Author Topic: Hot no-start, Welsh pigs, Unicorns and socially responsible taxi drivers!  (Read 2551 times)

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Online Phmode

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  • Location:: Ledbury, Herefordshire
So here's the thing....

It is a wet afternoon rush hour in downtown Morriston, a nondescript suburb of Swansea.

The Wrinklies caravan, en-route to Llanelli, being Wrinklies, have elected to ride the A48 through town rather than take the easy option of the M4.

It is hissing down, raining stair-rods as my granddad used to say, and I was just beginning to think that, maybe, perhaps, if my luck was in, that I might not be squished by the locals haring hither and yon in a blind frenzy. Who knew, I might even survive long enough to get a very large scotch inside me...

And then, for no apparent reason other than the buggeration factor, I managed to stall the bike when Richard took off slightly slower than expected in front of me on the slight uphill out of town.

I hit the start button. Nothing but a laboured churning of the engine. Cycle the ignition, try again. Same thing. Bugger! Richard, now 100 metres up the road, spots me not behind him and pulls over. Thank you Richard!

I am thumbing the button to the accompaniment of the car horn from the eejit behind me who was so close to my arse that he can't overtake me. Eventually the traffic clears, Richard does a U-turn and I coast back into the kerb. Leave the bike for a few seconds and try again. By this time it is obvious the battery is toast and I am going no further under my own steam  :(

Richard does another U-turn behind me and pulls up on the pavement just behind me. Realising he can't hear my curses, he attempts to pull up alongside me and, buggeration being what buggeration is, promptly stalls his bike too. More churning but no starting. Two dead K's for the price of one ✌️

Luckily, his bike starts at about the third attempt but mine is still toast. We manage to manoeuvre my bike back onto the pavement and with a little help from the big guy I get the bike turned round and facing downhill. Off she creeps down the hill, slowly getting a little less slow as slowly as only a big K with shaft drive can. I try 1st - rear wheel tries to overtake front. I try 2nd - rear wheel pulls alongside. I try 3rd - back steps out. I try 4th - still no engine rotation and no rear wheel rotation either.

By this time, Swansea's finest is starting to flatten out, the traffic lights ahead turn green, the cars get out of my way and the bike just about makes it round to the left and up onto the pavement beside the Police Station; thank the lord, I am saved by the law!

I high-tail it back to the lights to find Richard doing yet another U-turn having decided I had died and gone to heaven. He sees my frantic waves and performs yet one more 180 and joins me on the pavement.

Neither of us have matches and anyway everything is piss-wet through otherwise I would have set fire to the bastard; the bike, not Richard  ::)

What to do?

'I have breakdown cover! I'll call them. You go onto the hotel.'

'You sure?'

'Yes, unless you have a set of jump leads in your tank bag you are about as much use here as a chocolate tea pot!' I didn't actually say that and there was the option to leave the key in the bloody thing, hitch up my skirts and ride Richard's pillion to the hotel.

'Sure! Go on, I'll be along shortly! Anyway, we are right outside a police station, I'm home and dry!'

At this point Rae rings to see where we are. The call is breaking up and I hang up.

Richard, who doesn't use sat-nag, doesn't know where he is apart from just south of a blue line on his Blue Peter map of the UK. I show him and send him off north to find the M4 as the best bet to get to Llanelli unscathed and before the bar closes.

Richard rides off into the gloom, I dig out my membership card and place the call. For some reason it goes to a call-handler's annoying tune. I hang up and try again. This time I get through and three seconds into the call it drops out. I stare at my phone. The battery is so dead the bloody thing won't even turn on. Two dead batteries for the price of one.

So, lesson one...when you have cover and tell your mate to go on ahead rather than drown alongside you, make sure you make the bloody call before you are alone.

OK! Swansea's unmanned police station turns out to be closed. And unmanned. S'obvious really. Apart, that is, from the endless stream of manned police cars driving in one side and an equally endless stream driving out the other. So, not quite unmanned, just not open for business. Well, not my kind of business. There are lots of nefarious looking locals being chauffeured, glum-faced, into the closed nick in the back of lots of the incoming squad cars; a thought crosses my mind. No, don't be silly.

