Category: Thoughts

And Now We Wait…

Just a quick update on the progress of the bike. I called the shop this Monday (Nov 21st) to see what stage the repairs were at. Was actually thinking about having them give an opinion on the handlebars. Turns out they finished the work the previous Friday so she was all set to go into storage. Sigh. Missed the window of opportunity to not have to pay labor twice.

So now it’s just send out the cover and have her sit until Spring. It’s been an absolutely gorgeous fall and I wonder how long I would have ridden her had she been available. It’s Thanksgiving today, and usually that means a snowstorm. Instead it hit 57 degrees. There are still bikes making the daily commute to campus. Sigh.

I have no idea what next summer will bring. I’m in the middle of making a decision regarding a new job. Perhaps that will allow me to get a few more miles on, as there is some business travel required. But for now, I have to be content knowing that she’s all fixed up and just waiting for me.

And you know, at this point, I think those handlebars aren’t going to be a problem. I think I’ll just grab life by them and ride.

Odometer: 10,121 miles (still)


Well, it’s been two months since my bike got pushed over. I haven’t ridden it, and I’ve barely seen it, since.

I did call the dealer and had them come pick it up before I left town. They showed up Monday evening (Sept 12) and Brad loaded her into the trailer. He took a quick look at her and found things I hadn’t. As he rode it down the driveway and into the trailer, he too wasn’t real happy with it and confirmed that it was a good thing I had it picked up.

Ok, I’m out of town one direction one week, back for a day, then off in another direction the following week. But that one day in between, I drove out to the shop to talk/look it over with the guys. What I had first thought might only be $200-300 in damage turned out to be more than $1,300. Brake lever, grips, pegs, turning lights, windshield, mufflers, and broken bolts were the bulk of it. Yeesh. Okay, time to call the insurance company.

I had to wait until I got back to town the second time to get the ball rolling on the insurance claim. Found dealing with them to be really pleasant actually. My deductible was less than I expected and the adjuster actually found some additional damage that the others had missed. They pretty much cut a check to the shop that day.

I was wavering a bit on whether to get some of it fixed up or not. For instance, I still want to get saddlebags which means I need to replace (and move) the rear turn signals anyway. But after a quick inquiry, I figured out that was going to be too much trouble, so I just gave them the green light to put it back the way it was.

It’s been probably a month since I gave the go-ahead, but I was really in no hurry. I knew my riding season was over. They’ve got until spring to get her fixed up for all I care. They did call and say some of the parts were backordered, but again, we’ve got months to get it done, so its not a bother at this point.

Today is usually what I consider the end of the riding season. On top of it being pretty cold to ride, especially in the mornings, the days are getting short. Even if it’s nice for a week or two more, that’s all you can hope for this time of year. I have seen a few bikes still out on the streets. Good for them. I wish I was too. But I feel a bit like a poser, since I haven’t been riding lately. Even put away the leather jacket for the first time in two years.

I’ve missed some nice weather this fall for riding. My confinement has started two months early, so I expect by March I’m going to be pretty stir-crazy to get out and ride. I wish I could do some more work on the bike this winter, but I’m guessing that won’t happen. (Although, I still have a yearning to call them up and have them swap out the handlebars.) So at this point, the best I can do is make plans for next year.



Well, it’s not been a good day. I woke up to find my bike lying on it’s side.

Harley lying on its side

I don’t know how it happened, but all signs point to it being pushed over. It was standing upright at 9:30 p.m. last night, but by 9:30 a.m. this morning it was lying on it’s right side. There was no wind to speak of overnight, so it didn’t blow over. There was a car parked directly behind it so it’s difficult to imagine that it was bumped. It fell to the right, not the left, so it wasn’t an issue with the jiffy stand. It had to have been pushed.

I’ve picked up a Sportster before by myself, but it wasn’t mine. The way this one fell near the curb, made it really difficult to get leverage to lift it. After a few attempts and a bit of puzzling, a stranger was driving by and asked if I needed help. Not too proud to say yes. We got it righted and took a quick look. He wished me luck and I thanked him and that was that.

Now to assess the damage. Their was a piece from the end of the brake lever that broke off and was lying on the ground. That brake lever was bent from the last time she tipped over. And the lens cap from the left rear turn signal was also lying on the ground. The housing for the turn signal was slightly dented and scratched, but the lens cap popped back in fairly easily. A few scuffs on the throttle grip and the fringe, and maybe on the tailpipe (I need to wash it to be certain) and that seems to be about it. Except for the gas. I had just filled it up on Friday before I parked it and it seems that all of the gas leaked out. And when I unscrewed the filler cap to check the level, the cap seemed looser than I would have left it. I wonder if they didn’t loosen it just to have the gas run out. At least the oil is in good shape.

I decided to start her up to see how she’d react and noticed a couple of more things. First, when I climbed on, the handlebars had moved. Now I’ve been bitching about the handlebars all summer. It seems that maybe they finally got moved where I wanted them. Seems odd though. Like crawling into a different car. They did seem tight though. I couldn’t get them to move anymore, so I’ll go with that. Mirrors will have to be adjusted though.

And secondly, as soon as I pulled the clutch in, she started to roll back. Before I had put her in neutral. Odd, and possibly not good. Put her in neutral and fired her up. Started right away with no troubles. Put her in first gear, also with no troubles. Let out the clutch a bit, still no troubles. OK. Maybe she’s good. Shut her down to ponder her fate.

I’ve got two working days before I leave for a couple of weeks. They’re forecast to be beautiful, just like today is. Lovely days to ride. I have errands I need to run too. But I need to get the bike into the garage before I leave anyway, and I’m not sure I trust it at the moment and I don’t have time to deal with it before I go. Screw it. Park it in the garage.

