Getting out of bed at 6.30am I knew that this was going to be a great day. You know the sort of day, beautiful clear morning, not a cloud in the sky, birds singing and motorcycles to be ridden. Yep this was going to be Knobby and McSnottys (and friends) Big Day Out. A lot of planning went into this trip, Mrs McSnippy spent last weeks food budget on cleaning and polishing stuff for the bike (who needs to eat anyway), Jnr McSnotty washed said bike and blacked the tyres, and so Spaceship Hogly was ready for takeoff.
And from here things got interesting. There appeared to be a slight bend in the Time Space Continuum and accordingly what was planned and what actually happened differed. What should have happened was that 20 riders would turn up, a good ride would have been had, even better chips and fish would have been eaten and then an auxilarating ride home. But noooo it was never to be.
From the moment of getting the bike out of the garage and dropping my floor jack on my toe whilst wearing my ‘safety slippers’, to the loud gaufaws from the wife trying to get out a ‘I told you so’ about wearing such gay fluffy sandals in the workshop I knew things were going to take a dramatic change to what I had wished. And as for the toe, well no Kiwi Dad would dare be seen to shed a tear for such pain in front of his male offspring, so suck it up I did!
Next problem was the lock on the garage door jammed and I was unable to lock it. Mrs McSnippy thought that this just added to the mornings humour until I gleefully told her that she would not be abe to go out as planned as the premises would not be secure and so not covered by insurance should some thievery take place. Now it was my turn to watch her face turn into a squeezed lemon. Ha – got ya!!
Knobby arrived but was minus a driver for the backup vehicle. There had been a change in circumstances and the driver was unable to make it. No problems, we wouldn’t need it anyway (or would we??).
As the bikes warmed up we all togged up for the cold ride. Nothing like the harmonious beat of a single and a v twin to prepare oneself for a hearty jaunt. But wait, the sound has changed. An engine has stopped and look what has happened. Genevieves engine has stalled and the kickback from the motor has dislodged the kickstart lever from its stop and jammed it between the clutch arm and foot peg. Ok, a quick fix, unbolt a couple of things with the 12″ adjustable wrench, push everything in to its home position and retighten. Cool, all done, now lets get going.
And yet the gremlins strike again. The reason for the stalled engine was that the spark plug had whiskered up. No problems, out with the trusty 12″ wrench, a quick wipe of the plug on one of Mrs McSnippys clean tea towels (she really was glad to see us leave) and off to yonder horizons we ventured.
We arrived with just 3 minutes to spare at our first destination, the Paerata Dairy. Nobody here waiting so after 10 minutes we headed off to our next destination, Clevedon via Papakura. What a great ride. The traffic was light, and the smiles on peoples faces was a clear indication that they too were enjoying themselves as much as we were.
The Clevedon carpark was filling up as we arrived, there was a car display of GM and Holdens next door. Jnr McSnotty said that he should go and have a look while we waited for other riders to show, but advising him of the consequences of a stoning should he do so he might want to reconsider. He was wearing his Ford Jacket.
Vintage engineering in all its splender at the Clevedon Carpark.
Members of the public were quite impressed with the old bikes and discussing the disadvantages of acetylene lighting help fill in the time. By 10.15 nobody else have arrived so now the day was going to be Knobby and McSnotty and No Friends Big Day Out. Oh well we were going to enjoy ourselves anyway. Those chips and fish were just down the road and starting to excite the taste buds.
Bidding farewell to the massing crowd in the carpark we headed east towards Kawakawa Bay, Knobby in front and the trusty sidecar following up the rear. Unphased by the mornings happenings corner after corner passed us by, minds drifting off into imaginery places and then it happened!! Yup another disaster and one more serious. Turning the sidecar into a righthand corner something went snap and instead of the bike remaining upright it flopped into the sidecar jamming my leg. A bit difficult to pull over and stop when the clutch is operated by the left foot, but it was achieved. As Jnr dislodged the lefthand handlebar out of his eye socket I watched Knobby disappear into the distance and around a corner. Surely he has seen me pull over in his mirror. Oh well he will come back. Well he might come back! Um, ah, yes, well, oh here he comes, 5 minutes later. Must have been the thought of those chips and fish that kept him charging forward.
The broken sidecar mounting bracket. Evidently not an uncommon problem.
Surveying the broken bits we decided that as a 3 wheeler it was going nowhere. The problem was that there is a spring hoop that supports the bike but is able to flex as the bike corners left and right, and it had broken through age and metal fatigue.
So the decision was to unbolt the chair, easy job since one of the mounts was already broke, sling the chair on the backup vehicle and off we go. So where is that backup vehicle?? Oh crap, still in my driveway at home.
Unphased the next idea was for me to take the Enfield home, leaving Jnr with the ever corrupting Knobby to guard over the broken Hogly, and return with said backup vehicle. Ensuring all was well with the Odd Couple I headed off. It is quite a few years since I have done any serious miles on Genevieve and now I can remember why. Speed was never an issue with this bike but comfort is a challenge on the nether regions and I now know why Knobby is seen to shed the occassional tear when dismounting. I am glad that I don’t want any more children. Note to Knobby – fix your bloody seat!!!!!
From here everything was straight forward, home to pick up the ute, return to Clevedon, unbolt the sidecar and tie into the tray. And then ride the Hogly home as a solo. The interesting thing with this is that as the bike has been ridden as a sidecar hack for over 10 years the tyres have been cut out for such riding, making cornering as a solo quite challenging. But we did it. And to complete the day we did have Chips and Fish. We stopped at El Paso Takeaways at Karaka and fullfilled our desires with some of their very nice burgers and fries. Highly recommended they are too. (I would have taken some photos of us enjoying the delights of the takeaways but Knobby broke the camera. Well done that man!)
Closer inspection later on revealed the cause and new fractures starting. The result of fatigue due to old age.
And so ended an excellent although challenging day.
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