Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Last Sat. we had the 5th annual Roper Tiddler Tour hosted by my brother Doug and his wife Amy.  It set new benchmarks for attendance, route quality and after ride food.  By someone's count, there were 48 riders.
McCallister's Ducati Monza, the only Ducati on the ride
This may indicate we're going to have to get more serious about shaming the riders of the bigger and more modern bikes into getting something old and small--a Tiddler.

A very nice GB 500 Honda, but pushing the definition of a Tiddler

Ken Richardson's CL 90 Honda with custom flyscreen, a true Tiddler

 Douglas laid out a superb route with 85 miles to the East in the morning and 54 miles to the West in the afternoon.  While there were a few roadside adjustments, everyone came in under their own power.
I got my beloved Moto Guzzi Airone running the previous weekend, after it had been apart for 13 months.  A lot of this time was tracking down a rebuilt crankshaft assy. and having the crankcases 'trued up' and the bearings re-sleeved.  I went for a shake down run the previous Sun., and the bike seemed good after tightening up several things I had forgotten to tighten.  But, at the end of our run, I had the front brake cable pull through it's nipple while coming down a very steep hill to a 'T' intersection.  I just barely sneaked between the pickup truck and the stone wall, but then slid out on the grass and dirt and ended up in the middle of Rt. 82 on my side.  Luckily, no cement trucks were coming and I was able to pick the bike up and get it out of the road.  We were able to straighten the footrest enough to be able to shift it and I was able to ride it back to my brother's very slowly with no front brake.  This was the same front brake cable I've had on the bike since I got it almost 9 years and 14K kilometers ago.  Possibly I had never squeezed the brake lever so hard.  Inspection revealed that the cable hadn't broken, but rather pulled through the nipple, which was literally a spoke nipple, not a proper brass cable nipple.  It was very sobering as it could have been very ugly.  As it was, I made out fine with only a jammed thumb.  It re-enforced my belief in the motto 'wear all the gear all the time'.  I had on a one piece Aerostich Roadcrafter, Arai Corsair, a back protector, thick leather gloves and boots.
The crash created a lot of work to be done to get the bike ready for the following Sat.: straightening the shift lever, straightening and welding the footrest, repairing the fishtail and baffle in the exhaust,  and straightening and welding the speedo drive.  But, I did get it all done and was able to take it for a quick spin Fri. to check it out.
I rode the morning loop with Mike Peavey on his '54 Airone Sport which seemed to have the legs on mine.
Mike Peavey's '54 Moto Guzzi Airone Sport
The route went through Salem, Lyme, Old Lyme and Hadlyme with absolutely great roads with very little traffic.  We picked up lunch at the end of the loop and returned to Doug and Amy's house to eat.  There was a bit of wrenching going on including Douglas replacing the baffle in the muffler on his 250 Benelli, which had fallen out and been picked up by Henry Syphers, who was riding his CL 350 Honda.  Mitch Sheitelman had the splines on the shift shaft of his Cl 72 Honda fail and I welded the shift lever to the shaft with Doug's MIG welder so Mitch didn't have to do the afternoon loop in 4th gear as he had finished the morning.
The shift lever welded on the shift shaft of Mitch Sheitelman's CL 72 Honda
I rode with Mitch in the afternoon, and his bike shifted fine.  Gordon Pulis on his CB 175 Honda rode with us and we picked up a fellow on a 250 Benelli like my brother's (Mark Turkington rode a third one) and Peter Davidson on his C-15 BSA.
Peter Davidson C-15 BSA
The afternoon route went west through Killingworth and Durham.
Some weeks before, when I was puttering on the Horex Resident project I have at my brother's house, I discovered the frame was broken on the right bottom tube between the center stand mount and the rear motor mount.  So, I took the engine out, jacked the frame apart, and made a slug to fit in the frame tube,  then pulled the frame together again and welded it.  After we got back from the afternoon loop, I organized a work party to put the engine back in the Horex.
Then we got into an excellent feast, followed by fireworks and carbide cannon after it got dark.  Several people stayed overnight and the final stragglers left mid morning Sun.  That's going to be a tough TT to top.


  1. Dave YOU have all the Fun!Sure sounded like a great time.

  2. -regarding your crash on the Moto Guzzi Airone -
    They say a cat has 9 lives but I think that a certain Ropermeister has 29 lives. When it comes to 'let me count the ways', most people would have lost count of your various 'encounters' long ago.
    I would have liked to have been a birdie on the stone wall watching this particular fiasco unfold. Dodging a pickup, avoiding a stone wall, sliding thru the grass and actually ending up on the road again. All without much of a mishaps. They say time slows down during life threatening events and from your description I can see a slow motion version of an old Sam Peckinpaw movie unwind. I'm glad you and the bike made it thru it all in relatively good shape. Of course, I have a vested interest in that particular Airone not only because I sold it to you but because I have a standing offer to buy it back for 10 cents on the dollar. However, I don't want it back in a crumpled heap, so please try to avoid these dangerous maneuvers in the future.

  3. Oh Stu! So eloquently put! Perhaps Ropermeister's antics have less to do with motorcycles per se and more to do with his propensity for playing a rather skewed/perverse version of the childrens' game "slip and slide"? At the very, very least, his enthusiasm is child-like infectious!!!!! Warren Zevon wafts lightly in my head, for David continues to, "Get up and do it again"!!!!

  4. Hats (helmets?) off to Amy and Doug for organizing a top notch run, could there be a better way to spend a 95 degree day then burnin' up Roast Meat Hill Road on tiddlers? Seeing old friends and making new ones just capped it for me. Oh, Dave, your "all the gear, all the time" comment was not lost on me, I am in the early stages of putting together a proper road riding kit as I was never really comfortable riding "naked", even though it sure was 'cool" temperature-wise. And by the way, an open face trials helmet is not the hot ticket past 50mph. Mitch.

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