OK, back out to start it up again and put it away. Fired up again with no problems. The handlebars still feel different, but I just have to get it around the corner. Pull out and go to put my foot on the peg and – no peg. Duh! It got folded up when it fell. Kicked it down and didn’t like what I felt. Felt Loose. Wobbly. Not solid.

Bother. This I do not like. Whatever, just get it in the garage.

Got it parked, which is always a fun exercise as it gets parked crosswise in a single stall garage. Took a closer look at that footpeg, and while there doesn’t seem to be much for damage, it is a lot looser than the left side. Need to have someone look at that. Really don’t want to ride it until they do.

I did call the police to file a report. Not enough damage for an insurance claim (I don’t think at least), but there’s enough goings on in the neighborhood that I wanted it logged. Maybe if they catch the mischief-makers they can hold it against them.

While I won’t have to deal with it until I return in a couple of weeks, I am wondering if my riding season is over. Since my favorite mechanics are over 100 miles away I can’t just pop over and talk to them. One thought was to call them and have them pick it up and look at it while I’m gone. If it needs fixing, well that would settle it. I’d be done for the winter. If she’s good to go, I could have them bring it back and hope to get another couple of months worth out of her before the snow flies. Need to get that brake lever and probably grips dealt with either way.

Maybe I’ll give them a call in the morning.

Odometer: 10,121 miles

Odometer reading 10,002 miles

Well There’s That

Odometer reading 10,002 milesYesterday I finally tripped over the 10,000 mile mark on the odometer. Proud of that. Not happy that it took so long this year. I had expected that to happen in May, actually. But between the handlebars and cash issues, so be it. At least I can get the pin now. Wondering if I should just have them do the 10,000 mile service again this winter. Can’t say I trust the job that was done last year.

Speaking of which, there have been two things of note recently. In the last few weeks, I’ve finally gotten around to pulling the windshield off and giving it a go without one. First thing I noticed was how much louder it was, mostly because of wind noise. The next thing that struck me, literally and usually in the face, was all the stuff that gets kicked up from the road that I hadn’t really noticed. There’s a lot of construction in town and it seems I’m always behind a truck. After a couple of days of that I said “well this has been fun and I’ve proven I can do it, now put it back on.” That was a couple of weeks ago and I still haven’t gotten around to it. Since I’ve only been riding around town I guess I decided it wasn’t that big of a deal and I’ve gotten used to it. If I ever get out on the road again, I’m sure it will be the first thing I do to get ready for the trip.

The other thing that has happened is that I’ve gotten a bit used to the handlebars. I still don’t like them and will probably swap them out the first chance I get, but I don’t mind them so much any more. Maybe my arms have gotten stronger. Maybe I’ve learned to steer with my butt. Maybe I think the badass look is worth it. But I no longer hate them. However, I still can’t see taking them on a long trip.

Speaking of long trips. I missed Sturgis this year, mostly because of a bigger trip I’ve got coming up in a few weeks – to England. Probably worth it in the long run, but I feel bad that I’ve broken my streak. I heard attendance was down anyway. And no one I know went. I will have to correct that next year.

And I’ve got people on both coasts and down the middle of the country that I’d like to visit on an epic road trip. I need to start making plans to see if and when such an escapade would be possible. I sure would love to put a few thousand miles on the bike in one epic adventure.

Odometer: 10,008 miles


It’s been over a month since my last post, and summer is in full swing. However, I have nothing to report. I have gone nowhere on my bike except back and forth to work.

To be honest, I really have no desire to ride my bike anymore. Those handlebars really sucked the fun out of it. I barely enjoy riding across town. I’ve no desire to take it out on the road. I’ve even considered selling it.

My plans for the summer changed and I could possibly make Sturgis, but I really can’t imagine riding down there, so we’ll see if I make it or not.

Looks like this summer I’m just going to be sitting on the sidelines until something changes.

Odometer: 9532 miles

Pic of me sitting on the motorcycle


Motorcycle covered in snow
April 18, 2011 🙁

Well, I’ve got about a month under my belt so far this riding season and it’s not been a great start. The weather hasn’t cooperated much, but we have had a couple of gorgeous days. At least I think we’re finally past the threat of snow. (Knock on wood.)

I been riding back and forth to work, but haven’t been on any real “rides” yet this year. And I wish I could blame it on the weather. I am still struggling with the new handlebars. I’ve adjusted them several times and rotated the clutch and brake levers. But it seems like even a short trip across town tires out my shoulders and forearms. They are just not working for me.

I suppose I have a couple of choices. I could go back to the shop that put these on, tell them and see what they’d want to do about it. Part of me says I should do this, just to let them know that I’m not a happy camper and give them a chance to make it right. But after my experiences and finding some loose bolts and three scratches on the bike that weren’t there when I dropped it off last fall, I really don’t want them touching my bike again.

Pic of me sitting on the motorcycle
Me and the Ape Hangers

Another choice is to go back to my favorite Harley dealer and basically repeat the process with them – swap out the handlebars. I did stop by and chat with them as I passed by on a trip out of town a couple of weeks ago. It sounded like there were some options for smaller bars. (I was afraid that going from 1″ to 1-1/4″ diameter bars created an irreversible problem.) But I’d wind up paying for the new bars and installation again. And the new cables are probably too long too.

I’d love to just take it to the Harley dealer and have them swap them out ASAP. But reality is that it probably won’t have the money to make that happen until next winter. So I’m back to wondering if I should go complain to the other shop to get something done yet this season.

The good news in all of this is that I really have no big rides planned this year. One I had hoped for in June didn’t come together and I’m not planning to make Sturgis this year either. So it looks like I’ll just be spending this year riding around town. At least I’m still riding. 🙂

Odometer: 9,522 miles