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The 2007 MBI Rider’s Choice Awards. 2/10/2007

MBI stands for Motorcycle Bloggers International. It is a collection of blogging bike riders, from around the world. Some of us are new to the sport, others have ridden around the world 6 times in either direction. Some of us ride racing exotica, other ride big Vee cruisers. What we all have in common is a love of motorcycles, and a passion for writing. I am a member of this group, as are many of the bike blogs in my sidebar.

The one thing that MBI does every year is to have an online poll, where you can select the best from several categories that impact motorcycling as a sport, hobby, or business. You can find more information here.

Voting will open on February 13, and close on March 12. Winners will be announced on the ides of March. You can go there, and vote for your choice, from the list of nominations. You may not necessarily agree with the choices, but they happen to be the MBI choices. If you don’t like it, start a bike blog, and join us.

You life will never be the same again.

Fuelish behaviour

Petrol is what motorcycles run on.  Disregarding various odd ball bikes like diesel powered singles, and top fuel dragsters, 98 RON is what you get at the pump, and what your bike drinks.  I’m glad I ride a motorcycle.  The fuel consumption of a motorcycle, even a 600 c.c. V-twin, blows any car’s fuel consumption figure into the weeds.  O.K. I have a couple of bikes where the fuel consumption is supremely frightening, right up there in supercar territory.  But I don’t use them everyday, or every month, for that matter.  I can hear some of my biker brothers who know me, and know how often I ride those bikes, say something like, “or every year for that matter, dude.”  It doesn’t really matter.  I know I’m doing my bit to help the environment, and taking it easy on my pocket, by riding everyday.  Fuel is no longer cheap, and being wasteful with it, in the next decade or so, is going to be socially irresponsible.  And if anyone makes any comments about the truck, all I will say is you can have my truck when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

I was riding home work yesterday night.  Traffic was bloody awful, since I had to leave the office right in the middle of rush hour.  I was slicing through traffic, in the middle of a long line of lane splitting motorcycles.  I was riding at a slowish pace, with lots of throttle gunning and clutch slipping, because of the cars wanting to change lanes without signalling first, or getting stuck in the middle of their lane change because the lane they wanted to cut into didn’t want to let them in.

I was on one of the elevated highways leading south out of the city, towards the old airport, when I felt the engine stutter slightly.  I closed the throttle slightly, and the engine stumbled again.  I knew the sign.  The engine was running out of fuel.  I looked at the resettable odometer, which said “368″.  No problem.  I knew the bike was good for at least another 20-30 kms more, and I reached down to the left to switch the fuel tank to “reserve”.

As my gloved fingers closed round the fuel switch, the bike still clipping along between cars, other bikes in front and behind me, I read the switch position by feel, and my heart sank.  At which point, the engine coughed, and died completely.  I coasted along, and signalled that I wanted to go left, the bike slowing down more and more.  Traffic was absolutely chock-a-block, and there wasn’t anywhere I could escape to easily.

I spotted a gap in traffic on the left, and rolled down the slope, to an exit.  Damn!  More traffic, all at a standstill.  I coasted the bike along as best I could, and came to a stop in the middle of a fork in the road.  I kicked the stand down, and cursed.  I got off the bike, standing in the middle of 5 lanes of traffic, and considered my options.  To my right was an underpass, and I knew there was a gas station a kilometer or so up the road.  But the underpass was only 2 lanes, very narrow, and full of traffic.  And I really didn’t feel like having to push my bike up the other side, on the upslope.

To my left was a slip road, leading to a roundabout.  Also full of traffic.  I gritted my teeth, and started pushing my Bikebike through the traffic, to sound of cars and bikes a-honking and a-cursing all around me.  I stopped my bike, right in the middle of everything, and pulled the helmet off.  I glanced around, giving everyone the “the stare of death”, which brought the honking to an instant silence.  Cars stopped to allow me to pull the bike to the side, where I pushed it to the roundabout.

An 18 wheeler braked, and stopped the traffic behind him, to allow me to push the bike across the roundabout.  I gave the driver a salute for his kindness, and proceeded on to the gas station.  One full tank, turn the switch to “prime”, a brush of the starter button, and I was off again.

As someone said to me, when I told her what happened, “karma baby, karma”.

And if I’m in the mood, I might tell you about another such incident of fuelish-ness, which happened to me many years ago.