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. 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.
|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|
|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.