A Day at the Boss’s House

I have a great parking space in my apartment building, but unfortunately I am forbidden to perform any mechanical work on my bike in the garage. I am sure the owners fear people will spill oil and just generally mess the place up so I understand their point. When I first bought the Brick my boss offered me an open invitation to use his garage any time I needed it. Every year he throws a party for the Sonic Arts Center, the recording program at CCNY where I am employed as the technical director. I figured I would go to the party early and do some much needed work on my bike. My boss is an amazing chef and always lays out a great spread for the staff and upper level students.

I headed over the George Washington Bridge and onto the Palisades Parkway. I love this road as it follows the west side of the Hudson up though New York State. There were some observation stops, but I was already running late and wanted to get to work on the bike.Sight seeing will come another day.

I arrived about 1pm and the first order of business was to tend to the front brake pads. The installed pads were worn and I wasn’t sure of the quality, so I bought some very good replacements from the Beemer Boneyard. The brakes pads were easy to change and only took a few minutes. I took the extra time to wire brush off all of the corrosion from the retainer pins and springs to make for a clean install. I also cleaned all of the old brake dust from the calipers. The exisiting problem is that the front brake master cylinder is also leaking and after changing the pads this became more evident. I will have to repair this very soon. I have the parts to rebuild it, but it will be a bit more hairy to accomplish compared to the simple pad change. I decided to hold off on this operation until I had more time.

When I bought the bike the 4-way emergency flasher switch wires were broken off of the switch. I removed the switch from the dash and soldered on some small extensions to keep this from happening again and soldered the wires back on. Soldering is a big part of my job so this was also an easy fix. I shrink wrapped the connections carefully to further ensure dependability of the connections.

Another item I wanted to complete was to install a USB connection. I use my iPhone as a GPS, but the trouble is that when I take long trips the battery on the phone dies. I bought a 3BR Powersports 2.1 amp USB power port of eBay. The 2.1 amp is more powerful than their standard “Lite” version so that if I ever decide to go crazy and get something like an iPad, I can power it. I used a Gerber Multi-Plier to cut away some of the rubber in the dash and the port fit right in like it was installed from the factory. I ran the wires under the gas tank which I slid off of the mounts and just tilted to one side a bit. This was also an easy install as I wired the connections right to the battery. The port has a waterproof cap on it so when it rains I can pocket the iPhone and seal up the connector.

The final order of business was to wash and wax the back. I like my stuff to be clean, and since I bought the bike I have not been able to wash it. De-greasing the underbelly of the motor and getting a nice coat of Meguiar’s Carnuba Plus Paste Wax on the bike strangely put me at ease. Different friends approached me as I cleaned the bike, asking questions and just shooting the breeze. It felt nice to just work on the bike. Repairing and cleaning relaxes me for some strange reason. Maybe in some small way I am restoring things that are wrong in the universe – renewing old things and giving them longer life. Whatever it is, it feels good. I guess it’s something to do with my OCD. I need to have a sense of completeness when I do something – I can’t do it half way. Getting all of the work done and having a clean bike provided me with that sense of completeness.

The Flying Brick sat poised in my boss’s driveway. I went and joined the party and took a seat at the picnic table where I have sat almost ten years in a row, cracking jokes and having beers with students, professors, and co-workers. I thought of all the changes I have been through while working at my  job: A divorce, a broken relationship, a broken engagement, so many hard things over the past 7 years. The whole time I have had so many supporters to help me through these tough times and many were at this party. They accept me for my faults and remain my friends no matter how difficult my life gets. This year for the first time in many years, I felt a sense of hope on the horizon. There are many new things in my life that I am so lucky to have, the motorcycle being the very least of these great things. Yet spending time riding, repairing, and polishing this old bike puts me in a place of peace, and in that place, my mind can focus on the truly wonderful things that I have far beyond material goods. And of all the destinations I’ll ride to on the Flying Brick this place is the most important one of all – one that will never be found on any map.

Click to enlarge:

New and old brakes 4-way flasher switch Cutting the dash
USB jack installed The boss’s garage Shiny Flying Brick


Route to Norwood and back

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