Monday, August 10, 2009


June 9, 2008 - Monday

I feel sick. Just looking at my profile picture to the left of this makes me want to cry. I want rewind the clock 24 hours and rethink a stupid, stupid split-second decision that smashed up my beloved Beastie yesterday around 1330 hours.

All weekend it had been gray and rainy. Church was over; Stef opened his presents (he turned 15 on Saturday). We were dismissed. I ran the dogs, fed the horses, called Kev and donned my leathers. The Beastie was freshly washed and looking beautiful, and the sun was just coming through the clouds.

The drive over the Albis was beautiful. No stalling traffic, and I was driving smoothly. I got to Kevin's; we tested a couple screw sized to fill the holes where the sozius foot peg assembly was removed, and then headed out. We were standing at the red light below his house. He said he needed to refuel, and I asked if he'd lead until we got to the gas station. He said yes, and the light turned green.

My word, it hurts to even write this. I revved the engine to 4 or 5 thousand rpm and let the clutch fly. The Beastie reared up, throwing me off the back. I landed and watched my most prized possession fall over and slide into the crossing, scattering plastic and glass.

What followed is a bit hazy. I sat there in the road, stunned and already getting furious with myself. Kev suddenly appeared and pulled me up, asking if I was all right. I said I was fine - through clenched teeth, I think. Two older people appeared, a man and his wife. Kev and the guy went to retrieve my bike; the woman took my arm and asked me if I was okay, if I were sure I was okay. I kept staring into the distance and replied mechanically that yes, I was fine.

The two helpful people evidently knew Kevin. The man offered to let us put the Beastie in his shed and leave it there until further notice. I walked Kevin's Duke around while he pushed my bike. I vauely noticed the lights were still on. So the electronics were still okay.

I was still wearing my helmet and gloves and biting down a sick feeling.

The Beastie's whole back was smashed. The seat had come off, but aside from a bit of a chip in the back and some missing staples, both of which can be repaired, was looking okay. The whole back light assembly, which I was going to replace with a thinner LED one anyway,was smashed to bits. But the worst was the seat frame. It had broken clean off on both sides.

I stood on the sidewalk, watched while Kevin rolled the wreck and finally thought to take off my helmet and air my head. Kevin came back and put his arm around my shoulders and walked me away from the road into the shed. He'd been through this all before once when he smashed up his Duke, and he knew exactly that I didn't want to hear any good advice or sympathy.

In the shop, I walked around my Beastie and tried not to cry. Kevin pointed out that the damage looked worse than it was; that all I really needed to replace what the seat frame, the back light, left foot peg, mirror and handlebar end. And the airbox cover.

The custom airbrushed airbox cover hadn't been on there a month and now it has a gaping hole and a crack across the air intake. And it wasn't insured yet either, because my insurance man told me to get the Termignoni mounted first and then we'd insure everything all at once.

Kevin took pictures for evidence and reference. I doubt my insurance will pay anything on the repairs of the bike, since it was self-caused accident and I only have Teilkasko coverage. I haven't asked yet, though.

I was already dreading calling the mechanic the next day to come and pick it up and repair everything, but Kevin, practical DIY-believer that he is, was already unscrewing the broken frames while Herr Derrer, the kind neighbor, removed the license plate for me. Kevin pointed out where the frame attached, noted which screws had loctite on them, and said, "You should write a list of parts you need, and then we can put the whole thing back together. It'll just be a bit of a nuisance about the airbox cover, until you've ordered it and the Mundwilerin paints it and all, but you can still drive with this one, or take it off. Either way."

I was skeptical. "What about all the electronics? What if something is wrong with them?"

Kev shook his head and Herr Derrer worked on removing the battery. "The electronics are all on this plate, see, and you just have to fit the cables back together right. The lights were still on; the electronics should be all right. And even they're not 100%, building the seat assembly back together ourselves will save you a lot of money. You can still have the mech check it afterwards."

He was right. And the mech would be checking again soon anyway, when he put the Termignoni on.

Herr Derrer offered us the use of his shop to repair the bike. He had all sorts of tools available, including - wonder of wonders - an inch wrench set. Kevin said most of the thank-yous. I was so mad and stunned I didn't say much of anything. But they understood. Both Derrers - he and his wife - had driven motorcycles, and their son had smashed up a car not too long ago...

When the guys had done all the could on the Beastie, Kevin remembered to pull out the key and hand it to me and we walked around to the front of the house, where Frau Derrer served us some home-made ice tea. She was very caring - a litle bit too caring. She kept asking if I wanted more to drink, or something to eat, if I really hadn't hurt myself...

