This box contains a new exhaust for Hortense. At the moment she is wholly ornamental as her MOT ran out last month and she won’t get a new one with a bloody big hole in her tubes. Not having her on the road hasn’t been a huge inconvenience: I’m cycling to work most days and since the Guided Busway opened I have the exciting, if over-priced, and overcrowded, option of public transport too.
Which leaves me very conflicted about whether to sell her or keep her. The logical choice is to sell her to a proper owner, who will keep her in the garage, use her on sunny days and not reverse her into lampposts or scrape her rear wings with dirty great motorcycle panniers when they forget which side of the bike they’re hung on today. Which I haven’t done. Definitely not.
But the emotional choice is to keep her and find a solution to the practical problem of providing shelter for one car, two motorcycles and two pushbikes.
I like looking after her. Or trying to, at least. Being able to maintain the things around me is an important step towards being the person I want to be. When I had a small motorcycle and a scabby 2CV I bled brakes, solved electrical faults and repaired a dodgy carburettor. Somewhere along the last 20 years I lost the confidence to do these things and paid other people to do them for me, with varying degrees of competence.
I have been taking small steps in the right direction. I started with putting a new front brake cable on my pushbike, after fitting a stem raiser to lift the bars by about 3 inches. That went well – the bike still stops and is now an insanely tall beast, which suits my T-Rex-esque physique. Then I put the new boots on the car, which is a filthy and back-breaking job but not a complicated one. I was going to fit new head bearings to the Africa Twin with the help of @biggus1975 on twitter, but ran out of time before the MOT was needed (I need at least one vehicle officially fit to travel!) So my next jobs are the new exhaust on the car and a service for the Triumph. I have the workshop manual and the Haynes Book of Lies, I have the spanners and I have a positive attitude. And if it all goes wrong I have the phone number of Steve and Caz at Raceways.