Planning very long trip on very small bike, much advice needed

Discussion in 'Americas' started by zad, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    Chopped off the top 5 inches. Clutch slipping badly, New plates expected saturday.
    #61
  2. radbrad511

    radbrad511 Incurable

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    Dude you are awesome! Last year in Baja I met 2 Kids from Argentina. They rode their Old 50cc Motobecane Mopeds from there to Baja Norte and headed to San Diego. Had 1 gallon plastic milk jugs strapped to their handlebars with a shoelace! Told the Boys "those guys are crazy, they 'aint gonna make it!"

    Weeks later we were in La Paz when the "crazy guys" rode by! Saw them on the road the next day and stopped to talk. They were having the best adventure of their lives! Tons of bike and other problems never stopped them! I serviced both Mopeds in the Pemex parking lot and they rode off headed South. I told the boys "those guys are cool, they just might make it!!"

    Be safe, have fun and Go For It!:norton
    #62
  3. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    #63
  4. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    I know, I'm really frustrated. My license plates are still in the mail and i ahve a clutch to install tomorrow.
    #64
  5. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

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    Very cool!!!

    It's clear some folks are concerned about your well being on this trip and your idea of taking an old bike on a long trip. I'll give you my opinion and it just that, my opionion.

    Long Ride? Ah heck, a long ride is just a lot of short rides strung together. You'll get riding experience on the road and that's a great way to get it.

    Old Bike? It sounds like you have mechanical skills and are working on getting the bike in best shape possible before you head out. Heck if these riders: http://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/ can get their pre-1936 bikes across the country you can too. :D

    The biggest concern I have for you and this ride is the weather as others have pointed out. Consider adding grip heaters to your bike. They are fairly inexpensive and if you have a Cycle Gear nearby they probably have them in stock. I bought mine for $35 and heated grips are worth every penny. You might also think about installing a volt meter so you can keep an eye on your voltage if you do add the grip heaters. They don't draw much power but if you bike doesn't produce much power you will want to know if your grips are pulling down the volts and need to turn them off. I have a small bike that doesn't produce much in the way of power and I turn my grips off when I'm going into a town or areas where I'm braking a lot and/or using signals using the volts.

    Another thing you might want to keep with you are a few of those hand/feet warmer packs that you can pick up for about a buck. They can come in real handy if you hit some real cold weather.

    Take a real tent not just a bivy sack. If you hit bad weather and want to wait it out being able to hang out in your tent might not be that much fun but beats the heck out of bivy sack. If you are headed for bad weather do wait it out rather than trying to hope for the best, especially this time of year and snow threats on the mountains. I have gotten myself in situations I shouldn't have ridden in because I wouldn't/couldn't wait out the weather.

    As other have said make use of the tent space thread. People will be happy to help you along your way. Also if you find yourself in need of help post up on ADV in the region you are in and you might find someone will jump in to give you a helping hand (if this happens be sure to pay it forward).

    I'm guessing you are taking a smart phone. Find one of the tracking apps and have a trusted friend keep track of you. I use a SPOT so I don't know what apps are available other than they are out there. Maybe someone can make a recommendation.

    I like what you came up with for a way to prop up your bike for a tire change. That tells me you have McGwyver skills that will get you far. :thumb I would take a good bicycle hand or foot pump rather than the one time use C02 cartridge
    for airing up your tire or better yet I carry one of these: Slime Inflator They are carried at many places and Walmart often has them.

    You'll be able to find secondary roads which are more fun and more scenic than the interstates. Try to stay on them as much as possible and pay attention to what is behind you and if you aren't traveling very fast let other drivers get around you when you can.

    Very Important: Take a camera, get lots of picture along the way and do a ride report. :deal Hopefully you will share it with us in the Ride Report section but even if you don't you'll enjoy going back and reading it 20 years down the road. That first big ride is always special, you will cherish every mile and have memories that can't be beat.

    Take your time, pay attention to the weather (can't be emphasized enough), drink plenty of water, eat nutritious meals, and all the things people tell you to do all the time but most important is have a heck of a great adventure! :clap
    #65
  6. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    I bought my first bike in January of 2011(?), Honda rebel, then took off on a 4200 mile trip that summer. I had more than 400 miles of riding by then, but still.....

    I can't speak to mechanical issues, but as a backpacker I can you some advice.

    1. Wind is your enemy. You must have an outer layer that will completely block the wind ( whether it's raining or not)
    2. Insulation. You can pick up fairly inexpensive fleece sweaters and pants. Try goodwill. Wool is always a great choice too.
    3. Wicking laying next to the skin. Long underwear, don't buy cotton. In fact, don't wear cotton anything if you can possibly avoid. If you get it wet you're done for the day.
    4. Hands the same. Doesn't matter whether it's nice gear, just needs to work. Rubber gloves over insulation should be fine. You can also get thinner liners.
    5. Boots, the same.
    6. I have a long silk scarf that I wrap a bunch of times around my neck then tie off. Works pretty well. You can also buy motorcycle specific neck gaiters.
    7. If you're shivering you're in the first stage of hypothermia. Stop. Set up your tent, drink something warm and eat.
    8. You're going to need a very warm sleeping bag and a sleeping pad with good insulation. Don't try a bivy sack unless you also bring a tarp that can also be set up as a tent to use over it.

    Try an esbit stove. They use a chemical pellet, pack up tiny and will always work, period. You just bring as many tablets as you need. In California we have AAA, it's an association that provides towing among other services. You might see if you can get a membership and where it covers. I did use them once in Arizona.

