Monday, September 29, 2008

100 miles and runnin

100 miles and runnin. In Brooklyn.
This was a couple of days ago.
It's nice to be rolling on a 2009gts, but I have some serious plans
for this guy.
I am looking for a frame if you k ow of anyone selling a gts frame.
2007 or 08 would be best. Project reports will start soon. Phase one:
flowing the head, and a pm tuning exhaust to start. Need to have an
exhaust custom made though for the stuff I have in store...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Whites ferry.

Across the Potomac. I keep finding pics that I haven't posted.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I am potentially putting together a single day ride that is a loop... and like a single day of cannonball for the NYC area riders.
I would run it the exact same way as the CBR, but just for a single day, run in a loop starting from NYC and ending back in the same spot.

I am looking at routes right now.... so any suggestions from riders living upstate are totally welcome. Or anyone that knows these roads better than me... I will be test riding some of these routes soon. email me, or leave comments here. Remember this is just a rough sketch of what the actual route would be for the Gumball Rally. Just to get my brain around what a 350- 400 mile loop looks like and where it could take us. Trying to get rural quick is tough in the NYC area...

View Larger Map

Mt Hamilton.

The First day. Man, that Mt. Hamilton ride was just amazing.

Pictures from CBR08 again.

Also in Lee Vining, CA. Just finally going through the pics...

More CBR08 pictures

From the morning of Day 2. Just getting gas in Lee Vining, CA.

Fort Scott, Kansas

This just in:

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Went for a ride up to the cloisters from Brooklyn and then to the
brass monkey for the nysc wednesday night meet up. Totally fun. Great
people. I am going to get more involved in that crew, for sure.


If you ride a scooter, check out this site.

Jettin makes some great stuff. I am excited for some products that Nyle has in store for the near future.
I hope to really get a quick bike dialed in over the next year. One that handles really well, and goes like crazy. It has to look great as well... Nyle will be a big part of all of that, I can guarantee it. The Brembo kits alone are genius.... cant wait to get one mounted up on my new GTS.

lots of pictures

Here are a bunch of pictures

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FInal resting place

I found final resting places for my black GTS today. I gave the very
bent frame to a guy collecting metal for scrap, and he was really
psyched about it. That felt really good. I knew I had doubled his
take for the day, which was in the shopping cart you see there. He
was stripping old PCB's out of an old computer to get the frame metal
when I rolled up in the Brooklynbretta van with Frank. I am glad
about that.
Then I took all the stuff I salvaged from the poor bike and brought
it to my storage space, which is a borg-like hive near the BQE. If
the borg were hassidic, I guess.
It just looked surreal to me. The other wheel is being sent from
vespa St. Louis, where in the confusion of the motor swaps and
craziness that bordered on wartime ER freaking out at points... it
was forgotten there.
going for a ride with some NYSC guys in a minute. Its nice to be back
in Brooklyn, where my GTS lived and now is laid to rest. RIP, you
were a great bike, even if you did throw me into the desert at almost
70 mph!


Really feeling home now. The sight of the Brooklyn bridge does my
heart good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Only 1 year, 362 days to go

So with just 1 year and 362 days before the next cbr, CBR10, I have
begun the collection of key parts for the scoot I will be riding...
Case venting experiments will prbably start in the spring, with
building efforts and porting/polishing efforts over the winter.
Hmmmm anyone have an ugly but straight Gts frame they want to sell me?
Notice that with about 12 miles on this GTS I switched to the Zippy 1's for around town blasting. When they wear out in a while, I will change to the heidenau's. I just can not ride on the sava's. This GTS also came with a defective front disc. totally warped and screwy. I am going to get a warrantee'd one hopefully from Vespa Brooklyn. They are good people over there, and I hope they can help me with this. Luckily, I already had a really nice front disc, so I put the one from my old bike on there, along with the front Bitubo shock. It just makes such a big difference. people who like the stock one better are on crack...


Nick liked the way I was making the front of the shop look with
salvage parts from my busted Gts. He was saying, " he should have
ridden a sym!!!"


Taking apart the Gts that threw me into the desert. Sitting in front
of brooklynbretta. All day. I was making the place look like Sanford
and son out front...

Final points are up

The final points are up on the cannonball site.
You can see me really pushing for it in the daily finals, especially when I got the better motor back under me.
Thanks to all my sponsors, and supporters!
Brooklynbretta especially, as my primary sponsor.
If you ride a scooter in the NYC area, talk to brooklynbretta.

