Bikes in bits, bits in boxes, boxes in cages
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It took ages, just ages. We waited and asked and waited some more. In the end, just as were about to leave and go somewhere else they served up a small plate of chips and two omelettes which was nothing like what we ordered
So then it happened again. The heat caused the KTM to start stalling badly. Whenever it was stuck in traffic it died. On top of that the clutch gave in so when he could restart it he had to slam it into gear to get it moving along which caused the back wheel to spin and slide. I ran interference at the rear, covering his arse when the bike stopped and clearing a path so he could start it and make another run and we made it to the airport like that through the busy traffic. In the end we got to the gate and it crapped out entirely leaving us pushing it to the packing area. Either way, we made it. Last night we had a conversation about bikes. I brought mine for many reasons. When i get to Thailand it’s an ideal lightweight commuter I can use on any terrain. It’s frugal and light and cheap to get parts for. It’s also ideal on difficult roads and I thought we’d see much more of them than we did. During my trip in Europe I wished for more power and a bigger, more comfortable seat. I fancied an R1150gs and one of those might have been ideal for this trip too as the roads were manageable on a heavier bike. I take it all back. The best bike for any trip is the one that gives you the least hassle
I’m happy with my little single. She’s a great little bike in every sense.
She’s an outsider. There are certain bikes to look for when you’re choosing a machine for anything, a big trip, a trackday, anything. Some bikes are built to be better than the rest. Take the Honda SP1, when Ducati brought out the V-twin 916 it cleaned up on the track and shocked the cash-rich Honda team to the core. To come back and show them who was boss they built and sold the SP1 so they had a better, faster V-twin to race. It worked, Honda pulled back some dignity but to do it they had to swallow a loss of a rumoured £10 000 on every SP1 they sold. Now that’s a great bike to own. It’s built just as well as it can be and was sold for even less than it was worth. It was built for a reason, not to sell and make a profit on but to race and win
So the packing area was ok, not too busy and we grabbed ourselves a quiet corner. I had to take off the screen and beak and handlebars. The handlebars were a pain and i had to strip off all the electronics to get them to fold away. It seemed they had built us 2 boxes when we’d asked for one taking both bikes believing it would be cheaper
So the carpenters came in and started making the boxes around the bikes. Two guys held her up while I took off the front wheel and slowly she was packed away in bits. Mine was easy compared to the lardy bulk of the KTM. We had to be inspected by customs, they asked to open the tank and take off the seat and that was the end of their detailed inspection. She was cleared into customs and the boxes vanished into a cage on the arms of a forklift truck.
We had to hang around for paperwork but once that came we were free to head back. The carbide was awful, really congested. The roads are mostly tiny and the traffic is heavy. Marcin wanted to walk but our driver found a way through, mostly by bullying and battering his way through the cars with less dents than his. He did a good job and earned a tip. We headed back to the Eagle office to sort out last minute stuff and because the boss had promised to help us hire a couple of Enfields. I needed an additional favour. I had found the keys from the hotel we stayed at before in my pocket. They were nice enough to call the hotel and explain I had the key and arrange to post them back for us. Nothing was a problem, as usual and the young guy at the hotel told her he knew we’d call to sort it out. Of course we would!
So we headed out to find a pair of Enfields for the morning but after a few places we soon realised that it was too short notice and it wasn’t going to happen. Well, I realised it but Marcin was arguing the whole time. In the end it was just too much so I went back to the first place and saw what they had. They had a VR 180 and a Chinese made chopper. I liked the VR and Marcin liked the Chopper so we’ll probably take these and abuse them like we stole them, which for a daily rental of around £3 we pretty much did.
We fancied a night out but were frankly too tired and stressed. There were a couple of other guys at the office so we arranged to meet them tomorrow and we’re all going to hit the bar opposite which has daily live rock music and see what happens from there. The owner of Eagle is going to join us too for a beer.
For now we’re officially pedestrians. It’s a scary thing. I miss my bike.