Life has been pretty quiet since arriving in Cyprus and as I live at the top of a hill above Pissouri village, I have found walking to either of the two little general stores a bit of a bind. Going down is okay but coming back up the hill with to bags of groceries is a pain. The big supermarket down on the B6 is is about a 20 minute walk downhill but there is no way I could walk back up from there. This has lead to my diet to be fairly restricted and there is only so many eggs, bacon or chicken dishes you can create. My friend Brian to the rescue. He was going to take his car in for service to a local garage, to a man called George and suggested I tag along and see if George could find me some cheap wheels. George did just that. A 2001 MBK/Yamaha Skyliner, 125 scooter. 750 Euro and he would get it transferred and taxed in my name. Fair play, it’s a bit of an old nail but mechanically sound but I don’t think there is one body panel on it that is not broken and screwed together or fastened with bits of wire. A lot of empty bolt holes and screw holes which make me think that maybe it had been in someone’s garage in bit for years and was cobbled together for me.
As I said it runs well and apart from what I thought was a loose front wheel which turned out to be just getting the tyre pressure right and the fact that the suspension can bottom out if you hit a pothole, it’s all good. I can now get to the shops and the local café as and when I want. New found freedom!
Learning to ride it is a different matter. Unlike my Royal Enfield, this thing is automatic with one of those Variomatic belt drives [mvt/cvt] and a centrifugal clutch. There is no foot brake so what would normally be a clutch lever on the left is now the rear brake. With that said, riding/driving, requires a different technique. You have to get some revs on to engage the clutch and once engaged, the bike will move off. This can be a little too fast. Also going downhill, and there are lots of them in Cyprus, if you close the throttle the engine revs die and the clutch disengages, so there is no engine braking and you end up coasting. That can be a bit scary. The technique seems to be to use the rear brake lever as you would a clutch, rev up until you feel the bike pulling under you and then progressively release the brake. This way you have a constant drive and a much cleaner and stable get away. Going downhill you need to resist the temptation to close the throttle all the way and just keep enough revs to keep the clutch engaged and if necessary use the brakes [both of them] to regulate your speed.
Went to Paphos yesterday on it. Some of the hills are a bit steep but it did not drop below 60 km/hr and seemed to cruise at 80 just fine. So more adventures planned soon