It takes determinaton, and luck, to get an old bike running again

I recently mentioned a friend of mine, Gary, had opened a two-wheeled Pandora’s Box when he showed me not one, but two junky vintage Honda motorbikes nestled in his large garden shed.

Who knew that sometimes, what you are looking for is already right there under your nose? Or in a shed.

So yes, I took in my pop bottles, sold some furniture and the cat (kidding) and scraped up enough to purchase not one, but two junky 1970s Honda Trail bikes.

As one or two readers may recall, I had already recently acquired a similar bike – a decrepit 1966 Honda Trail model – so what’s a guy to do with three junky old motorbikes, that won’t start and don’t run?

Well, the obvious answer to that question is, you make one good one out of the three not-so-good ones.

And for that, you obviously need a fairly deep knowledge of all things motorbike. Or failing that, you should possess a deep ability and talent for all things mechanical. Also, a lot of tools.

And a garage or similar structure within which to take motorcycles apart and put them back together. I, of course, have precisely none of those things.

But luckily for me, my old friend and fellow bandmate, Dave, has all of those things, and something much more rare and important – the abiding good nature and generous inclination to help a friend with a bunch of old motorbikes and very few attributes such as ability, knowledge or tools.

So forward into the fray we went — over a month or two, an hour here, a half-hour there, five hours on a Saturday, “wrenching” away.

I was having an excellent time getting my hands dirty, diving right in there by fetching tools for Dave, holding the other end of mechanical things like “carburetors,” “exhaust manifolds” and “handle bars” for Dave, intensely observing, and making sure he had enough water during the strenuous wrenching parts of the work.

It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re working on a motorcycle.

The surprising thing was, the yellow bike — the 1978 one — turned out to be in excellent shape. This is not consistent with my historical pattern of luck in matters of this sort, in that these cockamamie ventures I often get myself into pretty much always end up in disappointment, disaster, or worse.

So we put gas in it and voila! — it leaked all over the ground. So we (Dave) took the carburetor off and fixed the stuck float thingie (twice) and kicked it over, and voila! — nothing.

We (me) kicked that kick starter approximately 150 times and the little yellow bike really wanted to start, but just didn’t quite have it in her.

So … (don’t tell our better halfs or the safety people) we hooked up a long rope to Dave’s golf cart that he keeps at his acreage so his grandkids can have fun running into bushes.

We towed the Honda around and around the yard, putting the bike in gear and trying a “running start.”

I was driving the golf cart. Dave, being head mechanic, was riding the bike. The rope was hooked onto the handle bars.

And voila! — a real voila this time — the bike fired right up and Dave somehow unhooked the rope without stalling, and within moments, we were taking turns rattling up and down the back roads of his semi-urban subdivision.

After all these years, I finally had myself another Honda! But, of course, the trauma-drama was only just beginning.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

Just Posted

Police say someone fired paintballs at people outside drug consumption site in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Police in southern Alberta are investigating after they say… Continue reading

Is federal carbon tax killing jobs? Experts say answer isn’t ‘black and white’

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government says the federal carbon tax is killing… Continue reading

New book assesses Trudeau government’s record of living up to pledges

OTTAWA — A new book arriving on the eve of the federal… Continue reading

Walk raises awareness, money for overdose awareness in Red Deer

More than 90 people gathered in Red Deer to break the stigma… Continue reading

Ponoka RCMP looking for missing man

Ponoka RCMP is asking the public to help find a man who… Continue reading

WATCH: Snakes, lizards and more at the Western Canadian Reptile Expo in Red Deer

The 10th annual Western Canadian Reptile Expo is this weekend in Red… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday and Sept. 3 The Tony Connelly Singers provide an opportunity to… Continue reading

Extinction bites: countries agree to protect sharks and rays

GENEVA — Countries have agreed to protect more than a dozen shark… Continue reading

Trudeau and Trump hold face to face meeting on sidelines of G7 summit

BIARRITZ, France — Justin Trudeau met face-to-face with U.S. President Donald Trump… Continue reading

Study reveals new details of overseas Cold War intelligence effort by Canadians

OTTAWA — Canada enlisted citizens who travelled to Communist countries during the… Continue reading

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

BIARRITZ, France — As leaders of the now-fractious Group of Seven countries… Continue reading

Central Alberta Bucs fall to Calgary Wolfpack in crazy AFL Championship game

The Central Alberta Buccanneers came up just short in pursuit of their… Continue reading

Regina police officer charged with impaired driving after hit-and-run

Regina police say a member of the force has been charged after… Continue reading

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

OTTAWA — Samantha Reusch is aiming to help young Canadians identify misinformation… Continue reading

Most Read