Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm just glad to kick about it

Royal Enfield Bullet with kick starter visible.
I'd never been so thankful I could kick start a motorcycle.

It's easy to kick start a Royal Enfield Bullet. There are videos online of children in India doing it with their hands. (Never do this! A kickback could deliver a severe injury.)

But I've seen Royal Enfields for sale on CraigsList by owners who write that they can no longer kick their Bullets, due to age, knee or hip pain, etc.

Reading these is a constant reminder to me that, at my age, the possibility exists that some injury could end my motorcycling. If you can't kick start your motorcycle there's a good chance you also can't hold it up with that leg, which means you can't ride. That would be an unwelcome change in life.

I got an even more painful reminder of this the other day. Here's what happened:

For years I've thought it might be nice to have a drainage channel to carry rainwater from the house down the yard to the river behind it. I visualized something decorative, filled with river rocks and lined with ferns, its banks frequented by fairies and leprechauns.

Not that I had drawn up any plans.

Something prompted me to pick up a shovel and dig a trench down the gentle slope toward the water. I hadn't ordered any river rocks or issued any invitations to leprechauns yet, so, with the digging done, I put away the shovel and forgot about it.

Yes. I forgot there was a trench there until, in the dark, I strode across the back yard and stepped into it. My right ankle took an awful wrench.

My first thought was: there goes kick starting the Bullet. Surprisingly, though, the pain didn't last and there wasn't even any bruising.

That is, there wasn't any pain until the middle of the night a full day later, when I realized my foot hurt so badly I couldn't walk to the bathroom.

I woke my wife and had her get me the cane from the closet. Lying there in the dark I made plans to spend the rest of my life wielding it.

But no. In the morning I was almost pain free again. I hung the cane on the clothes tree next to the bed and went on with life.

I'm thankful.

Among the challenges and annoyances of life, there are always many more people and events for which I should be grateful. I hope you, too, can count many blessings this Thanksgiving.


  1. I'm not thankful that I have to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night - but I am thankful I can still do it! Happy Thanksgiving, David!

  2. Yes, I also know the awful feeling as one falls down the hole one dug only a few hours before. My Classic (UCE) has the age busting electric start but I hope to never need it :) Thanks for the story!

  3. Hi David -
    The "electric leg" gets more important every year. Another vital sniglet is bike weight. Our old Bullets are uncomfortably near 400 pounds. Here are two candidates I've looked at critically for daily driver status as they are both electric start and weigh just under 300 pounds:

    The SG250 uses the 3rd-world proven pushrod Honda CG motor incarnated as a counterbalancer-equipped 250 single. The Buccaneer sports the venerable Yamaha XV250 twin. Power/weight in both is similar to the Bullet, performance is probably better. Not being able to kickstart your Bullet or pick it up again if dropped on soft ground doesn't mean you need to hang up your spurs.

  4. Clearly some phantasmagorical beings have already moved into your freshly dug culvert, and you have neglected to appease them. A bag of Skittles or really anything at all "shiny" should do it. In the meantime, you might consider staking in a couple-few boxes of those solar-powered decorative lights from Harbor Freight to mark it. These ones like dragonflies, hummingbirds and butterflies for just $7.99 for 3 would seem to be in keeping with the general motif you're imagining: A swell mooning or other scurrilous garden gnome or three to express your displeasure at those fairy antics couldn't hurt either. There's a wide sortiment to choose from that's guaranteed to scandalize the neighbors:

    Anyhow, hope you are well on the mend, and here's where you can always find great saver and freebie coupons for Harbor Freight, even already in the store on your phone:


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