Sheldon's 1998 Ural Sportsman - Week 6
5/30/98 Saturday Day 36... Raining, cold and extremely miserable outside, nice and warm inside. Tomorrow the high is only supposed to be 48 F. (9 C.) with a low of 32 F. (0 C.) I was supposed to give a tour this morning but between the weather and being sick I cancelled for the first time in five years. If the weather clears at all later in the day I will probably have to go for a ride though. Might be a good day to polish the pipes on the Guzzi... 2250 km (1395 miles) on the bike...
Another small problem has reared its ugly head. The headlight is acting really weird. On high, only the high beam is on and the blue indicator light does not light up. On low, the high and low beams are both on. I took the switch off and looked at it. There are three wires, blue, green and red. The red and green wires seem to be soldered together which certainly doesn't seem right. I have left a message for Ural tech support and hope it is a simple fix.
5/31/98 Sunday Day 37... The weather broke just a bit today. It warmed up to around 50 F. and the sun came out. One of those almost perfect days, only a little higher temperature would have made it perfect. Blue skies with small fluffy clouds floating through it. One of those days, that when you were young, you laid on your back imagining shapes in the clouds.
Attacked the headlight problem after getting some encouragement from Ural America Tech Support, Gonad, and Derek Smith. There were two wires in the handlebar switch that had become much too good of friends. They had actually welded themselves together. The plastic from the green and red wires were melted into one. I separated the wires with a knife and wrapped each with electrician's black tape and reassembled the switch. Took all of ten minutes. There is certainly something to be said for simplicity of design. Being a non-mechanic, non-electrician I was surprised that I was able to fix the problem with so little trouble.
I also found another bolt missing today. A few days ago Son #1 discovered a nut missing on one of the studs that hold the transmission to the engine case. He ran to the parts store and replaced it right away. Today I discovered that one of the bolts holding the fuel tank to the frame was loose and the other was missing. Son #1 is picking up a replacement tomorrow and I tightened up the other. I believe I am going to call my broker tomorrow and have him buy up lots of stock in Locktite Corporation. I am sure that if these bikes continue to grow in popularity I will make a killing in that market...
Had Daryl stop by and we went for a ride, to scout out a campground in Duquette Minnesota, as a possible location for the 1999 North American Russian Motorcycle Association Rally. Ended up going a few more miles down the road to Kerrik Minnesota, where, on a -32 F. day in 1993, Walt Disney Films put me to work, outside, on the movie "Iron Will". The weather was quite appropriate for a movie about a sled dog race between Winnipeg Manitoba and St. Paul Minnesota. The two SAG (Screen Actors Guild) actors on the set that day were Mackenzie Aston, son of John Aston and Patty Duke, and myself, son of Thomas and Donna Aubut... Of course Mackenzie was the star, and I was a bit actor with a 5 second speaking part, but who cares, they paid me and I had more fun than can be imagined.
If you should see the movie please don't laugh too hard at how small my part was, as I have made thousands of dollars off that part and still receive royalty checks every three months. I get a cut every time the movie shows on TV, Cable, video rental and video sales. So please rush right out and rent or buy the movie... Please....
If you have seen the movie you may recognize the church in this picture as the one in the flag-waving, hero-worshipping scene in the movie. I appeared just before this scene, shouting at the star from a buckboard...
6/1/98 Monday Day 38... Getting bored with this yet? I keep thinking that I should shut it down but I have been enjoying chronicling the Ural's addition to my family.
Still down with bronchitis I only worked two hours before I came home and hit the couch. Slept most of the day and the furthest I rode the bike was the one mile to the bank to cash a check. Called Marlow at Northern Sports as I was supposed to take the bike back to him this week for the 2500 km checkup. Looks like things are not going to work out for a trip down there because of conflicting schedules and I may be doing the 2500 myself this weekend. It might make for some interesting reading when I am done. With 2431 km on the clock it looks like I am going to be right on time.
6/2/98 Tuesday Day 39... Still whacked out but I managed to work a full day. Didn't ride the bike and probably won't today. It is 42 degrees F. and expected to be in the lower 20s tonight. 50 miles Northwest of here they had 1.5 inches of snow last night. A bit cool for the beginning of June. I figure as long as I have that wonderful truck, driving it might be better for my health. A couple of days without riding may help my recovery more than freezing my A** off... Still only 2431 km on the bike...
