2020-07-05

2020 The Versys Turns 100 (thousand!)

Caroline and I were going out for an afternoon ride today, but my bike had some other ideas. I'd pulled a giant bolt out of the tread of the rear tire yesterday, and put a patch in the tire, so I was really looking forward to heading out after airing the rear tire up to 36 psi with my 12 volt air compressor. The patch was holding so I wheeled it out of the underground garage and headed towards Caroline's place up the road to find that she still hadn't pulled the cover off of her Shadow, and I really didn't want to get off the bike, so I pulled over, and glanced down to find that I was only a few more kilometres away from rolling the odometer over from 99,999 to 100,000!


Caroline rang me up to say that she had heard me passing in front of the house, and we arranged to meet just up the road, where I waited on the verge for her, but I'd warned her that as soon as I rolled over, I'd be stopping to grab a couple of pictures!

We got about a half kilometre farther on down the road, before my 2009 Versys KLE650 rolled over onto to the magic 100,000 km mark!




And we made it!



Sadly the patched tire didn't last as long as I wanted to, but I was packing the plug kit and was able to make my way into the Petro Canada station where they had a handy air compressor, so I was able to patch the tire, but opted to let Caroline continue her ride while I sat watching the glue dry, then limped it home into my garage, but that is another story. 

Cheers! 



2020-07-04

2020 Installing a Brake Light Flasher on a Honda Shadow

CLine was insanely envious of the Brake Light Flasher that I installed onto my Versys back in 2013. When I apply my brakes, a clever bit of electrickery strobes my brake light three times quickly, then goes on full solid, to alert motorists behind me that I'm about to do something (stupid? unique? entertaining?). The idea is it attracts their attention much better than simply oscillating between an always on run light and extra bright indicating the vehicle ahead is slowing down.

The GS-100A Strobe Controller for LED Stoplight
CLine and I were talking about the legalities of the devices, and I told her that if anyone comes up to her and objects she should say... (She interrupted me at this point)

"It got your attention, didn't it?"

I really couldn't argue with that, and it was ever so eloquent when compared to the diatribe I was about to launch into. It is supposed to enhance a riders safety, as the only thing we have back there to let folks know what is going on are three small indicators, one of which protects your life by alerting people behind you, but it is usually smaller in size than a softball. Anyhow, I've put over 200,000 kilometres on various bikes that mount them and have not once been questioned by law enforcement nor border/customs officials. 

ICBM abandoned wilhe-nilhe on the road
Right, I'd managed to scotch our plans for a ride last Saturday by sending an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile ICBM through my rear tire while out on a ride on Thursday night around Canoe Cove, and as my tire was flat, useless and the glue on the plug was still wet, we opted to head over to Caroline's place and get started on the installation of the GS-100A Strobe Controller for LED Stoplight that she has had for a couple of weeks now, as she finally had all the bits and pieces she wanted to make it happen. 


There are a ton of installation How-Tos on the interwebs, so I'm not going to steal their thunder, suffice to say that I'll try to give you some model specific details for a 2004 Honda Shadow.

CAUTION!!! Some viewers may find the following images of a well ridden, dirty, adventure wanna be Honda Shadow disturbing or offensive. Those offended may want to ensure they are comfortably seated, have their pacifier/soother along with a blindfold close to hand, and a Sharon, Lois & Bram recording ready to play. Or as Caroline puts it "sorry not sorry for the filthiness of my bike".

Why doesn't she keep it clean and safely parked in the garage with the polish rags!?
  
1. You will want to have the drivers seat off so you can access the three connectors protected by a rubber sleeve that rests on top of the battery cover top thingy. 


2. Locate the one with three conductors using a white plastic connector. The three wire colours are:
  • brown
  • green 
  • green with yellow stripe. 


3. On the male portion of the connector whose wires head towards the rear of the motorcycle, Cut two of the wires leaving enough room at the connector to solder or splice in the future. I would leave minimum 3/4" at the connector side. You want to cut the green and the green-yellow stripe. Leave the brown run light untouched. 

