Monday, 10 January 2011

I Have a Bike Again!

There is still no news about how the paperwork is going to repatriate the Leading Ladies back to the UK. I will follow this up with the shippers today to find out what the current status is.

I did however get my red custom bike back over the weekend. This meant driving a 792 miles round trip in 3 different countries and crossing the Irish Sea on a ferry!

My red bike is now three years old and was in need of a little bit of work, so while I was on my tour of the USA, it went back to Waterford Harley-Davidson in Ireland where is was built. The main thing that needed to be looked at was a starting problem. The bike has a large engine at 1800cc / 110 Cubic inches, and being a v-twin with a lot of compression and a heavy starter motor, the battery was never really big enough to start the bike properly. But, there isn’t room to put a larger battery in the bike, so I have always struggled to start the bike especially when it is really cold.

Waterford H-D therefore took the top of the engine off and installed a decompression system that reduces the compression on the first few turns of the engine thereby needing less power to crank the engine over. It works and the bike is now much easier to start. The twins carbs were tuned and a few paint dings were touched up, along with a few other bits and pieces.

The bike was ready so I drove from home (A on the map below) to Waterford which means heading west across a good deal of southern England, over the Severn Bridge (B), right across Wales where I got a ferry to Ireland and on to Waterford (C)....











I did think about riding the bike back, but only for about 3 nano-seconds as the weather forecast was dreadful with rain and snow forecast. I therefore jumped in my car and took the trailer. This was crossing the Seven Bridge....


























Driving onto the ferry....














































The ferry was pretty big, so I went outside on the sun-deck (they have got to be kidding calling it that!) and took a few pictures....






















































































































Famous across the world for its crystal, Waterford is the fifth largest city in Ireland. Sitting on the River Suir, it’s history can be traced back to 914 AD when the city was founded by Vikings....








































I stayed in the Tower Hotel, so-called because it sits opposite Reginald’s Tower, said to be the oldest civic building in Ireland....


























I walked around the centre of Waterford and noticed a Merry-Go-Round and Christmas tree in the town square, no doubt both fenced off due to imminent removal post Christmas....




















I spend most of the day at Waterford H-D chatting with the guys and some of the customers. The ferry back wasn’t until late at night so I had plenty of time. Lenny the Dealer Principle was on good form and we sat and talked about all sorts of issues for a long time. This is their workshop....











The ferry back across the Irish Sea left late in the evening and docked at one o’clock in the morning. I had to wait until every other car had driven off the ferry as my trailer was too tall to exit without lowering the ramp inside the boat so I could leave by the lorry exit....




















It was a long drive home through the night and I was tired when I arrived a 7am. I unloaded the bike later after the sun had come up and finally I had a bike in my garage once again....














































All I need now is my Road King back!

18 comments:

Arkansas Patti said...

I am embarassed that our country can't find a way to release a single motorcycle. Gosh, are we that dumb?
Anyway, glad you finally have a bike in the garage. Thanks for taking pictures of the trip.
Did not know that was where Waterford crystals came from. Guess they made our giant ball that drops in Times Square on New Years Eve.

bobskoot said...

Gary: With threats of snow and rain I would have driven too. It made for a very long day for you but luckily it was at night, presumably with much less traffic, esp with a humongus trailer. I liked the old historic buildings, we don't have many of those over here.

hope you get good news soon about the Leading Ladies.

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Canajun said...

'Tis a sad garage indeed that has no motorcycle within.

Can't believe those customs guys are still holding up the Ladies. Morons.

Donna aka Froggi said...

Thanks for the update and great photos. Hope the Leading Ladies are home soon!

Mike said...

Nice post and photos Gary! I really like seeing photos anywhere in the British Isles. My ancestry is Welsh. Hope you get the Leading Ladies back soon!

Eve said...

