Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Minor Mechanical Mishaps

So, when I came out one afternoon to take Maggie to Marshall's for her noon inspection appointment, I geared up and prepared because I was planning on going running with Katie Milanese at 1:00 when I was done. So, backpack loaded, helmet and gloves on, I hit the start button. And...nothin happened. I made sure I was in neutral, that they key was on, that I didn't have the engine kill switch in the off position (which I have done occasionally). All looked good. I popped off the seat to make sure I didn't loosen any wires and sure enough, one was disconnected. I reconnected it and tried again...still nothing.

I took off the side covers and looked for a kick start. I found nothing resembling a kick start. At this point I am getting tight in terms of making it to the appointment. I replaced the side covers and tried one more time. Nothing. I checked my front light. Nothing. Great. The battery was dead.

I decided to try pop-starting it using my downhill driveway. It was faster than getting out jumper cables. I made it halfway down my street, with the engine sputtering and burping before it died. I pushed it back home and tried again with a similar result. I moved onto jumper cables, fully sure that I was going to now be at least ten minutes late. Maggie fired right up and ran smoothly...until I unhooked the cables and after 30 seconds, she coughed and died. Same deal the next time I jumped her.

Finally, I had to call Marshall's and reschedule my appointment until 4:00 that afternoon. I hooked her up to a battery charger and on my way I went to go run with Katie.

When I returned, I waited until 3:30 and tried again. Sure enough, she fired right up and ran smoothly. I was afraid that if she stalled that I wouldn't have enough battery for another start, so I put the choke on full and ran inside to change my clothes. That was a bad idea.

When I get back outside, I turn to the side of the house and see smoke. As I come upon my bike, their is smoke POURING from both sides of it. It only took me four or five minutes, but I guess letting it idle high for that long is a bad idea. I immediately shut her down and off come the seats and side covers, once again. I use one as a fan to dissipate the smoke. After a few minutes, and the smoke is gone, I try again, because how can you possibly call it quits when you have put this much time in. She fires right up and I notice that her temperature gauge indicates she is plenty warm. I head off to Marshall's without another problem.

After getting my bike inspected ($20) and ordering a new front tire ($60) because the old once was scalloped a bit, Dan told me that there was a good chance I had a bad battery or potentially worse, a bad recharging system and to keep and eye on it.

The following day, my manual came from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. I immediately read it cover to cover. Come to find out that there are two lock positions on many motorcycles. One just locks it. The other, in case you are on the side of the road at night, leaves your license plate light on for easier spotting by other vehicles. The night before my inspection, I locked the handle bars before I took the key out. Guess which locking position I unknowingly used? Riiiight.

Next Chapter: The First Night of Bike School

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