Friday, May 25

Bike inspection saves my butt!

Since returning from Kankakee, I haven’t inspected the bike—even though I’ve ridden almost daily. Given that I’m planning to spend the next three days in and around Spring Green, WI I thought it was a good time to inspect the bike. Took the side bags off (I can’t get the bike on its center stand without removing them). The oils looked fine. The chain had some “give” but seemed within the allowable slack limit. Some bolts and hard stuff needed tightening. Then, the tire inspection. These are relatively new, well, to me anyway. I have about 4,000 miles on the Michelin Pilot Powers. I slowly turn the rear tire. I remove a tiny white pebble. Slowly turning…Something shiny catches my eyes. I look closely and it looks like the head of a nail. Yikes! I tug at it a bit but it is flesh with the tire. Dang! It is definitely a nail. "There goes my weekend," I mutter. It is late Friday. I call Motorworks. It’s so strange getting a female voice when I call now. I like it. She tells me I can bring it in but there is no guarantee that they can get to it tonight, I might, she says, need to leave the bike overnight. There goes my Saturday morning 7a.m. departure!

I get to the shop, the bike rides well and I wonder what would have happened if I had not inspected the bike and motored off on a four-day trip. I shutter at the thought. When I get to the shop, the young woman explains to Milan what the problem is with my bike and instantly Milan, who is recovering from knee surgery, tells her he’ll take care of me. He walks out to the alley to inspect my bike. He too pokes at the nail and confirms my suspicions: I need a new tire. I am not the type who’d want to patch this. If on the road, I’d patch it to get to the nearest dealer. Milan checks their stock and returns to tell me that they have a rear Pilot Powers. I am feeling lucky! I love the sticky Pilots but I would have taken any tire in preference to being sidelined over the weekend.

They pull the nail out (see photos) and the unmistakable sound of air seeping out surrounds the tire. Again, I think of what could have happened if that tire had gone KABOOM on the highway or along one of the desolate back roads. I shutter again.

While chatting about the bike, Steve, who taught the motorcycle maintenance class I took last year, chats to me about bikes and about tweaking, tightening and inspecting one’s machine. He touches my windscreen and thinks it is a bit loose. On closer inspection, he points out that I’ve lost one bolt. “Bikes vibrate, so things come loose,” he tells me. He changes all the bolts holding the windscreen so that there is not an odd, mismatched bolt among the others. This is the kind of small thing that this shop does all the time that makes a huge difference to a customer. That personal touch makes you feel that you and your bike matter. I tell you, I love my shop! The care they always give transcends the norm.

I went in to get a tired taken care of. I left with bolts tightened, chain adjusted, new tire and a whole lot of excellent bike information and guidance from the guys.

I am Madison and Spring Green bound!