Almost Successful— An Ingenious Rise and Spectacular Fall
by Liz Jansen
It was a bad idea from the start. Yet determination out-muscled my rationale and patience.
Trudy, my Triumph Tiger, is a fantastic motorcycle, and I love almost everything about her, except getting her onto the center stand. I can’t do it by myself. Her height, high center of gravity, and my reduced upper body strength work against doing it alone. It’s frustrating.
Every time she needs routine chain care, I have to find and ask for help to heft her onto the stand. The only other option is to clean and lube the chain, push her forward, and repeat until done. That would be an absolute last resort. I’ve installed an automatic oiler to reduce the frequency of lifts, but she still needs to be on the center stand to adjust the chain tension.
When my landlord, a retired auto mechanic, told me I could use the hydraulic pump lift parked under his workbench, it sounded perfect. Last Sunday afternoon I tried it.
A neighbor had cautioned to use a spotter, a wise idea. But there was no one around, the chain needed cleaning and tightening, and it seemed simple to try.
I removed the panniers and proceeded cautiously, putting a short piece of 2X4 under the side stand to get her as upright as possible, then positioning the lift beneath her undercarriage. I kicked myself for filling up the gas tank the day before. Slowly I pumped the handle with my left hand, keeping my right on the seat, feeling for movement and balance. All I needed was to get the rear wheel off the ground. It was so close to happening when I decided it was too precarious and stood back to assess the situation. I had to come up with another solution.
Using even more caution, I let her down in minute increments. Still, she lost her balance and tipped towards me, away from the sidestand. I couldn’t hold her up and she fell to the ground, scraping and bruising my legs on the way down. Her back end had fallen on the lift and I couldn’t pick her up alone. Now I had to ask for help, for more than I’d needed in the first place.
Reluctantly, I called a friend who happened to be home and lived not too far away. Since the rear wheel was now up in the air, rather than sit there and wait for him to arrive, I cleaned the chain and rear sprocket. With his help, we had her up in no time, a shattered turn signal lens the only damage.
Have I learned my lesson? Time will tell. In the meantime, we devised another option. I rolled the rear wheel that piece of 2X4 and with him spotting, lifted her onto the center stand, by myself. I still need to have the patience to find a spotter, but somehow, being able to do the lift makes all the difference to my independence.
Do you have similar stories, where your will got in the way of reason? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them.