Friday, January 15, 2016


It's safe to say I spend a lot of time Mon-Fri getting ready to ride on the weekends.  Frequently weekday evenings are spent in the garage in doing maintenance, swapping parts.  I do not want to be one of those guys that shows up to ride with a rusty chain, wobbly wheel bearings and stuff falling off.  You expect that kind of thing from kids, but not grown men who should know better, yet I see it all the time.  Many people treat their weekend rides like mowing the lawn.  Roll the appliance out of the garage, press the button and commence, stop for lemonade and hotdogs when tired.

As I ride what is considered an absolute "dinosaur" of a machine (1989 KDX200), the kind of motorcycle that modern 4-stroke bike riders can barely restrain their laughter at when I roll up, the pressure is high.  Any sort of breakdown or failure would be attributed to riding an old piece of shit, any crash blamed on lack of the fanciest suspension, getting stuck a result of not having 60 fuel-injected, knobby shredding horsepower on tap at the crack of the throttle.

Folderol (it's a word, look it up).  Have motorcycles improved over the last 25 years?  Of course.  Can 90% of us take advantage of all those improvements?  Probably not.  Don't get me wrong, some things, like electric start, lighter overall weight, those are great things.  But are they $10,000 great?  Who knows, and until someone is willing to lend me a modern bike for long term testing, I don't care to find out.

So I concern myself with the things that I can control.  I maintain the bike religiously, oil changes, suspension refreshing, air filter cleanings, chain cleanings, linkage greasing, bearing replacement, overall cleaning after each ride, all the tedious shit that we hate to do.  I don't enjoy it, sometimes I downright abhor it, but to neglect is to invite failure.  I make improvements where I can while avoiding trivial bling.  I keep good tires on it.  I treat it first and foremost as what it is: the only thing that is going to get me into the woods and back out if I don't want to walk.

I also keep myself in pretty decent physical condition for an old man (check out those abs ladies!).  What good is all the latest equipment when you are wheezing, huffing and puffing after 15 minutes at a decent pace?  Or too exhausted to pick up your sweet new ride after a fall?  Fitness makes all the difference.  To neglect is to invite failure of the worst kind.

Working on bikes and working out isn't always fun, but riding a bike well for more than five minutes sure as hell is.

Get off the couch, give me twenty push-ups and lube that chain, maggot!


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