Hall Of Fame, Hall Of Shame
We have a few members in our Hall Of Fame now.
BAT Motorcycles of Biggin Hill
Firstly a big thanks to BAT, who we rate as the world's experts on grey-import bikes.
They effortlessly found and supplied a wide range of spares for Caroline's Serow and Beau's non-UK TTR.
As it turned out, this particular Serow is a one-off model made only for one year and only for the Japanese market, yet BAT had a spares book for it (entirely in Japanese but that doesn't faze the staff in the slightest), and of course a spares book for the TTR also in Japanese.
There was only one item they couldn't find, the strange rear sprocket for the Serow, produced only, as far as we could find, for that one year. They offered to obtain one from Japan, but the price was three figures and Caroline had found a pattern part anyway, although only in aluminium (not the best for desert travel).
Amazingly, a couple of weeks after we had collected everything from their shop, they phoned to say that during a clearout of their deepest dungeons they had found a genuine Yamaha sprocket for that particular year, complete with cush-drive bushes already factory-fitted, which we could have for less than the price of the pattern part without bushes.
This sprocket is so strange, with no means to positively locate the sprocket on the push-fit bushes to ensure correct alignment, that it's not surprising that it didn't get into BAT's stock database. So it was very good fortune to find an original one with the bushes pre-aligned.
Anyway, it didn't end there, as Beau's TTR is the model that's notorious for having the world's most expensive headlamp bulb. Only available from an obscure Japanese manufacturer. (Changed on later models).
He needed a couple of spares so BAT supplied those as well, at about half the price often quoted on TTR250 websites (but still two figures).
Unfortunately one was faulty straight out of the box which BAT immediately exchanged. But then another blew the day before departure. We left that behind for my son to take back to BAT's at some time, and to buy at least a couple more to be sent out to us.
Well, BAT's came up trumps again, donating free of charge a handful of bulbs (and they're quite small!) to our little journey.
They suggested a check of the regulator/rectifier would be in order.
We think thatís OK but have since found an intermittent earth connection to the bulb holder which we've attended to for now and will fix more securely another time.
The issue here is that this particular bike has a rather strange headlamp arrangement, with not only the super-expensive bulb but also involving a major disturbance to all the wiring just to reach it. So it's best not disturbed too often.
So a big Thank You to BAT Motorcycles.
(They are also holding copies of our temporary importation permits for taking the bikes into African countries, which will ease the importation of spare parts into those countries should we need BAT to send us any).
Adrian (aka Bono Custom) and Lianna of Cluj Napoca
(See the 'Edge of Europe' entry)
Adrian very kindly took us all in hand at a 'stopped to make adjustments' incident (an old euphemism used by old TT race commentators), that only Beau can tell us about. It resulted in a whole evening of true Transylvanian adventures that could only happen on a journey like this and with the kind help of the local people you meet on the way.
They very kindly housed and fed us for two days and personally escorted us back onto our route. We send them both our best wishes and hope to see them again some day.
Ayhan Tekbas of Turk Motosiklet Dunyasi
(See the 'Edge of Europe' entry)
Who, with the excellent translation services of his young son, served us tea, donated luggage straps and took us to a good cheap hotel in the western Turkish town of Luleburgaz.
He has a large and smart showroom on the main road through Luleburgaz and we would NEVER have found the wonderful little central square and hotels in the old town without his guidance. Indeed, it took all the faculties of my twelve-year-old GPS to get us out again the next morning.
He showed us a neat trick on his PC. He was interested in this our website but of course it's in English. With a deft click of his mouse, he'd turn the whole thing straight into Turkish!
Strangest website I'd ever seen!
Irfan and Sadria Ince
(See the 'Beyond Istanbul' entry)
Olive growers of Edremit, on Turkey's west coast.
For feeding us with dinner and breakfast, entertaining us, teaching us Turkish, and accommodating our tents, after our completely un-planned and un-announced arrival right outside their remotest of remote farmhouses.
Hall Of Shame
Yes, we have one of those as well sadly.
No names at the moment in case these enterprises sort themselves out and get back on the straight and narrow.
Firstly, the few motorbike shops who seem only able to send you the wrong bits. Even the best of returns service is pretty useless when you have a fixed deadline for departure and will be away for maybe a year. Some suppliers don't seem to be able to comprehend what that means, including the one below.
A large communications company who reneged, at the very last minute (that is, a few hours before I was due on the ferry at Dover), on promises made previously about services provided during my absence. That little incident destroyed completely my timetable for all those last important things that need to be done on the last morning at home before being away for a year. I'm still trying to work out how to do some of them, and hope in vain that the company will fulfill its original promise.
Posted by Ken Thomas at 09:14 PM