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uglyBROS – Now in the Shop

In the moto world it is de rigueur to wear a pair of jeans when riding. Points for style, sure – just don’t count on them saving your skin. Much safety gear is angled towards touring or racing and does not consider style or comfort when off the bike. 

Through an odd set of coincidences, after asking others their opinions on uglyBros jeans and pants, I received a call from one of their reps and now Quaker City Motor Works is their new Philadelphia area dealer.

UglyBROS has two basic offerings, jeans with a denim kevlar mix and pants with removable armor.

In the coming days and weeks I will be getting all of uglyBROS offerings up here for purchase as well as in the shop for you to try on. In the meantime you can check out uglyBros and ask us to order any specific pair you want.

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A Proper Cuppa

 The most important thing for enjoying your tea, is a proper mug.
The most important thing for enjoying your tea, is a proper mug.

While the sun never set on the British Empire, it also never set on a proper cup of tea. Somewhere in the 1600s this simple beverage arrived from the east and took that island nation by storm. This popularity was helped by the East India Trading Company and its hold on trade coming from India, China, and more. Advance ourselves forward a couple centuries and tea is as prevalent in the UK, but has lost out to coffee in many of the former colonies.

This leads me to the point of writing this. The inability for most Americans to brew a proper cup of tea. Let’s not get hung up on whether you put milk and or sugar in it, I am talking about the tea itself. 

So, here is my rant on/are some guidelines for a proper cup of tea…

Tea is black or green tea derived from cured leaves of the the Camellia Sinensis shrub/tree. All those others things are technically not tea. I am not some purist that will scold you for calling it tea, but if you offer me tea and serve me that swill I will think you a fool.

Orange Pekoe is not a kind of tea, it is a method of grading black tea. It is a medium grade also described as Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) that uses the smaller middle size tea leaves. The “bud” or highest grade would be Flowery Orange Pekoe or Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe. The other bigger leaves up the stem are used for different teas like souchong. 

Making the tea:

  • Fresh water boiled to a rolling boil – this means there are bubbles and all that.
  • Good tea – see above. A good black tea or Earl Grey are my go to teas. Loose tea is not necessary, but it will be a more flavorful brew. Lipton is only good for iced tea. PG Tips is a good economical tea with decent flavor. A true fanatic may scoff at the use of bagged tea, but I am a realist.
  • Warm the cup or pot you will be brewing in – This is so your water does not lose its heat.
  • Place the tea or tea bag in your cup. There are many different holders for loose tea, but if properly brewed, loose tea will sink to the bottom.
  • Pour the hot water directly on the tea/teabag – Loose tea you can leave in, but I would remove bagged as it can get bitter (give at least 3-5 minutes).
  • At this point you can add any bit of milk or sugar you desire and make it a builder’s, but in my opinion a good tea straight is how to go.

There is something wonderful about a crisp morning and a cuppa with the steam coming off to start your workday.

For a proper British rant on tea and its preparation here is a little ditty from George Orwell.

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Nostalgia overload

It seems I am smack dab in the middle of the nostalgia years. A point in a persons life where what has passed is much more alluring than what will come. At points I understand this desire as it is part of what I do, but often I am at a loss for the desire to halt time and relive a part of your past. For some reason I understand this more with the motorcycles that get restored and resurrected at the shop as a means to preserve the past, than I do the constant barrage of reunion tours from the bands of my youth. Don’t get me wrong, many of these bands I list among my favorite musical acts. I am just not as enthused about their revival as many of my compatriots are.

There is this intangible thing with a band and its music at that right point in time that transcends it from just sound to something, for lack of better terms, spiritual. Pan camera to some 80’s cliché teenager sitting in their room listening to the Smiths. Each of those moments where we have put a soundtrack to an event in our life we can relive again each time we hear that song. Seeing that band live again lacks the authenticity of that original show or time you put that super cool record on before trying to impress that new girl with how cool you were. Along with you, these bands have aged, the emotions and desires that created that art have long since passed and now most are a cover band of themselves.

With bikes it is a similar scenario. Many folks coming in the shop are looking for that bike of their youth. Whether it was their first one or the one that really cool kid down the street had. Modern bikes and how smoothly they accelerate and adequately stop in time – fail in helping us relive that rush of our youth. The sound, the vibration, and feeling one is about to fall off the back – man that is a thrill. 

With motorbikes, the revival is a much less authentic. The name of the brand remains, but the people, the designers, and engineers have all disappeared and been replaced. The modern revivals are just a Beatlemania cover band of the old moto brands. No heart, no soul, the only history is in their name. 

 

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What is playing at the shop – Wax Tailor

I guess I could make the soundtrack at the shop like most others and just play rockabilly, old punk, or hardcore – but, I’m not going to do that. Wax Tailor, for me is hard to categorize. Often it gets lumped in with Trip or Hip Hop and that is that. The pity is that categorization will turn off many who may actually really dig it. 

