It is December 5, 2020 and I find myself sitting at home in Worcester, Massachusetts. Two years later after I have embraced my cancer nightmare and love myself with whom I have become, I sit here on a old Mac computer writing stories of my recent life.
A few years ago on a cold wintry day, my precious little Yamaha left Worcester Massachusetts towards the south heading towards Pennsylvania. It was cold. March 2018. The goal was to arrive in Los Angeles coast to coast again but this time with Fred. Who is Fred? You ask. Well, he is my trusted little 2015 Yamaha XT250 motorbike. If you followed some of the preparation in my blog, you will learn to respect this boy.
Glad you found your way into my world. Thank you. Yes, a password on a site? Why? Well, there are too many people in the world that just want to create chaos, cruel and just want attention. If you are reading this, it means you are a very special person selected by me and you captured my heart somehow.... Please view my short video and then click on the "Read More" button below to learn more about "victim -vs- survivor".
My mouth is dry. I must push on. I am fighting this battle. I will conquer this today. Riding my bicycle. My entire body aches. My neck muscles are so tight that even the physical therapist could not release them, the pain is real. I started on Mill Street Worcester Massachusetts. My doctors have approved and recommend that I ride the bicycle and prepare for a world tour, I stop, take a gulp of water, mouth still feels dry.
It is October 23, 2016 at 2:00 am in the morning. I wake up drenched in sweat with the side effects of the pain medication and ice melting on my chest. Seeking relief in the house, oh, the pain is intolerable. Going on my 3rd night sleeping at home away from the hospital, I find some relief. At home, I am able to update my dosage of the pain medication, replace the ice bladder and find comfort on the keyboard of my computer. For the first time, my fingers are able to talk and share with you the pain and agony I've encountered during the past few months.
On July 9, 2017 I found myself participating at MotoVermont's Off-Road, Dual-Sport Adventure Riding School in Jay Peak Vermont. I met this incredible young man named Eric Milano who owns the company and rider-instructor. There he is on the photo above left to me, coaching me, giving me encouragement that I can do the hard drills and learn the techniques to keep me alive during the world tour.
My favorite Google search engine revealed a gem in the east coast of the United States of America called Pine Barrens Adventure Camp Riding School in Nesco, New Jersey. Preparations for the world tour requires that I gain certain skills to handle my bike in remote places with unforgiving terrain.
An invitation to get dirty was extended to Missrider by Rachel, also known known as Fuzzy Galore to participate in her favorite yearly ride. Ecstatic Missrider loaded Young Fred onto the trailer with her son Miguel as her guardian angel. The ride to the campground was only an hour drive from their home.
During the winter months I modified my bike extensively with many little things that will enable me to tour the world. I've shared many blog posts that included videos. During the process, I challenged myself to do some of the electrical work myself as the budget is quite low. I succeeded extremely well on all challenges. However, one very complicated 4 way switch required the use of an electrician due to its complexity. I took Fred (my Yamaha XT250) to my favorite Ducati shop in Derry NH called Seacoast Sport Cycle. Kyle, the best mechanic in the world was quite proud of my work. He fixed the horrible heated hang grips installation performed by the Yamaha shop when I purchased the bike. The mechanics there installed the heated grips using the feed for the front and signals. That work would have caused major problems down the road by putting too much drain on the alternator and battery. Eventually, my signal and front lights would have stopped working. Kyle rerouted the wiring to connect it all to use the wonderful PDM switch I installed as there were a few available slots. Now the bike draws 14 volts when all accessories are running. I feel that the bike is now ready for any challenge it is given.
On May 17, 2017, I witnessed Motoress blue decorated scooters, trikes, choppers, cruisers and sport bikes in downtown Toronto, Canada. The Toronto City Hall was engulfed with the excitement of 60+ women and their motorcycles getting ready to "Just Ride" in the 10th Annual International Female Ride event founded by Vicki Gray. The press eagerly waiting the arrival of Vicki as she rode in on her Kawasaki decorated with a bright blue star to announce the ride to Toronto's 2.8 million residents via the news that evening.
I have been collecting videos of my progress while doing my own electrical work on Young Fred. Young Fred is the bike that is going to take me around the world. He is a 20105 Yamaha XT250. So far I've added Denali LED lights, replaced the front fender with a Yamaha YZ250 , PDM60 to help me connect all wiring without using the little fuse that comes with each component, a 10 volt connector, replaced the handlebars with stronger ones and connected my GPS. The videos below share the wiring cleanup job.
