I know lots of you have already had the opportunity to get your bike out and go for a ride, but yesterday was my first chance. Depending on the weather I’ve generally always planned to be riding by St. Patrick’s Day. Since I don’t have a paved driveway, OK I don’t have any driveway at all, I have to wait till until the ground dries up in front of my shed before I can get my bike out. A few days with lots of sun and wind and its pretty safe to try it. Now I live in an area where we have lots of clay soil, in fact the little town where I live has the highest concentration of clay in its soil in the entire state of Pennsylvania, so you’d think my yard would be hard as a rock, right?. It is, except for right in front of the shed. Over the years I’ve left some pretty deep ruts in the grass when the ground was soft. Just like a good golfer I do replace my divits. Now people have suggested that I dump some gravel to harden up that ground but if I did when I cut the grass the stones would be flying all over the place. With the close proximity of the neighbors houses I’m afraid they’d do damage so no gravel.
Now another thing about my shed. Its not heated and there’s no electricity to it. That means I don’t have my battery hooked to a trickle charger. Ya, I know I could pull it and put it on a charger in the basement but if a nice day came when the ground was frozen and I wanted to ride it wouldn’t be ready. Normally all it needs is a little jump to get it started. And that’s what I did yesterday. I hooked the jumper cables to my truck and let them sit for awhile while I put some new good gas in the tank, pumped up the air pressure in the tires and cleaned the remnants of last years bugs off the windshield.
After about a half hour I turned the gas on, pulled the choke out a little, turned the key on and punched the starter button. Whirrr, click, click, click. Hmmm, it looked like it would take more juice than I thought it would. I started the truck up, now don’t do this at home because all companies highly recommend you don’t, and let it idle for awhile. I tried again. Click, click, click. My neighbor came over to see what was going on. He’s a great guy and works as a mechanic at a bus company. After seeing the bike wouldn’t start he went to his garage and brought over a heavy duty portable industrial strength battery charger/starter. He attached the cables, I hit the button and the bike fired. I left it on high idle as we took all the cables off and decided to take it for a ride to charge the battery up. I really hadn’t planned to but figured I’d better.
I went and put my boots and jacket on, through my leg over the bike and settled down onto the seat. Almost Heaven. It felt so good when I felt and heard that familiar clunk after I tapped the gear shift into first gear. Out onto the street and I’m smiling like a butchers dog. I roll up through the gears as I head towards the highway. I’ve got a little route planned that will give me about a half hour, 45 minute ride that should give the battery a pretty good charge. I notice that the highway department hasn’t cleaned the crap off the roads yet, another reason I wait till St. Patty’s Day. It doesn’t matter I keep going.
All too soon I’m pulling the bike back into the yard. As I’m turning it to head into the shed it gives a cough, sputters and dies. I turn the key off and then back on and hit the starter button, nothing. I look and the amp meter is reading zilch. I figure the bike was running off the alternator the whole ride and that I’ll be making a trip to New Castle H-D tomorrow (they’re closed on Mondays) for a new battery. But you know what, I’ll still probably have a grin on my face from that ride yesterday.
Posted by Sam Kanish
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