A Tale of Woe

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Well, the journey down to the Isle of Wight for us, (us being myself on my Yam, and my other half and lad on the Mz and sidecar), started very well. We set off from home at about 1.30pm, at a startling speed of 50mph, (the Mz only goes that fast!!). About 4.30pm, 6 miles north of Winchester, the Mz got a flat rear tyre. Great, wonderful, never mind, we're in the AA. One phone call and 45 minutes later, the very nice man appears, loads up the sidecar, hubby and kid in the truck, and off we go to get it fixed. We arrive at a place called Micheldever Tyres, friendly bunch was the first opinion. Second opinion was 'bunch of thieves'. They wanted to charge us, just to fit a 7.50 innertube, approx 90, ("It's out of hours," said one bloke, "I've been at work since 7.30 this morning"). I think we told them to **** off very unpolitely. Luckily, the driver of the recovery truck, took us back to his wonderful garage, Clacy's Garage in Whitchurch, where his boss fitted our 7.50 innertube, (unfortunately purchased from the bunch of cowboys at Micheldever!), for nothing! It even was difficult to slip him sommit for a drink.

Off we set again, complete with a rear tyre holding air. We arrive at Southampton in time to catch the 8.30(ish) ferry. Fine, no problems, even met up with a mate, Roger, on the boat.

An hour later, in the dark, we arrive in Cowes, and all pile off the ferry. All's going well, until we turn right out of Newport, a well lit town, down into some country lanes, when I realise I have a problem with my lights. I drop back from the Mz, so I could work out what lights I had and didn't have. Of course, by the time I worked out that I only had indicators and brake light working, Grim was miles ahead, and I couldn't see a damn thing! Eventually, Grim come back and found me. A quick discussion led to the decission that I would follow Grim very closely for the last 10 miles or so. Ok, not a very good idea, but other than dumping the bike, and luggage, there wasn't much else we could do! And let me tell you, that was the most scary ride of my life!!

We arrive at the rally site about an hour later, get our chalet keys, get kid into bed, and sit chatting to Cliff, Annie, Rachel and Dave before crashing out.

Saturday started very well. After stopping to buy some more fuses for my Yam, just in case, we followed the rest of the club into Ventnor. Apart from the zig zag road down a very steep hill to the sea front, we spent a brill morning outside a cafe there, with James every so often going off to build pebble castles, (no sand, you see!). We left, going up the very steep hill, zig zagging all the way. Arrived back at the site, and realised that my lights had gone again. Grim did a bit of detective work, and found it was my headlight shorting out. So off he and Jay went, to get me a new bulb, and another handful of fuses. He got back about 5pm, and fixed the Yam. Great, we had the Saturday night in the marquee to look forward to now. NOT!! The Mz had other ideas. Just as Grim replaced my headlight, there was a noise, very simular to a trucks airbrakes going off. We looked down, and saw that, for no apparant reason, the front tyre on the Mz had gone down!! And on closer inspection, we noticed that we had broken a spoke nipple too!! (A spoke nipple is what holds a spoke of a wheel to the rim).

It was now 5.30pm, on the Isle of Wight, on a Bank Holiday Saturday. Nothing open. Nothing we could do. Well, apart from wander around the site, asking if anyone had a spare nipple we could borrow. You should have heard the replies I got!! We eventually bumped into Rick, a WightRider, and he said that he could get us a puncture repair kit and possibly a spoke nipple for the next day. Brilliant. It was a chance, a slim one, but a chance.

On closer inspection, the innertube, where it had punctured, it really wasn't safe to just repair it. I wasn't really happy with the idea of riding home with a broken spoke anyway. I agreed to let them patch the tyre and limp the outfit to the ferry and call the AA from Southampton.

Sunday. Ok, we had decided on our plan to get home. But there was a very small chance that we may be able to find somewhere open to sell us an innertube and maybe some spoke nipples. We arranged for Tim, THANKS AGAIN TIM!!, to take Grim and James to the theme park, Blackgang Chine, and then I set off on my trusty Yamaha to find the impossible.

After 3 hours of futile trawling round the Isle of Wight death roads, I found nothing, not one tyre place open, only Halfords, and what's their motorcycle stock like? Non existant. I gave up, went to Safeway's petrol station, in Sandown, bought petrol and milk, joked with the cashier about where I could get an innertube from, turned to leave, and was stopped by a well dressed lady. "Did I hear that you are after some motorcycle parts?" she asked. "Yup, but I can't find anywhere open." I replied. "Have you tried Bert's in Ryde? I don't know where it is exactly, but he's always willing to open up and help out the kids on scooters.", "Point me in the right direction," I said, "I'll find it!". Off I set.

After half hours riding around in Ryde, I find the Tourist Information. The lady there is a motorcylists daughter & sister, and has Bert's mobile number. I ring him, get him out of his house to his shop, where he sells me an innertube, for 7.00, and gives me a handful of different spoke nipples. WOW!! I had done it!! Done the impossible!! Yay!! I ring Grim and tell him the good news.

Back at the site, I beat Grim and the rest of the club back. I figure I deserve a couple of beers, too right I did!

Between Rick, and the bits he got for us, and the bits I managed to get, we got the Mz back up on 2 wheels again!

We finished that day, with a brilliant meal from on site, and spent some time in the marquee.

Monday morning, we packed up and left to head for home. Ferry, no problem, & the Mz was running fine. We were travelling back with a lady who needed pointing in the right direction for home. We stopped at the Newbury Services, met the club, and set off again, with a Worzel limping his trike back with a blown gearbox.

All's well. Ahhhh, 19 miles from home, brilliant, we've made it. WRONG! Just before the speed derestrictions signs of Bicester, Grim pulls into a parking bay, and the Mz stops. Yup, stops, never to go again. We had blown the engine. That just capped it!! A little while after, the rest of the Barrel arrive, and we all mourn over the dead Mz. Well, Grim did, I was annoyed, half the Barrel thought it was funny, and the other half thought it was hillarious!! Grim rang the AA, the Club carried on to their respective homes, I left Grim, Jay and Worzel waiting for the AA, while I went back to cook dinner. For me, the IOW adventure stopped here, but for Grim, Jay and Worzel, it continued for a couple more hours. The original recovery people who were gonna come out and pick up the outfit, rang Grim and told him they couldn't recover him, cos their trucks weren't big enough!

Finally, Grim and Jay made it back!! And I believe Worzel made it back under his own steam too!!

Pretty disasterous, if I may say so, but we all made it back safely! Oh, except for Roger and Lynn, who's bike brokedown, in practically the same place as we did on the way down! They even got recovered back to Milton Keynes by the same driver who rescued us first! Who waved as he went past Grim, Jay and Worzel at Bicester!

I do have a few thankyou's to say:

A massive Thankyou goes to CLACY'S GARAGE!

Another goes to TIM for risking his exhaust to take my rather heavy hubby to Blackgang!

Thankyou to RICK of the Wightriders.

Thankyou to BERT of Berts Motorcycles in Ryde!

Thankyou WORZEL for staying with Grim and Jay until the AA man got there!

And last but not least, THANKYOU to the BARREL for helping with the Mz throughout the weekend and the journey home!!