As a guy who usually sees the glass (gas tank?) half full, I had an experience recently that showed me two sides. I was at an antique motorcycle show and swap meet with my 1929 Harley JDH. A week earlier, I had upgraded the original and leaky gas petcocks with new-style ones and a modern flexible fuel line with an original Y metal pipe. It worked fine, and the new petcocks and fuel line solved the constant gas drip problem.
I rode the Harley all around the swap meet, stopping to check out interesting bikes, look for needed parts, and visit with friends. The next day, someone pointed out that raw gas was flowing out of the fuel line and onto the generator. Sure enough, it turned out that the original Y metal part had cracked and was leaking raw gas. I needed to replace it before I could safely ride it again.
Walking around the grounds, I asked vendors and friends, but no one had what I needed. Then I saw a beat-up but usable T fitting from a small Japanese dirt bike on the ground in front of a vendor. It was smaller than what I needed but would do in a pinch. It would sell new for $3. I told the vendor what I needed and why. Then I pointed to the item and asked “How much?” I thought he might just give it to me. When he replied $20 I laughed, thinking it was a joke. “No,” he said. “You told me you need it. So $20 and it’s yours.” I declined, and walked away muttering something about so much for brotherhood among bikers.
When I got back to my bike I was blown away when I found an original fuel line for a 1920s Harley sitting on my saddlebag with a note from someone I barely know. He had heard what I was looking for and bought it. He left his name and cellphone number and even offered tools to install this $100-or-more gift if I needed help.
What a contrast in experiences. One guy wanted to take advantage of my misfortune, and the other rider couldn’t do enough to help me. It sure put things in perspective for me. Know what I mean? And, by the way, I picked up a couple of spare fuel line T-fittings for $4 each at a Home Depot on the drive home.
Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 & Team American Iron T-Shirts
I always enjoy meeting our readers and sharing great stories. Our Cannonball route and updates can be found at MotorcycleCannonball.com, and I plan on posting regular videos online (search “Cannonball” and “Buzz Kanter” on YouTube) and at AIMag.com.
Want to be an honorary member of the Team American Iron support staff? For $20 you can buy our Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 T-shirt featuring a great design with my 1929 Harley on the front and #15, my competitor’s number, on the back. Please visit GreaseRag.com or call Rosemary in the office at 203/425-8777 x114.
Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.