Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gastown Motorcycle Show: August 16, 2009


Recently Bobbie2 and myself visited the Gastown Motorcycle Show. There was FREE parking for bikes so naturally we rode our bikes downtown, myself on my new Suzuki V-strom and Bobbie2 on my maxi-scoot Kymco X500Ri. This is the largest motorcycle gathering in British Columbia. There are displays, vendor booths, live music, demonstrations, new products, demo bikes from major manufactures and yes, there was a show and shine, not to mention all the bikes parked everywhere.


Gastown is the birthplace of Vancouver, formerly in the skid row area where they dragged the logs. Now it is an upscale area filled with restaurants and fine gift stores.

Today's essay will not be an essay, but rather an assortment of photos in no particular order with a bit of narration. Sort of Conchscooter style using few words of substance to adorn a picture "of a thousand words"


Yes, Bobbie2 is an ardent snapper, he managed to get a few of myself. Just in case you jump to conclusions when it is very hot, I wear shorts under my JR Alter Ego riding pants, with armour. When I get to my destination, I remove the pants and get rid of the riding boots and replace with my trusty Teva or Chaco sandals. So while it would appear that I am in my beach outfit I do not ride without gear. My riding Jacket has leather uppers with removeable panels to reveal a full mesh jacket underneath, so while moving it is really sort of cool


It was very crowded. The streets were blocked off and bikes were parked on both sides of the asphalt as well as on the sidewalk. Bobbie2 managed to get another shot of me (in the white T-shirt).


I know nothing of these machines, except that it says "Norton" on the side. I can't tell if it's a 750 or 850


There were lots of custom machines there. I decided to post these pictures at Linda's (Montie & Me) (<-- click link) request to post a few from the motorcycle show. She was begging me for more photos.


There were lots of Harleys of every description


Finally I had my chance to snap a photo of Bobbie2 in action


For Jack "r" (what else can I say ?), I didn't see any brass poles around


I believe this custom had 500 cubic inch V-8 power.


This particular custom motorcycle builder only makes V-8 powered bikes. If you have $35 - $40K real dollars you could ride one home


Old style


Old skool kool, chopper, ape bars and flow back exhausts, wide white wall tyres


There was something for every taste


this Ariel was better than new


here is a glimpse of the control panel and gauges


they even had Beemers for the Mac-Pac wrenching society. With bikes like these they would never have time to ride


Now here's a Triumph for Lance, and perhaps also for Mr Conchscooter if he can manage to swing his short legs over . . . or he can borrow Mr Reeps elevated platform


I thought that these handlebars had a neat swept back look


at times you had to navigate through the massive crowds


during this depressed economy, manufacturers are taking every opportunity to display their machines


after a while all the machines start to look the same. perhaps it was the heat


It was a great summer's day and what better thing to do than to ride your bike to a motorcycle show and shine, and dream . . .

And speaking of dreaming, I spotted something for Jack Riepe . . . (<-- click link)


If only I won the Lottery . . . (Sigh)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Experienced Norton rider tames Scooter:

Guest post from Bobbie2:

A week or so ago my friend from Green Lake came to Vancouver for the annual Canadian Route 66 Association picnic. There were many events happening around town and we had planned a m/c weekend on our bikes to savour them all. Saturday evening was scooter orientation (Prev post) . I wanted Bob to get a few miles under his belt before we headed out on Sunday.

It was an action packed day. We wanted to squeeze everything in. Today was the Ladner Quilt Walk and Car show. Ladner is a small community with a town centre. The main streets were closed off for live music, food vendors and a huge car show. The Quilts were for the women, to give them something to do while the men ooggled at all the cars. We had to make an appearance at the Route 66 picnic which started at 11:30a. Then we were off the the Gastown Classic Motorcycle show where they closed down the streets for motorcycles of all types could park for free. I was also trying to squeeze in the Latin Summer Festival at Trout Lake where they had live music and food from the Caribbean. And of course, we had dinner reservations at a riverfront restaurant with a view of the Fraser River down in Ladner. Whew . . . we managed to squeeze it all in and what a beautiful day.

