Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Kill Switch (Bike Broke) Story

My Kill Switch Story (August 20 2008)

The Kill Switch thread (or close to it) resurfaced on the Internet BMW Riders list today. I decided to go back and find my story and put it on my Blog. It took me a while to find it as I could not remember exactly when it was. I searched my computer files without luck. Finally I went to the IBMWR archives and searched. I quickly found it, thank you. It is hard to believe it was almost 5 years ago. It seems like it happened yesterday.
Here is ‘My Bike Broke' aka ‘My Kill Switch Story’.(edited from Friday 9/26/2003)

On Tuesday (Sep 23 2003) about noon I started up the trusty BMW and rode up to Valporaso, about 60 miles. It was a nice riding day. Bike started and ran great.

I wanted to go to Menards to check out the prices for 250 feet of black plastic pipe and 10 gage 3 conductor w/ground underground electrical cable for my 'water and electric to the chicken house/sheep shed' project. But first I went to K mart to check out their sale on the Coleman Ascension tent and a new sleeping bag.

I parked up on the K mart sidewalk by the kiddy merry go-round and went into the store. It took me a while to analyze the tent and sleeping bag information and visit the rest room. I bought the new sleeping bag to replace my old thread bare 10 year old one. I came back out and strapped the SB on my bike.

Put my gloves and helmet on,
turned on the key
and ......
..... NOTHING.

Uh oh what happened? All was well when I parked and shut it down.

I started checking things with an appropriate puzzled expression.

1 Lights came on OK
2 No indicator lights
3 No starting sound
4 No fuel pump sound
5 Got out voltmeter
6 Got out schematic
7 Checked battery voltage - good
8 Checked fuses good
9 Checked for loose wires
10 It seemed like, maybe a wire had come loose
11 By then it was getting on towards late afternoon
12 I figured I had better get my options started
13 I called a BMW guy in my anonymous book.
14 He wanted to come over and did come over a little later
but did not have a trailer.
15 I called my wife to come and get me.
16 I called my towing service - too far away
17 I called a local Honda shop - could leave the bike there
but they did not have time to come and pick it up - they recommended a local towing service
18 I called the service
19 A Harley rider stopped by and consoled me for a while
20 The BMW guy came over and helped me. I used his cell phone for some phone calls and we looked things over.
21 Could not find anything wrong.
22 The Towing truck came over, we loaded the bike (the service was good - the operator knew what he was doing)
23 We unloaded the bike at the towing service garage (by then the Honda shop was closed) and stored it under cover.
24 My wife picked me up, from the towing company garage.
25 My plan was to borrow my neighbors trailer and go and pick it up Wednesday.
26 I wanted to go to the local theater to see "Open Range" it was the last showing of 4, my wife talked me into going anyway, even with this bike problem, so I did. (Great movie BTW).
27 Got home late, had a sandwich and went to bed.
28 As I lay thinking about what could be wrong, --

***At this point I suggest that many of you (MC'st in particular) would have had the answer to the problem at about number 2 or 3 no later than 10, if not go back and take another look)***

29 --Suddenly it hit me - - - - - - "KILL SWITCH"

Somehow I had forgotten the first thing to look at.

Next morning I called the storage service and asked them to check the position of the kill switch.

Sure enough it was in the KILL position. The counter guy flipped it on and it started right up purring like a kitten.

I mush have accidently hit it when parking (or some kid from the merry go round turned it?????)

It was a rainy morning, They said 'chuckling' they would not charge me extra storage, so I said I would pick it up Thursday.

The guy on the phone consoled me with a story about being out on the lake with his boat and it died. He troll motored in, loaded it went home and later discovered he had accidentally pulled out the kill switch, "So don't feel too bad." Thanks

I have tried to get in the habit, as recommended by some riding instructions, to shut the bike off 1st with the kill switch so you get used to knowing where it is. I have never gotten into the habit even though I have tried several times. I had accidentally hit it, turning it off, a few times in the 150,000 miles I have ridden it. But managed to come to my senses, with varying reasonable delays to check it and turn it back on.

Now a list of possible excuses, that go through my mind as to what happened….-
- -Heavy Ion through the brain
- -Senior moment
- -Brain fahrt
- -I was focused on the Tent/Sleeping bag analysis that I had just been through
- -I was thinking of the first use of my new sleeping bag
- -I was focused on the next stop, Menards
- -I was focused on what a nice day it was for riding
- -I wanted to do some electrical trouble shooting
- -I wanted people to see me there with my tools and schematic
out working on my bike on the K Mart sidewalk, maybe meet new people.
- -I wanted to see if I could figure out how to recover from a broken bike while away from home. (even though I had just been through that experience with my cracked sparkplug up at the Wisconsin Dells Rally).
- -Dumb Ass
- -Stupid
- -Just needed more experience in the trials and tribulations of life.

Take your pick.

Thursday, $70 later (the $50 towing was picked up by my towing company), was a beautiful riding day for the ride back home.

For all you Motorcycle Riders (BMW included) the moral of this story is obvious.

I give my wife LOTS of credit. Not once during the trip back home after picking me up, at home, or bringing me back up to pick up my bike did she say any thing nasty, that could have been easily said with regards to my stupidity.


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