It’s been such a busy year, and finally Rebecca and I are able to go out for a ride together. I still haven’t tracked down a passenger seat for the BMW, so tonight we’re heading out on the Harley. I’ve tracked down a local riding group (The Golden Horseshoe Riders Club), and they’re all meeting up in a parking lot on Hamilton mountain to head out for a group ride. Rebecca is going to show up straight from work and jump on my bike.
I get to the lot ahead of her and introduce myself to the group, which is composed of a wide range of ages, sexes, and bikes. Very cool!
As soon as Rebecca arrives we all gear up and head out in a large pack. I’ve never been a fan of pack riding, especially when I’m stuck in the middle with a bunch of riders I don’t know.
There’s a guy riding behind us who’s staggered off my left side less than half a bike length. Now, it amazes me that every time I have to swerve a bit left to avoid a pothole he doesn’t get the idea to back off a touch and leave me more room. If a real emergency happens we’re both going down. After a few country miles of this I finally decide to say something (probably less than politely, too – not great for first impressions with the new group. But, he does get the message and backs way off.
Not long later we all end up in a Tim Horton’s parking lot for a stretch and conversation. Everyone takes some time to admire the bikes, and mine gets some attention. It’s a bright turqouise and cream 1973 Harley FLH with an original 2-up buddy seat, so it does stand out in a crowd!
After a bit we all jump back on our rides, homeward bound. As the sun is setting, and the sky turns a wonderful orange, the old Harley sputters. Then sputters again. I can’t be out of gas?! I reach down and put the petcock on reserve. It sputters again. Something isn’t right. Then it dies all together.
I signal myself out of the pack onto the shoulder of the road. There is a distinct smell I’m trying to ignore… it must be out of gas. I look in the tank. Just as I thought – lots of gas. So, now my mind wanders back to that smell. That burning acrid smell. That electrical wires melting and copper oxidizing smell. I think we have an electrical fire on the bike.
A couple of guys from the pack circle back to make sure we’re okay. We all muddle around the bike, flashlights in hand, and realize this isn’t something we’re going to track down and fix here on the side of the road, at night. “Hello, CAA? Do you have a flatdeck tow truck available?”
We assure the remaining group members that we’ll be just fine, and to head off. They reluctantly do. An hour goes by and still no tow. Then a motorcycle slows to a stop. It’s one of the members of the group coming back by to see if we’re okay. Five minutes later another bike comes to rest beside us. Another member. They both insist on waiting with us until the tow shows up, and have even brought snacks and bottles of water.
What a top notch group of riders. I can hardly wait to get the Harley fixed so we can ride with them again!