Saturday, 4 February 2012

Back Brake, Beer, Biryani and Blog

It's been ages since I've blogged. There's been a whole lot of not much to write about but that's probably not worth doing. What I'm planning to write about tonight is in some way linked to it all. Tonight, I blog about my rear brake pedal. I've also, as is becoming traditional when blogging, broken doctors orders and had a beer (mainly in the name of alliteration but I have also had a biryani so it's all true). 

I know I mustn't complain. That's a sentence that will always lead into a complaint and I'm not going to disappoint, even though I'm well aware that I'm so much luckier than all those who haven't got a job. However, it's been difficult lately and while chewing the fat with colleagues I explained that I had neither the time or the energy to deal with a partially seized brake pedal on my bike. In fact I've not washed it in two weeks for the same reason but that's not really the cause. I suppose, the point I was making was that there just isn't enough left for my family and other responsibilities when I get home.

A fault with the brakes though is not something you can leave, especially when you are a qualified if long out of practice mechanic. The problem is that the YBR250 seems to come out of the factory with no grease anywhere. I'd only had it a couple of weeks when I had to take the gear change leaver off, clean it and grease it. That was an easy enough job but annoying having to do it on a brand new bike. Why they can't just lube the bearings properly while they are putting the thing together is beyond me.

Now I'm most of the way through the winter and three weeks ago, the brake pedal got sticky. I doused it with GT45 to keep it going and found I had to toe it back up from time to time. Tonight, with Ang on a night shift, the kids in bed and the certain knowledge that I won't have any daylight available to me to work on my bike, I got on with it. I mean, how hard could it be?

Note the way the brake pedal stays down after application.
Needless to say, I made a complete hash of it and showed lack of skill in every possible way. The job I thought would take me half an hour ended up taking two and a half with many more bits taken off than anticipated. In the mean time I lost bits, bent bits, gouged bits, scratched bits, found bits, just about fixed a bit and hopefully put back all the bits. With the snow lying on the ground just outside the drafty door, it was cold in the garage. The light wasn't good either. Mind you, it's nothing compared working on armour in a Kosovo winter. Really my biggest problem is that I'm always keen to have a go with my spanners but I'm not actually very good with them.

The job is done now which is a relief. Hopefully I can get to some of the other jobs I need to do soon. There are so many. It's the admin jobs I hate the most. I'd rather strip down the whole swinging arm and associated suspension links (which is one of the jobs I need to do but probably never will) than renew the car insurance (a job I have done). I wish they would just renew it without putting up the premium by £200, forcing me to go elsewhere. The AA did the same thing but Ang dealt with that and they gave us the introductory price again, just as they have every year since 2005 if we threaten to go to the RAC. In fairness, they probably should let us go as we've spent rather a lot of time with recovery of late. Even our Carens had them out last weekend. EGR valves are a thing of the devil and shouldn't ever be fitted to diesels. 

There is exciting news. Soon, well, during Easter, I'm going state-side! I've finally sorted a date and booked a flight to Boston Logan for a week of riding with my big brother in North America. Booking the flight is as far as I've got actually. I've little idea where we are going, what kind of roads Dan has planned for me or what bike I'm going to be riding. I can't wait, even though I know I will miss the wife and kids whom I've not left for that long since I left the ARMY. Obviously, I hope there'll be much more to write about that when I go and when I come back. 

Oh, the other exciting news is I got new boots. I ordered a pair of Altberg Clubman Roadster boots which come highly recommended and are used by bike cops. As usual, I get my Amazon orders shipped to school where, at lunch tim my phone pinged with an Item Dispatched type email. Five minutes later the UPS man was at the office window. Now I know they are fast but to be only five minutes slower than an email is pretty darn cool. Well done UPS! Anyway, the boots are real leather and extremely uncomfortable when new. That doesn't bother me at all though as I've never loved a pair of boots I didn't have to break in and I can tell these are going to be seriously comfy boots. Anything is better than my not very old but extremely tatty Lidnstrands boots with their synthetic leather which leak like a storm drain and their nightmare drawstring system. Not sure I won't still be using the rigger boots when its below freezing and more socks are needed. Looking outside at the snow, I may not have the new boots broken in any time soon. 

Looking back, I've not really linked everything to a brake pedal but whatever. I'm thinking I've written too many words and not said anything of any huge interest at all really. Best leave it at that really. Good night blog. 

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