The Squirrley Rear Sprocket



That rattle in the sprocket was really starting to worry me. Whenever I’d touch it before it always seemed solid. I called Santa Clara Cycle who recently (< 350 miles ago) put a new tire on it and they offered to look at it. I was 200 miles away and not really interested in trailering the bike back to San Jose.


My roommates didn’t really know as they both drive shaft driven bikes that don’t really exhibit these sorts of issues.  We all thought it might be related to the cush drive rubbers that sit inside the wheel.  I have replaced them once, but I can’t remember if that was 25,000 or 50,000 miles ago.

I called around to a few places locally and it seemed like Micheal’s Powersports of Reno would be my best option. They were open Saturdays, had space, and were a Suzuki dealer. The service manager Micheal seemed to be a cool guy so that was going to be my next stop.

The ride down wasn’t really all that interesting. I’d done US-50 the day before in the truck.  It’s a gentle ascent and descent over Spooner Summit.  With a hard left on Interstate 580 and a fast ride into town, I was there in 90 minutes.  Not a bad ride.  It does however point out that stuff is far away from South Lake Tahoe.  There are a few dealers near my home in the bay area, but this was the one in the area up here.  That being said, i drove the same distance to San Jose to get tires.  So, maybe the distance doesn’t matter.

Micheal remembered me from 6 days before.  That in and of itself was pretty damn incredible.  I’m more known by my phone number here at home, yet he remembered me as a person.   Bonus points awarded there.  When we looked at the bike Micheal indicated the play was much less than he thought it would be.  Diagnosis of the issue would be 1hr or $100.  While more than I wanted to pay, $100 was worth the piece of mind that I’d be safe out there.

The shop was crazy big.  It was about twice the size of what you’d see back at home.  Unfortunately most of the bikes were all 49 state bikes – meaning you couldn’t buy them and import to California due to emission controls.  Why CA emission controls aren’t nationwide I don’t know, but that’s not going to happen for at least 4 years.  About 1 hr later Micheal flagged me in and let me know the bike was fine.  The play was a natural element of wear and seemed to be within spec for the age and mileage of the bike.

With all that behind me, I met Patrick and his partner Kyler for lunch at Burger me!  Food was super good and it was nice to see old friends in the area.  After a round of lunch Patrick and Kyler headed north and I hopped over to the other side of the street to meet well we’ll say a hot date.  He was cool and hopefully we will connect again.

At about 4pm I knew that it was going to get cold quick – especially with another 3500 ft to climb.  I decided to head back NV-431, the Mount Rose Highway.  It’s got more technical turns to it and also a nice ride along Lake Tahoe’s shores.  Both of which are good for the motorcycling soul.

It was surprisingly warm down in Reno.  I was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt.  I often find that fall sneaks up on you.  It’s usually not a harsh transition between summer and fall.  Fall often sits in the shadows and catches you off guard.  The softness of the transition generates the suprise.


I headed up to the Mount Rose highway and the sun was already slipping behind the mountains.  The cool air was racing down the hill at a pretty good clip. I knew that getting to the other side of the mountain would generate some warmth so I tried to stop less to keep moving.  The look back east was just too good to pass up.

I always forget how high the Mount Rose summit is.  It’s almost 9000 feet and a full 20 degrees colder than Reno.  Once over the pass, some of my favorite things in the Lake Tahoe basin appear.  Tahoe meadows is a wonderful spot I’ve hiked, snowshoed, and mountain biked.  Sitting at a hair above 8500 feet it makes for a full workout!


A bit further down the highway there’s an overlook off to the left that has a near full view of the lake.  I almost always stop there. The view never disappoints.


Nevada 431 ended too quickly and then it was a quick turn on Nevada 28 headed south to South Lake Tahoe. I hit the sunset about halfway down the lake with an outstanding view.


I quickly found out a couple was getting their wedding photos done up at the same spot and didn’t want visitors. Even though it was a public space, I didn’t want to distract too much.

As I was walking out there was a guard preventing new people from getting in. That’s where things got sour for me. The “guard” gave me dirty looks, but they can’t lock people out and I was well out of the field of view.

So alas, the last bit of sun before heading home. All in all – good day on the bike.





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