Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Sigh — Sometimes You “Don’t” Meet the Nicest People on a Guzzi!

The day started off nice enough — cloudy, but mild temps in the 70s.  Good day for a ride from Detroit to Pentwater to meet up with my wife and daughter and celebrate a good friend’s 60th birthday.  No hurry to get there, either — I was an hour ahead of Sheila at least since she was coming from the Central Time Zone, and Chicago traffic would probably burden her further.  Mild weather and my bags packed, I decided to roll out and just get lost on the way to Pentwater, specifically our hotel in Ludington, and travel through some of Michigan’s back roads.

Wow.  So beautiful once you get off the main roads.  Rustic barns, silos, small towns with old storefronts, buildings that give you the sense of history;  Europeans have been traipsing all over the Michigan Peninsula for 300+ years, and I can see why.  At least in the summer, the place looks like Northern England — I’ll bet before the shipwrights completely deforested the island, especially.

This Friday being the kick-off to the Fourth of July Weekend, I was wondering what happened!  No bikes on 96 on the way out of town, but as soon as I turned on the back roads, they were everywhere.  I stopped at two gas stations and spoke with couples on HDs rocking easy through the back country, not a care in the world and very pleasant.  Especially true to this were the couple of riders and pillions in Oceana — they were from Oklahoma and had been travelling for a week.  Made the trip around Lake Michigan and were headed back to Chicago and then down Rt 66 to their home state.  Ear-to-ear grins on their faces — their wives mimicking with their air-adjustable seats and all the commo gear.  Making memories.

Michigan is bereft of diners.  They’re out there, but not nearly as ubiquitous as some of the other states I’ve lived in.  Finally found one near Hardy Damn for breakfast and time to sit out a rain storm.  Gotta look the name of that one up.  The owner rides, but his wife won’t let him park the bike in front of the diner — he was awesome for getting me directions from where I was to where I needed to be, since AT&T and Google Maps had me roughly 3 miles south of where I actually was.  Rode through wonderful lanes that were broadleaf-tree tunnels, nice curves with little or no rocks and dirt — the wet road and unknown traffic patterns kept the speed out of me — I just cruised through the turns, braking easy, leaning smooth and just blissing out until I had to get on Michigan 31 North from Oceana to Ludington for the final leg of the trip.

And that’s where things just got stupid.  For the first 5-8 miles on the Highway it was one lane with construction, but traffic still managed to move along at 60.  The fun started when it finally opened up to two lanes.  I was able to move through the stagger in the traffic since most of the cars in the left lane wanted to pass but, due to their size, had to wait.  I zipped in the wide gaps (most Michigan drivers are actually awesome — they are motorcycle-aware and let you in) and slowly made my way through the logjam — until…

Going to the right of a slow-moving mid-sized pickup with a camper shell, I suddenly realized that the driver had sped up and “shut the door” on me with a slow car moving in front.  At that point I moved in behind because I had nowhere else to go. I’m now uncomfortable.  BRAKE LIGHTS — I’m already braking and slowing trying to get distance from the bumper, and driver pulls a “brake check” on me — I look at in the pickup’s window and an woman is looking in her mirror at me and shaking her finger like “I saw you trying to get around me…”

Then she moves over into the right lane, I guess to let me pass.  I decide it’s time to drop the hammer and just get out of there.  Road rage has left me years ago — I’m too old to deal with drivers like this.  As I pull around her, I see her cell phone sticking out of the car as she’s trying to take a picture of me, wildly trying to stay in her lane — it’s time to get out of there.  I gesture to her with a number that let her know that she was #1 in my book and then scooted.

3 miles later I’m at the Luddington exit, pulling into city traffic — and there she is behind me with her camera!  I just ignore her.  Realizing that I have no idea where the hotel is and that I need to check in, I sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic and she sits on my tail.  I’m thinking that she has some road rage issues and decide that the better part of valor is to leave the situation; just get in the other lane, then make a right turn.  I get in the right lane, signal right.  She cuts off a car behind me and follows me down the street.  I stop.

