OUR CLAS­SICS

Mark’s trip to Lon­don on the Moto Guzzi in­cludes an un­sched­uled stop for rest and re­cu­per­a­tion dur­ing the home­ward trip...

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Mike’s Yamaha TDR frus­trates, while Mark’s Guzzi ex­pires

Hav­ing stumped up the courage to re­move the Guzzi’s spark plugs, I dis­cov­ered the threads in the head weren’t knack­ered, as I’d sus­pected. With a new pair of sparklers gapped and fit­ted, the en­gine ran sweeter than it had for some time, prompt­ing a spurt of two-wheeled ac­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing suc­cess­ful weekly com­mutes.

I also re­solved to visit my mate Wag in Lon­don. I hadn’t seen him for years and the bike seemed the ideal mode of trans­port to bodyswerve the traf­fic and the cap­i­tal’s con­ges­tion charge. When I heard of an event called the Clas­sic Car Boot Sale in the King’s Cross area, the date was set. I’d ride down from Le­ices­ter­shire to King’s Cross, check out the Bootie and then ride down to my mate’s place in Wandsworth for a night of boozy nos­tal­gia, yarn­ing and vinyl-spin­ning. Per­fect. And life was in­deed per­fect as the Guzzi throbbed away down the A5. But then we hit the city – and at the first set of traf­fic lights, the Guzzi started to get grumpy. By the time I reached the car boot sale, any rid­ing plea­sure had long been for­got­ten – the en­gine was com­plain­ing like a black cab driver asked to cross the river af­ter mid­night and I was hav­ing to slip the clutch like crazy.

Luck­ily, the Clas­sic Car Boot Sale pro­vided wel­come re­lief. A laid-back event in Gra­nary Square, in the buffed-up en­vi­rons north of King’s Cross sta­tion, the vibe was summed up by the old­school reg­gae boom­ing from the sound sys­tem mounted up­stairs in a Routemas­ter bus. I nes­tled the Guzzi along­side the bikes on the dis­play by mo­tor­cy­cle store Bolt Lon­don and wan­dered around the stalls sell­ing vin­tage clothes and bric-a-brac, with clas­sic cars and bikes dot­ted be­tween them. In fact, if you fancy dis­play­ing your bike at the next Clas­sic Car Boot Sale in April, con­tact the or­gan­is­ers at: info@clas­s­ic­car­boot­sale.co.uk – they’re keen to get more mo­tor­cy­cles in­volved.

Sadly, the trip to Wandsworth was less pleas­ant, punc­tu­ated by rain, mas­sive clutch slip, los­ing my way, an un­sched­uled stop and en­forced bump-start­ing. A big back­fire a few doors away from my mate’s place an­nounced my ar­rival… and the Guzzi coasted to a halt. But at least it had got me there – I could for­get about try­ing to get the bike fit for the re­turn trip un­til the next morn­ing. Sun­day had long dawned by the time I ap­proached the Guzzi, which re­fused any in­duce­ment to start, apart from be­ing jump­started off Wag’s Mini. I headed home, with hope in my heart. I headed for the A3 and the dreaded M25 clock­wise; it was clogged, the bike didn’t feel good… and then the en­gine died and we coasted to a halt on the hard shoul­der just be­fore junc­tion 17. Time to call for re­cov­ery, which re­sulted in a two-stage re­lay back home. Stage one was in a van to New­port Pag­nall. Stage two in­volved the Guzzi be­ing rolled onto a huge flatbed on an in­ge­nious rolling dolly fit­ted to the front wheel, fol­lowed by a con­vivial chat with the driver, a full-on petrol­head. I al­ways find you meet some lovely peo­ple when you break down – it’s all part of own­ing a clas­sic. So, as I fi­nally wheeled the Guzzi into my garage at 6.45pm, it wasn’t with a sense of dis­ap­point­ment, it was with a con­spir­a­to­rial grin, a pat on the tank and the sat­is­fac­tion that we’d got through an­other scrape to­gether.

Left to right: Mark, Wag and part­ner Sarah with pre­jump-start Guzzi

Time for the Guzzi to let the dolly take the strain

MARK HOLMES

This Moto Guzzi T3 has been in the grasp of our pro­duc­tion edi­tor for three years. Last time he re­ported on it, he was hav­ing trou­ble with the plugs...

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