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Posts tagged ‘ktm’

Romance: alive and well in this house

Me: Honey? Did you have something in the oven?

Husband: Yes.

Me: What?

Husband: My motorbike engine.

Me: *blink*

Me: *blink blink*

Husband: See this bearing here? Fits onto the crankshaft, but it’s REALLY tight – here, give it a pull. See? The only way to get the bearing onto the shaft is to heat it.

Me: Because er, metal expands?

Husband: Yeah! But it’s really cool-

Me: <notes apparent lack of irony>

Husband: The bearing must expand by a good half a millimetre-

Me: Did you just think this up, or did you read it somewhere?

Husband: Actually, the KTM manual-

Me: Says to bake your crankshaft in your wife’s oven?

Husband: Well, it doesn’t say anything about a wife. But it says to heat the bearing at 180 degrees for five minutes.

Oh, he makes me laugh.

0902-crankshaft

Lightly baked crankshaft, with Deadlyjelly and Husband scratching his ear reflected in the kettle

Trottage

In Dubai, Husband owned two and a half motorbikes. It might have been more/less, but my brain is set to automatically shut down upon registering keywords ‘motorbike’, ‘engine mount’, and ‘hydraulic brake’, in much the same way Husband’s does when I mention the words ‘book‘ and ‘flights‘. Therefore, if he ever told me about his quantity of motorbike, the information was unsuccessfully processed; and it was always difficult to accurately assess the number because existing motorbike(s) were often spread out in their component pieces in the back garden.

With regard to the portion of bike, there existed what might have been an engine and a couple of wheels, which you might think qualifies as significantly more than half a bike, but according to – well, me – if a bike doesn’t have the capacity to start and roar around the place performing wheelies, it only merits a small fraction. In other words, a bike either Is or Isn’t, so according to – yes, me again – I’m being pretty generous with the half ratio.

Before we left Dubai, Husband sold one and a bit of his motorbikes. We shipped what remained at vast expense and I shagged a customs official to get it into New Zealand. I was under the impression that all Husband had to do was top up the oil and turn the key, and the thing would be hot to trot. If I’d known how far it was from hot trottage*, I would have stopped at heavy petting with possibly a bit of face-licking.

When the motorbike† was delivered some time after the rest of our possessions, the excitement was palpable. Husband put on his motorbike boots and tried to bond with the delivery men (not as much as I bonded with the customs official, but still fairly extreme for Husband; he asked them how they were, and made a comment about the weather).

Since then the motorbike† has been on a cement block in the garage acting as an effective clothes horse, while Husband buys up parts and tools on TradeMe. This prompts discussions along the lines of:-

“Niamhie, should I buy this clutch cylinder case guard? It’s got hard black oxide coating <slaver>.”

“Do you really need it?”

“Not REALLY, but it’s only $255 and the seller says he’ll throw in a special clearance crank bearing free.”

“Yeah, it would be bordering on criminal to miss out on a bargain like that.”

“REALLY?!”

“NO!”

Yesterday morning, Husband repaired to the garage. I was meditating with my muse in the living room when a great roar shook me out of my bean bag. Windows rattled, floors shook, Waitakere trembled. I ran to the window, and caught Husband’s tail on a motorbike‡ booting down the drive.

He was moving fast, but I managed to snap his triumphant return:-


He’s back!

Husband’s official report is that the bike needs ‘a bit’ more work. It still sputters on acceleration, and he and his bike nearly ended up in a tree when the brakes crapped out on a corner. Another terrifying moment was when Hairy Dave gave him a dirty look for excessive revving.

* Can you BELIEVE ‘trottage’ is not a defined word? And yet – yet! – ‘frottage’ IS. Once again I marvel at how screwed up the world is.

† For ease of reference.

