Yep, had the B50 out last weekend so it was the B44R Outfit's turn this weekend and what better way to get some seat time in than to pre ride the TSMR's loop.
I'm VERY happy to report that overall the road conditions have never been better. The worst section's on Hwy 221 getting off of Grandfather Mountain.(going down) But it's doable and at the first part of the ride so it should be fine. (the boys tend to play a little more as the ride gets further along) I did see a couple of nasty pot holes on the Parkway....if they don't fix them by ride time...(and I don't get caught) I'll paint the heck out of them Friday when I set out the ride signs.
I had to run by Woodlands and put our order in for our Saturday night "Dinner on the Grounds"
They are STILL working on Hwy 321....glad we don't have to deal much with that...the town is a mess because of it.
Woodlands has good BBQ.....but this is my favorite thing they offer. Tastes better than it looks
It was beautiful up there today....you could see for miles.
Then we ride back into North Carolina and end up back at the Blowing Rock Inn.
The last leg of the loop is along the Blue Ridge Parkway, some people love it, some hate it. I took this one for JimNC. You gota remember that during the TSMR when your on the Parkway....you should ALWAYS be headed SOUTH!!!!!
I really got a workout today, 260+ miles and if you've been on this ride...you know not much of it is straight. I'm making progress with the outfit. Learning to use the rear brake for left handers and front brake only with a little throttle roll on for right handers. I'll have to admit....on the "Goat Path" there were times I could have walked faster than I was going around some of those curves. Steep downhill, hairpin (and buddy the Goat Path has hair pins) turns to the right were a bit scary...but I'm getting better.
OH....the bike still gets around 55mpg with the chair attached.
But the mountains sap the energy out of the poor bike...it's in need of a refresh and I hope I get the new engine in the other B44R and that bike ready before I try taking it to the OSMR this year.
Hope your Saturday went as well as mine. There's still plenty of room at the Inn and if you get a chance....please join us for the 2014 TSMR.
Bob....up hill is a strain. This bike has done a LOT of miles and is due for a refresh. I have another B44R that I have been working on for the chair's tug. Ed V is working on some of the engine bits and it should handle the chair a little better but I figure it's never going to handle the mountains easily....it's just too small and I'm just too big.
But it did fine for me....for now.
It's those LONG STEEP uphills that were a problem but I never got any lower than 3rd gear to pull them. The bike can handle them fine without the chair.
I have another B50 in the shop....been kinda thinking about what it would take to use that as a tug.
It will be GREAT to see you fellows again.....take care, your friend in NC Gordon
Wonderful photos, Gordon. The outfit looks right at home in that scenery. Really makes me wish I could make it again, but I've just spent $600 on parts and machine work on the TR6, and don't have any paid time off accrued yet. I hope you will still be able to make BIBR so we can catch up. Take care and ya'll have a great time at Blowing Rock. Greg
Lannis, yes that old saying about time flying the older you get sure holds true for me these days. The ride is just around the corner. (pun intended)
My cracker friend...we'll miss you guys BUT I swear I'm going to do everything I can to make the BIBR this year....it's been way too long since I've sat around the campfire with you guys.
Adrian, yes the chair was vacant. I'm still learning and it's probably better that way. I plan on using the chair for hauling camping gear. My better half doesn't ride. Not sure if that's a good thing or not but I live with it.
Winter is FINALLY gone here and I'm happy for it.
Take care and have a SAFE and wonderful weekend....Gordon
I'm proud of you old man, I'd say you're a confirmed sidecarist! You've done a great job on your first rigging, no telling what the second will be like. I can see a B50 as your next tug, the 580 would be excellent choice with all the extra throttle! I'm think along the lines of a desert enduro type platform chair.
Mr Mike, the bike isn't the one I planned on using for the sidecar's tug....but I'm waiting on machine work on that bike's engine.
So....right now it's the stock VR 18/47 which is a bit high IMO. Gota slip the clutch more than I like to get started and if I'm moving around slowly (like a parking lot)
BUT....right now I have the sidecar unattached and I'm redoing the subframe. I had NO CLUE what I was doing the first time around and I want to make some changes. I had to make myself take the car off I was having so much fun with it I figured if I didn't do something now....it wouldn't happen this year.
