After finishing the rebuild of this bike on July 21, I prepared it to ride out to the 40th RS anniversary rally in Harleysville, PA (yes, “Harleys” ville). I put almost 1,000 miles on the bike prior to heading to the rally and corrected a number of problems. I also set it up for touring by adding my old Garmin 2610 GPS, a set of Hepco-Becker panniers I had on the R75/6, my Wolfman tank bag, and a pair of Kathy’s Journey fairing bags.
I decided to name this 1977 R100RS, Gonzo. My wife and I have a habit of naming our motorcycles for Muppet characters, and after some thought, Gonzo seemed to fit this one.
I plan to ride on US highways on my way to and from Pennsylvania avoiding the “super slab” as much as possible. Unlike my Iron Butt rides, this ride will be leisurely with time to smell the flowers allowing five days to ride out and five to ride back.
I packed a maintenance kit with extra tools along with clothing and other essentials for a trip.
On Sunday I took a picture of the starting mileage and right at 8:30 am I got on US 36 no far from my home planning to stop about halfway across Kansas.
US 36 shares I-70 for the first 30 miles with the usual hurrying and scurrying traffic even early on a Sunday morning. When I turned onto two lane US 36 at Byers, CO I enjoyed the relaxed pace with no traffic on a beautiful sunny morning.
There is race track on US 36 and I stopped to take a picture of the cars coming down a hill. I pulled over on the shoulder, put Gonzo on the side stand and got off to get a picture of it in the foreground with some race cars going by in the background.
I sensed something wasn’t right and as I moved my eye from the view finder, I could see Gonzo was rolling forward and starting to fall over on the left side. I dropped the camera and grabbed him from the right side, but he was tipped too far over on the left and I could couldn’t pull him upright. The best I could do was slow the fall. A slow motion CARUMMPPP followed as he went down on the edge of the top fairing panel and then lay on the side of the road leaking gas onto the shoulder. In my hurry to get the picture, I didn’t put the bike in first gear before putting it on the side stand. There was a very slight down hill grade and of course, it crept forward as I was framing the picture until the side stand folded up.
I quickly went over to the left side and pushed him back up on his feet (it’s good to know I still have the strength to pick up an RS with loaded panniers) and then put him on the center stand. The top left faring panel is scraped on the edge and has a crack and another hairline one above the turn signal. Those are exactly the places I repaired when I stripped all the body work off, so a previous owner had the side stand fold up too. There is the also the usual scrape on the lower edge of the valve cover. Gonzo is “broken” in at last 🙂 Yes, that’s a smile, not a frown.
When I finish a rebuild, I’m always nervous about getting dings or scratches on the finished bike. But, eventually, these show up. So I have come to appreciate the arrival of the first ding, scratch or dent because I don’t have to worry any more about trying to keep the bike pristine.
I built Gonzo to be a rider, not a hider. Although I would have preferred my stupidity didn’t result in damage to the fairing, I can’t let that interfere with the enjoyment of riding him nearly 4,000 miles over the next week and half. “Endeavor to Persevere”, as my Email tag line goes. So I motor off heading to Kansas.