Wind in the Velos

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Thruxton71
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Location: Ojai, CA

Wind in the Velos

Post by Thruxton71 »

Feb 21, 2021

The annual Ojai pilgrimage took place today, organized by the Southern California Norton club (
socalnorton.com ), starting in Moorpark and heading into Ojai to view several collections. Glenn Bator (batorinternational.com) always opens his showroom of clean vintage iron to the club, and Dwayne Bower shows his ‘junk yard’ and finished projects (http://www.ojaivintagevehicles.com/). A Lot to look at, especially for people who admire old British motorcycles.

Traditionally, the regular Sunday crew from Ojai meets up at our starting point (Gas station across the street from Von’s) at 7am, then rides out to Moorpark for an early seating at the Cactus Patch (Located on Moorpark's historical High Street) so we can eat and watch the Nortons roll in. However, tradition has been tossed out the window these days along with everything else, so our group was splintered sets.. the ‘I don’t get up that early set,’ the ‘I am meeting some real riders later to attend set’, and ‘I am riding my MAC at 7am to avoid the traffic set.’ You can guess which set I was in. When I got to the gas station no one was ready to go, then the Corvair trike showed up, then the Miata. The Miata decided it was a good day to run up 33, and Corvair and I headed to Moorpark.

The preferred route in to Moorpark is over to Santa Paula, up South Mountain road, over Balcom Canyon, then wind around a series of farm roads to reach the Cactus Patch, and, like a homing pigeon, this was the route I attempted to and did follow. There was one mitigating factor I did not take seriously, and that was the weather forecast for very strong wind. ‘HA’ said I, how bad can it be?

Strong wind, especially a strong head wind, is a substantial pain in the ass for a 1952 350cc Velocette pulling my large bulk around. It was so strong that when I stopped briefly to examine the flora, I had to double check to make sure the bike would stay upright. As it was, my gloves were blown off the bike while I was exploring. And these are my heated gloves with batteries.. not light weight.

I have ridden this same motorcycle for decades, in all types of weather, and yet, with the wind pushing from the front and the side, it sometimes felt like there was a loose axle, which was very disconcerting.

Once at the restaurant I found a great spot to sit across the street (not quite ready to engage in public dining), and as in the past, watched the bikes roll in. With the passage of time, there are less and less classic British bikes represented, but by the time I left there was a fair representation of Vincents, Nortons, Triumphs and TWO (counting my MAC) Velocettes. A 500 Swing Arm with electric starting recently changed hands, and the new owner took it out for a spin. He was used to a Commando, but was pleased with the Velocette. We pressed him to join the club (the Chairman of the Velo Club was in the mix, but not on a Velo!!!).

My MAC, knowing that a crowd was watching, refused to start, after starting on the first kick reliably in the very recent (as in last night and this morning) past. I think it wanted to let people know that Velocettes are hard to start, and it fought me valiantly, but in the end I kicked it to a noisy life, and headed home to Ojai. This time the wind was at my back, for the most part, but going over Grimes canyon, I was spooked again by strong side winds, sure that there was something very wrong, but not sure what it could be. I checked tire pressure last night, it is a freaking rigid, with no slop in the rear wheel, and yet it felt like I was riding on ice. Maybe less tire pressure in the rear? I got to try that out.

So ends a day of wind on the Velo.

Ojai.

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Tetge
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Re: Wind in the Velos

Post by Tetge »

Must be nice to ride all the time. My KTM just sits almost out of fuel and no doubt gumming up again, but, unlike you coastal location, the high desert is still cold, and, also, preparing for a ride and suiting up to ride has become very exhausting in my old age. The 17 pounds of gear (I weighed it all) feels more like 200 pounds, and, checking the tire pressure can take half an hour as the little short valve stem are almost inaccessible. By the time I am ready to roll, I need a nap. And, cold that numbs the hands and legs and feet is no fun at all.

So, a nice vicarious account is nice to read. But, perhaps better weather is heading my way, so, I am keeping my eye out for the three days of Spring between too cold and too hot, here in the high desert.

SonicVenum
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Re: Wind in the Velos

Post by SonicVenum »

Definitely a fun account to read, but I'd rather not experience it! Reminds me of when I rode my old 93 ZX-11 up the 14 to Palmdale on a windy afternoon. I didn't enjoy having to lean that far just to keep going straight. :o

Maybe one of these days I'll have time to get the GPz finished, and maybe ride it a few times before I sell it. Time is scarce these days. Babies, new businesses, and life can get quite busy sometimes. :violin:

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Thruxton71
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Re: Wind in the Velos

Post by Thruxton71 »

Babies will do that to you. Recommendation? Get someone to finish the work, and focus on riding it..

SonicVenum
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Re: Wind in the Velos

Post by SonicVenum »

That is good advice that I should have taken several years ago. I am pretty local to Chaparral, though, I would imagine their service department is pricey. I tried another local shop, but it turned out to be a motorcycle gang shop that had no interest in working on my Japanese relic. Some sunk cost fallacy for you: the bike is pretty much done. Where I left off, it was running, and I rode it around the neighborhood, but it had a tough time starting cold. I bought a kit that you screw into the spark plug socket so you can see the color of the combustion in the chamber, and tune it from there. Got the kit, but got busy before I tuned it. Now we'll see if it's not gummed up again. But, that should really be all it has left. Carbs have been rebuilt with new parts (where needed), cleaned several times, new ignition system, gaskets, kevlar brake lines, rebuilt brake master cylinders, new pads, etc. Only thing I haven't done that I've thought about doing is add progressive rate springs to the forks, and replace the shock/spring combos in the rear, but those aren't necessities to get out on the road. Eventually...

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