Zen and the art of mo­tor­cy­cle main­te­nance

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL - Steve Bartlett

It’s af­ter 10 p.m. and I’m push­ing my 500-pound mo­tor­cy­cle up a 150-de­gree an­gle.

I’m drenched in sweat, I smell like gas, and my arms, shoul­ders and calves are aching.

Mere hours ago, I was wind­ing along the coast­line, bask­ing in the sun and scenery and think­ing this is what makes own­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle in At­lantic Canada worth­while.

Now, I’m in this push­ing predica­ment and won­der­ing what I did to tick off the mo­tor­cy­cle gods.

This sit­u­a­tion is my own fault. I got home from work, and that stun­ning ride along the ocean, su­per ex­cited.

My son was play­ing his first base­ball game and I couldn’t wait for him to be in­tro­duced to the magic.

In my ex­cite­ment, I left the mo­tor­cy­cle key in the ig­ni­tion and drained the bat­tery.

I dis­cov­ered it was as dead as disco upon re­turn­ing from the game.

No prob­lem, it re­quired a sim­ple “push start” down the very hill I’m now push­ing up.

The bike started, but I needed keep it run­ning to recharge the bat­tery.

It was a sweet sum­mer night so I chose to con­tinue rid­ing.

A few min­utes later, the engine went “buck, buck, buck.” Out of gas!

No worries, I thought, the bike has a re­serve switch so there should be enough fuel to get home.

But the re­serve was al­ready on. The tank was drier than a tax re­turn.

I reached for my mo­bile to call home and re­al­ized that’s where I left it.

So I was more than a mile from my house with no gas, no phone and obviously no com­mon sense.

There was a cor­ner store a few min­utes down­hill (thank­fully) so I rolled there and used the phone.

Soon my wife ar­rived with a jerry can.

There was just a drop of gas in it, but it was bet­ter than none.

I used it and tried to push start the bike again.

Not a gig.

Not enough gas?

My wife drove me to the gas sta­tion to fill up the can.

We re­turned, gassed up the bike and I at­tempted to push start it again.

No go, and it was start­ing to get dark

I rolled the beast to the base of the hill lead­ing to our house and be­gan push­ing.

That was a half-hour, and 3,700,009 calo­ries, ago.

I’m not even half­way up yet and the in­cline only gets steeper from here.

It’s phys­i­cally im­prob­a­ble that I’ll be able to push it home by day­light, there’s no one I could call at this hour even if I had a phone, and I’d rather be home tuck­ing my son in and talk­ing base­ball.

Actually I’d rather be see­ing an am­a­teur proc­tol­o­gist than in my cur­rent predica­ment!

But how do I get out of it?

Scot­tie didn’t re­spond when I asked him to beam me up hours ago.

Hmmm … There’s a street­light about 100 feet ahead. I’ll push it there and leave it til morn­ing.

If it’s the wrong choice, if some­thing hap­pens and my bike is stolen or de­stroyed, it won’t be the first bad de­ci­sion I made tonight.

Steve Bartlett is an editor with Salt-Wire Net­work. He dives into the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and leather chaps. Reach him at sbartlett@thetele­gram.com.

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