Saturday night I needed a ride. Badly. Probably wasn’t the best night to venture out given that the downtown was readying for the Festival of Lights procession, a huge extravaganza that draws a bunch of folks from the city and suburbs. It’s a part of the city’s winter fun festivities that run throughout the season. But I graved a fix, just a little ride on the gal-pal. Besides, I needed to replace a dying telephone.
Suited up. Uncovered the bike, which, as a friend pointed out, looks so sad standing in the corner all covered up. Bike checked. Pulled the choke forward. Pushed starter button. She sputtered and died. Pushed started again. She sputtered and belched. Pushed a third time, she sputtered, belched and coughed. Now I’m worried and sorry that I hadn’t taken a spin in a week (at least). Payback?
I know I tend toward anthropomorphism when talking about Queenie, but I think she agreed to start only after I did some negotiating and promising to ride out these cold days and buy her that new Givi windscreen. When I tried again, she started. I let her choke run a little longer than the 30 seconds recommended.
Eased the bike out of the garage. The night air was chilly but comfortable. An earlier report put the temp at 41 degrees. It felt exhilarating. The people and vehicular traffic crawled and Michigan Avenue looked like 5:00 p.m.on a Friday when everyone is rushing to leave work and jumpstart the weekend.
The ride to Staples Office store was longer than necessary. Traffic bottlenecked at Michigan Avenue. On the return trip, once on Michigan Ave., I had three lanes of traffic to cross to make my right turn. Few drivers were playing nice and allowing other to merge. No such thing as maintaining a space cushion tonight. An extra-long CTA bus tried to get into my lane, while I’m tried in vain to get into its lane. I doubt that the bus saw me. No winning against a bus; I decided to let the bus take my lane. I eased over to the newly created space. A little car, no bigger than a motorcycle, lets me merge ahead of it and into the next lane. Eased again into the next lane and made my turn at the next light and headed east, away from the crowd. Short little hectic ride. Glad I ventured out.