Backroads Ramblings September 2005

September 13, 2005
Jason Giacchino
Jason Giacchino
Contributing Editor| Articles|RSS

A freelancer and published novelist Jason is currently the editor in chief of Mountain Bike Tales digital magazine and holds a State University of New York degree in applied science with a minor in journalism. When not hunched over a computer monitor, he can be found playing outside in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York.

As the days grow shorter with the approach of Fall  the picturesque landscapes of New York begin a beautiful transformation.
As the days grow shorter with the approach of Fall, the picturesque landscapes of New York begin a beautiful transformation.

Fall, Season of Memories

There is change in the New York air this time of year, a sun that sets a bit earlier than we’re used to, a breeze just a few degrees cooler than it was just the week before. Summer, the prime riding season itself, leaves as calmly and as passive as it enters the scene each year; a cruel but brilliant process to suppress our depression just enough to keep us from packing up and heading to warmer climates.

Even though seasonal dusk lays its heavy hand upon the Northeast, harbinger to the long cold night that is winter, daily commutes to work and sunset rides along the shore remain inspirational due to the often underappreciated transitional season of Fall.

There is something about the crisp morning air just before the sun breaks free in the clear skies to burn the dew off the blades of grass, or the smell of leaves and blurring of color that make Fall one of the most magnificent seasons of the year. It is almost as if the sheer beauty of the rides themselves manage to block out the reality that it is the riding season’s final farewell. Or perhaps it is nature’s way to send us riders packing for the long, cold down-season with the fondest of memories to savor, a parting gift to give us strength during the long haul.

Whatever the case, my ATV-obsessed youth was far more carefree about squandering the short period of beautiful Fall riding, due mostly to the fact that winter simply meant roost of white, and endless donuts across frozen ponds. As my taste for riding evolved over time, eventually depositing me into the clutches of the Supersport bike category, so too went the concept of anticipating the gathering snow, or the slow spread of clear thin ice on the surface of the water.

Indeed, as humans are creatures of adaptation, winters of late represent a period of bike modification opportunity, and to a lesser extent, certainly bike maintenance that has been neglected so as to allow more time in the saddle while the weather was good. While the snow blows in sheets of white, gathering in massive drifts just outside the door to my workshop, I’m content working from the warmth within, changing oil, lubing chains, and replacing worn parts with new.

Due to an unfortunate mechanical problem Jason won t be enjoying the exquisite fall riding season on his R6.
Due to an unfortunate mechanical problem Jason won’t be enjoying the exquisite fall riding season on his R6.

As fate would have it, my Yamaha has recently presented me with the most obnoxious of mechanical challenges. I figured I would get a jump on the seasons and give the bike a well earned tune up in the anticipation of Fall’s approach. Due to the cross threading force of the bike’s prior owner, I tugged on the spark plug socket only to hear the dreadful snap of a plug breaking cleanly in two, half of it lodged deeply in the head.

Hoping to cut my losses, I quickly packed the bike up and took it to a local machine shop, who’s owner’s reputation is renowned for repairing the impossible. It would turn out my situation was in fact impossible, even for someone with such a reputation. When his EZ-Out broke inside the head alongside the bottom half of the spark plug, I accepted the reality that the riding season ended a little early this year.

On the positive side, it has been an invaluable learning experience of the entire inner workings of a modern 600cc liquid-cooled inline-Four and an opportunity to replace some worn parts while the machine is stripped down to its bare bones. None of this would be all that bad had it occurred in the off-season, when the work bench is warm and comforting and those memories of the amazing rides of Fall are still fresh enough in our minds to sustain us.

Which reminds me, should you happen across some fool pushing a stripped R6 frame down the road through the dancing leaves of orange, smiling gleefully while making motor sounds with his lips, look the other way.

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