Photo by Genghis
THE SECOND DAY OF SPRING: The view from my house in NYC.
What a weird and unusual winter it’s been. It’e been like a unending continuum of snowstorms, beginning I can’t remember when. That’s how continuous and unrelenting the wintry weather has been. That’s how mind-bending this winter has been. This is proof-positive, that weeks on end of single-digit temps and snow, can fog one’s memory. I call this the Fog of Winter War.
The picture accompanying this article, was taken on the second day of spring a few days ago. What do you see? I’ll tell ya what ya see. You see the Lower Beast Side of NYC outside my window, imprisoned in the iron jaws of ‘Ole Man Winter.
All I know is, I went to Mabel’s (my ’71 Harley Super Glide) parking lot in early February, to start ‘er up for a much needed ride, after the onslaught of storms, that began in late November of last year. I thought that she needed to loosen up her Harley joints, after weeks of frigid temps. Guess what? ‘Ole Man Winter killed her battery. No juice, no go, baby!
Photo by Genghis
COLD VICTIM: Mabel in her outdoor parking lot.
That very day, I got on the internet, and ordered her a new H-D AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery, which has been here in the house trickle charging since. Why don’t I take my battery off of Mabel when it gets cold, and put it on a trickle charger for the winter, you ask?
Simple. I’m lazy. My attitude is, the old battery will last through the winter, and start Mabel up when defrosting happens. Only, this time, it didn’t. I usually get three or more years out of a battery with this lazycentric method. Hey man, that was a new battery that I installed, just last year, that died on me. This battery had an unusually short life, a testament to the relentless beating it took from the weather.
When I got Mabel’s new battery, I decided to once again be lazy, so I put the battery on a trickle charger, to wait for the storms to cease and desist. Only thing is, they didn’t cease or desist. Instead, the snow increased and resisted. Hey man, I love snow as much as the next biker, which ain’t much—but this was too much! When was this Eternal Arctic Vortex gonna stop?
And to think that I once moved to California, to avoid this! Anyway, you long time readers know how that worked out for me. Doan get me wrong, man. 44 years ago, when I drove back from San Diego, and sighted the skyline of NYC from the Jersey Turnpike, I got tears in my eyes.
It was at that moment, that I realized how much I loved New York City. It was at that pivotal time, that I knew that NYC was Home—and will always be Home. Ain’t no place like it, man. You can keep your twelve months of sunshine. Me, I’ll keep my short riding season, if it means I get ta keep New York City.
Photo by Genghis
TOUGH ‘OLE GIRL: Mabel’s 44 years old.
Mabel’s a tough ‘ole girl. Check it out, man. She’s 44 years old and never missed a beat in all that time. The ravages of time and destructive weather, never put a dent on her black tin. Harleys are forever, man, figuratively and literally. There are parts on Mabel, that are actually older than she is.
Photo by Genghis
MY ’68 SPORTSTER SALLY THE BITCH IN 1975: Mabel inherited Sally’s drag bars.
For example, Mabel’s handlebars. I bought these drag bars in 1969 and used them on Mabel’s predecessor, Sally The Bitch. Sally was my ’68 XLCH Sportster. When I got Mabel, those bars got transposed to Mabel.
Sally also had these neat 5 inch glide risers, but when installed on Mabel, I found that they made me reach too far for comfort. Mabel’s a bit longer than Sally was. So, I got some nice Paughco 8 inch glide risers, the ones ya see on Mabel now.
So, when to install Mabel’s new battery? Guess I’ll wait for a while, to make sure that the snows have ceased and desisted. That’s okay man. I took our ’97 F150, “Amy” out for a drive today, and ruminated while driving, how much I love to drive and ride. That’s my favorite thing.
I’m tend to think randomly a lot when I drive or ride. I enter a space where I’m concentrated on driving or riding technique, but where the peace and solitude of the act of operating a motor vehicle, gives my mind voluminous room to meander.
When I think randomly while in this state, the part of my mind that is not occupied with steering the handlebars or steering wheel, shifting gears or applying brakes, wanders introspectively into my deeper thoughts. Often, these thoughts are of quite a philosophical nature.
Today, those thoughts circled around the idea of how much I really love all my vehicles, truly love ’em That includes our (Patty and I co-own this pick-up) Ford F150, Amy. While that love does not rise to the fever pitch that it does with my Harley and Vette, nevertheless, it is there and profound.
There is the biker lore of how an Oakland Hell’s Angel back in the 60s, when asked by a reporter to define love, he said, “Love is the feeling ya get when ya think about yer motorcycle.” That’s the finest example of Motor Love, an affliction I readily admit to suffering. Later.