Motorcycle Girl: On ‘overwintering’

Posted: February 6, 2011 in (Re)Memory, 19th century media, Gender, Love, Military Discourse, Monsters, Motorcycles, Pedagogy, Performance, Semiotics, Sexuality, Sovereignty, Theatre

My 1974 Honda Café Racer has a kick-start; it’s not a common feature especially as my only option to start my motorcycle and is not generally preferred over the (highly coveted by me) electric start, a feature that takes a mere push of a thumb to get you and your  bike on your way. Instead, my kick-start takes the crazy-assed physical effort of my entire body to start the engine and usually ends with me tearing off layers of my clothing, while apologizing to all the over-the-shoulder glances with their fancy-pants electric starters.  It’s a bit of a showdown between it and me. Those who have ever tried to kick start a cold engine in the morning, or stalled in the middle lane in mid-afternoon traffic, or got a kick-back shin bruising when the ignition timing is off, know what I mean. It’s a beast.

However, a beautiful moment occurs when I finally, finally get my motorcycle to idle (which usually results in me high five-ing anyone who is still waiting). The sound is indeed sweet. It purrs. It’s a rough purr mind you much like a beat up alley cat that has found some summer sun on a patch of cracked asphalt. I wait patiently. Listening. It tells me when it’s ready. I wait because I know that in its idleness there is movement. The engine is coming to life, a mechanical resuscitation by the fuel that’s injecting and flowing through its system. Food for its parts. It needs to idle otherwise it is just pieces of metal and chain, an empty shell, nothing more.

My bike is in the garage right now. I’ll be painting the battery tray, readjusting my clutch, changing my left mirror, and replacing a burnt out signal light.  Like me, it’s overwintering, waiting for patches of warm sun.


  1. Brent says:

    Sorouja, kickstarts build character(!), but if the kicking becomes too onerous, electric start parts from a CB360 can be retrofitted to your CJ. You can see the vestigial starter drive housing on the front of your engine. I have done this work and it requires a bit of machining, but well worth it. I had a bike like yours once. It was beautiful.

    • Sorouja Moll says:

      Brent, thanks so much for the information and interest! I’m usually reminded of the electric start add option by someone waiting for me while I make my fifth attempt to kick start my bike. And you can add expletive use along with the character building. I also heard it is a bit expense, so I’m thinking of buying a another bike. Maybe an older BMW. Luckily, I enjoy looking for bikes. But you’re right — this Honda is a beauty and I’m looking forward to the spring!

  2. Brent says:

    Ha ha, so true about looking for bikes. Motorcycles really are the stuff of dreams…

  3. gcook52 says:

    have you still got the machine or have you upgraded- would love to find out more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s