In which I make it home, repair and reflect.
|Safely home and seemingly intact.|
|Spot the difference.|
Within a minute of arriving at my stricken motorcycle I spotted the problem. I could have beaten myself senseless for not looking for it earlier. Back then I didn’t spot it because it was too dark. If I had looked for it though, I would have found it for sure. You see, I mentioned in my last post that the bike wouldn’t crank at all, just as though I had forgotten to pull the clutch in (required on a DL650). I didn’t mention that the bike fell on it’s left side. Nor had I mentioned that it was the clutch side of the handlebars I had to use to lift it. The problem was so obvious, I reckon many or most will now have guessed it. In broad daylight, the clutch interlock cable hanging below the clutch lever was plain to see. With it back in place, the bike started and ran instantly. The only remaining problem was the road, now totally impassable to anything without four wheel drive.
|Alan's simple repair to the gear lever works great.|
We had to look the rope around the forks and back to the hitch leaving a little too short for comfort. As the rope took the strain and as my bike began to carry me but someone else in control, I’d never felt so uncomfortable. In seconds I was screaming, “Slow it down, I’m gonna have to paddle this thing.” The front wheel was dancing from side to side so I needed time to correct each shift. The driver obliged and we crawled to the top of the hill, my heart trying to beat its way though my sore rib cage, probably in a bid to find a more sensible owner. Several times I was sure I was going down. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
|Alan's new pinion bolt |
cover looks like
Suzuki put it there.
The main road, when we reached it, was far better. We could say our fair-wells and sign paperwork. Finally, about seven hours after I left, I was in a position to make my way home. He could get back to dragging people off their drives and I could start a very slow ride home, not the way I came though. The longer way. The one with fewer steep bits and more traffic. The way I should have come in the first place. My destination, G. W. Johnson’s Motorcycles in Harrogate, home of Alan Johnson.
Alan wasn’t busy. My snow caked Vstrom, it’s indicators hanging off, handlebar ends at a jaunty angle and gear change leaver partially absent went straight in. He went to work immediate, rummaging though a box of assorted indicators for bikes long since scrapped for one he could bodge on. The lighting repaired, he went to work drilling a hole through the remains of the gear change pedal, sticking a bolt through and covering it with the rubber part of a kick starter. The resulting repair so good I’ve forgotten it’s there. The bar end bolt was straightened and a new cover for the Swingarm Pinion was fashioned for a box of old rubber bits. Within the space of an hour, my bike was fully roadworthy again and I had been charged for half an hour’s labour if that.
That’s the thing about Alan. He puts things right and knows his customers. He knows my bike works for a living and that I couldn’t give two hoots what it looks like. For me he keeps it working. For other, he keeps them working and beautiful. My good friend Kev always says, “I take my bike to Alan because when I get it back, I know it’s right. Simple!” And he’s right.
|I wonder what kind of bike|
this item started its life on.
be somewhere else, making a cup of tea, good and strong with a splash of milk. Just like Alan, she knows her clients, mostly by name. For goodness sakes, she knows my children by name and doesn’t seem to mind too much when they rearrange her displays for her. I’ve counted on them for the last 13 year and I hope they will still be there for me to count on for many more to come.
So, what did I learn from the whole experience? Darn it. I did say I would write this section and I kinda wish I hadn’t. Please don’t read anything I write as being a ‘Learned Opinion.’
|Thanks to these, the bodywork survived|
our little adventure and all they asked in
return was a lick of paint.
Next up, the old scout motto, be prepared. A head torch (flashlight) would have prevented any need for recovery. Well, a head torch and a folding shovel. The first now lives under the seat. I’m waiting to find the perfect shovel.
Finally, reading this month’s Ride and recent editions of MCN, it seems my belief that the engine braking on the VStrom is good in the snow, isn’t. I thought it was giving me more control on descents but all others writing about the topic want less torque and no engine braking. Having not tried it, I don’t know. So what have I learned? I’ve learned that a little experience, like a little knowledge, is a dangerous thing.
|Lessons learned. This time I turned around.|