Posts Tagged ‘north texas harley davidson’

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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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!