31 August 2008

2008 NZ Classics Festival

I got this via e-mail from my buddy Larry in L.A. Just go see and have a good look at some oddball stuff as well as just yer normal run-of-the-mill old bikes. If you have any questions, please ask.

3rd photo down is two young ladies with the Red Bull Royal Enfield. Ya think Red Bull'd help mine? Heh.

29 August 2008

Phil Hill 1927-2008

If you are my age you know about Phil Hill. Much younger and you might not. Please hit the links and read about him.


Phil Hill, a reserved Californian who became a gifted race-car driver and the only U.S.-born driver to win the Formula One international auto-racing championship, died Thursday. He was 81.

"Phil set the standard" for other American drivers who competed overseas, such as Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti, Shav Glick, the longtime motor sports writer for The Times, wrote in 2006.

Hill won his Formula One championship in the season's penultimate race in Monza, Italy, after he had swapped the series lead all year with his Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips of Germany.

In the same race, Von Trips died in a crash that also killed 14 spectators. As a result, Ferrari did not participate in the season's final race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Hill was unable to celebrate his championship in his home country.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991.

Another pioneer is gone. Godspeed, Phil.

28 August 2008

New Sled Hauler

Click to emhugen

Since me'n Mrs. G are gonna take a shot at trials riding (backstory), we figgered it isn't feasible to be taking the cap off the pickup all the time. We like the cap for day-to-day, so it stays.

The Joe Hauler hitch receiver-mounted JH-08 rack is our answer.

Specs: weighs 68 pounds, carries up to 600lb bikes, and has the Cam-Loc anti-rattle feature. That's a screw-operated wedge device that tightens the rack up in the receiver. Cost $389.95 + (gulp) tax. Also went for a locking hitch pin.

Just fer grins, go see their clever loading ramp/bed extender.

I ordered it at my local smoke an' roar motorcycle emporium, Thin Air Motorsports, on Tuesday. It came from the Parts Unlimited warehouse in Sparks NV on Wednesday. I actually wanted a slightly different model, but the $120 shipping from the manufacturer was a deal-breaker. This one with no shipping charge will do quite nicely, thank you. The $120 will buy a lotta enchiladas and chiles rellenos!

Note the provision for storing the loading ramp. Saves room in the bed, and I don't wanta try opening the tailgate with a bike on the rack or try to wiggle the ramp out with the cap open. I drilled two holes in my 30+-year-old ramp. Mrs. G came out to look at the finished project and asked if there was something I could do to make the shabby-lookin' ol' ramp look better! Heh. Badge of honor, baby. That thing has loaded hundreds of bikes from mopeds to baggers, and has been bent and straightened several times. When it goes, it goes, but for now it's goin' with us.

My tie-downs are 30 years old too. They work fine, but there's always been a pickup bed to catch the bike if something went wrong. Got a new set of Ancras. I like that brand because I think they have the best buckle device. I've used them for years and they've never slipped.

Reflective tape and a lighting kit are on the way as we speak from The Cheap Chinese Tool Co.

But wait!, you readers with good memories might well ask. Gordon, are ya not putting the cart before the horse? Yer partial trials bike kit is scattered from hell to breakfast around yer Little Ponderosa. You don't even have a bike yet and yer makin' plans fer haulin' it around?

Well, truth of the matter is I do have a bike. Well, not here and not yet, but it's comin'. Stay tuned...

25 August 2008

Um, no ...

Seems the US carmakers want a buncha guaranteed loans to upgrade their assembly lines and develop new cars more compatible with the 21st Century (as opposed to F-150s, Denalis, and V-10 Rams).

WASHINGTON - Automakers plan to urge Congress to support funding up to $50 billion in low-interest loans over three years to help them modernize their assembly plants and develop next-generation fuel-efficient vehicles.

Industry officials said the loans, which are twice the amount authorized in last year's energy bill, are a top priority when Congress returns next month because of the declining fortunes of Detroit's automakers and tightening credit markets.


Dear GM, Ford, and Chrysler,


I was alive and aware in '73 (the first gas crisis). The writing was on the wall then. I was driving in '78 (the next gas crisis) and your response was to foist hastily thrown together, supposedly fuel efficient vehicles, that were nothing but rolling pieces of shit (Chevette, Citation, Omni, Pinto). You idiots didn't give a shit when the Japanese started putting their minds to the problem 35 years ago. Instead of seriously looking at alternative fuel vehicles (and hi-mileage gas vehicles), you continued to put out V-8s and V-10s and your vehicles got bigger.

