Thursday, April 30, 2009

R&L Equipment and the Flat Tire

Last Thursday, I decided to get the bike ready. When I had it uncovered and unhooked from the battery tender, I removed the right muffler tip and retrieved a moth ball that had fallen in there last fall. Baggies of moth balls over the pipes discourage nesting rodents. It fired up on the first press and then I checked tire pressures. Front 41, rear zero. Spinning it, I found a piece of wire right through the tread. Damn!

We don't have a Honda dealer in Sudbury. Silly for a city this size, but I have been dealing with J&R in Wasaga Beach for years. But that is 200 miles south and I needed a quick fix so I called R&L Equipment in Verner, 45 miles east of town. The R&L guy apologized that he couldn't get the bike in the next day. It's spring, I had no expectations. I was busy early in the next week, so we settled on today at 2:00. They suggested a Dunlop E3 tire,which I dislike. I asked about the Bridgestone G704 and, wonder of wonders, they had two IN STOCK. And, without asking, he knocked 20% off the MSRP.

Date set, I aired the rear tire up. Three days later, it had only lost two pounds so I figured the wire could stay in place for the ride to Verner.

Thursday, Leo and I set out for R&L. We got there at 1:30 and they took the bike right in. At 2:00, I watched through the window to the shop as the bike went on the lift. The mechanic changed and balanced the tire, changed the final drive oil and greased the spines in 45 minutes. Excellent service and price.

They gave me the old tire to play with. I took the Stop and Go tire plug kit, which I had never used before, and plugged the hole. Now I know how it works in case I need it somewhere on the side of the road.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Canadian Blood Services

I've been a regular blood donor for years. When I hear that only 4% of eligible Canadians give, I shake my head. It takes so little time and means so much to those who need it.

I was deferred for almost ten years due to high blood pressure but they called me back about six years ago due to a change in the rules. Last year, I gave my 75th whole blood donation (80 now) and so was invited to the annual awards banquet.

Just a word about whole blood versus platelets. Whole blood donors can give evary 56 days. I think the platelet donors can go every second week, so they rack up higher numbers of donations. On the other hand, while I give a unit of blood in less than ten minutes, they are hooked up to the machine for an extended period of time. In my opinion, they deserve every bit of recognition they are accorded. I don't have an option anyway. With my O Negative blood making me a universal donor, they won't let me five platelets.

By coincidence, Sandy's ex, Brian, and his wife Judy were attending and taking Sandy's parents as guests. Judy was being recognized for 200 donations. Once at the caruso club, Tom from the Freedom Riders showed up. He had given 150 times. Leo should have been there for 75 as well, but didn't know anyone else was going.

The Caruso Club is one of the finer venues in town. It was festooned with ballons and the hall was moderately full. CBS people representing the region (Northeastern Ontario and Nunavut, if you can believe that spread) made some speeches in both French and English. Then they called up each person present for their awards. The read a vignette on every person, provided earlier by the donor. Mine mentioned our premature kids and getting into the On-Neg baby donor program, as well as helping Mom with blood clinics in Timmins when I was a kid.

There was a hierarchy. Fifty and 75 donations got certificates, a handshake and a group photo. One hundred got all of the above but the certificate was framed. The 150's got all the above and two handshakes. Judy and the other 200's also got an individual photograph. Two people celebrating 400 got a standing ovation and nobody was quite sure what to do with the first bone marrow donor.

After the awards, we went through the buffet line and had some excellent Caruso food. The only limitation was that we were restricted to one piece of breaded veal. I even cheated and had dessert.

A significant announcement for regular donors was that the new computerized screening system was about to be introduced. Since screening is the longest part of my donation experience, anything to streamline this process is greatly appreciated.

Blood donors give the Gift of Life. I'm proud to be one and hope that anyone eligible who reads this and isn't an active donor gives it some consideration.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sudbury Tourism Gathering

The Freedom Riders received an invitation to an event regarding Sudbury Tourism at Science North because of our Freedom Rally activities. None of the Executive were interested, so I took it. Leo agreed to go along with me to put the club's name out there.

In my sled days, I attended many schmooze events. This was the same. Complimentary wine, cheeze and appetizers. Some booths by the local hospitality establishments. A few speeches, some awards. I ran into a number of people I knew from the sled promotion days, INCO and other activities.

There were four door prices. My ticket was xxx019. They called xxx018. Then, at the end, they called xxx020. This was Leo's. The gift package had a shirt, some goodies and quite a few very nice free admission and discount certificates.

To cap the evening off, we were given a free IMAX show, Sea Monsters 3D - A Prehistoric Adventure. It was, as billed, 3D and, for a while, I thought I might be picking fish out of my teeth.

All in all, this activity isn't the Freedom Riders usual cup of tea. That said, it didn't cost anything and I think we managed to heighten the awareness of the club and motorcycling aas a benefit to the community in some useful places.