Thursday, April 10 – 12,000 Interstate Miles in 6 months on my GTi300

My ride for coffee to Flagler Beach this morning was when the odometer on the GTi300 turned 12k. Hanging at the sea reflecting on the last 6 months living with the 300 I realized that this is perhaps the motorcycle that I have enjoyed most in recent years. It became a three cup deal thinking about all the fun I’ve had on that amazing package.

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The vast majority of those 12k miles has been commuting to work on the Interstate. My commute is a bit longer than most. Typically every time I take the bike out of the garage it is time for an oil change again when I return it to its proper parking spot. My commute is on average about 3000 to 3500 miles round trip. Imagine changing oil after every ride! This bike is truly amazing to me. How can a single cylinder 300cc machine overachieve to such a high level? It’s illogical when you really think about it. On the Interstate, I typically ride at 75 miles per hour. There are times that I run 70 for a tank or two during the day but there are also times, especially out West, where I will do a couple of tanks at 80 miles per hour. In 12,000 miles I have NEVER added a single drop of oil between 3000 mile oil changes. Seriously? When I leave the house the oil is new, clean and has a nice amber color. When I return it looks the same way as it did when I left the garage. It sings a happy song at those speeds. The exhaust appears to have opened up just a bit as the little engine that can has broken in. Just a few short years ago I could have never imagined doing 600 mile days in total comfort at 70 miles per hour averaging 70 miles per gallon.

About my commute. I announce/broadcast about 35 professional motorcycle races per year with AMA Pro Road Racing, AMA Pro Flat Track and some Amateur events for the American Motorcyclist Association out of Ohio. Those events are all over the USA. Last year was a 25,000 miles year for me. For those miles I rode my Piaggio BV500, the Kymco Xciting 500 and the aforementioned Kymco GTi300. Each of those scooters have their own strengths and a few weaknesses. I truly enjoy all three but the GTi300 calls my name when I am contemplating which to choose for the long distance work. Commuting on scooters is too cool. It definitely takes more time to get across the country on a scooter. Not because you ride slower but because when you are suited up in your waterproof leathers, seat bag on the rear seat and all the touring gear people want to talk at gas stations. They find it compelling. When they see the Florida license tag and you are in a gas station at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin it really does get their attention. Commuting has never been so enjoyable as the miles simply pile on.

Obviously all the scooter types already know about the aerodynamic advantages scooters provide especially in cold and rainy conditions. Others see you rolling out the Interstate at 75 mph and think what is he thinking? The truth is I am as comfortable on that machine as I have ever been on the Electra Glide Ultra Classics, Honda ST1300’s and big adventure touring BMW GS’s and V-Strom 1000’s that I have enjoyed in the past. Of course I don’t ride quite as fast on the GTi but in truth that is a good thing because I am not old enough to ride high performance motorcycles yet. I still like to twist the grip a little to tightly more often than I should.

Gotta go. It’s time to take a nice ride down the coastal highway home for some fresh synthetic in the GTi. Going to give the old girl a nice detail too while I’m at it. The Springfield Mile is coming up May the 25th in Illinois and I’ll be headed on up to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for road racing the following week then back home to Daytona. Perhaps we will meet up out there on the highways of America over the summer and gloat just a little about what we know about scooters that the rest of the two wheel world have yet to discover.

Till next time,

Barry Boone

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Tuesday, April 1 – Daytona Bike Week

Motorcycle Hall of Fame member Craig Vetter, best known for his wildly successful Windjammer Fairings as well as numerous motorcycle designs, will be the featured speaker at AMA Breakfast on Friday. While attending Bike Week and seeing the sights around Florida, Craig is riding a KYMCO Xciting 500Ri ABS.

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He noted that he’s always been a big fan of scooters, and that the KYMCO he is riding is more powerful than his typical ride. Vetter organized a 77-mile Demo Economy Run on Wednesday, and he was impressed by both the performance and the mileage delivered by the 500. The 12-person ride included his wife Carol, several experienced Vetter Economy Run Veterans, as well as several riders who were learning more about the competition. Craig believes that streamlined scooters, delivering well over 100 mpg while carrying a rider and substantial cargo, can be one of the contributors to America’s energy independence.

Craig and Carol plan to travel the peninsula of the state from Jacksonville to Stuart, participating in a variety of activities and spending time with friends he has made over the years. Vetter is a 2-time Riding Into History Grand Marshal, and he and Carol won the prestigious Dusty Miller Award for Generosity for their many charitable contributions.