Support all of my sponsors!!!! Email them at let them know you think they are cool for supporting such a cool ride for a cool cause!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

my old bike...

Putting the crashed bike back in the truck after putting the engine
in the BOBO GTV.
Good times at ST. Louis Vespa. Man, that thing looks SAD in this

Words from Jess....

This is an excerpt from Jess's blog... very nice...

"Made it to Oakland, MD today. My goal for the day was to not lose much time to Joel, who is a better rider on a faster bike. Were it not for his crash and one big navigation error, he would surely be in the lead right now. He has ridden exceptionally well throughout CB, and the way he’s been able to climb back up the rankings reflects that. My only big advantage is my gas tank and some comfort factors that let me stay in the saddle longer.
That coupled with some road closures today was enough to keep my lead, even though Joel beat me to the hotel by ten minutes or so. It was actually kind of fun trying to cope with the many obstacles today that Joel so handily dealt with as I struggled to keep up. In the end, I reached the limit on the chances I was willing to take, and let him go about 50 miles from the finish line. He flat-out outrode me, though, no doubt about it. Tomorrow is three timed legs and one parade leg, which will be a tour of DC. I think it’ll be cool, but I have some apprehension about the traffic that we are likely to get stuck in." -jess

This post made me feel really good, Jess. You are a good man, and a very gracious winner. I appreciate that very much.
-Jess is a great rider, and a great person, and I am really psyched to ride with him and Rich and Oz again soon, if not in the 2010 CBR. I need to figure out if I can go to amerivespa out there this coming time...

St louis.

One more. The Vespa st louis dealer temp plate on the bike, parked on
the sidewalk in bed stuy, Brooklyn.

New one.

I put the Vespa badge from my wrecked Gts on the glovebox of the new
one. I also put the bretta sticker from the side that didn't get
chowed. A little piece of my great old bike. It will be missed.

New one

Well, I just rode the new blue Gts around a bit, and put on the sticker.
Saint louis, meet Brooklyn. I will do my best to keep you fast and
safe and good. You do the same for me. It has 8 miles on it right now,
and I am going to swap out the tires tomorrow. Seriously. I have a
front zippy, and I am going to get a rear heidenaueuer because I like
those now also. The zippy front/ heide rear will prolly be my favorite
combo for longevity/ performance. I will just get a 140 later. The 130
is fine around town. I really like the 140/120 combo though. I rode that
all the way across the country, and know it well.

After all that

So after all that driving, I go to return the rental truck this
morning and it BROKE DOWN. Are you fucking kidding me????? I am a
block away from my apartment, sitting in bed-stuy Brooklyn, in a
broken penske truck, waiting for the tow truck.the truck made it from
San Fran to Brooklyn, but it couldn't just go the frikkin
Last 1.8miles to the return place. Christ. I can deal with scooters, I
can deal with mechanical issues, but this is cuckoo. My pal john came
to meet me on his lx at least, and he went to get us iced coffee. Oh
well. The journey is almost over.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

things I learned

I learned a few things on this one:
#1 If I dont get wiped out by a broken belt, I get more points.
#2 Spare tank is crucial.
#3 Go really fast where you can, and slow where you need to...because of, um, the law and everything...
#4 If I dont have the belt lock me up and make me crash, I get more points.
#5 Crashing at freeway speeds is not fun.
#6 Dont buy a GTV, ever
#7 Bring 5 belts and 3 sets of rollers. Change them even if you dont think you have to.
#8 Bring 3 mounted tires: 2 rears and 1 front. Change them on day 5 no matter what.
#9 Have a custom exhaust made that is a one piece pipe with some minimal baffling and will not break or leak or freak out at WFO for prolonged periods of time.
#10 work on some sort of air intake mod for the case, to keep the belt cooler. Work on an outlet (negative pressure) in the rear on TOP of the case like a louver setup to get even MORE cooling to the belt.
#11 Change the belt even with the new cooling mods on the case.
#12 Put the spare tank low and behind the leg shield, a 3 gallon with a manually switched pump to refuel on the go.
#13 bring the tools for a variator/clutch/belt/rollers/drivetrain swap ON the truck.the truck catches you with the belt/rollers/clutch..etc..all inside of one leg anyway.. also bring a spare clutch so if you cant get the shreds of belt out of the old one you dont have to F%^& with it on the side of the road.
#14 Lighten the bike however I can besides the spare gas and tools and stuff... like removing any extraneous stuff... i.e. rear rack, foot pegs... any amount, even a few pounds would have REALLY been nice to shed on the way up an 11,300 foot pass (monarch).

