It’s time to put this story of my 1978 Honda motorbike to bed. Also the motorbike itself. When it snows in September, that’s Mother Nature’s big hint that it’s probably time to brush the snow off your two-wheeler and push it into some sort of shelter for its yearly ten or eleven-month hibernation.
It’s amazing to me how my supercilious saga of the attempted resurrection of a little 1970s Honda has struck a chord (Bmin7th) with readers. “My first bike!” they say. “I loved that thing!” they remark. “Unlike yours, mine ran perfectly,” they tell me. “For years and years!”
So as I wipe a vagrant tear from my eye, I recall that the last episode of this epic was a month or so ago when I mentioned that my friends Dave and GT and I were attempting, for the second unsuccessful time, to go for a nice ride in the scenic blacktop country east of town on our motorcycles. And for the second time, my CT90 Trail was doing more sputtering than running, so we had to stop to fix it at GT’s place, whereupon I lost the most important part of the carburetor that my buddies had explicitly told me not to lose.
This tiny c-shaped clip, smaller than the circumference of the eraser on the end of a pencil and much thinner than a dime, adjusts the needle thingie so that the carburetor can take expensive gas and turn it into fairy dust that makes the engine run, which makes the motorbike zoom. I think that’s the way it works.
Anyway, as my generous friends were working on my bike, I attempted to “do something useful” by removing the clip from end of the little carburetor needle thingie, the clip just went “PING!” and immediately disappeared.
I mean into thin air. It was GONE. Uh-oh.
My friends, with Herculean effort, somehow managed to resist murdering me, and as I apologized profusely, Dave got on his bike to head back into town to take our other bike parts apart to get another clip, and he wasn’t even shaking his head in frustration or anything.
And then GT did something brilliant. Here he comes out of his garage and he has a few metres of yellow rope and he’s dragging what looks like a large speaker from a guitar amplifier.
In fact, it IS a speaker from an amp. It’s about the size of a dinner plate, and he is dragging it around on the pavement of his driveway and into the grass all around the outdoor table where I had, like the dork that I am, sent the metal carb clip flying into oblivion.
And then I remembered. Speakers have magnets. The back of an audio speaker is a big magnet. That magnet converts electricity into fairy dust and that makes sound come out the other end. I think that’s the way it works.
So for the better part of an hour he mag-dragged and I crawled around on all fours, until Dave got back with the tiny replacement clip. In spite of GT’s brilliance we never did find the one I sent flying – it’s probably still zinging through the clouds on the tail of the trade winds somewhere.
So I went and hid so I wouldn’t lose anything else, and after a while the guys put the bike back together, adjusted the fairy dust in the carburetor and – finally – off we went.
For about two kilometres. Before my bike died. Again. Dave had to go get the truck. Again.
Anybody want a deal on a 1978 Honda CT90? Will consider trades.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.