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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been looking for a pair of sportster cans for a while now. Been watching a few on the bay that are sitting at $1, only problem is that the shipping is prohibitive. Anywhere from $45 (and that was from a seller in Ontario)to $65 just to get them here. I don't get it, we ship stuff from work, some of it quite heavy and bulky, all over Ontario and it rarely costs more than $25 for overnight. I guess everyone sticks with the big guys like UPS and Purolator etc.



I'd pretty much decided to suck it up and get the ones from the Ontario seller when I came across a set on Kijiji (an excellent site, much better than Craigslist) for $30. And the guy lived in Richmond Hill, less than 1-1/2 hours away. Sounded like a perfect excuse for a little Saturday afternoon excursion that I could combine with my visit to Toronto to check out an '82 GL500I that I've been sniffing around. Packed my tank bag with a few diagnostic tools, my camera and my phone and I was on my way! The dramatic thunder boomers of this morning had cleared the air, the sun had made an appearance, the roads were dry and the highway was wide open.



Awesome.



About half an hour later I'm booming east at about 140km in the fast lane of the 401, the blatting thunder of my el cheapo slash-cut pipes urging my eardrums towards sane decibel levels ever faster, when the Fish starts to stumble and fart. I'd just passed a service station where the ghost of reason suggested I top up but the wicked little speed freak perched on my left shoulder reminded me that reserve would get me to a gas station along this stretch of highway with plenty to spare. No problem, I reached down and flipped the petcock and slid over to the middle lane until I picked up speed again. I didn't. I pulled in the clutch and confirmed the worst. Wind and highway noise at 120km and nothing else. Luckily there was no one around me so was able to get over to the slow lane and then the paved shoulder. And confirmed that I'd indeed left the petcock on reserve after my last fill up.



Dammit.



I laid the bike over on the left side to get all the fuel over the hump, a trick that used to work on my CX and give me a few extra kilometers, and that got me a couple hundred feet further on one cylinder before gasping to a halt. Apparently the slimline Silverwing tank just doesn't measure up to big old square tank. So I walked the bike down to the bottom of the hill, locked everything up and started walking towards the overpass about 2 klicks east of me. Wasn't really thinking clearly so I probably got about a kilometer before I realised where I was; ahead of me was an overpass but the nearest gas station was about 7-8 km north of it and somewhere behind me was a service station.



Double dammit.



Turned around and walked back to the bike. Finally remembered my phone. Called CAA to see how much it would cost to get a gallon of fuel dropped off. After being on hold for about ten minutes on the side of an incredibly noisy highway the guy gets back on the line and says that it would be about the same as an annual membership and could he sign me up now? Choking back the angry demons, I asked sweetly how much would that be. Only $85 he replied, without laughing or anything. I thanked him and told him I'd sooner walk to the gas station.



So I did.



Nearly six sunburnt and sticky kilometers later; having been passed by countless bikes (most of whom waved or nodded), several towtrucks and not one single damn travelling gas salesman I staggered into the service station, bought a can of gas and a bottle of water and headed back out. I tried to call the guy with the mufflers to tell him what he already knew - that I'd be late, but apparently I'd used the last ergs of battery on hold with CAA.



Holy freaking dammit.



As I'd really really hoped, I got a ride before I'd left the onramp by a guy who obviously recognised my prominently displayed shiny new red gas can as being the badge of a clearly sane yet foolish traveler and not that of a deranged head stabber (I once walked many miles one day long ago due to my not being aware that there was a deranged head stabber hitch-hiking in the same area). And then, just after I'd gassed up and was puttering along the shoulder waiting for a gap in traffic, two bikes pulled over in front of me to make sure that I was ok. That totally made up for everything else so far and I told them so.



Us bikers can be some of the coolest people.



I zipped to the next gas station to fill up and slide the petcock to 'on' and then I fed some change into the payphone that smelt of vomit and old vegetables and called the guy. I admitted my stupidity and he just laughed and said he'd had more than his share of 'senior' moments. He was decent about it and I promised to get there in 45 minutes. Made it there no problem, although I drove through the town of Maple where I used to live, and didn't recognise anything. I couldn't even tell where my house used to be. He was a cool older guy who'd bought himself a decker when he'd retired and was selling off all his old sportster bits. The pipes were exactly what I wanted. He tried to talk the price down after I told him about my afternoon but I insisted on paying full asking price. We talked for a bit; he was a pretty interesting guy. He rides harleys but he likes bikes in general. He even admitted to putting Honda accessories on his old Sportster.
Then he pointed out the GL's attributes to his biker buddies when they showed up to play poker and ask him what the hell a Honda was doing in his driveway.



Got home, fed the doggies and 'rehydrated' myself.



Yay.



Never made it to Toronto. More apologies followed.
 

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done the same, including the passing the station only to run out (due to reserve - brain fart) did the tilt the bike thing, and rode back the wrong way to get to the station I just passed. Never a question asked.
 

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Loved the story, Sam!



Very well written and made me laugh my ass off! (I epsecially like the dammit progression!)
 