Here are some comments from Bobbie2: (unedited, naturally)

"On a recent weekend trip down to Vancouver from our home at Green Lake, I was invited by Bob to go ‘scootin’ together. Bob wanted to put some miles (kilometers??) on his new V-Strom 650 and wanted me to try out his other ‘ride’ - the 500cc Kymco scooter. Prior to going for a spin (hopefully keeping the rubber side down!), Bob instructed me on the differences between the Kymco and my bike back home – a 1974 Norton Commando (my first, and so far, only bike – original owner, 70,000 miles.) The biggest operating difference, of course, is the automatic CVT transmission (and no clutch lever!) The left lever is the rear brake, I must remember this! I assured him I was familiar with the CVT as my ATV and snowmobile operate with the similar transmission.
After a couple of practice runs around the block, we were off ! Bob took us on a scenic Saturday evening tour around Lulu Island (Richmond), riding the north side along River Road, then down to the south side ending on the wharf at Steveston. I was pleasantly surprised with the smooth, quiet ride and good handling of the ‘little’ scooter. On the return ride along Oak Street in Vancouver back to Bob’s place, I made my only boo-boo of the weekend. Coasting to an easy stop at a stoplight, I grabbed the clutch (er ,,,, I mean brake) lever as I would on the old Norton – I found out how well the rear brake does work ! Didn’t do that again!
On Sunday, I got a little highway time on the Kymco riding out to Ladner through the Massey Tunnel under the Fraser River for a car show and a picnic, then back to downtown Vancouver for the Gastown Motorcycle Show, then back to Ladner for dinner, then finally back to ‘Bob’s Garage’ in Vancouver. In all, close to 200 kilometers of scooter experience under my belt, and yes, the rubber did stay on the pavement!
I did not find it hard to get used to the operational characteristics of the scooter – I think it would be a perfect machine for people to learn motorcycling. It is an ideal city commuter but it is also very capable of highway trips as well. The only thing I didn’t get used to was the relatively high rpm the little engine spins as compared with my Snortin Norton. The old Brit turns 3500 rpm at 60 mph whereas the little Kymco is beyond 5500 at this speed. You don’t really have much feeling of how fast the engine is going as it is so quiet and smooth running – no British mechanical clatter! The engine is red-lined at 7500rpm, so I was concerned that it may be ‘running out of wind’ at 100kmh – NOT SO! Bob told me that I didn’t have to baby the little scooter as I was doing, so I cranked on the throttle. I was really surprised by the ‘bark’ of the exhaust and the acceleration that ensued! Quite impressive, this thing actually can be a highway cruiser and go up hills, after all, it isn’t a 125cc machine, is it?
Now back home in the Cariboo, I have to re-acquaint myself with the vintage Norton – clutch on the left, shifter on the (yes) right! I still have to remember the shifter thing when riding any ‘modern’ bike otherwise the rear brake gets a workout when I upshift! (1-up, 3-down right hand shifter --- bass-ackwards you know).

Thanks for the fun weekend, Bob #1………………Bob #2, Green Lake……… "

We parked our bikes and noticed this delightful Enfield beside us:



You may think that I like to take pictures but as you will notice, he takes a lot too


It was not just a car show, there were lots of classic motorcycles too, and this BOSS HOSS with the '57 chevy rear end


There was this Beemer and rare sidecar


This was a very early model Triumph 500. The lights had to be lit with a match powered by Calcium something or other, some fluid was dripping on it to produce acetalene gas. The owner explained how it worked but in one ear and out the other.


Seeing that it was also a quilt walk, here is a quilted car cover


Tevi's Termite taxi makes another appearance at the Route 66 picnic


We finally arrive at the Gastown Motorcycle show & shine, the largest motorcycle event in the Province. There are bikes parked everywhere. This is just a teaser. I have many photos of different bikes and may post more at a later date.


After a couple of hours looking at bikes and listening to the live music, we made our way to the Latin Summer Festival


There were many displays, food vendors, clothing for sale and live latin music on the main stage


We made our way to our dinner reservation in Ladner


For some reason I wasn't very hungry so only ordered the fish and chips. It must have been the heat or the excitement of seeing my scooter follow me around all weekend


Black and White, parked side by side.


