Update March 2012.
Friday Night ... stone cold sober ...
Good evening. Or should that now be Good Morning as it's nearly 2am?
Anyhow - whilst all the young uns are out drinking like there is no tomorrow, I am sat here, on the nightshift. Well, not "work" nightshift, but t'internet shift. Ebay auction ends in 2 hours so I will stay up for that, in case some bugger snipes a last second bid.
Arson about in petrol stations.
Trying to get a 1986 Yamaha FJ1200 on the road after 14 years in a barn. I've heard of old Beeza and Trumpet barn finds, but this Yamaha came as a shock. I went to a guy's farm to get bits for a tractor. In his barn (where the parts were), was an FJ - looking really sorry for itself. Corrosion everywhere ... no paint due to lines eroded and brake fluid escaped. Every seal possible knackered, all the plastic broken, snapped, twisted and things leaning on it. Such a shame.
I asked if it was for sale and offered 200 quid for it. DONE. And I think I was too!
So far, it's cost brakes / lines / pads / seals / chain / clutch / fasteners, all corroded and heads just snapped - so everything and each one had to be drilled out - SHEESH!
Ebay is a great place, but the price for some FJ parts are laughable. Why the heck are they so dear? I dunno.
Aside from the FJ, I have a 1955 BSA C12. That too is in the process of getting back on the road and parts for that are harder to get than the FJ's.
The Beeza was bought cos she was advertised as "fully restored" and a nut and bolt rebuild.
Yeah ... right.
I think David Blunkett was the mechanic and his dog did the welding and paint job.
A full restoration would not have blue instant gasket jammed in every hole / space / case. I'm tearing out what little hair I have left. (which is about 3 individual hairs on the top - evenly spaced, one at the front and one either side)
One day the C12 will get back on the road. If I kick the bucket before it does see tarmac, then the new owner won't have a lot to do, as most of the new bits are in boxes for them to just take away. (The new "owner" meaning: whoever finds me welded to the bed after 3 months and then sees the bike and goes..."oooh ... shiny ... I'll have that ... as this bugger's not needing it anymore ...")
There were many "modifications", "adaptations" and various stupidities I went through when money was not there. I went to a fair amount of rallies and always admired the latest gadget for a bike, or the genius of the rider for "inventing" something practical that didn't cost the earth.
On the same note with the cut down gallon milk containers: I was given a tip of using them (cut down) to use as toe guards. They kept the spray off me boots many a time.
I ruined a pair of boots once when I did some despatch riding and blue light runs. I got a job from Aberdeen Hospital all the way to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. It was only a run of just over 100 miles, but the rain was hellish after about 20 miles in. So, I pulled in to a filling station, bought a 500ml bottle of engine oil (you know where this is going!) and a cheap paint brush.
I sat under the canopy and painted my boots in motor oil and it kept the rain out.
I am also guilty of setting a petrol station alight in late 1999. Yes, the actual building, not the pumps.
Frozen solid coming home from a rally. Gloves soaking wet, boots soaked through. Numb hands and fingers.
Pulled in to the BP filling station in Elgin, Morayshire and went to the toilets to use the hand drier to dry me gloves and warm up me boots.
Big sign on drier saying "DO NOT USE" The drier was switched off with those little keys that push into the wall socket.
I jammed something in the slot and turned it back on. I used it! HEAT!!
I used it for about half an hour. On ... off ... on ... off ... on ... off.
Blasting the inside of my gloves and boots, they were drying a treat, the gloves being cupped over the nozzle.
The lassie knocked on the door to ask what I was doing in there all that time. So I said "warming up".
She asked me to leave soon, as they were closing up for the night.
So I got me stuff together and left.
I forgot to turn the drier off at the wall with the "DIY" key.
When I drove past the same filling station the next morning the tapes were across the fore-court. CLOSED.
That's a bugger cos I needed petrol.
As I turned my head to look at the building, it was burnt ¾ to the ground. Never thought anything of it.
And then it clicked about a mile down the road. Where was the building burnt out? At the toilet end. Oh shit.
I mean ... it's their fault for not having the sense to REMOVE the offending drier from the wall.
Ok, it said don't use cos it isn't safe, but it worked fine for me.
I thought it must be a coincidence. Until I heard back from the staff at the newly rebuilt station what happened - the cause of the fire was a short from the hand-drier.
I got ribbed for months afterwards, everytime we passed the "being rebuilt" station.
"Don't let him go in there, he'll torch the place." and "Oh look, there's the petrol station you razed to the ground." Cue the other joke of "Whilst BP petrol stations raise their prices ... this BP customer just razes the building".
As a final to the wee willy wipe and the shammy. I ruined many a good visor with that shammy. It's ok stuffing it between the clocks and to drive along in the wet, grab it, wipe visor and stuff between clocks again. But, after a week driving in the wet stuff, the all too familiar "star filter effect" got worse and worse. All the grit the shammy accumulated over the miles, ended up wrecking me visor in the end. And the next one ... and the next one.
So, I gave up with shammy bits and rubber wipes.
I found giving the outside a good polish with car wax made the water just run off. Excellent during the day, but swirly and hard to see through at night with car headlights.
Ahh yes. Mouse. I called him motor mouse) He was a little plastic figure of a mouse in a red waistcoat. He leaned forward in the style of the rolls Royce emblem and had his hands behind him. He was fixed by a small self tapping screw to my front mudguard and went on every bike I had.
I had him for 20 years and on over 30 bikes, up until a wee boy was standing with his mum, looking at all the motorbikes parked in a line in a bike parking bay.
I was at the back of the bike, puting me shopping into the top-box and panniers. I put my helmet on, and was watching this wee kid out the corner of my eye.
He spotted me mouse and must've thought "I'm having that!" He reached for it, grabbed it, pulled it and off it came and cracked my fibre-glass mudguard into the bargain.
From where I stood, it looked like he was just pointing at mouse to his mum.
Then, he held it up to his mum ... and then me.
The little shit.
She dragged him away after smacking his arse and the thing is, he walked off still clutching my mouse.
The little bastard.
So ... mouse is no more and I no longer have a "mudguard mascot" on the front of my bike.
I have thought of getting 8 inch long chariot nuts/spikes made so I can fit them to me wheel axles, but think plod might have something to say about that.
I got told off for sporting a sign I made, that rested flat on my pillion seat and was pulled into view by a string.
When a driver got too close to my back end, I pulled the string and up come this 1ft square sign that clearly said:
As it was a custom made yellow number plate with black lettering they could read it at night too!
As did the police who were behind me for about 2 miles in an unmarked car and I got fed up being dazzled. So, I pulled me string ...
... and then they pulled me.
The joys huh? What're we meant to do?
RIGHT! - I need a Valium after all that: And you will need a lie down too after banging yer head off the wall after reading this!