There are so many more. I will continue to post these lists over the next few days, I am sure. Just so I dont forget these things as I think about 2010....


Oz posted a shot of his screen, and I thought that was a cool idea. A
shot of the zumo. I never hit the 89.9 I had seen on my gts with the
bobo. The front rack and no flyscreen really kept the top end down. No
90mph sprints down hills on a gtv, even in a full tuck and with my
nice motor in there. Plus, I got increasingly paranoid about breaking
stuff everry day. I needed to catch jess, but I would never do it if I
was wfo the whole time and breaking stuff. Had to gain it in the
twisties, and with passing other people(semi's and cars) to keep my daily averages up.

Finish line welcome

Chris greets Joel and congratulates him on reaching the "correct" ocean.

Espresso too

What a great Vespa dealer in DC. They gave us a great welcome, awesome
Whole Foods pizza and killer espresso.

Thanks guys!


This is what happened when I said " look really excited that I made it
here first"... Hilarious. In whites ferry. Lots of people met up with
us there. Totally fun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

here is a fun one... Fort Scott,KS


I loaded the bobo GTV on his pal Tony's trailer, and went up to the hotel.
I am staying about 5 miles away from the official hotel tonight.
I went to go say goodbye, and to turn in my final days efforts, time-wise.
I finished 40 points behind Jess. He totally rocked it, all things considered.
The combination of being a solid rider and having the skills to make the tank work, to pee through a hose going down your pant leg, to keep your bike totally working..... that all added up to a well deserved win.
The only disappointment I feel is because a mechanical failure, a lunched belt in a fast sweeper... that determined my fate on this ride. The rides each day were really quite enjoyable, even through the places that people thought would be "too flat" or "too straight." It was just another facet of a ride that requires consistency and pace, across CRAZY diverse road conditions.
We did not get one drop of rain, however. It seems inconceivable that we rode every single day, all day, and did not get one drop of rain. Awesome weather, for the most part, except FREEZING on a couple of mornings.

Overall, I am totally more excited about riding than ever. I would do it again next week if I could, and this time I would use the stock variator.... but with a better motor... funny that the bobo GTV turned into the speedy bike...
I have so many thoughts in my head right now. i will organize after some rest, and post some coherent thoughts.
From the pacific ocean, to the atlantic ocean, on back roads all the way: on a Vespa. DID IT!!!

one interesting phenomenon seemed to be that the closer we got to the finish, and the more people were around, the more the CBR riders would kind of start to stick together... as though our shared experiences were starting to glue us together even more when we saw the super clean scooters and people that had ridden 16 miles to come hang out. We were all super appreciative of the support and the visits and the generosity of the scooter clubs we encountered, but we were all on a mission, and the heft of a shared experience can not be discounted.

Finish line

Results later, but it's over!


Made it!! Coast to coast on a Vespa.
Done. San fran to ocean city.


This Kymco from Taiwan has the same displacement as Joel's Vespa!

At Vespa Washington.


Waiting to group ride through DC with everyone, starting at the whites
ferry picnic area. I have been sitting here for a long time.

Whites ferry.

A bunch of people met us at whites ferry.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pete pictures

Check out all of these pictures. Pete is amazing:


Ed's rear tire developed a terrifying crack from the inside and made
him wish he replaced it last night, the way he originally planned.


Mark's bike was starving for fuel and crawled up the Maryland hills
today, so the brain trust went at it, with some success, we hope.

Oak mar hotel

The scene at the oak mar. I think everyone is here now.
Great ride today.


I would have caught jess, but I ran out of country.