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great story Sam.that certainly made me wake up with a smile
 

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Some sellers list at very low prices such as $1.00 and jack up the shipping to beat Ebay out of the fee when the item sells. I've seen it a lot with chinese sellers.
 

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Great story, and one i recognise only too well...



I also get gripped by `white line fever` ,avoid stopping if i can, leave re-fuelling to the last minute and have several tense miles doing 40mph on a barely-open throttle eeking out the remnants of a near-empty tank wondering when the next gas station is going to appear after going 25miles + on reserve.

Up to 20 miles, no problem.

20 - 25 miles, concern sets in - find a station - quick.

25 - 30 miles panic sets in - it`s just a matter of time now, that ominous feeling of `when will i learn` again ...

30 miles +, start pushing.

The amount of times i`ve filled up with exactly the full capacity of the tank...

The amount of times i`ve pulled into a gas station running on one cylinder...

The times i`ve had to get off and push (actually only about 2/3).

One day i`ll listen to that "ghost of reason" on my shoulder!



Don`t you also think, that one calamity like running out of fuel seems to be the catalyst that sets off a series of f***k ups that really make for a disaster of a day.

One thing seems to lead to another, that leads to another , and onother , etc, etc.....


Probably just me, though....
 

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A way you can beat this, but, then, no more excellent stories (you may have missed your calling...lol), is to hide-a-way a container of gas. It doesn't have to be really large, perhaps a pint or so..figure that's 10 miles or so you WOULDN'T have to push/walk. And, methinks, there is a nice little hiding place on the very rear of the inner fender where the "handy-dandy" Honda tool-kit goes (on a GL anyways) that would do ya quite nicely. Might even be enough room for a plastic-bagged "turkey-baster" for which to fill up your fuel line to the carbs to keep the motor running long enough to get the fuel running down, IF you have a vacuum operated petcock which is pretty common on the GL;s..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I find something cathartic about admitting to my more foolish moments. I wasn't laughing yesterday but I can laugh about it today. And I can apply aloe gel to my sunburned bits, and I can groan about my sore back and shoulders. What was I thinking, pushing a 500lb bike down the side of the 401 anyway?



The bugger of it is that I think I was still in the mindset of having the auxiliary tank in my trunk, which I'd only just removed so I could put my wifes' seat back on. I drove out west and back last year and didn't go onto reserve once with that tank plumbed in.



I guess once you're old enough to know better you're also old enough to start forgetting too.



Guess I better go put those pipes on.
 

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I've ALMOST made that mistake, I always fill up at the station near where I hit reserve, and my fill up ritual is turn bike off, switch to full, open lid, fill up, and then go...



Now I don't have a stator, so there's no turn bike off stage, it's going to gas station soon, turn bike off while cruising, unlock the lid, put key back in and bike starts itself back up, start filling with gas, hope to remember the petcock, pay and go... I got about 50 miles once and decided to do my random petcock checks, and noticed she was on reserve, but I try to check on a fairly regular basis just to be safe...
 

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Here in the UK we have an unwritten,"Biker in Distress" system that many of us know.If we need help we place our Motorcycle helmet behind the rear wheel of the bike on the ground.Those bikers that know this sign will stop and aid as will Car drivers who are bikers.

I mentioned this on the old CC's forum.The more it's publicized the more people will know.



Also a couple of years ago I was out riding and a group of Classic Brit bikes were stopped on a country road I use.One of them had run out of fuel.Thy were thinking what to do and I knew the nearest garage was about 3 miles away.I looked around and found an old discarded plastic bottle.Removed my fuel line from the left hand carb and filled it up.I now keep a bottle of water in my Back pack which can be emptied and used for this if I need to.



HTH




PS

I have painted my Petcock lever Red on the top side so I know when it's in the,"Main Tank" position".
 

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Here in the UK we have an unwritten,"Biker in Distress" system that many of us know.If we need help we place our Motorcycle helmet behind the rear wheel of the bike on the ground.Those bikers that know this sign will stop and aid as will Car drivers who are bikers.

I mentioned this on the old CC's forum.The more it's publicized the more people will know.



Also a couple of years ago I was out riding and a group of Classic Brit bikes were stopped on a country road I use.One of them had run out of fuel.Thy were thinking what to do and I knew the nearest garage was about 3 miles away.I looked around and found an old discarded plastic bottle.Removed my fuel line from the left hand carb and filled it up.I now keep a bottle of water in my Back pack which can be emptied and used for this if I need to.



HTH




PS

I have painted my Petcock lever Red on the top side so I know when it's in the,"Main Tank" position".
must be similar to me carrying my loyal petrol proof carrier bag
 

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Hey, if you were Peter Egan you'd just have made $5,000.00 for a common tale well told. Peter Egan, the favorite column writer for "Cycle World" magazine makes a handsome living doing smart and dumb things and writing about them each month.

Once long ago I ran out of fuel on my precious 1967 BMW /2 it was late on a Saturday night and I didn't want to leave is along the roadside. I pushed it to several closed gas stations and draining a few drops and dribbles from each hose until I got maybe a cupful then finally made it to a station that was open. Pushing a motorcycle a couple of miles is hard work even when I was 27 and strong (and bullheaded)

Cheers, 50gary
 
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