‡ Disregard †

Tow hitch featuring 2” receiver

In the olden days – ie prior to last week – whenever Husband went biking he had to drive out to Arabian Ranches to pick up Mark’s trailer, bring it home, load his bike on it, drive to the desert, unload the bike, pose, conduct aerial stunts, hump the bike back onto the trailer, drive home and unload the bike, drop the trailer back to Mark and drive home again.

 

In fairness, just typing that exhausted me, never mind actually doing it. Roughly every three months, Andrew would say: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! How about I buy a bike trailer?”

 

It was always heart-rending watching the light in his little eyes slowly die as the voice of reason (me, in case you were in doubt) listed the reasons not to: (1) there’s nowhere to keep it; (2) no, it won’t fit in the cupboard under the stairs even if you throw out your vintage collection of Phillips screwdrivers and half of your boxes of Stuff; (3) no you can’t bloody store it in the bloody living room; (4) we’re leaving the country in 12 months/ 9 months/ 6 months anyway; (5) it’s summer so you won’t use it enough to justify the expense; (6) it’s winter so . . . well, I can’t think of any reason relating to winter, but please revert to reason #1 and repeat loop.

 

About four months ago, Andrew discovered a device that could attach onto the back of the Yukon – similar to a side-mounted bike rack but for a motorbike. The only trouble was that it required a rear tow hitch for support and the Yukon didn’t have one.

 

After a couple of weeks wherein Andrew diverted phenomenal amounts of energy towards muttering about what sort of a four wheel drive doesn’t have a rear tow hitch, and what sort of person would buy the sort of four wheel drive that doesn’t have a rear tow hitch, and that’s not to MENTION the fact that it only has two doors, Andrew asked me to call GMC and ask how much a tow hitch with 2” receiver would cost. You might wonder why I was required to call GMC – in fact, I wondered as much myself – but at that stage I would have placed a reverse charge call to Osama Bin Laden if it would only stop the griping for the love of god.

 

GMC said they didn’t have a tow hitch in stock; they could order one, but it would take a couple of months to arrive, cost US$ 450. Andrew converted the griping to thankfully largely silent inner reflection and eventually – I’m not sure why – he decided not to purchase the tow hitch. Perhaps he felt he would miss the conversational outlet afforded by the great trailer debate.

 

Fast forward four months, when Andrew spotted an advert on the Spinneys notice board for a second-hand motorbike carrier.

 

“Let’s go and look at it,” he suggested.

 

I thought he was going to gaze wistfully at it, prod and shake it, maybe smell it for a while, but US$ 260 later Andrew emerged with the motorbike carrier.

 

Of course he couldn’t use it, because we still had no tow hitch. Andrew suffered a delayed reaction, and then one day shortly afterwards, he called me from work:

 

“Niamhie! Niamhie! I need a tow hitch.”

 

“Jesus, not this again.”

 

“Yes but, I need a tow hitch.”

 

“What the hell am I supposed to do about it-”

 

“Glad you asked. Call GMC and tell them you want a tow hitch-”

 

“I CALLED them ages ago, remember? It’ll cost US$ 450 and if it’s not in stock, it’ll take them up to two months to get one-”

 

“Oh no, that’s no good.”

 

“Well, when do you want it?”

 

“Today.”

 

I rolled my eyes so vigorously, I’m sure he heard it down the phone.

 

“And hang on- why am I calling GMC? YOU bloody call GMC!”

 

“No, you have their number.”

 

“Here! I’ll give it to you!”

 

“You have a relationship with Moorthy-”

 

“I bring my car in, he services it! I’m not sleeping with the man-”

 

“Aw Niamhie!” Yes, can you believe it? He took out the wheedle. “Aw! Aw! Aw Niamhie! Come on, you KNOW you’re so good at this sort of thing-”

 

“Phoning? It’s not that difficult, you know. Almost foolproof, even.”

 

Of course, I ended up calling Moorthy, who put me onto John in the workshop. There were no tow hitches in stock. I thought of Andrew’s disappointment, the light dying in his bleak little eyes, the incessant brain-melting bitchin’ 24/7.