Second place

Barring any technical mishaps on anybody's part, it is looking like I
will be placing second behind jess.
Man I am working for this second place finish, and I will be proud of
taking the silver after the events of this ride earlier on. A crash, a
thrown belt at speed, a missed checkpoint due to getting lost without
gps in the desert.
Even after all of that, I am back within 75 points of jess, and I am
proud of that fact. Jess is a great rider, and came very prepared with
a great bike and a setup with a very long range gas capacity. I am
having to get gas atvthe gas station and fill up from my 1 gallon can
in the topcase when I can't find a station. That takes time. Getting
lost tryingvto fund gas today meantvthat I lost 8 minutes to jess today.
Maroy continues to be like the mummy in a spooky movie, where it just
keeps coming at you at a steady pace while you run and then freak out
and run more, but you know if you stop at all he will be on top of you
in minutes.
That keeps the pressure on once I have passed him each day. I catch
up, then feel the steady pressure to stay out in front all day,
knowing he and jess are bearing down on me.
Stupidest thing I did today involved flooring it to get through a
train crossing, nowhere near the train, as the gates lowered. I passed
a car IN the train crossing and I only did it because jess was like
right behind me.
After all that, One train engine went through. ONE. It held jess up
like 1 minute. I was hoping for the 40 minute, 3 mile long train to
come through.
It was really fun cruising through the twisties with jess, until I
kept pushing to get some minutes in front of jess, and he backed off,
because he can at this point. I can't.
Super fun day.
One more. One more.

Pete Pictures

you HAVE to check out the pictures pete has been taking. They are incredible. Pete is a totally great guy, a great rider, and clearly a great photographer. he has been super fun to hang out with.

check out his flickr thingy:


Newest scoot?

This 2-wheeler should really haul.

Actually it's Bobo's engine on its way to the truck.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day sheets

This is the cover of the booklet that I log my times into each day. It
looks more f'd up now. I carry it in my inside jacket pocket, as I can
not seem to fully trust gps still. Gps is awesome, but when all else
fails, a map and directions will get you out of some crappy times. I
had a nice dinner at a place called "smokey bones" tonight. Went with
OZ, smoothrider, marc, mark, and feb31. We got a big table and ate
crazy Midwestern type of food. Giant portions of fried stuff and then
big sandwich thingy platters. Lots of food. It felt good to have that
be my one meal of the day. I have tea, then ride all day, then get to
the hotel and drink water and then eat at around 9pm. Yesterday and
today I had to pee about ten minutes after leaving the hotel, but held
it all the way through the ride so I didn't lose any time. Stops are
for gas only, and as quickly as I can fill up. I have it to a science.
I can swipe my card with my left hand while I pull the pet carrier out
with my right. Then I stuff a rag loosely around the filler because
you never know when you are gonna get a non shut off type pump. Toss
the carrier back in, and roll. I have it pretty quick now if the pump
doesn't suck too bad. The slow ones make me CRAZY. Like 2 minutes to
dispense 1.6 gallons is forever. It feels like it when I know the guys
are rolling steady with their tanks feeding their bikes like an I.V...

2 more

I have worked my way back up to second place, with only Jess in front
of me. He is out front by a good chunk though. It is keeping things
interesting each day to feel like I am on a mission.
The rides have been really fun for me the past two days, if only to
ride a lot.
I wake up psyched to go, and everything is feeling good.
I wish I didn't lose all my shaving stuff/ toiletries bag by leaving
it at the hotel yesterday. Totally forgot it. Bummer.
It had a bunch of extra contacts in it and some other stuff I will
miss as well, like foot powder... You'd be surprised how much that
helps. I still have the green gold bond though, which is holding my
crotch together quite well.


The exhaust stud on the bobo bike's motor broke yesterday, and we
couldn't extract it from the head. Pulled the motor and put in the
snazzy one from my Gts. It was a long day for all involved. I had
gotten to the hotel first, and rode immediately to get this worked on
at Vespa saint louis. They were totally great, jeff and Daniel
especially. Great job, Daniel, the bike feels really good with the new
motor, new rear tire, and all the other love.
Today, I figures out a great strategy:
When there is a long line of traffic being held by a flag person for
construction, get off the bike, shut it off and walk it up the side
luke I am out of gas. When I got to the front of the line, talk to the
person in the first car about anything, just to make contact. They
will let you go first.
Then: if the construction is taking forever, tell the worker lady or
guy that you are late for your best friends wedding. I did that every
time I hit construction today on 50, and they let me walk my scoot
through every single time. Devious, but it totally worked and got me
ahead without going too fast or taking stupid risks while passing
semi's all day. We had to do that anyway, but without going TOO nuts.
It is absolutely incredible to have the good engine in the bobo bike.
I hope to pull up to second as of today. I think I did. Even without a
gas tank custom built on the bike the way all the other front runners
have done. I would do it like patrick did it if I could do it over,
for sure. Low, and large capacity, with a pump to refill my tank on
the fly.
Next time...
Mark (mp3) is SO consistent, and so it really puts the pressure on me
to get way out front so I can stop for gas without him passing me
every time. Luckily I have good stoplight karma...
Day eight, and I am in cincinatti!! Only two more days!!!!!
There is going to be a live feed of the finish, sonewhere on the
interwebs. I will post when I get the link.
I will have more pics later.
The ride was another 400 miler today, but it just felt so good to be
riding that engine again that I was bummed when it was over. Seriously.
Thank goodness there are a couple days left before I give that thing
back to bobo and break in my scoot with a ride from ocean city to

