Motorcycle mayhem continues to leave me standing still

Many readers (OK, three readers) have asked me about my continuing motorcycle mayhem, since my last report (Part 6) a few weeks ago, mentioned the little 1978 Honda CT90 motorbike had quit on me and left me by the side of the road many kilometres east of town. In the rain.

So many things have happened since I last wrote of the two-wheeled odyssey, some of them actually quite good.

First, after my motorcycle mentor, Dave, went into town and got his truck and hauled the dead bike back to his shop, I successfully resisted the urge to blow it up with a can of gas and went on the interweb to look up motorcycle parts instead.

In the days that followed, my other motor mentor, G.T., kindly took it upon himself to remove various fuel-related stuff from the bike. I believe I heard such technical terms as “carburetor,” “gas tank” and “some hoses” – and he meticulously restored them to beyond their 41-year-old glory.

These items were then reinstalled. But to no avail. The bike still sucked. (But apparently, it didn’t suck enough fuel.)

So I found a miraculously cheap carburetor ($24) in a foreign land online and waited many weeks for it to arrive.

The summer was slipping away, so when it arrived, I joyously joined my kind and generous friends and we three motorheads had an enjoyable wrench session wherein Dave worked in his shop, G.T. installed the new carb, and I watched and ate snacks.

All went well until several intense wrenching hours later, when it came time to test drive. I had the honors since I was the most rested up, and that’s when it went, shall we say, downhill.

It wouldn’t start. Like, at all. So again, we roped it to Dave’s golf cart and towed it around the yard. And around. And around. It was getting a tad frustrating.

And then, just as we were about to thrash the thing into little pieces with a sledgehammer, Dave noticed something.

Yours truly had shut off the run/kill switch on the handlebars, thinking I was turning it on. We could have towed the bike until the wheels fell off. So, technically speaking, I was an idiot.

Once my friends thrashed me into little pieces with a sledgehammer, the bike started right up and ran nicely.

For a few milliseconds. Then it began to sputter and cough like a 41-year-old Sears lawn mower. We shut it off and put it in a shed, shaking our collective motorheads.

The next day, with the Two-Wheeled Trio all revved up with fresh motorcycle mayhem, a washer was installed, this little screw tweaked and that big bolt torqued and the Honda was purring like a catnipped kitten.

Miracle of miracles – we were finally ready for another epic ride.

Off we go to the beautiful blacktop of the east country. The plan was for Dave on his big Suzuki road bike and me on my putt-putt Honda to meet G.T. and his sparkling Yamaha Enduro at his house and ride – ride like the wind into sweet sunny miles of memories.

We weren’t halfway to G.T.’s place when my Honda began to sputter and toot like a room full of seniors after Tuesday cabbage rolls. We barely made it to the house, me lurching depressingly along at eight km/h.

We (they) spent an hour working on the bike, and then I insisted I “help.”

And that’s when I lost the one crucial clip that goes on the carb needle thingie.

We never did find it.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. He can be reached at

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