March Break 2007

I intended to accomplish a lot of trip preparation over March break.  The plan was for Tom to come over from the UK and join me for 10 days modifying our new KLR650s.  We thought we’d be able to finish in a few days with time to take the bikes on a trial run.  Before we could start the mods, we needed to drive down to New York City to pick up all the motorcycle parts and gear that we’d had shipped to Joel’s apartment.  Adam came along for the ride so we had a reunion of the SJC golf team.  Joel has already written about this trip here.

I was shocked at how much stuff we had ordered.  Our gear filled up most of Joel’s apartment.  I wondered how we were going to fit it all in the car.  In the end we got everything in and even managed to successfully pull off Mission Escape the Empire.

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Our gear filled Joel’s apartment.

The day after we got back from NYC, Tom picked up “The Odyssey” from Kahuna Cycles (where I had already purchased both bikes).  Luckily it was a warm day for March in Toronto, and Tom was able to ride the ~40 km back to my place without freezing off any of this body parts.

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Tom’s first few metres on his new 2007 KLR650 (aka The Odyssey).

Tom left today, and we fell way short of our goal of fully kitting out the bikes.  In hindsight we were hopelessly optimistic.  It was shocking how little we actually accomplished.  This isn’t to say we didn’t work hard; on the contrary we worked long hours (often until 2:00 AM) almost every day.  What we didn’t account for was how time consuming it would be to do the mods.  Even things that seemed simple at the outset often quickly evolved into major operations.  On one occaision it took us over 2 hours to put in 8 bolts.  On another we spent an entire day toiling with the bikes only to realize that all we’d accomplished was to put on a bash plate, a shift lever, foot pegs, and a centre stand.

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I hope that wasn’t important…

The underground parking lot (aka “the bunker”) of my building was damn cold.  We would work for awhile and then warm up in the lobby.  At one point we decided it would be much easier to wheel the bike into the well-heated lobby itself while we worked on.  If you turn the handlebars, the bike can fit through the door.  We were almost finished installing a new head lamp swith and turn signal switch when Adam, coming to pay us a visit, managed to draw the conceirge’s attention to our luxurious new working environment.  He had gone down the visitor elevator (which only goes to P1) and then proceeded to walk down through the parkade all the way to P3 where we we working.  This was highly suspicious behaviour to the folks monitoring the video surveillance, and the conceirge came running down to confront Adam.  Later we would find out that is was standard operating procedure to call the police first and ask questions later for such a breach. 

Just as Adam found us in the lobby working on the bike, the conceirge burst into the lobby only to find a motorbike inside the building surrounded by parts and tools.  This was not cool.  The bike would have to go back outside.  And we would have to back to working in the refrigerated bunker and freezing our arses off.  Thanks Adam. 

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Working in “the bunker”.

We realized just how slow we were when we had Junior from T.O. Cycle (who was my teacher for a basic motorcycle maintenance course) help us with some of the mods.  I had one lesson left out of 4, and Junior graciously agreed to let me take my KLR into the shop and show Tom and I how to do replace the front rotar and brake pads as wells as the rear suspension.  Junior made it look easy.  We got more done in a couple of hours than Tom and I could have accomplised in days.

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The Odyssey and Rosa outside T.O. Cycle where Junior has been a fantastic help.

With Tom back in the U.K., it will fall to me to finish the mods on both bikes.  It will be tough to find enough time outside of medical school to do this in the two months and 10 days remaining before June 1st, our planned departure date.  This week reinforced a good point: trip preparation takes way longer than you can possibly anticipate.

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