I wander round the back of the nick to find a steel door with a keypad and nothing else. Oh, and like the nick, it is closed. I wander out into the street once more and pass a drop-dead gorgeous woman driving in. I wander back to find her delving into the back of the car with her skirt round her waist and her knickers on full view. I cough politely and she  ejects from the car like a scalded cat. She looked as if she was moonlighting for the vice squad and she may well have been...

'What?' she spits.

'Sorry. Are you police?'

'No! What's it got to do with you?'

I explain. Stranger in town in need of assistance. A simple phone call is all I need.

'There's a public phone on the crossroads! You'll have to use that!

'Whereabouts?'

'On the crossroads!'

And with that she sticks her arse in my face once more and tempted as I was to give her a good slapping which I was sure would get me through the door, I wander off to find the mythical phone box. Unicorns were more plentiful than phone boxes and then I had a cunning plan and flagged down a passing taxi.

'Where to mate?' I explain about the broken bike, the flat phone and the hotel bar in Llanelli. 'Llanelli? Bloody hell!' The way he said it it was if I had said I wanted to go to Lebanon.

'Jump in, you can use my phone!' What a gent! I drip all over his passenger seat as the phone goes to yet another waiting tone. He is tapping his booking computer and accepting customers every few seconds.

'You go! You have people waiting.' 'I'll be back. I won't leave you stranded mate.'

By now it was almost 6 and the Indian take-away over the road was open for business and as I thought about trying to jack a call from the front desk, half of Swansea trooped in for supper and I thought sod it!

A police car pulled up alongside at the lights and I tapped on the window. The girl in the passenger seat cracked the window down about 3 millimetres. I explained my predicament and half way through my explanation the lights changed and the car just drove off, my words lingering in her deaf ears. 'Bastards!' If they heard me they showed no sign; they probably get called that all the time.

By now I am standing in the middle of the street and another police car pulls up, single crewed. I explain. Again! 'Sorry mate, there's a phone box....' I wander off mid-sentence.

The taxi pulls up and beeps his horn. He sticks ten fingers up and drives off. And you mate!

Fifteen minutes later he pulls up again. We try the breakdown service once more. Still a call-waiting mono-tune. 'Whaddya wanna do?' 'Not much I can do, unless you have a set of jump leads in the back!' 'I have!' He has taken three more bookings in the few minutes I have been in his car and bless his cotton socks he kept trying to charge my dead iPhone with a Samsung adaptor....

I get out. 'I'll be back. I'll not leave you stranded mate!'

Half an hour drips by and suddenly Swansea is full of curry and the shop is empty. I rush in and explain. The lovely Indian lady proffers her latest model iPhone and I place the call. 'Ask how much it is costing' she urges. 'It is a free call.' 'They all say that' she mutters.

The call is answered immediately 'thank you god'. I thank the lady profusely for the loan of her phone. 'It's OK! It's not mine!'

Five minutes later I am back outside awaiting the breakdown truck. It is 7:05 and they reckon he'll be with me in an hour and half at the most.

At seven thirty the taxi returns, the jump leads on his seat. I explain about the breakdown service. 'Right oh, I'll check on you later. I'll not leave you stranded mate!'

The breakdown truck arrives spot on 8, an hour after the call. 'Where have you come from?' Just up the road but I had to go to Llanelli to get the truck!' You couldn't make it up.

He is impressed that I have the battery cover off; more impressed that I knew where the battery was. He sticks his corn-flake-packet-sized power tank across it and it burst into life.

'Where are you going to?' 'Llanelli!' 'I'll follow you till you get on the M4!' Nice man. He does.

Apart from the sat nav directions for the hotel taking me into a delivery yard and there being no sign of the hotel despite the local kids assuring me it was there (Look, there!) I was in the bar being soothed by Rae's wallet in less time than it takes to start a K.

Next morning it started on the button. Three times! Just to make sure, as you do.

Richard and I headed for fuel, the M4 and England in that order and just as we slipped onto the motorway all the demons of hell came crashing out of the sky. It was foul!

Blustery winds! How quaint. Stair rods! Sounds familiar. Wall-to-wall spray and manic car drivers meant we were limited to about 80 for most of the way till Richard turned off for home and I forged on for Swindon and some much-needed R&R.

Just as I came over a rise, there was England, bathed in sunlight and looking lovely, see! As I got closer to the bridge I realised it was actually the Severn estuary bathed in sunlight and there, through the distant murk, was England, bathed in sodding rain.

