My personal history of being Impractical

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by bvardi, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    I'm 41, employed in server and network support, and generally come across as a reasonable sort of person.

    But I've got a little voice in the back of my head. Oddly enough where others have voices that whisper of power, of high speeds and shredded rubber - my voices whisper to me of things slow and old fashioned. Small CC bikes, scooters, or underpowered sidecar rigs.

    The voice has led me to do a cross continent Ural trip as a memorial for my grandfather. It's led me to do several Mad Bastard scooter rallies.. including one where I drove an underpowered moped 21 hours straight and found out what it was like to drive up a hill.... and run to a complete stop with the throttle wide open.

    But now the voices are talking about next year.... and I'm thinking.... what can I do next of an impractical nature.... and then I look out at my recently acquired Vespa PX scooter and Inder sidecar and I think... "Hmm.... I've never driven a machine out east."

    So now I am thinking... from Toronto to the East coast. 1800km one way. About 3600km there and back. On a pair of 30 year old Vespa PX scooters. One with a sidecar attached. And likely about two weeks to do it in.

    And a wife to convince to do it with as well.

    Now this is something I could do on the Ural instead. We've driven that out to the west coast which is a greater distance one way than this entire trip. It'd make it just fine... and likely in greater comfort. (If not immensely greater speeds, though it is faster since it cruises about 95kph, while the Vespas would likely only do 80 or so.)

    Like I said... the scooters are just not practical for this kind of thing. I do have other options. I might end up broken down in the middle of absolutely nowhere being eaten by mosquitoes of unusual size and vigor. Which already happened this year on the MBSR rally when I had a swingarm bolt nearly eject itself about a 40 minute drive from the nearest cell signal.

    So then it comes down to decisions.... do I listen to practicality?

    Or do I listen to the little voice. Hmm.
    #1
  2. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Looking at the math of a trip... 3600km in 14-16 days. Reserve 2 days because stuff happens, and mid journey you might just want a day to say "Screw it I'm not moving."

    So then say 12 days... 3600km.... 300km a day.

    Hmm.... figure to spend most of the trip on 80kph highways... probably would be lucky to average 50-60kph. So that makes it about 5-6 hours driving a day.

    Doable... but since the two wheeler Vespa isn't a joy to drive in the rain (Anyone who has ever tried to brake a drum brake P series Vespa in the rain will know very well what I mean) - we'd likely need to put on some extra distance on good days to build up a bit of a time cushion. So figure 7-8 hours driving per day.

    Should be doable enough to drive that long per day... even though you do get beat up more driving a vintage scooter than on a regular motorcycle. (At speed anyways.) And the sidecar rig will be a lot more work in the corners. At least having the Ural as my daily driver will help with that... I'm no stranger to long stretches on a sidecar.

    Hmm... time to ponder some things over this winter. Mechanical concerns.... route choice..... camping or hotels (likely a combination of both).... and most importantly... how do I talk my wife into it.

    Maybe I'll pull "Hey it'll be just like that time we rented a sidecar in France.... except longer, less great food, and in theory people who speak the same language!"

    Methinks I need to scheme some on this.
    #2
  3. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Here's the sidecar beast....

    [​IMG]

    A 1980's PX125E kitted with a 177 kit, and an Inder sidecar added. The kit has enough mileage on it to prove it is reliable and to break it in.. but not enough to wear it out. The bike itself is a former Italian post machine. And there isn't a rougher scooter rider in the entire world than an Italian postal worker. Every example I have seen of these has dented fenders, legshields, engine cowlings... scratches in odd places. Beaten up every day, day in and day out for years. But still going.

    It's no wonder that when 4 P-series Vespas entered into the Paris-Dakar rally in 1980 two of them finished. Out of all the other type of vehicles... less than 40 percent finished.

    Here's the other Vespa.... also an 80's PX Vespa. This one with the stock engine, but without a history of postal rage induced riding. This shot is from the Mad Bastard rally where my wife rode it for close to 800 kms within a 24 hour period. (I didn't make it due to the previously mentioned swingarm incident unfortunately... but she finished with my brother who was also along on his Kymco.)

    [​IMG]

    So this machine has proven it can do 1/4 of the trip.... within 24 hours. At which point I think the rider is more of the weak point than the machine. It did have some throttle cable issues... but nothing that couldn't be fixed at the side of the road.
    #3
  4. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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  5. bikeridermark

    bikeridermark Long timer

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    sidecar=big fun
    scooter=big fun

    How could you possibly go wrong?
    The only problem I see with timing is that everyone wants to stop you and talk about the sidecar.
    #5
  6. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Hmm - Vermont. Hadn't considered going to the US but definitely should. Right now the plan is "go east til you hit salty water"

    And as for what can wrong - likely plenty. But it ain't an adventure if there is no possibility of disaster or stupidity!

    Part of the planning will include what spares to bring. Certain things are obvious - with a vintage vespa a full set of spare cables (and a few clutch cable inners since they pack small) is a good idea. Spare tubes , maybe an extra tire. Jerry can. Hopefully can mitigate some potential disaster that way.


