Los Angeles, California – 1st July 2021
By the time I get to bed it is 3.30am… I’m still on Mexico time so my body is at 5.00am… exhausted!
I have to get up and go to Claremont to pick up my bike. I manage to get myself out of bed and arrange for an Uber to take me to LA Union Station where I will catch a train to Claremont.
I must say what an iconic old station, the architecture is stunning
I just missed a train so will have to wait for the 11.35… must be time for a coffee. I sit outside in a small garden area enjoying the sun when I suddenly think I don’t really have time to waste so I decide to book an Uber to take me directly the James’.
It’s great to finally meet James, his partner Colleen and of course Clíodhna.. she looks great especially as she now has her name on the petrol tank, in old Irish no less, fantastic job James.
There are still a few little things to do, fit and adjust the footpegs from Kuryakyn, (they never did get back to me about the extra set they sent, so they will be going on the back, but unfortunately the adapters for the rear are not arriving until tomorrow, so a day too late). I’ve brought my Tricolour, (Irish flag), so that needs fitting along with Seamus the leprechaun of course. The clocks, windscreen, sissy bar and bags all look great and the footpegs etc. are all soon done. Before I take the bike back to the hotel, (I’m staying at the airport), I take James and Colleen out for lunch in Claremont. They give me a bit of a tour, it’s a very, very nice area. Claremont is known as the ‘city of trees and PhDs’ this is because the streets are tree lined and there are a number of elite colleges.
After lunch it is time for me to get going. I say my goodbyes and make my way out of their driveway into the main road
Just as I am accelerating out of the turn the front end starts to wobble…. ohhhh I don’t like that… this reminds me of the Harley I bought in Virginia on my first tour, it used to wobble too. I think it might have been the road surface so I continue for another mile or so but it is doing it again and again and the final straw is a violent wobble that is almost a tank slap.. ok so I turn around and head back to James’; I’m definitely not happy with this at all, I can’t ride it like this. I pull over and give James a call, he tells me to come back and he will take it out so he can get a clear idea of what is happening. After about 10 minutes he is back and immediately rides straight up his driveway and into the garage.. I guess he has experienced the same problem then.
He puts it on a small lift and tests the front end for tightness, checking the head bearings and wheel bearings for lateral movement, nothing. Then he looks at the tyre and it is in pretty poor shape; he did mention to me previously that I would probably need a new tyre quite soon but now upon closer inspection it is obvious the tyre has had it, there are numerous cracks in the tyre walls indicating that the tyre has been on the bike for quite a few years. We then take a look at the rear and although it has plenty of tread there are also some tell tale cracks in the wall, so am definitely going to need a new set of tyres. It is too late now to source tyres so James and Colleen invite me to stay over with them tonight rather than come back in the morning. James then offers to take me back to the hotel to pick up all my luggage and bring it back to theirs, what a wonderful couple.
Well the rotten luck seems to be continuing, but in another way it is so great to have met James and Colleen and be able to spend a little time with them. Ultimately, I am so very grateful not to be on the side of the road with two crap tyres and an unridable bike that’s for sure.
Hopefully we can source two new tyres and get them put on quickly in the morning so I can be on my way. I must be in San Francisco by Sunday evening as I have accommodation booked there and I am meeting with Dykes on Bikes San Francisco on Monday.