How Many Lady Bikers Does It Take To Change a Light Bulb?

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
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How many Lady Bikers does it take to change a light bulb? Well, it depends on what kind of light bulb it is. Take, for example, the rear light/brake light bulb on Coco. That’s not your everyday, ordinary light bulb. Finesse and skill are required. Not to mention knowing it’s out in the first place, which is not the sort of thing you can easily discern while riding. A second rider (one who doesn’t insist on leading everywhere) is required. That you only get from riding with a group – which I did a couple of weeks ago when I went on our Panther Creek Hog dinner ride. 

So I’d just learned my light was out. Now what? It was 10:00 pm Friday night – no Harley shops in this time zone are open at that time. Fortunately, my tail light was working; it was only the brake light that was out so I could still ride relatively safely, as long as I didn’t stop. Hmmm. Well, regardless, I made it home OK but headed to my favorite Harley shop–North Texas Harley Davidson–the next day so I could replace the bulb.

Turns out light bulbs – even Harley light bulbs – are surprisingly cheap. In fact, It was less than two bucks. I mean, do they not KNOW how much I’d have paid to avoid a ticket which was surely just around the next corner…right after I got rear-ended by someone who didn’t see my brake light…which wasn’t working.

So, I’ve got the bulb, my pocketbook doesn’t even know it’s been hit, and it’s time to change it out. Piece of cake, right? Whoa, Bessie. Not so fast. As with all light bulbs not in lamps, you must have a screwdriver before you can even THINK about changing anything. No problem. I’m at a Harley shop, after all. I asked my friendly service guys for a loaner Phillips, and was soon back outside taking things apart. 

Now, while I’m a chick who rides a bike (not a dainty occupation) and I was definitely wearing head to toe leather that had been through mud like an off-track racer thanks to a week of rain, I do not like yucky stuff like mud and muck, bugs, snakes, dust bunnies, mildew, dirty dishes, and, well, the list goes on and on. And guess what accumulates in a the taillight of a Harley that gets ridden in all seasons? Muck and mud. There were probably some bus in there. No dirty dishes that I saw right off, but there was a lot of nasty stuff inside that cover, just waiting to jump to freedom…all over me! Ilch!

Once I got that emptied out and got my hands somewhat dried off, it was time for the light bulb switcheroo. Well, what do you know? There’s only one bulb back there with two functions and one holder holding to it REALLY tightly. So tightly that I was afraid to pull the bulb because I was afraid the glass bulb itself would break off and I’d have to replace the whole unit…and you know THAT wouldn’t be another $1.98. I tugged on it delicately for a while, tried to pinch what looked to be plastic pieces functioning like a locking clasp, all to no avail. Finally I went back inside to the service desk for some more guidance. They said you just pull it out and when I told them I was worried about it breaking, got the reflexive “Hang on a minute and I’ll be right out there to do it for you, little lady.”

OK. He didn’t say “little lady” but he might as well have. Grrr. NO WAY I’m being beaten by a light bulb. No way! I tug a bit more and another biker rides up and parks beside me. I make a friendly, unobtrusive comment about the great Red Hot Chili Peppers tune he’s playing and he leaves it on so I can keep listening. I initially think he’s totally cool but his next words say otherwise. “What have you messed up there, little lady?”

OK. He didn’t say “little lady” either but he might as well have. Grrr. I explained what I was doing and how I was concerned that all the muck and mud and bugs and dirty dishes inside the case had caused the bulb to be stuck in the socket. He knelt down, grabbed it and pulled the light bulb out like a peach off a tree. Just like that. Of course, if he’d broken off the bulb on my bike it wouldn’t have mattered at all to him. “Turn the bike off when the song’s over,” he said, reminding me that he was also providing music for my failed attempt at rudimentary bike repair.

I quickly snapped the new bulb in (once I now knew how hardy they are, it was easy), returned the bulb holder to its place in the light unit, screwed the cover back on, gave it a quick check which was pretty pointless in the bright sunlight, returned the screwdriver, and headed out to get my nails done like any respectable biker chick who just broke a nail trying to fix a stupid light.

So, to answer the question: how many Lady Bikers does it take to change a light bulb? One. Plus a guy with a screwdriver and one with enough nerve to just grab, pull, and walk off. Grrr. Next time, I’m pulling, too, and to heck with the consequences!

Until next time, wheels down and eyes up. Happy New Year, everyone!

  1. I had a Honda Shadow before I bought my Harley which just seemed easier to maintain and fix. When I bought the Honda, I was less paranoid to mess it up. To this day, Im not sure if it was actually less complicated or if I am just worried more about screwing up my Harley. The sad truth is that I don’t have a mechanical bone in my body.

  2. I agree. I’m more worried about messing up Coco than I was my other bike, a Ninja 600. Probably because I paid $2,000 for the Ninja and a whole lot more for Coco!

    As for not having a technical bone in your body, you probably do but haven’t let your inner mechanic out. I’ve learned to change my own oil and do some other rudimentary work on the bike and have found my mechanics at the dealership to be a great source of information. They’re very indulgent.

    Happy riding to you! Thanks for the comment.

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