Washing the Bike: Great Way to Get Down and Dirty with Your Motorcycle

For the past couple of days, the weather has been beautiful in Boston. It’s the first warm weather we’ve had this year, and gives a real hint of spring in the air. The sun is shining, the temperature is moderate (in the mid-50s) and the weather just screams “Go ride a motorcycle!” Unfortunately, I haven’t completed the motorcycle safety class, and I don’t officially own the bike yet, and the bike is unregistered and not insured – so I literally can’t ride the bike. I’m planning to have all that resolved by mid-April. But until then, the most I can do is sit on the bike and run it in the courtyard just so it gets started up every now and then.

Yesterday, the weather was so nice and I really needed a break from a project I was working on, so I decided that if I couldn’t ride the bike, at least I could wash it. It was car-and-bike-washing weather. I went and bought some car foam stuff, a microfiber sponge (because I read online that I should use that), some soft cloth rags, and some degreaser. And then I went to town on the Ninja.

It’s really satisfying to wash a bike. If you wash a bike well, by hand, you get up-close-and-personal with all of its bits and pieces. It provides a great opportunity to check cables, check nuts and screws to make sure they’re tight, and to check bits that might be showing wear. For example, now I know that the Ninja has a few nicks and dings on the paint job, and that the exhaust pipes are rusting a little – they’ll probably need to be replaced in another year or two. But the bike otherwise seems to be structurally sound, and washing it was a great exercise to examine everything in detail.

Plus, now the bike is nice and shiny and clean.

Washing the bike satisfied my immediate need for bike contact, although I still wanna be riding it. Getting that up close and personal with the bike, you also get that heady scent of gasoline, motor oil, and… bike… that’s almost magical. Scent is the sense most closely linked with memory, and somewhere I must have a really good memory of that smell, because the smell of a bike fills me up with a sense of well-being. Really excited about riding it.

How perverse is it that the bike I washed yesterday isn’t actually mine? I’m hoping to have the cash to buy it next week, but the title isn’t technically in my hands yet. So, for now, I washed someone else’s bike yesterday.

Yes, I’ve got it bad.

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