Fifteenth Ride to Advanced

Highs and lows today. The Highs came from my riding, the initial ride was really good, we headed out of the Steadings car park onto the bypass heading West. Came off at the Lasswade junction and turned right onto Lasswade Road, followed the road through and got to Dalkeith Bus depot (somehow!).

Then along the A68, cut left across to Ormiston for another stop. Then off through Musselburgh, into town, up Leith Street and North Bride, then right at Chambers Street and threaded through town to the Braids Golf Driving Range.

Points to remember from today’s ride:

  • Keep observations up, and obvious head checks (i.e. rear mirror observations) for each hazard.
  • Remember weather – it was windy and wet today, so increase distance behind cars.
  • Be defensive in town, and take control of the road – e.g. do not move over and encourage three abreast across a road when there is a parked car on the other side of the road. Any dubiety then move away from the nearside so that you don’t get jammed up on the nearside.

Other stuff too, but all came together enough to put in for my proper test. In the meantime I can revise Roadcraft and practice.

The low of the ride was a fumble in the car park, I parked up defensively but the car park is quite exposed and the wind was blowing like mental. So I moved the bike. Unfortunately as I was putting it on the centre stand my right foot that was holding the stand down slipped, the bike overbalanced away from me, and fell on its right hand side. Nothing more than a couple of scratches to add to the rocker cover and pannier, so after a couple of expletives I lifted it using a technique I learned off my Ride Like a Pro IV DVD. This is demonstrated on the DVD by a woman in the states picking up her Harley Road King. Basically you make sure the side stand is down, then turn the handle bar full right. You use the right grip in your left hand, and right hand somewhere solid on the bike, and pushing your back against the seat lift using your legs. Not a problem. Then once upright I put it down gently on the side stand and then back on the centre stand. All looked fine, so I headed in for my coffee, and cheered myself up with a bacon roll and a scone and jam.

But when I came back out and started the bike up, I was getting a lot of grey/blue smoke and the smell of burnt oil. Not normal, and it didn’t clear after a minute or two of revving the bike. I parked up and there was a little drip of oil, so being a bit concerned I called out the AA. They arrived in about 20 minutes, and although the chap wasn’t a bike specialist, he checked in with technical support, and we got the fairing off for a look. There was oil on the intake side, which was reassuring as there isn’t any oil plumbing on that side. He took the inlet off and cleaned it, and then I remembered something about a drain plug on the airbox. Right enough, gave that a go and ended up with a good half cup or so of oil coming out and making a mess. I think the air box catches the output of one or two of the breather pipes, and as the bike had just been running it got a bit more than normal.

Thankfully the air filter was dry, so we drained all we could from the airbox, he cleaned up the inlet pipe and throttle body, and all back together fine. Sorted, and it all seems fine now, albeit my bag stinks of oil from being in the left hand pannier.

So a bit more experience, and two highs. I was exhausted after all of that!!