The Rally With No Name 2012

25 Oct

This year’s The Rally With No Name has come and gone, and I’m pleased to say it was bigger and better than ever!

Over 200 people attended, making it “the biggest and baddest scooter rally in Texas.”  The rides on Saturday were cancelled due to heavy rain, but I didn’t hear one complaint from anyone.  That’s the scooter crowd for you!   Sorry to say I didn’t pull my camera out Friday or Saturday because of the weather.

With clearing skies on Sunday, we were able to make up for lost time.  As we rode from Mellizoz Tacos (best tacos in Austin!) through Zilker Park, the sight of over 80 scooters created a spectacle that stopped action on the soccer fields.  From there we went through downtown and over to AF1 Racing for the ghymkana and prizes.                

Here is a short video I put together showing a few highlights from Sunday.    

I can assure everyone that less than an hour after the rally ended, the organizers were already brainstorming about ideas for next year’s rally.  Be there!

Peace on the Road!

Wednesday Night Scooter Ride

24 Aug

So here I am back in Des Moines, Iowa.  (Yes, I took the cage!)  Fortunately, before leaving Austin, I was able to squeeze in a Wednesday night ride with the Austin Scooter Club

We met at one of my favorite eating joints,  Top Notch Hamburgers drive-in restaurant — a nostalgic venue for the baby boomers.  

About 16 scooters crowded into a few parking spots under the drive-in canopy.

By the time everyone had their fill of hamburgers and tots, the sun was setting, temperature was dropping, and it was time to roll out for an in-town ride.

It was dark when we arrived at Kick Butt Coffee, just in time for the comedy open mic.  Without, ahem, commenting on the comedians, before long we ended up outside for some more socializing.

Here are a few sights and sounds from the ride.  


As always, I had a great time with my scooter friends.  We need to do these midweek rides more often!

Peace on the Road!

A Ride Story at Last!

29 Jul

(To explain my lack of ride stories lately, this summer I’ve taken three 10-day cage (car) trips to Des Moines due to a family medical issue, and that’s left little time for riding.  Fortunately, the patient is doing well, and my last trip will be in August.  By the way, cages are for wimps.  It’s so easy to travel that way!)

Now for the story. . . .

This morning before daybreak, I pulled my trusted and dusty friend, Lizzie, out of the garage. . . at last.  With little wind and a clear sky, it turned out to be the perfect day for a Sunday drive.  

The Texas Hill Country is surprisingly green for late July, and it reminded me of springtime in the early-morning light.  Seemed like I was the first person to go down the road towards Sandy, and I had to slow several times to avoid open-range cattle, white-tailed deer, and even a few jack rabbits. 

It took several minutes to pull the camera out of the saddlebag and take the next two pictures, and not one other vehicle passed.  Nice! 

Just look at that dusty, neglected windshield.  Not acceptable!

Ended up at Willow City Loop, which meanders through a unique little ecosystem with lush vegetation, desert willows, and flowing streams.  I do believe this is the most scenic road in the Texas Hill Country.  Really, you have to see it to believe it.   Saw tons of sun flowers and other wild flowers, several roadrunners (one of my favorite birds), and hundreds of butterflies.

Didn’t take any extra time to get pictures at Willow City.  I wanted to be home by 11:00, before the heat and Austin traffic had a chance to spoil the mood.  In fact, the handlebar thermometer read 90 degrees by 10:00.  (It’s always so hot out on the asphalt!)

Heading home by way of Llano, as always, I loved cruising past Enchanted Rock and seeing the pink granite “mountains” in that area.  Man, it’s been way too long!  That new gas station on the corner of SH 16 and SH 71 sure saved me the headache of driving into town. 

Some rides are fun and all; but, like today, other rides — well, they filter down and settle in your heart.  Maybe it was the saturated morning colors, maybe it was reconnecting with Lizzie, or maybe it was the gentle reminder that my chosen home is here in Texas.  Maybe I simply needed a two-wheeled experience. . . at last.    

Peace on the Road!

Capital City Rockers vs. Mods

31 Mar

My personal experience is that most of the motorcycle community tends to look down on scooters.  