It hissed down all the way to J16 but by the time I reached my safe haven it was all dry and sunny and no-one could understand why I was sopping wet.

The bike sits abandoned in my friend's garage, filthy and looking very sorry for itself and meanwhile, my knickers are almost dry...

Offline Costas

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  • Location:: Athens, Greece, KS-Loutsa 37°58'16.6"N 23°59'06.8"E 37.971269, 23.985224
It's a conspiracy against riders, never one thing always two or more at the same time. 
As for the story need to keep this one along with the others and publish them some time in the future as they clearly make an excellent impression of how a true motorcycle rider adventurus life is.
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Offline Blobby

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Sorry but I'm laughing my head off here..  ;D

Offline Eyore

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What a saga and well told, glad it all ended happy ever after. Moral of story ............avoid Swansea and buy a Motobatt.
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Offline Dusty

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That really shouldn't be amusing, but it's the way you tell them, Brian.
Foreign touring always has its moments!

Offline Costas

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  • My K bike model:: K1300S
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  • Location:: Athens, Greece, KS-Loutsa 37°58'16.6"N 23°59'06.8"E 37.971269, 23.985224
Foreign tourism,xaxaxaxaxax aa  ;D
Embrace the wind.

Online fjtwelve

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Frankly astonished your list of spares and stuff has no jump leads  ;D

Offline Costas

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  • My K bike model:: K1300S
  • Modifications and add-ons:: BMW Motorrad rider and pillion HP4 pegs,10-30 lit tank bag, SENA for BMW intercom system. Evo air filters. TechSpec tank pads. MIZU lowering dogbone system. B2 accelerator. Wunderlich adjustable levers, hub , brake caliber protectors, duolever bold protector. Turatech ABS Sensor protectors. IDE bars. Rizoma rear led signal lights, bar ends with lever protectors. Sargent complete system seat (pod, pillion backrest). Shrodie side badge led signal lights two modes. LED lights 2X35W 3000k high beam, 10W parking two modes. Tracker. Metisse front wheel protector sliders. R&G water pump protector, cardan protector. Ilmberger carbon set. Ztechnic tank protector,DT wimglets.
  • Location:: Athens, Greece, KS-Loutsa 37°58'16.6"N 23°59'06.8"E 37.971269, 23.985224
I thought of that too.
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Offline black-k1

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I shouldn't laugh - but I did! :)

I'm glad it all got sorted in the end.

The joys of UK touring! (raining stair rods, inconsiderate traffic, unhelpful "officials" and pretty uninspiring towns.) Give me a bit of "real foreign" every time!
Correct rear brake use is scientifically proven to shorten stopping distances in EVERY road situation.

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Offline Eyore

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  • Location:: Co Clare
Of course the question that has to be asked is.......................was it ultimately a battery issue or something more sinister or just a  normal K1200/1300 hissy fit?
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Offline TomL

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I have a Motobatt on my bike courtesy of Ned1.

Bike out side my house fully loaded and ready for the last minute rush to Dover for the 7.35 ferry and the start of the Old Gits Trip. Pressed the starter button and a noise like a slow turning starter but bike will not start. Tried many many times but it still will not spring into life. Curses.

About to give up and get the tools out and it started. Phew.

On occasion I have had the odd random attempt at starting with no responce and the next try has always been successfull. The whole of the Old Gits Trip and no problems?

Hissy fit?
As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everybody is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

Online fjtwelve

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You boys are starting to put a damper on my long term plans to replace my K12 with a K13 what with all these horror stories :-\

Offline OxMan

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Pah! Get a high miler that tells you it's reliable... you'll be fine! Only issue with my 13S is the nut holding the bars...! 😜
Late emerging biker - took the first bike plunge at 50 with a 12GT : swapped for a 13S 9 months in... then got my mitts on a lovely 2014 13R Dynamic in rrrrrracing rrrrred! Then the COVID came along... so I upped it to France and bought a V85TT... O Sole Mio etc etc!

Online Phmode

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Frankly astonished your list of spares and stuff has no jump leads  ;D

I carried them on the K12 from the day I bought it till the day I sold it, together with the Nippy Norman on-board socket which I had wired across the battery. Never ever needed it so got rid of it when I got the K13  ::)

Online Phmode

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Pah! Get a high miler that tells you it's reliable... you'll be fine! Only issue with my 13S is the nut holding the bars...! 😜

I have a socket for that!