Without a doubt the KYMCO Xciting 500Ri ABS is the perfect choice for zipping in and out of bike and car traffic in Daytona during bike week. It’s kind of fun filtering through packs of motorcycles and moving ahead. Having ridden motorcycles forever discovering scooters as a fun and practical urban and long distance traveling device was really cool for me.

If you see Craig on the road during Daytona Bike Week. Say hello. The man is a legendary figure in our sport but one of the most personable and genuinely nice people you will ever meet. He may attempt to convert a motorcyclist or 10 to scooters along the way so be prepared!

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The BMW Northeast Florida Winter Rally O

The BMW Northeast Florida Winter Rally

One of the highlights of my Winters in Florida is the annual BMWNEF Winter Rally. This great club is responsible for making the rally happen as well as another amazing event that happens in May of every year called Riding Into History. We will talk more on that in subsequent blogs but for now just know that it is one of the top vintage motorcycle shows in America.

The annual Winter Rally pilgrimage begins for me at home in Daytona Beach and heads North to an active military training base called Camp Blanding located just West and South of Jacksonville. This year, my KYMCO GTi300 and I were joined for the ride by my great friend Van SIngley on his Piaggio BV500. Van is an area service rep for Ducati North America and has about as much motorcycling knowledge as anyone I have ever known. The man is magic at giving accurate advise and is sought out by many riders who are struggling to diagnose issues with their modern or vintage motorcycles. Also joining me on the ride is a close personal friend, Mike Pepin, who is a long established realtor in the Daytona region and an avid motorcyclist. He chose to ride his BMW R90/6 airhead on this trip. I suppose that is a good choice considering this is in fact a BMW based rally.

The ride is just over 100 miles and the temps were on the low 40’s when we pulled out of my driveway to head North. I was immediately appreciating the warmth of my Gerbing full sleeve electric jacket liner under my Firstgear sport leather jacket. The sun was shining but the wind and cool temps were reminding us that it was Winter even in Florida.

The KYMCO GTi300 is my go to ride. It is the one bike in the garage that always brings a smile to my face. The torque and horsepower are exceptional and it never ceases to amaze me with its acceleration and fuel economy. Regardless who I am riding with or what they are riding, no one ever has to wait for the KYMCO and I. The 300cc single has never gotten less than 65 mpg and customarily averages 70 mpg per tankful. With approximately 2.5 gallons of fuel on board the range is close to 200 miles.

Upon arrival at the rally site the collection of motorcycles in the parking area was already quite impressive. The event is limited to 500 guests and they ride from all over the US to be there. Almost all the attendees arrive by motorcycle. Nearly every type of BMW from across the generations shows up along with many vintage and modern machines. Riders young and young at heart are treated to an evening meal Friday and Saturday night. This year it was hot dogs, sausage, cole slaw and baked beans on Friday night and they were delicious after being kept warm in heated beer for an hour or so. Saturday’s menu was steaks cooked to order, baked potatoes and assorted other sides. One thing all of us motorcyclist share whether we care to admit it or not is “eat to ride…ride to eat”.

Various vendors were on hand and they range from folks who have written great books about their motorcycling life to an Amsoil distributor who brought along a petro chemist to talk oils. That was a lively conversation in their session. We all know everyone has an opinion about lubricants. Seminars were held, an on base daily guided ride through the expansive grounds at Camp Blanding and vendors were everywhere.

Some of us slept in rented cabins while others slept in barracks style accommodations. The hardy folks camped by the lake where the winds were whipping out of the North and temperatures hovered around the mid to upper 20’s. BMW riders are a hardy lot.

Sunday riding home was fun with my friend Ken Lucius who is a sales professional at BMW of Jacksonville. He had ridden one of their demonstrator bikes, a new K1600 GTL. We must have looked a little like Big Foss and Little Halsey with me alongside on the KYMCO but the ride was fantastic and listening to the whine of that factory tuned rocket 1600cc power plant was nirvana. I tried not to embarrass…

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A December Day in Daytona Beach 12/11/2013

  With much of the country in a deep freeze, we are enjoying amazing 80 plus degree temps and abundant sunshine in December.
It appears to me our fellow “scootourists” who may be in a deep freeze might enjoy a little encouragement for the hope of Spring.
Colette and I took a ride today around Daytona. The area has so much history dating back to the early 1900’s. Obviously it was in the late 40’s when Big Bill France truly made history. Auto racing was in disarray. Promoters would run out with the ticket sales cash in hand in the middle of the race never to be seen again, drivers argued post-race about finishing order and rules and assorted other problems. Bill decided there needed to be an organization of promoters in order to solve these problems. He invited other promoters from the Southeast to Daytona Beach for a meeting to attempt to form a new group with common rules and enforceable policies. They met at a very cool local upscale, at the time, hotel on A1A near the beach.

