20 February 2010

Biker tales 2

Its September 2004 and I am heading to the newly liberated Czech republic to drink beer and and climb sandstone towers with Rich. We are riding our old bikes, heavily laden with camping and climbing gear.

I have been living in Liverpool for a couple of years and agaisnt my better judegment I let a local lad service my bike, he was very keen and claims to have a diploma in motorcycle maintainance. Its always good to put money into the local economy, but in this cases its being funnelled straight to the local dope dealer and is rapidly disappearing up in smoke.

Things start to go wrong in France when the electrics keep packing up. I eventually trace the problem to a short in one of the indicators and fix it cleaning the contacts. Then the bolts holding the headlamp drop out, leaving it hanging. This is corrected with a couple of sharpened sticks, shaped into pegs that are banged into the bolt hole.

Things really start to go to shit as we cross the boarder into Germany when a bolt drops out of the anti-dive mechanism. This makes the heavily laden bike hard to ride and just a bit dangerous. I give up on the bush mechanics and concede that a bike shop might be required. We reach Wurzburg where we have a very random conversation with a local biker who is pleased to help because he tells us how much he loves British bikes. I ask him why and he replies that German ones are boring because they never break down. Right now I would settle for a German bike rather than this 20 year old piece of Jap engineering which has just endured a service from a pot-head.

We find a Honda garage that is a shrine to highly polished, state of the art, plastic-fantatsic racing machines, not a drop of oil, or spec of dirt anywhere. We pull up and wander in. We have only been on the road for 3 days, but sleeping in fields is already taking its toll on our appearance.

I try to explain "anti-dive bolt" but the parts guy has no idea, so I get him to come and look. He admires the bike, over loaded and held together with bits of tape and sticks, and he asks "vhere have you come from?"
"England" I reply
"no but vhere have you been?"
"Nowhere we are just going"
And at this point he realises that that we are not on our way back from India or somewhere similar. We are just strating out, now his admiration turns to amusement and these idiot Brits and their crappy bikes. He disappears out the back, to get parts, at least that's what I think, but he returns with all the guys from the workshop who stand around having a good laugh.
There is not a whole lot we can say or do except agree that getting a stoner to service your bike before you set of the ride across Europe may not be the best idea. We get the bits and fit them in the forecourt of the Honda centre. The staff are less than impressed but there is not much they can do.
Three days later we ride across the boarder into the Czech republic. Hundreds of prostitutes line the hedge rows, under-dressed and shivering in the cold. They are presumably catering to German businessmen and truckers. It's pretty grim but I busting for a piss. The number of girls thins out after a couple of klicks from the boarder and I stop in an empty looking layby. No sooner have I started doing my business than 3 very pretty girls in short skirts appear and proceed to chase my around the car park, cock in hand, Benny Hill style. I get back to the bike and beat a hasty retreat - welcome to the eastern bloc!

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