19 April 2008

It's alive!

The last couple weeks have been exciting. I (Corwin) have been getting my motorcycle running. I tried last year this time but failed to figure out this ancient 1981 technology called "carburetors". I usually drive a diesel VW Rabbit that averages 42MPG but diesel fuel prices have proved to be an effective incentive to get the bike running this year (motorcycles typically get 40 to 60MPG).

It took a few new parts and some cool new tools to get it all working. Tuning the air/fuel mixture (a critical adjustment now done by computer on modern engines) was performed with a glass spark plug, so I could actually see the color of the flame in the cylinder as the gasoline burns - yellow is too rich, white is too lean, blue is just right. Computers are great and all (they're how I make my living) but it's kind of cool to see the inside of an engine while it's running in a low-tech caveman sort of way.

When I was a kid, someone gave me a ride on their motorcycle and it scared me silly. So I was a little cautious when Tiffany wanted a ride on daddy's motorcycle. I went really slow at first and she was surprisingly calm, so we went up to about 20mph around our block with no screaming or hysterics at all, it was kind of anti-climatic. In fact, the next day she eagerly jumped at the chance to ride a couple blocks to the auto parts store to pick up yet another tool to work on the motorcycle. 30mph was no problem and in fact she made idle conversation like we were in a car. I guess nobody told her to be scared, so she wasn't. The only scary parts were the slow speed sharp turns where I had to lean the bike way over; and to be fair, I can't blame her as it is scary if you're not the one in control.

Of course I don't plan on taking any of the kids for rides very often, or indeed at all on busy streets. Motorcycling in and of itself is not dangerous (unless you ride like an idiot), but cellphone-blabbing SUV drivers tend to be motorcycle-seeking missiles. So don't worry that I'm recklessly endangering a minor. ;)

1 comment:

Spectacular Six said...

I wasn't worried, although you couldn't pay me to ride a motorcycle.....I think it's great that she wasn't afraid! And it's lovely that you are so "green" - more mpg and all. You are turning into a liberal! Although your concern may be a different kind of green... Hee hee!