Friday, 29 January 2016

Hacking: Salvage Survivor

During my work for the local council, removing and squashing dumped cars - if you can call some of them dumped - I come across quite a few dumped bikes. So far I have acquired a Honda CB125, Honda SilverWing and my current bike, which is the only one that I actually got around to riding, a shaftdrive Yamaha T80. Well, it was free and had six months tax and MOT left on it, the guy's wife demanded he get rid of it due to old age - his not the bike's!

I did acquire a Honda 70, from the scrapyard we use, that had the rear shocks replaced by two bits of angle iron welded in position! I robbed that for the exhaust and wheels... even though it ran as well, so now I have a Honda 70 engine cluttering up my shed, along with the Yamaha, one mountain bike, a Chopper restoration project, various bits of computers and hi-fi, etc.

After cleaning it, buying a new battery, and repairing various holes in the rear mudguard that was letting water into the seat, it runs quite happily, pushing 140mpg if you like running on air. Not bad for nothing, all I have bought is a speedo cable that snapped when I achieved 45mph going to work down a slight hill one day, and deciding any faster might have the engine lose a few parts due to the vibration.

No oil has been bought, just using anything that looks about the right type found in the cars I take. Only clean oil, though. Three oil changes and about 500 miles later it, it still dies going up anything bigger than a matchbox - either ride in second screaming the tits off it, or sit in third at just above killing the engine speed.

I had my first fall on my bike the other week, the roads around where I live and work are atrocious, plenty of oil and diesel, along with maniac drivers, who seem intent on cutting you up, not waiting five milliseconds for you to get out of the way. On the same day, I was cut up three times in 50 yards and fell off.

On the day, it had pissed it down, so the roads were still wet and nicely covered in diesel, so there I was trundling along on my Yamaha T80, slowing down and being wary of the junction with maniacs coming in from the right side, when I saw the cyclist. Riding very close to the centre line in the nearside lane, so I slowed even more, and then it happened.

Give him his due, he did stick his hand out, just after pulling across in front of me, and then looking over his shoulder, as I braked and swerved out of the way. Not a very clever move on my part as I wobbled first one way and then the other, wondering how much this would hurt as I went down. Just then I realised why you don't use your front brake a split second before your back brake, never did that when I used to ride a pushbike to work.

After realizing that I wasn't too badly injured, I screamed abuse at the cyclist, who by now was across the lanes and on the pavement, thoughtfully looking over his shoulder to see me laying in the road, across my bike, ranting away.

Pulling myself up, I looked behind and saw a nice queue of traffic patiently waiting for me, and the school kids waiting to see what would happen next, as I pulled myself and bike back up, and hobbled and dragged the bike to the side of the road.

Once I had persuaded the bike to come out of gear, and checked it over, I kicked it over, and carried on back to work, where I took off the foot pegs and straightened them in a vice, along with a slight adjustment to the gear change. The biggest damage was cracking the front brake lever mounting lugs, so now I have to get new switchgear.

All I got out of that was to look very stupid, and not one bruise or scratch as proof of what happened. Very lucky you might say, but it taught me a lesson, in those two or three seconds before I hit the road, how easy it can be to come off, no matter how slow you are going, and you have to keep your wits about you at all times, even a simple thing like a moron on a pushbike could get you killed.

Steptoe

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