NOTE: My friend Jeff  advocates purchasing identical harness connectors so the bike can be put back to stock easily for sale or for inspection if needed. "...I cut nothing.. always make or buy adapters to plug in and go back to the way it was." 

 

Update: 

I've since seen a diagram where the installer cut only one of the wires, and simply connected the other wire in parallel. I've added this below for your reference. It's always a good idea NOT to cut unnecessary wiring if you can manage it. 

This installer simply connected the grounds in parallel
The black wires are all connected (tapped) onto the green ground wire of the bike


4. For reference, the wiring diagram breaks it out as follows:
  • Green = frame ground 
  • Brown = run light (always on) 12V
  • Green-Yellow = Brake light (only on when brakes applied) 12V

5. Orient your GS-100A correctly, and connect the "IN" side to the forward part of the motorcycle, and the "OUT" to the wires continuing on to the back of the motorcycle. My girlfriend opted to use bullet connectors to do this, the idea being that if the module failed, she could simply remove it and plug the harness back together. Ensure your finished cable and module are routed UNDER the frame rail and not OVER TOP of it. 




  6. I encourage you to "do a tug test" on each of your connections. You would rather see a poor connection fail in the driveway as opposed to one the highway one dark and stormy night.


 7. Prevent water ingress by using electrical tape over the end of the manufactured insulation. Wrap this as tightly as you can manage.


Note that we disconnected the strobe and rerouted the cable after our testing, then tested again once it was secured to the frame rails out of the way of contact with the seat.


And now, for your enjoyment, a video showing the completed job. Caroline replaced her analogue 1157 bulb with an LED one that she purchased on Amazon.ca, so her bulb appears quite bright in this video. Your mileage may vary. 



The GS-100A will apparently work with both analogue AND LED bulbs, but the pattern changes a touch as the  analogue bulbs can't respond to the quick flash voltage spikes the same way. 

This video by Gary Rowe highlights the differences you might expect to see:




Conclusion: 

Caroline has been riding with the brake flasher for almost a week now, although has only gone out on a few rides. Some observations of mine:
  • Try to engage the brakes for a three second or longer period as opposed to "blipping" them on and off. Not only is it a good habit to get into, drivers won't shout out that "Your brake light is broken!" when you get to the stop lights. If you are in the habit of a brief touch now and then, all we will see behind you is your brake light madly flashing away unless you hold the switch activated a tad longer.  
  • It really does work to improve visibility, as I have a tendency to ride a bit too close to Caroline when following her, and she used to catch me by surprise with braking once in a while, but it's got me backing off a bit more which is a good thing. In my own experience, I note that some drivers leave me more room behind the bike as well. Not always, but the difference has been noticeable. 
What have you done to make your ride safer this season? 

2020-06-27

2020 The North Cape Ride

Caroline and I were looking at the forecast for the weekend, and the weather report claimed there was a 60% chance that any riding we did on Saturday would be reminiscent of our Ontario - Yours to Discover, lots of practice doing the roadside rain dance...  But Sunday was looking even worse, and I wanted to see if we had a bit more mileage in us before we had to put the bikes away to attend a night of cards with our friends.

North Cape PE
looking South along the East shoreline



Google Maps Link to the North Cape Ride

Day Tripping - Charlottetown to North Cape and Return - 417 km and 6 hours

North Cape PE

All roads lead to Summerside if you are heading to that side of the island, so we opted to avoid traffic and take some well known side roads to avoid the Trans Canada, but we missed the boat in Kinkora, and ended up behind a dump truck full of rocks just Bedeque and followed him all the way into Summerside where we finally got to lead for a bit and made it to Miscouche where we turned North East and headed up Route 12 which also happens to be one of my favourite Island fall colours routes. 

We set off up the road, but only made it as far as Birch Hill before I had to stop and turn around to get some pictures of the "ditch weeds" as Caroline called them just now. 


