Sunday, January 30, 2011

A View From Your Past

I have heard it said that one of the first signs of spring is when you see a robin, well I got one better. Yesterday, in the town of Bracebridge, at -9 degrees celsius (that's right MINUS 9!) I saw my first bike of the year. It was one of those "dual sport" bikes that look more like off road bikes than anything we ride, but hey, he was ridin'! And I was jealous.
So when I got home I grabbed a cloth and cleared the dust from my own bike, sat on it and reminisced for a while. Stop laughing, I know you have all done it! At least once. Probably even at least once this year, and if not I bet you want to after reading this.
Now is probably a good time to do a mid-winter inspection of you bike.
Do things like making sure that battery tender didn't get inadvertently unplugged over the months.
If your bike is sitting on the cold hard concrete in your garage you might want to go out and roll it forward a couple of inches to avoid a flat spot in your tires, this is something you might want to do on a weekly basis between now and when you get it out for the summer ( Hopefully only 6 more times!!).
Look for signs of rodents around your bike, things like mouse droppings on the floor or maybe dried grass or twigs sticking out from places that are well hidden. Foam, leather or rubber on the floor could be an indication that a creature is living where it is not welcome.
If you are one that believes in starting you bike every week or so and haven't done it yet, you might want to consider contacting your mechanic for suggestions about first start in the spring. The internal parts of your engine will have dried up by now and first starts are very hard on an engine, it causes scratching of cylinder walls that will cause loss of compression over time, in turn this will cause loss of power. I am sure there are plenty of others problems that are associated with this start up.
Look for cracks in any visible belts hoses or fuel or air lines, now might be the time to replace them if you are at all handy or know someone who is. Doing it in April on the first real nice day when it feels like 25 degrees and everyone else is riding does not make for a good start to the season.
Anyway, I am going out to shovel the driveway now, my house will be the one that has a narrow path of dry pavement from my garage to the road. (You can't be too prepared.) And if you see me in the spring on a brand new KHYZS 650 street/dirt bike you will know I couldn't wait 'til spring. And I will probably have a new friend in Bracebridge!
Happy four wheeling, for now, and remember it is never too early to double check you rear view mirror that one last time to get "A View From Your Past" for motorcycles while you are still driving the cage.

Stephen Ballantyne,
Third Officer S.C.R.C.
Chapter 523

P.S. All the tips above are just things to think about, anything you do with you motorcycle should be approved and/or done by a certified mechanic.

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