The turned head.

There is a colleague of mine at work.   He’ll know who he is (obviously, what a stupid thing to say!).   He is considering buying a motorcycle to commute to work on.   We both travel 20+ miles into the office every day and approximately half the travel time is spent on the 5 or so miles between motorway and offices.   There’s many a bike slips between the lanes of traffic and generates an envious glance so it makes perfect sense.

Colleague sort of asked – you will all be aware, as a middle aged bloke, it doesn’t take long for our interest to overflow into possibly unwanted enthusiasm for something mentioned in passing – So colleague sort of mentioned this and I was off on eBay like a ferret on the trail of a rabbit…

We need to take a break here.  Have you seen the Hitchcock film “Rear Window”?  It was remade in the ’90’s with Christopher Reeve playing the lead.  Anyway, I’m not hinting that I am in a wheelchair and I am certainly not suggesting that there’s a murder going on across the road but I have distracted by some rather unusual goings-on in the flat opposite.  There seems to be a table cloth waving competition going on.   Can’t explain it any better than that but there have been several different pieces of material appear at the window, shaken (but not stirred) and then removed to pastures new.  I shall report if anything further occurs.

Back to colleague.  In the search for something interesting for him to ride I came across the next project.   It’s not quite so little and it will have to still be on sale when Little Project is completed but it does look very interesting.   Described as “NC30 in need of TLC” this is a bike that already runs.  I do hope it stays unsold until I am ready for it.

I have been sitting in the sun (although not waiting for senorita to show) and working on Little Project this weekend.  It has involved the remarkably boring job of putting things together.   The bike is starting to look like, well, a bike!   I was a little disappointed that the front wheel did not show up on Friday as promised because it would have meant that Little Project could move around without the need for several muscle men from the local gym coming in to pick it up.  We are currently looking like this.

LP 1                  LP2

Frankly, it is amazing.   If you look closely at the second of the pictures above you will see that the Little Project engine bay has now become the repository for “Next bit to do”.   Next bit in this case features fitting everything to the handlebars and making it all work.   Trouble is, it has been so long since I actually rode a motor cycle that I can’t remember which bits go where.   I’ve been pretending to ride a bike as I go about my daily chores, I reckon that the twist grip is probably on the left hand side but haven’t quite worked out which side are brake and clutch.   I’m sure it will become apparent as time goes by.  If you look really closely at the above pictures you will also notice that shed floor has taken on an interesting hue.   I’m quite glad that I covered up the various odds and ends that make up my life in the shed because everything is red (RAL3020).  Once again I have underestimated the distance that overspray will travel in a calm and quiet area.   The lawn mower is red (it was red anyway, but it is now redder).   My wellingtons are red.  The little box that contains the seeds that I should have sown in May is red.  I bet that if I could find the 10mm spanner it would be red as well.

Plan for the week is to make anything that attaches to the handlebars look like new.  This is probably going to involve paint that isn’t red.    Plan for the weekend is to celebrate the coming of July with some old friends, so there may not be much to talk about next Sunday.   What would be good would be for lots of you to ask some questions about Little Project by using the “comments” box that exists somewhere towards the bottom of this page.  I shan’t hold my breath.

Thank you all for taking the time to visit.  I hope that for those in the northern hemisphere, the summer is exactly as you dream of it and for those in the southern half, your winter is mild but exhilarating.  If you are in Australia (I know that at least one of you are) then I’m really sorry about the Lion’s tour but we need to win on Saturday.

Foucault’s Pendulum

Both the actual item and the book.

A Foucault Pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the earth.   Dangle a decent weight on the end of a long piece of string and set it swinging and the plane it swings on will rotate 360 degrees over a period of roughly one day.   The exact time it takes to go through the rotation will depend on whereabouts on earth you are, the rotation will also change depending which side of the equator you are.   This is probably an experiment you can try at home if you are totally and utterly bored for 30 odd hours.

The book (by Umberto Eco) is pretty impenetrable. It took me several goes to get past page 200.  I would recommend that you read it in the original Italian, especially if you do not speak Italian, it will probably make more sense.    I think it is fair to say that it would make a far better beach side companion this summer than anything by E.L. James or Dan Brown.

I know, you’re thinking “what on earth has this to do with Little Project?”.    Well, the wiring loom is currently hanging in the shed (like the pendulum but with less swing and rotation and more malevolence).  Belbo (one of the main characters of the book) at one stage identifies some mystical dealings by linking text in the Kabbalah to a spark plug, so the link is blatantly obvious.   The book is big on mystical and secret societies although I do not recall a passage containing reference to a chase through the streets of Paris on a little Honda trail bike, so the CT125 owners and carers club were obviously overlooked.

