Dumbo and the art of MC maintenance.
Dumbo and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Why I love my Doohickey.
Remember when you were a kid, and you loved Dumbo. A sweet little story about a big-eared elephant that learned that confidence was the key to flying. And then you watched it as an adult and realized it was also about how much acid Disney animators used to take, and racial caricatures that kind of make your teeth hurt…plus the other stuff? I do. Man, I loved Dumbo when I was a kid. I think I may have had a drinking problem in my early twenties as a direct result of that movie. But I digress. Because I want to talk about bikes. And I want to talk about the magic feather.
I owned and rode motorcycles for years before I ever turned a wrench on one. The reasons behind this are complex and would make everyone uncomfortable. The short version is that I always felt like I was ‘bad at that kind of stuff’. It was kind of my Dad’s fault. Not that he intentionally made me feel bad, but he was just good at “that kind of stuff”. Most of the men I knew were. And I wasn’t. So I didn’t do it. I got some ****ing tattoos and played rock music so loud it hurt.
But this isn’t about all that. It’s about buying a KLR. It’s about doohickeys (Balancer Chain Adjuster Levers). It’s about a tech day where I delved so deep into the workings of my motorcycle (hours from home, in the garage of someone I had never met before), that I was, literally, in full pucker mode for about 5 hours straight. But here’s the thing. Kawasaki, through their sub par engineering, gave me my magic feather.
If you recall, the crows give Dumbo a feather that “enables” him to fly. It is good, basic, manipulative psychology. After I went to my first tech day and “did my doo”, I’d made a few friends who would help me work on my bike and take me on cool rides. My friend Mark helped me put on crash bars. He and his friend Tim helped me adjust my valves. My friend Darin helped me more than I even comprehended at the time. They were my magic feather. But then something started happening. I changed out the front fender easy as pie. Oil changes became 5 minute “chores” I looked forward to. I needed new brake pads and put them in. Kawasaki not only gave me my magic feather, they then…with a little help (just like the movie!) showed me that I did not NEED that damn feather. (I do need my friends, though).
I will never be a great mechanic. I know great mechanics and they just don’t think the same way I do. I have my talents. That is not one of them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. Maybe I need to see it done first. Maybe I’m terrified the first time. Or the third. Maybe I’ll always be a little bit scared, but dammit, I can fly.
"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig
Soon, we ride.
AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.
Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
2008 KLR 650
RIP DM - Soon, we ride.
Last edited by Lockjaw; 09-17-2010 at 09:47 PM.