All posts by kmargs

12 O’Clock Boys revisted

I learned a thing today. Apparently, they’re called the 12 O’Clock Boys because their signature move is riding wheelies:

See great photos at Medium

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

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It’s a Girl!

I’VE DONE IT!

I would like to introduce the newest member of my family: Gertrude.

This post is probably a month too late, but better late than never…especially when bragging.

The bike was basically done, but I had a massive leak coming from the second carb. It was just pouring out when I tried starting the bike up, but I couldn’t take the carb rack off myself to check it out, because I would never get it back on.

The steps I took to get the rack on the first time:

  1. Slide rack in at an angle and align with boots from engine.
  2. Try to turn and snap carbs into intakes from the airbox. 
  3. Pull rack back out.
  4. Try to condition rubber intakes.
  5. Slide rack in at an angle and align with boots from engine.
  6. Apply vaseline to intakes.
  7. Try to turn and snap carbs into intakes from the airbox. 
  8. Pull rack back out.
  9. Switch out airbox.
  10. Get neighbor to help.
  11. Take air intakes out from inside.
  12. Boil water.
  13. Drop one intake in boiling water while going back to bike.
  14. Have neighbor hold carb rack.
  15. Vaseline carb three.
  16. Pull out boiling intake (with tongs) and apply vaseline.
  17. Push intake through the inbox.
  18. Push even harder to get the intake to wrap around the carb opening.
  19. Use a screwdriver from the inside to get the rubber to fit right (there’s a joke in there somewhere).
  20. Thank neighbor and give a beer.
  21. Repeat steps 12 to 19 for the remainder of the carbs.

Since I had moved, I couldn’t reliably get the hot water down to the bike in time to make the rubber pliable. I resigned myself to failure on this one, and took the bike to the salvage yard.

No, not to sell. I don’t give up THAT easily.

The guys there build a bunch of KZs, and could put new tires on for me. I wanted them to go over her, put on new shoes, and give me an idea of common problems my bike will have.

I called them one day to check in:
Dean: She works great! Working perfectly. You wanna know what the problem was?
Me: …No.

That ate away at me, of course. So when I went to pick her up, I said, “Okay…I need to know. What was the problem?” Dean told me, “You put in the float for carb two upside down…which is funny, because usually when people put floats in wrong, they put all four in wrong.”

SONOFABITCH! I could have been the one to kick her over first!

We did an exchange of my left over parts for labor and the tires, and I was on my merry way.

Putting her away, she whispered her name to me. She will henceforth be known as Gertrude. Trudy when she’s cooperating.

Here’s a blurry picture of me and my baby girl the night I brought her home:

gertrude

 

Now You’re a Man!

A lot has happened since my last post.

There’ve been wiring snafus (which I will be happy to get into in a subsequent post), the great damper mystery of 2014, a break up, and a move.

Also, now I am a man.

I guess physically not so, I still wear flowery things, I smell like a woman and I date men; but I might have more tools than you. No breakup is going to keep me from completing this monster endeavor, and the first thing I had to do post-getting settled was invest in some tools. Looking at the little green and gray evolve tool box my dad bought for me to take care of odds and ends around my dorm room in undergrad, I was faced with the undeniable fact that it was time to graduate! I scoured the internet (aka Googled) mechanics tool sets.

Did you know Sears has amazing deals on crap like this?

I ended up getting a 309-piece craftsman mechanics tool set for $169. That set was only $20 more than the  next smallest one at 154 pieces. I reckon I got quite the deal on tools that will be with me for the rest of my life.

So I went to go pick up my new toys, and they handed me a bunch of loose standard and metric sockets/wrenches/hexes/etc. in a cardboard box. This would NOT do…I’m a grown-ass woman! I need a tool box.

I just want to put it out there and say women have it so easy. Not only do we never have to buy our own drinks, but literally every man working there wanted to carry my tools for me. Being as proud as I am about my new-found muscles, I replied with, “Nah, I work out. Where are your boxes?” I’m building a motorcycle, bitches. I think I got this.

The man who ended up helping me tried to convince me to return the set I just picked up in favor of a smaller set that came in an organized plastic box. Do I look like I was born yesterday? That plastic box is going to get scuffed, warped, and messed up. Eventually I will throw it out and replace it. I told him what I want is a steel box with drawers for all the sockets/wrenches, and another smaller steel box with a removable caddy that I can use to load up with tools I need to take to the bike. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that my express purpose was to buy tools–one day I would probably regret not having gotten the larger set.

309 tools, and two tool boxes later, I decided that I needed some help getting to Dolores (my car). I might be capable of great things, but one must recognize their limits. Help came on four wheels, not two legs. I guess I can say that I still did it all myself…even if I did employ the help of a cart.

