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Here are three musings from Al. Enjoy!
"No! its not just a Port Townsend thing."
You can see them little bells, hangin off the front axle of many a bike, all across the country. First one I ever saw was on a Policemans Harley, in Long Beach Calif. 1969, but I didnt get to as him what it was for on account-a he was busy written stuff in a little book.
It dont have to be on the front axle: Ive seen em on rear axles, crash bars, handle bars, saddle bags, etc. Its just cooler and more "up- front" if you know what I mean.
Ive had my bell for twenty years. It was my share of Grandmothers legacy-- she was a bell collector. Ive hung it on rear view mirrors, dome lights on my bed post, hung it on a dog once but he didnt like it. Dont know why, but I never hung it on a motorcycle till I put up my convert, couple a years ago. And it has done Mofo (my bike), and myself well. Its a "KARMA BELL"
Karma is like when you rebuild your engine and it runs great, so you pack-up and hit the road then about 800 or 900 miles away from home the old "Goose" blows a head gasket because you forgot to retorque the heads and you start feeling really awful; thats bad Karma . But if you happen to have a n extra brand new head gasket and you retorque the other side then reset the valves, real good , and then figure what the heck! and then retune everything till your bike purrs like a tiger and you go off on a 10,000 mile trip through thirty states and nothing goes wrong except a flat tire in Colorado ; well thats "pretty good Karma". If you hadnt-a had that flat it would have been "Real good KARMA". If youd-a just done everything right to begin with, that would be, KARMA.
What the bell does is sort-a fill in the Karmic gaps youve over looked on account-a you was worryn to much about ur head gaskets and forgot about that 16 year old, named Jennifer, whos Daddy just bought her a new mustang to celebrate the she just got a drivers license and shes trying to get Nirvana into the C.D. player and doesnt notice shes changed lanes and is nudging you into the guard rail. Bad KARMA!
The bell is like a Buddhist prayer wheel. The prayer wheel has a prayer inside it or inscribed on it and all you have to do is spin the wheel and you say the prayer. Well the bell works the same; say a prayer- "Lord there be an awful huge bunch of highway all over this world and my motorcycle is real tiny, in comparison, and would you kind-a look-out for me and the bike and young gals named Jennifer in Mustangs and keep us all safe and if its not askin to much could you , like, pre-tune Jennifers C. D. so she can pay attention to her driving", then every time the bell rings that prayer is repeated so you can watch out for deer and fire wood.
Anyway, I like to use my bell as a BUMP Detector..
You know? "Ding"!
"Humm, must-a hit a BUMP!
Keep your karma bell calibrated! If that little dinger slips out
of calibration calamity is fast approaching in your rear-view
mirror; and in calamities back seat are E.M.T.'s, ambulances,
E.R.'s and doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, physical therapists
and the dreaded insurance claims adjuster... Let us all hope and
pray there isn't a funeral director in the trunk. The calibration
of a karma bell is a highly individualized process, so it would
be pointless for me to try and tell you how. Only you can tune
But enough about karma bells. I'm here to talk about CRASHING!
Like it says on the sticker of Gordon Guthrie's bike, "crashing sucks." That's not just a cute quip to paste on a saddle bag or helmet; it is the bitter truth. Just about as bitter as the truth can get. So don't do it!
Crashing cannot be defined or confined by the laws of physics. Consider sweet, dainty Peggy Hitterdahl going a bazillion MPH, crashing and actually getting up and dusting herself off then casually riding the same bike back to camp. Whereas a grizzled old ex-Marine like myself can just be moseying along at a sub-speed limit rate of 20 MPH in command of the right-of-way and minding my own business, suddenly be shattered to within a fraction of spending the rest of my life in a Moto Guzzi powered wheelchair?
Guzzis are tough. Both bikes came off better than the aforementioned riders. I should hardly have to tell a Guzzi rider that. Both bikes were (and are, I hope) good for many more miles.
So how come Peggy can go a bazillion MPH and get off with a few scrapes and I, on the other hand, just moseying along, was slammed, mercilessly to an unforgiving pavement and hauled away in an ambulance to be left in the hands of doctors and lawyers?
"Cranial-rectus" my darlings: "Cranial-rectus." Yes I had my head up my ass. Granted, blasting down a forest road at a bazillion MPH should qualify you as a person who's noggin is slipping twixt your own cheeks but when someone all but forces you at gun point to ride their bike, you should have some karmic license. While on the other hand, if you on your own motorcycle, going a time 20 MPH but aren't paying attention because it's Friday and you're at the end of your work week and you're only three blocks from home and hearth, a warm shower, a cold beer, a good book and contemplation of a splendid weekend of riding to come, you got acute "cranial-rectus." Don't let it become chronic or you'll be seeing the guy in calamities trunk.
