Tag Archives: spring


52033885_2304492933129234_7908322633584738304_oSpring has arrived, stealthily. Much like the dog, who sidled up while I was admiring the crocuses which were my clue that winter is coming to an end, and widdled on them.

Two weeks ago I tried to take the outfit on an excursion to the Long Itch Diner and had to turn back in misery. Not only because of my freezing fingers but because the front brake was about as effective as a Tory Brexit minister, and because something weird was going on with the throttle – it felt like a constant battle to hold it open. Maybe the perished, rock hard rubber? Maybe something else.

Once the flu had buggered off, I put the heater on in the garage, for it was still winter last weekend, and got stuck in.

The grips that came from a well-known overseas MZ provider were disappointing. The non-throttle side was too big, and flopped about aimlessly. The throttle grip was too short, and like the party dress I bought when I was 17, could either cover the top or the bottom but not both.

So I went to the shop. My nearest motorcycle emporium is a dirt bike place staffed by gnarly youth, none of whom were familiar with the glories of Eastern Bloc bike design. The Renthals wouldn’t do, they were far too narrow inside. But a set of Oxford Fat Grips looked most promising. Back in the garage, the clutch side went on beautifully. The throttle side required significant amounts of lubricant, a hairdryer, a broom handle and a great deal of huffing and puffing. Much like me trying to get that dress on in 1987.

But I digress.

Saturday was a sunny day and it was time to voyage further than the local park, so we went ten miles to the park in the town where the Posh live and dogs are called things like Harvey and Brian. We met rather more pugs and rather fewer Staffies than we normally see, and no-one took the Wingman’s picture in his sidecar. I think his lack of Boden clothing rendered him invisible.

All was well. The new grips were decadently squishy. The throttle stopped fighting back and stayed where I wanted it. But on turning for home the front wheel was unhelpfully wobbly. A quick inspection revealed just about every single spoke loose to the touch – but also seized solid. Helpful.

Patience is not among my virtues. But in the face of an array of stiff nipples (sorry, anyone who is googling this term and not expecting a blog post about motorcycle mechanics) all you can do is apply the penetrating oil (oh dear, it’s not getting any better, is it!), have a cup of tea, take a firm grip and wiggle the spoke key back and forward until something gives.

And like the crocuses, and the warm spring sun, nothing happens for ever, until quietly with no warning the key turns, the spoke tightens up, and the wheel comes back into stability.

On Sunday we completed our voyage to the diner. Two weeks late but much improved.


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Filed under Garage stuff, MZ

Happy Monday

imageThrough the window it looked like a beautiful morning – blue skies and sunshine – though a quick dog-walk added a biting wind to the mix. Still, if it looks warm, that’s nearly enough reason to take the bike to work for the first time this year.

In fact it’s three whole months since I’ve ridden more than the distance from the end of the trailer up into the garage. A quarter of a year without riding? And I dare call myself a biker.

Now that unpacking has made decent progress I know where my winter trousers, gloves and lid are. That was good. But my garage seems to be a place where batteries die. The Lomax would barely turn over at the weekend, and now the bike was struggling hugely. She’s always been a bad starter but this is a whole new level. Something might have shaken loose on her travels, or maybe I need to face reality and buy a new battery.

And of course the day I go in on the bike is the day I find my missing box of stuff in the cupboard at work! Please welcome – the kitchen knife! The no-longer needed Vodafone SureSignal! And …the Foot Pump! Hallelujah.

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Spring has sprung…

…the grass is riz,
I wonder where my battery power is?

The sound of spring in the Highwaylass household isn’t the sound of birdsong, thawing mountain rills or gentle breezes from the south. It’s the sound of a starter motor not turning, closely followed by gentle swearing and the unwrapping of jump leads.

This year we have gone one better than normal and had to get the jump leads out at the end of the trip as well as the beginning to get the bike back in the garage – either my charging circuit has failed or the battery was even flatter than last Tuesday’s pancakes. Fortunately I have a long-suffering and Patient Partner who, now that Stargate SG-1 has finished, has nothing better to do on Sunday afternoons than track me down and jump-start me (arf arf!).

I’ve been getting itchy wrists for the past few weekends – I’m not a fair weather biker but the fact that this was my first ride this year rather argues against me 😦 – and it was great to get out on the road even if it was just the A1 and the North Circular.

Before I was diverted by the total failure of the battery to even illuminate the idiot lights at the Shell garage, I promised myself that I would name and shame today’s example of egregious motoring behaviour:-

  • You in the blue Toyota at the traffic lights at the North Circular – just because your car is called a Picnic does not make it OK to throw your banana skin and Walker’s Crisp packet out of the window. Yes, S503BKN, I’m talking about you.

You’re lucky – if it had been a few months later in the riding season I would have been able to pick them up from the roadside and throw them back into your window, you filthy git. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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Filed under Riding