Thursday, September 22, 2011

Idiot Lights

My instrument panel, simple as it is, works together to let me know what the bike wants. But its main function is to remind me of my exact level of incompetence.

The bike has a speedometer, a tach, and a strip of lights.

The green light indicates neutral. There is no gear indicator. By using the postion of my left foot and revs. relative to speed, I have a fairly good idea where I am in the gear box at any given time. But it's not perfect, and I believe that the transmission would like an opportunity to discuss my choices between 20 and 30 m.p.h.

There is a flashing amber light for the signals. If ignored, the bike makes sure that everyone on the road knows that I am an idiot.

The generator light has a similar goal. But it's more sinister. It comes on when the bike decides it's not pleased with whatever I'm doing at the moment, or last week, or in a previous life. And to prove it's superiority, it will stall, thus allowing me an opportunity to give the bike my undivided attention.

The oil light? Check the dip stick.

And then there's the brake failure light. It's red. It has a simple job: Induce panic.

I guess I could take Steve's advice and get a modern bike. One that starts immediately and doesn't require me to open and close fuel valves or to engage the choke on cool mornings. I hear that the new ones have gear indicators and come with signal lights that turn themselves off.

But that's not me.

I like circling the world to the left.

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