If someone offered you a free motorcycle, (such as the one seen in this picture, found elsewhere on the web for your visual convenience,) would you take it? What if you'd never actually driven a motorcycle by yourself before? Okay then, what if the motorcycle had been taken apart for a lofty rebuilding project more than 10 years ago and was still in parts? What then?
Well, I said yes. Because I happen to be wired so that the idea of something as badass as owning my own motorcycle appeals to me. And because it was free. Also because the first time I visited my friend Deik, there was a taken-apart motorcycle spread all over his dining room and that left me with a huge mental image along with the believable idea that ordinary people could reassemble their own motorcycles. An idea that reinforced a similar one from my childhood. Never mind Deik may have given up on his project and gotten rid of that bike. (Truthfully I don't know what he did with the one in his dining room, but it wasn't there the last time I was, and he got a hot new bike a couple of years ago, so I'm thinking someone else took over the project of reassembling the one in the dining room.)
Back to the story of how I came to have a 1982 Yamaha Maxim 400 - never mind one that's not all in one piece - and how it's suddenly become imperative that I make a decision as to what I'm going do with the blasted thing. My brother bought this bike back when we were probably in high school, maybe in college - I don't remember now. Something happened that made it not work anymore. I didn't know until yesterday what even prompted his need to take it apart. Aside from the memory of our much-loved, long-deceased Uncle Mike working on his own Motorcycle Reassemblage Project that sadly was left unfinished when he left us. I think Mike just wanted to rebuild his bike and I've always imagined that a similar impulse may have overcome my brother after he bought this Yamaha. That's an early memory that was planted in both our minds, and so this current bike in question remains in parts but its ownership has been transferred to me.
No doubt there are lots of reasons he elected to let it go, but in my mind the presence of a wife has something to do with it. More specifically a wife who is decidedly disinterested in having either a large quantity of motorcycle parts lying around or a husband who rides a motorcycle, should miraculous events transpire to create that possibility for her husband. Well, not having my own wife, I have yet to encounter anyone who's declared I can't have it. Although when the occasional friend sees the engine block in my storage, along with a couple of parts related to its exhaust system, I get severely raised eyebrows. Immediately followed by a complete overhaul of my friends' facial expressions that now convey the idea, "Oh, that's so Melody. Of course you have motorcycle parts in your storage unit."
Why? you may ask, have I decided to deal with something as cumbersome as a motorcycle at this particular point in my life? Well, because of a very reasonable, very straightforward email my brother and I received from our Dad yesterday. It's too good not to share with you, so I'll include the paragraph that started it all, here for your enjoyment:
I have a motorcycle which is partly disassembled which has been in storage for several years. I must move it, and I do not have a place to keep it. I need your help. Since both of you have an interest in it, please make plans to do something with it. I will be able to keep it for a short time, but need to do something soon.
For some reason this email struck me as completely funny. In that familiar This Is My Family kind of way. Nowhere is it addressed how ludicrous it is that his adult children have been taking advantage of their parents' generosity for well over 10 years in leaving random motorcycle parts to be dealt with. Nor, in fact, how ludicrous many might see it in the first place that a motorcycle has, after this much time has lapsed, remained in the family's possession with the idea that some day, somewhere, someBODY thinks she's going to learn how to rebuild motorcycles. And then she'll have her own motorcycle to ride. Which she doesn't actually know how to do. (But she can generally learn things if she tries, so that's not perceived as much of a detriment.)
Once reading my response to the two of them, and the follow-up confirmation from brother that the bike is, indeed, all mine and he no longer has any emotional ties to it whatsoever, Dad further responded with:
While I don't really care who gets the motorcycle, I am glad, Melody, that you are taking responsibility for it. I believe your storage space is large enough; may require moving some things around.
Sounds to me like I need to start making some arrangements for a road trip to SC, eh? In a vehicle large enough to actually transport a motorcycle, that is.
Want to know the very simple explanation brother provided for why the bike was taken apart in the first place? I thought it was illuminating, and thought perhaps my readers (most of whom have no doubt stopped reading by now,) will find it an informative ending to my little story:
The engine had locked up, and when I tore it down to find out the problem, the upper guide (a piece of plastic about 8 or 10 inches long with a bolt going through a metal eye on each end) had worked loose on one end of the timing chain and thus ground up in the timing chain. Hence, the little pieces of plastic got stuck in the pistons and locked up the engine. I had the upper guide replaced and that's about it. The rest of the engine is waiting patiently to be put back together. I believe that I may have even had the gasket kits along with the motorcycle. The tank has been painted, but the box was opened and it has a scratch. However, it can be buffed out. Happy motorcycling.
Maybe I'll start reading up on stuff like timing chains and pistons one day...