How many times have I heard such a sermon and how many times have I preached it myself? Never enough it would seem.
So from the voice of experience, keep your head out of your you-know-what and keep your eyes and your mind on the road and your heart will always follow.
As for me, before I'd ever ask anyone to ride my bike they'd have to change my oil and filter, give me lots of money, scrub my floors, wash my windows and my dishes, clean my out-house, mow my lawn and perform other unnatural acts too numerous to mention.
TUNE YOUR KARMA BELL!
Allan "Crazy Hawk" Newman
I had started out sea level and there I was, 4 days later, at
6000 feet weaving my way thru the heat waves of a 90degree
afternoon in Trinidad Colorado lookin for the "Bull
Moose" in charge of the up-n-coming 4th annual Trinidad Fun
Run and Music Festival. I was buzzing around the area where the
stage was being built and sort-a showin off as I answered those
familiar questions, "What is that?" " Do they
still make-em?" "Can you get parts?" Not to many
Guzzi's around Trinidad .
Anywho, just as my ego was ready to pop I heard that horrible hiss and my ego started going flat with my rear tire (why always the rear?) So I headed for the local motorcycle store (Honda) but only got about a quarter of a mile. She finally got too flat to roll right in front of a house of a kind soul, named Dennis, who had a shop with every tool in the world. "You can use any tool you need," he said, "but you gotta do all the work" Dennis just liked to watch and chat.
Anywho, I pulled the wheel, broke-down the tire, pulled the tube, washed out the goo from a can of Fix-a-flat that didn't work, patched the tube, put it all back together , thanked Dennis, went back to the rally sight, hired on and set up camp.
Next morning the tire was flat again. I put a new tube in it this time and that was that.
Four weeks later I was crossing the North Cascades with 3 other riders, after a delightful time at the North Cascade Campout, and one member of our caravan picked up a 3 inch long 3/8 inch bolt. Now, you could throw a box of them bolts out on a road and ride over them all day and not much would happen but the "Eldo that looks like a Frog", caught that bolt dead center and it went right through the rear tire, in one side of the tube and out the other and was bangin on the rim before we knew it.
Once again Fix-a -flat didn't work but between the four of us we had all the tools and necessities to get the job done under normal circumstances, but that poor-ole tire got chewed-up so bad that a patch would not take, even for just a little ways, so we put his front tire on the rear, mounted his forks onto my saddle bag rack and I pulled 'Rivvet' back to Port Townsend.
(NOTE! Don't believe this last part, Author prone to exaggeration)
Anywho, lessons were learned and Gizzmos were discovered.
First off, you gotta have a good set of tire irons. My friend Rick-"the Stick"-Pazik turned me on to a great pair; 15 inches long, curved at one end, about $9.00 each Rick has never used them on a flat but says they come in handy for other things; Pry Bar, Digging Potatoes, Stirring the Stew, Cleaning the Chimney, etc.
I will never feel secure riding on a tire with a patch. A brand new tube wont take-up much more space than a patch kit and will keep longer than some of the goop that comes with them kits.
Even a new tube won't inflate itself so your goin-ta need an inflation system. On board compressor, built right into the engine would be cool. Mini tire inflators (Co2) worry me and I fear they could go the way of "Fix-a-Flat" sittin in a saddle bag for a few years. J.C. Whitney Co. has an air pump and tire repair kit (a steal at $9.98) with a mini compressor that fits in a spark plug socket-compression pumps fresh air. Pretty slick.
When puttin it all back together sprinkle some talc in the tire to cut friction twixt the tube and tire and a little WD-40 will help a tire seat. Keep in mind the direction of rotation of rim and tire and make sure the valve stem is straight. Inflate tire over normal pressure, till it seats, let the air out and inflate again, to normal pressure, and get on your way.
And now the horrible truth about the stuff in the can, "Fix-a-Flat': It Don't! How-ever if there is no other choice, and I cringe at the thought, Don't pull the nail or what ever- if it's still in- and remember the law of gravity and make sure the hole is down when putting the gooey stuff in, then when the can is empty, spin the wheel and pray. It won't work but at least when we find your body out there somewhere laying by your Guzzi with an empty can of Fix-a-Flat in your hand, we'll know you didn't give up and hope unto the end.
Try to remember that fixin a flat, out on the road, can be a lot of fun if you got friends there to help.
If there isn't
anyone to help, better get your Karma Bell calibrated.
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