So when I heard that a group of motorcyclists were encouraging all types of scooters to join them for the First Annual Capital City Rockers vs. Mods rally here in Austin, I didn’t know what to expect.   I decided to give it a try and am so glad I did!

All types of motorcycles and scooters were warmly welcomed.  There was something for everyone — classic, modern, cafe racer type motorcycles and both vintage and modern scooters.   I’ve always thought the coolest bike ever is the Triumph Bonneville, so you know I appreciated the look of the cafe bikes and the riders’ laid-back attitudes.  It was a perfect venue for the easy-going scooter crowd.

This next picture is an example of the wide variety of bikes at the rally.

If the seat on this old Yammie looks uncomfortable, that’s because it’s a skateboard!

The Mods were all about style, and Charles totally dressed the part. 

It took a few tries to get the video cameras set up properly on my new Sym scooter, but worked it out by Sunday’s ride.  Here is a short video/slide show of a few highlights from the rally.  As always, cutting the weekend down to a few minutes was difficult.  

This beautiful 1964 Vespa GS160 belongs to Martin, a friend of mine from the Austin Scooter Club.  If that scooter looks authentic, it’s because Martin actually was a Mod from 1959 until 1965, when he married and settled down.  As a Mod, he rode a 1958 Douglas Vespa 150 Clubman. 

Most of you have probably heard about the Rockers and the Mods subcultures and how they supposedly engaged in fights and started riots and created moral panic, blah, blah, during the sixties in England.  Turns out none of that’s true, but was hype manufactured and perpetuated by the news media.  Martin graciously agreed to let me record a short video about the background and real story about what went on — rather, did not go on during that time.

All the Mod hooligans and Rocker louts had a great time meeting each other, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s rally!

Peace on the Road!

This is Why I Ride

19 Mar

Several years ago I began searching for the magical words that capture the essence of what it’s like to ride on two wheels.  There are descriptions that hint at it, descriptions that sort of but not quite get it, and descriptions that come close — but until now no description has nailed it.

Jeffrey Rumminger, a rider but not a professional writer, ended my search with an article published in the April Guest Column of the  American Motorcyclist.  He got it right in “Together in Motion.”

After reading his article, I was so impressed that I immediately sent Colonel Rumminger a request for permission to reprint “Together in Motion” in Biketrash Holiday.  He gave his permission as soon as he received the letter, and the American Motorcycle Association promptly gave its permission.

I gotta tell you, Colonel Rumminger is a nice, humble, and generous guy.  We’ve e-mailed back and forth a few times, and in those brief exchanges I feel like I’ve made a friend.  Doesn’t it seem like the riders who love the two-wheeled experience for the pure joy of the ride, no strings attached, will always respond to a sister or brother rider?  They don’t care how you dress, what type or brand you ride.  Without hesitation, they step forward when asked. 

Come to think of it, for me personally, that’s the foundation of my two-wheeled experience.   Riding brings forth the experience, but it rests upon the certain knowledge that we, as riders, have hundreds of unknown friends who are willing to lend a hand.

Biketrash Holiday is honored to share. . . .

Understanding the Ego of the Motorcyclist
By Jeffrey Rumminger

My motorcycle idles high as it warms up, and my riding gear is coming on.  As the engine speed decreases, I begin to feel anticipation of the ride.  My eyes trace the shapes of metallic art that are part of my machine.  I feel a slight warming near my leg as the engine heat radiates.

I check zippers and snaps — secure.  My helmet is on and cinched.  The gloves come on and I once again appreciate that comforting feeling of those perfectly shaped and worn-in gloves.  My leg swings over the bike, and I feel a tingle of joy that slowly makes its way through my body.

I throttle up and ease out the clutch.  That first moment of motion overtakes me with a soothing rush.  That moment — that same moment every time — is both mysterious and familiar.  It is in that moment that all non-riding things fall away and I recapture the freedom to focus again.  It is in that moment, that very real moment of motion, I am connected.

As most motorcyclists do, I often get the question, “Why do you ride a motorcycle?”  For me, first and foremost, riding is the absence of all non-riding thought and in that absence a connection to motion is formed.  No other motorized machine designed to transport a human being provides that same connection.  Planes can’t.  Trains can’t.  Automobiles can’t.  Boats can’t.

