SCB 2014 Results

Just in case you haven’t been over to the Scooter Cannonball site I’ll save you the trouble and let you know that I did achieve both my goals for this event.

First and foremost, I finished with both the scooter and I in good shape. Total problems with the Sports City were minimal – one of the two tail lights went out and I had to add 2lbs of air to the tires. The speedometer was seriously off after we put the bought on ebay rim with the K66 tire on the back. Turns out that even though the 2008 and 2009 Sports City used the same rim size the 2009 had extra speed sensor buttons on it (5 instead of 2) which caused the speedo and odometer to think it was going 2.75 times faster than it was really going. Fortunately, I rode with a GPS the entire time so I wasn’t relying on either. Unfortunately, it says I rode 11,000 miles from Hyder to Houston instead of the 4,000 give or take it actually was, sigh. That’s going to be a PIA for servicing intervals, sigh.

Second, I finished in the top half of the competitors placing 13th out of 28.

So what did I learn from riding the cannonball?

First, if I ever do this again I need to spend a lot more time learning the route and navigating better. After looking  at all the time I lost because I missed a turn or followed my GPS when it differed from the route is added together I lost at least 2 hours off my raw times because of navigation errors on day 6 (40 minutes) and day 7 (30 mins). Not to mention that on day 9 the route I chose to avoid the closed bridge put me into a bicycle race and road construction, sigh plus when my two conflicting GPS directions I chose the wrong one. Well, actually from the great fun to ride road perspective it was the right road. Lovely twists and turns through the forest on somewhat narrow but very smooth road with properly banked corners, that one was worth the extra time. Hot smile Like others before me I found out that I had a much stronger competitive streak in me than I realized since I had originally figured I wouldn’t worry that much about where I placed, wrong.

Second, I want a tour tank. Seriously, while I appreciate fuel stops on normal rides as a way of stretching my legs and taking a break on the cannonball it just doesn’t work as well. Especially when you are in  another country and you can’t pay at the pump. Some folks said that it was because US credit/debit cards don’t have a pin/chip system. Well two of mine do and they still didn’t work at the pump.

Third, I need a better camera solution. I had mounted my Canon D10 on my handlebars as I normally do when touring. For some reason my camera decided to develop battery issues. Sometimes I’d take a photo and well, there was no photo when I went to download the camera later and the battery would be dead despite charging it before leaving in the morning. I picked up a new battery at Best Buy in Norman to see if that would solve the issue but sadly it did not. So I don’t have all the pictures I should have and that includes both checkpoint and scenic photos I took. My Spot did work properly and I had tracks for back-up documentation each day but it was still annoying to stop, take a photo only to find that it wasn’t on the memory card.

Finally, the Sports City turned out to be an excellent choice for this cannonball. In fact, it is hard to conceive of a cannonball where the Sports City wouldn’t be a top choice well, the SYM HD 200 might be better from a handicap perspective but it performed very well.

Final Results

Place Name Scooter Total
1 DaBinChe 2010 Honda NHX 110 3172
2 Feb31st 2007 Vespa GTS 3164
3 Old As Dirt 2008 Aprilia Sport City 3096
4 Motovista 2006 Vespa GT200 3050
5 Ericalm 1987 Honda Helix CN250 2991
6 4in6isCool 2008 Vespa GT200 2916
7 MrMoi2000 1971 Rally 180 2913
8 G-Man 2008 SYM HD 200 2866
9 Wleuthold 2006 Vespa GT200 2847
10 Maroy Piaggio MP3 2821
11 Ejp 2005 Vespa GT200 2819
12 Wire89 1964 Vespa GL150 (1983 Adj) 2800
13 Cdwise 2008 Aprilia Sport City 2749
14 Teacherquinn 2007 Vespa GTS250 2737
15 MrKlean57 2014 Piaggio Fly 150 2351
16 Tupelosue 2009 Vespa GTS250 2292
17 LM15 2008 Piaggio BV250 2271
18 Frank Tabor 2009 Genuine Stella 2228
19 MonkeyButt 1982 Vespa P200 2157
20 Lostboater 2009 Vespa GTS250 2083
21 HankM 2004 Honda Helix 2053
22 Yanobobano 2005 Vespa GT200 2012
23 Chucklestx 2006 Kymco People 250 1903
24 Mike Smith 1997 Honda Helix 1874
25 Svhess 2012 Genuine Stella 4T 1846
26 Digit 1977 Vespa P200 1669
27 Bagel 2007 Vespa GTS250 958
28 Cochid 2003 Aprilia Scarabeo 50 133

Will I ride another cannonball?

