Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Redwing19 IBA time planning - Arrive & Depart

A little more work with Google spreadsheets:
It'll be easier to determine if I'm on or off schedule with waypoint arrival and depature times explicitly written down, especially in the early morning hours. I added another sheet to the previous planning spreadsheet using the Google Maps' estimate of transit time from one waypoint to the next and a 6am departure. I also added the 20-min "break time" I intend to take at each waypoint to refresh. Google Maps tells me I'll get back to the starting point around 2am the next day.

Hmmmm...just 4 hours of buffer...doesn't sound like much does it?


Here's what the additional sheet looks like. I'll print it and tape it to my fuel tank for easy reference.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Redwing19 IBA - Status update from their website

Redwing19's latest status update indicates they have the necessary number of riders to win the IBA record for the largest 1000 miles in 24 hours Saddle Sore ride in VA.

I'm keenly interested in the number of riders who will finish compared with the number who start. I hope those that don't finish do so because they opted not to. The alternative is an unpleasant thought.

Have happy thoughts...
...and ride safe.

Valkyrie On The Run-Today's Commute

The tuneup & desmog has my Valk running as good as ever. I wish I could say it fixed the backfiring, and it did except cylinder #2. As I mentioned, cyl #2 isn't right. At my next opportunity, probably not sooner than 2 weeks, I'm going to do a valve adjustment. I'll keep you posted.

Posted with LifeCast

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Redwing19 IBA - Bike Prep

In preparation for the 1000 miles in 24 hours IBA run, I purchased a set of spark plugs and air filter figuring to do a quick tuneup. But after getting the fuel tank off--required for air filter access--I decided to also remove the smog equipment.

The smog equipment on a Valkyrie consists of a vacuum actuator controlling a pair of reed valves that feeds air into the exhaust through tubing. A misguided attempt to reduce pollution through dilution, it also causes backfiring on closed throttle because the reed valves wear and leak.

Following instructions I downloaded from the Valkyrie Riders Cruiser Club web site, I began the job of disconnecting, removing, cutting, and filling. Though it took longer than expected (of course it did), I'm happy with the result.

I still have a bit of backfire on the left side from cylinder #2. I think I might have a worn intake &/or exhaust valve--though if I'm lucky a valve clearance adjustment might fix it. If it gets too bad during the 1000 mile run, I'll pull the spark plug wire on cylinder #2 and run it as a 5-cylinder!

Now, on to planning what I'll take along for the ride. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Interlude -- Visitors to Road2Ride


The number of visitors have doubled in the last month compared to the previous month. For the days between Feb 24th and Mar 25th, this blog had 123 visits of which 70% were new readers. Folks from 17 countries including the Netherlands, Portugal, Jordan, Nicaragua, India, and South Africa were among them.

The top 3 search terms bringing folks to this blog were:
  • road2ride
  • "cross country motorcycle rides"
  • all virginia iron butt 2009
Another interesting statistic for me is that twitter.com was the second most popular site to refer folks to this blog (images.google.com was first). The popularity of Twitter is clear, though I don't think I can explain why.

Sincere thanks to everyone stopping by. Feel free to leave comments or send me an email.

I'll get back to IBA planning soon.

Ride safe...john

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Redwing19 IBA route planning -- GPS track & way points

Way points:
Using the lat,lon coordinates stored in the Google spreadsheet, I created a Google "my map" for each way point by entering its coordinates into the search field.

View Larger Map

After all of the way points were entered, I clicked the "View in Google Earth" link and saved the resulting KML file on my computer. Then, I went to GPS Visualizer to create a GPX file--the format my Garmin Zumo 450 GPS unit understands. I uploaded the KML file to GPS Visualizer and clicked the "Convert" button. I downloaded the resulting GPX file with my way points and transferred it to my Zumo.

For a 1000-mile-in-24-hours endurance ride, I imagine minimizing the need to use my brain to make turn decisions will be desirable, especially in the early morning hours. So, in addition to the way points, I want to have the IBA route also entered into my GPS unit. Most GPS units, certainly all Garmin units I have and seen, will automatically calculate a route between way points. GPS units determine the "best route" based on minimizing distance or time, which is generally what most folks want when going from point A to point B. However, when trying to follow a predetermined route, it can be difficult and time consuming with most GPS units to include necessary intermediate "via-points" to stay on the predetermined track.

So, in addition to the way points, I want to have the IBA route shown on my Zumo. Again, Google to the rescue. Using the same procedure for determining the 120 mile distances between way points, I created a map that begins and ends at the starting point with intermediate points (the white circles) placed along the IBA route. This essentially duplicates the map on the Redwing19 web site.

View Larger Map
Now, using the nifty GMAPtoGPX "bookmarklet" (you can get it here), I created another GPX file that has the track shown on the Google map. I transferred this to my GPS unit allowing me to display both way points and the IBA route.

I can do this.