Back to the wiring loom.   It looks at first glance like it is all there.  Bits of it have been cut in half but because of the ingenuity of wiring loom designers and the very sensible policy of using different coloured wires it is fairly obvious which bit’s join together.   It isn’t until you take a closer look that you get the urge to rub your chin and go “hmmmm”.

Where, for instance, are the bits that connect to the battery?   There must be a little wiring tributary that peels off and meanders down to the battery (possibly with the electrical equivalent of some rapids on the way) but if it is there somewhere then it is very well disguised (I tried looking for a wire with a false beard and spectacles with no lens but couldn’t spot it).

Likewise, the wiring loom ends very neatly (this assumes that I know which bits go at the front of the bike and which bits go at the back).   However, the neat and tidy ending seems to preclude the possibility of a rear light and indicators.  How can this be so?   There is definitely a rear light.   It is also hanging in the shed, having been de-rusted (although not by Hammerite rust remover because it is rubbish) and sprayed a fetching black colour.

Lastly (although definitely not leastly) whilst the entire loom is enchantingly embraced by a tight plastic bodysuit, parts of this bodysuit seem to have been coated in something sticky and lumpy.   Imagine (if you can) peanut butter made from marmite and the picture in your head will not be far from accurate.  I have some hopes that this will easily fetch off, possibly by using one of the many items purchased recently that do not do what they say on the tin.

I am baffled by electricity.   I can’t see it so I am just slightly unsure that it exists.  I have tried (unsuccessfully so far) to imagine each wire as a river.  Pour some electricity down one wire and it should only pour out of the other end of the same wire.   That makes perfect sense.   With the wire that makes the brake light come on there is a switch.  So the switch is a bit like a dam on the river and it can be open or closed.  When it is open the electricity/water goes through and makes the light come on.   Simple?

Following this theory I attached my multimeter to both ends of the cable and squeezed the brake.   You’d think that either squeezing or unsqueezing would make the multimeter display do something but nope.   It just gazes insolently back with nary a flicker.   This means one of three things.

  1. The brake light switch doesn’t work
  2. The multimeter doesn’t work
  3. The operator is incompetent

I’m going for option 3.   I was tempted to pay a visit to the local branch of that automotive repair store to buy a book but decided that if  the book said “How to sort out your electrics” it would probably contain a recipe for rhubarb crumble, judging by previous purchases.   I shall spend the next few nights deep in the realms of Google trying to educate myself.

On a positive side, the rebuilt front wheel should be arriving this week.   This does mean that whilst trying to decipher electrical systems on the internet I also need to get buffing on the front brake plate.  It also implies that the entire bike will roll on its own by Sunday morning.   I suspect that it hasn’t moved other than by sliding, scraping and dragging for a decade so it is sort of a momentous occasion.

There.  I’ve made it through the post without mentioning paint.  That’s worth a raised glass at least.

Thanks for popping by.   Let me know which way your pendulum swings.

Just out of interest, do you think that if I had included “Plastic Bodysuit” in my tags then I will reach an entirely different reader base?

It does what it says on the tin?

I don’t get cross.   Don’t believe any of those rumours about me being a grumpy old man.   I am generally a placid fellow.  However, sometimes something shakes my tree. Let me give you an example.

I decided that assistance would be needed in removing the paint from the tank of Little Project so made my way to the paint department of our local Halfords.   For those outside the UK, Halfords is a chain store that specialise in vehicle and bicycle spares and maintenance.   It’s an obvious place to go.

Perusing the shelves I came across this.

IMG_1169

Wow!   New double strength formula AND all purpose.   And in the section of the shop that sells every different type of car paint that you can imagine.   If you’ve a 1975 banana yellow Ford Cortina they have the exact touch-up paint for you. I dipped into the slim pickings remaining in my wallet and purchased a tin.   Eager with anticipation I raced home to put on my (no longer pristine) boiler suit and watch the battle between Nitromors and petrol tank begin.

It is with some sadness that I must report that “New Double Strength Formula All Purpose Nitromors” that is purchased from the paint department of an automotive repair shop has a small line of print on the back that says “not suitable for car paint”.  What the heck is that about! Why isn’t it called “Nearly All Purpose Nitromors”?  Why is it sandwiched between “Isopon car body repair paste” and “Anti-rust primer – Grey”?  Oooh.   I could crush a grape.

