Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Lejogle - Day 18

It rained heavily overnight and outside our tent were some puddles. Unfortunately there was also a slight puddle on the porch between my side of the tent and dad’s side. It had, however, stopped raining by the time we got up.

We set off at about 9:25. It started with a steep climb from the site up to the village and there was then quite a bit more climbing in the first 20 miles. It stayed dry until Worcester (about 25 miles in) when it started to rain and then it absolutely chucked it down for a while and continued to rain for about two hours. Although we both had problems finding our way out of Worcester (we both followed signs for the A38 but then they stopped providing signs) we found each other again.

All was going well, we went through Tewkesbury and then Gloucester, meeting every 10 miles or so. I was cycling along the road, about 5 miles south of Gloucester, at around 14:00, when dad appeared in front of me with the motorbike sitting in the bike lane……

I stopped, dad looked a bit dejected and there was a smell of electrical burning. Dad thinks that something shorted (possibly the starter motor), shorted out the battery (melting the connectors) and burnt out the starter motor (which dad said had started to smoke). He called the breakdown company (it comes with the insurance and once got him and his broken bike back from Spain) for someone to come and collect him and the bike.

He was told that they would be 50-60 minutes and then we were called to say that it might be two hours. The man turned up after about an hour and twenty minutes. First he had a look at what the problem was while dad got frustrated that the man seemed to want to see if it could be fixed while dad knew that it couldn’t be, even with the wires held on the battery the engine wouldn’t turn over.

Before the man arrived, dad and I had speculated at what might be sent for him, the insurance company should know that it is a motorbike and sidecar but as he had been told that it wasn’t on his policy (he has two bikes on the one policy), that information might not have been passed on. As it was the man arrived in a big van from a company which specialises in transporting motorbikes. He let the tailgate down and we tried to get the bike into the back of the van but, with the side car and the engine, it was too wide to fit in. The man therefore had to phone to get someone else to pick the bike up.

So, where does that leave me?

It is clear that the motorbike won’t make it any further under its own steam but that doesn’t stop me. While dad was on the phone to the breakdown company, I was having a look on the internet to work out a plan on how to continue but in the end dad came up with a better one.

As I said yesterday, today I was cycling to a friend’s house. I therefore packed some clothes, left dad at about 15:20 and continued on my way (about another 18 miles). I arrived at my friend’s house at about 16:30 and so I’m OK for the night (his mum has made sure that I’ve had enough food and they’ve washed some clothes).

It’s taken a while and a few different recovery lorries but dad should be on his way back to Cornwall with the motorbike, trailer and our things at the moment. I’ve just received a call (at about 23:20) from the man who is picking him up from Exeter Services. It appears that he’s being taken down in stages as it’s probably 180 miles to get him home.

Tomorrow I will continue on down the A38 to the next campsite (which is close to Tiverton Parkway Station) and dad will transfer our things from the trailer to his van, he will then drive up to the campsite and we will spend the night there. On Thursday I will then cycle to my mum’s as planned and then to Land’s End on Friday. That is the plan, at least. When it was formulated it was about 15:00 and the expectation wasn’t that eight hours later he would still be 90 miles from home.

If the motorbike was going to breakdown, today was one of the better days for it to happen. In some ways we’ve been lucky that a bike that was designed in 1932 and built in 1958 has survived such a long trip with such little trouble, it’s still very annoying though.

Today was therefore a lot more eventful than I expected as I thought that this was going to be another complain about how wet we got and how our shoes haven’t dried out fully for days (that’s caused by the rain and the morning dew on the grass). Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Distance Today - 82.6 miles
Distance from John O'Groats - 677.9 miles
Total Distance - 1567.3 miles

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