Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wreckage Strewn Along the Road, or, Bits Fall Off Sometimes

Ride long enough, and you're going to leave some wreckage behind you. Well, maybe not wreckage, if you're lucky, but certainly some debris.

Because you aren't a biker until something important has rattled itself loose and fallen to the road, disappearing into the other litter as you speed away, oblivious to your loss until it becomes really inconvenient.

To date, I've lost two license plates, countless bolts, and a variety of other trivial items that didn't upset me too much.

But this morning, I was kind of pissed off when I lost a bit of the Vespa ET4.

This week I've been feeling a little slow, if you can dig it. Kind of laid back. Also, the chain is out of adjustment and in dire need of oil on the Triumph, but really, I'm just feeling the scooter groove. Really.

Especially because in my new. slow, scootery groove, I think I found a new route that I like quite a bit. Buzzing along at a constant forty five miles an hour through green light after green light with almost no traffic feels like Christmas morning. So I was excited to experience scooter bliss again today.

At a stoplight this morning, I noticed a mirror was out of adjustment, so I tried to move it to a more optimal position. Instead of getting a good view of the road behind me, however, the entire stalk jerked back, and was suddenly loose.

The engineering on the Vespa is a little, uh, interesting. For example, the mirror hardware also holds the brake levers on. And the nut that keeps it all in place is tucked far out of reach inside the handlebar. So you can see why I was a little nervous about this situation.

For the rest of my ride to work, I did my best to keep the mirror and place, and hoped I hadn't yet lost that vital nut keeping the whole machine from falling apart.

I arrived, and felt around inside the handlebars. The nut was there, so I tightened it to the best of my ability. Of course, you can't get to it with anything besides a deep socket, so "as snug as I can get it with one finger" was going to have to do.

On the ride home, the whole assembly kept flapping around. About four miles from home, something bounced off the top of my foot, and I hoped that it was just a rock or my office ID badge or something else unimportant.

Nope, it was that frickin' nut.

The last several miles were nerve-wracking to say the least.

The good news, in this case, is that I happened to have the exact nut I needed to replace the one I lost. You'd better believe I've got that sucker cranked on tight.

So, now I'll just have to wait and see what's going to shake loose next.