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I’ve not messed around with the project motorcycles for a while now, mostly because I’ve been so busy writing and travelling. That’s a lie, the main reason why I’ve not been working on the motorbikes is that it is bloody freezing in the workshop. It’s too cold to be able to grip a spanner and so it’s not that much fun taking things to pieces to see how they work.
 
I need to get some sort of heater rigged up if I’m going to be in there during the winter months. I’ve heard of a ‘fair weather biker’ but is their such a thing as a ‘fair weather mechanic’? Although I don’t think I can call myself a mechanic of any sort really, I can just about take things to pieces, and put them back together again but actually fixing them, well it’s more down to luck than anything else.
 
All this means I’ve not been in the workshop very much over the past few weeks, I’ve been up in London a lot for work or if I have been here I’ve been chained to my computer writing. Which means the big, empty workshop has been left alone for a while and leaving any sort of cleared inside area on this farm is dangerous because the moment you make a big space in a shed it gets filled with a bit of farm machinery.
The motorbikes all squashed up, but why?

The motorbikes all squashed up, but why?

I had started to organise all the tools in the workshop so I could find things faster and then I went away for a few days to test the 800 GS and suddenly something huge and mechanical had appeared in the workshop.

I didn't even know we had one of these on the farm.

I didn't even know we had one of these on the farm.

This is what happens when you clean indoor spaces on the farm, they get filled. It’s like fighting against the tide, one made out of scrap metal. Thinking about it I should have cleaned out the workshop last, so that all these metal things that needed a home were already tucked away before space was made near the tools.

In more upbeat news Hugo at Classic Bike has said he would like a piece on the motorbike my Dad built so I’m writing that now and trying to arrange some photographs. Hugo and my Dad spoke  on the phone about doing a feature on the bike before my Dad passed away so I know my he would be very pleased that this feature is going to happen. 

Even more excitingly as a side effect of this blog I’m off to work at Motorcycle News for a bit. Yes, this is an example of blogging getting people work. I won’t go into the exact details of what happened but I’m really excited about working there.

I start tomorrow and I can’t wait.

Given that the Stinger is far beyond my abilities to repair I’ve decided to start fiddling around with the 185 ER motorcycle to see if I can bring it back to life. I don’t know an awful lot about motorbike repair let alone restoration so this is going to be a learning experience but that’s just all part of the enjoyment, right?

When the bike was discovered we tried kick starting it but it was having none of it. Mostly because something is very wrong with the throttle, it’s jammed and no amount of twisting will get it to move so freeing it up was my first task.

Look at the state of that, just look

Look at the state of that, just look

To add an extra layer of fun to the project I had to find the tools before I could use them. I suspected that everything I would ever need was probably in the workshop it was just a matter of locating it. I was right, and hopefully while I do this I can slowly sort out where things go.

After a bit I’d managed to track down the jam to the bit of wire that leads onto the small bit that looks like a miniature dustbin, or the carburettor as it’s known. The lovely chaps on the Classic Bike forums suggested I just spray that with WD40 and see if that can un-gum it. I’ve given it a good coating so we will find out if that has worked in a day or so.

The top is half off the carburettor in this picture so it looks a bit weird.

I’m going to try and keep to doing the absolute minimum to the motorbike until I’ve got the engine ticking over otherwise I may end up spending a fortune on something that doesn’t even run. While this may be an important part of classic motorcycle ownership I’m not quite ready for that. 

The 185 got some much needed love yesterday. We gave it a good clean so we could have a look at it all and see what needed work and what didn’t. My little brother helped out with the job of washing of years of grime and dust.

However this clean didn’t go exactly to plan, as during the cleaning process a nut on the oil tank was knocked slightly loose. This wasn’t noticed at the time but the next day the bike had made a big oily mess all over the floor like a naughty puppy. Well not exactly like a naughty puppy as puppies don’t wee oil, but you know what I mean.

The weekend paper's sports section saves the day!

The weekend papers' sports section saves the day!

It’s not all bad as the oil probably needed changing anyway, and it’s not a proper workshop unless it is smells of oil.

The source of the mess

The source of the mess

Sadly the project bikes are going to have to be on hold for a bit as I’m going to be going up to London for some work things (stand-up and writing), but hopefully this trip will fund more of the Daytona so that is definitely a good thing. I had a friend suggest I make one of those thermometer things showing how much has been raised so far, so I’ll make that in a minute.