Ditch Weeds

Wild roses along the roadside
Photo Credit: Caroline

I cheated on this one, or rather let Google Photos cheat and add saturation etc. 



Just up the road is an old church and cemetery, which seems to have fallen into disuse, but there is a new church and graveyard on the opposite side of the road. Does anyone know the name of it? 46.5516694,-63.8733833


Photo Credit: Caroline
Waiting for my girl
Photo Credit: Caroline
Sadly, at this point Caroline realized that her camera battery was in need of a charge, but we were unable to do this while in the field. She wasn't going to get too many more shots on this ride.


I took this next one just to prove to family that I don't just stop in to use the facilities... :) Sadly she wasn't home, so all I got was barked at by Molly, the artful Dodger and Jake.



Looking East along Mill Creek,
Birch Hill PE

Mill Creek
Photo Credit: Caroline


Caroline was quite taken with the carpet of  yellow rapeseed flowers, so we stopped to get some photos of the fields near the MacArthur Shore Road West of Port Hill PE.

Rapeseed flowers
Photo Credit: Caroline
 Caroline's battery in the DSLR dies here and she had to put it away for the rest of our day, which was a disappointment.

Photo Credit: Caroline


We were drawing closer to Alberton, and our lunch stop in Huntley, but there were some lovely roadside lupins that I quite enjoy seeing.


Dock Corner PE with Dock Creek visible in the distance
 We had encountered so little traffic on our ride so far, that Alberton took us by surprise, with its busy downtown intersection on Route 12, where we wanted to head North West up 152 into Huntley to find our lunch stop of the Huntley Horizon Take Out, a dairy bar and take out venue that came highly recommended by Caroline's friends. They have more information available on their Facebook Page.

It wasn't a scorcher, but we were very happy to shed our helmets and jackets, and lay claim to a spot of shade by the lilac bushes while waiting for our order. A Barn Burner with fries for her, and a Bacon double cheeseburger with onions for me. I'm going to have to order the single next time, as the burgers are made locally, and very generous portions, so I manged to scarf mine down by deconstructing it, otherwise I would never been able to eat it without wearing a portion. They were fantastic! I've made it another waypoint on my map of decent places to eat. Thanks Caroline!

Leaving Huntley we headed north through Montrose and then entered into Kildare, or what I shall call the first of many Kidares, as the entire area was Kildare this and Kildare that, until we found ourselves back out onto Route 12 courtesy of the 154 and yet another bit of gravel that you need to ride in order to make it on through.

We agreed this round that we'd refuel in Tignish PE, a booming metropolis of 719 souls according to the 2016 census data, where they boast two gas stations side by each, two by two right in the heart of downtown Tignish, then it was back out onto 12 to head ever northward to the cape itself. The road gets closer and closer to the shoreline, and you segue from fields bordering the sea, to lots and parcels of land, and at the cape itself, a gravel access road that lets you avoid the paved parking lot of the North Cape Gift Shop in favour of a short walk/stumble to the cliff edge and access to the beach.

The lack of tourists on the island meant that it was only a few locals taking advantage of the gorgeous day, but we still opted to practice a bit of extreme social distancing to enjoy our own company in a  private little world just to the south. We parked our bikes, then headed down to the water to enjoy the view.

Looking South along the shoreline of North Cape
 There were many commercial fishing boats out in the distance checking their lobster traps, before heading back to the Wharf, their work for the day done. It always looks like a disorganized dance to the uninformed, as they haul up a set of traps while relatively motionless, clear them of lobster and crabs, re-bait and drop them back down to the bottom before steaming on to the next marker buoy and it's set of traps to repeat. This dance will be all done for the season in a week or two here, but they will be back at it in the fall for Lobster. This year the season started late for them, so it's a bit out of whack due to the plague.


The sandstone rock of the island is just incredible!


