Thursday, May 22, 2008

Winter stays longer at high speed

May 20, 2008

What a day. Woke up in Revelstoke to a bike that won't start. Found a battery accross town through the rain. Rained all day until Hope. The Couquahala summit was so cold. The rain wanted to be snow.

Attaching your body in open air to a machine that can move along the earth and above mountains at ungodly speeds is pretty messed. Especially when the earth is wet and you can't feel your feet from the cold.

My bike's charging system is effed. Some background. I motorbike is like a car, it needs a steady source of electricity in order to operate properly. A car without an alternator will not get you very far. Similarily, a motorbike without a stader will get you only slightly farther. I'm traveling with a battery charger and any chance I get, I plug it in for a few minutes. The bike won't stall once it's started because the spark plugs don't actually use much electricity. However, using the ignition requires lots of power.

After a long cold day, I arrived in Vancouver on fumes, so I stopped to fill up at Petro Canada before heading to Shammy's. When I went to start it, the bike winced and went quiet. Nothing. I asked the attendant (Bilal) if he minded if I plugged it in for a bit, but there was no plug on the outside of the building. His cooworker (Tony) suggested taking the battery off the bike and bringing it into the store to charge. Good idea.

After setting up the charger, I poured myself a coffee to help warm up. My new friends wouldn't let me pay for it (don't they do weight inventory on stuff like that at big companies?), they said they were Vancouver's welcoming committee. They also shared some homemade brownies that one of their wives had made. The best was yet to come. Bilal made me some Red Indian tea with milk. So tasty. After trading stories about traveling Canada and trying to figure out the Calgreedy mentality, I figured the battery had been on the charger long enough and I was chomping at the bit to go visit with Shammy and friends, so I began to pack things up.

Just then a frenchmen came into the store and with his Cretienesque accent said, "hey budd-ee, I think your motorcycle just got fucked". What? I go outside and my bike is laying on it's side with the contents of one of my bags exploded all over the pavement. My first thought was that a raving pack of crackheads had ripped my bike apart looking to score. Bilal and Tony came running out of the store and ran to the street corner to see if they could see anyone fleeing.

After collecting myself and making sure my bike wasn't damaged, I ask frenchy what happened. He said a red car hit the back tire sending the bike bouncing. The driver got out, observed his handy work and then rushed back into his car and sped off. Correct, I know this because that's what the security footage shows. I asked frenchy why he didn't try to do something or at least attempt to get the licsence plate, he shrugged. Wow. To be honest, I'm more ticked at frenchy and the 3 other people gassing up who were too self involved to do anything. At least pretend it's sort of weird to see a bike get smashed to it's side.

Anyways, Bilal did his best to bring out the car's plates on the security footage, but no dice. Too blurry.

The impact of the car didn't cause much damage, just a pushed in rear fender. However, when the bike hit the ground the clutch lever snapped in two rendering it undriveable. I found a replacement lever at a shop on Commercial, swapped it out and was on my way by 1:30 this afternoon.

My mom was worried about me taking such an old bike on this trip, but it's led me into the paths of some interesting people so far.Bilal, me, Tony

I finally got to Shammy's at around 10 and shared a couple beers and stories with him, his housmate (Dave), and the guy who lives in the basement suite (Manderson). I always love hanging with Sham. He's one of the few who really get me. I find that my voice doesn't raise an octave when I'm trying to make a point...he gets it. Manderson and I outlasted everyone else talking about Love and an American aircraft carrier that was docked at Victoria that was so big it had a "bad neighborhood" that the Navy Police didn't go in. Police for the Army.

I've decided on a name for my Suzuki GS650. Bill, named after Bilal, the chair of my Vancity welcoming committee. Bill got me this far. He better get me home...

1 comment:

  1. welcome to the adventures of riding a GS. got any pics of the bike's new character (as if it wasn't bad-ass enough already)