The Breakfast Club: New bike

Sunday, 29 Jan 2017

Markus finally made room in his garage for a bike to replace his crashed GS. I believe this is the first SMBCer new bike of the year, but not by much. Neil says the FZ09 he ordered will be here in a week to ten days.

Some views of the 300 mile old ‘16 Africa Twin.

Special report


Poul Anderson’s Pacific Coast Honda has been a familiar sight on SMBC rides for a good many years. That distinctive red profile has outlasted other, newer and sexier machines, which have come and gone.

As a retired airline mechanic, Poul is a pretty handy guy with machinery. For example, the 1959 Austin Cambridge automobile sitting under a tarp in his driveway is equipped with two fuel tanks, an example of Paul’s handiwork. (But Poul’s interesting auto collection is a good story for another day.)

So when the trusty Honda came down with an electrical gremlin on a recent ride, Poul used his AMA membership benefit, and got the bike trailered back to his home in Palo Alto, although not without some difficulty, and inexpert tow practices. Servicing the battery and electrical system, he was soon good to go again.

Until after breakfast at Hobee’s the next Sunday. No electrical power, no go.

Let’s call that AMA line again, OK? Whoops, we put the cell phone on the charger, to make sure it was strong and ready. And it is, but it’s still sitting on the charger back at the house.

Well every SMBC rider has friends with cell phones, so we’ll just tell a pal, and help will be on the way. Except that the AMA folks weren’t so sure this time, as to whether they could find someone to come with the right tow equipment. Several calls later, and the outcome was still in doubt.

Fortunately, a pal with a mobile phone is also a pal with a card from another outfit offering motorcycle road assistance. A call to BAM (a couple of calls, back and forth actually) led to a ‘volunteer’, Ian, who could drive his pick-up to Hobee’s and help with the hurting Honda.

But then the AMA folks came through, and suddenly here was a fellow driving a Heavy Duty RAM 3500 turbo diesel pickup, towing a very handy tilt-up flat bed trailer. This very brusque gentleman quickly explained that he had deferred another call to get us done, and so time was of the essence. In no time at all, he had Poul’s now not so trusty bike mounted and secured, and was off in a roar of diesel dust.

By the time the pal could call Ian to cancel his kind offer, and don a helmet, the tow rig was long gone and speeding down highway #85 towards Palo Alto. It was all the pal could do to catch them by the time we all reached #101.

Exiting at Embarcadero, the pal caught a red light, and nearly lost the grey Ram again, but fortunately just barely caught up, despite a turnoff towards Paul’s home. A few quick photos, and it was observed that Poul, the tow guy and the pal were all old enough to be wearing hearing aids, and has anyone ever seen a tow truck with a disabled plate before? The pal had not.

Anyway, the driver just as quickly had the bike off the trailer, and the three of us handily got it onto Poul’s driveway, and off roared the big diesel rig once again, before we could even ask this very capable and experienced gentleman his name. But he sure knew his stuff, and wasted absolutely no time whatsoever getting Poul and the pesky Pacific Coast home intact. While he left behind no silver bullet, he was nearly faster than a speeding one.

As we go to print, we learned that Poul has consulted the manual, and diagnosed an alternator which is not properly alternating, from its perch deep inside the engine. It remains to be seen whether the once trusty red PC will be seen at breakfast again, at least anytime soon.

Reported from the field by the pal.
(Jerry Grainger)