I just got off the phone with one of our dealer advertisers. He’s always got a great attitude, loves motorcycles (you really have to in order to own a motorcycle shop, ‘cause you’re not going to be riding all that often), and his shop has been around for a long time. We were discussing the state of the motorcycle industry today, and, although this Spring certainly put a damper (no pun intended) on the start of the season, we were both hoping for a strong summer comeback.
The motorcycle manufacturers are certainly offering a great variety to the riding public, with something for every taste, size and price point. Whether you need a ride for the day-to-day commute or plan on traveling around the globe, there’s a two-wheeled conveyance out there for you.
Grace McKean, whom I call “Amazing Grace,” is 76 years old and still kick-starts the vintage Harley-Davidson 45 Flathead she bought at the tender age of 17 using all the savings she earned as a Walgreens waitress. Many readers have written to me in response to the first part of my story, asking how Grace as a young woman found the strength and courage to do what she did at a time when a woman on a motorcycle was less than respected.
Sitting at the kitchen table listening to Grace’s stories reminded me of the times I spent at my grandmother’s house in Austin, Minn. I felt immediately comfortable with Grace, so much so that I didn’t want our time together to end. I went in with a list of questions at every meeting I had with Grace, but I never got to my second question. I’d ask her one question, and hours later I’d heard many amazing and inspiring stories. I may never have gotten answers to my actual questions, but does that matter?
Winter is fast approaching and if you live in a frigid climate it’s time to store your bike for the season. In storing your bike for a few months over the winter, your main concern is to avoid corrosion while in storage and the goal is to have a bike that is ready to go when you are.
The most crucial areas in need of protection are the piston rings, cylinder walls, and valve seats. The enemy here is moisture, which can enter the engine from any of a number of places and cause serious damage. Since its not really practical to try and close up all of the possible areas of entry, we will concentrate on moisture proofing instead.
The first step is to warm-up the engine. This drives off any moisture that may have accumulated already and it makes it easier to get a good coating of oil in each cylinder. Turn the bike off and remove the spark plugs. Then, using a turkey baster, suck up 25cc’s of engine oil and squirt the oil into each plug hole. Turn the engine over by hand (put it in top gear and turn the rear wheel) with the plugs still out to coat the cylinder walls, piston rings and valve seats. Then replace the plugs and drain the existing crankcase oil.