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A bird's eye view of Laney's Orange County Tech Day


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Before Leaving


I started my Tech Daze Weekend by taking my Daughter to her driving test in our town of Pleasanton in Northern CA. She Passed! First try! I thought her chances were 50/50. Am I glad she hasn’t asked about riding a street bike of her own! I have no idea what I’d tell her.


After that drama, it took me forever to get on the road. 10:30 a.m. start and my destination was 518 miles away and the majority of the route on twisty roads.


The Ride to LA


When I’m riding I usually have to stop at least once before I can find a good groove. My first stop was in Monterey. That did it. I started grooving right after that.


Monterey was drizzling off and on. When that coast comes into view on Highway 1, WOW!


But you know, I’m not an ocean guy. Highway 1 through big Sur is impressive but, really, I think Nevada has too much water. The Pacific and the other oceans don’t do it for me. After about the 1000th turn with amazing views I’m not even looking. I found myself hoping for Winnebagos to buzz!


Near San Luis Obispo I passed a Multicar pileup on 101. I quietly lane split my way past countless cars that were waiting for the accident to clear. Excuse me. Thanks. You’re so kind. Excuse me... One guy took exception. This was the first person I know of that I’ve ever made angry while splitting lanes. I politely rode past a tiny beat up pickup truck and this 20-something guy with a long blonde pony tail leans way out the passenger window, waves his arms and yells “Hey, GET IN LINE AND WAIT YOUR TURN”. I thought to myself “Listen dude, if you ain’t gonna throw anything at me when I ride by, you can’t imagine how little I care about your point of view. Watch your arm please”.


That angry logic “If I can’t then you can’t either” reminds me of the immaturity many 7th and 8th graders have. To be twenty-something and still think that way must be a huge burden to carry around.


That accident was easily a 30+ minute delay for the average car. I went from the back to the front of that mess in under 10 minutes, almost as fast as the Highway Patrol cruiser that was driving the shoulder with his lights on. It occurred to me that I’ve learned a few things about space since buying my RT. I never lane split before that. I now know I need A LOT less space than I thought I did. One of these days my new knowledge of how little space I need will be important in an emergency.


Huge thanks for KenOC. He helped me immensely by suggesting that I take166 from 1 to 33. That was fun! I passed a very lucky pilot of a huge RV on that road. On a long sweeping turn he lost control, fishtailed wildly and fell over, as evident from the long skid marks that went back and fourth over both lanes. I didn’t see the actual accident, but the monstrous rolling structure came to rest on it’s side, hanging nearly halfway off the top of a 50 foot drop off. That could have been bad. Those things are unsafe wink.gif.


166 was the last thing I saw before dark. I missed seeing a whole great section of mountain scenery on 33 near Ojai. The fog, dark and massive washes from the recent rain had me picking my way through roads that I will try very hard to ride like a real hoon this summer.


That section of 33 over the summit North of Ojai finally showed me what fog lights do. I’ve always wondered why people bother with those things. Now I know. The 1150 fog lights work great in dense fog. You know, the kind of fog where you’re nearly running blind and you really shouldn’t be out there. I entered that kind of fog bank in the dark of night with my high beams on and went blind for a moment. Visibility dropped down to less than the distance from my headlight to the ground. With the fog lights on, (now there’s a switch that is located in a dumb place if you ask me) my clear visibility improved to 20 feet and I wasn’t blind until over 40 feet! That may not sound like a lot but it was. It was plenty to keep me moving.


Then I got to the City of Angels, or at least the megalopolis.


I love LA. I really do. People there are so cool. And I like the way they drive. Fast and close, like NASCAR. Fun if nobody does anything wrong but kinda inconvenient if someone does.


The freeway resembled a 75 mph parking lot. I found myself following this one guy in a Taurus Wagon. I should have passed him but I decided to keep a close eye on him instead. Every 3 or 4 miles the car would drift off in one direction and suddenly lurch back the other. Maybe the driver was drunk. I gave the car lots of room and I waited for it to crash. I thought, if he crashes, I’ll just ride around the mess.


That car nearly did lose it at 75 mph. It lurched one way and then, sharply overcorrected and went into a marvelous imitation of a motorcycle high speed wobble. An out of control Taurus wagon really looks pathetic. I was right behind the guy calmly looking for which way he was going to crash and how many other cars he’d take with him. I thought it might be two or three. I was just watching, waiting for my opening like I was waiting for a nun to change lanes. When I grabbed my brakes my only concern was if the guy behind me was going to stop before hitting me. Nothing in front of me bugged me at all. I was sure I had plenty of room and an easy line would open up, that is unless cars started skating all over the place. I love LA! I always enjoy the freeways there. I feel like a real road warrior.


