Though many things can interfere with dreams, like my shoulder injury, there is still a way to find the brightness in the dark. Major brightness occurred for me in the form of a legitimate motorcycle jacket and new gloves. This opens the doors for all sorts of new journeys.
The new jacket is stiff enough with kevlar and gore tex that it can stand up on its own. My range had been limited prior to this purchase because my parents worried for my health on the open road without a motorcycle jacket. The jacket not only protects me but gives me the look of Bane from the Dark Knight Rises. With the amount of kevlar built into the jacket I’m surprised that it wasn’t marketed as a bullet proof vest.
The next addition to my motorcycle arsenal is my pair of street and dirt gloves. The dirt gloves will be such an awesome addition because when dirt biking my hands have become shredded over time on my knuckles. The street gloves are even better. They fit tight and have added grip on the palm for ample control. They also have a large X on the back of the hand. They are red, white, and blue so they truly showcase my patriotism.
The next awesome development was not bought by money. I left my BMW f650 in the hands of my most trusted mechanically inclined friend Wells Coalfleet, who was able to make important developments. With his tinkering the bike ran for around an hour without any problems. This helps relive my prior heartbreak. As soon as my shoulder is fully mended, which should be just a matter of weeks, I’ll finally be able to steal the motorcycle back and return to riding. Hopefully with the spring weather in the air and the sun in the sky.
My current enthusiasm has been side tracked. This past weekend I dislocated my shoulder and have been stranded in a sling. Though this was inevitable with my reckless teenage ways, coming to terms with the fact I can’t ride for over a month is hitting me hard.
Over the course of my life I’ve come close to taking myself out of commission more than a few times. Most of these tended to be on the non-motorized version of a bicycle. I’ve been mountain biking and riding bikes long before I owned a motorcycle, so I consider it a prerequisite skill to being able to ride a motorcycle.
Some of my greatest accidents occurred while trying to mountain bike. I have traveled all over the U.S. from Vermont to Utah to bike, some of my fondest memories and journeys have been in the pursuit of a good ride. Most of these rides have contained some epic crashes. On the street and the dirt I have found ways to keep my ego in check.
My favorite place to mountain bike in Cincinnati is East Fork State Park. It has great cross-country trails that differ in difficulty. East Forks proximity means that I have driven there enough times to burn the directions into my head. Some of my greatest wipe outs have been here.
The first that comes to mind is the time my bike dismantled itself on me, while I was riding. I had built my own Klein with my Dad from the frame up, but my front fork had been a sub-par second hand one. So as I navigated the ups and downs of this trail, I made it to a big down hill and just felt my bike sink from beneath me. I got intimate with the ground very quickly and slid down the whole hill. My shock had just separated mid ride on me.
I have also managed to mess up a fair number of times while riding on the road. My best story is from a time when I covered a large wooden box in metal. I, of coarse, wanted to do jumps onto the box with a ramp I had. After a day of believing myself to be the next big BMX biker, last run of the day, my dreams met their demise. I managed to get my wheels on either side of the box and flipped myself forward and ate cement. Best part of that story is I had road rash from that for my first day of school.
So when I misplaced my shoulder last weekend I took myself out of activity for the first time even after all my close brushes. I’m out for at least three weeks so expect only posts about maintenance until I am able to get back on the road
I walked into the Terrace Park Garage Sale with a singular dollar in my pocket. I had a million ideas about how to spend it to its greatest potential. That’s when it caught my eye, a pristine carriage style sled. The potential was there. I knew I had to act quickly as the sale was nearing its end. I approached the worker and made my meager offer of a dollar and after some bartering the deal had been done. I was the proud owner of a new-ish sled.
This is when the creativity came in. I was living in the era before the ownership of a drivers license or a motorcycle license, so long boarding was my primary method of transportation(It is essentially a huge skateboard that is primarily ridden by Californians and Hippies). I stared at the sled for awhile and plotted.
That’s when it hit me. If I combined my recent purchase with a long board I could create a rolling sled. To my young teen mind this seemed to be the greatest thought ever thunk. I quickly called up my “associates” (as the police enjoyed calling them), grabbed a roll of duct tape and went to town. Parker Sullivan was the first generous donor of a long board. When done it rolled looked shadier than Eminem, but the contraption rolled. After some painful trial and error a method for steering the device was created, when pulled behind a Moped or the Honda Z50 it could get up to speeds of 30 MPH.