See ya soon....your friend in another part of NC....GG
Gordon, I too would think 18/47 would be too tall. That's what I have on my ss/vs Hybrid You probably have some Victor spockets laying around. 17/49 would likely help you on those hills and in taking off.
Mike, good to hear from you and I hope you're doing well??? Really miss the narrow boat photos and stories, but I figure you've been busy.
The chair is an absolute hoot to drive. I have to admit that at first I was scared to death of it....everything felt/worked so much differently that what I was used to. But as time went by and I started to get the hang of it...I can't see myself without it now.
It's down right now, I'm redoing the subframe and upgrading the axle. While I'm at it I'm doing a decoke and replacing the points seal on the bike. Figure if I don't do it now it won't happen this year.
You take care and PLEASE keep in touch. you're one of the good guys in my book
Well, thank you, good sir. Really, really regret never getting to Blowing Rock to meet you guys. Not quite true, we did get to Blowing Rock in '95, by car, and we indulged in another of my passions and visited the Tweetie RR. I have a confirmed case of terminal ferro-equinoe-sis! Got to get organised with posting pics from last year, before we start moving around THIS year, it was a trying winter.
Mr. Gordon... looks like you had a grand ride... and how cool to do it with an outrigger attached
I have to admit that I only recognize a few of those places...like the spot along the river just into VA where I stopped with a certain Royal Enfield in need of a haul out... but I swear I don't recall seeing much of what your photos show. You sure you rode the same route we did last year?? In particular I swear I did not see that BR Parkway N-> S<- sign in the fog and mist last year. Did you get the park service to install that this year on my behalf?
This said - my lovely wife has me covered this year. I have a spare cell phone battery, promised to take maps with me (did that to avoid having a subcutaneous tracking chip implanted for the weekend), and I have reviewed the route.... more than once.
Out here in Raleigh area... it is chucking it down with rain right now. Been doing so the past 2+ hours, and not clearing out until early Friday AM.
Weather Underground shows Blowing Rock to be mostly cloudy on Saturday with a 25% chance of precipitation between 3PM & 6PM but otherwise dry. Temp will be just about 50F at ride start time but dry, warming up to just shy of 60F at the end, then a bit below 40 for the low over night. So... means will be cooler and maybe a bit moist at altitude.
Going to be a big time... thanks again - in advance for being such a great host. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
It's all good! That's what I like about outfits, you make them to suit you, and who's to say you're wrong. I'm running 16/47 gearing with the B60, my Squire sidecar and me being much heavier than your Velorex and yourself. Should haul all your camping gear with no problem, and know you'll really enjoy this new phase in your travels. I know that trikes and CanAms are all the rage nowadays, but they just don't turn my crank. I still like a motorcycle/sidecar combination, and I have two very unique rigs that always draw a crowd. Keep the Faith.
Gordon - People think you just attach/detach 4 bolts and an electrical plug and you've got yourself a sidecar outfit. I've seen some unsafe and downright scarey units that didn't handle at all. It takes a lot of thinking and work to be satisfied with your rig. I've made over 40 modifications to get my BSA/Squire to my liking. The best of these would include electronic ignition with dual-plug head, longer fold-away kickstarter from a T160, reworked oil system that recirculates all the oil all the time, oil cooler and spin-off oil filter, much larger fuel tank, beefed-up suspension front and rear, spacer under the jug to lower compression with longer pushrods, big-bore kit, etc., etc. It's always a work-in-progress. That's what I like about BritBikes, wrenching on them is half the fun, the other half is riding them. Yours looks to be well on its way to being a safe, stable and good-looking outfit.
Since retirement, we spend the winter in central Florida in our RV, being "snowbirds" escaping the "lake effect" snow coming to NW PA from Lake Erie. My connection to NC comes from living on Bogue Sound near the Cherry Point Marine Base before my Dad shipped out to the Pacific during WWII. Now it's all condos and golf courses and unrecognizable, it was dirt poor and wild back then. Later.
Gord, that looks good and solid, nice work. Bob, wodja mean "undo/attach 4 bolts and a plug" doesn't make an outfit? Worked for me, summertime, the Yamahas (SR 500, followed by XJ650) were 2 wheels for work, but 20 minutes after getting home on Friday I was 3 wheeled and ready for the weekend, took so long as I had to have a cuppa first! Winter time, no 2 wheeling, bit too much snow in Southern Ontario.
