congratulations jan and keith!!
Zeke, born 1/21/02. I figure he'll be able to ride pillion in, oh, 10 years?


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January 22, 2002

Hey everyone, sorry about the unintentional hiatus there. Blah blah work blah blah busy blah blah raining blah.

stuff! stuff stuff!
This past weekend's bike fun involved installing my new SW MoTech centerstand from RiderHaus (about halfway down that webpage). I'm about 2/3 of the way through the write-up, so I'll hold off on saying too much about the installation process itself until that's done. I know you'll all wait with baited breath.

One thing that's been sort of tricky has been actually getting the bike up on the centerstand in the first place. By the time we'd finished installing the centerstand, goofing off, drinking hot chocolate, etc., it was dark out, so Peter and I moved the bike into his garage for the finishing touches. Unfortunately, his garage floor is pretty smooth, so our attempts at putting the bike on the stand really just resulted in us pushing it backwards around the garage. This was terribly entertaining, but not very productive.

i like having biker friends.
So tonight I went out with Kim (sans Kim's gallbladder! She's healing nicely, she says), Cat, and our friend Fred. Not terribly surprisingly, the conversation turned to motorcycles, but us being who we are, it morphed and convoluted into something sort of hideous in a fascinating sort of way, and suddenly, there we all were in Sushi Lovers restaurant, talking about the correct way to fire crossbows without losing control of the bike (or, of course, resorting to coasting in neutral -- what's the good of shooting someone if the bike's just going to slow down while you're doing it?). It actually sort of deteriorated from there, but as I maintain the delusion that this is a family sort of journal, I'll leave it at that, really.

After the Amazon Motorcyclist chat and some Ben & Jerry's, Cat and I peeled off towards her car, as I'd left my new Fog City insert in her car last weekend (incidentally, if anyone actually knows what Fog City inserts are, let me know, huh? I can't find a damned word on the subject other than "it's a transparent space-age polymer developed for its dramatic anti-condensation and spontaneous sheeting action properties"). At any rate, we decided to let her try my centerstand, as Peter and I will both readily admit to not knowing the Magic Centerstand Secret Handshake.

I should pause here for a moment to talk about the Magic Centerstand Secret Handshake. There are two types of people in this world: those who can put bikes on centerstands, and those who cannot. Those who can merely walk up to a bike, place their foot on the centerstand and their hands in the Magic Vulcan Grip position on the bike, breathe, and the bike goes "clunk!" onto the centerstand. When Peter or I attempt this same thing, it involves a lot more swearing than breathing, and the bike mainly seems to shuffle around backwards. It takes both of us a good two or three real tries to get his bike on its centerstand, and it took us more time than I'd care to admit to get the SVS up on Sunday night (hint: it involved me sitting on the bike, grabbing the bars and whispering frantic prayers to the god of Please Don't Let My Bike Fall Over while Peter yanked on the grab rail from behind). Peter has the Fu in many things: he has the Parking Fu, the Video Game Fu, the Mechanical Fu. What Peter does not have is the Centerstand Fu.

Cat has the Centerstand Fu. After a few misguided attempts, we took a breather and just assessed the situation. Like me, Cat is a small female without a huge armspan, and we both just felt like the stand was positioned too close to the rear of the bike. Finally, though, with me on the righthand side to spot it, Cat contorted into the Magic Centerstand Secret Handshake, and "clunk!" up it went. This gives me hope for the future, as if Cat can get the Centerstand Fu, I certainly can as well. She invited me to come by her place later this week, to practice the Fu on one of her baby Ninjas (the 250cc racebikes), since they're light and she doesn't really care if they get knocked over. So I will be practicing the Fu this weekend, and damned if I won't be able to get that SVS on its centerstand all by myself soon. *flexes big manly muscles*

While puttering around with the centerstand, I also thought to doublecheck my radiator, since lately I'd been noticing more than the usual tiny stream of leaking coolant. Whereas there's always been a wee bit of green smudge on the rubber hose, lately it's been splattered all over the hose and even on the underside of the half-fairing a little bit. Definitely not good. So we sat under a streetlight in the parking lot with my little Mag-Lite flashlight, and finally located the source of the leak. It turns out that once my bike is fully warmed up, coolant drips in a very steady stream out from the main radiator hose, right up against the radiator. I'd never noticed before because I usually don't let it sit and warm up for that long -- chatting with Cat warmed it up to the point where it was really noticeable. So I dug out my toolkit from under the seat, poured all the tools onto the pavement, found the Philips screwdriver, and tightened the little metal fastener holding the hose onto the radiator. It turned a good half-turn, so I'm thinking that hopefully that was the extent of the problem. Cat suggested backing the screw all the way out and putting some green or blue Lock-Tite on it, so that the screw can't vibrate out of position again, and that's a good idea. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow night or this weekend.