Several times in the middle of the night I have heard sounds, footsteps in the house. It must be my wife, but no, she’s asleep. The adrenaline starts to flow.
Then I realize it’s just my heart beating.
In my brain, the difference between normal and total terror is very thin.
That’s how I wound up on the shady side of a Dollar Store in rural West Virginia tearing my F650 apart looking for mechanical demons that weren’t there.
That’s right, the gas tank is on the ground to the left. It’s hard to get at the valve cover on the top of the engine. I thought some bolts had some loose. No. Everything was fine.
Well, the BMW F650, like most motorcycles, emits a lot of sound. But it doesn’t have a loud exhaust to mask the engine noise, so it always sounds like something might be wrong with it. But once in a while my brain gets into a mode where it is convinced the engine is ready to fall apart or even explode.
I left New England in a cold rain wearing a balaclava under my helmet. By the time I got deep into West Virginia, it was really hot. Not only could I hear a lot better without the balaclava, but the engine was noisier from the thin oil in the heat and hard running. Apparently my brain amplified this scenario into a real crisis. The engine was going to disintegrate at any moment and running on “no Google Map highways” through the Appalachian Mountains, you are typically passing by…nothing. The Dollar Store was not a BMW dealership or even a hole-in-the-wall repair shop, but it was slightly better than nothing.
But the fact is I did nothing to the bike except check it, and then I proceeded to ride it in even hotter weather day after day for 6,000 miles and had no problems.
I did start using my earplugs, though.
Consolation: It is satisfying to extensively take your vehicle apart with just the tools you are carrying. People passing by may find it interesting, possibly entertaining, but definitely worthy of genuine sympathy.