Apparently the last few weeks’ worth of commuting with all my heated gear has taken its toll on my battery, as the bike died about 1/3 mile from my freeway exit. Traffic was stopped, so I put my foot down and when I rolled on the throttle again…nuttin’. Click.
Though it was a very strange electrical issue; the headlights/dash lights never dimmed and it never really tried to turn over. Just a lot of clicking from the starter relay.
“Well, poo,” thought I, and started pushing. I knew there was a streetlight over the exit ramp and figured I could do some roadside diagnosis there.
Most of the pushing was pretty straight and easygoing. I kept the ignition on so that I had a taillight — being rear-ended at 50mph by an impatient commuter wasn’t really on my list of evening activities — and the lights still didn’t waver. Odd.
Anyway, I got the third of a mile or so and realized that the streetlights over the exit ramp weren’t on. Dammit! So I took a short break, stowed my helmet and gloves, and unzipped my jacket. Funny how 45F doesn’t seem very cold when you’re pushing a 450lb motorcycle.
The exit ramp is uphill, naturally, which was a bunch of fun. I only had to stop for a break once, though, which made me pretty happy. Rarrr! *flexes*
I also learned that the righthand shoulder of the exit ramp is completely overgrown with some sort of kudzu-like bush, making me have to quickly cross the three exit ramp lanes over to the lefthand shoulder. A little bit of uphill-pushing-commuter-Frogger to spice up the evening!
Anyway, about 1/10th of a mile past the top of the exit ramp is a gas station, where I parked under the florescent lights, bought a Gatorade, and got to disassembling.
My initial fear was that it was the starter relay since the bike wasn’t really having trouble turning over or catching — the relay was just clicking and spazzing out like crazy.
Anyway, to make a long story short (too late), a very nice man named Robert and his beautiful dog Jazzy pulled up to get gas and we got to talking. He was a biker as well and offered a jump start. It didn’t work at first, but after leaving his pickup running for a little bit while connected to the Beemer, the latter did deign to start. Huzzah!
I offered Robert a few bucks for his trouble but he refused. He brought up “biker karma,” a philosophy that I also subscribe to, and I feel confident that I’ll be able to repay the cosmos before too long.
Now that I’m home and snuggly and watching the Sharks game, I’m thinking more about it and I’m 99% convinced that the starter relay just didn’t have enough charge to stay closed.
I’m pretty sure the starter isn’t damaged….knock on wood. The bike’s obviously on the charger now; I’ll probably pick up a new battery over the weekend just to be on the safe side.
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