And now, because of your shortsightedness and greed, you want taxpayer money to make you competitive now that the Japs have handed you your collective ass? Fuck you. You should get nothing and hopefully you'll all go under to be replaced by a less myopic bunch (what should have happened to the major US airlines after 9/11 too, by the way).

And a big "fuck you" to all the other US industries (mortgage bankers come to mind) who've reaped big profits on the US taxpayer over the years and now, thanks to their bad business decisions, expect us to now keep them afloat.

Let me ask you mofos something. When did you ever give us a break? During recessions and tough times, when did any of you corporate sonsabitches ever say "hey, times are tough, maybe we should give the public a break now and create goodwill for the future"? I'll bet my house (singular) you never did. When did you ever willingly take less profit to ease the burden on the consumer until the prevailing economy turned around? Never. We need what you got (hello, oil companies; don't laugh, your time will come too) and you milk every bit of profit from us for it, good times or bad.

So I say "fuck you" to the corporate assholes who think the US taxpayer is their personal mint, just handing over money, maximizing your profits and minimizing your losses. The day one of you stands up and accepts responsibility for your idiotic business plans (get rid of golden parachutes for executives and bring CEO pay more in line with the rank and file), you can all just go shit in your collective hats.

No more government bailouts, period.



PS: Now I have to go work on your pieces of shit.

Cross-posted at the Brain.

24 August 2008

Biggest Motorcycle

Don't let Fixer see this or he'll be adding a second story to his garage so one o' these'll fit...

11 feet high. 20 feet long. And, a $300,000 pricetag. No one believed he could pull it off, but he built it anyway.

Alone in his workshop at home, Greg Dunham crafted the world's largest motorcycle. Not only does the giant machine look amazing, it actually drives!

"Alone in his workshop" speaks volumes! An idle mind is the devil's playground...

09 August 2008

Off To The Races

I am currently in the little town of Castle Rock Washington with my parental units in their beautiful motorhome, using my trusty air card, to watch the First Annual Dick Andrea Grand National Flat Track motorcycle races and I am having a blast!
My Dad used to come here in the Seventies, back when he did motorcross, to watch the Flat Track races and there are some of his buddies here from way back when still running teams.I used to live nearby and have partied here several times.

I haven't been to a flat track race since I got dragged out of the San Jose Mile back in the Eighties in an arm bar by the local police for telling one to Fuck Off, after getting drunk on Tequila at nine in the morning.
Ahh, the good old days, that was a long, painful walk, over an eighth of a mile, getting my arm twisted out of the socket.
No sense of humor assholes.
Anyway. I had a blast last night and they are just now starting to practice for the even better show tonight.

This is a small track, kinda in the middle of nowhere and ya kinda have to know about it but there are a lot of people here and they are all friendly as hell.

Imagine trying this at a sporting event, walking up to the gate drinking a can of beer, several times, and just tossing the empty into a can and heading on in to yer seat.
The security guy's just smile and nod at ya, as long as ya ain't being a dick or are obviously impaired.
My kinda place.
I love it!

I have Dads digital camera and have been taking lots of pictures of some beautiful old bikes, Triumphs, Nortons, Harleys, oh, and a trio of the hottest young ladies, I won't go there, my, my, my.

As soon as I badger him into downloading and Emailing them to me, I will post them here.
Ol' Gord would be in heaven here and I have been thinking about him constantly.

Ta ta, I have many more beers calling my name before the evening is over.

08 August 2008

Go for a ride

A 4½-minute ride on a Danish rider's '69 Bonnie. Pleasant scenery, GREAT sound! Enjoy.

More at bisgaardmotors.

04 August 2008

Damn you, Storz!

Me'n Mrs. G had a terrific weekend. Tipped off in advance by my old friend Steve, owner of Storz Performance, we went up to Donner Ski Ranch to visit and to watch him and his sons ride a trial sponsored by Sacramento PITS, the premier NorCal-based trials club. An explanation of Motorcycle Trials here.

'The Ranch' aka 'The Granite Patch', is about ten miles from home. We rode our bikes up there on Saturday morning. The 'sections' are laid out in a loop over a coupla miles so we just hiked up to the nearest one to the parking lot. At our age and that altitude (7200'), we deemed that sufficient exercise. I took this photo on Sunday of the trail we hiked up on Saturday. You can see our bikes in the upper parking lot. On Saturday, we were parked in the much larger parking lot and pit area beyond the ski lodge in the center. Camera-shy Mrs. G saw me pointing the machine in her direction and scampered behind the tree on the left. Heh. Although resembling a trials section, this is actually access between sections. This is gnarly country, folks.