 

“Listen, is the item stocked in any of your other workshops?”

 

“I’m afraid not, Madam.”

 

“Ok. What about a second-hand tow hitch? You have any of those lying around?”

 

“No Madam, but I can check.”

 

Andrew didn’t take the news well: “Did you shout at him?”

 

But then John called back and – wonder of wonders – he had found a second-hand tow hitch (probably boosted from some truck out back). He said it would be in the workshop for collection by 11:00am. It was US$ 270, but because we had such a good relationship (no, I’m not sleeping with him, either) he would give me a 35% discount, which would make it US$ 170.

 

Andrew collected and installed the tow hitch the same day. I am glad to report that meaning has returned to his life – and peace to mine

Sometimes I wake up grumpy, sometimes I let him sleep

Now that summer is well and truly entrenched, Husband has taken to getting up at 05:00hrs to go desert biking.

 

Last Saturday, he returned from biking just after I got back from the beach. When I came out of the shower, he was collapsed across the bed infusing the duvet with his signature scent: a delicate blend of petrol fumes and sweat.

 

“Let me have a little doze,” came his voice out of the fug. “Then I won’t be grumpy.”

 

I took myself downstairs and was busy emailing My Agent, when Andrew goose-stepped down the stairs.

 

“I had a nap, but I’m STILL GRUMPY!”

 

“Well, stoppit!” I ordered sharply. This conduct was in wilful violation of the Terms & Conditions of our marriage, Section 3 Paragraph 1a: Any ‘Partner’ who chooses voluntarily without coercion or ulterior motive other than pursuit of Hobby to ride a ‘Motorbike’ for unspecified or specified length of time in any period that could reasonably and otherwise be devoted to the ‘Other Partner’ is prohibited from grumpiness or behaviour that could be reasonably and otherwise described as irritable, snappy, petulant, cantankerous, crusty or tetchy until the next bedtime subsequent to the activity described above (please see Appendix II for permissible exceptions) and furthermore shall immediately cease and desist from displays of such behaviour.

 

Andrew head butted the sofa and remained flung there muttering something about rhubarb.

 

“I’m HUNGRY,” he announced.

 

I brought him a cracker.

 

“Thanks.” There was a long pause while he nibbled on his cracker, then: “See how nice I was there?”

Modern Cain and Abel parable

Husband’s brother, The Bro, started as he meant to go on, eating his way through the house like a giant locust (there are no walls left, and only a portion of the roof). His 24 year old metabolism, at the peak of its processing powers, is an awesome thing to behold.


Two days after he arrived, Husbandoffered to take The Bro dirt biking. Cue great excitement and lots of manly flexing of muscles using bungee cords. Since The Bro had never been astride a motorbike before, I thought I might tag along for the entertainment.


We drove out to the desert and parked at the lip of an oval of hard-packed sand. After unloading the bikes, Husband commenced the tutorial with a brief demonstration. Clenching his buttocks for effect, he was still strapping on his helmet as he roared off on one wheel in a spray of sand.


Husband is not normally the flashiest of characters, but he turns into something of a showman on a bike. He performed a few aerial somersaults before careering back to us, braking at the last moment so that the front tyre nudged my shin as the bike skidded to a stop. I was only disappointed he didn’t produce two doves from the petrol tank.


Then it was The Bro’s turn. Husband’s instruction was – let’s call it spare:


“Right, here’s the brake. Here’s the clutch. Anything else? Oh yes. Here’s a push.”


Throwing his shoulder into it, he launched The Bro over a dune. The Bro gave the bike maximum throttle, released the clutch, and careered off in a wild yawing effect. For a couple of seconds I was sure it was all going to end in tears – or, more accurately: spurting blood, broken bones and ruptured spleens – but somehow The Bro managed to gain control of the bike. He completed a wobbly circuit of the desert bowl in first gear.


