I spent a lot of time today thinking about my route and came to the conclusion that I’m not going to plan one. I want to wake up in the morning and decide where to go that day. In my day to day life I wake up in the morning and look at my diary, typically I’ll then have to go out to a few customers, make a few phone calls, fix a few computers and do some web design. The long and the short of it is that I do what my diary tells me to do. It will be nice to be able to get up and decide my myself. I want to keep the trip as enjoyable as possible by giving myself freedom.
So, with the above in mind my plan is as follows: England, France, Spain, Morocco, Sahara desert and back. No wiggly line on a map for me!
Happy New Year! Today I learnt how to grease my chain (thank you YouTube!). After riding over 25,000 miles on a combination of Honda Transalp, Suzuki GSX-R 750 and an Aprilia RSV1000R I have found that I have been incorrectly greasing my chain. I’ve been spraying the grease on the outside of the chain but the centrifugal force (do you like that?) just flings the grease off the chain, what I should have been doing was spraying the grease onto the inside of the chain. This way the centrifugal force forces the grease into the joints of the chain. So, with this in mind I decided to remove the rear wheel and take a look at the front and rear sprockets. I replaced the sprockets only about 2500 miles ago with third party ones and wear was clearly visible. Luckily I had a brand new set here consisting of genuine Honda sprockets and a heavy duty Honda chain so I have fitted them. From now on I’m sticking to genuine Honda parts. The chain was a complete nightmare as I needed to join the two ends, there are tools available specifically for this purpose but needless to say I didn’t have any of them so I just smashed the living daylights out of the link until it fitted together perfectly. Once I had joined the two ends of the chain together I realised that I should have removed a link as now it’s at maximum adjustment. When I realised that I would need to break the chain and re-join it I thought “be patient Richard”. My next thought was that I would rather pay an expert to do it properly, this task has now been added to my list of items for Honda to deal with!
Whilst the back wheel was off I decided to remove the rear swing arm and I’m glad I did. The bearings were surrounded by grit and dirt so everything was cleaned and greased, I also replaced the rear brake pads as they had been in there for quite some time and were getting a little worn. It’s all back together and now the backend is completely ready for my trip. I know I just made it sound like putting the rear end back together was easy as I’m such a professional but the reality was not quite as simple! It took me about half an hour to get the rear axle back through the swing arm and the wheel, however trying to align the axle was a complete nightmare. When I finally got it through I just sat back and smiled, it wasn’t that bad. Then I realised that I had forgotten to include the rear brake calliper. Bollocks! After spending the next two hours getting the axle out and replacing it with the calliper in place I made a decision to go more, which in turn would make the job easier and certainly faster! I’ve learnt from that mistake!
Good morning people. Here is a picture of my Honda Transalp XL650 with the crash bars fitted. Almost ready now, just need to wait for my small Ortlieb bag to turn up for my tent. 4 days and I will be riding from England to the Sahara desert!! How exciting!
Here is my Honda Transalp XL650 with the crash bars fitted.