The answer is “maybe”. I will depend on the route and what scooters are eligible to participate. I would have to have a scooter that met the qualifications without purchasing a scooter specifically for the cannonball. I am lucky enough to have a variety of scooters available from a Buddy 125 through Scarabeo 500 so that part shouldn’t be an issue unless vintage only were to be a requirement. Though there have been a few Buddys in previous cannonballs I can’t see myself riding one cross country. I might could see riding the Derbi 150 but frankly its pretty slow for a 150 but it is a comfortable scooter so it is an outside possibility. Somehow I just can’t see the Derbi placing very well no matter what sort of handicap it received so I’m unlikely to participate if that’s the only scooter in our stable that qualifies. For me a 200-280cc scooter is the perfect choice for a cannonball.

What would really tempt me to ride another cannonball is one that goes through all the New England states since I still need to get those clicked off my ride map. One suggestion that was made for 2016 is from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Key West, Florida by way of the great lakes. I like the suggested start/end but I’d just as soon keep it closer to the coast so I could get those pesky New England states clicked off my ride map. Rainbow

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Gymkhana

I took a few videos of cannonball riders in the gymkhana.

Bagel

Old as Dirt

DaBinChe

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SCB–New Orleans

I must say I was a bit disappointed in the ride into New Orleans. It was my understanding that the cannonball riders would be at the head of the ride back across the causeway. This is how we started out but that only lasted until the gas stop approximately 1/2 mile from the brewery. On our group rides when there is a long stop for food/beverages either the gas stop is just before we get to the stop or people fill up during the stop so that when it is time to go there is no need to stop again.

IMG_5192As you could see in the last post video there were a lot of people surging into the gas station most of which did not need to get gas. As we pulled out there were several people who cut into the cannonball riders. Others who would cut up and in-between other riders which makes me nervous.

It was interesting riding across the causeway with its turnouts but it was definitely a thumpity thump ride.

Once we arrived in New Orleans the streets were lined with scooters at the official finish line.

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SCB Day 10–The Finish

Woke up this morning to a really beautiful day for a short rider’s meeting reminding everyone that time stops when you get to the Abita Brewery. Of course some like Feb31st were already gone but I saw no real reason to rush. Though I did decide to stay on the four lane highway longer than the route suggested before moving to more attractive roads.

day10About 45 minutes after leaving the hotel I caught up with the Eric, Mark, Linda, Suellen, 4n6iscool and a couple of others at a traffic light. Eric took the photo to the right.

I rode with them for a little bit then decided that I wasn’t in the mood for a leisurely ride so off I went.

Most of today was like any day riding in the south with small towns and country roads with lots of police officers around them.

fromstickyThe gods were with me though and I managed to not be enough over the speed limit whenever I saw them. I was almost thankful to be between two semis on that last stretch of interstate before abita Springs where when I popped out I saw a couple of state patrol officiers pulling people over. Sadly Old as Dirt wasn’t as lucky. Stickyfrog from Modern Vespa snapped the picture Ito the left

IMG_5145When I pulled into the Abita Springs Brewery the first people I saw was Billdog and Stickyfrog. Imagine my surprise to find I was the third person on the cannonball to arrive after Feb31st (Dave has cool videos for each day of the cannonball on his blog) and Old as Dirt. I know I have more photos from Day 10 including ones with Billdog and OAD but for some reason I can’t find them but the photo to the left shows almost all the folks whether they rode in from Hyder or for Amerivespa when I arrive.

IMG_5144To the left is Lostboater parking with a group of other cannonball scooters after the California crew arrived.

 

IMG_5157It wasn’t long before more folks started arriving for the planned escort of the cannonball riders into New Orleans.

