Tag Archives: Motorcycles

You Can’t Take Them Anywhere

nspired by the sunshine (which we had for the first time in over four weeks) and driven by intense longing to be back in the mountains, my father, stepmom and I got in the car with Tobi and decided to head for lunch in the mountains.

On the Hahntennjoch, we stopped by the side of the road to have a better look at the view; there was another car there with a man about 40 and a woman whom I assumed to have been his mother. Small talk ensued and it turns out that he too rides a motorbike.

We got back into the car to continue our journey and after pausing for a fraction of a second, my father rolled down the window and said “I bet you drive a Harley, don’t you?”*

Which, amongst non-Harley motorbikers in Germany is akin to saying “You are butt ugly, the little bit of straggly hair you have left is worn in a pony tail, you generally dress just in black and your beer belly is the size of Rhode Island.”

Embarrassed, I tried to disappear into the rear seat without success. Nevertheless, it turned out that the man drives an African Twin. Quite the touring bike for the Paris-Dakar rallye. **clears throat**

On an end note, remember that lake (Plansee) I went skinny dipping in this past summer? We went walking around on it and there were ice skaters. Lovely.

Pictures once I’ve had them developed.

*My father didn’t mean it the way it came out, he later said.
**Just for the record, I mean no offense to any Harley bikers. It’s just that 98% of the H-bikers in Germany really do look like that. I think they untergo a metamorphosis once they’ve bought the bike – who knows.

Teaching a Not-So-Old-Dog a New Trick

A short outing on one of our “Hausstrecken” (favorite routes) yesterday was rudely interrupted as so many have been recently, as the CDI on my father’s Honda Honbaaahh Transalp intermittently stops working, causing one of the two cylinders to completely quit working.

Meaning that you are forced to ride your motorbike through the countryside in complete “grandma” fashion, at such low speeds that even the elderly Opel drivers (who always wear hats, for reasons unbeknownst to me) can pass you. How embarrassing. How humiliating. 😉
(Well, it would be rude of me to just take off and leave him behind, wouldn’t it?)

So there I stood on the parking lot, while my father began to remove the side panels and seat of his motorcycle to get to said CDI. I waited patiently, took in the countryside around me, and spotting a group of bavarian cows on the other side of the road, pondered the pressing questions of modern life such as “How come some cows have horns and some don’t?”

I really don’t know the answer to that.
And I won’t embellish on the ride home as it was a comedy of errors, to put it mildly.

However, yesterday evening, I managed to teach Tobi to close the front door. More often than not, he wants out several times in the evening to get a drink of water. His water bowl in the house can be freshly filled with clear and cool water from the tap and he will ignore it nevertheless. Tobi prefers to drink only from the pond in the garden.

So, when I let him out I usually leave the door open so that he can come back in without me having to get up; however, eventually it is too cold outside and the door needs to be closed, forcing me to get up again anyway.

I showed him three times that if he just “smacks” the door with his paw, the door will close. That was all. He will now close the door if you ask him to.

This, of course, was celebrated with lots of praise and many dog cookies.


The Kiwi, in recent weeks, had begun guzzling oil. Not fuel, but oil. I made a mental note to track it, and was a bit uneasy.

After the 170 km I drove last Friday for the ADAC safety training, I had to add whopping half a litre of oil – even though I had checked (and filled) the oil the night before I left.

After recovering from the shock, I sat down and researched the causes in my favorite GPZ (american version=”Ninja”) forum, which is always filled with lots of helpful fellows and chock-full archives of various technical problems.

The much dreaded answer: either the head gaskets needed replacing, or the piston rings are worn out. Both mean open-heart surgery on the motor, so to speak. I was devastated. Not because I shy away from exchanging those parts, with the help of my father, it isn’t an issue. Rather because (1) it meant the engine had seen some major wear and tear at its just under 40 thousand km and in its 11 years of life and (2) because opening the engine could make me aware of other potential problems that haven’t manifested themselves yet and (3) because performing surgery on the motor meant not being able to ride the Kiwi for a number of days (I am a wuss, I know.).

I refused to believe it. After all, the engine’s performance has in no way let off since the first day I rode her home 6500 km ago. So I started to look at other possibilities. Checked to see if the air filter was full of oil (this can happen with bad gaskets). Nope. Checked to see if the oil drain plug was tight. It was. Cleaned the bottom (outside) of the oil pan. Bingo. There was a drop of oil, albeit, just a drop.

I wiped it off. Revved up the Kiwi. Let her idle, got her warm, revved up some more, thinking that with more oil pressure within the engine, it has to come out somewhere. No such luck. No more oil.

I waxed that perhaps the oil pressure wasn’t high enough to “push” the oil out of whatever leak there might be, and waited through two days of pouring rain to finally do a test run with her on Sunday. Drove 30 km and checked the oil pan. Bingo. Wiped it off, drove home, bingo.

It turned out that two oil pan screws were a bit – just a teensy tiny bit loose. We tightened them, I have since driven 200 km and still have all of the oil I filled in three days ago! Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah! No gasket change, no piston ring change, Yoooooooohoooooooo.
Way to go, Kiwi! 🙂 🙂 🙂