Continue Reading “Together in Motion”. . . .

So did he nail it or what?  The first moment and the connection to motion — That’s it!

Peace on the Road!


*Reprinted with permission from the American Motorcyclist Association, American Motorcyclist, April 2012, Volume 66, Number 4, “Together in Motion” by Jeffrey Rumminger.

EFM Auto Clutch — One Year Later

12 Mar

It’s been a little over a year since the EFM Auto Clutch was installed on my V-Star 1300. 

Since then I’ve tried to objectively share my impressions and what I’ve learned in three previous reviews.  Those three reviews are:

EFM Auto Clutch — First Impressions
EFM Auto Clutch — Almost-But-Not-Quite-Final Impressions
EFM Auto Clutch — Final Review

More people than I ever imagined have shown an interest in the reviews, so I want to continue writing about my experiences with the EFM — good, bad, or neutral — in the hope that others will find it useful.  This article talks about some symptoms that developed with my clutch assembly and the solution to that problem.

Last July I left off by saying in Final Review that the EFM Auto Clutch occasionally made a loud rattle/grating and gronking sound on take-off and that sometimes I couldn’t shift from second to first without pulling in the clutch lever.   Over the next several months, both of those issues became increasingly more frequent.  

Later on, the forward pull described in Almost-But-Not-Quite-Final Impressions suddenly seemed to take on a life of its own, and I experienced a few scary butt-pucker moments while stopping the bike.  In fact, in those butt-pucker moments, the clutch pull was so strong I was afraid I might not be able to reign her in.

With the “runaway” clutch pull, I took the bike to Jennifer at Austin City Powersports.  After inspecting and measuring the clutch plates and clearances, she tried varying the spacing washers within the recommended range of clearance and also varied the amount of spring washers.  Garry, from EFM Auto Clutch, suggested making some more adjustments with the spring washers.  Any and all small adjustments were either too much or not enough, and it was impossible to fine tune the adjustment so it worked properly.  None of that worked to her satisfaction.
Even though the friction plates still measured within Yamaha specs, they were glazed.  Jennifer replaced the old friction plates and then had to start over with correct clearances and spring washer adjustments.  That solved everything.  I consider myself lucky to have a mechanic who stuck with it long enough to find a fix.
So, to make a long story short, last week I picked up my bike, went on a nice, long ride, and can confidently say that riding with the EFM Auto Clutch is back to normal.  In the future, if any of these annoying symptoms show up again, I won’t put up with them for long!
Central Texas has had some rain, bluebonnets are blooming, and it’s time to get out and ride!
Peace on the Road!

In Memory of Sgt. “Twostep” Huckstep

3 Feb

After a three-month break from Biketrash Holiday, imagine my surprise yesterday when I happened to check blog stats as 140 hits arrived within a few hours. 

Google searches came in from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Australia; and they all led to Let’s Roll. . . ., Biketrash Holiday’s first post on July 4th, 2010.

From my own search, I learned that 23-year-old Sgt. Adam Cody Huckstep, the subject of that first blog post, was killed in Georgia while riding his motorcycle.  After completing his tour of duty in Iraq, he was stationed at Fort Stewart and was getting ready to be sent to Afghanistan.  Friends Remember Fort Stewart Soldier gives us the details of what happened.

The thing I remember best about Sgt. Huckstep’s 4th of July homecoming is that hundreds of people of all ages, opinions and walks of life came together that day to honor this soldier, and it was important.  You could see it in their faces.   It was so. . . well, American. 

As this year’s election heats up with mean-spirited political and social attacks from both “sides,” let’s not forget what matters in this country.  It’s really quite simple.  We’re all on the same team.  Kids in pre-school know that.

Sgt. Huckstep devoted his short life to our country — AND he was a guy who loved riding his motorcycle.  Something tells me he would’ve stopped to help if I were stranded on the side of the road.  THAT, my friends, is an example of what’s important.

Rock of the Marne!

Peace on the Road!

