As you know, Clíodhna needs a few extras to make her the perfect tour machine… well as near as possible… a Sissybar, some luggage and perhaps a windscreen. James in LA has very kindly offered to receive my purchases at his address, so I can buy everything online in the USA and save on shipping etc. fabby.
The bike has come with two rider seats, the one in the photos with the flame stitching and a solo with a backrest. I was contemplating posting the flame seat home to the UK and using the backrest seat for the tour, but of course I am not 100% certain I will bring the bike back to the UK so, I will fit the seat with backrest and have to find somewhere on the bike for the spare seat to live.
Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering why I would want a Sissybar, (passenger backrest), on a bike with only one seat??? Indeed… well, I have a waterproof bag to go on the back and I’d like a Sissybar to make sure it doesn’t try to throw itself off the back. There is a luggage rack already on the rear fender, but am a bit concerned it might not be sturdy enough for all my crap, so I have checked out the company that make the solo with backrest, (NB Motorcycle Seats), they are in Canada and do sell a matching passenger seat. Not cheap I can tell you, but I think it’s worth the price, especially if I do decide to take the bike home. Long delivery time means the seat may not arrive by the time I pick up the bike, well they cannot guarantee that. My LA guy has tested the rear rack and he says it is very strong so I contemplate having the seat sent direct to the UK rather than LA, but again, am I taking the bike home?? I decide the passenger seat is just not a necessity so I cancel the order, I can re order it if I do take her home.
I look around for a cheap sissy bar as it is only needed for strapping the bag on. If I was sure I am keeping the bike I would prefer a detachable sissy bar so that I can switch the bike between solo and two up, (with passenger), but they are horrendously expensive just for luggage so I’ll have to make do with a permanent mount. Now sissybars come in all different styles and sizes, but what I am looking for is a very low mini sissy bar that is only about 6-8 inches tall, that’s so when the bag is off the bike it won’t look too incongruous with the solo seat and rack. I find one that is dirt cheap, just $85 including delivery. It’s taller than I would like but the price is just too good, maybe even to be true.. hold that thought. I decide to go ahead and buy it.
The main addition has to be a set of good luggage. I have a limit on the bags I can bring on the plane from UK to Mexico, the cost to bring extra bags is really shocking… so wish I had booked direct with the airline and not through Go to Hell!! Anyway, with the limited baggage allowance I cannot bring my own luggage, which is a piss off as I do have lots of them! Anyway, I search around and find Viking Bags. The reviews seem very positive and they have lots of styles to choose from. I have had fitted bags, throw over bags and detachable bags before and of the three I prefer the detachables; of course they are the most expensive, but, Viking have bags specifically for this bike and they can either be fitted permanently or used as throw overs. They also have a lockable version, at a slightly higher price of course, which is great for leaving the bike to pop off for a coffee or look around so I decide to go for those.
While I am in shopping mode.. whaddya mean ‘like permanently’ sheesh!! I don’t always ride with a windscreen, sometimes it is great to have, especially if its pouring with rain, but it can get very hot behind there so it’s a bit of a shall I shan’t I moment. My previous two tours in the US I have not had a screen, can’t say I’ve missed it at all, but here I have a chance to put one on. I do have a detachable screen at home that I have had for years; when I change my bikes I contact Windvest for a set of bike specific clamps so I can use the screen. Again, due to luggage restrictions, I can’t bring the screen with me so am looking for a real cheapo that I can use just for the tour… flea bay comes up trumps with a pretty crappy screen for just $50 which clamps to the handlebars, that’ll do.
Now windscreens can be a trial… depending on height and positioning they can create more problems than they solve. I think taller riders may have problems, compared with a shortie like me, with wind turbulence; this can be eased by the addition of a wind deflector attached to the top of the screen. Rather than chance it I decide to buy a defector, it’s just a bit of insurance I guess.
The bike seems to have the original foot pegs, which on a long tour are not that comfortable, especially when riding every day. I take a look at Kuryakyn, a company I have bought from before. Now this is something I won’t skimp on and indeed they are relatively expensive. I like the look of the Switchblade pegs, they have a section that swings out and gives you support for your heel.. oh yes, like the look of these.
