Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Riding a brand new 2015 Indian Vintage

        As you may know, my Twin Cam motor in my chopper had a minor problem that did a lot of damage to the rest of the motor. I was going to be without a bike for a couple of weeks but needed to keep moving. My friend at  American Biker, which is an Indian, Victory and Polaris dealership in Charleston, South Carolina helped me out by lending me a brand new Indian to ride across a couple of states to my next destination. They had some other motorcycles but I have been chomping at the bit to try out the new Indians with the 111 inch Powerstroke motor. Some of you may remember this video I filmed with the motor when they debuted it at Daytona Bike Week 2013.
   Thanks to Rich, the owner of American Biker, I was going to test ride this for several hundred miles of Interstates then head across the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina for several hundred more miles.
Rich gave me pick of his fleet and it was a hard decision. There was excellent highway bikers like the Chieftain and the Roadmaster but I opted for a more stripped down bike. The Classic comes with just a windshield so I got that with the Vintage package- Tan leather bags and seat. I strapped on my two duffle bags, tent and sleeping bags and filled the saddle bags with my trade mark top hat, rain gear, road atlas and other necessities and hit the road  for the Smokey Mountain Chopper Fest. 
    Rolling down the Interstate was effortless. The cruise control was almost necessary to keep me going the speed limit as it was easy to look down and see I was nearing triple digits. Yea, it really rides smooth and straight, even with all my heavy luggage piled up on the passenger seat. I expected this and the big Indian is a highway bike. Heavy bikes usually perform well on the highways. This bike never felt unstable or any sort of swaying at any speed. I did notice some vibration in the handle bar grips but I think I was just used to my aftermarket Avon grips. I think an addition of a pair of those would have taken care of that.
The next part of this trip was when I left the interstate and got on some back roads. These were the foothills of what would take me into the Smokey Mountains. The roads were filled with holiday traffic and riding through the small towns that were over run with traffic was a bit frustrating, but it wasn't because of the bike. It zig zaged through traffic and intersections like a much lighter bike. I could also come to a complete stop for seconds and then pull off without ever feeling the need to put my feet down. It really didn't act like a heavy bike at all. Soon I was in the twisty mountain roads and got to test out the ground clearance. I leaned that bike back and forth all day. I went through 15mph hairpin turns faster each time to see if I could get it to drag a little. Never once did I ever get a floor board or the kick stand to even scrape on the pavement once. Over the weekend I was even changing my side of the lane in a sharp turn just to simulate it was a sharper turn in search for the ground clearance limits but I never found them. I even rode a passenger  thinking that would help find some turning limitations but it still rode like a sport bike. I didn't expect that and I am still very impressed.
    Everywhere I stopped on the bike, crowds were drawn. I was always fielding questions being told that it was a beautiful bike. I'm used to people commenting similar things about my custom chopper but I have months of labor and over double the amount of money in building my bike. Here this bone stock bike was doing the same thing. When I got to Chopper Fest with several hundred custom bikes, I missed my chopper but didn't feel too out of place. I even had several friends practically beg me to take it for a test ride them selves. I let some of them and they all agreed when they returned that it was a surprisingly easy and fun bike to ride.
  I have heard some people complain about "valve pinging" and I did notice that at low rpms, it does ping. Most all stock bikes do since strict EPA regulations do that but I also found that with a stock Indian, they perform much better by learning the power curve and revving the rpms a little higher than other bikes. I also found out that revving them real high is where a whole lot of horse power is waiting.
    All in all, I loved the bike. I was thinking about maybe buying one before but now, I'm talking to financier and looking at all my options and have a feeling that I may own one in addition to my chopper. Life is too short no to enjoy all the good things in life!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Which shiny new bike should I ride away on?

Being without a running motor cycle creates a big problem. Repairs to mine are taking longer than expected. Thankfully I have a friend at American Biker in Charleston South Carolina. Actually I have several friends there including Rich, the owner.  I went to talk to them about maybe buying a new Indian. Wasn't sure if I wanted to go in debt for a new one though. Still I needed transportation to get back to Louisville so  Rich said for me to take one and see what I thought. He was sure that after I rode it for awhile, I would be back in his dealership to buy one. My only dilemma now is which one? Check out their website here- americanbiker.biz

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Time for a second bike?

   It has become more and more evident that a second bike would make a lot of things easier. First of all, if I ever need to let my chopper get needed maintenance, I wouldn't have to rush it as I usually have a rally to do ever weekend. Another reason is international travel. Three times already I had to pas on free transportation to Europe and other countries because I would be without my bike for so long. If I had another, I could stick it on a boat and forget about it till it was time to fly over and then ride it.
   This is the dilemma.  My question is to you-

    A- Do I just keep going on my one bike and make due the best I can?

     B- Get an older Evo for a reliable and dependable ride?