She pulls alongside and sticks out her hand as if I’m supposed to shake it, holding her camera.  She blurts out her name is “Val”.  I decide this is too much.  I’m getting creeped out, feeling like in that old black truck with the cracked windshield and wild-eyed operator there just might be a loaded gun.  I’m on vacation and I need to get the hell out of this situation! I drop the bike in first gear, drive around a few blocks as she follows, then finally lose her.  Bike gets parked in the back of my hotel on the other side of town, opposite from where I was so if she’s still looking around for me, we’re not going to run into each other.

Oh my GOD.  Every once in awhile I run into people that have to act as “regulators” and control how other people act in traffic.  I haven’t seen one like this for awhile. Could I have handled it better?  Yes.  I should have backed off and let her get ahead of me, but I thought taking the first exit would have been enough. Sometines you just run into people that take great umbrage at motorcyclists having an advantage of getting through traffic easier — thank heavens that in California people like her can be charged with attempted murder.

Wherever you are Val, I can’t believe your life is so small and shallow, and you’re so mean-spirited.  You need to get some help before your road rage kills a less-experienced rider.

Sigh — Sometimes You "Don't" Meet the Nicest People on a Guzzi!

The day started off nice enough — cloudy, but mild temps in the 70s.  Good day for a ride from Detroit to Pentwater to meet up with my wife and daughter and celebrate a good friend’s 60th birthday.  No hurry to get there, either — I was an hour ahead of Sheila at least since she was coming from the Central Time Zone, and Chicago traffic would probably burden her further.  Mild weather and my bags packed, I decided to roll out and just get lost on the way to Pentwater, specifically our hotel in Ludington, and travel through some of Michigan’s back roads.

Wow.  So beautiful once you get off the main roads.  Rustic barns, silos, small towns with old storefronts, buildings that give you the sense of history;  Europeans have been traipsing all over the Michigan Peninsula for 300+ years, and I can see why.  At least in the summer, the place looks like Northern England — I’ll bet before the shipwrights completely deforested the island, especially.

This Friday being the kick-off to the Fourth of July Weekend, I was wondering what happened!  No bikes on 96 on the way out of town, but as soon as I turned on the back roads, they were everywhere.  I stopped at two gas stations and spoke with couples on HDs rocking easy through the back country, not a care in the world and very pleasant.  Especially true to this were the couple of riders and pillions in Oceana — they were from Oklahoma and had been travelling for a week.  Made the trip around Lake Michigan and were headed back to Chicago and then down Rt 66 to their home state.  Ear-to-ear grins on their faces — their wives mimicking with their air-adjustable seats and all the commo gear.  Making memories.

Michigan is bereft of diners.  They’re out there, but not nearly as ubiquitous as some of the other states I’ve lived in.  Finally found one near Hardy Damn for breakfast and time to sit out a rain storm.  Gotta look the name of that one up.  The owner rides, but his wife won’t let him park the bike in front of the diner — he was awesome for getting me directions from where I was to where I needed to be, since AT&T and Google Maps had me roughly 3 miles south of where I actually was.  Rode through wonderful lanes that were broadleaf-tree tunnels, nice curves with little or no rocks and dirt — the wet road and unknown traffic patterns kept the speed out of me — I just cruised through the turns, braking easy, leaning smooth and just blissing out until I had to get on Michigan 31 North from Oceana to Ludington for the final leg of the trip.

And that’s where things just got stupid.  For the first 5-8 miles on the Highway it was one lane with construction, but traffic still managed to move along at 60.  The fun started when it finally opened up to two lanes.  I was able to move through the stagger in the traffic since most of the cars in the left lane wanted to pass but, due to their size, had to wait.  I zipped in the wide gaps (most Michigan drivers are actually awesome — they are motorcycle-aware and let you in) and slowly made my way through the logjam — until…

