8 Ball In The Wind

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Burn Baby Burn!!

With way less than legal tread on my rear tire, I knew its days were numbered.  When it developed a goose egg sized bubble on the sidewall after a 15 mile stretch of 80 mph 'plus' on the freeway coming home from a run to Vancouver, I knew it was time.  A friend had brought over and given me a nearly new 16 inch Bridgestone rear tire, and the stage was set.

I just couldn’t see simply swapping out the tires.  What fun would that have been?  So I decided to burn off the last of the tread on the tire.  If the bubble popped, all the better.  Either way, this Dunlop Wide White Wall was going up in smoke.

After putting out the word about what I was going to do, a couple of friends dropped by to enjoy the fun.  The first attempt was pitiful.  The only place I had available to do this was in my semi-enclosed carport “garage”.  The concrete slab was so smooth that when I locked up the front brake and let out the clutch, the bike just slid right across the floor.  Can’t smoke a tire that way.  So we stacked a couple bags of concrete against the front wheel.  I locked up the front brake, let out the clutch…and Gypsy just pushed the concrete across the floor like it was nothing.

We were just getting too much traction.  So I poured some rubbing alcohol on the tire.  Chris poured some more on the slab around the tire.  Then both T and Chris braced themselves between the concrete bags and a work bench.  The third time was the charm.  I was just too focused on making sure the bike didn’t roll forward that it was about 10 or 15 seconds before I looked down.  All I saw was a few wisps of bluish smoke.  I looked up at T and Chris disappointedly.  Only to see them both looking behind me and grinning.  I turned my head to look back behind me and saw a thick white wall of smoke boiling out into the alley and building up into the air.

Now we were cooking!!  I kept on the throttle, turning now and again to look back at the growing smoke cloud behind me.  I so wanted to pop that tire.  But, after about 40 seconds had gone by, the heat from the exhaust was beginning to get a bit uncomfortable.  I wanted to pop the tire, but not at the cost of thrashing Gypsy’s motor.  I just couldn’t afford any major problems with her just now.  So I eased off the throttle and pulled in the clutch.  After a couple seconds of smooth idling I shut down the bike, and walked around to check everything out.

The tread was gone, and the rubber was still bubbling where the tread had been.  Chunks of it were missing, and I knew it wouldn’t have been too much longer.  But it wasn’t worth the risk to me.  So I will just have to kill the next tire when it’s time comes.  By then, Gypsy will be about ready for a complete overhaul anyway.  Until then, I’ll just get her ready to ride to Chicago and back next summer.  Although, I am still not sure if I’ll replace the shocks or not.  Or if I’ll just strut her instead and find a cheap sprung solo seat.  I’ll figure something out by then, either way it'll be good.

Catch ya on the road sometime…

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