Thursday 19 October 2017

Back in the Saddle Part 1

So after seventy seven days off the rally bike since my accident, I finally got back in the saddle this Sunday, although my plan for a nice gentle bimble round the Hertfordshire Road Book route I have planned, to check the final details didn’t quite go to plan!

Firstly there was the bike; it literally hadn’t been touched since the accident so first job was to sort it out. The front wheel bearings needed replacing but a quick check showed me the tyre on my spare front wheel was in slightly better condition than the one on the bike, so I simply bolted that in so I can replace the bearings at my leisure.

I was thinking of a full service but the oil didn’t look bad and the tappets don’t sound too noisy, so I decided that could wait too. I did clean and re-oil the air filter as that was definitely past its best! I did the ritual looking at the back tyre, thought about reversing it as the front edge of the blocks were well rounded off but decided it still had a least another days riding left in it. Although to be truthful I just couldn’t be bothered. I did consider using my spare wheel in the same way as the front but this would require changing the sprocket from one wheel to the other and that just seemed like too much work (and is one of those jobs that always seems to leave me with skinned knuckles)!

I fitted my road book; ICO trip meter etc. that I usually leave off for trail riding and that all worked fine. This was good news as its not been used since the “Cotswold Caper” road book event in June.

The other small job was to sort out the tear in the fairly new seat (that also occurred on the Cotswold Caper), this was done by cutting some vinyl from the cover on my old seat, luckily a decent amount was left at the ends despite the cover and foam being comprehensively wrecked in the middle (the reason for the new seat). I then inserted a square inside the cover and glued it to the inside. I then glued another square to the outside, so in effect the two pieces sandwich the torn area. I used some “Loctite 60 second glue” which is like superglue (but a gel rather than a liquid), works on multiple materials and more importantly for a seat cover remains flexible, it has worked really well and saves me the cost and effort of buying and fitting a new cover.  And it lasted the ride on Sunday… job done!

That’s when things started to go wrong, despite having started the bike up the other day, when it started first kick (the battery needed a bit of charge so the electric start wasn’t an option), it resolutely refused to start. An attempt to jump start it off an old Land Rover battery I keep in the garage for just such occasions just demonstrated that despite having been on a trickle charger, it was completely flat! So that’s heading to the tip but then I guess it is about 10 years old.

So I took the bike of its workshop stand and wheeled it out onto the drive only to find it leant over way too far and was in danger of toppling off the side stand. This being the culprit as the part of the aluminium stand that rests against the stop on the bracket has become damaged…. Another thing to fix!

I eventually got the bike to start by leaning it against my neighbour’s wall to kick start it and set off on the 40 minute ride to where I could join the road book route, plenty to charge the battery up I hoped.

To be continued

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