I negated everything as politely as I could, half-listened to the guys talk and stared at the trees, trying to figure out what to do now.

In spurts I kept having the feeling this was just a bad dream; there must be some mistake. And then I'd look at the license plate with its scratched-up frame and know it wasn't. Not to mention I'd banged my left hip and scraped it, and that hurt a bit too if I moved wrong.

Sitting around the table gave me a little time to collect my thoughts and calm down. Sort of. I was thinking about buying a second motorcycle, or a quad, since I want to get a quad for the wintertime anyway. And then I tried to place costs and had no idea what to expect. I'd said I wouldn't do any more big expenditures this month until the Termignoni came along. My bank account needs to restock itself. And now this.

Around 1500 hours we took our leave from the Derrers. I had their address and his cell phone number so I could contact them later. I really need to thank them for their kindness. Yesterday I was just too dazed.

I had to be home at 1700 hours, since at 1800 hours we were going to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate Stef's 15th birthday. There was still time, though, so Kevin and I went back to his place. He told his mother what had happened, and she came out with a concerned look on her face and asked, "What do you do?"

I managed a weak laugh and said that I'd been testing the power and found out it had enough. She made sure I was all right and went back inside to prepare a very delicious-smelling supper, but I passed. I wasn't really hungry, and we would be eating soon.

Kev and I chatted for a bit, mostly not about the bike. He tried to take my mind off the subject and did a fairly good job - so much so that I was actually in the mood to watch a couple Mr. Bean episodes in the last half hour before we headed across the mountain.

He drove me home. Joshua was in the door way when we drove up ad of course wanted to know where my bike was. I told him I wrecked it. I wanted to find Florian, but he was still out riding. Kris was there, though and asked about the Buell. I told him the story in a little more detail, and he was sympathetic, which helped too. Then Florian roared up with Alex, and I told him to never, ever say again that my bike didn't pull.

We stood around for forty minutes, discussing the whole thing then. Florian explained to me that you can get a wheelie out of moped if you want. First gear is the strongest gear, and anyway, you never let the clutch fly, and you should keep your foot on the back brake in case... Lovely. Some of the stuff I already knew - like the strength of first gear - and should have kept me from pulling that stupid stunt.

End result was that Florian explained to me how to do a proper wheelie, let me ride along on the Tweety Bird while he did a few, and then got me started with the basics. You know what they say - if the horse throws you, you get right back on.

I felt better during that period. Then it was time to go, and I said goodbye to Kev, and thanks, and said I'd let him know what I found out the next day. He left, and we drove into Adliswil to the Chinese restaurant.

I sat in the corner and I don't think I was too much of a depressant on the party. The food was really good, but the whole meal gave me too much time to think and I just wanted to go home and cry and sleep on it.

We didn't get home too late, around 2100 hours, and I went straight to bed. For some reason I woke up 0200 this morning, remembered what had happened, got depressed all over again and fell asleep until 0500 hours.

As soon as I got my laptop running I tried to order a new airbox cover from Frank Parts in Germany, but the website wouldn't let me finish my order. It kept telling me to chose a payment method when there was only one. So I wrote to the company, heard back from the boss, asked him to manually make me an order and send me payment details... And now I just tried again and the problem was fixed, so if I'm lucky, I'll still have the new airbox cover this week. Now I need to call the airbrush artist and ask her to redo her work.

I also talked to my mech this morning, and he said he'd order the seat frames and if the importer had them in stock those should arrive by the end of the week too. Plus, the Termignoni should come in around that time as well...

As far as a bad experience goes, things are actually looking up. This will be expensive, but there's no way to go but forward. This evening after work I'm going to go visit my mech and pick up the stuff they have in stock: LED back light, mirror, foot peg and handlebar end. And I might treat myself to a piece of Buell clothing while I'm at it, because I'll be spending a lot of money anyway.

Now I'm glad for that babysitting job coming up next Saturday night.

When I talked to Mom over lunch she asked what I'd learned from this. First, I learned that my bike has power to spare, even if it is castrated, and I'm actually rethinking the plan to open it up when it gets the Termignoni exhaust system. Secondly, I learned never to make split second decisions if there's even a chance of risk. Third, I've learned where the point of no return is on the Beastie, it's saved and I hope to God I'll never pass it again. Mom said to use the Beastie to get from point A to point B and then give it a pat and put it away. But retarded as it may sound, I've seen the limit. And now I know what I and my bike can handle below that.

Hah. If the carnage had ended there I'd be thousands richer.

No comments:

Post a Comment