Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ride Her More

I’ve been in a writing slump for a while, partly because of time, partly other factors. One of which was lack of time and good riding weather coinciding. And since this a motorcycle related blog, well…

Circumstances have changed in my favor. I have more time now, and today was the second day of Spring, and it actually looked like it: sunny and warm, in the 70s mostly, with a predicted high in the low 80s.

I celebrated my day off by sleeping late and taking my time cooking breakfast at lunch time while the bike battery sat on the trickle charger (since it’d been a while since I’d ridden her). 

Suzi, ready to ride.

Suzi fired right up when I hit the start button and we were off. A couple of turns to get out of the neighborhood, and then I was on GA 54, toward Jonesboro. 54 turned off to the right, but I continued onto what became Main Street and just kind of enjoyed the historic part of town, along the railroad line. Once I ran out of town, I circled back and turned onto 54 and rode out into the Georgia countryside.

If you’ve seen the movie Smokey and the Bandit, most of it was filmed in this area. There was a scene where Jerry Reed’s character wades waist deep into a pond, chasing his dog. I rode past that pond. I know, because my family used to drive this route to church three times a week when I was a kid, and my father pointed it out back when the movie was still recent. I’d have taken a picture, but there were two ponds that could’ve been that one. I guess I’ll just have to watch the movie again to find out which one. Hmmmm…. I wonder if it's on Netflix?

Anyway, I’m rolling along, enjoying what was really a perfect day. Sunny, warm-but-not-hot. Scenic roads with just enough curve and hills to be interesting, but not enough to require strict focus, allowing my thoughts to wander. Riding along, totally in synch with the bike, feeling the engine vibration, feeling when to shift up or down, grooving along perfectly, never feeling the need to go any faster or slower than what I was doing at the moment. (Except of course stopping for traffic and signs/lights.) Perfect ride on a perfect day.

On into historic Fayetteville.  Still on Cloud Nine from this awesome day. Fayetteville has an old fashioned town square, around an old fashioned courthouse. I decided to circle back and get a photo. I parked across the street, bungee corded my jacket to the back seat (it was really too warm for the jacket), and lined up and took a picture.

Courthouse, Fayetteville, GA

Then I put the phone back in the tank bag. Turned the key. Pushed the starter button. And heard “RRRRR rrrr rr r….”


Push the button again.

“RRrrr rrrr r”

Apparently, being ridden only sporadically and being parked outside all winter will kill a motorcycle battery. But it will wait until you're 20 miles from home on a great ride on a beautiful day before it strands you.

I think Suzi may have developed some passive-aggressive issues.

Suzi, no longer ready to ride.

The parking lot had a slight slope to it, so I tried to push start her. Got rolling, clicked into second, dumped the clutch, and …. I might as well have just stepped on the brake, because that was the only effect I got.

I pushed the bike into a parking spot under a tree, pulled out the phone and called my dad to bring jumper cables*. When he got there and we connected the cables, Suzi fired to life with no hesitation.

I rode right to the bike parts store and got a new battery. Luckily I got offered a really low price, and a veteran discount on top of that. Nice way to salvage the nearly ruined perfect riding day.

I guess the moral of the story is:

Ride your damned bike!

* Before anybody tries to lecture me about jump starting a bike from a car, it’s actually fairly safe if the car isn’t running when you push the starter button. Matter of fact, before I knew better, I actually jump started one of my bikes from a running car several times with no ill effect.


  1. Thanks for the entertaining story brother. I loved to read it....and now...ride your damn bike.
    One Liter

  2. Oh, you know I will, brother. New job, more days off, everything's more lined up to let me ride more.