I also purchased some “Hammerite rust remover gel” (tag line – Brings back to bare metal). It doesn’t.   It just makes your rust look green and shiny for about three hours.

IMG_1166

Never daunted I used a combination of a hot air gun that I didn’t know I had and a detail sander and this eventually removed most of the paint.   The rust proved a little more challenging but after an extended sanding period I was left with just some dimpled and dark metal.

IMG_1182

Which I filled.  I’ve never done any filling before, the stuff that I used probably shouldn’t be unleashed in the shed with all of the doors closed, I was high as a kite by the time I’d finished.   It made the last little bit of sanding quite an entertaining event.   After a restorative cup of tea I braved putting some primer on the tank.

IMG_1185

And I have to say that I am gob smackingly pleased with the results.  You can’t actually tell that good old “Bodgit and Scarper” has been messing around with it.  I should also say at this point that my respect for professional painters has gone up vastly.   To have the patience to do this sort of work day in and out must involve a dedication that is beyond my ken.

I am pleased to report (although it is terribly boring for this blog) that the other painting that I have done has also come out well.   As a youngster I could never get the hang of spraying things.   I suspect it is an age thing.  I debated quoting the bible here, Proverbs 19:11 (NIV), but there are so many different translations that all say something slightly different.   What I was aiming for is that as one gets older, the rashness of youth matures into a patience that can’t be imagined from the small numbers.  It’s either that or I don’t have the energy to go charging into things anymore!

That’s it for today.  If you’ve arrived at the story of Little Project by mistake because of some of the references I have made, bless you for getting to the end of this post.   There’s only another 40 or so for you to read.

Have a good week.

Guard – Crush Honda

There was always the slim possibility that the title of this post relates to an instruction given to a warder in a Japanese prison.  One could imagine that an impenitent Mr Honda was getting unruly whilst listening to Johnny Cash-san and during the ensuing riot was sat upon by a Sumo-size prison officer.

Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth.   Whilst looking through the bits of Little Project that I am not sure what I’m going to do with I found a broken thing (to be fair, it would be far more surprising to find an unbroken thing amongst this pile).   These particular bits of brokenness are tubular and would once have been around 18 inches wide and 5 inches deep and held in place by a sturdy bracket.

Interest piqued, I assembled the mini jigsaw puzzle and look askance at Little Project thinking “There’s nowhere for these bits to go”.

I resorted to the CMS website – my bible when I’m baffled about how things fit together because there are dinky little pictures of various components (avid clickers of links on my blog will have been there before) and I can get an idea of what goes where from said little pictures.

The sixteenth picture revealed that the part labeled 4, part number 50203401670, cost 60 euro’s (can’t find the euro button on my keyboard) is discontinued and no longer available and a Google search for the part number leads us to “Guard – Crush Honda”, so that’s what I have found (in several pieces).

It sits at the front of the bike and (I think) is designed to stop sheep getting too close to the engine when you try to run them over.   Everyone will know that the smell of burning wool is abominable and so the clever CT125 prevents this by having an early motorcycle version of a “roo bar”.     All I need to do is to work out how to make it go back together into one piece and I can stick on another bit of Little Project with a satisfied smirk.   I suspect that I will have to make friends with a welder.

I made a bit of a blunder.   Quite a lot of a blunder in fact.   Sunny weather meant that I planned to spend the evening sitting on the deck and sanding down the Little Project petrol tank.   Neighbours to the right were having a barbie and the little cherubs to the left were practicing their singing for the end of term school concert so I felt guilty making lots of loud sanding type noises.   I put the tank back in the shed, locked the shed up  and took a stroll around the veggie patch.   There were a few weeds showing their ghastly little faces (I need a genetically modified slug that only eats bindweed) so I pulled them and casually tossed them into the overgrown and very bramble ridden plot next to mine.   What I didn’t realise was that they key to the shed was attached to the weeds.  

So I know roughly where they key is.  Very roughly.  I passed an entertaining hour or so looking for it before bad light stopped play.   I fear I shall be spending much of this evening doing the same.   Please feel free to visit with a metal detector.

If, after reading this you have another couple of minutes that you want to waste, you could click on the “instagram” and “flikr” images that should be somewhere towards the top and right of the screen and laugh at my ridiculous attempts at photography.  I would be keen to know if the links actually work.

