Monday, April 24, 2006

Take good care of my ... baby ...

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: A Cautionary Tale

No, not quite Robert Pirsig's well-known story .. but a similar theme.

On t'way 'home t'other day, I came across this bloke. The first I saw were 'is bike in't middle of t'road - by t'crash barriers. [Snap out of it! you're not in Yorkshire, y'know.] Sorry. Anyway, the rider was stood - rather forlorn - on the soft shoulder. Yes, it does affect the story. So: being a good one-of-the-fraternity* biker, I duly slammed on the anchors and stopped.

The important fact here is that he had had a lucky escape. Turns out his chain had jumped off the sprocket and locked the back wheel. He'd left an impressive strip of rubber on the road - skidding from 50 MPH to zero. I have to say I was impressed that he'd stayed upright. I am also of the opinion - and here we get to the point of this post - that he should've taken more care looking after his bike. The reason, you see, for this mishap appeared to be the poor state the bike was in.

Now I have to put my hand up here and admit that there - but for the grace of God - I could have gone. For the want of some decent chain oil I failed to lube my chain for two months over the winter. The result was that the bike sounded like the big end was going, and I'm sure the chain has stretched more that you'd expect. But now I've got me a can of high-qualidy (sic) chain lube and religiously apply same to the chain one a week. I'm a reformed character. As such, I'm gonna do as all reformed characters do and preach at those who need reforming.

So back to our hapless biker. He, apparently, had noticed that the chain was loose and that a few (!) teeth were missing from the sproket - but as the gaps were evenly spread he figured it'd be OK. He had tensioned the chain and off he went. The first evening of his new job. For which, of course, he was now late. More haste, less speed - as my parents say. For added entertainment value, he now couldn't move the bike - back wheel being jammed an' all. As luck would have it, a Police car went passed on the other carriageway and came back our side, stopping both lanes of traffic. We staggered across the road with the ailing bike and not being able to prop it up safely on the soft shoulder, blocked the nearside carriageway.

The moral of this tale, if there is one, is take care of the important details. The trick, of course, is working out which details are important ...


... Be just as kind as you can be-e-e-e


* what should the collective noun be for bikers? Fraternity implies all blokes - which isn't quite the truth. Community is a bit wooly; in both senses. Answers on a postcard ...

1 comment:

StrayTaoist said...

Scottoiler. That is the answer.

I had one forever, and it rocked. Top it up every, oh, 6k miles, and it even made the chain last longer before needing replaced.

I got fed up lubing every weekend. Thon stringy spray stuff got everywhere...