8 Ball In The Wind

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Special BSA

On Christmas Eve, my buddy Dave sent me an email with a link to Craigs List about a 68 BSA rolling chassis and some Triumph parts for $200.  He wanted to know if I thought it would be worth it to pick it up for a winter chop project.  Dave knew I have had a number of old Limey bikes over the years, and figured I could give him the advice he wanted.  I told him if he had the $200 bucks to grab it if he could.  The Beezer 650 unit motor/tranny is a sweetheart.  With plenty of ass when it needs it, and while it isnt in the same class as a modern crotch-rocket, it will get you down the road plenty fast enough. 
Talking it over with Dave at his place for Christmas dinner, I could tell he had some definite plans for what he wanted to do.  If it wasnt on this, he was going to find something "cheap" for his first chopper build.  Outside of maybe a Norton, I can't think of a better bike than an old BSA to chop.

I have told Dave many times about how my old 73 Beezer 650 Thunderbolt was about the best handling bike I ever had.  Thats her in the pic above.  While she isnt the sweetest looking bike I have ever had, but she was by far the best handling, in an almost psychic way.  I have rubbed pipes and pegs on other bikes before, but J.C. is the only bike I ever ground the rubber off the END of a foot peg going around a corner and didnt go down.  I still dont know how I did that one, but I remember it clear as a bell.
J.C. (short for Jupiters Child...hey it was the early 80s) had a front brake, but with the extended fork tubes, I never got around to adding a longer brake cable so for all intents and purposes, she didnt have a front brake.  All that was there to try to stop that little speed freak of a bike was a stock BSA drum brake, which was better than nothing I suppose, but not much.  Her shocks had been removed, and replaced with a one piece strut/sissy bar set-up so she had no rear suspension, but had a high backrest seat for the passenger. 
I was running into Bremerton with the gal I was with at the time.  Doing about 10-15 over the limit when I swung into the turn lane at the light just before the Navy Yard.  As I did, the light turned yellow, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to stop before it turned red with both of us on.  Instead, I dropped it into 3rd and grabbed a handful of throttle, and went for the turn.  Sitting at the red light heading back the other way were two eighteen wheelers, and as we leaned farther and farther over making the turn, all I could envision was sliding into and under them.  The next thing I know, the bike is coming back up out of the turn, and heading down the road slicker than shit.  When we got to where we were going, I noticed when I got off that all the rubber on the end of my left footpeg was ground away...we had made the corner by pivoting on the end of the peg. 
I have always thought that J.C. had a guardian angel watching over us.  That was only one of the many times she somehow had me be where I was suppose to be (instead of where I wanted to be), kept me out of trouble with the law, or go down in a bad accident.  Just look at the pic up above.  See how high up the footpeg is?  To this day, I cant figure out how we ground the rubber off that peg and were still able to make it back out of the corner.
J.C. was by far my best hadling bike, and I am sure I will have to tell you some more of the stories down the road sometime.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Why I Ride

Why I Ride    

The gentle rhythm of my engine,
And the sun shining down warmly,
Fills my being with a joy so deep.
A joy I do not feel any other time,
Except when I am out for a ride.

Rolling along a mountain road,
Or traveling a busy interstate,
The feeling is the same.
To be a part of the scenery,
Experiencing it as I ride.

Wind or calm, rain or shine,
The thrill is there all the while.
Short putt, or on a long ride,
That joy lingers on afterwards,
Like an aura around me, it glows.

Friends I meet along the way,
If only to ride with for the day,
Make it so much more enjoyable.
Even the breakdowns and let downs
Are all a part of the life I love.

That is the key to it all,
Those are the reasons I ride.
For the many who understand,
No explanation is needed.
For those poor souls who cannot,
None is possible.


I wrote that poem on Feb 21, 1983.  The years have flowed past, but it still holds its truth.  Nothing fancy, nothing too profound.  Just basic, simple truth and how I still feel about riding, and how it fills my life.  A lot of years, and even more miles are behind me since i wrote that, and I have changed in many ways.  I don't remember sadly, a lot of things I used to know, but the fact of how I feel when I am not riding is one I hope I never forget.  Because if I ever forget that, then I will have forgotten the focus of most of my life.   Dont care how old and crotchety I might get, if I ever forget that, just put me out of my misery, and spread my ashes on the road.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dealin With It

I have things I need to deal with in life, don't we all?  But, for now I am just dealing with the shit I can, and rolling with it.  To me it's just plain stupid to worry about everything that could, and even may go wrong.  If there is something you can actually do about it, cool then do something, if not, dont waste the time you could be spending dealing with something you can do something about.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying just ignore whats going on and ride blindly to the end of the road.  That's just a quick way to end up dead, or worse.  Keep your eyes open and watch the signs.  Deal with what you can, 'cause it ain't gonna help you a damn bit to waste time trying to control things you have no control over, and then bitching after you've wasted all your time trying to bail out the ocean with a thimble. 
I've got my priorities; and to many, they may suck, but that's why they are my priorities.  I will do what I have to do to stay on the path I have chosen for myself.  The path I have been on as far back as I can remember, and probably even longer.  I am a survivor.  If I wrote down all the wierd shit I have gotten out of alive, anyone reading this wouldn't believe it, but I know the truth.  I will get through this shit spot I am in now, and come out on the other side.  It may not be pretty, it may not be quite the way I want it, but I will make it through.  Cause I am dealing with this shit that is called life.  Just like we all have to...and as I know for a fact, to quote Hank Sr; "I'll never get out of this world alive."

So I'll just keep dealing with it.


     This is an unusual time in my life.  Lost my job at the end of November, haven't been able to make the house payment, but at least covered the bike payment for December.  Not getting unemployment cause the fuckwad I worked for said I walked off the job, and he didnt fire me, but I havent given that fight up.  Hoping like hell to be back at work very soon, I am letting everything else take a backseat to that at the moment.  There were plans I had, that are just about impossible now unless shit changes drastically really quick.  There are things that will just have to be put off, and priorities readjusted.  That means I probably wont be making any 4 or 5 day runs this year, let alone the two I was planning on.  At this point, I can't even guarantee I'll have the bike much longer if I dont have money coming in, and that is what scares me the most.  Not losing the house, or the wife, or any of that shit.  But the thought of losing the bike, that is fucking with my head.  Even if it means I lose this bike, I need to get back on two wheels by any means possible, and I don't mean it has to be another Harley.  But I got to get through this next couple three weeks first before I get to that point of losing her, and fighting to keep her all the way.  I plan on keeping my shit together, and staying on the road, and will use this to keep everyone posted on what is going on.  As long as the internet bill gets paid.  LOL

Ride Free, and I'll see ya on the road.