Click photos to emhugen

The Saturday event was for Vintage bikes (and riders. Heh) and Beginners. Steve finished the section and hollered at me, "This is the sport for you, Gordon". More on this later.

Steve invited us for burgers. We decided to go home for a coupla hours and come back up in the pickup on the theory that a) it gets cold up there when the sun goes down and, b) in our tourist area, after the sun goes down, every driver is drunk.

We got home in time to watch a little of the NASCAR Nationwide series roadracing in the rain in Montreal. First time I've seen windshield wipers on stock cars, although some of them lifted off at speed. Best NASCAR race I've seen in years! They should water Daytona... Then a few minutes of an unlimited-class motorcycle hillclimb. 200hp bikes going straight up! Sometimes over backwards, too.

I called Steve to ask what I could bring for dinner, and what kind of pie he liked. His answer, and I'm not making this up, was "Oooh! Chocolate cream pie! And bring some burgers...". Come for burgers, and oh yeah, bring some burgers. I love that guy!

We had a nice dinner and a good visit. We watched a little extreme-o-cross bike action on the TV in Steve's motorcondo. One guy did a handstand on the bars about ten feet up in the air. I said, "I've done that", to which Steve replied, "Not on purpose, I bet". Well, no...

Thus endeth day one. A nice bike ride on two-lane mountain roads, plenty of sunshine, dirt bikes, old friends, met some nice folks, food, laughs, TV motorsports. Pretty good day.

Rode the bikes back up to the Ranch on Sunday. This was the regular event for Intermediate and Expert riders, and Steve and his sons Neil and Eric all rode. There were a coupla former National Champions there, and they were absolutely amazing to watch. Here's Steve after his first loop:

After his second loop, Steve was noticeably more tired and called it a day. 10 sections per loop and it isn't as easy as it looks. The trial was scored on 'best 2 out of 3' loops, so Steve had completed the event. His comment was, "Remember how we used to thrill ourselves at 80 miles an hour? Well, now we can do it at two miles an hour!"

His sons, 16 and 18 years of age, are really good at this sport, and have competed as far away as East Tennessee. I outsmarted myself by preemptively changing the batteries in my camera and installing bunk ones, so I apologize to them and you for no pictures of them.

Steve had gotten me thinking with his "This is the sport for you" comment, and I bit the hook by accepting his offer to ride his fantastic Sherco around. Grrr. It took me about ten seconds to fall in love with the damn thing. Here, kid, the first one's free...

Steve's an old Pommy single man like me, so in retaliation I made him clatter up and down the road on my Enfield. He got me better than I got him.

This is a great motorcycle sport for old farts like me. Low speeds, no handlebar-to-handlebar action so less chance of an ER visit (we heal a lot slower than we used to), ride at your own pace, and a relatively low investment in equipment. Also, PITS puts on several events each year within an hour's drive from my home. Feel sumthin' tuggin' atcher lip, old man?

Now, a new $6Large bike is out of the question, but I've got a garage full of old iron, of which several of whom could easily be converted for a casual fling at trials, perfect for a Vintage Beginner like myself. Then I remembered that I have an actual vintage trials bike that I took in payment for a $25 debt about 20 years ago. It's a Honda TL125. I had to dig, almost literally, around in my back yard for it, but here it is:

It's not as bad as it looks. I have the rest of it except for the rear axle and sprocket, and a few (we'll see!!!) minor mostly proprietary items. Funny story: I had this thing hanging from the ceiling of my motorcycle shop. One day a guy came in needing a rear sprocket for one of these but not really expecting to find one in a podunk 'sickle shop like mine. I smiled and said something like "we need only look to a higher place to fulfill your desires" and pointed up. Sold him the sprocket for 60 bucks, which was half the price from Honda dealers. I get the feeling that one's gonna come back and bite me on the ass...

More on all this happy horseshit as it develops, but I think I got a little winter project.

Damn you, Storz.

As a special added feature, here's part one of a two-part video on a PITS trial just south of Lake Tahoe, along with some very good commentary about the sport of trials. The Lewisport folks were at the Ranch as well. Please enjoy. Part two is here.

03 August 2008

Au revior! Arrivederci! Auf wiedersehen!

Well, things at Casa de Fixer have gotten hectic enough where something's gotta give. With the house construction (which I'm doing myself), dad-in-law Fixer needing adult supervision, namely moving him in here by Thanksgiving and getting his house ready sell, and just the normal craziness, I gotta say goodbye to the boys at the shop for the foreseeable future. My last day will be 29 August.

I'm gonna miss the place, not working on cars.