Hey BOB, I finally finished the mods to the first subframe and changed my gearing while I was at it. I'm going to try your 16/47 and see how it goes. I was one tooth higher than stock before and that was way too high.
I'm really happy with the way the second attempt at the subframe turned out.
Got rid of the "cow catcher" front end I had and the front tube of the subframe tucks neatly in front of the bikes downtube.
This shows the upper front strut location....should work out fine.
Can't wait to give it a try. I just need a couple of afternoons after work this week and I can give it a go.
Lookin' good Gordon, glad you made some adjustments to your original design.
The tucked in front creates so much more symmetry. It should compliment the strength of the bikes front down tube rather than test it. Are you going to add a plate to the primary side up top? Box it in a bit?
<snip> Are you going to add a plate to the primary side up top? Box it in a bit? Don in Nipomo
I should have known I couldn't slip that one by you
Yes....there's a plate (it's paint was still curing) but it's a loose plate. (w/tight holes). I'm no metal man and it was hard enough to get all these holes to line up as it is so I left that plate loose to help with bolting the subframe up.
Got everything nipped up except the drive chain. I'll work with that tonight. I'm hoping I can take a link out but won't know until I get the bike off the stand and the rear wheel off the ground.
The new subframe allows me to go back to the stock header pipe and right side footrest placement...I'm liking that
You know I had NO CLUE what a subframe was when I started this so I'm still at the bottom of the learning curve.
I'm excited about my first camping trip.....BIBR is such a nice event getting to do it out of the rig is a win/win.
Mike, hearing that from you means a lot. I work with wood and concrete....so I'm not much with metal.
I'll be honest....at this point I can't see me without a rig. I'm still VERY new to it but the more I ride/work with it, the more I'm enjoying it. You've been around me enough to know that I like to have my "stuff" with me and there just can't be a better way to haul all that around.
IF......and that's a BIG IF...things work out....I'll be on the rig this fall in PA. I'm hoping to have the other B44VR ready by then (waiting on the machined parts) but if not I think I can squeeze one more trip out of this poor bike.
I'm already planning my OSMR trip.....it's the highlight of my year.
Take care my yankee friend and give MS L a hug from me......Gordon
Gordon - It's hard to tell from the picture, but is your kickstart arm going to clear the rear lower strut? I had to rework mine about 6 times before I got it right. Of course, I didn't use a subframe. I agree with your remarks re a unit-single BSA outfit, and yours is shaping up quite nicely. Let me know what gearing you finally end up using. Keep up the good work!
Well Bob....I'm at 16/47 but need an odd number of chain links and I'm coming up empty trying to find a half link that will work.....so right now I'm a bit depressed. I just finished a lot of work on the bike...and there it sits.
The kickstarter was a pain from the start (pun intended). I didn't move the location of the lower rear strut when I re-did the subframe....but to mak it clear I had to do just the opposite of what you did...I had to go to a shorter (C15) kicker to clear the strut. It works fine I just have to remember it's back there and to keep my foot forward on the kicker so my heel doesn't catch the strut.
Don....here the loose plate in place.
With all the talk about bike lifts lately I sure wish I had room for one....but I have to do with what I have...2 bolts for the ramp...two bolts each for the legs (6 total) and it all comes apart and stows away and out of the way.
Didn't cost a dime...all salvaged from work sites...Don might recognize the late 70's cable tray.
WOW.....what a difference the 16/47 gearing makes....well, that and a much needed de-coke and a new subframe that spreads the struts out more. I rode the rig all weekend, not sure how many miles I put on it but I had to refuel at least once.
The new subframe works a treat and I'm getting better at handling the corners. I'm finally at a point where I can maintain the speed limit on most of the roads around here.
The lower gearing made parking lot work a LOT easier. Now I don't have to point it in the direction I want to go....I can actually turn if need be. I swear the bike was pulling the hills so much better than before....not sure how much the lower gearing has to do with that but combine that with the "perky" feel the engine has after the decoke and it was fun this weekend.
This poor bike wasn't ever meant to be my tug....it's just worked out that way and it's put me on the road while I wait to get my parts back from the machine shop to put the actual tug together.