friends help you move; real friends help you move motorcycles

So, today we moved Cat’s bikes. Cat, as I may have mentioned, is in Canada, and her husband is moving up there next week. They couldn’t ship all the bikes up, so Peter and I offered to store them alongside our house until spring, when they have a better chance of being sold. So, Cat rented us a truck, and Peter and I drove up to Cat and John’s house to load it up with bikes.

Cat, I should mention, has six motorcycles. Two of them run: a Ducati 996 and a Honda CBR929. Two of them will run after varying amounts of affection: a pair of Kawasaki EX500s (one of which is her racebike). Two of them don’t, and god willing, never will again: a pair of Honda CB400s. These damn things should be taken out back and shot.

We didn’t move the 929 and the Duc tonight; I took the keys and will go back over there later in the week and ride them home. But that still left four.

Peter and I were met at Cat and John’s by Cat’s friends Strata and her husband Mike, and another friend Dave. Oh, and John. Andrea also came by to help, because I owed her lunch already, and I guess that wasn’t enough debt. 😉 So now we had seven people to move four bikes, which sounds good until you realize that Peter has an injured shoulder, Strata has back problems, and I’m coming down with the plague. That left Andrea, Dave, Mike, and John.

When we arrived, John was just finishing up the parlor game of “where the hell are the keys for this bike?” This seems like a fairly simple game until you realize the pile of keys that he was dealing with here.

He found keys for all the bikes except for the racebike, but it was in neutral, and we didn’t need to start it anyway. So we began the fun task of moving the bikes out into the driveway.

Here we see Dave and Mike wondering why the hell we weren’t just tossing this thing into a dumpster somewhere. Local friends might recognize this as the same bike that sat behind my apartment complex for a few months a year or so ago.

After a small amount of strategizing, it was determined that the best way to load the truck was just to run the damn things up the ramp. This worked well for the EX500s….

…But not so well for the CB400s, both of which had stuck brakes. Here we see an interpretive dance version of “how many bike nerds does it take to get a shitty old CB400 with stuck brakes into a truck?”

Thanks to strong guys holding up half of the motorcycle while everyone else steered and pushed, and to flat out miracles, we managed to get all four bikes into the truck and tied down. There had been some minor tie-down drama earlier in the day, but Peter and my long ratchet tie-downs turned out to be almost enough, and we scrounged up a few extras to make it work. Naturally, we found a huge pile of extra tie-downs about 8 minutes after tying down the last bike.

The truck cab was filled with odds and ends, so I got into John’s car for the ride home. Right as we were about to leave, Dave, who was riding his SV, slipped on some mucky leaves and dropped the bike. This would have been uneventful, except that the clutch sensor got screwed up somehow, and the ignition circuit wouldn’t close. We plugged and unplugged and tweaked and bent and unbent the sensor posts, but it just wasn’t working. Dave eventually found an old audio cable under his seat, and we jimmied the jacks into the female connectors on the sensor to see if bypassing the clutch sensor would let the bike start. It did. John dug up a Leatherman, and Dave cut off the offending sensor and twisted the wires together. Success!

Strata and Mike stayed behind to help clean up some stuff, and the rest of us headed back to our house. When we got there, we realized that the fatal flaw in our planning was that, to get the bikes alongside the house, we’d have to push them over the lawn. This wouldn’t have been a problem for the EX500s, but those CB400s were barely mobile on pavement. After some discussion and negotiation, we decided to back the truck over the curb, across the lawn, and up to the gate. It took about two years off of my life. The top of the truck hit overhanging branches just as the undercarriage hit the curb. Between that, the noise of the ramp, and all of us yelling directions and obscenities, I was pretty confident that our otherwise mild-mannered neighbors were going to come out waving baseball bats.

Anyway, all four bikes eventually got out of the truck and into our side yard.

Afterwards, Peter stole John to go back to his old garage and put the VF700 into the truck. So now that bike’s back too, bringing our current motorcycle count up to eight. That’ll be ten by the end of the week. That’s so amazingly excessive. At least they’re not all red…..

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