Monday, August 3, 2009

2007 out, 2008 in on a Buell

January 2, 2008 - Wednesday

December 31 was a very comfortable day with a completely unexpected ending. We'd thought about heading off to ski and board after midday, but I guess Florian and Dad decided against that. I had to be at the office in the morning to sign for the registered mail of tenants ending their rental agreements, and I ended up spending the whole day at the office. I enjoyed it - no phones, no people around, left to my own leisure and designs. I got all my work done, opened and distributed the mail, and left around 1600 hours.
The Buell took off so nicely I scrapped the idea of going home through the deserted city and took to the Albis instead. The roads were still wet - they've been wet nonstop for weeks - but there was almost no one on the roads, the temperature was a balmy 4° Celsius, and driving was pure pleasure. I got to practice taking the curves without pressure.
But my schedule for New Year's Day changed when I IMed with Roy, another biker from the SwissBikers forum. He said he and a couple buddies would spend the day riding, and would I like to come?
I said I'd let him know, thought for a few minutes about my foot - it was still a bit swollen, and if it had given out after three hours on Flumserberg, I'd be lucky to last until midday at Chäserrugg. The rest of the day I'd have to spend in the car with a book - and the decision was made.
I IMed him back and said I was coming.
He let me know when and where to meet him. He's in Oftringen, Aargau, so I checked online for the best route. Luckily it was nothing complicated. I just had to drive 50 km of Autobahn and exit at Oftringen. I asked Florian to be sure, and then Dad, Florian, Joshua, Selim and the Kid left for Chäserrugg.
I only left aruond 0800 hours. Florian called me beforehand to let me know that there was ice and a light coating of snow on the roads, and I should wait until the sun had been out a bit.
By 0800 the sky was gray instead of black, and I, bundled in every bit of gear I have, headed for Oftringen.
It was the first time I'd driven the Autobahn for any considerable length, and I gotta say, it's sure not the strength of the Buell's design. The rider is a massive wind-block. Still, it was an unparalleled feeling, sitting on 1000 cubes and 34 PS, seeing barely anything of the motorcycle, whizzing down the road at 120+ km/h. It gives you an idea of what a dragonfly feels like. I can't wait to do it when the machine is open with its full 85 PS.
I exited at Oftringen and immediately saw the big OBI do-it-yourself market. I was to meet the guys in the parking lot there. I didn't see any bikes, so I drove in, parked and waited.
Three monobikes came buzzing down the road shortly after. I met Roy, who drove a Yamaha 450, Dario (called Däru) who drives a Honda FMX, and Kevin (Kevä) who drives a KTM Duke II. All three are in their late teens or early twenties. Introductions and handshakes took a minute; scrutinizing my bike claimed about five. You see where the emphasis is. The Buell was duly accepted, pronounced "Voll Geil" (sort of "Dude, cool") and various design changes from the 2005 model, which Roy owns, to the 2006 model (mine) were pointed out.
While we were still standing around my bike, Roy suggested we go back to his place for starters to warm up and wake up. They'd evidently spent most of the previous night awake. They'd welcomed the new year by doing burnouts.
So, we headed to Roy's place. Roy took off in a wheelie.
We actually stopped at Roy's parent's house. Roy has his own apartment in Oftringen; his parents live in aneighboring town. They weren't around, and Roy was staying to feed the zoo: Two huge leguans, two adult African turtles and half a dozen babies, a chameleon, two tiny lizards with extremely long tails, and a talkative cat.
His parents have a large garage containing three classic American cars - Excalibur, Grande Ville and Firebird - and a couple motorcycle. The house itself is Africa-themed an very classy.
We all had coffee - even me; it wasn't too bad - watched part of a bike stunts DVD, talked and chatted. I'm generally not very sociable at all, but with the main subject being bikes, I felt right at home.
After we'd finished the coffee, we figured it was time to get going. We geared up again, mounted and headed out into the frosty Aargau morning.
Aargau is a beautiful canton. We drove through the villages, on long, winding roads up and down hills, and the fields and trees were pure frost.
Partway up a hill, Roy, leading the convoy, pulled over, and so did the rest of us. The roads were bad; there was no denying that. It was chilly, too, though I wasn't much affected by it. We discussed what to do, since it was hardly a good day for biking. On the other hand, nobody wanted to not bike. It was 1100 hours, so Däru suggested we find a place to lunch. They talked about the best place to go, and we turned around and drove for a while until we reached a restaurant in Vordemwald. We sat down, peeled off our gear, and spent about three hours there, I think. The food was simple and good and not too expensive, and the restaurant mostly empty, the atmosphere very relaxed.
We started out by talking about bikes, and then about jobs, and then about dang foreigners, and then about a crappy social system, and then about idiots greenies and annoying a Greenpeace demonstration by doing burnouts on a quad and monobike in front of their noses, and then about shooting and guns.
I was having a great time. It was wonderful to find people who still have their heads screwed on straight. They're staunch SVP voters, they shoot and they've been shooting since their early teens, they've been in the militia or are going to be, they hate the reds and especially the greens, they've got jobs and work, don't party or drink to excess, and they actually do something with their lives. They're the kind of people you wouldn't know existed if you only took your view of the country from the media. These friends are definitely for keeps.
It was after 1400 hours when we left the restaurant and continued our tour of the area. We drove some mountain roads, swung by Däru's uncle's house but his uncle wasn't home, stopped to refuel - for the second time that day - and finally made our way back to Roy's parent's place. More talk and drinks (non-alcoholic) and a Craig Jones stunt DVD and relaxing. Däru had to leave early, so we said goodbye to him, promised to meet again, and then it was just Kevä, Roy and me.
Roy related his horror story with his Buell. He was one of the first to buy one in 2005, and he needed it limited to 34 PS. He has a really crappy garage, and they ruined the thing for him. (It's actually the same garage Andy suggested I could take my Buell to for the services. Um, no. I'm definitely sticking with my Müllerstrasse experts.) It hasn't run in half a year. He says that after all the stuff the mechanics wrecked for him, from now on he's doing everything himself.
Once again, I felt really lucky. Yeah, my bike had some initial problems, but my garage and mechanics and friendly and helpful and know their stuff, work fast, and when they say they'll do something under warranty, they don't bill me for it afterwards. I'm so blessed.
It was 1800 hours and dark before Kevä and I figured it was about time to head home. (He lives in Birmensdorf, also in Zürich.)
We geared up for the last time that day and drove over to Roy's apartment to check out his poor Buell before heading home.
The belt of the Buell had come apart. The oil had run out of the shocks. The gear shift pedal had been broken, and the exhaust pipe had lost screws - all right after the Dietikon garage did a huge service of the machine.
Roy says this summer he'll fix it up and get it running again and return to customizing it.
We said goodbye then, and I thanked Roy for the invitation and said I'd had a great time. Our next meet will be on the 13th at the latest. I hope the weather's a bit warmer then, and that the roads are always so confounded wet! But even if they are, we'll have a good time.
Kevä and I left. We drove the Autobahn together until his exit, and I got home shortly after 1900 hours.
We had a short New Year's devotion, and then everybody when to bed. The boys were really tired after their long day of boarding.
I can't wait for the 13th.

No comments:

Post a Comment