Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Brigitta gets a ride in the Trailer

Yep, once again, Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 Airhead had to be taken home by trailer.  Last time, the transmission input spline had worn away to the point it no longer engaged.  Today, it was a flat rear tire.

I was motoring home eastbound on 17th street heading away from Downtown Denver, as I neared Peoria Street, I hear a loud noise and it felt like my rear tire had clipped some object on the road.  I distinctly remember seeing a dark object flying across the street in my left side mirror.

Nothing felt wrong at the time so I didn't stop.  I continued for perhaps two miles, the rear of the motorcycle feeling a bit "squishy"....I stopped after turning right onto Smith Road from Peoria and checked the tire.  It felt soft to the touch so I knew it was low on air.

I rotated the tire at least twice looking for punctures and finding none.  I was perplexed since my air gauge reported zero pressure in the tire!  I broke out my electric air pump and aired up the tire, it never got above 20 PSI even though I let the pump run for at least ten minutes!  Weird.

I decided to head back towards a gas station I'd seen on the way to Smith Road, thinking perhaps my air pump wasn't up to the task of inflating the rear tire to 32 PSI.  And yes, the mystery of where the air had gone and my not seeing any punctures nagged at me.

I rode slowly, the rear end feeling quite squishy, for perhaps a half mile and then I spied an air fill up station at a 7-11 convenience store so I stopped there.  After $1 and five minutes of pumping air into the tire, it still wouldn't rise above 20 PSI.....hmmmm.  I rotated the tire some more and this time I managed to hear air escaping and found this:

One heck of a cut isn't it?  No way I could repair that with my
tire puncture kit!

Apparently the tire has some strong sidewalls, this is without any air!

First move was to call roadside assistance, after navigating through the automated voice prompts, finally got a live person and they promised to send a tow truck my way.  I called Martha to let her know what was going on.  

I got a text message soon afterwards advising it would be about and hour and 45 minutes before the tow truck would arrive!  The neighborhood I was in proved a bit "sketchy" for me so after talking it over with Martha, it was decided they'd hook up the trailer and come get me.

I am happy to report that Miles was able to move the trailer out of the backyard and hook it up with some assistance from Sean, our next door neighbor to make sure all hookups were correct!

A bit over 30 minutes later, my rescuers arrived in the form of Martha and my youngest son Miles, driving Schnitzel the BMW X5 and pulling the Aluma trailer.  Yay.

The following shots were I suspect gleefully taken by Martha as Miles and I rolled Brigitta onto the trailer and I tied her down with straps.

 Miles and I felt all 532 pounds of Brigitta, not counting the stuff in the cases, as
we rolled her up the ramp and onto the trailer bed.

 Here I'm position Brigitta onto her center stand in preparation for the straps.
A later discussion with Oscar over the phone reveals that perhaps the best way is to not use
the center stand but to tie her down on her two wheels, using of course
four straps to the four corners of the trailer.

I am going to have to research proper tie down of two-wheeled motorcycles to be sure.  Still, she was tied fast while on the center stand and her front wheel was in contact with the trailer bed.  I also made sure to secure the center stand to the front wheel so Brigitta wouldn't come off her center stand while being moved!

Upon a safe arrival home, the boys held Brigitta steady while I removed all the straps.

 We carefully rolled her backwards down the ramp, me using the front 
brakes to keep her from gaining any speed or getting away from us.

Safely on the ground, we pushed poor Brigitta into the garage,
there to await Friday when I can remove her rear wheel and tire
and take it to performancecycle to get a new tire.

I am kind of bummed that this happened on what was basically a brand new tire with less than 2000 miles on it!  But, the fact that it held up enough to allow me to slowly ride it to the 7-11 is truly a fortunate thing.  I am glad I stopped to check instead of ignoring the squishiness and attributing it wrongly to bad pavement conditions!

So, a successful test of the Chang Rescue Team in coming to pick me up!  I had intended a rehearsal to work out procedures but I think we'll call this one good.


Martha said...

Sketchy? Yeah that would be an understatement. I commented right away that he was parked near one of the state's most notorious criminal's apartment Yep, right in front of the movie theater shooter's residence.

Every time the trailer gets used, I do smile....because it adds to the tally count that this was a useful purchase vs. something we have that never gets used.

bob skoot said...


Never use your centre stand (no side stand either). The procedure is to chock your front tire to the rail and use both straps on your handlebars and cinch down so your shocks are compressed to about half way. If you bike bounces, it will cause the straps to loosen. Same with the centre stand, the bumps will cause your bike to move out of position and move around the deck. Cinch the rear so it doesn't move horizontally and try to compress the rear shocks a bit. the front is more important.

recommended towing practice is to stop every 20 minutes to check the strap tension

so glad you got rescued, but not so good that you needed to buy another new tire

Riding the Wet Coast

Richard M said...

"... gleefully taken by Martha..."

Why the glee? And I've heard that the side and center stands shouldn't be used when trailering but to have the bike riding on it's own suspension.

Charlie6 said...

Martha, ok so perhaps that location wasn't the best place to stop....the previous one wasn't much better but it was farther from the theater shooter's apartment building I guess.

Bobskoot and RichardM, noted, your comments and Oscars will ensure I don't use the centerstand next time....which I hope is a long time in the future. FWIW, the straps held Brigitta securely the whole way home, and I did stop to check once.

Buying a new tire is going to suck, but not having to buy other motorcycle parts because the damaged tire allowed me to come to a safe stop (several times), is a good thing.

bski28 said...

Sorry Dom, I ran over something last year on a tire with less than 100 miles on it. What a great Fathers Day gift as your boys and Martha came to the rescue. Trailer was a great investment

Vietnam vet from NYC said...

Wouldn't your NRA sticker protect you in that 'sketchy' nabe?????

Charlie6 said...

bski28....thanks for the comments.

vietnamvet in nyc...wasn't carrying the Glock that day, so no.

Lucky said...

I'm glad that help was close by and that your Beemer made it home safe and sound.

Waiting around for a tow-truck is a huge drag, especially if you're stranded in a less-than-favorable location.

SonjaM said...

What a bummer!

You don't have a family, you own a pit crew ;-)
(well actually both)

Trobairitz said...

Rescue rehearsal complete.

I am surprised you didn't call Martha hollering "this is not a drill"

Richard M said...

"Miles and I felt all 532 pounds of Brigitta, not counting the stuff in the cases, as
we rolled her up the ramp"

Why not drive it up the ramp?

Charlie6 said...

Lucky, yeah, am glad my family is into the rescue thing....

SonjaM....Chang Pit Crew, I like the sound of that....

RichardM, as to why not ride it up the ramp....1. I didn't think of it and 2. might have been chancy with a squiggly rear tire?

Richard M said...

You would just walk next to the bike while feathering the clutch using the engine to move the bike up the ramp.

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, you say this to a guy who's not 100% comfortable just walking the bike while remaining alongside to move it about the garage....

Charlie6 said...

Trobairitz, somehow missed your comment initially. Sorry about that.