I had a bad case of spring fever this afternoon-- it was so beautiful and clear and warm that I wanted to be anywhere but the office. In fact, I wanted to be blasting down an open road on two wheels, enjoying the wind and the sun and the warm and the oh-so-California nature of the day.
Tonight when I pulled the car into the garage, the bikes spoke to me. "Come riding", they said. "We miss you."
This evening I decided to listen to them. Since it was no longer sunny and warm, I donned a couple layers of pants, my good riding boots, and a heavy riding jacket, then headed for the garage. It's been a few weeks since I rode, and I wasn't sure the battery would be up to the task, but by god I was going to try.
After only the slightest of hesitations, Booh started right up. Hallelujah! I keep the two bikes parked in front of my car in the shared garage, but there's sometimes room for a bike to escape. I eyeballed the space between the cars and decided that I could easily maneuver him out of there, and started the backward-turn-forward-turn-repeat procedure that it takes to turn the bike in a small space. Between turns I set the bike down on the sidestand for a moment, and it wasn't there.
The bike went down. I uttered a long string of obscenities that would make a sailor blush and send your average rapper running for a dictionary to look up some words. I hit the kill switch, and tried to pick him up. No dice. I tried again. No dice, but now the side case was at a bad angle. Shit. I sent email to the building's mailing list. "Anyone up? Can you give me a hand in the garage?" Nothing. Shit, it sometimes takes an hour for mail to get through to the list.
Eventually a truck pulled into the garage. I introduced myself to the neighbor, explained my predicament, and he was happy to help. One minute later, the bike was righted. Total damage: a broken luggage bracket, a bent shifter, and a few scuffs on the fairing. Not too bad, but the shifter was bent far enough that it was hitting the shift linkage, so the bike was unrideable. I went upstairs to get tools and drop my jacket off, then pulled the shifter and straightened it.
Once the bike was reassembled, I decided to try starting him. I was pretty sure that the battery wouldn't do it, but it was worth a try. Crank crank crank, and voila! I listened for a minute and decided it was running fine. Whew!
By god, after all that work I was still going to get a nice ride in. I headed upstairs to grab my jacket, then pulled my car out of the space so I had room to maneuver. Walked the bike out of the way, pulled the car back in, and donned my gear again.
At the bottom of the ramp, I hit the garage door opener and waited for the industrial door to open. I dropped the bike into gear, and started up the ramp, slipping the clutch as I always do.
Halfway up the ramp, I stalled the bike. Dammit. The ramp is steep, and I started rolling backwards down it. The whole way down I had visions of dropping the bike again, but I was extra careful, controlled the slide with the front brake, and came to a halt precisely one inch from the Prius that's parked at the bottom.
ARGH! OK, one more time. I hit the starter.
Clunk. That's the sound of a too-weak battery trying to start a motorcycle.
Just today, the Sprint mailing list was discussing jump-starting bikes, and I pointed out that it's very easy to jump a bike from a car battery. (The secret is not to start the car, or you can overload the bike's electrical system.) I briefly contemplated the jumper cables that were in the trunk, then decided against it. The bike gods spoke to me, and they said, "Do not ride that bloody bike tonight."
I listened, and very carefully walked the bike back to his parking space then took the battery out, went upstairs, and pulled out the trickle charger. And I think I pulled a muscle in my neck.
Perhaps tomorrow the bike gods will be happier with me.
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