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not three

I am not on a third scooter, as some have said.
I got a GTS (blue) in Saint Louis, and the motor from my old one is now in the Bobo GTV, which is what I am riding, still.
The new one is in the truck, and i am going to let Roy ride it if his clutch is too F'd up to keep going.
Gonna keep on riding.
The ride is great, and now the bobo bike is really feeling good with that nice motor in it, which I am giving to bobo for his incredibly generous lending of the GTV.
Updates soon.
The Saint Louis Scooter Club was totally generous and totally awesome hanging out with us tonight, and the guys at Vespa Saint louis did a great ob hosting all of us. Good Times.
Rachel, I will call you tomorrow.
Good night.

But the Bobo hybrid lives

Joel's trick motor is now in this scoot, which is getting a new tire
so he can rage on.

If at first ...

Joel's third & newest scoot. Only he gets to keep this one.


I decided I couldn't pull ahead with the bobo gtv, so we are putting a
turbo on it. Next, we will jack it up enough that it looks like a


Daniel at Vespa saint louis.
These guys are awesome.
Thank you!!! If you are in the saint louis area, you should he
supporting this shop. They are great.

Vespa st louis

Been on the lift here at Vespa saint louis for about 10 minutes now.
Totally stoked. I was the first to the hotel today, which suprised me.

They talk funny here

In Wheatland, MO.


I am in third place as of day 6.
I am feeling good about that fact.
my bike, crashed, lost an hour, borrowed bike, lost a couple of hours because of belt blowing out at speed, a d waiting for the trucks.... then riding steadily and returning to 3rd.
Proud of that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fort Scott

Fort Scott, Kansas knew we were coming... and they threw us a party!!!
The people have been incredible to us here, in fact this is the only town that actually seemed to know that we were coming through at all. The best thing I saw here was a bank sign, like one of those giant red LED marquee type signs that kept flashing "WELCOME SCOOTER CANNONBALL RUN!!" after stuff like, "TRY E-BANKING" and stuff like that, with the prerequisite time and temp.

We also visited a cool hotel and some guys were playing bluegrass. The people are really nice here. Thanks, Fort Scott Kansas!
When I get the link to the newspaper article about our visit (the reporter came down to the hotel, and to the party) I will post it.

Tomoorow: St. Louis!!!
it is a short one, only 280 miles!!! YEAH! Bring it on Missouri!

To Tone....

I have carried this coin every day, Tone.

History time

This hotel, with its original tin ceilings, is gorgeous.

Fort Scott was built to protect the Indians from us, according to one

Fort Scott

The Chamber of Commerce invited us to a soirée where these guys were


Got a new shoei r1000 today. Silver one. So glad. Those fit me
perfectly and really helped keep me in one piece on a 66 mph crash. I
am a fan.

In cold blood

Rode through hendon, Kansas yesterday. It is the town Truman capote
wrote about in "in cold blood. "

-Joel Hamilton
Sent from iPhone.


The desert was gorgeous.
Just another picture taken by a biker guy on a 7 million cc Cadillac
sliced in half crossed with voltron type of bike.
Scenic overlook somewhere.

Rachel Alamo caliente.

Yep, it was just after we turned off the extraterrestrial highway,
that I saw this sign. This one is for you, Rocky D.
Text me when you get back to the USA.

Wrench day

Monday was fixit day as we delivered a fuel injector for Rich and
joined Joel by the side of US 50 for an amazing belt change

There sure is a lot of Kansas in Kansas.


Monday, September 15, 2008

A reminder

From me, to me. On my zumo, which is right by my face all day.

day 5 again

I looked at the tall grass along the road for a while.