[Rider’s Report] A Summer on the Sidelines

Saturday, August 11, 2012—I haven’t done much riding this summer, for a variety of reasons.

First, it’s been incredibly hot. It started early, with temperatures in the high 90s hitting as early as May. As of this post, we’ve had 18 days at 98F and higher, with the typical mid-south humidity making it impossible for your body to effectively cool via perspiration.

Second, this spring my life was thrown out of whack by my mother’s unexpected death. That left me in a lethargic funk for a couple months.

Once I finally got out of that mental hole, I found my weekends filled with trying to make sense of her finances. get properties sold, and pulling together tax records. The idea of just “killing time” on a bike ride didn’t seem very appealing when I had a huge list of things to do to clean up her estate.

I didn’t commute much either. It was hot. I always had folders of stuff going to work with me, and errands at some bank, etc. to do after work.

Meanwhile, the Silver Bullet spend the summer sidelined for another reason.

On May 25th, hustling to the Memphis Zoo to check in as a volunteer for the Zoo Brew, I found the bike handled poorly.  Stopped at a gas station (the one in east Memphis that has the fresh sushi bar) and found the front tire was very low.

I looked for a nail but didn’t see one, so I aired it up and got down to the zoo and back home later that night without a problem.

But the next morning I finally found that nail, right in the center of the tread.

It looked like a simple finishing nail, so in between everything else, I made calls to the motorcycle shops trying to find someone who would repair (plug) the tire. It had less than 7,000 miles on it, so I was reluctant to throw it away and play $200 play mounting to replace it.

No dice. Even the places that had repaired tires for me in the past have stopped, claiming liability in case the plug should fail and cause a wreck.

(I finally got a better explanation of this; It’s not that the shops are being chicken. Their insurance rates are based on what services they perform, and the “malpractice” coverage for tire repairs is pretty stiff.)

So I finally broke down and ordered a tire online (I still can’t stomach paying $75+ above online cost to buy a tire, when the dealer is going to turn around and order it just like I do. If they had it on hand, on demand, I’d understand the extra cost.) and then kept trying to find a free Saturday morning to get it installed.

I finally did today. The Silver Bullet has spent so much time in the garage (11 weeks!) that it actually had to blink and squint when it saw sunlight for the first time.

As a reward, when got home, I gave it a really good bath, even cleaning the wheels.

The picture above shows the nail still in the old tire, which I am still going to try to get repaired somewhere. As I suspected, it’s a simple finishing nail, leaving a small hole to be plugged.

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