Looking north up to the northern most point of the Island. 
 I was having a bit of fun and took a selfie or two before Caroline could get into the shot. Caroline says I can throw this into my POF bank of shots, cause I'll be needing them soon if I keep this up.


Here is the one that made the final cut. ;)


My horizon is awry!!!

Photo Credit: Caroline










Photo Credit: Caroline
It was time to go, so we threw a leg over and headed south then across Nelligan Road over to Route 14 that we would be following the  western shoreline for a ways before we would have to rejoin Route 2 at the pinch point near Portage PE. 

The roads are fun here, with a number of nice turns and some hills with some lovely elevation changes, so after a couple of signed 50km corners that I blasted past, I was a bit worried when I checked my mirrors to find my Shadow was missing, and like Peter Pan, I went looking for it, and was relieved beyond words to find that Caroline had simply pulled over to take this picture of a potato field bordered to the west by a berm worthy of the Emerald Isle itself. 

Potato fields of Norway PE
Photo Credit: Caroline


Nail Pond, Norway PE
We rode past the Stompin' Tom Centre in Skinners Pond PE, and today I learned that not only is he a great singer, but also led a remarkable life, and was brought to Prince Edward Island by his adoptive parents, who he later ran away from to hit the open road and wander across Canada before he ended up with a paying gig in Timmins ON that would set him up as a professional entertainer. So yes, he did live here for a time, but thought it worth leaving as quickly as he was able to. :D


Miminegash Pond, Miminegash PE
 Just North of Maximeville PE, we rounded a corner to find that the road ahead was partly blocked with emergency vehicles, most notably that of a fire truck, and I'll assume some of the many volunteer fire fighters that make up the fire fighting force of the island. I realized that they had saved the double story wooden structure ahead, but it looked severely damaged. They'd clearly laboured long and hard in this hot weather to bring the fire under control and protect any of the surrounding neighbours and summer homes in the area.

Working hard to save a home from the ravages of an unchecked fire... 
 Let this be a shout out to the men of women of the Prince Edward Island fire fighters. Thanks for your efforts each and every day!

The rear addition seems to have suffered the most. 
 We didn't stop for many pictures after that, so you will have to look at some of my other blog posts about riding this side of the island, and with Caroline, it would probably include a proposed visit to O'Leary PE. :D

We took 14 then 11 all the way back into Summerside where we fueled up for the last time for the day, and had a wee break to share a coffee, a cream soda and a Crunchie bar. We just have to make it home to have another great day down in the books, but lets leave the TCH to all those who like to drive really slow, and avoid them by a turn down Blueshank road and take some side roads to get us onto County Line 9 with it's wee bit of gravel portion to get us back onto Kinkora road and in shape
for our final run back into town.

Caroline seems to think she is in need of an adventure bike to do more of this, but honestly I'm pretty happy owning a "Sport Utility Bike" that rarely leaves groomed roads in search of deep mudholes, rope winches and quicksand. Even the Honda CB500x she has her heart set on would be a right ole b@st&*d to pull out of the mud... Hahaha. I love this girl, but I still hesitate to follow her anywhere if there is no cell signal. :P

Caroline leaves civilization behind... 

Adventure awaits! 
Look at the smile! 
 She kindly let me grab some photos of yet more lupins while heading along on Cairns Road. We'd been seeing them all day long, but they will be gone shortly as they are nearly mature and will fade into memory. For now, they are a constant reminder of how much I love the roads on this island.


 Caroline has asked me to let her know if I spot "yellow" lupins, and as we've travelled all over the Island from East to West, North to South, I have yet to see one I would call yellow. Shout out if you know where we can see some!

Lupins line the verge of Cairns Road PE




I deviated from the flight path and briefly got separated from Caroline, so I had to use my pass to let her into the parking garage, and got the opportunity for another gratuitous shot of the Wild Alberta Rose as it's called. Consider yourself welcome!


Hopefully our next adventure is off-island with tents and more! Inter-provincial travel opens up again next week I believe. 

Cheers!