October 29, 2006 GMT
Brian Rix Would Be Proud

Last Tuesday I went to Lone Star and bought bits and pieces to sort what I thought the minor-ish problems were.

On Wednesday I went back and had new tyres fitted. Having asked for 90/90 front and 110 or 120/90 rear and agreed to Pirelli Scorpions (as they had them in stock) I had them fitted, which is when they opined that I might have a gearbox problem. When I rode back to Bruce's place I thought she was a bit tall (had to plan my stops rather carefully) but attributed it to new tyres, lack of luggage, and the new dead sheep.

When I had trouble wheeling the bike around and heard mice, I investigated and found that the rear tyre was actually a 140 which is too fat and not only contacts the swinging arm/shaft housing, but hits the inside of the rear mudguard on big bumps. So I sort of mentioned this when I returned on Thursday for the Club night and to find out if/when the required parts would arrive.

Big apologies. "We'll replace the tyres with Trail Wings when you bring the bike in on Tuesday, no charge to you." (Monday is their day off, and Trail Wings are my fave.) Fine.

You know about the puncture and falling off (again).

I dropped in a couple of times this week. Yesterday - "Finished tomorrow." Brill.

Went round this afternoon. Josh was in Homer Simpson mode. Turns out that the noises they thought they heard from the gearbox were entirely due to the rear tyre being too big and rubbing on stuff, which at that point they hadn't realised, and in fact nothing's wrong. "Doh". Abject apologies for making me wait for parts which weren't actually required. Meanwhile they'd done all the stuff I wanted (rear main oil seal, pushrod tube seals, Trail Wings, new screen, pannier frame welding (again), full service etc.) and said I could probably pick her up around 6.

Rang in and Randy said "Aargh, electrical problems, we don't know what you've done to the electrics, aargh" so I went back in a taxi with my kit (being a hopeful soul). It was simply a couple of wires dislodged from the ignition switch inside the front cowling when I fell off, so that was easy. And everything else was done. Can't tell you. They even found a new indicator for me (there's only so much you can do with a broken one of those using gaffer tape).

And because of the hassle and everything they refused to charge me for the labour. I argued the toss because they'd been really helpful and fitted me in around their proper customers, but Josh insisted and even gave me a couple of T-shirts, which are rather good ones. In fact they bent so far over backwards I thought my luck was in.

So if you have a BMW or a Triumph and are anywhere near Austin, Texas, go to Lone Star because the coffee's really, really good. And Ardys Kellerman is usually hanging around somewhere - she's 74 and done the Iron Butt several times in recent years. Has a few stories to tell.

BTW, the puncture was a teeny-weeny staple-type thingy. Unbelievable.

PS to non-motorcyclists. The Iron Butt is a US-type thing where masochists do 11,000 miles in 11 days. Often with a dead sheep to sit on.

Posted by Cynthia Milton at October 29, 2006 05:30 AM GMT

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