Saturday morning, and I have to get the chain fixed. I phone Fowlers, and they almost laugh at the idea that I want a chain fitting – they’ve got no space for about a month in their workshop. They do give me a couple of other places I could try though – the first of which offers me a week on Monday, so I phone M R Motorcycles. “Sure, bring it down – we’ve got one on the ramp, but if you’re here in about an hour, we’ll put it straight on” That’s what I call service – I pop down and good as their word as soon as I pull up outside the mechanic wheels it stright in.
The front sprocket I’ve got on there is non standard – it’s a 15 point, and the standard is 14 – I have a 15 put back on, it makes touring easier – gives slightly longer legs between gears, the GSX1100 is renowned for having it’s ratios set too close together. The chain that is taken off is 120 link – and they’ve only got the standard 118 link in – not sure if that’ll fit with the larger front sprocket – I might have to go for the 14 after all, but it goes on fine, and my wallet is £166 lighter. They also had a lovely Norton Commando 850 in there for four grand, but I don’t think tha Suzy would ever forgive me.
Back to Suzy’s parents for some lunch, and the bike feels so much better for the new chain – the old one had started to wear itself against the swinging arm – the tyre will wait until I get back to Aber and Cambrian Tyres.
It’s tough getting back on the bike – I’m aching, and it’s the last leg, less than two hundred miles back home. Back on the M4, then as I turn off onto the A470 I see a brand new Ferrari at the lights in front of me. Now the GSX has a new chain on it, and I’ve filled the oil up again – this guy just can’t out accelerate me – I’m sure that if he kept the hammer down he would have got away easily as his top speed would be better than I could manage on the bike, but I can still do 0-60 in under 3 seconds, and I don’t care what car you have it simply can’t compete with that type of acceleration. He gets to Merthyr and turns off – I carry on over the Beacons, and stop at the biker caff on just after the summit – if you’ve ever been over the Brecon Beacons on the A470, you know where I mean – the big layby on the corner. A mug of good caff tea, and a natter with some guys up from Cardiff for a day out, and I’m back on the road home again.
Boy it’s good to be home, now where shall I go next year… I’ve learned a lot about touring on a bike – mainly take a couple of days off after a thousand miles riding, and take a mate or two with you – if anyone want’s to tour for a week or two next year, then drop me a line…