I also like LA because there’s 20 million people in that basin and you can ride right up to whichever one of them you want, just like you know the way or something. I rode up to BadAdam’s house without missing a turn. He wasn’t there. Something about Valentine’s day. The front door was kindly left open for me but I decided instead to wait on the porch that overlooks a lot of the area. It is great! 20 minutes later just as I was about to hunker down for a nap Adam and his lovely wife Julie drive up.


Getting to know BadAdam and BadJulie


What great people. Adam is so LA. He’s in his element. He must know the area better than anyone. I told him where I lived when I was a kid and he showed me a book with aerial photos of that area (and lots of others) before and after they were developed. Adam should be in Public Relations for the city, he had me thinking about transferring to the area before the evening was over. LA is so great.


Julie really had me fooled. Except for her noticeably perfect grammar and articulate manner that hinted at her real talents, I had no idea she wasn’t a simple government employee working at a local college. The next morning I really enjoyed finding out that is not the case.


The three of us are out by the curb. Adam and I are about to leave for Laney’s. Since I’m an ex-science teacher I got curious about Julie’s job. She had told me she was an Astronomy Teacher.


I said “What do you teach again?”


“How did you find yourself teaching that?”

“That was the job I found with my background.”

I know many workers at the local college back home and many of them give answers like that. I was not surprised. What she said next did surprise me.


“What is your background?”

“Low temperature Physics.”

Delighted, I thought to myself “That’s something you don’t hear everyday.”


I could have talked to Julie all day. She started telling me about magnetic fields near absolute zero. Clearly she loved her field. However, Adam’s eyes were starting to glaze over. I got the idea he has heard about these magnetic fields before. So we had to leave.


Physics people are so cool. LA is so cool. Life is good.


On the Gas with Bad Adam.


At the gas station before the freeway Adam asks me, “So, how fast do you ride on the freeway? 80?”

I said “Whatever.”

Adam has these LA-cool yellow sunglasses with stylish dark frames that look like what the high fashion folks wear to the shooting range. His glasses are about all you can see when he’s wearing his full face Arai but, I swear I could see him grin at my answer. I knew what that meant. We headed out onto the freeway.


Adam is far better at navigating through the freeway traffic than I am. I had no idea the key to navigating LA freeways is to pass everyone out there. It works. It works good. What a fun way to ride. I could tell he was taking it easy on me. I don’t think either of us saw 100 mph. My high speed was an indicated 97 or 98. I appreciated that. I have a sneaking suspicion that if Adam wanted to ditch a cop his blue K12RS could make quick work of both the traffic and the cop. (“Don’t do it Adam, don’t do it!”)


We stopped to pick up a friend of Adam’s on a V-Max. Neat bike. Tons of motor, ancient chassis. It seems to handle just like you’d think. King Kong in a straight line and King Kong on roller skates in the sweepers. Adam had switched from his KRS to his RT so I’d watch him and this guy on Mr. Max go onto a sweeping on ramp. Adam was rock steady on his RT. The guy on the Max, well, he looked like a good rider with a lot to do in those turns. It was a fascinating contrast.


Those were 50 of the funnest miles of the trip.


The actual Tech Day


Laney put on a wonderful tech day. She made everyone feel welcome. Someone has to do the big job of making their home available for a tech day and the tech day at Laney’s was fabulous. Thank you Laney.


Laney is quite a motorcyclist. If you look closely you can see that her home quietly reflects that. She has a cool garage and a driveway big enough for a dozen bikes. Her two bikes, an RT and a SV650, are overt clues to her riding life. I’ve followed her on a twisty road when she wasn’t trying to go fast. Boy was she smooth on a wet road. I’ll bet I won’t get a long look at her technique when she turns on the jets but I look forward to that day anyway.


I’ve been to 4 Tech Days now and 3 of them had introductions. Dick Frantz led this day’s intro. I don’t remember the actual words he used, but I heard him saying his goal for everyone was that they develop the willingness to work on their own bikes, to take them apart, to learn and to do things without being afraid.


After the day was over, I can say that I most definitely fulfilled the Frantz Challenge.


I wanted to change a fuel filter and a throttle cable. My bike needed the fuel filter changed, it has 23,000 miles. I never got to it, time was too short. It didn’t need a throttle cable yet but that got done. I knew the cable could wait until 36,000 miles or longer, which is after Torrey for me. But what couldn’t wait was my eagerness to learn the process of changing the cable. There were folks there, specifically Jim Moore, Russell and Sean Daily that I knew could do this. I had seen them do this intimidating job on an 1100 at Sean’s Tech Days. What they did that day amazed and frightened me. The thought of taking my own bike apart like that seemed utterly unthinkable, but over the months I changed my mind as I did a few more maintenance items on my bike. Little did I know that the 1150 is significantly more difficult when changing a throttle cable.


