get the creative process going, little did I know that on my 50-mile ride home on Friday, inspiration would nearly smack me in the face.

If you've never had the joy of riding a motorcycle on the Southern California freeway system, you are missing out; it can really test you mentally and physically. Aside from dealing with ail the crazy drivers determined to clear up the roads by taking out motorcyclists, it seems many of the freeways have the same goal in mind as well. I mean our freeway systems have been so beaten up and "repaired" over the decades that you could easily taco a wheel from a pothole or have your front and rear tires track parallel instead of inline from the rain grooves, or should I say rain gutters. It doesn't help that I've slammed the suspension on my "Softail" Springer so any feedback from the roads is excessively exaggerated by hard jolts and continuous vibration coursing through my body.

As I was splitting lanes and trying to concentrate on planning my escape routes in case someone decided to suddenly go from one non-moving lane to another non-moving lane, I began to hear a rattling sound. With my head cocked to the side, I focused on identifying the source. I then used my left hand to quickly go over each bolt I could reach to see if anything was loose. Nothing seemed loose, so I found an opening in the traffic and darted over to exit the freeway. I pulled into a parking lot and ran my hands over every nut and bolt on the springer. Finding everything to be tight, I then grabbed the headlight to see if maybe it was shifting on its mount. As I lightly moved the headlight back and forth I heard the familiar noise. Upon inspecting the light I found about a 1/2-inch-long hairline crack in the shell right behind where the mount is riveted to the shell. More than halfway home and satisfied that I had found the source of the sound, I figured I'd use my hand as much as possible to help minimize the vibration on the headlight the rest of the way. I also made a mental note that depending on the damage I would have to either try and repair the crack or buy a new headlight shell when I got home.

I hopped back into the fray and began splitting lanes again. I then made one of the five freeway changes on my route, and the traffic opened up. Picking up speed and with my hand on the back of the headlight I noticed that the noise had subsided and my diagnosis was correct. With everything "quiet" again, it was back to keeping my eyes ometimes I really have to spin my wheels to come up with a topic for this column. Other times I might have a list of ideas that I have to choose from. And sometimes I get inspired to write when I ride.

We had our final editorial deadline for this issue last Thursday and I still didn't have an idea for this column. So with the weekend coming up I figured maybe I'd see or do something that would help

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