Of course, so as not to miss a trick, they don’t come with the mounting adaptors, I have to buy those separately to match the bike they are intended for… ok well so be it. I am not bothered to replace the passenger pegs, again this can be done as and when.
Another essential is of course a helmet, again due to luggage restrictions I won’t be able to take one with me. When I rode in WRWR, (see the link to the blog below), I bought a helmet specifically for the event, it was white so that all the women I rode with could sign it; it now resides in the WRWR exhibition in the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, UK. That was one of the best open face helmets I have owned so I decide to buy another one, not white this time though.
I find this one, which I really like, its the same Daytona low profile helmet but, black with pin striping, much more my style.
Finally… I do like to have a clock and temp gauge on my bike, I know I can see the time etc. on my phone or indeed my gps, but I’m old fashioned and want to see the info without having to open an app! I do some research and come across Marlins Clocks, they have a really nice handlebar mount that holds both clocks, not cheap but it is quite heavy duty so am happy to pay for this.
So why shopping therapy NOT!! I hear you think… well lets take each one in turn and you will see what I mean.
The passenger seat is not a problem, I cancel the order and all goes smoothly, but it’s all down hill from here.
Sissy Bar – I place the order but don’t receive a confirmation or any email at all. I try to email them, but it seems to go to a personal address. I keep an eye on it but after about 3 or 4 days I start to think it’s a scam, I try emailing again and this time it’s another completely different personal address! I immediately alert Paypal to my suspicions and request cancellation and my money returned. Eventually I do get my money back. I can’t find the name of the website where I tried to buy so I could warn you and as I never had any correspondence with them I am not able to trace it at all.
So, I still need a Sissy Bar; I find one on flea bay, a little bit more expensive but at least I know it is a real sale and it is actually a lot shorter then the scam one so is more in keeping with what I want.
Luggage – after a few days I notice the order is still in preparation according to my account on their website. I start an online chat asking when my luggage will be despatched. They ask me to phone them as they want to discuss my order… erm, no, I’m in the UK so a) the time difference makes it really difficult and b) additional costs will be involved, can’t they just email me. Nope, they need to speak to me in person… what a piss off! I try calling… ‘your call is in a queue and will be answered in approximately 10 minutes’; I put the phone down.. back to the online chat.. I’m not waiting on an international call for 10 or more minutes, we will have to find another way. Reply.. ‘call now we are expecting your call and it will be answered immediately’.. ‘can’t you call me’.. ‘no, it won’t take a minute’. mmmmm. Ok so I make the call and astonishingly, not, it is answered immediately… mmmm – So, what was all the fuss about???? Can we check your delivery address, I mean seriously you couldn’t do that via email!! I give them the same address details as on the order, so now that is all fine and we will despatch your items now. Grrrrr
Windscreen – this arrives no problem, but the clamps are for 1″ bars.. my fault I made an assumption, the bars on Clíodhna are 1 1/2″ not the standard 1″, this is a relatively unusual size obviously put on by the previous owner so I try to find some replacement clamps.. which I do find but they are by a different manufacturer and when they arrive they have to be drilled out slightly to 10mm to accommodate the rods from the windscreen… oh bother!
Footpegs – quite the saga here… they arrive, but no adaptors! However, there are two sets of pegs.. ooooo that’s good, a set for the passenger too. Ok so I send an email to Kuryakyn to ask where the adaptors are, I omit to mention the additional pegs.. ahem! I don’t get a reply immediately, but when I do they ask did I receive two sets of pegs… bugger…. I decide to bluff… um no just missing the adaptors. They then come back saying their records show two sets of pegs delivered, oh let me check… I then say I am in the UK and was not aware there were two sets, what shall we do? A few days pass and eventually I get an email asking me to return the additional pegs. No mention of sending a shipping label or paying for the return so I send a stiff email back stating I am very unhappy with this situation, I am in the UK and will have to pay my agent in LA for their time and costs to return the pegs. I also say that I do not intend to pay for them to be returned. I get a reply saying they will speak with their supervisor and get back to me.. do I still want the adapters sent? I don’t reply.. I can get adapters elsewhere so am keeping shtum and wait to see what they come up with.. hoping they will let me keep the pegs; well if not they will have to arrange to collect them. That was almost two weeks ago with no further contact, but not counting any more chickens at the moment.
