Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

For some dumb reason, probably in a weak moment, I posted up a Polar Bear Ride for New Year's Day. It seemed like a good idea at the time, sitting in the warm house with a seasonal ale in my hand, but with 2015 behind us and 2016 greeting us with 28┬║F and ice, I started having second thoughts.

Long underwear, fleece, windbreaker, heated liner, gloves, suit.... check, check and check. However, it didn't take long before I was regretting my enthusiastic posting. I was waddling around the house as fat as the Michelin Man and sweating in all my preparedness. My theory on layering is I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I can always take layers off.

I backed the Tiger out of the garage, and turned it around in the driveway, thumbing the starter to a reluctant rerr...rerr...rerr...rerr.  But she fired up into an eager idle before settling down matching my mellow demeanor. Thatta' girl.

Trobairitz decided to ride with me two up rather than brave the frost and ice on her bike, hoping it would be warmer sitting behind me than taking the brunt of the cold wind sans windscreen, and putting my mind at ease.

We rode over to the coffee shop to meet the rest of the gang whom foolishly agreed to ride as well. I had full intentions of  simply riding to coffee then riding home to call it a day, but after taking all of our gear and layers off, discussing a route and destination, we finished our coffee and the sun encouraged us to play.



Mel, Bob, Jay, and David

So on go the layers again, and out to bikes we go. Then.... rerr...rerr...rerr...rerr, rerr...rerr...rerr...rerr, rerr...rerr...rerr...rerr, shit! Battery is dead.

Fortunately, BMW riders carry jumper cables, thanks Jay! Lucy sure doesn't like Polar Bear Rides.

We rode over to Falls City to see if the Bread Board Artisan Bakery was open, which was not, so we rode over to Monmouth for lunch at the Yeasty Beasty instead. I stayed toasty warm, Brandy's fingers and toes were frozen as always, but Jay was asking if I was "plugged in" as he was cold even with his Gerbing heated jacket.

I was wearing my Ansai battery heated jacket but hadn't even plugged a battery in, let alone turned it on. I told Jay he had his base layer (of polyester), but was missing an insulating layer of fleece and a windbreaker layer. He was strictly relying on his heated gear and motorcycle jacket. This got me thinking.....

I surf the interweb and watch online videos, usually with one of those survival shows playing on the TV in the background, but I'm always learning something; retention on the other hand is another problem. Just the other day, I read this article on staying warm, and vaguely recalling something about conduction and convection I learned in school.




Although I was starting to sweat in all my gear leaving the house, by layering I was able to remove a couple of layers at the coffee shop and at the lunch stop to regulate my body temperature.

The secret to staying warm is strategic layering, with high quality material, no cotton. I avoid wearing wool, but with a polyester base layer, a fleece insulating layer, a light jacket, and a waterproof windbreaker under my suit I was quite warm.

We had a great ride, and as the day warmed up I could've kept riding. It was nice to get out on the bike again. 

After arriving back home and getting Brandy into the tub to warm up her toes back from near hypothermia, I went back out to the garage and took the battery out of my bike. Remember my argument last summer with CycleGear who refused to honor the Lifetime Warranty?

I've babied the same battery for nearly six months, having it leave me stranded at a gas station on the hottest day of the year and now on a very cold New Years Day Polar Bear Ride. I decided to give CycleGear one more chance to redeem themselves, but this time I went down to the Eugene/Springfield store. I took the battery out of my bike, placed it in the original box with the receipt, had it load tested at BatteriesPlus+, and headed off to CycleGear ready for battle.





I walked into the Eugene/Springfield store and was politely greeted by Jon, whom I simply told that my battery left me stranded yesterday. Pulling the battery out of the box, he commented on the date (10/2010) I had wrote on the battery. "Looks like you got 5 years out it, you use a battery tender don't you?" He quickly grabbed a new battery off the shelf, then asked me if I had any other shopping I needed to do. Dumbfounded, I walked around the store looking for anything I needed. Not finding anything, Jon had me fill out my customer information and warrantied my battery. No questions asked, no arguing, no battle.

That, is how the issue should have been handled 6 months ago!

I will never walk into CycleGear Salem store again, nor recommend them. But thanks to Jon, if I have to go to CycleGear I'll make it the Eugene/Springfield store.



So 2016 has started off well for us, and we hope to do more riding this year. 

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!!!!



Boring Stats:

  58656 odometer reading at the end of 2015
56807 odometer reading at the end of 2014
=  1849  miles traveled in 2015 

GASP! Only 1849 miles ridden last year. So how does that compare to previous years?

Miles in 2011 = 10538
Miles in 2012 = 8653 
Miles in 2013 = 7098 
Miles in 2014 = 6482 

Miles in 2015 = 1849



30 comments:

  1. Happy New Year from wet and warm(ish) England and Germany!

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  2. Replies
    1. No, but I have been caught in icy conditions. It wasn't too bad New Years Day.

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  3. so now you've found the right store for that kind of warranty fulfillment...

    as to layers, you are so right and they are key. I have a heated vest but don't ride with it as the layers I wear are enough.

    as to Beemer riders carrying jumper cables, yep, and spare clutch cables too!

