Sunday, April 16, 2006

Motorcycle ups and downs

To recap: Several weeks ago, I had my first wipe out. Among other things, this resulted in a broken shifter lever, which meant I couldn't ride until I got a replacement. Though many people recommended assorted online retailers, I decided to order the part from the dealer since I'd just gotten the bike and was feeling the goodwill that comes from a positive shopping experience. Well, that goodwill is completely used up, and I definitely won't order parts from them again. Here's the saga:

So I go to the dealer and order a new part. They charge me $30 more than the part would have cost had I ordered online, nearly doubling its price. They say it will take a week to come in, but two weeks later I stop by and ask if the part has arrived and they tell me it'll be in "on Monday" (which was another three days away). I show up on Thursday and ask about the part and they say it's been there for 11 days and that someone should have called me (not to mention that someone could have told me it was there when I asked about just a few days earlier). So that was three weeks of riding down the tubes all because the dealer's parts department is totally incompetent (they also ordered the wrong parts for some stuff my dad needed -- and they again forgot to call when the parts came in, and the sales department "mishandled" a bunch of the paper work for my dad's bike, which caused yet more inconvenience). Though the dealer started out strong, in the end they get an F. So sad.

Meanwhile, I'd signed up for lessons with a local riding school. Their idea of scheduling a riding lesson is to call at 12:30 in the afternoon and demand I call back by 1:00 if I want to reserve a spot for 9:00 am the next morning. Who can manage stuff like that? Maybe it's because I only work part time, don't have a family to take care of, and am basically a freewheeling lolligagger, but my time is just too scheduled to be able to make such last minute commitments on the spur of the moment. Maybe if they'd given me a full 45 minutes to try to work something out, I could have made it happen. But whatever. After leading me on like this for weeks, they finally decide that they don't want anyone who hasn't signed up for their over-priced "4 lesson package" (4 lessons for $400, as opposed to individual lessons at $75 a pop -- you figure it out) and say they're going to refund my money.

At this point, I was three weeks without a bike, and lacking formal lessons, which I desperately want so as not to have another wipeout. And the jury is still out on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses. I sent them a deposit two weeks ago and haven't heard a peep from them since (and their phone just keeps on ringing.) Actually buying the bike had been so easy, but after only about two months of ownership, everything else about it has become a huge pain in the ass.

Fortunately, after putting on the new shifter lever and going for a few short jittery rides to and from the beach, I at last got out today (on Easter! The Day of Rebirth! The Day of Miracles!) and had a fantastic ride exploring some back roads around my house, and I am once again feeling confident that I will actually learn to ride this thing without killing myself.

I still really really really want formal lessons. And I really really really want to take the MSF course. Hopefully all of that will happen before September. In the meantime, I'm going to keep my spirits alive by listening to Michelle Pfeiffer sing Cool Rider from the Grease 2 soundtrack.


Tipsy said...

No you did not just mention "Cool Rider" sung by Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2. I actually saw that movie in the theatre. The "Reproduction" scene was killer.

Mustapha Mond said...

Oh yeah, I went there.

I actually rented that movie a few weeks ago. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid and it was much funnier this time around. The "Reproduction" scene was even more hilarious than I remembered, and the whole movie is self-parodying, which is something I'd never realized before. It's great.

Steve Miller said...

I pity the fool who doesn't get his parts online!

Mustapha Mond said...

Totally. Well, lesson learned.

Buzby said...

In Vancouver and Toronto at least I know that motorcycle cops teach newbies how to ride motorcycles as a way to make some extra money. You should look into that, which has the added benefit of making friends with a cop for when you're in trouble.

7 Mary 14.

Mustapha Mond said...

That's an awesome idea. You almost never see motorcycle cops around here, but it's something I'll definitely look into.