So, what else could possibly go wrong???
Helmet – I find a really good price online at the Novelty Helmet Shop… ok so I place the order.. I get a confirmation of the order… I wait for despatch details.. I check online, it’s still in process… I wait a bit longer… I give up, contact Paypal and cancel the order. I never heard anything from them at all. This particular helmet is no longer in production so a bit like hens teeth to find, but I do find another one at Bikers Outfitters Inc. a little bit more money but that’s ok as I really love this helmet. I place the order… I get a confirmation and within a few hours they come back and tell me the item is out of stock, they will refund my payment. Now I’m not one to give in easily so keep looking; I find another one, that says it is definitely in stock, at Biker Wear TN.. it goes through… I get an order confirmation… I get an email saying my money has been refunded, no explanation! Ok, I give up… I look for another helmet. I find this one, not really my style, but I want something with a bit of pizzazz and although I have looked at other brands, such as Torc, which I really like, I do not want to buy a helmet without trying it first.
This all goes according to plan and arrives in LA without further incident.
Clocks – I order the clocks and of course I didn’t know the bars are 1 1/2″ until later so I contact Marlins and ask if they can change the bracket if I pay the extra. That is fine but my clocks have already been despatched, but not to worry just send them back and we will replace them. I ask how to send them back and Paul tells me to just write ‘return to sender’ on the box and put it back in the mail. OK.. so that is what James does… I’m still waiting for the replacements, so contact Paul who says the return still hasn’t arrived – it’s been almost 3 weeks – but not to worry he will send me the replacements anyway as he feels guilty that he told me to return to sender.. am very grateful and what great customer service.
So, as you can see it has all been a bit of a disaster shopping wise, but never mind all has now arrived safely at LA, (except the clocks of course).
I also want to fit my Garmin GPS to the bike and Quadlock phone mount so instead of buying in the US I buy in the UK and plan to pack them and fit when I arrive. When I tell James this he suggests I post the fittings to him and he will fit them for me.. what a star. In fact I am paying James to fit everything for me so the bike should be ready to roll when I get there.
All the paperwork for the bike is done, she is officially mine and I have decided to go with a personalised number plate, just because… so the license plate will read CLIODNA… I can only have up to 7 letters so have had to drop the H.. bit of a shame but no matter.
So that’s the bike all sorted… whew.. what a ride! So many, many thanks to the wonderful James in LA, couldn’t do this without him for sure.
So all that remains is for the USA to allow me in! Yes, I know, I am not allowed to enter the USA unless I have been in a non restricted country for 14 days or more. The UK and most of Europe are on the US restricted list. I have all my fingers and toes crossed for an announcement allowing me entry, otherwise I may have to revise my travel plans. The UK has the US as an ‘Amber’ country which means I can travel there, but will have to quarantine for 14 days on my return to the UK… that’s no problem. I can, however, enter the US by air from Mexico, (the land border is closed to tourists as of writing), so I could theoretically fly to Mexico 14 days before I am due to fly into LA thereby meeting the Covid entry requirements – plus the requisite testing of course. I am really hoping they will open up as the cost for me to stay in Mexico plus flights will be quite expensive and I really could do without having to change my flight… or attempt to… again. Another alternative is Guatemala, I could maybe stay there a week and a week in Mexico, just to see a bit more of Central America… worth thinking about if I have to anyway.
Canada is closed of course so I may not be able to visit there…. it’s a little bit confusing as to the requirements, it seems tourists can enter Canada from the US, but not anywhere else.. I will need to look into this when/if I get to the States to see what the criteria are at that time.
So all caught up.. hurrah!