Today, the sun’s finally out, the skies blue, and it’s a barmy 11°c outside. It’s the perfect day to go for a quick lunchtime spin on the bike. And that was exactly what I intended to do. But it wasn’t to be, and I feel like crying.
It would have been my first (road) ride of the year so I spent quite a while faffing around, deciding what to wear, setting my helmet up with a GoPro (so that I could take you lot along with me) and just generally getting myself sorted. Once I’d got myself all kitted out and ready to go, I started getting pretty excited! I think the last time I went for a ride on the ZX-10R was probably November, so I was desperate to scratch the itch. I’ve really missed riding. I wasn’t planning on a long run, maybe just to the seaside and back, but I couldn’t bear to waste the good (for January) weather.
When I opened the garage, I saw the big Kawasaki looking just as splendid as ever. Deep joy. “Let’s get you out,” I thought.
Out I wheeled it, into the glorious sunshine, where I duly put the key in and turned it. That’s when I realised something wasn’t right. I knew from many previous sorties on the ‘Ten that when you turn the key, you’re greeted with an instantly recognisable whine from the fuel pump. But the whine never came.
I felt my heart sink beyond the pit of my stomach as the grim realisation set in. I’d done what so many have done before me, and so many will do after. I’d let the ZX-10R battery go flat.
Could it really be that Jack Frost could have his wicked way with such a new, unmolested bike? There must have been some sort of mistake. There simply had to have been. I wanted to go for a ride. Nay needed to go for a ride. I felt my jaw tighten with steely determination. “I will not let this beat me. There must be something I’ve missed,” I said to myself out loud “Another button, another switch. Something. Anything?”
As I tried the key one more time, off and then on again, I silently prayed to the gods of electricity. “Please oh mighty ones from on high, bringeth the spark that doth fire mine engine. Bring it forth, unto me.”
My prayers went unanswered and my dogged desperation slowly faded into the ether.
Now, there really was only one thing for it. I was going to have to charge the battery up, but that’s easier said than done when you don’t have a battery charger to hand. Or at all. I searched high and low for my trickle charger, but to no avail. If I’m being honest, I knew it was lost. It’s been lost for a good few years. If it hadn’t have been, perhaps the ZX-10R would have enjoyed a trickle of juice over Christmas. But it is lost, and perhaps for all eternity.
After much deliberation and Google searching, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to go to Halfords and spend £40 on a new charger. I could have got a cheaper one. I could have got a more expensive one. But I didn’t. £40 is more than enough of anyone’s money for a battery charger, and besides, it was on offer. So off I went in the van to Halfords, where I swapped forty coins of the realm for a 6A ‘Smart’ battery charger.
Now, rather than been ridden to the seaside and back, the ZX-10R is sat in the sun, having 6 amps of electricity pumped into it’s battery. Perhaps we can go for a ride tomorrow.
I can’t be annoyed at the bike, nor the battery. I certainly can’t be annoyed at the cold weather, it’s winter after all. But I am annoyed at myself. I knew that if you leave a bike parked up for overlong during winter, the battery isn’t going to like it. And not only do I know that, I’m fairly sure that I’ll have told anyone that’s ever asked me, that looking after your battery over winter is pretty important if you’re bikes going to sit for a month or so.
So yes, it’s about time I started practicing what I preached. Because today, I’ve made myself look like a bit of a knob.