Going to the right of a slow-moving mid-sized pickup with a camper shell, I suddenly realized that the driver had sped up and “shut the door” on me with a slow car moving in front.  At that point I moved in behind because I had nowhere else to go. I’m now uncomfortable.  BRAKE LIGHTS — I’m already braking and slowing trying to get distance from the bumper, and driver pulls a “brake check” on me — I look at in the pickup’s window and an woman is looking in her mirror at me and shaking her finger like “I saw you trying to get around me…”

Then she moves over into the right lane, I guess to let me pass.  I decide it’s time to drop the hammer and just get out of there.  Road rage has left me years ago — I’m too old to deal with drivers like this.  As I pull around her, I see her cell phone sticking out of the car as she’s trying to take a picture of me, wildly trying to stay in her lane — it’s time to get out of there.  I gesture to her with a number that let her know that she was #1 in my book and then scooted.

3 miles later I’m at the Luddington exit, pulling into city traffic — and there she is behind me with her camera!  I just ignore her.  Realizing that I have no idea where the hotel is and that I need to check in, I sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic and she sits on my tail.  I’m thinking that she has some road rage issues and decide that the better part of valor is to leave the situation; just get in the other lane, then make a right turn.  I get in the right lane, signal right.  She cuts off a car behind me and follows me down the street.  I stop.

She pulls alongside and sticks out her hand as if I’m supposed to shake it, holding her camera.  She blurts out her name is “Val”.  I decide this is too much.  I’m getting creeped out, feeling like in that old black truck with the cracked windshield and wild-eyed operator there just might be a loaded gun.  I’m on vacation and I need to get the hell out of this situation! I drop the bike in first gear, drive around a few blocks as she follows, then finally lose her.  Bike gets parked in the back of my hotel on the other side of town, opposite from where I was so if she’s still looking around for me, we’re not going to run into each other.

Oh my GOD.  Every once in awhile I run into people that have to act as “regulators” and control how other people act in traffic.  I haven’t seen one like this for awhile. Could I have handled it better?  Yes.  I should have backed off and let her get ahead of me, but I thought taking the first exit would have been enough. Sometines you just run into people that take great umbrage at motorcyclists having an advantage of getting through traffic easier — thank heavens that in California people like her can be charged with attempted murder.

Wherever you are Val, I can’t believe your life is so small and shallow, and you’re so mean-spirited.  You need to get some help before your road rage kills a less-experienced rider.

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 10,000, ahhh, I mean, 11,000 mile report!

There we were, Fitz and I, at Frank Lloyd Wright’s family chapel across from Taliesin near the Wisconsin River. Pat is an architect and was giving me the most wonderful lecture on all of the graves and events around the area with respect to Mr Wright, and in turn we were slapping each other silly as the squadrons of mosquitoes descended upon us to extract the toll for our visit. I’m thinking “Three Stooges meets Architecture 101.”

Patrick Fitzgerald has become a good friend. I met “everyone calls him Fitz” the same day I met Jim Barron, one cold, cold day in December 2008. I had just moved to town, and decided that hanging out alone was less fun that going to introduce myself to the local Guzzi dealer in Woodstock. Rose Farm Classics was never an easy place to find, and in the dead of winter to a guy that is used to Southern California, everything just looked like tundra.  After my arrival, Jim and I shared a few smokes and decided that we “might” like each other. After about an hour of motorcycle talk, Jim gets a call and starts talking to Fitz. After hanging up, he says, “you have to stay long enough to meet this guy. He’s headed down here now. He’s got a lot of Guzzis, including that Falcone in the showroom.” I decided right then that it would take a nuclear event to get me out of there. Jim brewed me another espresso.

Fitz’ arrival triggered a gathering at Jim’s desk in his “upstairs office”. I don’t remember the whole conversation, but we talked about bikes and did the usual general conversation that “men of a certain age” do when they have a lot in common and decide that the people that they are talking to are “friend worthy”.

So time marches on. It’s well past 18 months now in Chicago for me. I’m living in Detroit and working at GM’s OnStar Division in the Advanced R&D department. I’ve purchased two Guzzis from Jim at Rose Farm, and Fitz and I have ridden together a couple of times, including the maiden voyage of the V7 Classic I now own to the Rockerbox meeting in Milwaukee last year.  I now have eclipsed 10,000 miles, which, like the maiden voyage, incorporates a pleasure trip with Fitz.

