Prufrock's Motorbike

Can a quiet man find happiness in a world of loud motorcycles?

Sunday morning. Fog and low clouds. I rode south in search of some sunlight, but gloom prevailed. It feels like fall. A cup of coffee in Wausau…where next? On the leg home, the sun burst through the overcast and lit up the late summer fields. This countryside reminds me of Pennsylvania - rolling farmland, woods, and hills. The corn is head-deep in the fields. I love days when I can just wonder through the world.
The picture was taken at a rest-stop along highway 51. All the rest-stops (or “way-sides,” as they call them) around here are on beautiful lakes. Amazing.

Robert Fulton



Little Noises

5000 mile service and I’m trying a new gear oil in the Street Glide: Red Line’s V-Twin Transmission Oil. It is absolutely the strangest color of anything I’ve ever poured into a mechanical device - a bright pinkish-red. It looks sort of like iridescent Pepto-bismol. 

I’ve ridden maybe 100 miles now, since the change. So far, everything seems OK, but I’m in that period of kind of hyper-vigilance where I’m listening for any odd or unpleasant noises. What I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of noises coming from an air-cooled, OHV twin. Most of them are probably completely normal but…like I said, I’m now listening hard…

"What’s that whirring sound on decel in third gear? Was that there before? Wait! Is that a tapping sound? Where’s that coming from?"

What this comes down to for me is a process of acceptance. I have to accept all those strange little noises or I’ll drive myself crazy. Eventually, I’ll grow used to the noises again and it will all sink into the background of consciousness. In the mean time, I just keep telling myself…

"Those are just normal sounds. Let them be. If its a real problem, it will get louder and/or something will break. Then, we’ll deal with it."

Thirty years ago this summer…

I disassembled my 1977 LeMans in the little space behind my house in Baltimore. The engine and gear box were lugged down into the basement. I replaced a bunch of seals, rebuilt the clutch, and installed the factory “racing” B-10 camshaft.

A friend from work sprayed the frame, tank, fenders, and side-covers with red Imron paint - super-toxic and super-durable. She still looks good all these years later.

On a warm evening in June, all the parts were re-assembled in the backyard. About halfway through, I thought to record the process with a cheap polaroid camera. The results languished in a shoe-box (what else?) for many years, until I scanned the disintegrating images into digital eternity.

The other memory is of that first test-ride of my newly recreated motorcycle. I stopped at a gas station in Pikesville to refuel and the the bike starter refused to function. A blown fuse was discovered and ultimately traced to the small harness running to the stop/tail light. In  rush to finish and ride, I had never secured the strand of wires. The rear tire made short work of the insulation and as soon as the brake switch went on - poof- out went the fuse. The started circuit was wired through this same fuse .(Hey, there are only five fuses total on the whole bike.)

It’s The Summer Solstice…

Its been a hard little summer, so far…people getting sick, people getting hurt, work, bad weather. There seems to be no time in-between to ride. Wonder if I’ve clocked 1000 miles combined?

And now, the days grow shorter and shorter…

I’m depressing myself. I think I’ll just go ride in the fog.

Rockwell-esque…love it!

Rockwell-esque…love it!

(via racecafe)

Freaking Oil Leak! I’ve been chasing a mysterious oil cooler leak on the Street Glide for a couple pf weeks now…finally got it nailed down.

I must have damaged the cooler return hose last fall , fighting the oil filter off. It was leaking on the underside, running down the backside of the hose, and pooling in the cooler shroud.

A piece of 3/8ths fuel line substituted for the original helped pin-point the problem. I have the new one in the truck and will put it on at first light today.

Klock Werk’s supplier finally got around to sending a replacement muffler. And, while this new one wasn’t perfect either, I’m over waiting on this stuff. Besides…
a.) I’m really not that anal about cosmetics, compared to other people. It’s a machine and if it gets used, its going to get scuffed, scratched, and roughed up. It’s the patina of life and experience and - if your heads in the right place - it has its own beauty…
b.) and,Its a freaking muffler!
I will say, I’m perfectly happy with the whole set up (head-pipes and slip-ons.) The bike pulls strong and she sounds great…low chuff rumble at idle and a nice bark when you get on it.
One of the winter projects was a set of S&S “Power-Dual” head-pipes for the Street Glide. I’m waiting for the weather to break so I can see how they work out. Unfortunately, the new mufflers I got to go with them are being held-up due to a warranty problem. If we get the 60 degrees and sunshine predicted for tomorrow, I may just have to run them with my old Rush 2.5” muffs.