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After a bit it seemed like there wasn’t anyplace you could squeeze in another scooter.

Parking for those further back in the Amerivespa ride out ended up parking around the back and out of sight.

sticky-copterSteve collected a fair crowd when he brought out the quadcopter to film the group leaving as you can see in another of Stickyfrog’s photos to the right.

That’s George (OldScoot) from Houston watching the quadcopter.

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SCB Day 9 Taking a Toll

It felt really good to get into the “mountains”, okay compared to the Rockies the Ozarks aren’t much in the way of mountains but curvy forest roads are far preferable to flat plains in this rider’s opinion. This was one of the most enjoyable days on the scoot since we left Pinedale. There were moments on days 6 & 7 that were lots of fun. Maybe it is  just the contrast with the last couple of days with flat and boring, or high winds, or sleet and snow but it was a great break from the bad weather.

day9-1-6However, if I thought yesterday was bringing out problems with the modern scoots today is much worse. The scoots needing work were all gathered under the portico so they could work in the shade.

Earlier I passed Eric on the side of the road. The California support truck was with him and there was little I could do so I continued on without stopping. When I rolled into the Super 8 in El Dorado, Arkansas I found out that he had plugged a tire leak only to be hit with some sort of fuel delivery issue a few miles after he got back on the road. Eric was trying to either get it running again on the roadside or he’d have to trailer it the short distance to the hotel. Which is what he ended up doing with a plan on getting it running hopefully with assistance from Mike Smith – Helix guru and Hank, the other Helix rider in the cannonball in time to go back to where he was trailered from in time to finish the last leg before midnight.

day9-1-4Bill’s scoot also came in on a support truck with more serious issues. Mark (Maroy), Doug (Old as Dirt), Binh (DaBinChe) and several others worked with Bill to get frozen parts off his GT. Tom (Bagel), the crazy guy who did an Iron Butt on his way TO the cannonball start allowed Bill to take parts off his no longer running GT to get back on the road. Tom was extremely generous allowing his GTS to supply parts to several folks once it was clearly going to be on the truck for the rest of the trip. Never fear though, Tom had a spare GTV in Austin he managed to get friends to truck up to Norman so while he was out of the cannonball competition he was still able to ride most days.

Being the last night the plan was to go dinner as a very large group. Kudos to Dave (Feb31st) who tends to leave at the crack of dawn well before anyone else for securing space for such a large group at a downtown Mexican restaurant – one that did serve margaritas. Winking smile

In the meantime more work went on in the parking lot.

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Vintage repairs were often the most creative. I believe I was told that is a bathroom fan duct taped to Greg’s (Wire89) 1964 Vespa GL150 (newer 1983 engine)

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None of the modern scooters including Linda (Teacherquinn) replacing her lost tail light with a trailer light reached quite that level of creative repairs IMHO.

Not all of the scooters needed work.

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Soon it was time to head off for dinner. I think even those who still had work to do were glad of a break.

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It did take awhile for everyone to get served but that’s what happens when you have a group of 40+ people show up for dinner on a few hours notice.

day9-1-15Everyone to the back row table in this photo except the guy in the green shirt bottom left is either a rider or providing support for a cannonball rider. Well except for the guy on the left with the gray shirt. That’s Mike’s son who came over to visit with his dad while he was more or less nearby.

day9-1-17It took 5 tables to hold us all.

day9-1-16You could tell the riders from cities where helmet theft is a problem since they all carried their helmets inside the restaurant with them.

day9-1-18Eventually it was back to the hotel where work on the scooters continued well into the night.

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day9-1-3day9-1IMG_5127

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By the time Eric got his Helix running again it was too late to return to where his scoot went on the trailer to finish the last leg of the day. Ed tracked down his short and Bill was able to get his GT running again. By morning only Bagel’s GTS was still on the truck since David (Cochid) left the cannonball when he was unable to find replacement parts in time to get back in. Pity he wasn’t able to get running again or find a second scoot to finish riding the cannonball with like Bagel was able to do. We hardly had a change to get to know him.

Tomorrow is the last day with this group of fine folks before we start scattering back across the US and Canada, bittersweet.

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