Kick me

Friday, 3rd July 2009; 5:44 pm - Location:

One of the things I knew I wanted to do before the big scoot was to make sure I could kick-start my scooter. The battery isn’t very powerful and the starter sometimes seems like it’s barely up to the job, and the last thing I want is to find myself alone somewhere with a drained battery and no way to jump-start the bike.

I got a chance to try it when I accidentally left the power “on” with the bike sitting for a couple days. The battery still had enough juice to power the brake light and the fuel gauge, but not enough to run the starter. Time to start kicking.

I tried over and over, for half an hour last night. I know that people often have trouble getting the knack for it, but I’ve also been told it “isn’t that hard”, so I knew I’d get the hang of it eventually. I tried kicking with different legs from different angles, but the best I got was to briefly light up the headlight and speedometer, and the engine maybe sounding like it was thinking of running. Finally, my shirt soaked in sweat, and sore in a few spots where I’d bumped the scooter, I gave up. I couldn’t get it.

Then someone online suggested that I try giving it some extra gas, so this morning I walked outside, put the key in the ignition, turned on the scooter’s power, twisted the throttle just a little to give it more fuel, and kicked the starter once. It ran.

It then stalled, so I kicked it one more time and it ran again, then stalled. I had to ride it several blocks before I could let it idle without threatening to stop. But after a few miles of riding and then a leisurely lunch with a friend, the starter worked like a charm. So check another box on the pre-flight checklist: I can kick-start the scooter.

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