Bonkers?

As if it took anything else to do it, but I have again convinced my wife I am completely insane.

Those that know me are aware that for 20+ years I have been riding, and all that time I have ridden other people’s junk, buying older, well-used bikes and slowly resurrecting them from the previous owner’s neglect or incompetence. “Well Oiled Machine “–my 1980 XS-1100 Midnight Special is a good example

For all that time (20+ years) I have been wistfully eyeing new bikes and proclaiming “Someday”.

Last fall I woke up one day and discovered that I was no closer to “Someday” than I was 20 years ago. Prices and interest rates were extremely attractive, so I went out and bought the Valkyrie–the exact bike I wanted.

I cannot believe that I waited so long. Nicknamed The Dragon , no bike has ever fit me so well in size, personality, and temperament. I ride other machines, I become The Dragon.

I ride everywhere I can, but am also gearing up for a week or two tour of “out there” this summer. Colorado, New Mexico . . . who knows? Just going . . .

I would have been comfortable doing the tour “bone stock” but as I have extensive long riding experience, decided some modifications were in order:

–Saddle bags (to hold stuff). Needed the standoff bars for those.
–Handlebar risers (to position the handlebars a little higher and a little back . . . I am a big guy)
–Communications gear of some sort . . . a friend is going with me on “Bunnie”, his ’81 wing. Could help to be able to talk.
–Electronic cruise control. That throttle hand can get tired.
–Light bar. Extra lights will help me actually see the local wildlife just before impact.

The authors ride
The saddlebags were easy. I had some nice ones that fit perfectly on the bike (and match its lines). I only needed to purchase the stand-offs that keep the bags out of the back tire. A trip to the local bike shop took care of that (they actually had them in stock!).

The handlebar risers were a little bit of a pain, but done in a few hours nonetheless. The bike fits me perfectly now.

I have not yet addressed the communications gear yet . . . indeed have not even decided what route to go for it.

As for the electronic cruise control, I have always done tons of long-distance riding and this is something I have wanted for years. I elected to use David Sproul’s “Universal Motorcycle Cruise Control” method (I like to do all my own wrenching). For info on what I am doing see his Web Site

So what convinced (again) my wife that I am bonkers? Well she is familiar with my passion for bikes and riding. She also knows how hard I have worked, and the dues I have paid, and how much I really needed the Valkyrie.

So she wanders into the garage to hand me a glass of iced tea (what a woman!) and finds me installing the cruise on The Dragon.

This required removal of the seat, side-covers, various other covers, the tank, and the airbox. Since I am also installing the light bar, I have the windshield (Memphis Shades) removed.

Basically The Dragon is in small pieces scattered all over the garage. I was sitting in the middle of a blanket covered with various tools, neatly laid out bolts and fittings, and various bits of wire, connectors, linkages, and other cruise control bits. There are partially installed wiring harnesses and controls hanging off parts of the Valkyrie.

You should have seen her face . . . stunned is an understatement.

For a few moments her mouth worked . . . she seemingly could not get anything out. Kind of a gag reflex. She finally manages to get it out, “I can’t believe you took apart The Dragon!”

She was not angry or anything . . . just could not believe it.

My reply? Well . . . “But I have had it for 4 months already.”

She bursts out laughing, shakes her head, and wanders back into the house mumbling something about men.

I finally realize I have neglected to tell her what I was up to. I think she figures I took it apart, just to take it apart.

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