Reflecting On My Vulcan Drifter and Our New Relationship

As I entered highway 440, the inner beltway around Nashville, I discovered another challenge. Grooved pavement. The bane of motorcycles.

It’s possible to travel on two wheels on grooved pavement if you stay flexible and keep moving forward. It’s best to ride with the quirkiness and not fight it, but it feels dicey. The bike and its momentum will take you through if you don’t over-correct.

And, indeed, we did motor down the road and turned onto I-65 for the last leg of the trip. I avoid this highway on my ride to the office during the week because commuters take it so fast. Sometimes I think it’s the south Nashville speedway.

Finally, at around nine p.m. we pulled into the driveway at home and I was exhilarated, tired and still puzzled.

Why had the bike shut down? Should I have it checked by a mechanic?

After thinking about it, I’ve concluded I ran out of gas. The previous owner told me to fill up at 135 miles.

Remember what I said about presence and paying attention?

I did a poor job of both. Not knowing if the bike had a reserve petcock was just dumb. Not doing a pre-ride check with questions was negligent, too. This is one thing you should learn before you need to know, not after you’re parked at the side of road scratching your head.

I should have been more present when the previous owner told me the bike’s range and I should have been watching the odometer during the ride.

It read 134 miles when it shut down. In fact, I did open the reserve petcock and the reserve tank got me to a station. This is what is supposed to happen. Another design feature for which to be grateful, and one as old as motorcycles themselves.

The bike ran perfectly the rest of the trip, about seventy five miles. The problem wasn’t the bike, it was the rider.

As I said, every bike has its own personality, and now I know each has its own thirst. Each has its unique feel and sound. If you pay attention each will teach you. You will be the better for the knowledge and you will experience more pleasure on the ride.

This one taught me a lot on our first ride.

2 Responses to “Reflecting On My Vulcan Drifter and Our New Relationship”

  1. Marilyn Hollon Sinclair February 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    I know you are a good rider and very careful…but watch out for the “other drivers” who are not watching for you. This is sister talk!

    • LHollon March 1, 2011 at 7:35 am #

      A sister’s diplomatic way…thank you. :) I love you too.

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