Motorcycle Season 2009 officially started!

Last weekend, at Easter, the season for two-wheels officially started in Southern Sweden. Many motorcycles where out and about enjoying the first warm days and being surrounded by nice fresh air in a way that only motorcycling offers.

We spent the weekend with the family in Grythyttan. That involved changing from winter tyres to summer tyres on the two family cars, fixing the old Russian foldable bicycle that one of the young ladies found in the garage stash and of course some severe fettling with the motorcycles. It took me about three hours to get the old rusty mufflers off Elisa (you may admire the shiny new ones on the picture below). At last a metal saw was the only way out since patience and cautious working with screw driver and hammer did not loosen the tight grip rust had formed between the exhaust pipe and the old mufflers. Putting on the new mufflers was then a very simple task. Elisa also got a new Bagster tank cover, and now I am in the pursuit of a fitting tank bag and some luggage that fits the rear part of the bike. Up to now a top box was sitting there, but as you can imagine it not only destroys the nice line of the bike but is not very suitable at higher travelling speeds which may include sidewinds – unless one fancies a bit of an extra challenge. Ebay, here I come! Any advice from the dear readers of this post are of course much appreciated. It is a shame that modern luggage mostly never seems to suit older bikes.

On Easter Monday Elisa and I made the two hundred kilometres back to Norrköping where she happily arrived at the new garage. Did I mention that on Easter Sunday she started on first attempt and without any complaints whatsoever? She clearly enjoyed the first spin of the season around town, showing off her new equipment and telling everyone in her way “it is springtime and here I come again!”.

On the way back to Norrköping one could not only experience the crappy (and faaaar too fast) driving of some cars but also the fact that Elisa’s indicators decided themselves when they wanted to work – which was usually not when I wanted them to function… Yesterday therefore involved some severe checking and cleaning of contacts and now I would say we no longer pose a danger to the traffic around us. After all, mid of May it is MOT time and one really does not want to do that twice… Never mind the costs that is.

Right now this blog post gets written while in the background the Le Mans 24 hours race finished. This year it was won by team Yamaha Austria who managed to hold their first place for quite some time despite the rain in the morning and the wet race track. Congratulations to them – tell me, can the season start any better? 🙂


Starting into the winter season

Finally – Elisa is back home! This post comes a bit late as I got her already back on the 18th of October.

I was lucky with the weather – 10 Celsius plus AND sunshine! That is almost a miracle for this time of the year. Wrapped up in the boyfriend’s Yamaha snow scooter suit (made in Finland!) over the leather suit so that the cold air was kept out and therefore feeling like being on a bear hunt in Siberia (or even being a Grizzly myself) I made my way home, even halfway complying with the speed limits. That one does not necessarily do on a hot summer day – the faster, the cooler, the only way to not overheat in a leather suit in at least 30 degrees Celsius plus sun burning down unmercifully. Oh yes, that exists as well in Sweden. It is not just cold all year round, you know.

The workshop or better saying Sweden’s best Guzzi-mechanic Janne from the Italia Bike Center in Arboga did an excellent job. He even rebuilt the carbs completely as the sealings were too old and sucked in air. They were actually surprised that we made it to Arboga. Well, we refrained from telling them that the bike also made it to Helsingborg in Skåne and to Harjarö west of Stockholm, and to quite a few other places… Obviously with the same defect all way long. It clearly shows that the little lady seemed to be quite up for finally seeing the world instead of pottering around Motala or Linköping only… If we are lucky then she will also see a bit of the rest of Europe next year, but that is still far away yet from being planned too much in detail.

Back home, she got straight away prepared for winter. Emptying the carbs, closing the fuel tabs (my personal all time favourite when it comes to my own forgetfulness – opening or closing these little fellows) and some oil onto the cylinder heads against corrosion. Oh, and not to forget disconnecting the battery of course. Her motor block now sits on a piece of wood in order to keep the tires slightly off the ground, another essential part of getting a bike winter ready. Thanks to the service and judging by the final smooth ride home the rest was all in order and did not need any further attention. Elisa even got cleaned! Covered with her comfort blanket, a Guzzi flag (yes, I am a girl 😉 ) and a brand new bike cover she now sleeps against the wall of the garage till next year May. The season officially starts on the 1st of May. That means I will probably wake her up again some time in April so that we can start into our first proper season together!

Until then there will be some strict fitness training for myself. Why? Well, fitting into the leather suit a bit better than this year is kind of a crucial requirement for the next season – I do not want to swap to a new outfit and a custom bike next spring. Not to mention the lack of financial means for actually being able to afford all that 😉

When will I see you again, Elisa?

Finally, after a lot of work notes a personal one again. What it is about? Well, it has something to do with motorcycling. The season is definitely over now and I even missed the end of it, which is a pity really. The reason? I decided to leave Elisa (yes, a motorcycle can have a name, and this one has) on the 13th of September with a specialist to give her a very good check up. That was much needed as I did not have any record of when she got looked at by professional eyes last time. The two previous owners did not ride her much but fiddled much with her technical set up – and it was the question whether they really got all buttons and wires right.

As I know already, the carbs need to be totally rebuild and also a lot of small seals need to be replaced. So the latest news from last week was, that finally parts from Italy have arrived! So the work hopefully started this week. It would be great to have her back the coming weekend, as given good weather and not immensely low temperatures it would be possible to ride her to the winter quarter – and not carry her home on a trailer…. sigh. So, we shall see! Important is however to get her back and have her fit for next season!

In the meantime it is good to read the books of Lois Pryce – an immensely enjoyable writing style. Also, watching Ewan and Charley doing their trips help feeding the desire to learn about motorcycle trips. Lois’ is an adventure, especially the one down Africa. Ewan and Charley’s trip is a walk in the park in comparison.

Also it is now the time to think how to contribute a bit more to the forum of the Swedish Guzzi Club – winter time is building time.

1st of May 2009 the fun shall start again :-).

….and another significant day….

Today is a solar eclipse, new moon, my dad’s birthday, the funeral of the aunt of my beloved, my brother’s first day at work at a cabinet maker (he does an apprenticeship) and the first day for me to be out and about alone on a longer ride on my newly bought lovely Moto Guzzi v35 Imola up from Linköping up to Grythyttan. Let’s see what else is under offer today, hopefully not me taken too often the wrong turns! Oh – I forgot – water discovered on Mars is the the other big headline today! Anyway, where was I? Yes, motorcycling.

I bought Elisa almost a month ago, she turns 25 this year, by the way but has only 15000 kilometres under her belt, well, that figure already changed within last week to around 15300. She quite seems to enjoy to be out and about again and really doing a bit more excercise. During the past years she did about 500 km per year at the most… Almost a disgrace for such a pretty lady. Picture to follow in one of the next posts, some still have to be made. However, this is her Tech Spec if there is anybody interested. However, Elisa is silver-grey and not red.

So, let’s hope I make it alright and also back on Sunday night – it is supposed to rain on the weekend… not much fun… so let’s have it today!

Trevlig helg!