Hot and Sandy

Travel writing, pictures and stuff for people I know. Quite a lot of cycling talk, and some semi-controlled ranting. Hiking, outdoor and two-wheeled stuff, perhaps a little computing when it's worth talking about. Meandering thoughts.

Monday, April 28


No updates for ages, sorry.  News and stuff coming soon...

Tuesday, April 15


My car went to the garage today – it turns out that the exhaust return gate breather hose (??) was missing, so some oil was occasionally dribbling into the alternator.  It was a small fix, involving about a foot of hose and a tiny jubilee clip. 

The other problem wasn’t a problem at all, but remains a mystery.  There seems to be a certain amount of “misting” of power steering fluid behind the radiator.  A once-per-six-month top up cures any problems, so I’ll leave it.  The most crowd-pleasing fix was the bulbs behind my odometer and trip.  All are now bright and orange.

In terms of bike repairs, I got the guys in Biggleswade to remove my tyre for free last night.  Once I had the tyre in my hand I realised how scarily worn it was.  Actually thin on the left-hand shoulder.  Funny that it should be that side that wears, considering that roundabouts wear the other side.  I can only assume that either 1) I’m more confident on left-handers or 2) I tend to accelerate hard off roundabouts, scrubbing the tyre more on the left.  Weird anyway. 

I removed all of the disk bolts and bobbins except one, in which the very Germanic torx head sheared.  I ended up persuading the tyre guy to cut out the bolt with his air-cutter, having got it pretty hot with a torch.  Being all good and proper I have ordered a kit with bolts and bobbins to refit the disks after they’ve been through the dishwasher (really).

Stuff will be painted soon, and the pimping can begin.  Still seeking a decent rear shock, might end up buying a Wilbers one new. Hope I can use my US address.

Sunday, April 13

Maintenance 2....

On the car front, mine has an oil leak.  I only noticed because I've been checking the level regularly in the first few weeks of ownership.  It's only a trickle / weep, but it's above the aternator, so I need to get it sorted.  Best case scenario?  A new jubilee clip.  Worst?  A new hose and some labour to pay.   

There is also a leak of power steering fluid.  Dunno where that's leaking from.  Hmmm.  More news after the 15th.  Because of my work (and the requirement to get there in a car) I have a choice of precisely ONE garage.  Apparently they're alright though.


Have been in the garage, tinkering with my bike.  Of the many fasteners on the front of the bike only two gave problems.  One was the lower-left mudguard bolt, which was a rusty mess.  I finally managed to get it out by hammering in a torx bit, but I will need to get another before I reassemble the bike.  

The other was more annoying - one of the brake disk bolts.  They are all torx T40,  and most came off with no problem, despite lots of (probably OEM) threadlock.  But this one refused to move and the head finally broke.  I might have to pay someone to cut a slot in it to remove it.  As long as they don't drill it out I'll be fine.

Good points?  Well my calipers are relatively un-manky and the bolts were all nicely copaslipped.  The pads were good and my disks have loads of life in them.  Axle was clean and greased, and came out with no probs.  Wheel bearings also all look good.

Bad stuff?  Well my OEM mudguard is knackered - more than it looked on the bike.  I was hoping to have it sprayed, but it won't work.  eBay it is.  My steering damper is covered in a sort of greasy fur.  It doesn't damp any more.  I could chuck it away, or replace it from a scrappper.  The finish on the fork legs is shocking, so I will need to get spraying with the smoothrite to make things spick and span.  Final bad point is that I need a new rear shock - a tall Sports one ($$$).  Will try and source of from the guy who is servicing my bike pre-Istan.

More news when front wheel is painted and back on the bike.  Am also getting the belly pan back.  Woo.  No news on how good the HIDs and horn are yet, as I haven't been able to use them properly.

Saturday, April 5

Weird Week

My BMW bike is in parts, awaiting some TLC.  Good news is that I have had the rear wheel tidied and a new tyre fitted.  Front wheel is still waiting, in the bike.  It's a problem to get some 1/2" drive torx bits to take it apart!  

Once I remove the front wheel the fun begins - repainting the forks and the front wishbone, cleaning out the brakes and fitting a new Ilmberger front fender, which I've had in the garage for about 18 months.  The wheel's going to be 2-pack sprayed satin black and I'll apply the red reflective rim stripes and fit a new front tyre (in the garage already).  Finally everything willl go back together, including the belly pan.  It's all a lot of hassle, for a moderately tidy bike at the end.  The problem is a medium-distance commute 12mnths per year, and no car.

Now I have a car (which is doing between 38 and 41mpg and 500 miles between fillls), I have a lot more flexibility with the bike.  I have some jobs to do before riding to Istan, but I'm confident I'll be ready.  The HID, rear LEDs and truck horn are already fitted and working well.