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The Streamliner Hotel…where NASCAR was formed on a December afternoon in 1947

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Not so glamorous today but was very cool in the 40’s and 50’s

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Bill France Jr’s Pure Oil Station when it was a going concern in the 40’s.

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The Pure Oil station is now called Main Street Station where they serve up your favorite adult beverage and rock and roll music. It is a thriving hangout for motorcyclists. Glad to see the building being utilized. It would be even better if International Speedway Corporation would buy it and restore it to its former glory.

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After meeting drinks were had at the rooftop bar of the Streamliner

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The proverbial smoked filled room provided the perfect setting to organize stock car racing in America. What a pivotal moment in history this picture captures.

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It is in fact…The World’s Most Famous Beach

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The North Turn located at…where else? The North Turn of the old beach track. That track not only held stock car racing but was the home of the Daytona 200 motorcycle race held annually until racing was moved to the new Daytona International Speedway.

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A photo of motorcycle racing on “The Beach”

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On the far side of this picture is turns 3 and 4 located at Ponce Inlet

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Main Street in the off season! Park those scooters anywhere you’d like!

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You just have to love the coastal highway (A1A) along the Northeast Florida Coast. Bring those scooters and come on down!

There are only a couple of pictures from that December meeting at the Streamliner where NASCAR was formed. I found them!
The pictures hang on the wall at The North Turn restaurant located on the beach at the location of turns 1 and 2 of the old beach track South of Daytona on A1A the coastal highway.
A little known true story is that Bill France was having problems with people jumping the temporary fencing that surrounded the beach course therefore avoiding paying for a ticket to the event. Bill, ever the promoter, had his guys put up signs in that area warning out of town race fans to “Watch for Poisonous Snakes!) The signs worked.
After an enjoyable lunch on the beach at The North Turn we decided to return to the famous Main Street in Daytona Beach. That is the central nervous system of Daytona Bike Week. Everyone has seen pictures of Main Street taken during bike week. We locals however see a different picture. It is a ghost town when 500,000 of our closest motorcycle friends are not here.
There are many places in the Daytona Beach area that most visitors never see. Over the next several weeks I am in hopes of bringing you an inside look at many of them. Gotta go! The scooter is calling and I am headed out for a ride!
Barry
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Friday, 10/18 – Houston Tx to Daytona Beach

This country is vast. Riding to the West Coast on I-40/Route 66 all the way to Cali and riding home on I-10 from Cali to Daytona truly illustrates just how big America truly is.

This is my 5th season to wrap up the racing year with a coast to coast to coast ride to Los Angeles. It is a perfect time to reflect on the season that has ended and the one that lies ahead. That is partly why this has become an annual ride for me. Each year I am afforded the opportunity to announce/broadcast professional motorcycle races at the best race tracks the USA has to offer. The road crew staff at AMA Pro is a hard working dedicated group of highly specialized individuals who work from the heart for the good of the sport that we all love. No one is ever going to get wealthy doing what we do yet few are as richly rewarded. To be surrounded by professional motorcycle racers forces you to raise your game as a rider. Watching them do the seemingly impossible  end and week out proves the motorcycle is way more capable than I am. I am learning to trust the machine and especially the tires.

Writing this simple blog has been fun to do. I truly hope that some of you have enjoyed my mindless dribble. I also hope it encourages you to get put there and ride no matter what is your motorcycle of choice.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank the good people at Kymco USA for the opportunity to ride that sweet little 500 and forgiving me a forum to discuss my ride with all of you. Never forget to take time to “choose your own path”.

See you on the road or at the track! Gotta run now. Headed to Main Street on the scooter!

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Thursday, 10/17 – Ozona, Tx to Houston, Tx

The return to lush greenery. This leg of the journey saw a transformation from the high desert to lush greenery. Coming out of the desert into the Texas Hill Country is amazing. During the descent from the high desert shrubs and trees begin to appear along the roadway. As the elevation inches a little closer to sea level the temperature begins to rise a bit and it is welcome. I-10 has been unseasonably cool on this trip by well over 20 degrees. The warmer dryer air is a welcome change for certain.

I have had numerous text messages, emails and phone requests to talk a little more about this sweet little Kymco Xciting 500i. There is much to say. My previous touring experience has been limite to two 3,500 mile tours on my Kymco GT300i and one 3,300 mile tour on the 2009 Piaggio BV500. The Xciting 500 is definitely different compared to those two scooters. It is more Birgman like in it’s design and seating position. One of the most distinguishing features is the long floorboards. These give the rider more ergonomic choices that I find welcome on numerous 500 mile days. This bike offers several seating positions. Sitting up close to the front of the seat with your feet right beneath you is very sportbikeish. With its seriously fat sport radials, huge brake rotors and excellent suspension this is definitely a sport you’re ring scooter. The seat/bar relationship is perfection and that combined with the flexible seat/floorboard options truly creates an all day comfortable seating position where you can either stretch out or choose to sit in an upright sportbike or sport standard position.

