Thursday, February 7, 2008

Superball Jess: Your New Blogger

I'm Jessica, a.k.a. Superball, joining Twinline Motorcycles to do some blogging in exchange for learning motorcycle mechanics. I found Ian on Craigslist while looking for random little jobs to fill out my job collection. (I have five.) I didn't even know it was possible to hope for something like this: the chance to learn motorcycles inside and out, essentially for free, from kick-ass teachers who make their living doing this stuff.

I've got a lot to learn. I love to ride--in fact, have rarely gotten around town in any other way during the past five years--but riding is about all I know when it comes to motorcycles. An example is in order: My boyfriend, Jack, has a 1971 Honda 350, and I mentioned that to Ian and Isaac.

"Oh, yeah?" they said. "Is it a twin or a four?"

"Um . . ." I said.

"Does it have one exhaust pipe or two?"

"Ya know, I never really took much note of the number of exhaust pipes," I admitted.

They didn't laugh. They didn't even blink. Well, maybe they blinked, but only once. All they said was, "That's all right. Hang around here enough, and you'll be an expert in months."


So how did I reach this sorry state of affairs? Well, unlike apparently every other biker in the world, I haven't been riding since I was a kid. After I got to ride on my dad's bike maybe once, he traded it for a gun. That has annoyed me to this day, but now I think my mother had a lot to do with it. (When I first told her I was getting a motorcycle, her response was similar to when, at age 18, I told her I was getting married: "Oh, no!" Of course, if I'd grown up on bikes, I'd be the first chick in the Moto GP about now.)

As soon as I finished growing up, I got married. My husband didn't want me to get a motorcycle. As soon as I got divorced, I bought my 2000 BMW f650 from a friend, who was a great riding mentor but didn't teach much in the way of mechanics. After failing to convince a BMW dealer to let me watch an oil change, I got a boyfriend who rides. I now know how to change my oil and spark plugs. (Hold the applause, please.) I'll need to know a lot more than that, though, if I'm ever gonna make it to Tierra del Fuego, not to mention Madagascar or Mongolia, on Jack's and my Big Trip.

Now I've met Ian and Isaac a couple of times. This last time, Ian planned to set me up for blogging, but the website was down--probably the fault of my electronics disruption field.

With that plan thwarted, they let me dive in head first with them on one of their pet projects: a 1974 Honda 360. I got to unscrew the handebars, headlight, and instrument panel. While Isaac held the bike, I pulled off the front wheel. Then I unscrewed the front fender and brake. (I seem to take to this unscrewing. I'll keep you posted when I try the reverse.)

And all of this on a hangover. (Okay, I was recovering from a few days of a bug that started with a hangover, but let's not split hairs.)

So it begins.