|We had a look around Stratford yesterday, as you probably guessed it’s named after Stratford upon Avon and most of it streets are named after Shakespearean characters and plays. We pass Hamlet street and Montague Grove amongst others. We also hear they are planning to rename the river that runs close to town to the “Avon”.
While we were looking around earlier I spotted a good tyre place and as he had some small solid tyres on display I asked if he could obtain some for the outriggers. After a quick phone call he said he could get them next day which at the time was no good, so as we we’re back I popped in to ask if he could order them for me. We now head back to Stratford engineering only this time we ride around the back to the workshop. We put the Guzz on the centrestand and show Cameron the young engineer there the problem. We are on the same wavelength and between us we agree it would be better to cut the sidestand lug off and start again as it has already been repaired once before in Kazakhstan. It has snapped right across the bolthole as it did before and between us we agree the bracket needs to be a bit wider so it has some more “meat” around the hole. I set to removing the bracket which is complicated slightly by the fact it also supports one end of the bashplate and the front sump guard. Once it’s off we figure out a way to widen the lug without affecting the stands operation and Cameron cuts out a new lug. It takes a few test tacks to get the angles right but our patience pays off and it turns out really well. Cameron tackles it exactly as I would have done given the resources and makes a great job of it. Buoyed up by this success I ask about replacing the bent outrigger arms, I have straightened them out numerous times in Asia as they have been bent by falls when stowed or obstacles when in use. They have put up with this abuse with good grace and are still working but where the sides of the box have been bent at the bracket end it’s made them a wobbly fit. Stratfords don’t have any 22mm x 2mm thick box in stock but we make the arms out of 25mm x 3mm and squash the ends to fit in a monster hydraulic press they have. It’s obviously a bit heavier but there is not much in it and I think the extra thickness will help strengthen the whole setup. Karen has stuck around all afternoon blogging until about 4pm when she wandered back to the campsite assuming I would be back at the latest by 6pm thinking they would shut 5-5.30pm.
At about 5pm I asked Cameron if he wanted to call it a night and resume tomorrow as we still hadn’t finished everything. This was when I found out that the workshop wasn’t officially open, they were still on their Christmas break and Cameron had only come in to work on his own car and had helped me out, he said he wasn’t in any rush to go home either so we kept going until we got the new arms finished and fitted. I totally lost track of the time and at 8.30pm an understandably fed up Karen reappeared just as I was packing everything away.
I had all the food with me on the bike so she hadn’t even been able to cook dinner or do anything else other than what she had with her.
I said my thank you’s to Cameron and Jeff his Dad and paid my dues, they kindly give me a good discount as they could appreciate our situation.
We headed back to the campsite in town to have a late dinner.
Next day I head into town to pick up the solid tyres leaving Karen in our chalet this time, the tyres are good and chunky and I am really pleased with them but they are a lot heavier than the pneumatics. I think it will be worth the weight penalty however as the small pneumatics just aren’t tough enough and are really prone to punctures.
I head back to Stratford Engineering to replace one of the roller bearings in the outriggers as it has lost it’s dustseal and is starting to break up. While I am there I change the bearing and fit the solid tyres as well. I also have a test fit of the outrigger wheels whilst I am somewhere I can alter things if necessary. I am glad I did as several things need adjustment, as always when you change something there are always things that foul or don’t line up. Again as always what started out as a simple job turned into an all day mission, I modify the arms and the brackets on the wheels until it all fits well and then I buy some wire rope and clamps from Stratfords engineerings shop conveniently situated around the front. I still have the original check cables I made, one is on its last legs as the cable was too thin and stretched. This time I find some much thicker stronger stuff and make it out of that, I also have to move the attatchment points as altering the arms moved the pivot point slightly.
It’s a tricky job finding the sweet spot which allows the arms to move fully but still keeps the cable tight enough to stop the arm getting bent if it hits an obstacle but with a bit of perseverance I find the right place and it works well. I say thank you again to Cameron and Jeff, although I have done most of the work myself today I could not have done it without their help and the use of their mig welder and drill etc.
It’s been great to be able to be able to repair and improve some things properly, all across Asia all we could do was patch things up and try to keep it going due to lack of spares and resources.
I had always planned to try to improve some things and to get the bike really sorted mechanically in NZ and Australia in preparation for South America when we will be back to nothing again. I am pleased with what we have achieved here and bit by bit we will chip away at some of the other things I want to do as and when we get time but now its time to get moving again.
Karen turns up at 6pm not wanting a repeat of yesterday, we head to the supermarket for supplies and we make it back to camp earlier today allowing for a more relaxed dinner in the camp kitchen. Karen met and got talking to a German and Latvian couple earlier and she introduced me when we got back, Philippe and Vineta now live in Auckland and have travelled extensively, they give us some good tips for things to see while we are here.
In the morning we pack up and say goodbye to Philippe and Vineta, we also take some photos with the bike. The plan is to head back to New Plymouth, we passed it by first time and thought maybe we shouldn’t have so we are going back for another look before we get back on the forgotten world highway. A few kilometres down the road we spot a nice view of Mount Taranaki which is really clear today, a camper van has stopped ahead with the same idea. When we pull up behind it we realise it is Philippe and Vineta, we say hello and goodbye again and laugh at the chances of that as we have totally different plans today. We head back on the main road to New Plymouth to see what it has to offer.