Success, I did it!!! Installed a set of Denali DM Single Intensity LED lights by myself. Purchased the offset mount and that was the hardest to do. They provide every possible bolt available to human kind, except the one that fits on their own bracket. Not sure how that works for them, but I got it done with spare bolts from older motorcycle projects. However, Denali does a fantastic job with the high quality of the wires and large schematic helping with the installation.
My attempt to install emergency blinkers on my Yamaha XT250 turned out to be a tremendous challenge. My mind could not wrap itself around the many cables required for the installation. The local Yamaha service shop suggested using a Custom Dynamics 4-Way Hazard Kit. I started my day early and after studying, watching videos, reading on how to do it, the overwhelming task became obvious that I need help for this installation. I've been seeking someone that will guide me through the electrical procedure so that I can learn how to fix it during my world tour if something were to go wrong. Or, if I had to replace it again or the blinker relay.
I received an email from my dear friend Bob the other day sharing a magazine for Women Adventure Riders called Traction Erag. I was intrigued, read some of the articles posted by the women and decided to send them an email to see if I could post an article. Lo and behold, they responded very interested in my story. I was ecstatic. The editor named Dallas sent me their requirements, super nice guy and wonderful attitude, very inspiring. He asked if I could submit an article answering these questions versus the topic I suggested.
I pondered at the questions. Spent a few days excited about the opportunity to share my story in such a wonderful magazine. Sat down and drew up my little chart as I was taught many moons ago in high school.
My incredible wonderful dear friend Pat from 2RideTheGlobe shared these tips with me. The instructions are for a Yamaha XT250. As of writing this blog post (March 10, 2016) the bike has only 200 miles. Everything should be clean. This procedure will be performed at the end of the summer once I complete the Labrador Highway ride. Until then, I will keep it posted here as a training reminder and/or help anyone else that can benefit from his work.
Young Fred is getting a ton of love. Below are more videos of my progress. Wonderful work while I learn how to upgrade the electrical system and replace the handlebars. This phase of the world tour is extremely important because it will help me in the future if things go wrong with the bike. Currently trying to figure out how to install the emergency blinkers. Stay tuned for that setup........ For now, check out my videos.
This is my first feedback and opinion of a product. I have been asked by hundreds of companies to review their products. I always say "NO". Why you ask? Simply because I prefer to keep my website clean from product adverts and any other material. I only like to share products from the companies that sponsor me along the way.
February 28, 2016 - my nephew helped me with the scooter. After all attempts as noted in my previous blog http://www.missrider.com/blog/broken-scooter
it became obvious that special tools were required for the job. My nephew brought an impact wrench to loosen and tighten the bolts afterwards. Take a look at our video.....
The work continues preparing my Yamaha XT250 for the big ride. This weekend I installed the handlebars. A few videos to keep you posted.
My dear friend Pat who is currently riding around the world on his Yamaha XT250 suggested that I lube the from steering rack. My Triumph Bonneville and Ducati Monster both suffered from this illness. Both bikes needed the entire front end taken apart to lube the joints. When my Ducati had about 15,000 miles, the front end was very sticky and hard to turn. Then, while I was taking a small slow turn near my home, I felt it locking to the left. Once the lubrication was applied, it was like riding a new bike. I really want to perform the work myself but as you will note below, the job is bigger than my skill level, tools and resources. While the bike is taken apart, I might as well replace the handlebars because Pat said the factory ones are very soft and bend easily. Here are a few videos with my progress.
Autumn of 2015, sometime around October. While I was riding to work, I felt a pop under the seat of my scooter. The bike slows down, no acceleration, engine was fine. Immediately I knew that the transmission was busted. Stuck on the side of the road, I called my friend Carleen and her husband who came to my rescue. A few weeks later my sweet friend, Robert Bendix came by and opened the transmission cover, sure enough, exactly what I expected, the belt popped, it was in pieces.
On September 10, 2015, I drove to State College Pennsylvania and purchased my 2015 Yamaha XT250. I named him Fred. The bike was finally home after an exhaustive search for the right price. What is the right price? That I will not share, but needless to say, I saved around $1,500 US dollars by driving to Pennsylvania from Worcester Massachusetts. Saving that amount of money enabled me to include a new set of luggage from Happy Trails Products in Boise Idaho. During my summer ride (2015) from Alaska, I made it a point to stop and meet the owner, staff and view the panniers. The racks and panniers are designed and manufactured in the United States. It is very important to support a family operated business, thus the interest to invest in Happy Trails Products. I think I will be very happy with my investment decision.