I saw the nail in the tire when I got to the top of 84 and took a little break at Alice’s. I had a bad feeling about it right away. I’ve had a nail in my tire before. Sean spotted the last one while we were in Half Moon Bay one day. It was just a little bit of a shiny speck that shouldn’t have been shining from the chalky black of my rear tire. That was a first and it freaked me out, but it wasn’t losing any air so I drove it over the hill and had it repaired at the Honda/Suzuki dealership. It was relatively inexpensive to have it plugged and if I didn’t like the price I could have gone somewhere else. The tire was rideable.
This time it wasn’t a little roofing or drywall (or whatever) nail. This one still had a head on it. And it was an ugly looking puncture. The rubber of the tire was bulging around the nail like it was infected. But, given my previous experience, I figured the tire would hold air until I could take care of it on my terms. I was about to order tires anyway as my front looks ridiculous how it’s worn all on the sides and looks like it has tons of rubber down the center. It looks like it’s wearing a mohawk or something. Now I know it’s a dual compound tire made for commuting and twisting, but you’d think that the tire would wear evenly because you spend more time straight up and down rather than leaned into a curve. Well, this one didn’t wear evenly. And it seemed like it wore spontaneously. One day it looked fine, next day, mohawk.
So, yeah, I thought to myself, I’ll just get home, pull the trigger on ordering the Pirelli’s I’ve been wanting to try, and take it up to the MotoTireGuy in SF later in the week… Well I got down the hill, down 92, was heading off the freeway when everything got mushy. Freaked me out for a split second and then I realized what had happened. I pulled over to the side of the off ramp.
But here’s the thing. What the hell do you do next? There’s no spare on a motorcycle. And the traditional image of a tow truck hoisting up the front end of a car while the rear gets dragged along, painted a ridiculous picture in my head when it came to my motorcycle. Poor thing hanging off a hook. Of course a flat bed would have to pick it up, but crap. Here’s where I started tallying the costs. Actually it was after I called the Honda/Suzuki dealership and they gave me the number of the tow co. they use, etc. that I started to tally the costs. My math is awful, and I can’t estimate for crap, but even to me, this was not looking good.
Here’s the part that I found weird and interesting. Bike get’s picked up, get it to the dealership (closest place), they have a tire (same bridgestone i had on before which I’m not happy about, but what can you do), and then I proceed to wait around while the mechanic (72 year old guy, skinny and protruding as if his blue, oil stained shirt with his name stitched into the right breast, was merely covering a wire-hanger bent into a man shape) finished one job and started mine. During this time, one of the owners, who also is the service manager, keeps trying to engage me in conversations. Small talk mostly, but he gets interrupted every time a customer would stroll in. This only happened 3 times the hour and a half to two hours I was there. This place was pretty dead. And when it did happen, I’d take the opportunity to stroll out of earshot, take some iPhone pics of the place, etc.
Finally, I had to sit down for a while and the service manager guy starts talking about all the former customers that would come from New Jersey, Oregon, Bum Fuck, to his shop because he had done right by them. He repaired something for the New Jersians for free when they had their Goldwing shipped out here to ride it down to MotoGP, he rebuilt an engine for the navy boy from Oregon and held it for him while he was deployed for 6 months. All the decent acts for these people and I’d nod and say, “Oh wow,” in all the appropriate places, but I kept thinking to myself, “Why is he telling me this?” One, he’s lonely and needs to talk with people because his shop is the epitome of a sleepy one (they just need a basset hound snoring and farting on a rug by the door) and two, he needs me to think he’s a good guy either for his low self-esteem, or so I don’t go nuts when he hands me the outrageous bill because if he was so good to those other people, he must be doing right by me, right? Why would he do so much for free and then over-charge me? He must have to charge this much because the parts and labor really cost this much, right?
Bullshit. Someone said to me the other day that in these days of the internet, businesses have to be pretty honest because it’s too easy to check up on them. I knew I was getting reemed for the price of the tire, and yeah, they could have given me a little break on labor as I go to them a lot now, but nooooo. Haha. Lesson learned.
I need to follow through with Alex’s plan to have an emergency fund between us motorcyclers. At least four of us have the same bike. We could have a front and rear tire in our paddock ready for anyone stuck in an emergency situation. Someone needs it, they replace it after. Alex took it a step farther with a U-haul fund so we didn’t have to pay a towing company. This too would be awesome because a U-Haul is like $20 a day and I know you can get them with lifts. Just not sure on the logistics of how you would get the truck, etc. Someone would have to not be busy. If we’re all riding together, no problem. Anyway, I like this idea and want some more input on it.
That is all for this story. Guess I’m selling stock again this year to replenish my depleted emergency funds… Bummer.