After five days on the road, a little R&R at the Hotel Turist was just what the doctor ordered.
Next morning, Nikolai and I went off to explore Chita.
The city has a strong military presence
Aswell as signs of (ahem) Russian businessmen.
Still don't know who this dude is.
Even with Nikolai, we couldn't find an insurance company. We call our friendly
Chita biker Micha who shows up quick as a flash....
and takes me to my Insurance company where this nice lady signed me up for another 10 days for the princely sum of 200 roubles ($8.00)
Nikolai wasted no time talking to this one about his future insurance needs!
While Nikolai explored further, I needed to address the missing engine mounting bolt. Micha had arranged for his friend and mechanic, Micha (same name) to pick me up from the hotel. He took me back to his workshop. Wife and kids came by for a photo opp.
Micha informed me his 1984 CB 750 had been from Chita to Vladivostok...TWICE!!
I knew I was in good hands.
He roots through a big box of bolts until he finds one that's appropriate. The new bolt requires the frame to be retapped to receive it. Here he is tapping out the existing hole.
But what does he discover?
not one, but THREE major cracks to the BIKE MAINFRAME!!!
First, he has to get the new bolt on...nothing like a 3lb lump hammer to get the frame to line up....yikes!!!
This is bolt installed by Triumph.
This is the bolt installed by Micha!
It may not be pretty, but, with thousands of miles ahead, it's solid as a rock.
But what about the cracks to the frame?
Enter the Doctor!!!
After stripping the bike down and preparing the cracks in the metal
Micha goes to work with the oxy-acetylene!!!
Damn fine job!!!
finishing touches with a can of silver paint
Back in business!!!
Micha was a true mechanic. He reversed the front fender so that my mudguard extender became the solid leading FRONT edge of my fender...genius!!! Brilliant Russian ingenuity using the materials to hand to provide a solution. In America, a new fender would have been ordered, would have taken four weeks to arrive and would have cost me $17,495.00 plus tax!
When a torx driver broke, Micha took a nasty gouge to his finger. Didn't swear, didn't shout, just wrapped it up and continued to work!!!
The work had taken all afternoon...about six hours. Bear in mind he met me at my hotel, led me to his workshop and put aside all other work to fix my bike. Ahh the brotherhood of the bike!!!!
Micha charged me 1500 roubles for his troubles (about $60.00). I didn't have the roubles on me, but was very glad to give him a crispy Franklin for his troubles. This is his bike next to my undressed Tiger.
Last night in Chita, Nikolai with a haircut. I had spent the last 3 weeks with Nikolai and he had made the trip far more interesting and fun. I was sorry to part ways, but was also ready to go on solo. Thanks Nikolai for all the good times!!!
Sadly, the very next night, Nikolai was set upon by three thugs who beat him up really badly...they re-arranged his face, literally. He was in the hospital for a few days, then went back to Kharbarovsk to heal. He is now somewhere in Korea living free!!! God bless and good luck Nikolai!!!
I was lucky enough to meet the beautiful Olga on my last day in Chita. We are still e-mailing each other....I'll keep you posted!
And thanks to Micha who offered non stop help throughout my stay in Chita. He led me out of the city and directed me to the road to Ulan Ude. Thanks a lot Micha...true biker spirit!!!
Here I go again, on my own...
Posted by Richard Lindley at November 06, 2006 05:40 PM GMT