Saturday, March 12, 2016

Weak bladder

This article may not be what you were expecting.

When I got the Vespa GTS 300 back in March 2013 it had a Tucano Urbano Termoscud apron installed. That thing is a wonder.

It wraps tightly around the Vespa's leg shield and encloses the radiators along with the rider's lower body. At the tail end it has a kind of reverse bib that you tuck under your riding jacket that keeps the Termoscud in place and adds an additional layer of weather protection for the rider's abdomen. The Termoscud keeps the leg space between the seat and the leg shield at a balmy 85° (29°C) when the weather is below freezing, even at highway speeds.

To prevent the Termoscud from flapping in the wind at those speeds there are lateral air bladders that act as battens once inflated.

The right side bladder had a slow leak. It would barely hold its air for my 30 km commute. Now that I am contemplating a 500 km ride at the end of March, it was high time to get that weak bladder problem sorted out.

The inflation tubes are at the top end of the lap apron. There is a Velcro-sealed opening at the bottom close to the floorboards. I separated the hook and loop fastener and with a bit of wiggling and coaxing extracted the air bladder.

In no time I found the leak near a seam at the top of the bladder close to the inflation tube. I dug into my tub of adhesives and hauled out no less than three vinyl repair kits collected over the years from blow up beds and pool accessories.

The patch worked like a charm.

Re-installing the bladder was a bit of a chore, but some whipping twine threaded down through the bladder enclosure and tied to the inflation tube made it almost easy to fish the bladder back into its enclosure.

On a final note, the Termoscud has some stealthy unsuspected safety features.

Ultra-reflective piping and logo, and a broad reflective strip on the right side help you to be seen at night.

And just like that, I am one step closer to being ready for the big and potentially chilly ride to Toronto. That said, if the weather is anything like it was today for our epic moving sale, I will be seriously overheating with that lap apron on. If that happens, the first course of action will be to open the Termoscud's gills to let the hot radiator air out into the wild. If that doesn't cut it, I can always take a break at a service centre along the way and stow the Termoscud in the pet carrier.


SonjaM said...

For a moment I was wondering if your Vespa suffered from incontinence in some way. Glad it was just the air bladder of the "pensioner's blanket" as we call this cover in Germany.

David Masse said...

Well at least now I am basically a pensioner, and it is basically a blanket, so, as the saying goes "if the shoe fits...".

That German expression does imply a certain weakness in the rider, but in my defense, this is the Great White North, and hypothermia is an equal opportunity foe, striking both at pensioners and young bucks with blind indifference.

I suppose I could avoid the stygma by getting heated underwear, but that damn blanket is just so comfy.

Spoken like a true pensioner.

Maybe I can install a hot tea dispenser... ?

SonjaM said...

David, despite the somewhat derogative name also young folks are known to use it during winter commute. No excuse necessary ;-)

SonjaM said...

Oh, and I'd go for the hot tea dispenser. A Thermos is so last millennium...

David Masse said...

Every age presents its own challenges Ed. The key is managing to retain our youth in our minds. It would be easier done without mirrors.

The City Mouse in the Country said...

I've often wondered if those things were useful or not. I'm glad to see that they are. Not that I would have use for one here in Florida.

David Masse said...

I was out in some pretty chilly temps today and the lap apron did its job keeping my lower body very comfortable.

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