Preparation for the VOCNA Rally

Preparation for going on this year’s Velocette Owner’s of North America (VOCNA) Rally has been going on for a long time, but a few things come down to the last minute.

Like dealing with my motorcycle, a 500 cc Buell. Yes, I’m riding a modern bike on a vintage club ride. What can I say? It’s easy to start and I can touch the ground. Two essential elements.

Anyway I’ve been complaining for awhile that the bike has trouble breathing, but that didn’t translate into anything mechanical to Jeff. Recently it has developed a new symptom of acting like it is running out of fuel, even when I know the tank is full.
So while we were belted into car seats, I described my typical commute to work. First the bike is difficult to start. It coughs and spits and requires some throttle play. Then, no matter how long I warm it up, the bike lurches once or twice, until I get to Tuolumne. This street is straight and flat, but the tires don’t feel like they are round. Then I turn right onto Florida, which has such a rough surface, that I don’t notice the tires. I’m too busy dodging the larger holes. By the time this street climbs up a hill, the bike acts like it is running out of gas. While this is worrisome, negotiating traffic takes most of my concentration, and then I start thinking about work…

This description combined with the shame of having our modern bike not complete the ride, motivated Jeff to put the new tires on now. And he looked the tank off and looked at the working mechanisms. He found the emissions intake cap had basically worn out. It is a little piece of rubber that covers a tube -the emissions intake. He made a new cap… and it was like getting a new bike! Wow! The bike starts easily, and moves smoothly. On my first test ride, I cruised down Lake Herman Road. It felt ethereal, like I was a cloud. It wasn’t until I turned around that I realized I had been going with the wind. The ride wasn’t quite so smooth when fighting the famous Vallejo breeze.

This tiny bit of rubber caused all sorts of problems in the Buell's performance.

This tiny bit of rubber caused all sorts of problems in the Buell's performance.

And there’s been plenty of preparation to the various vintage bikes. Yesterday, Jeff worked all day, “To put the dents in this muffler in order to fit the Clubman exhaust system, to find this screw, and build that spacer, and soldier up the inside of this kickstart lever so it would fit on inside the shaft.”

The shiny new muffler on Jeff's Velocette Venom

The shiny new muffler on Jeff's Velocette Venom

Here's my bike and riding suit loaded up in the trailer.

Here's my bike and riding suit loaded up in the trailer.


Fred's beautiful blue Velocette loaded up and ready to go.

Fred's beautiful blue Velocette loaded up and ready to go.

Today the bikes were loaded in the trailer. Yes, I prefer riding to the Rally, but time was limited this year so I’ve joined forces with Fred who has a trailer large enough for all our bikes

Our ride from our starting point, the SF Bay area.

Our ride from our starting point, the SF Bay area.

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