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Out of Gas

Rider Magazine
December 9, 2010
Filed under Rider Magazine Blog

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It’s been many years since I’ve run out of gas on a motorcycle, but I did just that coming home from work the other night. I’d left work on the Honda VFR1200F DCT with the intent to gas up before getting on the freeway. Somehow I simply forgot, hopped on the freeway and headed home. While I was paying attention to traffic, switching between the automatic and manual modes and watching the gear indicator, apparently the fuel gauge just wasn’t on my radar. There’s no low-fuel light on the VFR, the last black bar on the fuel gauge simply starts blinking.

When the bike first started running out of gas, it took me a couple of seconds to realize what was going on. And, of course, at this point I was in the worst possible scenario (OK, maybe there are worse, but it wasn’t good): It was dark, heavy traffic was zooming along at 65-plus mph and there was no shoulder. My choice was to either go left and be stranded in the emergency lane or get to the far right lane and pray that the bike would make it past the concrete block wall to where there was a smidgen of shoulder before the offramp. I stayed right and prayed. There is no clutch to pull in to disengage the engine, so the bike was bucking and sputtering. Thankfully, the bike made it just past that block wall to a shoulder that was barely wide enough for a car.

Now what? The first thing I did was get as far away from traffic as possible while I assessed the situation. It would be too dangerous to push the bike the half mile or so to the top of the offramp since the shoulder ran out again and cars were whizzing past with drivers focused on one thing: getting home. So I tromped off in the dark through the ice plants and vines and who knows what else to walk to the top of the offramp where it was quiet enough that I could call home to say I’d be late. My plan was to buy a gas can at the gas station just down the road and walk back to the bike, but the hubby said he’d drive the 10 miles to bring me gas (lucky me!).

I walked back to the VFR through the plants thinking that I was really glad to have all my riding gear on. The Scorpion riding pants and Sidi boots were keeping my legs from getting scratched, plus it was nice to know that my legs were (sort of) protected from whatever might be lurking in the plants.

Getting a fuel-injected bike started after running it dry can be a bit of an issue, too, but once a gallon or so was put in, it started up immediately on the first try. I was back on the road within minutes, and the hubby and son decided it was a good time to go for burgers since they were already out. I rode home, breathing a sigh of relief to be “safely” riding along again in traffic.

And just in case you’re curious, the VFR 1200F DCT will go exactly 173.8 miles on a tank of gas. Too bad it won’t go 174.3 miles as it would have made it to the top of that offramp where it’s an easy downhill coast to a gas station.

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