Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Long Dry Spell

I realized recently that this may be the longest time I’ve done the least riding since…well, since I went over to the dark side and started motorcycling over a quarter-century ago. I recall riding into town a couple of times back in the dark grey days of winter, when being a man of leisure still held some appeal. Even then, one trip was on the Rockster because Beast’s battery started weirding out on me, and of course Beast had two broken mirrors.

Then came the snows of 2010, and biking became impossible for most of February and well into March. By that time, Beast’s battery wouldn’t fire her up even when left on the battery tender overnight, and the Rockster had sprung a slow leak in her rear tire.

It wasn’t until late spring when I had the resources to start turning the tide of decrepitude—first, a new battery, then two mirrors. Each one of those items, by the way, cost the same as a meal at The Inn, excluding wine.

Then it was, all told, four new tires: a new rear tire for the Rockster (which somehow mysteriously developed a pencil-sized hole in it even as Phil was riding it home), the judicious replacement of Beast’s perilously worn (read: nearly bald) rear tire, and both sketchy front tires just for good measure.

But bikes got to be ridden.

Because poor Beast sat so long out in the elements (...unfortunately, right under the drip edge of the shed roof...) over the winter, she developed injector bronchitis. Could be simple fuel contamination, could be a side effect of the funky ethanol mixes everyone is flogging these days, could be gum, could be a colony of petroleum-eating amoebae, could be any number of things. What it means is she will fire up all right, but won’t idle worth a damn.

And first thing in the morning, there’s nothing like trying to coax a faltering bike uphill on a gravel road when all the sudden she clears her throat and the power jumps from somewhere around “just about to die” to “LET”S GO BABY!” Yeah, that’s fun.

I tried the round trip to work a couple of times, hoping the problem would take care of itself. The first time, I desperately sought out the first place that was open at that time of the morning for some injector cleaner. I dumped half the bottle into the fuel tank, crossed my fingers, then stumbled and lurched on to the superslab and to work.

Topped off the tank with fresh expensive super-duper premium name-brand designer gasoline on the way home, hoping for some modicum of improvement. No dice. Stopped at another joint, got a different kind of injector cleaner, dumped half of that into my tankful of fresh expensive super-duper premium name-brand designer gasoline and stumbled home through a living hazy hot humid summertime afternoon rush hour road work stop-and-go traffic hell.

Anyway. Beast is now receiving some tender wrenchlove, and though the stumbling problem is resisting the first few efforts to correct it, I expect it will be resolved in short order. I trust that shortly, we will be getting our ride on again, and I look forward to that with great enthusiasm. It’s been a long dry spell.

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