Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving in Ct. is often a great time to ride.  The roads are generally clean as the leaves have been blown off and the sanding hasn't started.  With the leaves off the trees, one can see farther, whether that be around corners, distant vistas from the tops of hills, or deep into the woods to check out the great rock ledges.
Brother Doug and sista-in-law Amy and I went on a 60 mile ride on Thanksgiving Day.  Doug rode his '65 Benelli 260, Amy rode her '71 Cl 350 Honda, and I rode Doug's '65 CZ 175.

Doug led us on some great roads west and north through Durham  and Middlefield.  When we got back, Doug drained the gas and oil from the Benelli and Honda and we put them down in the basement.  I left the CZ out as I had a ride planned the next day with Rich Hosley.
Friday was another beautiful day, not quite as cloudless as Thanksgiving Day, but slightly warmer--mid-to-upper 50s as opposed to low-to -mid 50's.  My one complaint about Thursday's route was there was no dirt roads.  I made up for that Friday on my way to meet Rich, discovering the most direct route to our meeting place included some great dirt roads with almost no houses on them.  Rich rode his '49 Norton International 500.  He led us west through Madison, Rockland, Wallingford, Hamden, Cheshire, to Prospect where his friend Peter Thiel lives.  We toured his pile.  Rich and Peter probably knew each other through his Norton Commando, but Peter was working on a CB 360 Honda and owned a 4 cyl. Goldwing, which he and his wife had ridden to Nova Scotia and Cape Bretton and now had leaking fork seals.  Peter has an interesting B-50 BSA with clubman bars and a high front mudguard.  When I called him on that, he said he had a second set of wheels and high bars to convert it into a scrambler.
But, Peter pulled out his tiddler, a '75 CB 200 Honda, to join us on the ride.  Pete led us skirting Waterbury, Naugatuck, through Beacon Falls, Bethany and Seymour to the Blue Check Village restaurant in Woodbridge.

But, the Blue Check was closed, so we backtracked in a round about way to  Guerra's Sandwich shop in Seymour, which we had passed on the way to the Blue Check.  They had an overwhelming selection on hand written signs taped fairly randomly around.  Rich and I went for 'The Bomb'.  I managed to pay and get out before Rich and Pete had a somewhat unpleasant exchange with a rather surely cashier.  Great sandwich, but surly and no restroom.
Pete's CB 200 has CL 175 pipes on it to replace the rotted out originals.  Peter Thiel photo
 Conversation revealed that Pete and I had been born in the same hospital in New Rochelle, N.Y. and we both had a brother named Douglas.
Peter Thiel photo
Pete followed us part way, then peeled off to go back to his house and Rich and I carried on through Bethany.

In Hamden, at Quinnipiac University, Rich and I switched bikes.  Quite a contrast between a little, idiosyncratic two stroke and a big, older four stroke thumper.  I found the International delightful, slogging from low rpms with slightly ponderous handling.  Rich had a lot of problems with the CZ.  The steering head bearings had loosened off creating symptoms similar to a overly tight steering damper causing one to over correct and weave.  The CZ has and automatic clutch release where moving the shift lever (which is also the shift lever and therefore long and with a long throw), disengages the clutch.  So, one doesn't have use the handlebar clutch lever when one shifts.  In fact, it shifts better when you just bang the shift lever and don't touch the clutch lever.  After a while, Rich had had enough and we switched back, incredulous that I had been able to keep up comfortably on such an odd ball bike.  I think that once you get used to it, the CZ is great.  Plus, Douglas has put a modern, electronic ignition and 12 volt charging system on it, so I was able to plug in the electric vest and glove liners.  But then, I think they are almost all great.
Left to right: Peter Thiel, Rich Hosley, and DR.  Pete got a Harley guy who arrived as we were about to leave to take this photo
Rich led me within 10 miles of Haddam, then peeled off.  The bike when on reserve about half way from there, so there was little to drain out before Amy and I lowered it into the basement in the waning light, having ridden about 140 miles that day.  Another day in paradise.


  1. BLTN - Thanks for the engaging narrative & photographs of a "day in paradise." A time to be remembered. h

  2. The structure that you use is a little longer than the average and provides a nice comfy out riding. Thanks for the nice post.

    Four stroke bike

  3. Kyle, I'm not sure what you mean. "Structure" of what; the blog post? I often worry that I rattle on too long, but glad you enjoy it. Thanks, DR