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  7. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

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    That's not a KYMCO, it's a SYM...rode one up to AK from CA three years ago.
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  8. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    Alternatively you could be the first person to compete in the Scooter Cannonball with a sidecar rig. The 2014 cannonball is going from Hyder, Alaska to New Orleans, LA arriving at the start of Amerivespa.

    How's that for a crazy adventure? 3,600 miles in 10 days, party for 4 then return home at your leisure. I planned on doing it myself next year but circumstances have changed which likely means I'll have to wait until 2016 but I haven't given up hope completely yet.
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  9. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    I know, it was the Sym that had the swingarm bolt unfasten itself. (I was riding it at the time.... unfortunately by the time I realized the bolt was undone, the nut on the end was long gone somewhere miles back. So I had to call for a tow and wave the two of them on so they could finish the rally.)
    #9
  10. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    That would be a trip... but unfortunately beyond time/budget restraints for me right now. (Would have to ship bike up to Alaska, then ship back from LA. to have the necessary vacation time to do it.)

    Think if I had the cash for shipping I'd be tempted to go all the way from coast to coast on a small CC bike - that is still on my "to do" list for one day anyways.
    #10
  11. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    FWIW the scooter cannonball is a coast to coast ride. In this case Pacific northwest to Gulf of Mexico. Last year it was Savannah, GA to San Diego, CA.

    Many folks ship and I believe there is at least one Canadian planning on competing next year http://scootercannonball.com
    #11
  12. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Very true... but I think first I'd do coast to coast within Canada (but then after that, I'd need something for the "Next trip" so this could be number three on the big trip calendar :)

    After all, have to have that list of trips to do and make sure you never run out of all of them!

    The bucket list for me includes a Vietnamese scooter trip (may never happen), Australia, New Zealand, Europe (Did a sidecar rental in France.... HAVE to repeat that one day.)

    For the moment.... I think going going east. Fits the budget, fits the vacation time available. And once I get past Kingston or so... it's unknown territory (Have only been out east once, and I was quite young... so I don't remember it very well.)
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  13. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

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    Yeah they are known to do that. I had that happened on my trip to Alaska. Used a nut off the kick stand
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  14. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    "Hey it'll be just like that time we rented a sidecar in France.... except longer, less great food, and in theory people who speak the same language!"
    Until you get to Quebec...:uhoh
    The Gaspe is something you should not miss. Scenery AND the people.
    Have fun planning and do give us a report.:deal
    #14
  15. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    I'm getting the impression you get more enjoyment out of planning, listing epic rides than actually doing them. If funds and time allow ride what you want, where you want.
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  16. csisfun

    csisfun Adventurer

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I did this trip on a 50cc Honda Jazz (Metropolitan, in America). It took me 32-days to-and-fro from Toronto to St. John's, N.L, and back via Halifax, N.S.

    It was certainly trying some times, especially when it rained, and when it was cold, and, on a 50cc, slow.

    I'd say most of the East Coast is amenable to riding because there are interesting side roads, but if you decide to go to Newfoundland, I'd recommend not taking a small or slow scooter, because the Trans-Canada Highway in Newfoundland is very, very, very long, boring and brutal.

    Nova Scotia is the place to be. I enjoyed myself the most in Nova Scotia, especially the Cabot Trail!

    It was a trip to remember.
    #16
  17. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    I wouldn't say so - I've done toronto to bc on a ural, done France in a sidecar (though that might not be epic for total distance in a trip it still was a blast). I do 800-1000km scooter and ural trips regularly - but I do find for longer trips (due to work and other commitments) I need to schedule things well ahead of time.

    Plus it is an interesting winter activity to go over what the next years trip will be.

    Not all of us can "just go" - but I do get to do some trips and some experiences I enjoy. maybe not circumnavigating the globe, but I've doney fair share of miles, met some truly unique people along the way - and I plan to both enjoy planning trips and do them as well.


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  18. bvardi

    bvardi Probably not Deciduous

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    Nice! I've done an 800km rally on a 50cc and by the end I think I had to just about have it surgically removed from my ass, so I definitely admire the fortitude needed to do that much distance on a jazz.
    #18
  19. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Prepare well, and have a rescue planned. That has always been my main concern on long trips. What if the bike breaks down (like a blown engine) and you can't fix it on the road? How do you get it back home?

    Hard to imagine going very far on a Metropolitan. I had a 2007, and put about 10,000 miles on it. But it was all in southern AZ and NM. I tried to climb a not too steep hill with it, and it came to a dead stop. It had nearly twice the power of my 2 speed Puch moped (actual pedal moped0 which never had any problem climbing anything I pointed it at.
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  20. csisfun

    csisfun Adventurer

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    I noticed that the more days you ride, the less "baboon ass" you get. I never felt rear-end fatigue after the first few days of looooong saddle hours.

    That said, I have never done 800km in 21-hours. That is probably even tougher than anything I've done in one day throughout the trip.
    #20