Last Week, A Chronology

Monday

Mostly uneventful. Work was slow. Filled up the bike with gas. Posted on this blog, even!

Tuesday

Class in the morning. About halfway through class my mind wandered to my motorcycle having a bit of difficulty starting, despite the full tank. Vowed to plug it into the charger once I got home. Bike didn’t start after class, battery was flat. Walked partway home before Autumn picked me up. Went back and pulled battery out the bike. Considered just investing in a new battery right then and there but decided against it. Took it home and charged it up. Work wasn’t too bad.

Wednesday

Went back to TCC in the morning with Autumn and Joel. Installed the battery and cranked the bike up. Drove home. Work was ridiculously crazy—one machine was down so all color printing was bottle–necked through the slower machine. Felt off all night. Left on time and did homework.

Thursday

Class, then work. Took a break a work and went to Jersey Mike’s, turned off the bike and heard a hissing sound. Looked down at my front tyre and watched it deflate in less than a minute. Ate some food and called a coworker for a ride back. Stayed at work until 2:30 that night. Got home and gathered tools to take my wheel off the next morning. Hoping desperately that I don’t get towed. Finally in bed at 3:30

Friday

Arrived at Jersey Mike’s at 9:30 and begin taking the wheel off. I need a socket in a size I don’t own, so I drive (Autumn lent me her car) to CarQuest and pick up a set of oversized sockets for $50. Back at the bike, I realize I’ve grabbed my set of standard allen wrenches and I need metric. On the way home to get my metric set I see a truck pulling a trailer with a motorcycle strapped on the back. Calling the past 2 hours a loss, I turn around and call a tow truck. I have it towed to Orion’s, where I decide to just replace the tyre itself, as there is a spot of dry rot beginning to set in. However, I could only afford to do the front tyre, so that’s what I chose to do.

Zach, the head mechanic, gave me a price for Pirellis and for a cheaper brand (Shinko) and I, unfortunately, had to go with the cheaper brand. He warned me that the cheaper brand was also going to be a few millimeters wider. He offered to do it while I waited but, seeing as I had the car and had to get ready for work soon, I told him not to rush it, I’d be by to pick it up the next day. Work was hectic but I left by midnight; walked home, which was quite relaxing.

Saturday

Took my time waking up on Saturday. Joel, Marlin and I had plans to go to the Trail & Ski shop in town around 11, so I planned on getting the motorcycle after that. Joel, however, had a long day at work and I wound up walking down to pick up the bike at 1:30, just as Joel was getting home.

In my efforts to remove the front wheel on Friday, I’d disconnected the front brake cable. As I pushed the bike back and forth a little in neutral outside the shop, I squeezed the front brake and nothing happened. I asked Zack about it and he called the mechanic that worked on the bike over.

“Well, it was disconnected when it came in, so I just kinda hooked it on. Didn’t know what you had going on with it.”

I told him it was disconnected because I’d made an effort to remove the wheel myself. We tightened up the brake (which I tightened up a bit more once I got home). On the ride home I heard a rhythmic whoom-whoom noise, coming from the front tyre. Upon arriving home, propping it up on the center stand and inspecting the wheel, I discovered two things:

  1. The rotation of the tire was wrong, with the arrow pointing in the opposite direction of the forward rotation.
  2. The tyre’s side wall rubbed ever so slightly for a few inches each rotation on the support shaft for the fender.

Marlin, Chelsea, Joel, Autumn and I went to Voodoo Dog for a late lunch and while there I looked up tyre rotation. Turns out it’s pretty damn important, with comments like, “if you’ve driven more that 1000 miles on a tyre rotated the wrong way, throw it away and buy a new one.” Fortunately I haven’t even put a mile on it.

At Trail & Ski we looked at tents, backpacks, and various waterproof equipment. I keep trying to hammer in the point that we’re going to want to think about packing for lengthy trips like pack for a long backpacking trip: it’s all about the weight. Equipment should be small and light. We talked to the sales clerk about the ENO hammock systems, which seem like a really good alternative to tents. [Note: When Joel first told me about his plan to get a hammock for camping I was dismissive, but after looking at them myself, seeing the price for the full setup and thinking about it critically, I think I’m mostly sold.] Joel seems to think that it’ll be a good idea to bring both a tent and a hammock system on longer trips. This idea I’m very skeptical of. It seems to me like a waste of space and weight (not that either one weighs much), it’d be better to know ahead of time which one you’re going to need to use more often and just stick with that one the entire time.

After we got home from Trail & Ski, we talked about the trip to Birmingham for a bit—what we all need to buy and whether or not we think we can do it. We decided to talk again next weekend and make a solid decision about committing to going or not. So we won’t be buying tickets before then. My next paycheck is going to be really nice, but I also have a plane ticket to buy in October, not to mention all the repairs I need to do on my bike before we can take a 600-mile trip.

As far as my tyre goes, I’ve decided I’m going to see about adjusting the fender position, if that helps the rubbing. If it does, all I’ll ask Orion’s to do is rotate the tyre the proper way. If I can’t stop the rubbing, I’ll have to return the tyre, hope they have my old one and just wait until next week when I get paid to put those Pirellis on.

 

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