Archive for the ‘Maintenance/Repair’ Category

Dead Battery

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I always wondered what I would do I if I my battery went dead while I was out riding.  I mean, the thought of coming back to my moto and it not starting up, isn’t pleasant.  

Thankfully, my battery hasn’t died, yet.  So what’s the point of this post?  Well, it didn’t die on me.  It actually died when Sarah took the BMW for a ride. 

Fortunately, she was able to call me  in the afternoon in Santa Cruz and I made it on time to San Jose BMW to get a battery.  After getting to Berkeley (she was in a weeklong class at Cal), I proceeded to change the battery for the first time…on a slope…on the street…without the proper tools and without a manual.  I figured it would be really simple…but then Sarah reminded me that it’s BMW.  To BMW’s defense, it was relatively easy to figure out, but damn were there a lot of screws to take out! 

After about an hour and a half (I was using this multi-sized allen wrench tool that was not conducive to easy removal of the screws, but coincidently, very adept at causing me to gouge my knuckles on hard parts), the job was done.  Sarah was super helpful and without her, it would’ve taken me twice the time.  I know she could’ve done it herself, though.  (Thanks for letting me pretend like I know something about motorcycles, honey.)

Although it wasn’t the most ideal situation for me to be changing the battery for the first time without a manual (still don’t have one), it was a great learning experience. 

I’m still wondering what I’m going to do when my battery conks out on ME.


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Turns out the flat repair didn’t work. Thankfully we found that out before the bike left the shop. We got a call from the bike shop and they said that the tire was still leaking air from the “repaired” spot. The service manager and I were sitting there scratching our heads (not each other’s) because the plug repair looked fine. I find it really hard to believe that the $8 repair from the local (very local) tire shop didn’t work…

So in the end I ended up buying a new tire. I’ve definitely got to say thanks to Brian at BMW of Santa Cruz for the wonderful service. I’m not going to waste my time, the bike shop’s time, or Paco (that’s what his nametag said!) the local tire shop guy’s time if I ever get a flat again. And I’ll save my eight bucks….

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Christopher: Does everyone know Murphy and his law? I’m very close pals with him. He made the law just for me. And Karma? She was my babysitter growing up. Now she just visits every so often to remind me of funny things I used to do.

Okay, I don’t really know about the validity of Murphy’s law and/or karma, but I do know one thing: Getting a brand new tire on Friday, then having it go flat while riding in the middle of nowhere on the following Monday really, really sucks. Number of trips on the new tires: two. Total number of miles ridden on the tire: less than 100. The look on my face when I got off the bike to see a completely flat rear tire: priceless.

Sarah and I were just puttin’ along (more like moving briskly) in the Santa Cruz Mountains and I get this odd squishy feeling as I’m going up a steep, windy grade (Alba Road to Empire Grade). I’m thinking my steering technique is messed up. Then the handling gets worse and I find that the bike isn’t responding to my inputs at the handlebars. As a matter of fact, it didn’t feel like “push right, lean right” (thanks for the terminology MSF course!), it felt like push right, go right…right into the hillside on the LEFT!! There wasn’t any leaning with that flat tire. I’m glad Ifigured that out because the road is very tight, and the cars coming down the road like to ride both lanes.

I made it to the top of the road and pulled over. As soon as we were both safely pulled over, I hear, “Ummm, honey…your tire.” I look down, and what a wonderful surprise! A flat rear tire. I mean really flat. Kind of reminded me of that Dali painting with the melting clocks. Anyways, Sarah, in all her graciousness, offered to head back home to get the flat-fix canister so we can try to remedy the problem. Fortunately, out in the middle of nowhere was only 13 miles away from our house. But it is a windy 13 miles on Empire Grade to Santa Cruz. I couldn’t have driven the BMW home, not without some other problem happening.

While waiting, I met a really nice old lady that stopped in the middle of road to talk to me about fires being intentionally lit, and her hectic work schedule. When I say stopped in the middle of the road, she really did stop in the middle of the road, and talk to me for a few minutes from out of her window. Why is this noteworthy? I had NO IDEA who this person was. None. She just stopped and started talking. Luckily, I had helmet in hand when I started to get creeped out, so I put it on for protection in case she was cukoo. No, I didn’t really put it on. I was very nice to her, and helped her get going from that well chosen parking spot in the middle of the road.

Back to the flat tire…Sarah gets back to me and we use the canister. Air fills the tire, enough at least to get home, and some of the foamy stuff starts to ooze out of the hole in the tire. After a few minutes, I mount up and ride home with Sarah protecting my rear by following with the car.

The great guys from BMW Santa Cruz were nice enough to come by the house, pick up the bike and check out the tire at the shop. Turns out that there isn’t any damage to the belts in the tire, it’s nowhere near the sidewall, and the puncture was small enough to be repaired. That’s if I wanted to repair it. I read up on tire punctures and repairs on the internet, and found that lots of people say one should just buy a new tire after a flat and that I shouldn’t take chances. Others say that plugs work just fine as permanent fixes, as they have ridden on them for thousands of miles. Since Sarah and I about to take a trip to Yosemite National Park, I’m going to make it even more adventurous and go with the plug! Okay, I’m going with the plug because I actually believe that the tire will be fine, at least for the trip. And I’m a cheap bastard. Actually, I’m not…I just don’t have the money!! Those folks who say to replace the tire can give me some money, and I will.

Update to follow…

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