Lake Superior Circle Tour Video

28 Oct

Here are some highlights from my recent motorcycle ride around Lake Superior. Believe me, it was difficult to reduce the 1500-mile ride down to under four minutes!  My hope is that you’ll catch a glimpse of what it’s like to share the comradery and experience of motorcycle riding!

Find my Circle Tour Travel Journal in the right sidebar under Lake Superior Part Two.

Peace on the Road!

il Buono, il Brutto, il Rally (The Good, the Bad and the Rally)

6 Oct

The saga continues. . . .

In September the Riff Raff S.C. and Austin Scooter Club presented their third annual scooter rally, The Good, the Bad and the Rally, which many of us think is the “best rally in Texas.”  Not that I’m prejudiced, but from what I could see, it was a major success!

The Clint Eastwood series of spaghetti-western movies have been the inspiration for past rally themes, with A Fistful of Scooters in 2009 and For a Few Scooters More in 2010.  This year’s rally completes the trilogy.

Basically, the format was similar to last year, but this year’s schedule of events was bigger and better, including blocked-off scooter parking on Downtown Sixth Street; out-of-town barbecue run;  live music, a movie, and sharing space with vintage cars at famous Top Notch Hamburgers; a run to Pinballz Arcade; gymkhana; prizes and giveaways.  There were 148 participants, with two guys from England and a couple from Minnesota that used the rally “as an excuse to see Austin.”

If you’ve been reading Biketrash Holiday for very long, you know how much fun Desha and I have running around on our “little” scooters (both Vino 125’s), so this year we felt like it was time for us to join the rally organizing committee.   Because of that involvement, we spent a lot of time helping with registration, directing parking, being hosts, etc., so there wasn’t much of a chance to take pictures or play with the GoPro camera during the rally.  I’m afraid my video doesn’t even begin to cover everything.

In honor of the good, bad and rally motif, I decorated Jane (my scooter) with good and bad Barbies.    Don’t know what Sergio Leone would have thought about that interpretation, but it was distinct and unique!

Here is Good Barbie.

And Bad Barbie.  Tsk, tsk. . . .

On Saturday one of my jobs was to help with traffic control during the ride to Lockhart, where I blocked traffic at the turns.  Then when everyone passed through the turn, I’d race wide-open throttle to the front again and block traffic at the next turn.  Kinda fun being a law-breaker!

So I’m flying along, feeling good and thinking to myself about how nimble and sweet the Vino rides.  In fact, before leaving Austin I was bragging to someone about Vino performance and reliability, blah, blah.  Suddenly there is a pop, no power, a few backfires, and I limp to the side of the road.  Aargh!

You know, it seems like every time I get a little uppity or overconfident about something, circumstances knock me back into my rightful place!   Jane and I humbly rode into Lockhart on the sweeper truck.  And, let me tell you, there is no disguising a scooter with waving Barbies.  Everyone knew Jane had broken down and I had to answer many concerned questions.  Doh!

Turns out when we got back to Austin, the guys at AF1 Racing discovered the spark plug cap had come off.  Took them about 60 seconds to figure it out.  Guess I won’t be so quick to brag the next time!  Lesson learned. . . for now.

As always, on Sunday the gymkhana, generous door prizes and vintage raffle bike (pictured below) were a big hit.

Here is my latest video showing a few of the sights and sounds from Sunday.

Everyone I talked to is already looking forward to next year’s rally.  I have it on good authority that — Well, you’re just going to have to wait and see!

Peace on the Road!

Lake Superior Part Two (Circle Tour)

10 Sep

FINALLY!  I just posted Part Two of my Lake Superior adventure.  Read the travel journal from my 1,443-mile counter-clockwise circle around Lake Superior by clicking on Lake Superior Part Two or look for it in the right sidebar under Adventures.

Check back in a few weeks to watch a video of the Circle Tour highlights.  Lots of pictures and video clips!

But that’s not the end of the Lake Superior adventure.  I took the long way home, traveling another 2,936 miles through North Dakota, back up into Canada, and then home to Austin on Highway 83, one of the longest intact highways in the United States.  Part Three will be ready sometime ?????????.

Peace on the road!


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