It's been a while since I've posted anything on this forum. For those of you who can't handle a lot of words, you'll be wanting to see your way out of this thread right about now. Because this thread is about a different kind of build and it's a ZX6R.com exclusive... which means I'm taking a break from the blog to put something up here for you all to chew on (those of you who are literate anyway). Yeah, I know... brace yourselves for the word count
Back in 2008 when I joined this forum, I had one bike: my 04 ZX6R. It was my only vehicle that I upgraded from a 250 ninja, which I sold a few months after buying the ZX6R, and I rode the ever-loving piss out of it. Canyons, goaty roads, track days, to work, to the grocery store, to the laundromat, just about everywhere. I came to this forum in search of answers on how my bike works and I slowly but surely learned a tremendous amount, not only about my bike, but also about the craft of motorcycling. There are, however, some things that you can't learn from reading a thread on a motorcycle forum; there are things that you learn about riding these supersonic death machines and it only comes with experience... and sometimes that experience is incredibly painful... you know... like crashing - that shit hurts; which brings up another point: sometimes you end up permanently just a little (or maybe a lot) disfigured from it. Dude! Bros! So I bought these bikes, right?! And I'm gonna score some chicks, right?! (My 250 and the ZX6R upgrade circa 2007)
I guess you could say I'm an avid rider. I've been through the nitty gritty of the shitty in the years since I first joined here and at the moment, I am in the process of an epic series of rebuilding... slowly and steadily. Yes, a small series
of rebuilding, in some way shape or form, all three
of the bikes I've acquired since I first joined this forum. ... and then she bought another bike... aaaaand another
People who get involved in sportbike riding to have "fun" and who stick with it long enough will eventually learn that it's not always fun:
You don't always go on a ride where everyone comes back alive or unscathed. You don't always make it through a ride without a mechanical failure that has you sitting on the side of the road, fumbling for shit to create make-shift components or tools so you can hobble your bike back to civilization, or maybe even back through tech inspection and onto the track for another session. My friend, I miss our riding adventures more than words can express R.I.P Sometimes you lacerate your spleen in a gnarly highside incident (note: not my spleen. I still have mine... it's just a little disfigured Sometimes you get messed up whilst riding a pocketbike in a cul-de-sac in capri shorts and flip flops If I ride fast enough, I won't hear the bolts falling off They'll never notice that I've zip-tied my calipers on... SSsssshhh
You don't always go out on a ride and not hit a rainstorm or some nipple-searing cold-as-shit weather that you didn't anticipate, or circumstances where you end up riding back at night with every muscle in your body tense as hell as you plow through the darkness at wide open throttle hoping that there isn't a cop or an animal waiting to make a charge into your path; ultimately deciding that it's worth the risk if you can get home to that badass hot shower and cold beer sitting in your fridge.
You don't always make it back from a ride with your bike in the same condition that it was in when you left (we call those 'beauty marks' 'round, here folks).
And you don't always get to ride the pace that you want to ride when you are mentoring new riders or are holding up the rear to make sure that everyone else has an enjoyable ride. I mean... you can... but there ARE those occasions where you're actually kind of an asshole if you do. Not to mention the fact that if you're a chick, like me, sometimes it just flat out fuckin' sucks to ride with menstrual cramps and anemia (Nothing pulls your focus halfway through a ride quite like having to ask yourself: did I remember to bring tampons and Aleve?
If that doesn't weed out the weaklings then there is always the downtime... you know like when your motor seizes or drops a valve unexpectedly - or even expectedly
because your mileage is so high but you take the chance anyway, hoping you can make it to those last couple of track days in the season, or to work and back just long enough to save up for the long awaited maintenance that you have to do to bring her back up to spec. Or worse, there's the downtime following a crash. Sometimes you're left with a bike in your garage that was once your chariot of life and then you feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into the depression... well... if you're that kind of rider. And if you're that kind of rider, you could give two shits about what your bike looks like as long as it functions; which means you may find a way to ghetto rig your ignition switch to fire up with a screwdriver, or you may just run with diapers or maxi pads sopping up the fork oil from your leaking seals. These are the kinds of people who comprise my closest circle of riding buddies, and these are the folks who are helping me rebuild and yes... they kinda know their shit because they, too, have been there and done that
. It's broke... It seized
[/IMG] It broke... cover me... I'm goin' in deep It's alive!! It lives! Wooopps Well I'll be damned... how'd that get thar...?
Might I also add for those who get into riding because it's stylish and cool: You don't look cool when you crash. There isn't a person on this planet who has crashed AND looked like the world's biggest badass as they are grimacing in agony over roadrash or being loaded onto a stretcher. Somewhere in the process between ejection and impact, you just look... clumsy and frail.
In the years that I've been riding, I have experienced all of these things and more than a few of them on more than one occasion. I have bitched, bled, smashed knuckles, broken nails, cried, given up, come back, and done it all again even when there was little left in me that really gave a shit. I've been more humbled as human being in my time as a motorcyclist than I ever have as a passive participant in any other routines of life. It's not always fun, no. But if it means something to you then you learn to appreciate the shit that goes along with being loyal to the craft of riding. But I guess that goes without saying in anything meaningfully life oriented.
It's no secret to most of you that I've gone through quite a bit of shit lately. There was that pesky lump in my breast last year that turned out to be nothing (phew! I like my tatas!!), my father had a couple of heart attacks, I ended a relationship with someone who effectively ripped my heart right out of my asshole (with the skill and prowess of a guy who has perfected the craft of it many times over), my position at work was essentially eliminated due to budget cuts and in all of it, as I sat in pieces by the near-end of the year I confronted it all, grabbed a wrench and decided that if anything it was time to go back to what I know; to what really sets my soul on fire; the DRZ with the seized motor, the R6 recently revived, and my loyal warrior of a ZX6R... tired and in dire need of attention but still ready to fire up and hobble along on a ride.
The truth is: I've watched people who have experienced less give up and sell their bikes without a second thought. Half of the people on this forum, in fact, are fad riders who will probably, in a few years time get rid of their bikes and buy SUV's or sports cars or Harley Davidsons. But not me... there is that little piece of me that is always laying in bed staring at my one piece suit that hangs in my closet (with my old retired helmet resting on the shelf just above it it) in between track days reminding me of where my priorities are. There is that screaming voice in my soul that holds perfect harmonious pitch with every sportbike that rolls by en-route to the canyon nearby. There will always be that flame in my soul that catches when the throttle is opened, the bike motors forward and a smile crosses my face as I drop the visor and situate my body for the ride. If there is one thing that riding has taught me, it's that when you crash you pick yourself up and rebuild.
So for the last few months, I've slowly been rebuilding; myself, my life, and working on my bikes. I am slowly pulling it all together with bleeding knuckles and broken nails, in an effort to get back on track; to do at least a half season's worth (between two tracks so a full season) of track days.
And I'm not doing it without the help of my friends; who are die hard enthusiasts, who have experienced their own dark side of riding, but who are still going strong: even if they only have use of one arm, half a bike, and a roll of duct-tape to hold themselves together. Continued...