Lady Biker Has a Breakdown…Another One :-(

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m writing to you from lovely Columbus, Ohio. I’m here on business and it’s pouring down rain. I mean the kind of rain that makes you look for a guy building a huge boat. I’m waiting for the Statue of Liberty to go floating by. That’s how much rain there is. When the plain landed, we came in over a small lake…that wasn’t here back in November when I flew in. That’s how much rain there is. I’m actually glad to be in a cage instead of on a bike. THAT’S how much rain there is.

It’s been raining in Dallas, too, and I endured plenty of wet stuff earlier in the week before I left town. I also endured a pretty serious breakdown on Coco Wednesday night. Here’s how it happened. I had my son, Noah, on the back of the bike as we rode from my office in Addison to downtown Dallas for a Mavs game. We’ve had season tickets for years (since he was and ten or so and now he’s 20) and Wednesday night was a game night. It was cold but the rain had finally stopped – just a few sprinkles. Did I mention the part about it being cold? OK. Just want to be sure the scene is properly set. 

We took the tollway there because it was fast. By the way, Noah is a terrific passenger on a bike. He’s not a big kid and he rides beautifully. Never jerks or anticipates and most importantly, he rides like he trusts me completely – which is what you really want in a passenger. But I digress. Back to complaining!

So we’ve gotten to our primary parking spot, about a quarter mile from the arena, under the bridge. We like it because it’s a quick exit when the games are over and we don’t mind the quarter-mile walk to and from the arena. Just as I turned into the lot, Coco started making a horrible grinding sound, like the kickstand was dragging. But, of course, it wasn’t. I turned it off immediately and we both got off to see if anything was dragging. Because I’m always paranoid about the oil level, I immediately checked that but it was fine. So I decided to try starting it up again and I had, hands-down the strangest bike experience ever. 

Coco has an electric ignition and to turn her on, you must (1) turn on the power switch on the tank, (2) press the “run” switch that primes the engine, then (3) press the “start” ignition button. If the bike is in neutral, as it usually is, you don’t need to depress the clutch. Well, I knew it wasn’t in neutral so I did steps 1 and 2, then pressed the clutch in anticipation of hitting the “start” button. As soon as I pressed the clutch, the bike tried to start itself. It popped like a dead battery, and ground some more. After that, nothing. That’s something seriously wrong. And scary, too, like a gremlin is in the bike.

There was something else seriously wrong. We were at a game, pretty late on a rainy cold night, in downtown Dallas, about 25 miles from our nearest friend with a trailer – and considerably further from most of our other friends with trailers. Oh, and the Mavs were getting their NBA Championship rings in just a few short minutes. There just wasn’t time for this crap!

So here’s how it went down: Tim started calling friends looking for someone who could come down to pick me up. I called Harley-Davidson Member Support (the national guys) but their offices had closed and they wanted me to leave a message. I took Noah to watch the Mavs get their rings, then I called my insurance company, Geico (I absolutely LOVE these guys now) figuring they would at least have the names of some towing services I could call. Turns out it was much better than that; I actually having towing insurance on my motorcycle policy (PLEASE don’t tell any of my friends who have towed me for free before I found out about this wondrous thing). They arranged a truck to arrive after the game was over (the game totally sucked, by the way, much like the rest of the night) and Coco was transported to North Texas Harley Davidson, our guys.

Just to make it a tad more frustrating, when the driver asked what was wrong, I told him what had happened. Then to prove it, I tried to start the bike…which started beautifully, like the day I bought her. It’s almost like she’s not my friend anymore. Fortunately (I suppose) when I depressed the clutch, it began making the grinding sound again and at least I didn’t look like an idiot. And at least I was able to drive her up onto the bed of the truck, which was very helpful. Even with the grinding noise, the clutch still worked so I figured there was something else going on. I was right, darn it. 

So I dropped it at the dealership and Tim met us up there to drive us home. Next day, I had to catch a 6:00 am flight to Columbus (I mentioned the rain, right?) and I don’t get back until late Friday night. And I have to be at work at 6:30 Saturday morning so my bike HAD to be and back home where she belongs by the end of the day Friday. I called my wonderful friends at the dealership during my layover and Daniel promised he’d take care of her. By the time I’d finished my first day of business in Columbus and called the shop to check on her, she was almost done – lots of problems, though: clutch plate, starter and one other thing I didn’t hear because I interrupted him to be sure it was all covered by warranty. It was. Whew.

I had them slip a new set of rear brakes on since mine were so bad I could barely hold her on the truck bed when is was angled down to get me on. Still need a new front tire but I’ll probably wait until that just gives out on its own…I mean now that I know I have towing insurance and all.

This whole thing has not left me a very happy Lady Biker, as you can probably imagine. Sure, it could be worse, but it could also be better. But my bad attitude is a post for another day. Why get all your ranting and complaining done in one sitting when you can have the satisfaction of spreading it out over many days?

Exactly. So until next time, wheels down and head up. And let’s add one more thing – smooth roads and healthy engines. 

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Comments
  1. Alfred C. Schram says:

    Dear Gwynne,
    It was so late last night that I did not want to know all of the details. At least, your insurance can help you. No I don’t wish you another reason to call the insurance. I had better say good night.
    Love,
    Daddy.

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