A few weekends ago, Mr Man and I spent an afternoon getting Skylark ready to ride again. She has sat in our garage for at least a year without anyone starting her. It was making me too sad for words so several weeks ago I got out my calendar and set aside a weekend to work on her.
We’ve talked about selling her for some time now. I just don’t ride her much anymore and I want her to be ridden. She’s a great bike and she’s been cared for. She’s just not the bike for me and the way I ride. I feel like she’ll be easier to sell if she’s running. Mr. Man has also talked about learning to ride her a bit. Besides all that, getting her back up and running is just the right thing to do.
We knew we wouldn’t finish the job in one weekend. Mostly because there was no deadline and we weren’t in a big hurry. My goal was to get her fluids changes, check her spark plugs and fire her up. I had hopes that I could get her inspected. I have a day off in a few weeks that I could use to get her tags up to date. Since she sat for such a long while I was prepared to run into problems but most things went smoothly.
We got air in my baby’s tires and determined that the rear tire would need to be replaced but the other two actually would do fine for now. I admit, I teared up quite a bit as I started clearing spider webs off of her. My baby should not have sat so long that she was dusty and webby. I promised her that once we got her internals sorted I would spend an afternoon with a duster, some water, and some pledge and get her pretty again.
Her spark plugs looked fantastic so we left them alone. Her engine oil looked great for its age and we had no problems getting it changed. The oil in her oil filter looked fantastic. It looked about like what I would expect if I was changing it at a service interval. Mr. Man and I did find more metal in her transmission fluid than we would have liked but we felt it was still ok. We decided to change it again after she had been ridden a tad and see what it looked like then. After all, she had two transmission incidences very close together and then sat for a while. Her rear drive and driveshaft fluids were changed without any trouble. Her carbs looked good: no junk in the float bowl and the jets seemed un-gunked. When we turned on the gas the fuel filters filled with no problems. At this point, we tried to fire her up….tried.
When we turned the key, there was no headlight and no dash lights. We quickly determined that the battery was dead. We also determined that the battery tender was also dead. Since there wasn’t a timeline here and I didn’t really feel like forking over the money for a new battery right then, we cleaned up the garage called it a day.
Here’s the thing. The big reason we didn’t run into any difficulty until the battery was that she went into mothballs in excellent condition. Our wonder mechanic had sent her back to us in excellent shape after her last transmission adventure and we had always been careful to keep up her maintenance schedule up to that point. She was an older bike and I traveled on her quite a bit so I knew it was crucial to keep her in excellent shape. Because of the history of care she had, she has been able to sit in mothballs without much in the way of problems….so far. We still haven’t fired her up and she is historically a hard bike to start. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a challenge to get her actually running but I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to do it. Once she’s started, I think she’ll run just fine.
I’ve already got another weekend on the calendar to tend to her battery. Hopefully, that weekend will see her making some laps around the neighborhood. After that, one more weekend for tires and she’ll be ready to go.
There is a lesson here about life in general. About the importance of doing self-care. the importance of doing maintenance in you own life with your mind, with your body, with your finances.
Recently I fell face first down a concrete ramp going into work. It was terrifying. I’ve still got numbness and bruising on my poor lymphedemic leg but I avoided major injury. Mostly because I’ve been in the gym for the past few years. I’ve been taking care of my body’s maintenance so that when something happened, I was ready. Bodies, bikes, it’s all the same. The care that we put into ourselves now means we’ll be ready for the future, even if the future involves more sitting still than we planned or more crashing out that we ever wanted to be doing. Like a boy scout…be prepared.