Oops... 2461 km... So, I'm sorry... I am a Uralholic... I admit it and I plan on checking myself into the nearest clinic with the proper program. I did bundle up with three layers of clothes, winter coat and winter gloves but if I have a relapse the folks at work are going to want me to burn the bike... Fat chance of that...
6/3/98 Wednesday Day 40 ... Five weeks and five days, 2531 km. I am now past the magical 2500 km. With the permission of the folks at Ural Tech Support I have now removed the carburetor restrictor. They tell me that they are no longer putting the restrictor in new machines because lugging the engine does almost as much damage as over-revving. I opened the bike up tonight for the first time. I didn't take it anywhere near top end but I did take it up past 55 mph. It felt wonderful to get some speed out of it. I only did that for a short distance then settled down to find where I felt most comfortable. At about 52 mph the bike feels stable and I feel comfortable. I know that the bike is capable of higher speeds but that seems to be the most comfortable speed, at least for the time being.
I don't really want to open it up completely until after it gets its 2500 km check up. Marlow is going to be out of town so I am going to do the 2500 km service myself. I will follow procedures completely and I am planning on getting it down to Northern Sports A.S.A.P. to have them check it over. I am expecting to get this done this weekend and I will certainly report about it here. I am sure that it will take me much longer than it took Marlow to even change the oil. Remember, the left side exhaust system has to be removed to change the oil filter.
This morning it was only 25 degrees F. and the same is expected for tomorrow. I had a quarter inch of ice on the birdbath, frost on my garden plants, and had to scrape the windshield on the truck. But, I am planning on taking the bike in to work tomorrow good or bad weather.
6/4/98 Thursday Day 41... Rode the bike to work today for the first time in a week. It felt wonderful but I am not sure that I should have been riding in the cold 30 F. weather. I'm still not fully recovered and I will probably suffer a setback because of riding again but I just had to...
Something someone said on the MotoGuzzi ListServe reminded me of one thing that happened my first day of ownership that I forgot to chronicle. I had my first accident within two hours of unloading the bike. Not much of an accident but it did point out one of the differences between riding a solo bike and driving a hack. I was in a parking lot and swung out to go around a stopped car. I failed to judge the width of the bike correctly and as I swung around the car there was a "whack". I thought I had run over something. I think the woman in the vehicle thought I had run over something. But in fact what had happened was that my mud flap on the hack had clipped her bumper. I am sure there was no damage to either vehicle but on reflection a minute or so later that was the case. Like I said, "not much of an accident" but a few miles down the road I ran up on the curb making a right hand turn. I guess I was just not quite used to having that appendage hanging off the side of a motorcycle.
Confession time: After all the noise I made over the electric starter I almost wish that I wouldn't have gotten it. It is noisy and I can just imagine the strain that it puts on the systems. I have finally learned a system of starting the bike that usually gets me going in a couple of kicks. I stand on the rear peg with my right foot and kick down with the left. Works a lot better than trying to stand on the ground and kick. I first open the fuel petcock, close the choke, kick it twice with the key off, turn the key on and kick it. Usually on kick one or two it will then start. Not bad for a guy, who a month ago, couldn't get the thing to fire after twenty kicks. The fact that the engine is quite low compression sure helps. There have been a couple of times, when parked on a hill, that I have been happy for the electric start, but other than that there is no place that I haven't been able to kick it. Until I discovered the "standing on rear peg" method I was helpless, after that it is simple. Live and learn...
6/5/98 Friday Day 42... Coughed all night long, didn't sleep, and am again miserable. Probably too much cold air in my lungs yesterday did set me back. Today I drove the truck to work, but then it looks like another moderate day anyway. About 38 F. (3 C.) this morning and rain possible today. I am sure though that I will think of a reason to at least take it for a ride this evening. This is the end of week six and I can't believe that I am still keeping up with this diary.
Bike still doesn't have a name. I have never named a vehicle before as it never seemed to make much sense to name an inanimate object. This bike though has a definate personality and my be deserving of a name. So far I am leaning towards "Olga".
You can e-mail Sheldon at email@example.com
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Copyright 1989-2010, Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights
Last modified: March 22, 2011