This was the first addition to the “Sledboard”. The next addition was to fashion metal plates on to a pair of shoes to use as brakes. They created a beautiful light show of sparks which was cool, until my legs became spliced up by little bits of flying metal shrapnel. The next addition was a little more productive. We drilled speakers into the side and were able to play music as we cruised around town.eventually the long board trucks were permanently attached themselves.
The Sledboard continued to ride like a dream and was involved in all sorts of antics. It even made a journey all the way to Skyline in Milford. Sadly it met it’s demise this last spring. Cincinnati’s dampness had gotten the best of the wood the sled was composed of. I will continue to talk of the Sledboard so its legacy lives on.
As I slide around the corner I feel the back tire slip and quiver. I give the throttle a quick rev and I straighten out and continue to bound around the woods. I feel one with the bike, the 100 Cubic Centimeters of power surges through me. For a 10 year old two-stroke it’s nimble and responsive.
As I weave and pick my way through the trails, the noise from the engine is all that is audible. It pounds my ears and echos off of the surroundings as I sit and wait for Parker to catch up. The constant purr is music to my ears as I keep the RPM (revolutions per minute) up so the bike doesn’t stall out. That purr instantly transforms into a roar when I open up the throttle as I sit idling. I finally see Parker’s metallic silver helmet and we continue on.
We come to a slick downhill to a creek. Tires caked with mud shot up mud as I ford the creek. The water gives the engine a quick cooling bath and I’m soon on the other side. I feel it strain as it pushes me up the hill. The power from the engine sends the wheels spinning like a cyclone. It keeps working and pushes itself up the hill to the level ground.
Level ground is where this bike belongs. In a matter of seconds I’m going nearly 60 miles per hour. Going through the corners is like riding a slip and slide. I go into the corner then open the throttle and feel the bike attempt to escape out from under me. The bike hugs the ground as I fly over bumps and hills. My body can barely hold onto the bike as it transforms into a bucking bronco.
Time after time the bike yes yet to fail me. It has never thrown me off or anything even close. Occasionally something gets stuck in the chain and it putters to a halt but nothing a little poking around hasn’t been able to fix. Always starts after a kick or two. The familiar roar will always bring back memory of exhaust fumes and dirt. The confident roar of the engine has been burned into my memory.
The engine slowly puttered to a stop. Attempts to play with the throttle resulted in little more than a cough from the engine. My engine cut out on my maiden voyage to Mariemont.
I had the desire to ride the BMW to school, but this recent turn of events clearly put that out of the question.The Engine failed me 3 times in what should have been a 15 minute at most journey. The initial failure left me at a loss of words. I tinkered for roughly five minutes before the engine started purring again. Only to fail 600 yards down the road leaving me unable to start my bike in an intersection. After this humiliation when the engine resumed I went full throttle in the hope of getting as far as I could before it cut out so I wasn’t forced to pull over on Wooster Pike. This method got me to the half way mark and I was able to start while coasting without the engine.
This was the most nerve-racking experience I have had on a motorcycle up to this point. This truly shook my core and left me in complete disarray. I was heartbroken to have the my favorite bike do this to me. Every cloud does have a silver lining and this failure did inform me that my engine could use a tune up. I also found out my tail light and one of my turning signals didn’t function (thanks to no other than the one and only Parker Sullivan). For now it is time to rebuild and return to my faithful old dirt bikes until I feel the BMW is back up to par.
30 Mph is a lot of speed for a young boy. It was enough to make me feel like I was the king of the world and it was what got me permanently hooked on motorcycles. My favorites thing to do as a small child was blast around on this cherry red Honda Z50. It’s about to have its 40 birthday and has gone through: a carburetor rebuild, broken front fork, smashed head light, popped tire, and a ripped seat(I was not responsible for any of these, goes to show why letting people ride your bike is a bad idea). This is all it has had to suffer through in my short time with it, the bike is a fighter. It might not be the nicest bike I own, but it is by far the coolest.