October 6th 2004. Gibraleon.
*RATTLE*... Either this is a very badly surfaced motorway or something is amiss with the moto... As I overtake the first of two bumper-to-bumper juggernauts on the A22 towards Faro, the straining and wheezing at anything over 4000 rpm is telling me something's wrong. Something is going to explode or crack or burst or catch fire. At least I know my wheel´s not going to fall off, as a South African mechanic in Portimao fixed it this morning (for an eye-popping €20). The bike manages to hobble to the next service station, and there don't appear to be any logs or dead dogs trapped in the spokes, so I guess it's a fuelling problem. However, guessing what it is and fixing it are two wholly dissimilar sides of two strikingly different coins.
We limp to the next village, Tavira, doing 35mph in the hard shoulder. Luckily, Rui and Brinda live in Tavira.
Rui, I discover later, is on his 13th motorcycle (an 1150GS), and still can't stop himself from waving at every bike that goes by. So I stop and explain.
Having bought me a coffee and generally been human beings of an extremely high quality, they spend the rest of their afternoon with me in a luxuriously appointed fixing shop, making sure I'm OK. Dear Rui & Brinda - you rule.
Imagine my amusement when the problem turns out to be the spare set of keys i'd taped under the seat back in Sussex. They'd become untaped that afternoon, and the little blighters were blocking the air intake.
There's nothing to beat a newly-fixed motorcycle after a couple of hours of "oh god I've broken it" paranoia. I hum all the way into Spain for a night in Gibraleon. The room is a mere 10 euros, although it does smell a bit like faeces.
To keep themselves amused, the Portuguese like to refer to the Spanish as "monkeys". At least they don't hang monkeys believing them to be Frenchmen, as we do in the UK. Or at least those monkeys up in Hartlepool do.Posted by Simon Fitzpatrick at October 08, 2004 11:58 AM GMT
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