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Blog 252 Crating up the bike – March 2013
When we got back to Pierre’s he was busy getting ready to go to a local show ‘n’ tell car show, good timing he said, you should come along. It was advertised mostly by word of mouth and Pierre didn’t say too much beforehand so we were amazed when we got there to find a huge queue to get in. It was massive.
It was the last meet of the summer and there were hundreds and hundreds of cars and bikes there. Technically it is not officially advertised anywhere as a meet but it had a band tent and numerous food outlets and all the car and bike owners know just when it’s on.
It was without doubt one of best meets we have ever been too.
There were Hod Rods, American cars, Australian Cars, even English cars you name it, it was there. The last photo is a table and chairs.
The next couple of days were spent removing the fork legs and ensuring they were not going to cause any more problems in Canada. I took it to Mark a friendly local engineer who had helped me out before, he welded some chrome moly tube right through the damaged part and up to where the yokes clamp on both legs just to be sure. That sorted it was time to start crating the bike ready for its voyage to Canada.
When we were first meant to be leaving Australia, one of the Guzzi club members had already sourced us a skid/base used for importing a Harley Davidson Road King. Although now nearly a year later it was still stored around the back of Reg’s house. As luck would have it Reg and Jen were having a pizza party as well. Here is Reg showing off his pizza oven which cooked fabulous pizzas.
It was an all steel base with tie down and forklift points so it was an ideal starting point. In the past we have strapped the bike to something like this or just wheeled it in and put it on its stand in a shipping container. The shipping company this time were keen for the bike to be fully crated as it meant other stuff could be stacked on top of it to optimise space. Containers charge by volume not weight and are a cheap way of shipping if you are not in a rush.
Luckily for me I had access to a mig welder for the first time in ages so I bought some 40x40x3 angle steel cut to length for a very reasonable price from the helpful folks at Morrabbin Steel.
A full on steam clean was required first. To get the volume down we took down the roof and folded the screen forward so the highest point on the bike was the top of Karen’s backrest. I then welded on six uprights and two side rails to make a box with open ends.
Creative packing was called for as we had to include all our riding gear and work our what we wanted for the next month.
Next problem was what to skin it with ? The obvious choice was plywood but it is heavy, expensive and can cause problems with quarantine inspections being well erm wood.
I had a brainwave one day and thought why not use colourbond or roofing steel. The Aussies use tons of this stuff for houses fences etc surely I could lay my hands on some reclaimed stuff. I asked Pierre and he pointed me in the right direction and we got some quite cheaply.
We cut the sheets down to size and riveted and screwed them on save one end panel which I made a door out of offcuts that was removable with 6 bolts. Lastly Pierre got me some expanding foam to seal the ends and make it weather and vermin proof and then we stood back to admire our mini shipping container. We were all quite chuffed with the result, it had been several days work but the result was worth it.
We loaded the crate onto the ute with the help of Pierre’s hoist. We had a moment of panic when we thought it may be stuck in the garage as Karen suddenly looked at the height of the garage and the height of the crate on the ute. We were saved by the fact that it sunk down on the suspension and we managed to get it clear of the door.
We then drove down to the docks with our precious cargo.
It felt very strange watching it being driven away on a forklift.
With the bike in the docks we were suddenly on a deadline, in few days time the ship would depart and we would fly home. There was barely a month before we needed to meet it in Vancouver and there was much to do before then.
Next up – Goodbyes, leaving Australia and being tourists.