     C- Go in debt and buy a brand new shiny Indian?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The adventure begins before it officially starts

  As Joe Sparrow and I begin our next adventure which is Winter time in Cuba, we had to fly to Nassau, Bahamas to catch our flight to Cuba since there still is no public flights to Cuba from the United States. We left Fort Lauderdale on New Years Eve in a rush to get this adventure started. Arriving in Nassau, we discovered that every room on the island was booked. This wasn't suppose to matter as we were planning on immediately jumping on another flight out to Cuba. Cuban flights only happen twice a week so we were going to be in one spot for awhile. I found a room online however after booking a room and taking a taxi to it, I discovered Hotels.com changed the date and we were 3 days early. El Greco Hotel was very accommodating however and even though they were completely filled, they put 2 roll away beds in the lobby and let us sleep there. This may sound like no fun but the other thing we didn't know about was Junkanoo. It is a festival that begins at midnight and continues until noon. We took a short nap and was back out in the middle of the parade. Yes, only 18 hours into this adventure and we are in the middle of a parade much like Peter Fonda and Denis Hopper in Easyrider.
 The music was outrageous!
                                 The floats weren't motor driven so they were pushed ......
and pulled with barely enough room to squeeze through the narrow streets
And some floats were actually worn and one person would "carry" them the entire parade route
I was able to get right in the middle of the parade and photograph ( and dance )
getting shots front and center
Of course Joe was busy doing the same
The crowd participated also. Even the youngest brought their instruments to play along.
There was dancing in the streets
                                                             and floats in every shape and size
Some floats had "mini floats" to compliment them
What a great way to start the first 12 hours of our journey just to get where we want to be for our Great Cuban adventure- stay tuned for more!!!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Get you Team Bean're patch today!!!

 With less than 2 weeks from my departure date ( July 18th) for my Guinness World Record attempt on my mini bike, I still have my hands full with rebuilding the motor, waiting on one of a kind parts being shipped from England and organizing a support team. Already helping out is Berry Wardlaw of Accurate Engineering and Bobby Seeger JR of Indian Larry.
Still the biggest cost is the actual time line for this en devour. It will take about 10 traveling slowly across the country and I will have a volunteer team following, documenting and photographing. I need to at least buy them a Happy Meal once a day. To help offset some of these costs, I am going to be selling my Team Bean're patches made by Iron Thread. They are 10 dollars payable to my paypal

one for 10 or 3 for 20

    Patch will be mailed out before I leave but I will also have some special mini bike record attempt stickers made that I will send out to supporters as soon as I get them back from the printer. Thanks again for all your support!!!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Finding a new home for my purple freedom machine

I bought this 100cc Honda Win in Vietnam and was allowed by the government to ride it all over Vietnam. They even allowed me to leave the country and enter Laos, a privilege that many have been denied. The problem is that with the Vietnamese license plate and registration, this purple motorcycle was denied entry in to Cambodia, Thailand and now, Myanmar. The time has came to cut the strings and get rid of the bike so that I can journey on to the next level of this adventure. I have some exciting options that I will be taking and sharing with Team Bean're and everyone in my social network but first I have to get rid of the bike.
  When I set out on this adventure, I had planned an option of donating the bike but that was going to be when I was finished and at the airport ready to fly home. Now I still have a month or more left and the new plan is to travel across Thailand and Myanmar on public transportation (boats, trains and buses) until I get to India where I will buy yet another motorcycle.  Since India is the home of the originally English built Royal Enfield, this would be my new mode of transport. Money is still tight though and I have to plan on a 1000 dollar return plane trip from where ever I end up when I call it quits. I debated this and came up with doing the right thing. The money to buy it was donated from my friends so it only seemed right to pass it on.
I did some research on Google and found that the town I was in,  Luang Prabang, was the home of not one but 2 large orphanages. The largest is Deak Kum Pa Orphanage. It is home to over 500 children and show signs of growing rather then decreasing in numbers. The Orphanage has a school on premises and gives all children here an education, something that not all children in Laos have the opportunity to get. The government helps out running this orphanage. However, Laos is a very poor country-they only pay for the teachers salaries but none of the school supplies and only 2 meals a day. Every thing else clothes, health and comfort (like soap, tooth brushes and toothpaste), books and a third meal are subsidized by private donations.  This seemed like the perfect new home for my motorcycle.
Arriving unannounced probably wasn't the best plan. I wondered why the kids weren't in school and I realized that it was Saturday. It took awhile to find some one that spoke English but when I did, they thought the purple motorcycle would be a perfect vehicle to transport children for hospital appointments and other off site needs. I thought that sounded perfect but truthfully, even if they turned right around and sold it, I knew that this would be to raise money to buy other more important things.  They asked how I would get back to town. I said I would get myself a tuk tuk (small 3 wheel motorcycle taxi). The reality of the donation then set in. They graciously thanked me and immediately hauled it inside where it would be tucked away and safe.
These kids were some of the most well behaved kids I have ever met in my life. They have very little super vision and they all help with all the chores including meals and gardening. Every child does his or her own laundry! The teen age children were even polite without the slightest bit of rebelliousness.

The children here have no toys. I did see one teenager with a small acoustic guitar. Here the kids must entertain themselves and boys being boys, well just because the swimming pond has gone dry with us being at the end of dry season, they played in the mud. They were just as happy as any child with a game boy and a cell phone.
  I want to personally thank all Team Bean're supporters for helping out with this trip because this donation of this motorcycle would NEVER have been possible without all of your support. I  have exchanged email addresses with this orphanage and I plan on doing some more to help them out. I will keep everyone posted.