Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things never go as planned

The plan for the weekend had been to spend a ton of time getting comfortable on my motorcycle. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans for me.

As I said in the last post, the bike ran out of oil on my first ride. I had the bike running briefly to move it to a flat piece of driveway so I could get it on the center stand, but I didn't want to take it out with no oil, obviously. I bought a big 4 liter jug of oil and filled it up. To my surprise, it took the entire 4 liters and had room for more. I had no idea a little motorcycle could use that much oil. I knew the bike was leaking at least a small amount of oil, so I had already been thinking that it might be good to let it sit overnight and see how bad the leak was. Combine that with fairly strong winds, and I decided it might be best not to take a ride that day. Alan and I had driven out to Bayer's Lake and the winds were pulling the car around, and I was a bit nervous about taking that on when I'm so inexperienced. I told myself that I would go for a ride first thing Sunday morning instead.

So I woke up this morning, all excited to finally go for another ride. Got dressed and all geared up, headed out to my motorcycle and flicked all the right switches. Nothing. The engine didn't start. It made some wheezy noises at me as it tried to turn over, but nothing happened. Now, I don't know a lot about how motorcycles work. I thought maybe it had something to do with the fact that the oil had been at pretty much zero the day before, and I had had it running anyway for a couple of minutes. I was afraid maybe I'd hurt something in the engine by doing this. So, I did what any clever girl would do, and called my father.

Dad assured me that the oil had nothing to do with it not starting and that I hadn't hurt it. He asked if I had made sure that I had the choke engaged, because it was cold out and the bike needs the choke when it's cold. I was fairly certain that I had done this, because I knew that, but I tried it again just in case. I am inexperienced, so it's possible that I had in fact forgotten to do that. I tried the choke in every possible position, and it still wouldn't start, just made those sad noises and refused to turn over. Dad said that the next most likely option was the battery.

Again, knowing very little about the mechanics, I had to ask if you could jump start a bike like a car, and if so, could you do it with a car or did it need to be another bike. Dad said you can do it from a car, the batteries are the same, but that I would have to take off either the side panels, or the seat, to get at the hook ups. He told me how to do this, and Alan and I went off to tackle the task, toolkit in hand.

Well, I got the first side panel off no problem, while Alan worked on the one on the other side. Unfortunately, my side panel was not the one we needed, there was no access to anything under it. Alan got the other side off while I replaced the first one, though a little knob that was used to hold it in place came off when he pulled off the panel. It's a minor detail though, the panel will go back on fine even without it. With that panel off, we could see the red connector for the battery, but not the black one, so we assumed that meant we had to get the seat off to get at both connectors.

Try as we might, we could not figure out how to remove the seat from the bike. Dad had told me what to look for to get it off, but I didn't see what he said to look for. There were no bolts holding it on that I could tell. There was a hook on each side of the seat, so it looked like you should just be able to jiggle the seat around a bit and get it off that hook, but that didn't work, for whatever reason.

Dad wasn't going to be home this afternoon, so I didn't bother calling him again, I just emailed him and told him what happened. Long story short, no bike ride again today. I know we'll get it fixed, it's just disappointing. On the bright side, I'm learning all sorts of things. I know how to fill up my oil now (as well as how to check it's level), and how to remove and replace my side panels, and where my battery is. This is all useful stuff that I wanted to learn anyway, so it's not all bad. I just don't want the riding season to be over before I get on the road!


Jacki said...

Good job trying to find the positive in this, it had to be pretty disappointing. Hopefully once you get all of the kinks out of your bike you two will have years of fun together!

Bev G said...

I agree with your sister, and add a little something about things working the way they should. You did all you could and still the universe had other plans - it'll come together babe, in it's own good time.