I had no doubt. This was the time and these were the people. I could learn this thing right now. That I’d be changing a cable that didn’t really need it was not important to me.


The Throttle Cable


What a job! At least six RT guys came up to me and said the same thing I said at Sean’s tech days “I think I’ll take mine into the dealer for that.” I know why they said that.


The plastic has to come off, the tank has to come off, the switchgear has to come off both grips. The switchgear on the left grip is like a Chinese puzzle. There is absolutely no way I can do that by myself. I’ll have to see that once or twice more at least.


Before this tech day I had never drained a gas tank, disconnected fuel, vacuum and electrical lines going to the tank or removed the tank. I hadn’t taken switchgear off, removed a cable junction box or changed a cable. Doing all that, with experienced people around to get me through it, was quite exciting. I had to ignore my own experience that would occasionally tell me this bike, my lovely RT, was not going to work again.


The process of reassembling and getting the bike to work again was a dark mystery revealed. I was able to do about 90% of the work by myself with guidance. I had no hope of doing the other 10% that day.


First Laney had to rescue me when I dropped a siphon tube into my gas tank. It was way down in there. She found a length of wire from the bottom of a plastic flower for me to use to fish out the tube. It worked great. That was a funny moment but I did need the help.


Sean reassembled the left grip for me. Good thing. There was this tiny spring and a single ball bearing that I swear I could hear mocking me! It sounded like the voice of Jerry Mather laugh.gif. (Where was Jerry anyway?) Without Sean’s help I’m looking for a pickup truck and the address of the nearest dealership. I’ve never learned mechanical things before because I’ve never been around guys like Sean. Thanks Sean.


Jim Moore guided the way and actually made the junction box work again after the way I reassembled it left me with a left throttle body cable that wouldn’t function. It turned out that I had “apparently” reassembled and seated the junction box correctly but there was something wrong that magically worked after Jim re-inserted and properly seated the junction box.


I don’t think I said much at the time about that moment that Jim helped with. But I was pretty darn concerned that I might have to do the whole job over again including taking that left switchgear apart again. That could have been a moment that undid all my plans but Jim saved the day. Give that man a red cape with an S on it.


There were many there doing valve adjustments, throttle syncs and oil changes. Normal things. Adam was doing something different like usual, fork seals. I thought he wasn’t going to do those after all but someone told me Adam was inside Laney’s beautiful home at the stove with a fork tube doing something to the fork seal. I wasn’t surprised.


I have a bmwrt.com hoon-warning to issue here. Daryll, was putting Ohlins on his RT. Big D was sporting scratches ON HIS FAIRING before he changed the shocks. That’s proof to me that the dude’s getting fast and needs those expensive shocks. It also means he’s a huge hoon, I mean a fast hoon, I mean, well you know what I mean. Imagine how he’ll do when his suspension is actually helping him corner. You’ve all had fair warning now. It was great seeing you again big guy.


I worked for a good 10 hours on my bike. I learned so much. I learned I can do these things. I learned I need my experienced brethren around for the tough parts. I learned to be better at accepting the help and generosity of others. I met new people and spent valuable time with some I already knew. I also learned Sock Monkey is quiet at home. He is a party animal extraordinaire away from home but on this day he simply hung around watching everyone.


Armchair racing with Hoon 1 and Hoon 2.


It is obvious that I can’t yet ride bikes like Dick or Russell but if you think they ride well you should see them race chairs! The three of us were in the garage well after everyone else had left and it was dog eat dog! I was outclassed again but it sure was fun. Russell would grab his chair, hit the gas and he’s up on two legs going fast. Then Dick would make a move and stuff his chair on the inside of Russell’s and make the pass. And so it went, on and on…


We talked about memorable rides, eye color, high speed wobbles, the difference between good tequila and good whiskey, something about Wurty and sheep that I didn’t understand, fast cars, and the things we’re going to do with these bikes.


Gentleman, it was a pleasure to share your company. Next time I’m showing up on a fast chair!


Then the Tech Day ended. It was such a great day. The only thing was that there was so much left to do a Tech Week could have been filled. I didn’t have time to do a fuel filter or a Dick Frantz Throttle Sync. Darn. But the real thing I missed was the opportunity to visit with people because I was too busy and there just wasn’t time. I barely got a chance to talk to Jamie and Leslie, Fernando, Tony, and Ken. There were a dozen more people there I didn’t even get to really meet. That was a great day.