Top speed is about 90 miles per hour. I only chose to do that whentraffic dictates. About 75 miles per hour is where the 500 single seems to be the happiest. Cruising at that speed with no headwinds nets an average fuel economy in the 55 mpg range. Not bad considering the amount of luggage I have onboard and the larger Kymco touring windshield and the additional Lamonar Lip.

I love the large underseat storage area complete with an underseat light, a cell phone holder and a charging power port. I could leave the iPhone on charge underseat turned on and bluetoothed into the Cargo Scala Rider G3 mounted on my Nooan helmet. It really helped pass the miles listening to iHeart radio, Pandora and the music stored in my iTunes. All that and still fully capable of receiving calls.

The seat is the best of any motorcycle I have ever toured on. My preference is for a firm seat offering the ability to sit in several different locations. This one accomplishes both perfectly.

As darkness began to fall the lights of Houston came in to view on the horizon. After days of being in the sparsely populated desert it was exciting to be entering the city and back into civilization again.

One more day and I would be home in Daytona Beach. Biketoberfest is in full bloom. Daytona is a sleepy little town except for the two NASCAR events and the two motorcycle events. The funny thing is on the final day of each the town is all abuzz with activity as people are enjoying the beach, having breakfast and buying fuel for their trip ahead. It is very strange that at 11 am the city is fully alive and by 1 pm they are gone as quickly as they came and my little town is sleepy again. I am excited to get home and enjoy the agility of the scooter on the surface streets amongst the hoards of bikers and motorcyclists.

See you tomorrow nite Daytona!

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Wednesday, 10/16 – Ozona Tx to Houston Tx

Rain. For the second day in a row the riding conditions were less than ideal. At 7 am the temp was 48 degrees with heavy rain falling. Thought perhaps an hour would make a difference so I poured another cup of coffee.

I should have told you how I became a scootourist. Touring has been a way of life for me for most of my life. Bikes of choice have been Honda ST1100/1300, HD Ultra Classics, VStrom 1000, BMW Oilheads and a couple of Goldwings. About 5 years ago I started touring on a Kawasaki W650 twin. That is a 67 Triumph Bonneville copy built to high quality standards by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. For the last 4 years I have made the round trip from the East Coast to the Grand National flat track finals at Los Angeles. Small displacement and a small fuel tank plus the elemental experience of a simple motorcycle thrills me.

Two years ago I was browsing Craigslist at home in Daytona. There it was…a 2009 Piaggio BV250 Tourer. On the ride home from the previous owners house it occured to me this would be fun to tour on long distance. When a good friend decided he needed a scooter I sold it to him. NormNelson. Naval aviator, retired Delta pilot, 6 time winner in Vintage racing at Daytona and a guy who has ridden his classic 58 Sportster to Alaska and back from Jacksonville Florida twice 25 years apart. Norm began touring on the BV almost immediately. Many trips from St Augustine Fl to Cressen Texas and just about everywhere else has turned the odometer up to over 60,000 miles.

Watching Norm pile up the long distance scooter miles inspired me. I bought a Kymco Agility 125, then added a Kymco GTi300 and a Piaggio BV500. When Rick at Kymco kindly offered me a chance to ride the Kymco Xciting. 500i ABS on my annual Daytona to  LA trip I jumped at the chance. Having sold all my motorcycles I am now a full time scootourist.
Funny I always thought I would make that transition when I became too old and fragile for a full size bike. Glad I didn’t wait!

It was a Norm Nelson inspired day. Riding my second 50 degree full rain event 450 mile day in a row I thought about Norm alot. If he can ride a stock 1958 HD Sportster twice to Alaska through sleet, snow and the dark of night I will be fine on my sweet little 500cc missle. (Did I mention Norm finished and darn near won the 2013 Cannonball on a
vintage 1920 something airhead BMW?) Fully tucked in behind all that front fairing and windshield I actually had a great day riding.

1050 miles is all that remains on this trip then I will be home in Daytona. Biketoberfest is in full swing. If I get in Friday nite I can clean the 500 and change oil early Saturday morning and go enjoy the sights and sounds of Bike Week light on the Xciting 500! Think I will invite Norm to come down from St Augustine on his BV250. We can do stop light drag racing and outrun some Harleys on the streets of Daytona.

Just kidding.

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