4.30.2007,10:34 PM
Gumption and Quality
“If you are going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool. If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won’t do you any good.”

Gas mileage on my bike has suffered lately….significantly. A thirty percent drop suggests something is amiss. And it already cost me dearly during the 2,240 miles last week. Not only is it a matter of economics, but it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right.

Something is not right and it needs righting. Simple as that.

My bike is a machine, but over the last ten months we’ve become a unit that works together. Whee has a personality and I can sense when something, mechanically or otherwise, is not right. Similar to when you sense your child or spouse is 'under the weather', having a bad day, or just moody.

It’s like Whee has a tapeworm.

So I proceed with eliminations:
No gas leak, sticking calipers, rough engine….
Next is the air filter and plugs.
I need to learn how to do the plugs anyway.

Rather than feel anxious, I eagerly anticipate learning and working on my bike. It’s more than just fixing a machine; it’s cultivating a friendship and union. And expanding my own knowledge and experience. More than anything, I need to learn to do as much as I can with this bike. I’m on the road alone most of the time; self-reliance is important.

I remember when reading Persig’s passages in his book about his relationship with his motorcycle, and his philosophy on fixing and maintaining it. Now I share that same feeling and empathize.

I’ve got the gumption. Let’s begin.
“Gumption is the psychic gasoline that keeps the whole thing going. If you haven’t got it there’s no way the motorcycle can possibly be fixed. But if you have got it and know how to keep it there’s absolutely no way in this whole world that motorcycle can keep from getting fixed. It’s bound to happen.” - Robert Persig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

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posted by Macrobe
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