Friday, September 4, 2009

Glass roads

February 18, 2009 - Wednesday

Yes, please do.

I was so hoping to be able to take the Beastie out of the garage this morning. The last time I had it out was Wednesday a week ago. I even shoveled a path through the snow from the Vögelistrasse up our garage ramp.
But the midnight hours brought six to ten degrees below freezing, and when I walked out with Retta this morning at 0530 hours, I found the slush frozen into patches of glass, the blanket of snow in the fields stiff and hard, and the Bonnie's doors stuck shut.
I managed to get one of the back doors open on the Bonnie so I could start her up. (I let her run and warm up while I take the dogs on their early-morning walk so I don't drive away on a cold engine.) As always, she started without complaint. Such a good winter car.
After having the dogs out I reported on the state of the roads to Florian. I'm not sure whether he's going to risk taking the Husky to work today; he can drive on a lot of days where I can't take the Beast out just because hauling its 220 kg down the garage ramp, over the curve of the road and down our uncleared Vögelistrasse is something I'm not strong enough to do. I can pick it up if it were to fall over, but I can't hold its bulk on an ice patch. His Husky is considerably
lighter and he, of course, is stronger than me so he can get onto the cleared roads even if we have snow down the Vögelistrasse.
And that's what irks me. Usually there's anywhere from 5 to 60 feet between me and a proper start to the day. Sixty feet isn't long, and then I get to sit in the office for the rest of the day looking at cleared blacktop and moping about all the kilometers I'm missing.
There's also a more practical side to my four-wheel fever. On April 24 we leave for Corsica and Sardinia, and by that time I wanted to have run down my Pirelli tires and tried the Merker Z6s that several people are recommending as being long-lived. But I've had the new Beastie for over two and half month now, have barely 2500 km on it and the Pirellis are still good for at least that much again.
My monthly average on Silver was 1500 klicks, and if this winter had been like the last dozen years' I could have kept that average with no problem. But having to put the Beast away for a week every fortnight is cutting my average by 60%.
I know I'm whining, and that seasons are a good thing and I should just work with it. Still, this is so typical. For ten years I've been wishing for decent snow and white Christmasses and real winters, and now that I was hoping the cold but dry winters would continue, we get snow dumps to make up for the last decade's lack of precipitation. Never satisfied, that's me.
It did get put into perspective on Monday, though, at poor Aleks's expense.
He and Florian both took their monobikes to work that morning; there was too much snowfall for me to consider taking the Beastie out. Florian got to work just fine, but barely ten minutes after arriving he got a call from Aleks.
"Yo, I've had an accident."
Florian: "First question: Were there are third parties involved?"
"Second question: How are you doing?"
"Third question: How's your bike?"
Aleks was driving up the hill on the Stampfenbachplatz in Zürich. He took a curve, properly wide. His front wheel hit a patch of ice, the Husaberg slid out from under him, hit the curb and smashed into a concrete wall.
The front wheel is split and the front fork has a dent in it, as well as various scrapes on the frame.
From the view of any insurance, the bike would be a write-off. Just like Silver. And, just like Silver, the Husaberg's damage isn't covered by any insurance. But, unlike Silver, it won't cost upwards of seven grand to get it running again.
And to think that just the day before Aleks had stopped by to change the oil and tighten the chain...
Yesterday evening Florian arrange for Uncle Andy to pick up the bike from where Aleks left it near the scene of the accident. Now it's sitting next to the Tweety Bird outside the barn.
We seriously need a bigger garage.
I couldn't see the damage as it was dark when they unloaded it from Andy's trailer, but Florian says that the wheels were weakened when Aleks had them powder-coated a couple months ago. The material was heated in the process, and with cooling its strength declined. That's why it would burst apart so easily when it hit the curb.
That Husaberg has been taken apart, rebuilt, tampered with and repaired so often I honestly don't know how long it's going to last until the next thing happens. Aleks isn't a bad driver; his bike just isn't gaining is reliability with ever new repair it has to go through.
To him, it's a test in patience. To me, it was a reminder to be thankful for my faithful Bonnie and the option of four wheels on snowy days.

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