Road Rash: Waste Not, Want Not

Nov 03, 2015 View Comments by

Road Rash: Waste Not, Want NotWho Needs a Clean Garage? –

Like most people, I periodically take inventory of my possessions and do a house cleaning of sorts, usually while in the throes of the winter doldrums. Things that have gone unnoticed for months suddenly grab me by the lapels and scream, “Do something about this!” The sagging garage shelves, overloaded with various motorcycle-related items, were past due for some attention and recently became the project of the week.

I chose to ease into it gently, picking through the 50 or so cans of spray paint and throwing away the ones that weren’t functional. Same with the myriad of cleaners, waxes, lubrication products, and various useless bike parts such as broken turn signals and mirrors that I’d saved for some unknown reason. Once the easy choices were made, it was time to advance to the next level and attempt some serious damage to the mountain of quasi-useful items still taking up a significant portion of my storage space.

If one would ask me whether I’m more of a hoarder or minimalist, I’d instantly state that I favor the minimalist mentality. “Lean and mean” is my motto. If my shelves could speak, however, they’d probably say that “waste not, want not” is more in line with my storage habits. I don’t have a problem getting rid of unused items, but I do have extreme difficulty in deciding whether or not an item is still potentially useful. Part of the issue is that I can remember the cost of nearly every item, as well as how many times it was used. I like to get my money’s worth out of things, and selling or dropping a barely used item into the circular file is a clear admission that I goofed when I bought it. I won’t divulge that fact easily, and I find it significantly less stressful to defend a purchase by re-packing the item on the pretense that I’ll use it someday.

Upon opening, one large plastic bag reveals a piece of soft luggage that I got for a VMAX around a decade ago. Mad Max was one of those iconic bikes that I simply had to own, and when I spotted an older but immaculate bike for sale, I bought it. I then purchased a large tailbag in order to turn the bike into something more practical, and perhaps subconsciously to hide its true purpose from my wife. You know—a motorcycle that I could ride to the convenience store to pick up a gallon of milk. Nothing screams practicality like a VMAX with a header and stage 2 jet kit.

No offense to the amazing VMAX, but the thrill of owning a two-wheeled rocket sled wore off about as quickly as its quarter-mile time, and I soon sold the bike. It was simply too narrowly focused for me. I kept the tailbag for possible use on something else, but the right bike hasn’t come along yet. And what’s currently in the bag? It is stuffed with what seems to be a breeding colony of removable armor from old pants and jackets and enough clip-on luggage straps to enable a fourth-floor prison escape.

At least the tailbag and armor can positively be identified as something that I have no use for anymore, but the distinction blurs when it comes to other items lining the shelves. What about the two full-face helmets that served us so well for years? They’re top quality helmets that have never seen a crash, and except for the sweat and makeup stains, frayed straps and linings, and scratched visors, they’re in great shape! And the gloves with the torn stitching down the side of one finger are still 90-percent good, right?

The most difficult choices involve the boxes containing original parts that have been replaced by accessories. Most people would agree that all original parts should be kept, but with four bikes in the garage, things are getting out of hand. What’s the likelihood of me ever saying, “Gee, I don’t think I need all that protection from the aftermarket skid plate on my XR250 … I think I’ll put the stock unit back on and take my chances with the rocks.” Another box contains the single side-mounted soft bag that came with my used Ducati Monster. I tried unsuccessfully several times to mount the bag, eventually learning that the previous owner had performed a tail-chop modification that eliminated a vital attachment point.

Four solid days of purging finally yielded some real results, although making some of the more valuable items (like the helmets and Ducati luggage) disappear from their transitional perch on my workbench may take some time. At least I was able to make some of the tough choices, and I actually have spare shelf space now. Just in time, I might add, since the new round of accessories should be arriving any day. I’m especially excited about the titanium handlebar basket for the Ducati. The manufacturer states that it’s good for TWO gallons of milk.


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