Dec 27, 2006

Christmas Has Left The Building

You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

I wrote a long, rather nasty post on Christmas and the true meaning of said holiday, but a) it's incomplete, b) it's rather angry, and c) I don't know that I want to share the dark, vitriolic side of me with you guys, or at least show you too much too fast.


Exmas is over, the presents are all put in their new homes and mostly in my case washed and ready to be worn to work, and the thank you's have all been said. It was a nice Exmas, not one of the most gigantic ones I've ever had, but good all the same. My daughter is getting old enough now that the Christmas Crazies have passed, for the most part, and the anticipation now is how much Daddy got as a bonus at work reflected in how big her presents are. No, that's not true nor fair, so I'll withdraw it. She's a wonderful kid, and doesn't care for a lot of Things, for which I'm grateful. I can't, you see, AFFORD a lot of Things.

Kay. Different subject.

It's gotten cold here again, which is good, and makes me smile at the Yamaha Motorcycle Company.

Yeah, that threw you, didn't it?

That's me, circa August 1993, the day I brought home my new bike.

Still has the warning stickers on the tank and the cowling, and was still stinking of cosmoline every time I drove it when this pic was taken. I think it had .6 of a mile right then.

Air-cooling. My first bike ever was a Yamaha, an air-cooled inline 4 cylinder 600cc Seca II. A budget bike to be true, but I adored that machine. Mechanically it was about as simple as you could make it without adding pedals, and that appealed to the budding motorcycle mechanic in me. It was ACCESSIBLE. And, since it was air-cooled entirely, it was simple. Also, I HAD to love it, since I had lost my brand new Honda Civic in my divorce, and the bike was all I had. For three years. Rain, heat, hail, you name it, I rode in it. And loved every minute of it. Even when it got cold.

And when it got really seriously cold outside? It would die.

The first time it happened I was riding to work. The temp that morning was hovering around 30 degrees, and I was bundled up good and warm. I had been riding for ten minutes or more, all highway stuff, and was approaching the first traffic light on my way in. I slowly rowed my way back down through the gears from sixth to first, using the engine as a brake as is my habit, and when I pulled in the clutch and front brake levers to come to a full stop, the engine died.

Puttered for a moment, and died.

Needless to say I panicked. I was in front of a lot of very angry motorists on their way to work. Panicked, I thought I was out of fuel. Nope, I had filled up two days ago. Thought I had hit the engine kill switch by accident. Nope, still on RUN. Maybe the key broke off in the lock? Nope. Badger in the air cleaner? Nope. Nuclear bomb exploded overhead and the EM pulse knocked the electrics out? Nope. Aliens? Nope.

That little Yamaha engine, that little powerhouse, the model of elegant simplicity that powered my dark green steed was so efficient at cooling itself that it's large cooling fins, combined with the outside temp had made it too cool to idle. I had to pull the choke back out all the way and restart it, then drive off with it still choked so it would keep running, until I got to work. It was too efficient for it's own good.

I laughed about that for...well, since 1993. And I'm still laughing. Why?

Because my new bike, my Roadliner, my 113 cubic inch (1850 cc, three times the size of my first bike) V-twin behemouth is air-cooled. Pistons bigger than the ones you find in a WWII Mustang fighter plane. Solid lifters the width of my wrist. Carb throats so big you could stick your foot inside. And these past few mornings? It's been cold enough that when I shift down to first from fifth gear wide open and pull in the clutch to come to a stop, that big, efficiently air-cooled Yamaha V-twin dies on me.

Cooled down too much to idle.

I love being a year-round rider.


Stucco said...

I, on the other hand, slow cooked myself above my Triumph Trophy. That and my helmet and kevlar jacket were black, and under the Colorado sun, that's effectively a solar oven.

I'd ride at any temp, but not under precipitation. Props to you for taking that on, or perhaps you have a death wish (hail)?

Scott from Oregon said...

Dude, you are an effing HIPPY!


You and my brother are two peas in a pod. He is now riding something so big it deserve its own "tow car" to ride around in once you get there. I don't know what the hell it is, prolly what you ride, what the hell do you need more than 600cc's on a bike for?

You drop the thing and it just sits there begging you to crush a few disc picking it back up...

My bro also rides in the rain.

Like I said, two crazy peas in a pod...

Where would I put my two dogs on a bike?

Autumn said...

Thank god it's over. Was nice while it lasted... but I'm ready for the new year and all this "festiveness" to be over.

Nancy Dancehall said...

Yes. So glad Xmas is over.

Lovely bike there as well. Not as lovely as Betty, but few bikes are.

And have we met? :-) You look strangely familiar... (did you SEE the photo, Stucco? Who does he remind YOU of?)

Irrelephant said...

Stucco, I've gotten older and wiser, and own a second vehicle now. No rain riding now, unless I'm just feeling Rolling Stonesy.

Scott, honestly I did it more for the style than for any lack of genital girth. I loooove the retro look of the Roadliner...had it been a 600 or 750 I would have been on it just as fast. And probably be paying a lot smaller note.

Autumn, isn't that funny? How we all desperately long for the season, and when it gets here we're ready for it to be over. *lol* Human nature? Madison Ave.? Purblind foolishness? Either way, I'm ready for a long stretch of no holidays.

Nancy, that was my first love, the first bike I ever rode. Taught myself how to ride on that bike. That blue green used to take my breath away, until my first wife totaled it for me.

And yeah, Stucco, who do I remind you of? A guy who had lost some twenty odd pounds due to profound work stress and an even more stressful divorce, who had yet to learn the joys of conditioner for long hair? *lol*

Stucco said...

Irr, if you should return to that overall appearance, beware Pants in a poorly lit room. You resembled O in that shot.

Irrelephant said...

Stucco - so you're saying that O is dashingly handsome, erudite, debonair, well-read, somewhat flippant to the lesser classes and otherwise an all-around swell guy? Or that he's a malnourished hippie wanna-be in Pony sneakers squatting in his mom's driveway?