So my evening entailed organizing my new treasure trove of tools, drinking a Death in the Afternoon, eating pizza, and watching Pacific Rim. It looked a little something like this, and I think Hemingway would have approved:

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Good Samaritan

My relationship almost ended today.

Finally, Charlie and I found a garage for our motorcycles. It is a mile from our house, has power, and very easily houses both of our bikes. Three if you count my donor bike. In the name of starting to make real progress on my bike, we decided this was the weekend to move it.

This blistering hot day.

I suppose it needed to happen regardless. Some dillhole repeated decides he needs to park a mere four inches away from my bike…which has potential to cause a domino effect with the other three bikes parked next to me that would be much more expensive and less cool than this.

We took the cover off my bike, and decided who was going to push and who was going to steer. We thought it would be a good idea for me to steer, because I don’t have nearly the amount of strength that he has. We were so, so wrong. We barely got it across the street and onto the sidewalk before we realized that the bike was dragging to the right.

Him:  “Don’t pull on the handlebars. Just keep the bars straight–the bike will want to stay up on its own if we get it to go fast enough.”
Me: “I can’t keep up with you and keep the bars straight. It keeps pulling to the right!”

The struggle was real as we tried to advance across the intersection. He would push, and I would hit my heels on the peg. It didn’t hurt so much, as I was afraid of it getting caught over my heel, and then I’d end up on the ground…probably with a motorcylce frame on top of me. My first accident would happen before the damn thing was even operational. That thought process may seem ridiculous, but that’s because you don’t know me. Charlie at least knows I’m prone to having this sort of thing happen to me.

Once we got it onto the next block, I had to stop. Flip flops would not do. I marched on back to our house and put on my gardening tennis shoes with much chagrin after Charlie pleaded with me to change my shoes. It was was time to get serious. As much as I was already unhappy with how insistent he was on “just keeping the bars straight,” I knew he was right about my footware.

By this time, we could not have made it 100 feet even. We were firmly on the struggle bus, and it only continued as we attempted to continue to push it. We would never make it a mile. Between the sweat, my lack of arm strength, and my fear of an embarrassing fall, we were never going to make it. I found myself increasingly frustrated with the situation and him for thinking that it should be so easy. After another stop at the end of the first block (out of 14), we decided to switch jobs.

He decided to steer…thankfully. Thankfully, because he realized, too that the bike was pulling to the right. At least I was absolved of any feelings of inferiority. Vindication is a sweet, sweet thing. This set up was infinitely better for us. We successfully made it two blocks with much less blood and tears (there was plenty of sweat to be had, though).

Charlie: “You know what would be tits right now?”
Me: “What?”
Charlie: “If a good samaritan pulled up with a truck, a ramp, and an offer to help.”
Me: “We should just take this damned thing back. We’re never going to make it.”

We persisted, though.

Literally, the next block, we were stopped by a man asking, “do you need help?”

Should be obvious, bro.

He offered to put the bike in the back of his pick-up truck and take us to the garage.

Praise be to the Motorcycle Gods, who took mercy on our souls.

The catch: There was no ramp.

Given our incredible fortune–and the perfect-ness of what just transpired, we were determined to make it happen. I played cheerleader as I watched Charlie and this large Jamaican hero named Chris lift the bike and push it into the bed of the truck. I could not believe what I just saw, or our incredible fortune.

Charlie sat in the back to keep the bike stable, and I sat up front with Chris, who told me how he had come to be at that exact spot that day. He also reminisced riding his Suzuki in Jamaica when he was younger until his friend died in a motorcycle accident and his mom implored him to give up riding.

We got to the garage (much quicker than Charlie and I covered a block), and they “caught” the bike as I helped make sure the front end was stable coming out.

So with that, I want to give a big shout-out to Chris, who saved my relationship. Charlie and I could not have done it without him.

IMG_20140727_141445646

Success!

After not all that much searching, we found a garage that will be ideal for working on our bikes. Before, we were working on it in the street, and only during daylight hours.

This move will be pivotal for the following reasons:

  • No more cars parking right next to where we’re working. That four inches of space was not conducive to squatting.
  • No more kids playing with our rides.
  • No more packing up all the tools and parts to test-ride.
  • No more packing up all the tools and parts to go inside.
  • No more quitting because of the dark.

Time to get the hell outta the “motorcycle room” upstairs, and time to move to our garage…like big kids!

VROOM!

12 O’Clock Boys

I’ve gotta watch this documentary. We’ve seen these guys once in DC, and while the volume of noise annoyed the piss out of me, I was nevertheless impressed by the number of young men riding on dirtbikes through the city. Now knowing they came from Baltimore on dirtbikes is increasing my appreciation…I’m all for the police cracking down, but I don’t mind watching from my porch!

http://www.vice.com/read/the-wheelying-dirt-bike-gangs-of-baltimore-twelve-o-clock-boyz-lofty-nathan