Friday, March 5, 2021

Sound of Royal Enfield starting was a wake-up call

Cartoon of man next to motorcycle.
I loved commuting to work more than I loved working.
(Cartoon by Sheri, a 2016 Christmas present from daughter Erin.)

My Royal Enfield Bullet was in the garage. My motorcycling boots, helmet, gloves, ear plugs, jacket and overalls were on the desk next to the garage door. A pair of "office shoes" were in a drawer at the office, waiting for me to get there and change into them once I got the overalls off.

That was life as a commuter. I'd get out of bed before my wife (working a later shift), shave, dress, don the gear, step into the garage and roll the Royal Enfield out to the street in one smooth motion. She'd wake up to the roar of the Bullet starting.

(Hopefully no one else around woke up!)

Then, five days a week, I would ride off as the sun rose. I loved this.

Now I am retired. The Royal Enfield is still in the garage. Helmet, gloves and ear plugs are still by the garage door. But my boots found a less obtrusive hiding place in the bedroom closet. My jacket is in the hall closet. My overalls are back in the bedroom dresser.

Getting out the door to go motorcycling is no longer one smooth motion.

Wife and I wake up together now. The sun is well up in the sky. We go for our morning walk in the neighborhood. The coffee is soon brewing when we get back.

I check the weather: chance of rain is 100 per cent! I'll wait to go riding until it clears up.

If something comes up, or I get busy on a project around the house, I might put off riding until tomorrow.

Or the next day.

I am hugely privileged to be retired, I know that. I frankly do not miss work. But I miss having someplace to go that gets me out of bed and onto the motorcycle.

1 comment:

  1. I use my Pre-Unit Bullet for a lot of small hardware & grocery store runs. Here in the rural foothills it's about an 18 mile round-trip. A 1/2 gallon of milk and some veggies fit in my backpack. Most hardware items are small, like bolts or sealants. These "micro-rides" are fun on these machines. They are after all built for yeoman service!

    As for retirement activities, I just finished installing a new alloy barrel & forged 6.5/1 slug from Hitchcocks. The OEM piston had experienced a mild "load seizure" from a long gradual hill I was trying to stay in 4th gear on. The oil consumption had gone up to a half quart every 200 miles or so, it was time to come apart anyway. The pushrod motor is straightforward, just keep grunge from dropping into the crankcase with lots of paper towels. H's has all the bits, lucky for me because the P.O. lost the hardened washers beneath the hollow head nuts! Today I'm intermittently putting up and back my long country driveway,trying to seat in the new bits and giving them lots of heat/cool cycles to do it with. The new forged slug will resist dropping the skirt into the crankcase much better than the stock "Velveeta" piston, and the alloy barrel gives me some wiggle room for those upcoming 105F summer days. The alloy barrel warms within seconds, unlike the cast iron part it replaced. All of the project was easily accomplished with hand tools. The piston wrist pin extracted with 18" of 5/16" all-thread, a couple washers and a piece of PVC. THAT's the kind of stuff us retirees can get up to! Regards - CW -


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