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Dec 27, 2010

Working with what’s on hand

OK – It’s now a proven fact. I’m a gullible chump.

While I haven’t given the ‘mechanic up the road’ any more money, I have once again left parts of my motorcycle at his shop and days have turned to weeks. I promised myself I’d never leave anything of mine in his care overnight  again, but…

While the Sheriff was there and he was piling up my parts to take home, the ‘mechanic up the road’ told me he’d still help me with this project if I’d like, and I could stand right behind him while he did his work and make sure the work was done that very day, and we’d never find ourselves in any ‘waiting’ predicament again. Sounded great, but…

One of the first things I decided when I got my parts home was that I’d get a rolling chassis together and then once that was built, I’d start building the engine. I had most of what I needed to begin – the frame, the swing-arm, shocks and forks, wheels and tires – so I began the work.  First I built a rear wheel from the rim, hub and spoke kit and put the rear together. When the rear was finished, it looked great. On to the front.

Soon as I began the front, I discovered the fork parts didn’t fit with one another properly. I called the ‘mechanic up the road’ asking if maybe he gave me back some mis-matching parts. He wasn’t sure, but said to bring what I had, and he’d take a look. So I did. Four weeks later, I am writing the first sentence of this chapter. Déjà vu all over again.

We never got around to examining the fork parts to see if they were all mine – he took one look at my painted fork-lowers and asked why I painted them instead of polishing them? Explaining that I didn’t have the equipment to properly polish, I settled on paint. He offered to put them on his lathe and smooth out the imperfections. Once this was done, he explained, they’d polish up pretty good.

Uh… OK.

So, I left them there. Of course I was apprehensive, but he called me a day or two later and said they were ready for polishing – did I want to come and get them, or use his equipment and do the work in his shop?

This is exactly how my 17 month ordeal began in 2009.

I headed up the road, met him at his shop and began sanding and grinding on my fork lowers. The day got longer and it was suggested I take them home and continue the work. I took them as far as I could, working in my shop (top half of the picture below) and then returned to his shop for the final polish. This step turned out beautifully (bottom half of the picture below) but the day was over and it was time for him to close up shop. He’d call me once he put my newly polished forks back together.

This was more than four weeks ago.

Despite all the troubles, delays, disappointments and frustration of the past, I felt that we had turned the page; that we had a fresh start – the fact that neither he nor I had any money to put into this project maybe gave us a bond and a purpose to proceed with what we had on hand. Unfortunately, I doubt this will be true. Here I am once again, parts of my motorcycle locked in someone else’s shop.

Some day, I will get my fork parts back – I’m sure of it, even though I’m not sure when – but when I do, perhaps my lesson will be learned. If I want control of this project, I will have to take the project into my own hands.

Aluminum is light and strong. My hands are covered in aluminum dust – fine enough to pass transdermally  – will I become lighter and stronger? Hopeful or gullible?


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