We (my little brother and I) moved the Suzuki TS 185 ER into the workshop today battling fierce weather and curious ducks.

The first bike in the workshop for years

The first bike in the workshop for years

It seemed like the right thing to do as we had cleaned the workshop so that you could reasonably expect to be able to work on something in there. Yesterday I even found the bolt cutters after only a moments searching (instead of several days )and then used them to rescue a friend who had locked something up with a padlock and then rather cunningly lost the key. For future reference using bolt cutters is excellent fun and makes you feel like MacGyver.

Once the bike was in the workshop we had a better look at it.

A lovely dusty bike

A lovely dusty bike

It’s in surprisingly good condition really, I mean almost every bit of plastic or rubber is shot through the but serious metal parts seem to be fine once you get past the rust, but that’s all part of the fun of restoring bikes.

I'm sorry officer I have no idea how fast I was going

'I'm sorry officer I have no idea how fast I was going'

It really is mostly dirt, although there are a few more parts that will need replacing than I originally thought.

The starter switch is going to, erm need some work.

The starter switch is going to, erm need some work. Or to be exact, finding.

I’m not sure where to begin, I suppose a good clean to start things off. Of course, you can’t rush something like this so perhaps the first step should be have a cup of tea and then think about any future steps. Actually with that amount of forward planning it should probably be a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Yes, that’s what this project needs, a tea break.

The clearing is going well, we had a very productive weekend of throwing stuff out, we even had time to take some pictures.

As you can see from the photographs we have quite a task ahead of us. This was taken at the start of the day, the contrast between the areas we have cleaned and the ones we haven’t is quite clear. If you still can’t spot it, we have cleaned the bits where you can actually see the floor.

The view from the main doors

The view from the main doors

One of the cats, Sausage decided to help out and found a nice oily bit of foam to sit on.

Workshop cleaning supervisor

Workshop cleaning supervisor

In one corner of the shed we spotted some damage, which turned out to caused by owls. Yup we are contending with owl damage while we clean.

Owl Damage

Owl Damage

While sorting through some rubbish we found a flyer from a classic bike scramble from ages ago, yet another thing left over from my dad.

Rule book

I flicked through it, hoping to find some mention of him but alas it was just full of the rules on the sort of bikes you were allowed to enter into the race.

I started on the workshop today, I didn’t mean to but it just sort of happened. I think because I was trying to write something tricky and shovelling bolts around seemed like an easier way of passing the time. It took a bit of work to even get into the workshop, we (my little brother and I) had to cut down a vast forest of stinging nettles and then dig out some tree stumps before we could even get to the door.

We decided to attack through the double doors which opened on to one of the fields, if we could get that open then we would be able to chuck things out and have a clear run to the bonfire. It was slow going as there was very little that could be definitely be chucked out but we did manage to clear a tiny section and brush the floor.

It was weird coming across little mementos from my father as we cleaned (he passed away last year) but I suppose that is going to happen a lot as we sort things out. One of the shelf units still has his handwriting on in chalk which made me smile so I took a photo of it.

Luckly there is a pretty good workshop here so that is next on the list. It was the workshop that my Dad used to build bikes in so it’s pretty well equipped. However it’s got rather messy now and has turned into a dumping ground for metal things and tools rather than a place for restoring motorcycles or working on projects.

So it is my next task, although I’m not going to start it right away I have to do a little bit more writing first so I won’t be able to get stuck in for a week or so. As you can see from the pictures it’s in quite a state but it has potential, oh yes, potential indeed.

The far end of the workshop

The far end of the workshop

The double doors open out on to a field which is perfect for testing bikes in but sadly they have been blocked up now with stinging nettles and some sort of broken forklift. It seems that before I can do any sort of restoration on motorcycles (like the Suzuki) I’ll have to restore the workshop.

The near end of the workshop

The near end of the workshop

As you can see there is no shortage of tools, but they are all jumbled up. There is even a lathe although I’m not quite sure what I’d use it for.

The vague plan is to get the workshop fairly sorted out and then use it to get the Suzuki I found in the shed into working order again, possibly on the road. It turns out that the bike was taken off the road pre-SORN and so it might not exist anymore. Hopefully the Dayona won’t spend too much time in the workshop but it’s handy to have one all the same.

Just looking at the photos of the workshop makes me want to have a cup of tea and stand around in a boiler suit examining project. Perhaps I should invest in a boiler suit, it seems only right.

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