Monday, April 20, 2009

Pour or panic

I went to a bar called "The Wrangler" Sunday afternoon to pour beer to benefit the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club. The club is the oldest gay organization in Colorado. I officially joined the club earlier this month.

The club was going to have a picnic and short easy ride on Saturday followed by the beer bust on Sunday. But the picnic and "shakedown cruise" on Saturday was canceled because of bad weather. It snowed Thursday and Friday and rained all day Saturday but was warm and dry by Sunday.

There were a lot of hot guys at the Wrangler Sunday. I would guess most of them were in their late 20's and early 30's but there were some older guys there too. They were carding (checking ID's) everyone at the door; they even carded me.

The club wanted me to stay until the end of the beer bust but I had to leave early. Once the party got going the bar really filled up - I think they may have let too many people in. It got so full that there were times I couldn't move or even turn around. I have panicked in the past in situations like that. I made a real fool out of myself about 20 years ago. It hasn't happened since but I have also avoided those situations. I felt like I was starting to panic so I had to get out of there. Maybe I could have stayed and pulled the pitchers for the others doing the pouring but I didn't think of that at the time.

The clubs annual Cruise Against AIDS is coming up on Sunday May 10th. The Denver Dykes on Bikes motorcycle club is also participating. This is the 24th year the clubs have held this event to raise money for the Colorado AIDS Project Food Bank. The event is open to everyone. It sounds like fun. I wonder if any of the the Twinks I saw at the bar Sunday would like to ride with me - Hold on tight! (I have the mind of a pre-vert.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Resistance is futile

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. All I know I learned from Google.

The weather has warmed up and the snow has melted off again so I got the motorcycle out and road it to work today. The forecast had called for it to be worm and dry all week but they are now forecasting a cool-down with chance of rain and snow on Thursday. Oh well, it's spring time in the Rockies.

I'm not getting the gas mileage that I should be getting. It started out getting 45mpg but it has dropped a little with each fill-up. It's down to 34mpg. Other C50 Boulevard riders report 45-48mpg city/50-52mpg highway. Something not right. Aside from mechanical problems there are several other factors that can affect gas mileage on a motorcycle.

Wind resistance probably has the biggest impact on gas mileage. Anything that sticks out (or up) into the air flowing around the bike as it's moving down the road causes wind resistance. The rider is typically the most prominent wind obstruction on a motorcycle. That's why a lot of motorcycles have a windscreen and fairing. I know this has a major impact at highway speeds but I don't know how much of an impact it has at city speeds. My motorcycle doesn't have a windscreen or fairing.

Tire pressure also has an impact on gas mileage. Too low of a tire pressure can can wear out the tread faster and ruin the tire, can make cornering more difficult, and reduce gas mileage. The specifications for my motorcycle calls for 33psi in the front tire and 36psi in the back tire (cold). Some riders will lower the tire pressure down a little for a smother ride. The streets around here tend to have a lot of ridges, ribbons and cracks in them; It's worse at intersections where cars apply their breaks or turn. I had lowered the air pressure in my tires down to 30psi and 35psi hoping it would smooth out the ride a little. I didn't notice any difference so I've pumped them back up.

Using the wrong octane of gas can also affect gas mileage. The specifications for my motorcycle calls for 87 octane - I've been using 85 octane. That doesn't seem like it should make too much of a difference until I factor in the fact that from September - February they sell oxygenated gas. Oxygenated gas produces less air pollutants but it also reduces the gas mileage! I need to be buying 87 octane during the summer months and the next higher octane when the gas is oxygenated. I could try a different brand of gas too.

Lugging the bike (running at too low an rpm for the gear) also affects gas mileage. My motorcycle doesn't have a tachometer on it so I shift based on what the engine sounds like and how the bike feels to me. This might not be a good gauge for shifting. I tend to shift into 2nd fairly quickly. I also use the friction zone a lot going in/out of the garage and when pulling away from stop lights so the engine might be lugging a little then. The problem is, I don't know what the rpm really is or even what it should be! I miss having a tachometer.

I've got the right octane in the gas tank now and have pumped the tires up to the right tire pressure. I think I will get a windscreen. I really don't know if I'm lugging the engine so I won't worry about it.