I'm a budding motorcycle mechanic hitting my limits

One of the things I love about being a designer is instant feedback. If I click on the text tool and type in some text, it appears instantly. As a young designer, this has made me spoiled. Older designers used metal cast type and set it into plates. It would be weeks of round tripping with a foundry in order to get the type set just right. And all I have to do is futs with a few dialog boxes to get it just the way I want.

Being a young designer, I have it easy. As a budding motorcycle mechanic, I do not.

Fixing a motorcycle has no instant gratification. You have to read the Owner's Manual. Then read the Service Manual. Read some online forums. Read through a couple of debates on what bike you should have bought. Tweak your keywords and hammer the search button until you get the right part numbers. Then you have to go to the altar of eBay and pray there is a part for your bike lingering on the interwebs. You have to take a bet whether or not it's shipping from China or the US, especially if the part is scarce. You might need to send a question or two to your seller, just to make sure it's right.

Waiting commences for bike parts. Time keeps on ticking and your bike sits there, howling as the wind passes by, echoing a call to come enjoy the freedom.

Wait 5 days, 7 days, or 9 days and be sure to linger by the door between the gaping 4-9pm window. When the USPS/UPS/FedEx/Carrier Pigeon driver shows up, you give them the biggest smile you can, and take the package gleefully, scurrying to open it in the confines of your room.

Once you have the part, you either wrench it yourself or get your mechanic to help you out.

My mechanic came by to fixing the wiring for my tail lights, license plate, and turn signals. The tire pressures were set. The fuses were fixed. 1.5 hrs of work but everything was put back together. I got to ride the bike a little. It was a frustrating tease. I'd have to wait until this morning to try it again.

I donned my helmet and set everything up. As I hit the electric start, the bike wouldn't come to life. I push started the bike with the help of a neighbor, engaging in second gear, holding in the clutch, and being pushed forward to start that engine. And it roared. Oh, it roared.

Crack. Snap. Pop. Skirt. Turn 'round the block. First gear, second gear, third gear. It's loud, it's conscious, it's ready.

It stalled.

I tried to pull in the clutch, to get it to switch to fourth gear. But the clutch turned stiff. Literally, the clutch didn't want to budge past a certain position. With no one behind me to help me push start and no electric start in my favor, I switched the bike to neutral and walked the bike home. I parked it on the street corner.

Turns out, my clutch is probably burned out. And the cable is probably acting funky (possibly from my attempt at lubricating the cable months before). Or maybe these are the lingering effects of the crash my friend had. Any way I slice it, I want this bike back up.

Why? Because it’s teaching me a sense of responsibility (don’t lend bikes out, period). It’s teaching me ownership. It’s teaching me how to care for something, not to just dispose of it. It’s teaching me to appreciate my bike. And it will be that much more rewarding to ride it, knowing that I cared, that I had hope it would ride again.

So I’ll get the clutch fixed. And I’ll start the process all over again.

So close. So far. So soon. Not soon enough.

Ashraf Ali