At Last. HM The Bike is back amongst its subjects - mud, sand, ruts, stones, holes, good dirt.
And when you go to Guildford by bike for radiotherapy, there's only one way home.
Starting here after the daily dose of sub-atomic particles:
Then continuing from Shere, taking London Lane, on the left by the cricket field.
Yes, there's a hamlet called Little London just south of Shere, this is the lane that leads to it:
The rutted road to Little London.
No need for a side-stand. Just lean the bike against the side of the rut. That'll do.
The 20-metre swimming pool in the road has dried out a bit - only paddling today.
Next, Wolvens Lane, south from Wotton. Right at the Wotton Hatch pub (Shere Drop beer on tap).
A bit narrower than the M25, the alternative route. And no cars to see here.
It's an ancient sunken track - and dark.
Tea at Box Hill before the last stretch home:
Packed with bikes on a Sunday - not so many on a Friday afternoon.
And the view of the Surrey Hills from up top.
That was my first real ride on the TTR since Cape Town airport, so quite an occasion. Although the recent MOT annual test was a bit of an adventure.
"What have you brought me here?"demanded the tester.
"I can't see whether these pipes are for petrol, brake hydraulics or rear shock adjuster. They're buried in a mess of oily sand and mud and look as though they've been leaking for months. But who knows? Maybe it's just oil off of the chain."
"I've found a petrol tap here, buried in dirt, and the pipe seems to go nowhere!"
I explained it fed the open-ended stub of pipe clipped to the sub-frame, to fill my Coleman stove for tea in the depths of the desert.
The look of bewilderment spread further across his face.
We had a little chat about the softness of the sand on Tanzanian roads and he was kind enough to acknowledge, "I know the last thing you want to do is wash all this good African dirt off your bike - but it's got to be done. I can't see what I'm supposed to be examining under it all!"
It's taken quite a few months to reach this stage although not much work was needed. Repair of the headlamp, new rear tyre, new bulb above the rear number plate.
And now this.
For anyone considering such an overland journey, I can definitely now confirm that the hardest part by far of the whole undertaking, London to Cape Town, and air-freight back, is cleaning the bike when you return home so the tester can see it.
But it's done at last, with the Green Piece Of Paper now in my hands.
It's Saturday now. The sun's shining, there's a day off from treatment, I think I'll continue where I left off yesterday and check out some more of those alternative routes.
In the meantime, Caroline came over for a week a little while ago.
I learnt that Beau's bike, hardly running by the time they reached Addis Ababa on their way from Nairobi to Khartoum, needed new piston rings which were couriered over from Fowlers of Bristol. That fixed the problem enabling them to make the final dash to Khartoum just in time to change old money for new.
But Caroline's Serow was misfiring as well, and the mechanic that helped with Beau's bike wasn't so good with carburetors. He butchered it somewhat and made no improvement to the problem. So Caroline brought it here to Whyteleafe for checking.
The pilot screw had been almost destroyed but was just salvageable. We also made an ultra-short screwdriver, which you need for adjusting this pilot screw without damaging it when the carburetor is fixed on the bike and engine running.
On removing the throttle slide for a check, the needle and clip fell straight out, separately. So we're hoping that now it's all been put back together properly, the bike will run better when Caroline re-fits the carb back in Khartoum.
Sun's shining, time for some more ancient Surrey dirt roads.
Posted by Ken Thomas at October 22, 2011 09:26 AM GMT
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