It was a perfect end to a perfect day action packed and filled to the brim with Bobbie2. Finally we got to ride together


Naturally, after dinner Bobbie2 wanted to go for another ride, and so we did

Monday, August 24, 2009

Black & White: Kymco and Wee

I have a friend whom I have know for many years. He is a car guy. We have travelled together to many places. He was a former resident of the Vancouver area and little did anyone know that he was also an avid motorcyclist. I happened to be in his garage a few years ago and noticed this pristine, classic motorcycle in the back behind his other cars. Yes, he was also a former member of the BC Corvette Club (<-- click link) and his wife is the founding member of the Canadian Route 66 Association (<-- click link) . Let me introduce you to Bobbie2 yes his name is Bob, but I am Bob1) . Bobbie2 was the proud owner of a Norton Commando 850 which he purchased brand new off the showroom floor in 1973 . It is a beautiful bike. I never knew that he rode so over the years I was trying to get him interested in a trip somewhere. He has since moved to the Cariboo to a cabin nearly in the wilderness about 5 hours northeast of Vancouver. He had occasion to come to Vancouver a week ago and I put the bug in his ear to bring his M/C attire and I would happily loan him my "extra" wheels and we would spend the weekend riding to various functions while our wives took to the car

(bob (aka: Bobbie2) with my Kymco X500Ri)

Saturday was orientation night. Bob arrived in Vancouver late in the afternoon, checked into his hotel and made his way to my place where I had checked over the bikes to get them ready

(Black WEE: on the left, White Kymco X500Ri: on the right)

It was time for his scooter orientation. Thank goodness BOB understood the mechanics of how a CVT works as he also has snow mobiles with CVT transmissions. He has never ridden an automatic motorcycle. Of course the left lever is for the rear brake, NOT the clutch. He was also not used to the higher RPMS needed to propel these scoots for his Norton runs at freeway speeds at around 3,500-4,000 RPMs not like the X500Ri which normally finds itself at 5,000. RPMs.


I really never thought about it before but my WEE is black. I had no choice since the dealer only had the one unit left, and my Kymco is white. So according to my moods I can choose the appropriate colour. If I feel bad I can ride the Black one.


We decided that we would go for dinner first, then after we would go for a short orientation ride to get familiar with the scooter. I know the scooter is highway capable for last year I rode it to Oregon and Kelowna. On group rides I am usually the one taking up the rear (sweep) but today I was the group leader. I must say that looking into my mirrors all night long, it was strange to see my scooter following my every move.


We travelled down to the farmlands of Richmond and found ourselves at this farm market. We noticed another member, Tevi of the Canadian Route 66 Association was there in his "Termite Taxi" which is familiar to many in the local car circles.


We visited with Tevi for a short while then headed to Steveston


We were about half an hour too late for sunset but we navigated the slow route along the Fraser River in the twilight. We headed for the Government Wharf and took a few more pixs of the setting sun.


It was now dark so we called it a day and headed for home. The next post will be from my guest speaker BOBbie2 and his impressions of riding the Kymco X500Ri. It will be un-edited and in his own words.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer of Love, Hippie Daze, Kitsilano Style

For several years Kitsilano has been home to Hippie Daze. This year it was renamed to Summer of Love, being that it was the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, birth of the hippie generation. You can read all about it here --> Summer of Love.


Hey man, they're getting the stage ready. The close off the main street for nearly a mile. We arrived before the event got underway and were walking the beat watching all the last minute preparations. In the middle of the street there was a large display of classic cars of all types


From old trucks with gull wing hoods


60's muscle cars


to previous generations of smart cars like this Messershmidt, where the passenger sits behind the one holding the handlebars . You open the hatch like a jet plane and climb in. This one had a 2-stroke 200cc M/C engine, with sequential shifter like a motorcycle transmission


another sound stage checking out acoustics

It was about an hour before starting time and people were milling about looking at all the cars.


There where a few home-build electric cars and trucks filled with carbon acid batteries, along with this display of electric powered scooters


I think this conch-trike was shipped up from KW. It looks like a perfect solution for transporting tourists around.


A Bonneville it isn't, but it serves the same purpose albeit a little slower. It says "Fun Taxi" on the side, but I am sure it isn't so fun for the driver who has to scurry up and down all of our hills and dale in a speedy fashion all the while tourguiding along the way.

(Tom Abrahamsson amongst these eco machines)


He is trying to decide which colour to get


This area of 4th avenue, just west of Burrard was the Haight Ashbury area of Vancouver. It was home to the hippie generation so it is fitting that this event is put on in the hopes of attracting the old residents back, if only for one day a year