Wax Tailor is technically just one French DJ/Producer named Jean-Christophe Le Saoût as he is the brains behind it all. What is most compelling is the collaborations and artists that he pulls in. 

Start with Tails of the Forgotten Melodies and work your way through the rest.

Spotify

Soundcloud

Google Play

After you are convinced, get out to the TLA this Friday (Oct 16) doors open at 8.

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What is playing at the shop…

There are few artists that remain as strong through the years or inspire as much as Patti Smith. If you listened to college radio in the early 80s, like me, there is no doubt you heard her version of “Gloria”. It has as much punch today as it did then, spine tingling and as powerful as the rest of the album Horses

Late nights in the shop require a little more energy than what caffeine can provide and Patti can provide that energy with a soundtrack that has been keeping me going since I heard it on my local(ish) college radio (thanks WPRB).

If you do not know the raw power and glory that is Patti Smith or just need a reminder, give Horses a listen:

Google Play Music

Spotify

Apple Music

 

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Gone Racing…

Over twenty five years ago I almost finished the build on my first race bike. It was a BSA A50 Royal Star that after an engine rebuild I started to hop up. It was a good runner even without the long sought cyclone head (that never arrived). Well things transpire and that bike was used for tuition money.

Last year my good friend Matt went and got his race license through AHRMA. Being there, watching, and occasionally helping him got me back wanting to race myself. Less than a year later I am scrambling to get a Triumph TR5T ready to race for the AHRMA event at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) on July 10th.

Things were progressing slowly through the spring and really did not get to where they needed to be by the end of June, when I had originally planned the bike to be running for a few test runs.

The week before I had enlisted my friend George (known to many as English George) to head up the safety wiring department and transit of the bike to the race. At this point we forward to the Monday the week of the race and there is some emergency ordering of clutch plates and a couple of gaskets, but getting things done by Thursday when I need to head down seems attainable.

The Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday pass and progress is amazing, this thing is going to happen. UPS at the shop usually arrives by one, but still no clutch plates. Thursday progresses as I give up on new clutch plates and finish welding the exhaust pipes. George is running late after packing and then calls around 4 or 5 saying he just got rear-ended heading to the shop. At this point is is probably worth noting that George is already in a neck-brace. Luckily he is fine and his transit is unscathed. 

We load up the still not running bike and George starts on his way as I head home to pack. An half hour later I am on the road as the clouds roll in and the heavens open up on us with tornado warnings for the area we need to drive through. Somehow, I end up beating George to the track by 20 minutes. 

That night I got things wired up, but we still had to mount pipes and finish up some safety wiring. Due to that we did not have the bike running in time for class. Luckily Matt offered up his CB175 for my use when needed. and I was on my way for the day and I was able to get my race license.

The next day had me finishing up everything and missing my practice sessions, but I was ready for the first race on an untested bike (excluding a few runs around the paddock).

The warm up lap on the first race felt good and riding a bike that felt more like what I was used to was reassuring. The first lap was good, and to be expected, the rest of my heat left me behind. With them in the near distance I hit the carousel and the bike chugged a bit as I opened up the throttle for the chicane and the front straight. At this point I was realizing my jetting wasn’t adequate for lower revs and decided the next time round I needed to keep the revs higher.

In lap one the 500GP and Formula 500 heats started passing me and now a couple of turns into lap two my heat was gaining on me. With the carousel coming up I put on the throttle pushing myself to keep a better line and lean more into the corners. I was still getting passed, but it was taking them some time. Half way through the carousel I started to open the throttle to keep up. As I do I can hear the engine start to bog down as the exhaust starts screaming from the right. A quick look down and my right pipe is hanging off of safety wire and a p-clamp. Left hand up and into the pits for me.

At this point I was not totally dejected about todays performance, but I was starting to feel dread about not being able to get on the track the next day. In the process of blowing my right pipe off I lost a valuable home made spigot for the exhaust. I searched around the swap meet and checked the tech area if anything was found on the track, but no luck. On my search I talked to John Melniczuk, he thought he may have something in his shop six miles away and he would check later that night. 

A couple of phone calls with John and some measurements taken, and he is throwing one from a 650 onto a lathe for my. This leads us to how amazing a community of people that gets created on track days, It is hard to understand and must be witnessed to be believed.

In the morning John shows up with a spigot that fits perfectly and I refit the pipes and secure them better. I almost miss practice, but get out there after some re-jetting of the carb. Little things on the bike get tweaked like the position of the shifter and some slack taken out of the cables.

The last race of the weekend is at hand, the test lap feels good. We line up at the grid and are off with the second wave. The race goes well, I am still not leaning as far as I should, I realize second is much to low and third a stretch for some turns, have a blast the whole time, and amazing don’t come in last (but, I am not sure the person behind me losing his carb and not finishing counts).

The bike needs some finagling and the rider, well, I need to get some more track time.