The ride home


I’m real excitable. When I’m around people and things I love I get amped up. I can’t sleep and I don’t want to either. I was excited for days before leaving. The ride down to LA was great. Tech Day was great. After several short nights of sleep, I must have slept 4 hours the night after tech day. But what goes up must come down and you know what a perfect way to come down is? A long ride home.


I thanked KenOC for the cool route advice when I met him at Laney’s and he suggested a neat ride home. I went west at the top of the Grapevine to Lockwood Valley Road to 33. Fine ride. Really great. There was snow in places below the road but the road was good. I was in sightseeing mode. The mountains were a treat. I passed around Ojai this time but that town is becoming a home port for me. Every time I go through there I’m having a great ride. Neat place.


I took a wrong turn and wound up only 20 or 30 miles north of where I left I-5 at Frazier Park to Lockwood Valley to 33. Oh well. All the more miles.


I went 198 and 25 again back to the Bay Area. That is 75 miles of the best motorcycle riding anywhere. I didn’t go really fast but I did work on my turning, trying to blast out of turns properly. Master Yoda told me what I was doing wrong (again) and unstrung the system I was building for myself. He told me how to get more weight on my footpegs. It worked great but I forgot how to corner. I tried dozens of great turns. No propulsion out like I wanted. Error of the day: too fast on entry. I couldn’t get hard on the gas in the turn because my entry was too fast. I tried correcting that and to get my weight on the pegs. I netted a grand total of 1 good turn to add to my lifetime total of about 13 now.


The rest of the ride home was a wind-down. When I got home I was tired.




My plan to become a master mechanic has a few more hurdles. I want to do a fuel filter, brake pads and tires. Then I’ll have done the things I wanted to learn to take care of my bike. That will mean I can do fluids (except brake fluid, it is an 1150 after all), plugs, valves, throttle bodies, battery service, brake pads, fuel filter, cables and tires.


I also hope to change my own clutch when my bike needs one. Right now that is unthinkable but lots of things were unthinkable when I bought my bike last spring.


Many thanks to Laney, Dick, Jim, Sean, Russell, Adam and all the others that were there. You are extraordinarily good people and I’m blessed to know you.


See you all again.

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Now that's a write-up! I would like to point out that you are giving me way too much credit for solving your throttle cable problem. Sean and Russell fixed it. I mainly stood around looking perplexed.

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It's slander. slander I say! I am not a hoon. I'm a slow rider, really I am. Any scrapes on my fairing must have been caused by my old shocks being under rated for my size. These Ohlins are just so I can have a comfortable ride. Yeah, that's the ticket.


Cory it was great to see you. I thought doing the fuel filter (the first time) was a pain, but your throttle cable really put that to shame. Taking the tank apart was a whole lot easier the second time I did it this weekend.

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Great writeup, Cory...I think you nailed everything perfectly.


Then Dick would make a move and stuff his chair on the inside of Russell’s and make the pass. And so it went, on and on…




I would have had him, but the monkey was on his side. It's tough enough to pass Dick when he doesn't have Socko throwing Bananna peels in front of you. smile.gif

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Cory, thanks for the kind words about me and Julie. We enjoyed having you over for the night and hope to catch up sometime soon.


As you mentioned, the BEST WAY to drive in LA is to simply pass everyone. By doing that you can don't have to worry about what's behind you most of the time (except for the CHP) and you can position yourself well between cars and trucks. I like to use it as a 2-d game like Frogger where you try to figure out a good spot to be in about 20 car lengths ahead and try to figure out the best way to get there by using all lanes. Sometimes you have to move three over to the right to get 2 towards the left before rocketing forward ten spaces. Always fun to getother people in the game and it's much more interesting when the traffic allows you to go 85-100 or so. Of course, it's much more fun now with the K-RS because the acceleration is so good that you almost get to where you need to be before you finish thinking about getting there.


Genna on the V-Max is an excellent rider and that bike is amazing to get on the gas. A few weeks ago he let me try it out and I went to the nearby parking lot at Cal State LA to try some drills. Once you get past 5,000RPM that thing literally takes off. It is an amazing bike and if I was looking for a small cruiser that may be the one I would get. But as you mentioned, it rides a little different in the curves. Nothing you can't handle but nowhere near as stable as the RT. That's the best thing about these BMW's. You can make cornering corrections midway through a turn without totally blowing your lines. They are very forgiving and make all of us look like better riders than we are.


The tech day was a blast and I'm only sorry that I dodn't get to see you guys working on that cable. As a member of the 'I'll let the dealer do that' club I've never even watched the magic of a cable replacement. Next time, I'll spend more time watching instead of working.


Thanks again for the write up. It is always cool to learn more about the rides going on in the group.

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