That was a long trip Gary. Like you were in the middle of nowhere on a vast ocean! I much prefer you on solid ground! I'm sure you had a great visit with the guys.
I sure do wish something would happen with the Leading Ladies and you would get her home!
What a beautiful area you live. It's so fun to google map around the streets. I feel like I can visit without having to go so far from home!
Hi to all!

BeemerGirl said...

Glad you have at least one baby back in the stable. Hope the second one returns home soon. Do you think it would be faster if you were actually there, sitting on someones head? Do you think that your distance might be preventing an urgency on the customs part?

Thanks for taking the pictures in Waterford. The tower is wonderful.

-Lori

Martha said...

Good idea re the trailer, though I've been known to ride in spite of weather warnings and such....however, having said that, my motorcycles are not as pretty as that red one!

Now, how to rescue "The Leading Ladies" though?

dom

bluekat said...

1 down, 1 to go. Beautiful bike, but looks lonely in your garage! Definitely need the Leading Ladies back home! On a different note, love that stone tower.

Cynthia said...

You had a really long trip but at least you made the most fun out of it. I really did enjoy the pictures you took of your trip. Seems like we were there with you too. And the happiest part for me is when your bike finally did arrive home and safely.

Chris Luhman said...

Congrats on getting half your bikes back!! ;) Now you can get out and ride once the weather clears up a bit. It is very sad having your bike held hostage. I'm hoping you get the other one back soon.

-Chris @ everydayriding.org - year round riding in Minnesota

irondad said...

It's always something, isn't it? Hope you soon have success.

I see you're wise in checking out the location of the lifeboat!

Circle Blue said...

I'm so glad you have at least one bike back. I'm not liking you having only the one back. I can only imagine how much you must dislike it.
~Keith

Gary France said...

Patti – There is no need to be embarrassed. You should see what officials in my country do sometimes! It is a little frustrating, but it’s not really a problem providing I get the bike back before the riding season starts over here. A few years ago I went on a tour of the Waterford Crystal glass factory and found it to be a fascinating blend of old and new methods of working glass.

Bob – You are right, as driving through the night meant there was very little traffic. That tower in Waterford was built in the beginning of the 13th century. I did get some news about the Leading ladies. Watch this space for a post shortly!

Canajun – Before I got the red bike back, I needed to go into my garage a few days ago and looked at the two empty spaces where my bikes should have been. I stood there and thought “I do miss them!”.

Donna – You are most welcome.

Mike – I will try to get more posts in with pictures from here over the spring and summer. I have quite a few long rides planned across Europe for this year and I always take my camera on those, but rarely do I take pictures of my own country. I guess that is because we take for granted what we see often. There must be a few lessons in there for us all....

Gary France said...

Eve – Spending almost a full day at the dealership was great fun and people in Ireland are incredibly welcoming. The journey was long, but worthwhile, so I was happy to do it. It is a pretty big sea, but thankfully it was calm on both sailings.

Lori – I thought about going back to see if I could move things along more quickly, but it is a long way! Plus, providing I could see an end to the paperwork trail (or is that trial?) I was happy to let it takes its course. The saving grace is the weather here is dreadful at the moment, so I probably wouldn’t be out riding anyway.

Martha – In the end I was glad I took the trailer. The ride back would have been fun, but miserably cold and wet. And the good thing? I didn’t need to spend hours cleaning the red bike afterwards!

bluekat – I agree about the red bike looking lonely, but some progress has been made on getting the Leading Ladies back....

Cynthia – It was good to be on a trip where I had enough time to relax, talk to lots of people and walk around the city.

Gary France said...

Chris – Thanks! Being held hostage made me laugh. I hadn’t thought of it like that and I guess there could be ten very annoyed women in the process!

irondad – I have some news about the black bike which I will post about tomorrow – progress is being made! I also look at where the exits are on planes!

Keith – Having one back is good. Two will be twice as good!

motoroz said...

I can not believe you still have not gotten the Leading Ladies! That is amazing. Glad you got your red bike back.

Gary France said...

Oz – It is good having the red bike back and I am happy that finally the Leading Ladies are on their way home!