In previous blog posts, I outlined the procedure for creating way points and tracks in a bit more detail. Click here, here, and here if you'd like to read them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Redwing19 IBA route planning -- Google to the rescue

I need to identify stop points along the 1000 mile IBA route Redwing19 has laid out. I know that my Valkyrie with a topped off tank and at semi-legal speeds will go about 120 or so miles before I hit reserve. So, I want to find specific stop points, aka way points, in the vicinity of interstate ramps or road intersections to increase the likelihood of being near a gas station.

Google maps and Google docs.

Fire up any browser. I use Firefox because it allows multi-tabbed viewing of different web sites simultaneously. In one of the tabs, I went to Google maps and entered the starting point address.

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Then, I right clicked anywhere on the map and chose 'Directions to here'.

View Larger Map

Google maps does just what you'd expect: It enters the address as the start point and the destination is where you clicked. Driving directions are shown to the left of the map (on the Google map page, not on the inset above). Pay attention to the distance traveled.

Zooming out a bit to show more of the map, I dragged the "B" marker along the designated route. When the Google route, shown as a blue overlaid line or track, didn't follow the designated route, I clicked anywhere on the blue track and dragged it back to the designated route. This puts a "via-point" along the Google track ensuring the directions and distance correspond to the designated route.

View Larger Map

Dragging the "B" marker down I-95 and around I-295 to I-64E, I found exit 205 to be about 130 miles from the start point. Perfect.

View Larger Map

Using the Google maps gadget Position Finder, I found the latitude and longitude of this first way point. Here's what I got: 37.51613o,-77.18977o. I'll use this information in my GPS unit later.

I need somewhere to store all of this information. I opened another Firefox tab and went to Google Docs. I created a new spreadsheet and stored the data in columns. In addition to the lat, lon, I recorded Google's distance and time estimates. Check it out:

To find the next way point, I switched the start and destination points and repeated the steps. The spreadsheet above shows all of the way points I'll be using for my route. You can see that summing all of the distances gives 1039 miles which is very close to the Redwing19's estimate of 1036. Google thinks I can do this distance in a bit over 17 hours. When I add my 20-min break times, I get almost 20.5 hours. If I left at 6am, I'll get back around 2:30am. Close to my previous rough estimate.

My next post will focus on getting this information into a format my Garmin 450 Zumo GPS can read.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Redwing19 IBA route planning -- rough estimate of time & speed

1000 miles in 24 hours....that's 42 mph. That doesn't sound too bad.

Let's estimate an average of 50 mph since most of the route is interstate roads. While on I-95 and I-81, I can probably do better than 50 mph, maybe much better. However, I've learned from experience--130K miles worth--that riding at high speed on my Valkyrie doesn't necessarily mean I can cover long distances faster because I end up having to stop more times to refuel. Keeping speeds at reasonable levels, I can expect to travel 120- to 130-miles before I need to switch to 'Reserve' on my fuel tank. So, I'll stop every 120 or so miles for gas. I'll allot 20-min at each stop to refresh. The math:

1000 mi at 50 mph equates to 20 hrs.
Stops every 120 miles means I'll stop 8 times during the 1000 mile route.
Taking a 20-min break at each stop adds 160 min to the trip for a total of 22 hrs 40 min.
Start time is no later than 6 am, meaning I'll be back at 4:40 am the next day.

I can do this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Can I ride 1000-miles in 24 hours?

For sake of argument, let's say I'm going to do the Redwing 19's Iron Butt Association's Saddle Sore 1000--1000 miles of riding in 24 hours or less. First, it'd be good to know the route.

From their web site:

Start / finish is in Chantilly VA. The route heads south to Richmond, east to the shore, west and then north back to Richmond, west to the mountains, south to the tip of VA, and return to Chantilly. The estimate is 1036 miles. Nearly all of it is interstate roads--not exactly the most desirable for motorcycle riding but certainly the best for making time.

So, it all distills down to 1 question:
Can I ride 1000 miles in 24 hours?

I've ridden several 500-mile trips and came to the conclusion that 500 more would be nigh impossible.

Hmmmm...still thinking...it's certainly for a good cause!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Snow melting--warm weather promised

Despite sub-freezing temps, the sun beating down on dark macadam is generating sufficient heat to melt the snow away. Yea!

Weekend temps promised to be in mid-60s or higher. Yea!

I'm optimistic bike reading season is just around the bend. Yea!

Gotta pull maintenance on the Multistrada and Valkyrie. Boo!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Big snow = no mo...


At least I hope it doesn't. Today's unofficial snow fall amount, measured on the top of my car, is 6" thereabouts. Motorcycles and snow don't mix well. Drive your car or stay home. Trust me.

I've seen intrepid motorcyclists ride in the snow--I've done it myself. But it's not to be condoned; especially so for new riders but for experienced riders too. Unlike rain, good tires and good riding technique (see tip 9 in my 9 tips post) cannot compensate for the loss of traction in snow. A motorcycle, unlike a car, is inherently unstable. It can go down in the snow even when not leaned over. Coupling this with generally poor visibility--including when it warms enough for road spray to be a factor--suggests motorcycle riders should exercise their car driving skills when the ground is white.

If you really can't stand not riding when there's snow & ice on the roads, then make sure your life insurance is paid up and be prepared for some puckering experiences.

Be careful = be smart.