Jan 12, 2006

Virgin In The Fog

With a lead-in like that, this post is going to have to be pretty damned good.

And it's likely not going to be as titilating as all that, unless you're one of those people who, like me, giggle over the word "titilate."

So there I was, day before yesterday, taking the back tire off Miranda, enjoying the wisdom of Honda engineering. And yes, those of you who remember the "Honda Special Tool" blog entry will be laughing your heads off at me right now. This is allowed. So anyway, I was enjoying the engineering of Honda's single-side swingarm on their (and my) VFR Interceptor. See, being single-sided means no more fiddling with chain adjusters, pinch bolts, drive chains or recaltricient brake pistons to do something like remove the back tire. No, Honda engineered everything on the VFR swingarm to mount to one side; brake rotor and caliper, chain and sprocket, the works. Four bolts hold the rim to the bike, and I spent more time yesterday looking for the right tools than I did actually doing the work. It MIGHT have taken me all of five minutes to complete the task, and that included cleaning the rim off so I wouldn't be embarassed to carry in a rim made flat black by layers of brake dust.

The local shop took care of the tire swap, mounting in the old bald tire's place a lovely new glossy Pirelli Diablo 185. Sexy. And yesterday evening after an at-school meeting for my daughter's forthcoming ILEAP test I stepped back out into the garage, spent a chilly three minutes remounting my tire, and all was said and done. All, that is, except for the feelings of eager anticipation that always preceeds riding with new tires on my bike. Those feelings set in the day UPS brought the beast to my front door, and suddenly it was upon me--the first ride this morning on my new tire.

The t'ing is, you see, is that a riding on a new motorcycle tire is like being with a virgin.

(Yeah, you really want to see where I'm going with this, don't you?)

Riding on a new motorcycle tire is like being with a virgin because you have to be really careful with it. Fresh from the factory they (tires, not virgins) are covered in a slick, oil-like substance that helps them release from the vulcanizing mold and keep the rubber from drying out while they wait for installation, not to mention the fact that they have zero wear on their surface to help produce the necessary friction (again, I'm talking about a tire here, not a virgin) to keep them in good contact with the road. In essennce, and sometimes like a virgin, a new tire is slick as glass. I have seen many a rider go down trying to horse around on a new tire. And no, I won't make any wry remark about going down while trying to horse a virgin around. Nor will I say anything about virgin horses.

So anyway, this morning was to be the first ride on the new virgin. Er, tire. Yesterday was promising, with the rain stopping at noon and a beautiful sky coming up, and temps in the low 70's. This morning? Fog so thick you could have spread it on your toast, and a temperature of 28 degrees. Oh yeah. Prime riding.

So what did I do? What I had to do, naturally. Wore protection. I suited up, put my thermals on and rode the entire way with my visor open because it fogged up instantly and I couldn't see more than ten feet anyway.

And unfortunately, I did so very slowly, very gingerly, and very, very patiently.

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