“I’ll Wash It Every Day”

In 1989, when I first purchased my mint condition 1982 Harley Davidson Sportster 1000, it was pretty kick ass bike. It featured streamlined drag pipes that would wake up the dead when you revved the engine. And the chrome on the bike shined so bright you could see it for miles. Any work that needed to be done would be done only by me. Didn’t want to take it to anyone else. I took pride in the fact that if a clutch needed changing, I could do it myself. From the day I purchased the motorcycle, it was MINT.

Every day my brother would say, “If that were my bike, I’d take care of it sooo much better. I’d wash and wax it every day.”

A few years later, I purchased my 1993 Harley Davidson Fat Boy. I didn’t want to sell the Sportster, but also knew I wasn’t going to ride it. So, I gave the Sportster to my brother fully believing that he would honor that statement. I was completely wrong.

One of the things we both learned in the motorcycle safety class was NOT TO RIDE DURING THE FIRST DROPLETS OF RAIN. The water coats the road and along with the oil on the road, creates a very dangerous window for riders. The road is very slick at that point. One should wait until about 15-20 minutes before hopping on a motorcycle. By then, the rain has washed the oil slicks away from the road.

Before he took the bike out in the rain, I said why don’t you wait a few minutes until the rain washes away the oil slicks. He insisted he’d be ok. No need to wait. His girlfriend was waiting. had to get there to see her. He strapped on a helmet, started the bike, and then rode of into the steady drizzle.

Twenty minutes later. He comes in the door looking like hell and freaked out. I didn’t hear the motorcycle pull up. Where’s the bike, I wonder, then ask. I dropped it on the road. Slipped from the oil slicks in the drizzling rain. “No shit!?” I exclaim. “What did I tell you!?” Luckily, he was fine. The bike on the other hand. Not so good. Broken mirror, highway pegs, bent fender, steering bushing lost, a scratched gas tank and rear fender. It could have been worse. The woman driving behind him stopped when she saw him lose traction. If she didn’t stop it would have been more serious. But, no big deal, the bike can be fixed.

That was over 12 years ago.

The Sportster still has not been repaired. It sits in the shed, slowly rusting away. The air filter has rotted away to the point where it has gummed up the carburetor causing the engine to run poorly. The once pristine chrome speedometer now suffers from reticulation. Not a pretty sight. I’ve thought about taking the bike back (he’s offered it to me numerous times), since he is now afraid to ride. Can’t blame him though, that kind of experience can freak you out and make you lose your desire to ride.

For years I thought about taking him up on the offer, but every time I look at the bike I get disgusted. I recall hearing, “If that were my bike, I’d take care of it sooo much better. I’d wash and wax it every day.”
Uh, what happened to taking care of it. Within a month that motorcycle should have been back on the road. I didn’t have the patience to deal with it. Maybe I should have.

Exvery time I saw him  I’d ask, “Did you fix the bike yet?” Every time he’d say “NO!”

So the bike has sat for the past 12 years. Rusting away.

Recently, a friend purchased a new bike and asked me to ride it home for him. He doesn’t have a motorcycle license yet, and has yet to take the safety course. I said sure. I’d be glad to.

It was the most fun I’ve had in years. Gave me the itch to ride again. The freedom. Wind in your face. 95 miles an hour on I-95. That is the speed limit? Too much fun, except for the bugs and pebbles from dump trucks. A blast. Relaxing. Thought provoking. Calming. Stress relieving. And many more.

So I went to my parents house and said to my brother ,”When that was my bike, I took care of it sooo much better. I washed and waxed it every day. It’s coming home!”

Anyone have a trailer?

BC 🙂