Tag Archives: clutch

New Year, none event


I spent too long in Cyprus this year trying to avoid the New Zealand winter. Only to get back to a summer that never was, well not so far. The bus had been in storage while I was away so I was a bit unsure of what I would find on getting back.  however the solar panels had kept the batteries up and she started first crack. No damp to report or infestations of any kind, as they say in the English speaking parts of France

Summer in Cyprus had been hot and I did not get anything done other than a security gate fitted on the side steps and the cracks in the lounge wall filled and painted. My little scooter had all sorts of petrol problems, so I sorted that out after a fashion.  think it ready for the knackers yard next year.  need to look at a car I think.

On getting back, my plan was to head off to the South Island before Christmas, disappear for a few months, find somewhere nice for New Year and then just drift around the south for a bit.  This did not happen.  My trip back from Cyprus was via Dubai to call in and see some old friends and also to finally close my Bank account there.  I had tried to do this before I left originally but banks being the pain in the arse that they are, couldn’t close my wife’s credit card account for some reason even though it was on my account and they had closed mine.  Anyway that’s another story. As I was saying.  I came back via Dubai and arrived in New Zealand with the start of a cold.  I always seem to sit in sneezing distance of someone who spend the entire flight coughing their guts up or sneezing.  First few day this developed in to a heavy cold, with the result that I did not feel like going anywhere.  I developed a bloodshot right eye and a pain in my right ear and jaw.  Two weeks later and the cold has gone but not the problem with the eye and the pain in the jaw was very uncomfortable.  off to see the quack.  He came back with a diagnosis of Bells Palsy.  Two weeks later and it had eased a bit but my right eye was still not right, if you get my drift. Opticians!  Well had very thorough exam and the suggested seeing a specialist.  This came to pass.  He referred me to a neurologist on the 7th December and up until yesterday I had not heard any news about a date for my appointment.  This of course has left me in limbo, so no South Island tour and not much else to tell you the truth.

Stayed at my daughters for Christmas which was nice but decided I would go away for New Year.  Plan was to head east as far as the light house on the east cape.  This would be the first spot in the world to see the new year in and also the first sunrise. Off we pop, stopping in varicose spots. I don’t think I mentioned it but I managed to re-home my two cats before I left for Cyprus and although I miss them, life on the road is so much easier and gives me so many more options of parking up.  Anyway off we set.  Now the east cape road once you leave Opotiki is pretty remote but the weather was good and I was in no rush, just had to be at the lighthouse by New Years Eve.  Friday I  am with in 40 klicks of my destination and just change down to tack a slow bend, bang! clutch linkage snaps. Now have to find somewhere to stop.  Also had to master changing gear without being able to disengage the clutch.  Old school eh!

Quick look underneath and there is about 200mm of clutch rod missing as well as the adjusting nut, which is a special domed shape.  I quickly realised that I could not cobble anything together were I was and also I needed to find the missing bit.  Next task find somewhere to turn around bearing in mind I would have to start  the bus in gear, be it first or reverse and once she starts she’s off. To cut a long story short we managed and got back to the spot of the disaster, parked up as close to the hedge as I could then spent a good half hour walking up and down the road looking for the missing bits.  Eureka I found them.

I have been up this road before and know there is nothing in front of me until I get the east cape and other than a couple of farms no facilities where I could get the clutch rod welded.  We needed a plan. Driving with out the clutch was not a big problem other than if I had to stop and I knew the road was uninterrupted until I got to Waihua Bay. Plan was to head for there before dark, park up, have a beer or three and ask if there were any welders around.  This we did. Beer there was, welders, nay. Sleep on it.

Saturday morning, New Years Eve.  Head back to Opotiki early!  arrived in town at 08:00 hrs and went for breakfast at the two fish café.  Well worth a visit and about the only place open.  Made some enquires re welders and ended up with two options.  one place I was actually parked outside but big sign in the window.  Closed until 9th of January.  Second place, Lowes Engineering was a 20 minutes walk so gave them a ring.  Low and behold they were open until 12 and only had two staff on duty.  It was my only option.  so clutch rod in had we walked over there.  To smashing guys and one of them could certainly use a gas torch. Twenty minuets later and I am on my way back to the bus with the rod repaired, they even painted it for me.  Ten minutes on my back and my hands covered in grease and we are up and running.

New Year was by now a right off.  so find a place to park for the rest of the day and New Years day then head back west.

may be next year


I’m mobile

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

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