Born to be wild or bike bondage?

Born to be wild or bike bondage?

Presently, the irony of the mythical image of motorcycle ownership as enabling one to be wild and free is making me groan. Sleepless nights, vastly depleted bank account, dealing with corrupt and vindictive officials, begging friends for favours, trying to find mechanics or a tyre service who will actually deal with motorbikes in my region, the list goes on….

I had wanted to learn about basic motorcycle mechanics when i bought Feisty, and my gods I’m learning the painful way. Something as simple as changing tyres requires driving to end-of-the-world villages (picturesque but remote) in a convoy of bike and car in one direction, hoisting Feisty up, removing the wheels and then driving to another end-of-the-world village in the opposite direction where I must then find a service which will exchange rubber. Then, hopefully if i manage to do so, go back again.

Every little thing on my bike requires ordering via the internet from far flung countries. Every time I fix something, another thing goes wrong (just replaced the rear brake switch and now the temperature gauge has stopped working). Sometimes i feel like giving in, cursing myself for not buying an old, locally produced (Czechoslovak) Jawa 350 where parts are aplenty and virtually every villager over the age of 40 can fix them in their sleep – they’re even basic enough for me to fix them alone.

But then, when I start Feisty up and hear her roar, and I sit in the saddle with arms outstretched and tear arse down the pitted country lanes, I discover I have a huge grin across my face and I remember why I put myself through all this. And, for a brief moment, I can hear the opening bars of Steppenwolf’s classic ringing in my helmet….

Four wheels move the body, two wheels (although not in her current state) move the soul….

Motorcycle ride and repair

Motorcycle ride and repair

Today was the first chance I’ve had in over a month to do some repairs to my Aprilia Pegaso 650, Feisty. It had taken me months to find a replacement rubber intake manifold for my carb and I’d been preparing for visitors, plus the weather has been awful. Despite the freezing temperatures and it taking almost an hour to get her started, I took Feisty to a friend of mine in a remote village where he and his father could help me change the part.

I dressed in full leathers and Long Johns and it was still cold. The road there was stunning, with autumn colours, winding Carpathian single roads around forested hillsides – through bear country. Erik and his father spent all day taking her apart, replacing the manifold and doing some maintenance in preparation for winter. I’m extremely grateful to them for giving up their Saturday, again, to help with my bike. Why Italians make their bikes so complicated I’ve no idea – even the smallest task becomes an arduous feat.

I then rode on the backroads to my house with the sun shining and the icy wind biting my extremities. Feisty can now, finally, go up to 6000 revs and I could feel the huge difference in power, acceleration and speed, and it made me feel good to be alive. Back in black and on the bike. Sometimes life just makes you grin….