Sunday, April 29, 2007

29 APR 07 Big Day Out

Tinkering is only a prelude to riding. For the last week its been little hops around the immediate neighborhood getting used to bike. It feels great. The tranny is loose, so shifts have to be made with some conviction in order to avoid false neutrals. But it fun.

Today, being a quite Sunday morning, was the right time to get it out on some faster roads. We have some nice divided 4 lanes between our house and the Virginia Beach ocean front - about 5 miles away. It just purrs in 5th gear at 55 (or was it sure seemed like I was keeping up with traffic)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

21 APR 07 - Picking it Up.

I went to Richmond Virginia with my good friend and neighbor Jim on April 21 to pick up the bike. Yes, Jim has a trailer and yes he let me borrow it. We both brought our sons for the adventure as well and so we loaded up his Cherokee and drove up on a beautiful Saturday. The bike had been living in an older neighborhood, but despite the surroundings it had learned to defend itself and survive.

The owner, another Jim, was a great guy and you could tell that he was sad to move on with his life and let this bike go. I promised it a good home, paid him his asking price of $2100, and took possession.

The bike of course was not 100%. It had recent work done but still had a few quirks. We fiddled around with a voltmeter until we were convinced we had all current to all turn signals since this was simpler than swapping a bunch of bulbs. A little note here, be careful. I didn't know it at the time but I popped a fuse. More on that later.

After a few trips around the neighborhood...or more accurately, da hood. I roared around a little park that had a pickup game of basketball being played. Ahhh, the sounds of boom boxes, chain link nets tinkling with every score and many a hearty shout of MotherF&*%#r !! ringing through the air. Nice. I was satisfied that if I could get this bike home to a safe suburban home in Virginia Beach, it would owe me for life.

We lashed it to a trailer and got home in the evening. I think it smiled.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

30 Years Is Not Too Long To Wait for a BMW

Yes, you can get a BMW. Maybe not today, maybe not a new one, but if you're determined, you can likely get an old one in the distant future. It is worth the wait.
My time came April 21, 2007 when as a 49 year old grandfather and the concurrace of my wife of 26 years...who is loving, caring and supportive...I laid down cash and closed a little chapter in my life..the 'Waiting Period'.
I don't think that BMWs age. They mature. And if its a 1977 BMW R100/7 then it is like getting a case of wine that's 30 years old. You hold your breath, turn the key for the first time and listen to a very deep thump...thump...thump. Wow..this is no cruiser - this is a German locamotive that wants to pull out of the station with conviction. 1000cc's looking for a rider - a new owner - dare I say it - a new relationship.
My first impression was not fear, it was respect. I clumsily swung my leg over the saddlebags, but once in the seat, it was 'all right there'. A natural riding position. A big air-cooled twin with cylinder heads the size of trashcans chugging away. Pistons the size of 3lb coffee cans flying toward each other and back away. Not like a carnival ride, but smoothly, gracefully, like a dance. I was quickly realizing the sensations I had only thought about over the years.
BMW's are not motorcycles...they are machines. Any country in the world can build a motorcycle...the Germans build machines. This one was originally laid out on paper with a slide rule and logarithmic tables. Wiry German engineers in white shirts, thin black ties and micrometers in their pockets staring through half frame hornrim glasses over sets of drawings. These men build machines. They build a motorcycle the way that they would build a lathe, or drill press, or any other machine designed to give service for generations.