Posts Tagged ‘Frankfort’

Frankfort to Elk Rapids

Monday, 10th August 2009; 5:36 pm - Location: , ,

The guy at Bayside (I really should have learned his name) didn’t have a brake lever in stock, so he took one from one of their stock Buddies, without me having to ask, let alone beg pleasepleaseplease. He charged me $25 for it including installation, which was fine with me. He also gave me directions for how to get back to TC without so many hills… just one doozy that I was seriously afraid to ride down… but I did. It was basically an inverted roller coaster, and I reached the top of the other side at a modest 20mph.

I stopped at a Wendy’s south of TC by several miles since it was 2:30 and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Really should have eaten in Frankfort instead. For one thing it would’ve delayed my arrival in TC, where they’d been enduring some freak downpours. Including one shortly after I arrived. One minute I’m in the sun, the next there’s this big dark gray thing overhead and I’m getting wet. It didn’t last long, but was a good practice at emergency rain protection. I passed, and as the rain let up, I congratulated myself at my readiness “for the previous war” (referring to the classic military strategy blunder) because I just might be done with the rain for a while.

I stopped briefly at the bay in downtown TC, but didn’t stay long. I’ve been there before, and I have miles to go before I sleep. The route from there to Charlevoix is US-31, which is not that great a ride (even without the hills). Too much traffic and not enough passing lanes. At least the road is fairly straight so there aren’t miles and miles of Gandalf Zones (“you shall not pass!”).

I’m in Elk Rapids now, another quaint harbor/beachtown, with both Grand Traverse Bay and Elk Lake to play in and the usual downtown mainstreet district.

Genuinely lucky

Monday, 10th August 2009; 1:19 pm - Location: ,

The weather cleared up OK as I rode toward Traverse City. I stopped to take off my rain gear and made a big mistake. I trusted the scooter’s little kickstand (instead of it’s main center stand) on an uneven surface, and it failed to hold him up. I saw him start to go, and reached for him, but was too late. Crash. Fortunately, the only damage was to the left brake lever, which snapped right off.

I still had one working brake so the scooter was ridable, but not very safe. I tried calling the Genuine dealer in Charlevoix, my next stop, but the number was disconnected. The web site is down too. I tried a Vespa/Piaggio/RV dealer I found listed just south of TC on M-37, but he didn’t have anything that fit. So after calling to make sure someone was there and could help, I scooted back to Frankfort, which I had zipped though through yesterday. Bayside Cycles is the last Genuine dealer on the trip until Green Bay, so in that sense I’m pretty lucky that it didn’t happen any later in the trip than this.

It wasn’t a huge detour, since I’d already doublebacked from Leelanau State Park to near Traverse City when it happened. I took US-31 most of the way, which was a pain because of the traffic stacked up behind me… and oncoming, so they can’t pass. It got worse closer to Frankfort, where it got hilly. Going uphill I slowed to 20mph and going downhill I was cautiously riding the single brake I had, for fear of going too fast and needing both of them. And shortly before reaching Frankfort it turned cold and foggy. I turned on my hazards and road the shoulder. For the ride back to Traverse, I think I’m going to take more of the same route I took yesterday (closer to the lakeshore), which wasn’t so bad.

As for the rest of the day’s plans, riding out and back on Old Mission Peninsula is out, but I can still make it to Charlevoix, assuming all goes well.

Stations of the cross-country ride

Friday, 26th June 2009; 10:26 pm - Location: , , , ,

The best-laid plans for a cross-country ride can be thwarted by technical problems. I’ll never forget watching the rear wheel of my friend Adam’s bicycle self-destruct, one spoke after another, as we rode through Northumberland. Or the feeling of Cam’s beatermobile sputtering off the interstate at a small town in northern Michigan just as the only garage there was closing up for the weekend.

I figure I can fix pretty much any of the ailments likely to befall a bicycle. But I’ve never been interested in automotive mechanics, so even though I understand the principle of internal combustion, I’ve remained ignorant of the workings the vehicles that use it. So if I have scooter trouble, and it isn’t something that can be diagnosed from theory alone and then fixed improvisationally, I’m screwed.

Or maybe not.

As it happens, there are three scooter shops along my route who are Genuine dealers. If something goes wrong that’s covered by warranty, they’d not only be able to fix it, they’d fix it for free. They are Bayside Cycles of Frankfort (about the middle of the ride for Day Two of my trip), Practical Power Sports of Charlevoix (at the end of Day Three), and Riverside Rides of suburban Green Bay (near the end of Day Eight). (There’s also Vespa Holland, where I bought the scoot, but even though they’re near the lakeshore, they’re not quite on my way… and if I had serious problems that early in the ride, I’d consider aborting.)

There are no Genuine dealers in the UP. Not that this is surprising, since the population is so much smaller, and the scooting season is so much shorter. But even so, there are cities here and there and villages in between. If I have a break-down somewhere, there’s bound to be someone driving by before too long. And AT&T claims coverage in… well… most of the areas I’ll be driving through.

But seriously: People live there. If I can’t find someone in any of these parts who can get a simple engine like my Buddy’s working again, that’ll be very surprising. Plus, Genuine offers roadside assistance as part of their warranty package. I don’t know how well it works that far from a dealer, and I hope not to find out, but it’s part of my safety net.