Christmas Eve 1972 on the bike
Managed to have a big fight with the old lady, christ knows what about, I was 16, she was nuts, who knows... f this me thinks, Im leaving. Got a mate living on a sheep station in Taupo, bout 5 hrs away, Ill go there and get a job up that way. Pack my pack, an old trapper nelson, that Ive still got today, and head off. The bike at the time was an old 63 preunit Triumph with extended forks Id put on, struts and a slimline tank. And it was bloody missing. Run fine then miss and splutter, and I couldnt find the cause. So for the first 2 hrs I rode somewhat unsatisfactorily north...But it got worse. Leaving Bulls my clutch cable nipple decides to part company with the cable, at the clutch lever. Joy of joys, all the way to Taihape, thru the Mangaweka's( since bypassed), the windiest steepest bit of road in the North Island almost at the time with no clutch. Arrive in Taihape and turn into the first garage that looks like its got a workshop. Elegantly kangaroo hop to a stop,... not a shit show of finding neutral. Nice manager lets me use his soldering iron to repair the cable. Jees we dont know how lucky we are these days, never had a Harley cable break. Take off again, and do the 20 odd miles thru to Waiouru, at the start of the desert road.Its just coming on dark, and the bike is still missing, but as I look down see a spark at the end of the distributor, theres a loose wire! Happy as, I pull over and fix it, then gas up, and head out into the early evening. Its warm, the bikes running great now, yeehaa!
The preunit before its slimline tank. Just remembered it was orange....
About 2 miles down the road the eleation ends as the bike backfires and the engine dies. I grab the clutch and drift to a halt.Quick check finds nothing amiss, so I start kicking. hmm doesnt want to start. Theres fuel, and a bit of a spark so Im stuffed.. Mustve mucked around trying to find the fault for an hour or so , but with no luck Start pushing back towards Waiouru .Takes about 2 hours all up, as its slightly uphill. More light here so have another go at finding out whats wrong, but still no luck. Decide I might as well head home with it on the train, as the line doesnt go to Taupo. So at 1220am on Christmas morning I push the bike into a goods carriage on the rattler between Wellington and Auckland.
Seven odd hours later I arrive in Porirua, push the bike down the ramps to the pedestrian underpass, up the other side eventually, then the mile up the road to home. Christ it'd kill me now, and I think it nearly killed me then. Couldnt bring myself to go inside, so camped in my shed out the back for a couple of days.
Do you think I could fix that bike?. About 3 months later I noticed that the distributor shaft wasnt always turning when I kicked it over. Eureka! Must be in the timing gears! Pull the timing cover and sure enough the gear on the end of the dissy shaft is turning, but the shaft isnt, the little pin had broken. Pissed me off, couldve fixed it on the side of the road with a nail...bloody thing would catch and turn a bit, giving a spark occasionally, fooling me into thinking that area was ok...Might have bought a manual not long after..