10,000 miles eclipsed in the UP

Rockerbox for 2010 was planned the same day as the Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Rally near Mineral Point, roughly 40 miles from Dubuque Iowa in the southwestern part of the state. After negotiations with my lovely bride, I decided to leave Detroit late Thursday, and ride up to Mackinac City, with the intent of crossing the Mackinac Bridge and riding down form the UP to the Rally – a total of 731 miles.

7am, on the Yoop. Mackinac Bridge in background

I left Detroit with roughly 9500 miles on the odometer, and crossed 10,000 miles just north of the Wisconsin border on Saturday in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I thought it fitting that I was on new road, riding for nothing but pleasure and cruising at 80mph without a care in the world. By 10,005 miles I had explored the top speed of the bike on a nice empty straight. I settled back down to my cruise soon after.

I arrived at the rally without event. I want to thank everyone that met me when I got there, and those that complimented me on my writing, as I think that telling stories to people is just about the best thing you can do, and if they like them and tell you, it’s just extra cream on the pie for me.

Fitz was there. I felt a little extra joy knowing that in this mix of 270 Guzzisti that I truly enjoyed being with, there was one guy that I “knew” as a good friend and connection to the events of my first moving to the Midwest, and the first ride I had on this very machine parked next to me. We exchanged greetings, and I met his lovely wife, son and hilarious Bull Terrier, “shooter”. This man is truly blessed with good things in this family, his choice of dog, and the wonderful SPIII that he rides all over the place. I have to admit a little disappointment that he didn’t bring a Falcone or “Big Red” which is a 1000cc V7 Sport “clone” that I have had the pleasure of riding.

shooter

shooter

We spent the evening around a campfire, sharing the great beer served by the Wisconsin Rally organizers and some nice bottles of wine. Fitz said to meet up for breakfast and we’d take a run through the twisties that the hills and dales of Southwestern Wisconsin offer.

One Hundred Forty miles, two pasties, one beer and 3 pounds of cheese later, we returned back to the rally headquarters. I had promised my wife that I would leave for home at three o’clock, and it was close to that. We said our goodbyes, and I made the 180 mile trip back to Oak Park in a decent time, thinking about how this man, 10 years my senior, could ride my wheels into the ground on his well-built and modified SP Guzzi. I can only wonder what he would have done to me on his 1000cc Cloner…

The Wisconsin Rally

With more than 270 bikes, almost all Guzzis, this is the MOTHER of all Guzzi Rallies. The Nationals should have so many people! If it were up to me I would call this the National Meet and have a roving venue for those that can’t make it. I hope I never miss another one. The roads, people, food, organizers and attitudes there can’t be beat.

11,000 miles

I spent the next 24 hours at home uneventfully enjoying my family and preparing to ride back up to Detroit late Sunday. And so I did, also in an unevenful manner. I pulled into my apartment in Grosse Pointe at 11pm, too tired to note the mileage. The nexts morning I parked at work, looking down at my odometer at 11,001 miles. I had just done a 1500 mile loop in 3 days, with nothing to remember but grins and good times.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

In fact, except for a kick stand spring and one 6000 mile maintenance, the V7 Classic has been the same. Nothing remarkable but grins and good times. It hasn’t used a drop of oil, not one hiccup in the engine, and I’ve only had to replace the tires with Pirelli Sport Demons (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!) and that inner sidestand spring with a stainless steel one after I found fault in the metallurgy (Moose Racing M7712). Other than that, I have enjoyed this Guzzi more than I thought I would, and I had high expectations.

Stuck under an overpass outside of Toledo

Stuck under an overpass outside of Toledo

From city riding, to long trips on the road and romps through country twisties, the V7 has never let me down or not been up to the task. It’s like a scooter in the city, a Road King on the Highway, and a petite blaster when the pavement turns to ribbons. If “Standard” means “great all ’round bike,” then this is the “true” standard. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

11001 mi

11001 mi