Monday, January 11, 2010

Scootering ups and downs

It's been a challenging couple of weeks on the scooter front. After the Troll's poor showing on the Piaggio run I went over the carby, flushed the fuel system and installed a new petrol tap. The result was almost immediate and the Troll ran like a dream again. I took it on a couple of rides around Fremantle and around the river and actually began to think that everything was looking good. It wasn't too be though.

On the last Sunday of 2009 I joined an early morning ride organised by a couple of guys I used to work with. They were riding a Vespa PX and a Lambretta. It was a long route that took us from Fremantle, along Canning Highway into the city (the long by slow road), through to Kings Park overlooking the city and then down to the coast, turning south back to Fremantle and then along the river to Como. As it was starting early, I was running late. I missed the first rendevous at the Lucky Shag bar, then missed the second rendevous at Kings Park but was only about five minutes behind the pack. I headed straight for the coast aiming to cut them off at the pass but missed them again (little did I know I had actually overtaken them). But I didn't really mind. The Troll was running really well; the engine never skipped a beat, and I was enjoying myself immensely. After about an hour and half on the road I eventually reached Fremantle again and then, just as I pulled into the carpark outside Little Creatures brewery, the engine died. The others all then arrived, just in time to see me stalled at the side of the road. A couple of guys tried to give me a push start but she just wouldn't go. I walked her into the carpark. It was a stinking hot day and the consensus was vapor lock so we settled in, had a beer and waited.

Sean's Lambretta

The waiting didn't do me any good though. The Troll resolutely refused to start. When the kickstarter broke it was kind of game over. I bid adieu to the guys and began pushing the Troll home. It was a hot day - 40c - and it took me 75 minutes to get her home. My enthusiasm for scooters was sorely tested that day. So the Troll is now out of action until I get the kickstart looked it.

So it was back to the Vespa again! Actually the Vespa has been very good to me. I hadn't used in so long that I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is to ride. Even after months without use it still turned over on the second or third kick. Over the past couple of weeks the Vespa has taken a bit of hammering. Then, I was riding it back from the hardware store last week when the back end went all soft on me and I started sliding all over the road. The rear tyre had blown. I was lucky to bring her safely to a stop, not least because it had been a very hot day and 'I'm only going up the shops' I was wearing only a T-shirt and shorts. Coming off would not have been pretty. So, again I ended up pushing a scooter. Fortunately I was only about 500metres from home.

This was the first tyre I've had to change on any of the bikes and I must say it was much easier than I had expected. Five bolts hold the tyre and rim to the wheel, which slips off easily. The spare simply bolts into place. It took only fifteen minutes. Here's a couple of shots of the patient.
Lie still, this won't hurt a bit!

One comes off, the other goes on.

I've so enjoyed riding the Vespa lately that I've decided to make a few minor mods to improve her performance. I'll shortly be installing a Sito exhaust which should give her an extra couple of kilometres per hour. We'll see. I don't believe my speedo is anything like reliable. It barely registers 40kph when I'm hurtling along Canning Highway (speed limit 60kph) and cars aren't overtaking ... all the time. We will see.....

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