First Long Ramble After The Accident
Posted on Sat, May 13, 2006 00:00
So the replacement Bonnie has about 750 miles on it doing short runs since mid December. I had a family do in Stroud Gloucestershire this past weekend so my brother, who has a new Moto Guzzi California, a new girlfriend and lives in Norwich suggests we make a proper trip of it. Friday afternoon was a glorious day so I loaded up my T100 with my new Speedmaster/America slanted panniers and another bag slung onto the saddle and set off down one of the most awful roads in the area, the A17 and A47 to Norwich. 101 miles in 2 hours 15 minutes. The weather was perfect, I could see behind me with my new V-Max mirrors and I had no screen so I had perfect vision with no screen induced turblence all round. Those who remember my first post will know I had a car run into my back last year at high speed so I have a thing about what is behind me now!!
No problems - a little nervous - enjoyed the run
Saturday we set off for Stroud - I'm still running my bike in so Kim suggests that I lead which is good for me. Across country with some motorway riding which I feel apprehensive about. Kim sits about 50 yards behind me and a little outside and I feel really comfortable about motorway driving with him riding interference for me. He knew exactly what he was doing when he suggested I lead - good man! 216 miles with a cup of tea every 50 miles because Tracey is a new pillion and she needs to stretch her legs regularly but by the time we get past Coventry (about two thirds of the way) she is in agony on Kim's Guzzi so we ponder what to do. The only solution is for Kim to carry my bag and I will carry his girl. Off we trot only now it's getting dark and I've never ridden with a pillion at night so guess where my headlights are pointing. After a couple of stops for some judicious headlight tweaking we finally make it to Stroud and a welcome beer and some famous Grouse
Sunday afternoon we go our separate ways Kim and Tracy to Norwich and me back to Lincoln (he's already been down to B and Q Sunday morning to rustle up a bracket to move his sissy bar back to give Tracey more room). While they were out they'd done some window shopping and Kim is talking about trading in the Guzzi for a Pan European because he was really disappointed with the comfort of his bike on a run. Tracey is smiling quietly at this point (she loved being on the back of my Bonnie, by the way - no pain).
Gorgeous clear blue sky, some Sunday drivers and I'm quite happy to go anywhere now on my own - I've got my confidence back. Going round the A46/ A45 roundabout at Coventry I get a front tyre puncture which is most disconcerting. All of a sudden my front end goes stiff (relax tba-golfer - I can hear your gogs whirring) and I stop to investigate. A great guy in a car stops to offer help (a biker of course), rings his wife to get on the internet to find someone who'll come out and fix the tyre on the side of the road. It's half past five on Sunday afternoon - nobody wants to come out. The police arrive and help me off the road because apparently I could not have chosen a worse place to grind to a halt. They contact the AA so I can join up on the side of the road so they can recover me and off they shoot. An hour later a recovery truck arrives and takes me to a hotel in Coventry so I can ring round in the morning to get my tyre fixed. Easier said than done - would you believe in a city the size of Coventry there is no Triumph dealer and no bike shops, garages, or tyre dealers will come out. Eventually I talk to a lady at Pegasus Engineering (they make custom parts for bikes) who phones her husband to pick me and the bike up in his van and takes me to a friend of his who does powder coating and used to do tyre changes. He gave that up a couple of years ago (no money in it) but he's still got the gear to change a tyre. On his way to pick me up Graham from Pegasus buys a new inner tube for me. Dave at Profile 7000 changes my inner tube straight away - he's a Triumph fan from way back and a really interesting guy to talk to. So now it's Monday lunchtime and the bike is fixed and I can get on my way - I'm already 4 hours late for work and 80 miles from home and It's been raining non-stop all day with no sign of letting up - what a journey this is going to be - I'm a nervous rider riding on motorways in the rain!!
Just past Leicester it's still raining and the bike starts to misfire so I immediately pull into the only building on this duel cariageway that I've seen for miles - talk about timing!! as I pull in the engine cuts out and I coast to a halt in front of a commercial vehicle sales place. I'm thinking "this has got to be the dreaded water in the electrics scenario - OH B*****!!!" The guy inside immediately gives me a can WD40 and I spray everything electrical I can find. 5 minutes later on the second attempt the bike fires up running sweet as a nut but not until I've put the bike on the centre stand and turned the handlebars all the way to the right to tilt the ignition key insert upwards. I spray WD40 into the key slot until I see it dripping out of the back of the ignition switch and that's when it fires up successfully. Off I trot - it's still raining but the bike is running fine. 10 miles from home the rain finally stops and on the last duel carriageway before Lincoln I'm on dry roads again so I whack the bike up to 80 (from 50 to 55 where I've I've gingerly been taking it ever so steady on them wet roads). On my way home I call into my Triumph dealer to tell him about my electrical problem and as I pass the clothing salesman I wave my soaking wet gloves at him, saying "I'll be back to buy some waterproof gloves off him soon". The head salesman and I go off to chat to the mechanics to see if there is a fix for the wet electrics - there isn't, I've already done it - so I go back to pick up my helmet and gloves at the clothing counter. To find the guy has thrown my wet gloves away and replaced them with a brand new pair because they should not have leaked - I never asked him to that, he just did it- how cool is that.
What did I learn on this trip? I've got my confidence back on the bike by riding in some really bad conditions. A Triumph is far more comfortable for a pillion than a California (Tee Hee). Always carry your insurance breakdown recovery card in your wallet - I didn't and it cost me membership of the AA, a night in a hotel, a days holiday and 40 quid to Graham and Dave to rescue me.
Most importantly there are some fantastic people around. The guy who stopped to help on the roundabout. The very pretty Police Constable who made her colleague contact the AA for me, Graham from Pegasus Engineering who found me a mate to fix my bike, Dave from Profile 7000 who fixed it on the spot And Gavin at Webbs of Lincoln who swopped my gloves for me without asking. Always carry a can of WD40 with you in case it rains and squirting it into the ignition switch is the thing to do.
Lastly I learned that riding is a complete adventure. Was I bothered about the bad stuff that happened - Naaaah - I was nearly killed last year and I'm riding again and that bad stuff? - it ain't important.
I'm off to clean my bike now