Staring at the sea

Two figures are pushing a shopping trolley across a bleak, sunless landscape. The woman is looking listlessly ahead in the hope of spotting Viggo Mortenson. She remembers that afternoon, in the Good Old Days, when he stood in front of her at Fortnum and Mason buying an extraordinary amount of tea.

Tea. If she thought very hard she could remember tea.

“What did you do during the Great Coronavirus Lockdown, Highwaylass?” the child asked.

“Well, Ambulatory Foodstuff, I did what I always do. Bought a vehicle that seemed like a brilliant bargain and then had to take it to pieces because there was a problem.”

The wheel fell off the shopping trolley.

The woman sat down in the road and searched her pockets for an allen key. The wheel would go back on, they would lurch forward, and the next day would be just like this one.

Yes, gentle reader – the Coronavirus Special is still in pieces. After lengthy research into the best places to attach the clamps to the W650 frame, including asking a Very Kind bike dealership in Wales to take some photos of the W650 outfit they had innocently listed for sale on eBay, Operation Refit the Chair began last Friday and ground to a swift halt.

A sidecar wheel should have a camber towards the chair.

Not be leaning drunkenly about 5cm towards what would be the kerb if we ever get on the road again.

The internet reveals that this happens a lot on Velorex chassis as the factory were a little slapdash in their welding and weren’t too careful about fixing the shock towers perpendicular to the tubes.

I have Chassis B that I got on a day trip to Basingstoke. Chassis B has different problems than Chassis A but it does have a more upright shock tower. I took it to the workshop that does all my wheel bearings as I am too feeble to do my own. The plan was new bearings, fresh paint, carry on from where we left off on Friday. Martin had a good go with hammer and drift – even pausing to get a bigger hammer – but they are rusted solid. A quick swop was not, therefore, in order.

I tried a halfway house of just swopping the swinging arm. This didn’t start too well either.

Although the nut came off the lower shock absorber bolt quite easily the bolt itself refused to push through. I am less daunted these days and spent a determined half hour with PlusGas, a vice, and a socket big enough to go over the bolt but not so big it couldn’t go in the jaws of the vice as a sort of erzatz puller. A pusher, to be more precise. With a few turns of the screw it reluctantly yielded and the Frankenchassis is now assembled.

I will take the small victories while the large ones elude me.

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