MacGyver and Motorcycles

I love riding  motorcycles. It is one of my passions.   I got hooked with  riding since I got my first taste four years ago. It’s freedom; me and the open road.  The feeling of warm air hitting my face and the roaring of my motorcycle, cruising through Central Florida’s roads . Not a damn despair. It is a very good feeling man! Florida’s best attractions for bikers like me are the bike rallies. During the month of October is Bikertoberfest in Daytona Beach. Four days of bike rallies, rides and events for the motorcycle enthusiasts. To me, these days are treated like sacred, trying to attend as many days I can possibly ride. This year I was going out-of-town for work so my riding days were limited.

It was Friday morning and I was ready to roll out on my bike to Daytona’s Biketoberfest. I got dressed, rolled the bike out and cranked it up. The day was clear and beautiful. It was a sign of the wonderful ride I was going to have, or not…As I kicked the stand up, I said a little prayer for a safe ride and rode off. I was listening to music approaching the traffic light near home when the bike suddenly died on me. I tried couple times to crank the engine but felt like it had no juice. I knew I had to put gas but  knew that it was not out of fuel. Since things have happened to me lately in unusual ways, I immediately looked up for answers. I asked  God“ you don’t want me to go, is that it?” I didn’t get an answer of course , so I started to troubleshoot my bike. 

Whenever I am stuck in a situation that requires troubleshooting, I like to call out MacGyver, the cool TV action hero from years back who was very resourceful finding solutions in difficult situations with whatever he had at hand.  He could fix a computer with a paperclip and duct tape. I got my tool bag out where I keep the essential tools for a mechanical breakdown according with MacGyver standards. I knew it my problem was electric; there was no juice going to the ignition coils. fortunately, I was close to home, so I rolled the bike back pushing it like a kid’s bicycle. My legs were screaming and I still have to push the bike up the driveway. MacGyver will not give up now though, so I continued. I did the spark test and as suspected, no spark. Damn, how this happen? What’s going on? Where is the lesson to learn here? I did not give up; though I complain about the unfairness of the situation. What do you want me to do?, I asked. If God knew that I wanted to go very bad, then why this suddenly  happened to me? Knowing there is nothing to dwell into self-pity, I continued with the troubleshooting. What will McGyver will do?  I checked the coil and the spark plugs. I made some calls to my mechanic and the dealer to find out about coils replacement. Both of the answers I got where not what I wanted to hear. Either I had to tow the bike to the shop so my mechanic can troubleshoot it or had to pay hundreds of dollars in getting the coils replaced even though no one had the coils in stock. They had to be ordered. Everything was pointing out to the sad conclusion that I was not going to be able to ride to Biketoberfest this time. But, I did not quit. I found hope searching articles online trying to find other possible solutions. MacGyver didn’t have this aid available in his time. I found what I was looking for from a motorcycle forum. In trying to narrow down the issue, looking for other causes than the coils, I found that the ignition switch may be the cause. I remember that it rain hard when I rode  yesterday and the bike got  totally wet. Turns out that the switch cylinder got wet and short-circuit the contacts so it was not delivering the juice the coils need to crank the motor up. Rocket science really! I removed the ignition switch housing with great difficulty. The bolts did not want to come out and the bolt thread was threatening to strip. I didn’t have the right tools and was working with what I got, the MacGyver way. Finally I got them out, removed the ignition switch, blew inside with compressed air, sealed it with electrical tape and Vrooom!, I was riding in less than two hours.  I was beaming with a MacGyver grin on my face.

I guess that the lesson learned here is to never give up, even if the signs and hidden messages seemed to tell otherwise. There was a strong determination for me to go riding and I was not deterred by setbacks. I am sure that if it wasn’t meant to be, I would have conceded but again, I did not feel any internal buzzing telling me not to go so I persisted until I succeeded.  I am glad that I did it; I had a great time riding with my friends, looked at cool bikes and mingled with a lot of people.  I have experienced the crazy things you see only on Main St., Daytona Beach and I had a blast. I know MacGyver would have been proud of me too. I could hear him saying “You can do anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it”.

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