    I'm sorry, but you're too late in the year for your route:cry. What about heading south and across? You'd still need to be careful with the weather in some places, but the risk is far too high for your planned route. Everywhere along the western part of your route is very isolated. Snow starts soon in northern Utah and the mountain passes in Nevada. I imagine Wyoming is the same. The Sierra passes can be nasty by then. You might find that 80 is the only way across.

    I think a southern route is possible if you have the time. Might try planning it out.

    I don't know much about the route east of Flagstaff, but what about using Interstate 40 as a guide?

    The Rebel could hit 70 + on the flat without a headwind, I did ride partly on freeways when needed. Just stay in the slow lane.
    #66
  7. AdvRich

    AdvRich Long timer

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    Lots of great advice so far. Couple of things come to mind for bikes of this vintage while reading:
    - Soak those cork clutch plates in the same oil you'll be using overnight before they go in.
    - Inspect the brake shoes for wear and any signs of delamination as they are pretty old. Even though that drum front brake is not as powerful as a disc at least you don't have the worry of old caliper or master cylinder seals leaking.
    - The finer fuel tank rust will work its way through the filter and settle in the carb float bowl as an orangeish red coating. If its strong you'll first see it in your fuel filter. A short duration drain of that float bowl every now and again will help stave off build up in the primary jet and other smaller carb passageways.
    - Air filter condition?
    - Check the plug connection from the stator to the regulator to ensure it is corrosion free both on the blades/pins and at the crimps, correct as needed and seal up with dielectric grease. These tend to melt from heat caused by corrosion build up and then short.
    - Same as above for the fuse panel. It's a very good probability that the fuse holder clips may be right at the edge of their life and could snap away as you inspect them. Better there than on the road and better to find it then to have it heat up from poor connection and melt away. Good to take some spare single line fuses from the auto parts store that you can bypass if you do have one break. Pack spare fuses and electrical tape.
    - Bomber the battery and cable connections as well… fluid levels , etc.
    - Spare key if you only have one. Sometimes it the simplest thing that can stop the whole show.

    The first thought that came to mind with that large windshield is the good possibility of a tank slapper where the front end takes on a life of its own. Be mindful of how the bike handles above 35-40 mph. Second is the size of the rear rack and how far it extends out past the rear axle and the temptation to load it up. Its best to keep the heavy items closer to the center, so if you can, pack and strap them on the seat area behind you. Pack lighter and smaller the further you go back. Check air pressures to spec and if the rear shocks have any preload adjustment set them higher as needed to trim the bike for best handling loaded.

    If you can dive south running down the front of the Rockies and then cross over the ranges down there to the coast it will be much better than anything up top this time of year. Have a great time and as mentioned take pics and post when you can. :thumb
    #67
  8. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    Thanks a ton for all the advice guys. My license plate still hasn't shown up and im getting real itchy. Today was my last day at work as I told them im leaving town. The weather was real hot until a day or two ago and now it's real soggy. I drove around town in the rain today and couldn't see shit.

    I'll look into grip heaters.
    #68
  9. froger

    froger Been here awhile

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    Five inches off that windshield ain't much. Remeber, air cant change dirrection that fast. At highway speed the real windblast is six inches above the top of the windshield.
    On your bike, too small a windshield would be better than too big. If it was me, I'd bob that thing so it was at most a few inches taller than the mirrors.
    A too short window will buffet the top of your helmet, but your slower crusing speed would help with that. Too big a window sucks power you dont have, and all that square footage hooked to your handlebars is going to blow you around big time. And as you found out, you cant see for shit.
    #69
  10. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    Looked into heated grips. Worried about the wiring. I want the power to be keyed, otherwise I WILL kill my battery, knowing me. But I am not very knowledgeable about electric stuff and would hesitate to tap right into my headlight wire for power or something.
    #70
  11. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    The amount I cut off must already be buffeting my helmet because helmet noise is already way louder than it was without the windshield.
    #71
  12. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I doubt that your bike puts out enough power for that
    #72
  13. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    Bike is ready to go, I'm ready to go. Plates are the only thing keeping me here day after day. It's making me crazy. Tried out the interstate today with the new clutch and sprockets. I can make the speed, but it's not comfortable.

    On the donner party side of things, at least there's nobody else coming to eat me.
    #73
  14. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    I think if my plate isn't here by Friday I'm going with no license plate.
    #74
  15. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    Plates issued yesterday! i work my last day today. If the plates aren't in my mailbox I'm going up to the dmv friday morning and getting temporaries made and leaving the same day. I'm on my fucking way! leaving Friday. I'll put up another picture of my loaded rig before i go and start a ride report thread. :)

    Once I get to Casper I'll make my decisions about whether or not i can just shoot the mountains or have to go farther south.
    #75
  16. AdvRich

    AdvRich Long timer

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    :thumb
    #76
  17. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    It appears your timing is perfect. Temps are rising this weekend and next week. And dry.
    60's north of Yellowstone and mid 70's in north ID. to 80's in Denver.
    Cool in the mornings. Maybe ice in the mountains.

    Have a good ride.
    #77
  18. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    :lurk
    #78
  19. zad

    zad Adventurer

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    Just so you all know, I made it and I'm not dead. 8 days Sunday to Sunday. I'll post the ride report when I get to a library since I live in the mountains now. I took a lot of picture, my bike looks different now than when I started the trip.
    #79
  20. AdvRich

    AdvRich Long timer

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    Yeah, Congratulations! Looking forward to reading of your journey.
    #80