Photos by Genghis
ASSAULT AND BATTRY: A holey experience.
This ride started out like any other ride. Gas on, ignition on, S & S Super B’s enrichener up, and hit Mabel’s (my ’71 Shovel) start toggle switch. No problems, man, and life is good. As a lot of ya know, I dig riding early in the morning, when the sun’s just unfolding in the east, trying to find its way west.
Go west, young sun.
Hey man, what could go wrong? Mabel’s warming up nicely, as I have her on a fast idle. This stroker Shovelhead has been, as ace wrench and Mabel’s engine builder Andrew Rosa, said to me in 1993, “Your faithful servant for many years to come.” Indeed, she has been.
Mabel and I hit the highway. After an hour of pleasurable highway runnin’, with very little traffic, because it’s not even 7:30 AM yet—we head back to Mabel’s parking lot in the Lower Beast Side of NYC. We’re on the FDR Drive now, which is a highway that runs along the east coast of Manhattan, from tip to top.
ME AND MABEL ON THE FDR DRIVE: Ready for takeoff.
For those of ya not familiar with the FDR Drive, I gotta tell ya, there are bumps so humongous on this highway, that they guarantee many an Evel Knievel Moment. Mabel and I were about to experience such a moment. The resulting takeoff, is similar to a ski jump, where Mabel’s rear 16 and front 21 are completely in the air, before making contact with terra firma again. Not a problem—usually. Usually, I know where these big bumps are, and just lift my ass off of the seat, as we hit each bump. No problem, man—until now.
Mabel and I did the drill, me gettin’ in the air, so that my kidneys don’t take a beating on our landing. We landed, but then Mabel started to sputter, like she wasn’t gettin’ gas or the plugs were loading up. After a few seconds of sputtering and rough running, she smoothed out again.
She seemed fine. Running as strong as ever, we returned to Mabel’s fenced-in and locked parking lot, which is attached to my apartment complex. I let Mabel idle for a minute after we stopped, just to make sure she was running right. I shut her down, and after I climbed off, I noticed that the battery hold-down strap had popped off, on the left side. This has happened to me before, resulting in the battery cover flying off and being lost, so I keep the hold-down strap taped onto the hold-down strap to avoid losing another cover.
After I took the seat off, I discovered the cause of the motor’s sputtering. With the battery loose, the battery’s positive terminal was touching and shorting out on the oil tank. In fact, the terminal burned a considerable hole in the oil tank! Man, talk about me and the oil tank, doing slow burns!
As I type this, I waiting for a tow for Mabel, out to Rosa’s Cycles, so that ace wrench Andrew Rosa, can weld up Mabel’s oil tank. I’ll tell ya, there’s never a dull moment when you’re a biker! Later.