the official start of spring coincided with the start of my riding season. i bicycled to belmont but came back home on my motorcycle. my father had already wheeled out the bike that'd been sitting in storage in the garage all winter. the bike looked fine (no rust, i washed it and greased it up with WD40 prior to storage), but the more important question is: will it run?

i'd taken out the battery but it'd just been sitting inside the house (ideally you want to trickle charge it all winter long to prime the battery). no surprise that when we finally put it back inside the motorcycle, the bike wouldn't start (it gave that familiar dry heaving and choking sound of an engine running with a dead battery). after 30 minutes on the charger, the battery finally worked and the motorcycle engine fired up. i revved it a bunch of times to get the motor juices flowing, but felt a little embarrassed making such a racket.

i called my father to let him know the bike was running. last week he went to aladdin auto service behind the fresh pond cinema and talked with the head mechanic about welding a tail light bracket back onto the bike frame. my father went down to the mechanic again to make sure the guy he was spoke with was working today and then told me to bring the bike down.

i was a little nervous riding without a left rear view mirror, but it was a quick 2 mile trip down to fresh pond. having spent the past few months on bicycle, it felt powerful to be back on the motorcycle. a bicycle is quiet while a motorcycle is noisy. nobody really notices a person on a bicycle while a person riding a motorcycle commands attention. a bicycle keeps you humble, while a motorcycle makes you feel you can take on the world.

all this week, ever since nature has decided to grace boston with late spring-like warmth, i've been seeing more and more motorcycles on the street. it did make me yearn for some motorcycle action, yet at the same time i was fine with bicycling. a bicycle costs nothing to operate and i'm exercising while i'm going places. compared to a motorcycle, which drinks gasoline (not as much as a car though) and doesn't exercise any of my muscles, a bicycle just seems like the better option. in terms of safety, while i think you may more prone to accidents riding a bicycle, they're far less deadlier than a motorcycle accident. so what's the point of having a motorcycle anyway? i'm starting to ask that question more and more these days.

my feeling is i'd love to go back to a smaller motorcycle. bigger motorcycles have their place (for instance, they're great on highways), but they're not designed for the city. they can be cumbersome when you're navigating twists and turns of road, and because they're longer, finding a parking spot is nearly as difficult as with car parking. a smaller motorcycle however is easier to handle, and because of their smaller size, easier to park too. one day when i have enough money, maybe i might sell my current bike and downgrade to a smaller one (like the yamaha vstar 250). of course, if i had the money, maybe a car would be a better option, and i could ride the bicycle around for local errands.

i arrived at aladdin auto service with any problems. i was also happy that the engine never backfired once (that was a big issue when i first bought the bike, and ended up paying $400 for a complete carburetor overall). my father and i met the mechanic. he took a look at the light bracket currently duct taped to the back of the motorcycle. he gave us some tools and told us to remove the light altogether, which was currently still attached by some rubber-coated wires. once that was done, we waited some more until the mechanic had time to see us again (it was a busy day, with people arriving with cars to fix and the phone ringing non-stop).

we were admiring the large conference table in his waiting room, made from a single slab of wooden with intricate grain patterns. my father estimated the wood alone to be worth $20k, but the mechanic said he valued it at $35k, and it took him months to save up enough money to buy the wood which he eventually made into a table.

when the mechanic finally had time for us, we wheeled the motorcycle into the garage. i don't know much about welding, but he basically clipped something to the frame, and then with a welding gun started attaching the broken bracket back to the bike frame. sparks of all different colors shot out, and occasionally he'd cool down the joint with a water bottle sprayer. he didn't even wear a welding mask. the man was very detailed oriented, and made sure that the attached bracket was even with the one on the other side. the fixed bracket was secured on so tightly that it stayed attached when he hit a few times. when it was all done, my father asked how much we owed him, but he said a little repair like this was on the house. my father said he'd bring him some good chinese tea one of these days.

afterwards my father and i reattached the light to the bracket, connected the wires to the battery, and then put back the bike seat, before returning to belmont.

i tagged along for a quick trip to home depot where i got some potting soil and manure before my father dropped me off in belmont again.

with the weather now seemingly firmly entrenched in spring mode, i took the opportunity to relocated the 3 rosemary plants i'd been keeping alive indoors all winter long. i think i might've finally gotten over that hurdle and managed to a few rosemary plants alive into the next season. the secret? plenty of sunshine, spaced far apart to allow proper aeration, and water weekly (only when the soil feels dry).

my mother made some xinjiang-style lamb pilaf for dinner. we ate while watching last weekend's episode of HBO's the pacific.

i motorcycled back home to cambridge. it was a little bit disorienting traveling those familiar roads i've been bicycling all winter. i sped up hills effortlessly with the motorcycle (while on a bicycle i would nearly have an aneurysm by the time i reached the top), and left-hand turns were simple to navigate with a street legal ride. i parked right in front of my house, taking up a whole car space (what is known as defensive parking), seemingly to let all my neighbors know that the biker is back in town.