Stupid Motorcycle

Some history on my motorcycle. I own a Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom. This motorcycle is the first bike I have owned, and it was definitely not new. I have owned the bike for three years and in February of last year, I had a complete carburetor clean done with a maintenance. I have used the bike daily to travel to and from classes during my time at the University of Tennessee. Recently, since January of 2017, I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia and have not been able to take the bike.

For weeks I have made excuse after excuse about why I should not, or could not, take my motorcycle to work. Some of the reasoning has been questionable and ranged from pure laziness of taking the bike out of the garage to being tired because I failed to have enough sleep. Other reasons were legitimate reasons, such as the continual barrage of thunderstorms and rain we have received in the area over the past few weeks.  Each time I would make an excuse, I would regret my decision not to ride later in the day when the sun would be shining, the weather warm, and the traffic agreeable.

On June 9th, a Friday, I decided I have made enough excuses. Checking the weather the night before, there was to be no rain and the day was to be mostly sunny. A few days earlier I had made a stop at a nearby automotive store and purchased some oil and seal cleaner to use for my ride. The morning of the 9th I made my way down the stairs, opened the door to the garage, and rolled the motorcycle out to the driveway. After prepping the bike by adding the seal cleaner and topping off the oil (it has an extremely slow leak in the neutral switch), I let it warm up for a few minutes while I got prepped for the early morning ride.

As I traveled down the road, I was elated in making the decision to finally use the motorcycle as a way to commute. All was going well, that was until I stopped at one of the busy intersections just before I-85. As I sat at the light, ready to continue my commute, the bike cut off and failed to restart. I was in the center lane of morning traffic. I had to make my way to the shoulder to plan my next move.

After holding traffic in two lanes, I was able to push the bike up an incline to the small 3-foot wide shoulder and raised lane splitter ( a large curb used to separate the lanes from one another so traffic is not able to cross). With cars whizzing past me at 40 to 55+ MPH, I was stranded. I thought maybe the bike had overheated, so I allowed a few minutes for it to cool, waved at a passing patrol car, and attempted to start the bike. A cloud of smoke poured from the bike and immediately I turned off the bike.

It was about this time the patrol car had circled back around and came to my help. Both officers were extremely helpful and eager to get me out of the road. The best course of action was to turn the disabled bike around and backtrack against traffic to a small gas station nearby. One officer walked in front of me, the other backed down slowly in the patrol car, as I made my way down the ever shrinking shoulder. Once clear I coasted down the road, across traffic, and into the parking lot of the nearby gas station.  Sadly, during this rescue, two drivers swerved into one another near the officer and caused a minor wreck. I am grateful for the help and sorry to be the indirect cause of an accident. The two officers spent the next hour dealing with a wreck after coming to my aid.

My wife was already en route from work, she works overnight at a hospital. Together we sat waiting on the tow service for nearly two hours. I watched as a puddle of oil formed underneath my motorcycle and knew it was done.Once the tow service arrived, I helped load the bike on the truck, watched as it dripped more oil, forming another puddle on the truck platform. We followed to the nearest motorcycle repair shop. Surprisingly, Atlanta like most of the places I have lived has a lack of repair shops for motorcycles. We found a small shop, unloaded the motorcycle, and there it sits waiting to for repair. Stupid motorcycle.


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