    I now also carry a small jump starter battery, size of two packs of cigarettes but slimmer. Peace of mind and all that. After all, the URAL's battery tends to not like anything below 20F.

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    Replies
    1. Mega-Boost doesn't offer a lifetime warranty anymore, just a one year now, but at least I got a new battery. My next battery will be from BatteriesPlus+

      I pretty much gave up on heated gear, I rarely use my jacket anymore.

      I was online looking at the Micro-Start XP5 kit yesterday; Richard recommended it when he was here with his Ural. I may just order one.

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  4. Layers are key and not depending on the bike running to stay warm is also a great tip. I must have good circulation as I find that just a lined fleece liner under the suit will keep me warm enough even without the heated liner. The Gerbing brings adjustability and comfort. Not simply "not cold" but really toasty warm.

    CycleGear Salem is that first Moto-gear store we went to just across I-5 from Raceway last Summer, right? Not the Honda dealer that had the better selection…

    I stopped carrying jumper cables after picking up the small battery pack. So far I've used it to jump 4 cars (I4 and V6) and the Ural once. Wonderful gadget...

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    Replies
    1. its thanks to RichardM that I now carry a small battery pack as well, of course, I managed to forget it at home this last long trip....had to ask a cager for a jump start in Walsenburg, CO.....

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    2. I used to be able to handle the cold better, but I got my blood pressure down and now I'm always cold. A couple four layers usually does me well enough.

      Yes, that was the first store we went to. I've started to refer to CycleGear as the Wal-Mart of motorcycle gear.

      I'm thinking that Micro-Start XP5 would be good to have riding, and camping. I wonder if CycleGear carries them?

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  5. I had three layers for a half hour ride to work today as I forgot to dig out my winter jacket. A windproof vest, a fleece and my mesh jacket and I was quite toasty despite the 68 degree ambient air temperature. Layering works. And a big bloody barn door windshield. Handlebar muffs tomorrow night if it drops to 62 as promised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't think that moving to warmer climes hasn't crossed my mind. :)

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  6. Big fan of plenty of light layers that can be easily removed. Never heard of this heated stuff before...

    I couldn't remove enough layers the other day...

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I'll remember you in July when I'm complaining of the same.

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  7. Happy New Year from a very soggy Vancouver Island!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The rain has finally seemed to have subsided.... for now.

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  8. Happy New Year!
    Very glad to hear the service was better at the Eugene store. Are the CycleGear stores independently owned or just managed by muppets occasionally?
    Those miles are on the slide and as The Geezer would point out, put you right into the "average rider" category.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the stores are managed by young, wet behind the ears, muppets. Some have the maturity to do well, while others let their position title trip them up.
      Yes, last year was definitely a low mileage year; I did put miles on the XT250, and my mountain bike. I promise to do better this year.

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  9. Layers yes, new age synthetic technology yes, second to last layer always heated yes, hoping to use it no. Happy New Year. Glad you finally found a shop to honor the warranty and also glad Brandy was able to be thawed!

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    Replies
    1. Nice to have the heated gear.... just in case.

      Happy New Year to you too, thanks.

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  10. Oh the ideas—great and, well, not so great—inspired by ale… What would we ever do without the stuff? ;)

    I share your sentiments about strategic layering, Troubadour: Though I appreciate heated grips and my heated vest, over the last several years I’ve re-realized the importance of layers. Compared with heated gear alone, layers sure would make for a more safe and comfortable walk out from a serious breakdown in the middle of nowhere (or at least to cell service).

    That IS an alarming drop in your stats. Yet the lower the miles get, the easier it should be to beat the prior year and maybe reverse the trend. Happy riding.

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    Replies
    1. Good point, layers do have that advantage over heated gear, allowing you to hike out in case of a breakdown.

      I don't have an excuse for the low stats, I can blame my boring commute or the hot summer we had but I should have ridden more. This year, I promise.

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  11. Happy New Year to both of you. I don't use heated gear either, just too much work with all the wires, not worth IMO. How long should a typical battery last? Mine is already 4 years old but still starts without a problem, I'm wondering if I should just get a new one.

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    Replies
    1. George Ferreira, you should be able to take your battery to your local auto parts store and have them check it.

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    2. Motorcycle batteries are usually good for 3 years as they are subjected to a lot of vibration and temperature extremes. A battery tender helps, I've been fortunate getting 5 years, but that could be due to my lack of riding last year. I understand the plates can vibrate loose and cause a short circuit.

      As Charlie6 mentioned, any auto parts store should be able to load test your battery for you.

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    3. Thanks guys but in the Spring I'm going to buy a new battery regardless. I'm planning on going to Newfoundland and the last thing I need is a dead battery.

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    4. New battery or old, I now carry a small jumpstarter unit like the one used by RichardM, more peace of mind.

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  12. Sounds like a nice ride. And I so enjoy your writing style.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Dan, I try to keep readers from falling asleep.

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  13. Greetings. I'm a new rider, going through my first winter here in Corvallis (and blogging about it at because76mpg.com). I'm enjoying your blog so far, and looking forward to reading more.

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    Replies
    1. Welcome John, I'll add you to my blog roll and try to keep up with your posts. Join us for Bike Night or Saturday Morning Coffee when you get a chance.

      Delete

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