Monday, 19 August 2013

Sparks !

Ain't it always the same the bike runs day in day out 325 a year except when you leave late for a hook up !
Fortunately my current Harley is not quite as bad as my old iron head.............she had the fantastic habit of waiting until you had got to your destination , had your hook up and then 3am , P***ing rain, or temperature drop and then wirr wirr couple of cranks and then the battery would give up. ! now the worse thing about that bike (or pile of crap american scrap iron as it became known on those occasions) was that this wasn't a regular easily diagnosed problem . The generator was fine , the voltage regulator(always a prat on an Iron head !) or the coil. Nothing so simple.............this was always an intermittent , and totally unpredictable
My current bike , had her since 2003, is usually a dream..........starts .runs stops....starts runs stops....maybe that is the problem ............almost so good you forget to do regular stuff like the regular maintenance stuff.
So I suppose like the girlfriend who you start to take for granted, my Harley decided to remind me in her own inimitable way.
Last weeks I had a regular, important hook up at 1pm. got up late, crap weather , decided to revert to going on the bike rather than the cage as originally intended which in turn meant I could rely on bus lane use and swift progress thru the traffic and leave later.Unfortunately like the proverbial hare I left it until the very last moment .

I Got round the block with a bit of splutter and a pop and thought " oh fuck gotta ditch her and swap to the car. Drove round the block , thought how late I was gonna be if i took the car and decided "ah it;s just cold running.- I'll risk it " BAD CALL ! after 4 sets of traffic lights on my short 12 minute Journey I realised I needed to increase the revs to avoid engine the time I reached my appointment I realized
(or rather the optimist in me hoped !)one of my plugs was giving up or had given up the ghost.
While I sat in my meeting I was re-occupied with whether or not to call for help or try to make it home. Hey I am 'Old' 'Old school' - if it will run I will ride it ! (and many time over the years I have pushed bikes
too !). And I gotta say to be honest I had my heart in my mouth and almost gave up halfway home, thinking to abandon the bike , get new plugs and then return to ride the restof the way...............but hey this is London and chances are some scum would steal the bike while I went for plugs ! " hedge hopping " I made it home and I gotta say i had zilch power and the noise was awful. What is usually a 'stump puller' from almost zero throttle could hardly make it up the slightest hill near home ! I was running on one firing plug/cylinder.
As I hoped , new plugs put everything right again and the beast breathed fire straight away. I learned 3 things from this little incident ...........
[1] how much we take spark plugs for granted , especially cos they are seemingly such a simple looking part, when we shouldn't !
[2] how prices on the spark plugs is totally non uniform (especially with the internet now giving great selection, the ones that the local bike store wanted £9 each for cost me £12 (inc shipping) for 4 online and..
[3] confirmation that just like my old ironhead my current bike is a typical American tractor - although often disrespected for being so primitive -simple engineering compared to most other brands- if you got a spark (even just one ) it will get you home.

P.S You could of course always "pretend you broke down !

Come on girls Push !