Thank you for your patience.

Oops

Now here is a thing.   The last post I made featured a story about a hair dryer.  At least it did when I wrote it.  I can only imagine that during some narcoleptic moment I edited it on the grounds that it would be safer for my health and well being to never mention the hair dryer story.    It is probably just as well because I managed to disable another hair dryer this weekend in the pursuit of Little Project grandness.   All I will say on the matter is that the hair dryer is mended and the owner is none the wiser.   Let us keep it that way…

I have been painting.   Not very much painting admittedly but any painting at all is progress.    It is fair to say that previous attempts at beautifying motorcycles with paint have met with limited success.   I was reminded by my mother of the time that she went away for a long weekend and I sprayed my bike in the kitchen.   I still remember the bike – a Suzuki TS125, reg: DAY 415T.  If you see it and it has a blue frame then I did that.   The slight flaw in the spraying in the kitchen plan was that I didn’t take into account quite how far the over-spray could travel in a still environment.   Mother returned to vaguely blue taps and kitchen cupboards enhanced with a sapphire tinge.

The painting involves an entirely different mindset to the stripping down bits.   Stripping down requires a “Kim Jong Il” approach of total ruthlessness and single minded bloody destruction. Most of stripping down was hitting things with various sizes of hammer until either the bit that I was hitting fell off or I could fabricate a story to allow it to stay in place.    Painting requires more of a Mahatma Gandhi attitude.   A very positive determination to do things correctly and without rushing through any of the stages.   As an aside, when Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western civilisation he said he thought it would be a very good idea.   He knew his stuff, if you do nothing else this week, read up on non-violent civil disobedience and then give Syria a call.

Back to painting.   I took a side panel…

Panel 1

I spent some time heating the “CT125” sticker with a hair dryer (that definitely isn’t broken, oh no, definitely works just fine).

Panel 2

And then i put it in the sink (you may be getting the general idea that much of this weekends activity has not exactly been “shed based”, this is due to a garden gate currently in the process of transforming from rough wooden model to smooth glistening white portal to a Twickenham property) and took some 400 grade wet and dry to it.   I wasn’t actually expecting it to come out like this.

Panel 3

But it did.   So I tip toed carefully into the shed and whacked the side panel with primer, like this….

Panel 4And then finally gave it another rub down with 1200 grade wet and dry, a brief run over with a tack cloth (these are brilliant, they are sticky enough to remove little bits of dust but not sticky enough to leave a deposit.   I’m formulating plans for them that aren’t necessarily on their original list of things they can do) and a bit of a spray with some red (RAL 3020) paint from Halfords.   It currently looks like this.

panel 5

But I think it needs about another three coats before it it is safe to say that it has come out okay.   If it does come out okay then there’s another panel, two mudguards and a petrol tank to do so that’s going to keep me quiet for hours!

Finally, today is Fathers Day in the UK.   I have been treated to an selection of Glenfiddich‘s, a 12 year old, 15 and 18 year old and even better, accompanied on a long and rambling walk around Richmond Park.   I’m possibly the luckiest dad in the world.

Enjoy your week.  I hope the sun shines every day for you.

No adverts here.

No adverts here.

The 10 mill spanner fairy has paid me a visit.   Both the spanner and the socket equivalent seem to have gone walkabout.   They were definitely there when I closed the shed door so they can’t have got far.  I’ve called in the sniffer cat to search them out.   Hopefully they will be back by the weekend.

Discussing Little Project and the blog with my brother (he is part of a very fine a capella folk group called Rapsquillion, just this once you can go and read their blog and buy the stunning Geriatrica album).    We got to talking about the stats that come from our respective blogs.  Obviously such a famous band get far more hits  than I, but then there’s seven of them and only one of me and they have something tangible to promote.   I have a little red motorcycle.  The stats are interesting though.

By the time I press “Publish” on this post I will be very close to 2000 views.   That is averaging 50 views per page.   Can there really be that many people who want to read about Little Project or is it just my mum making me feel good?

There have been visitors from 33 different countries.  I’m a bit disappointed to have not yet been visited by anybody on the continent of Antarctica so if you should be happening to visit Halley research station or similar in the next few weeks then can just pop onto the blog and say hello please?   It would also be entertaining to receive a visit from the International Space Station, but you can’t have everything.

The most common search term – believe it or not – relates to how much fork oil goes into a CT125 fork.   I must remember to put that onto the useful things page when I get five minutes, the search term that amused me most was “Honda Lies”.   How that lead to the story of Little Project I don’t know.  Out of interest I tried it myself.   I reached page 15 in google before giving up.

