mount strap:

It was nearly 30 seconds before I could take that first breath after having the wind knocked out of my lungs. I remember the panicked feeling of not being able to breathe -- seemed like forever and I was ready to black out.

Dave rode back to the starting point and got my truck and trailer, then he and Jason loaded my bike and Dave's onto the trailer, and me into the truck. Dave took me to the hospital down the road. They did a bunch of x-rays but they also wanted a CT scan of my head and abdomen, but it was a small town and the hospital didn't have a weekend technician for the CT scan machine. So, they sent me by ambulance to Ottawa, the hospital just 5 minutes from my home.

After all the blood work, urine samples, x-rays, ultrasound, and three CT scans, here's what the doctors came up with: bruising to a bunch of ribs and several organs, left kidney and lungs...heart, maybe. My spleen took the worst beating but didn't rupture. A little bit of internal bleeding but not a lot -- and likely from the spleen as it sustained the most damage. No broken bones, but collar bone was dislocated. And my head suffered a mild concussion. My neck and entire spine is seriously stiff and sore from top to bottom but no real damage. Rib cage is incredibly tender all around (front, back, both sides).

So, I'll be wearing a neck brace for a few days, and my right arm is in a sling to take the weight off my collar bone.

Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be any more pain... that's when I woke up and discovered the truth about that old saying "that's gonna hurt even more tomorrow!" Oh... my.... god.... It was painful yesterday but this morning it's much worse than I could have imagined. But at least I'm at home now.

Yes, I intend to ride the Roaming Rally in 2 weeks. I may need to sign up for a yoga class before then.

Oh, and damage to the bike?  A broken mirror.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

WR250X rear shock replacement

A couple of months ago, I picked up a used shock and had it re-valved by WER Suspension in New Jersey. Doing it this way saved me from having the bike laid up while the work was being done. I just got around to installing the newly rebuilt shock today... in preparation for an upcoming dual sport event I am taking part in this Sunday.

Pulling the old shock from the bike was a piece of cake. About 15 minutes, tops.  Cleaning the bolts, applying a bit of grease, and installing the new shock took another 15 minutes or so.

When I finished, I went for a quick test ride around the neighbourhood for a few minutes. It definitely has an improved feel.

Step 1: Get the bike up on a stand so that the rear wheel 
is just about off the ground. An adjustable stand is perfect for this.

Step 2: Remove the nut from the lower yoke of the linkage assembly

Step 3: Remove the nut from the upper shock bolt

Step 4: Remove the nut from the lower shock bolt
At this point, you've removed only the three nuts, no bolts.

Step 5: Now, find a long rod or some type of drift and a hammer, 
and gently tap each of the three bolts to remove them. I started with 
the two bolts at the bottom, followed by the top shock mount bolt.

Bottom bolts removed, the dog bones will hang free.

Top shock mount bolt removed

Step 6: With the left side panel removed, just pull the shock up 
and out from the side. It doesn't get any easier than this.

The old shock on the left has seen a measly 3,500 Kms  
On the right is the used shock I bought and had rebuilt.

Re-installation is the same steps as the removal, but in reverse.

I also took a few minutes and applied some fresh synthetic waterproof grease to the  bushings/bearings/bolts. No, I didn't completely remove the entire linkage/yoke assembly for a full bearing service --- my bike has just 3,500 Kms on the odometer, so that will probably happen next year.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mumbai Motorbikes

I was recently on a business trip in Mumbai, India for three weeks. A very different place from Canada -- that's for sure. I enjoyed every minute. This was my second visit to Mumbai, as I was there last year for about ten days.

In any event, I saw plenty of bikes and took a few pics. I even had a chance to take one for a test ride (though not in traffic -- that would be downright dangerous for someone who isn't used to the vehicular chaos of this crazy town). 

Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Honda Hero 150
Men are required to wear helmets, and only if they are the rider 
(not if they are a passenger)

Bajaj Avenger 220

Yamaha Fazer 150

Stumbled upon this KTM dealer by accident. They recently partnered 
with Bajaj to assemble the Duke 200, a model exclusive to the Indian market. 
I took one for a test ride in the underground parking garage. A very nice little bike, 
and only $2,500 will get you a brand new one including all taxes, licensing and 
insurance !!!  That's 1/2 the price of a Ninja 250 at the Kawasaki dealer down 
the street. I'm not sure how they do it for that price (I guess labour is very cheap 
in India).

Another Royal Enfield Bullet 350

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First dual sport ride of the season

John's bike is still in winter hibernation. He's so lazy, he hasn't finished his winter maintenance and upgrades. I was dying to get out for a bit of dirt riding, especially after being away on a business trip for 3 weeks. With spring finally here, I needed a ride. 

Since I have two bikes, we decided to make use of them both. We each took turns riding the DR and the WR.  The WR, however, still had street wheels and rubber. No matter. The dirt was mostly gravel roads with just a few easy trails. Conditions were pretty dry -- so, no mud.  The bike handled remarkably well for street tires.

We bumped into Juames (Jimmy) as he and David had spent the day 
pre-riding some of the route for the upcoming 2012 Roaming Rally

With 17" supermoto Bridgestone BT090 street tires