Yesterday, the outside temperature rose to 10ÂºC.
I’ve been sick with a stomach flu, but felt a little better in the afternoon. The sun was shining, melted snow was dripping frantically from the roof, and under my motorcycle in the yard, an ever-widening patch of uncovered grass.
I carefully wheeled my venerable 1985 Honda Shadow 750 into the driveway. To my shame, I didn’t clean her up nicely before winter — the dust of the last few rides still covered everything. I also didn’t remove the battery, which is highly recommended. Stupid.
I turned the key on — lights. Good sign. I opened the choke and thumbed the starter. It cranked, but wouldn’t turn over. Not a good sign.
Understand, I’m even less mechanically-inclined as your average computer geek. My dad was a carpenter; my youngest brother is an accomplished welder; our middle brother is an electrician. But clearly my brothers got all the trades-style skills and left me with the enormous good looks and charm. Or something. Usually when I try to fix anything mechanical, I’m back at the mechanic’s again confessing, “Yes, I tried to fix it. I know, I know what happened last time. I’m sorry. Please undo what I’ve done.” As Randall Munroe wrote, “As a project wears on, standards for success slip lower and lower.” Lord, have I been there.
Still. It’s nearly spring. And I have a motorcycle.
On impulse, I got out the jumper cables. Got the car running, affixed cables, and carefully attached the negative to the bike. Not a lot of room in there to actually connect the cables, so I held the positive on the battery and thumbed the starter again.
“Vhwoom!” That did it — she jumped to life as though she hadn’t been sitting in my yard for three months, covered with nothing but a motorcycle cover — and snow.
I let her run for a long while, letting the storage-treated gasoline burn through. Meanwhile I took the back seat off and replaced the sad bicycle saddlebags she came with with the nice leather ones my brother sent me for Christmas (thank you, Curtis!)
I dusted off everywhere I could reach with a soft rag. I put leather protector on the saddlebags and seats, using my riding gloves.
My daughter Celia came home and enthusiastically joined in the cleaning efforts. We got out some CLR and began scrubbing off the rust that violated the chrome. Thálion and Seth came home and enthused over the growling engine.
And I climbed aboard and took her for a little ride along the street outside my house.
I’m still sick, but I think today I’ll go buy insurance for her. The sun is melting today’s clouds away…
Edit: I put six months’ insurance on the bike today too. And took it for a spin down the road.