Ran out of gas on my motorcycle while riding this afternoon. Of course at first, the sputtering really catches me off guard, and then as I'm pulling off to the side, I keep wondering, "What the Hell is going on?"
Five years ago, I wrote about similar experiences in an article entitled, "Running Out of Gas on a Motorcycle". I mentioned that I have this habit of procrastinating a fill up until I absolutely need it. I keep running math calculations in my head by looking at the odometer and the mile marker signs to determine when I really, absolutely, without a doubt, gotta have to stop for gas.
Thus far, of the times I've actually drained the tank and had to pull over, I've been within walking distance to a gas station. It was labor enough to push a nearly 800 pound Electra Glide Ultra Classic in the past.
This time around, I had to push a 650 pound Honda ST1300 for about a mile.
I was actually about a mile and a half from the freeway offramp, where I knew there was a gas station.
"A mile and a half", I thought to myself. "I can do this."
Sash wanted to call her Triple A. But I don't think it would have helped, since I'm not on that policy. I actually do have an American Express Gold Card, which has built-in roadside assistance, up to $50.00, which should cover this particular circumstance. But, I knew that meant having to wait 30-60 minutes.
"Fuck it. I'm just gonna push it."
I got about a mile down the freeway, when I heard a "Beep!"
I figured it was a cop.
It turned out to be Roadside Assistance. Apparently, the County of Riverside, where I had been, has its own fleet of trucks that patrol the highways looking for vehicles in need of help. The guy was able to pour a gallon of gas to get me going.
Except, the bike didn't want to start.
It turned out that leaving the hazard lights on the entire mile of walking it drained the battery. You'd think that hazard lights wouldn't do that so quickly. But I guess Hondas have a way of killing batteries pretty fast.
So, I had to pull off the seat, pull off the right-side saddlebag, and screw off the right side panel, just to get to the battery. The guy hooked up his jumper cables, and I turned the key and got the bike running. Awesome.
Except, you can't remount the saddlebag without the key.
The ST1300 has a lock on the passenger hand rails that secure the saddlebags. That meant having to take the key out of the ignition and letting the engine die, to get the bag back on. I hoped for the sake my own sanity the engine would start back up.
Fortunately, it started right up.
So I got my exercise in for the day.
The roadside assistance guy didn't charge me since it was all government work. I didn't have any cash on hand to tip him. The libertarian in me is still not sure government should be competing against private enterprise. But then again, when you're in that situation, you're just happy to see someone pull up in a truck.