I have been trying to sort out the paperwork for the bike.   It is taking some time and following a letter from DVLA I had to speak to David, the kind and generous provider of the bike.  His wife answered the phone and after explaining who I was she called out “It’s Rob who had that bike.  Tell him we’re not having it back!”.

A vision in blue

I have donned my brand new blue boiler suit today and with a hey and a ho and a hey-nonny-no I feel rather like a blue-collar post-industrial revolution version of a Morris dancer.  I may at some stage leap to some strange Little Project fertility dance, skipping around the ever-expanding frame holding reams of brightly coloured electrical wire and lightly beating Seat with an inflated inner tube.

The Hey-nonny-no bit actually comes from good old Shakespeare’s “As you like it” and is part of a song celebrating love.  Sung for Audrey and Touchstone on the eve of their wedding.   Touchstone, being a bit of a grumpy git, said it was rubbish (I’m summarising here, obviously Shakespeare had a far better way with words than I).   Frankly, I of agree with him although it would be interesting to see what Metallica could do with the lyrics.

That’s probably enough Bardolatry for today, we should get on with the dark and dirty goings-on in the shed…

I fitted a wheel!   Several times in fact (I know you would expect nothing less).    The first time that I put it on I realised that the left hand bearing hadn’t been driven in far enough, so off it came and I very carefully used the old bearing to drive the new bearing further into the hub.   Unfortunately I did not consider how I was going to get the old bearing back out after beating it in to place.   A bit of jiggery-pokery with a well aimed drift solved that.   Second time I fitted it, I had all of the brake bits in the wrong place.   I was using the wheel stay from HOAP and everything just seemed a bit, well, wrong.   After comparison with Little Project’s wheel stay it became obvious why, there’s about three inches difference in the length of the two parts, Little Project obviously having the bigger one.   I polished and buffed up the Little Project one and fitted wheel for the third time.   Hey presto!

WheelI accept that the picture is a little blurry, but look at the shine!  If the rest of the bike comes out as well as the back end then I shall be walking proud.

I mentioned a vision in blue.   It’s not a pretty sight I’m afraid.   This is probably the only picture of me that will ever appear on this blog and it is only here following a request from a reader to publish a picture of my overalls (Image courtesy of my able assistant).

Me 2

What is not represented is that shortly before this photo I stepped back to take the wheel photo above.  I stooped down to ensure the angle was correct and planted my backside on a can of black spray paint, thus spraying the rump of my brand new overalls with Hammerite smooth black gloss paint.   They stayed pristine for all of 5 hours.

After feeling smug about the wheel I decided that this weekend was the time to start tackling the electrics.   How difficult can it be to wire up a 1980’s farm bike?   I have this to work with.

Electrics

Plus another three lots of switches and some other bits and pieces that I found after I’d captured the above image.  I don’t even know which way round the wiring loom goes.  I think that Little Project’s wiring loom is sort of complete.   It is challenged because a previous owner took snips to every block of cables and just cut them through.  If this hadn’t happened then we’d be in wiring heaven (although I suppose Little Project may never have come my way) but my remarkably tech-savvy son is coming to visit me shortly so I may just purchase a shed load of different coloured  wire and give it to him saying “make me one of these my boy”.

I definitely made a start on fitting the electrics.  Look!

Ignition

That is officially an ignition switch.   I truly can’t see it being turned on my birthday and hearing the roar of all 11 Little Project Horse Powers throbbing through the shed, but the teasing chance that it may happen is still there.

I also did a “lights” count.   I have 4 rear indicators, two front indicators, half a headlight and two tail lights,   HOAP tail light is very different from Little Projects in that:

  1. It is new and not rusty
  2. It works
  3. It is a different shape

Being a different shape I have decided to go with my original one.   A quick rub down (I should point out here that “A quick rub down” generally involves about two hours work and several bleeding knuckles) and a whizz over with what was left of the spray after doing a Banksy on my bum and we end up with this.

Back light

Which I think is looking good allowing for my limited skills with paint.   Notice that this is using the “Hanging from a piece of climbing rope” technique rather than utilising the “balanced on a kebab stick” method mentioned in earlier posts.

I’m not sure what to do next week!   There’s so much that I could be doing so I think I shall just wait and see what takes my fancy.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.   I hope that it has kept you occupied for a couple of minutes.