“Right,” said Husband briskly upon his return. By his tone, I could tell he was proud of his protégé’s progress. “To change gear, you tip this lever with your toe. Up to change up. Down to change down. Am I missing anything? Oh yes . . .”


*PUSH!*


Watching The Bro’s erratic takeoff, this time with an inadvertent wheelie thrown in, I thought perhaps Husband should spend a bit more time on the basics – like stopping, starting, staying upright; stuff like that. I was taking him to task when The Bro disappeared behind a sand-dune.


“Where’s he gone?” I fretted.


“He’s fine.”


“That terrain is pretty choppy.”


“No worries! Woman.”


Off in the far distance, we could hear the bike engine shrieking at maximum rev.


“Has he got it out of first yet?” I asked.


“No. Oh hang on, yes, he has now.”


Suddenly there was a sharp blast of rev and then . . . silence.


Husband and I looked at each other.


Find him!” I squawked, doing a little panic shuffle. This, in case you were wondering, is where I trot back and forth on the spot, bumping into as many proximate objects as possible.


Husband slewed off on the second bike while I prepared my speech to his parents in the event that The Bro had broken a leg. I didn’t want to consider what else he might have broken (Husband always scoffs at the notion that he might break a neck or a cranium. “It’s only sand!” he says whenever I raise the issue, as if hurtling head-first into a dune at 60kph is equivalent to settling gently into a mass of goose-down).


Husband returned ten minutes later without his t-shirt. No doubt he had proffered it to stanch the blood – but from where? Nicked finger? Broken nose?


Severed arm?


“Is he ok?”


“I’m not sure.”


We unhitched the bike trailer and drove the Yukon to The Bro. Although he looked all right – well, no spurting blood – he was making sound effects like a punctured accordion. I was encouraged when he correctly identified how many fingers I held up – although I’ve never been sure what the purpose of the test is, apart from confirming the subject is roughly sober.


We got The Bro home and stuffed him full of Brufen. Thereafter there was more moaning than pain (admittedly The Bro might not agree with that diagnosis). (In fairness, I was only able to accurately measure the moaning.) (But surely he couldn’t have been in THAT much pain?) Over time, The Bro perfected a gorgeous, breathy little gasp which somehow managed to simultaneously convey his stoic agony, his ongoing despair over starving children in the third world, and all the wasted opportunity squandered in his young life.

In between complaining about the lack of sympathy and how the hunger was killing him, The Bro maintained he had broken his tailbone.


“Which is worse: the hunger or the pain?” I’d ask.


“That is such an unfair question.”


Looking on the bright side, his injury gave him the perfect excuse not to get spanked at squash. He also managed to bravely stuff his broken tailbone into a rubber ring and fire himself up a water chute at Wild Wadi.


Apart from the lack of clucking and my ongoing refusal to dress up in a nurses’ uniform, The Bro would find it hard to deny the fact that I was an unwavering source of practical support. I sang to him to take his mind off the pain and regularly dosed him with Margharita, which he claimed was more effective than Brufen. And at least I didn’t try to make it worse – UNLIKE SOME.


The Tuesday after the biking incident (‘accident’ implies nobody is to blame), The Bro being relatively confident that his broken tailbone had limited impact on his ability to pose, he and Husband were set for a Lad’s Night Out. They swept out the door on an exuberant tsunami of aftershave.


Five minutes later Husband called. He’d had a car crash up the Springs Drive; yes, he and The Bro were ok; no, he wasn’t sure what the damage to the Lumina was; no, the other guy’s car was totalled; oh and could I come and collect The Bro while he waited for the police? He’d also be grateful if I brought the insurance papers, thanks.


When Husband had slowed for a speed bump, an Aramex car had driven right up the Lumina’s arse. The Aramex driver admitted that he had dropped his electronic orders device on the floor . . . and bent down to pick it up. The bonnet of Aramex Guy’s Toyota was a crumpled mess and his airbags had deployed.


From a distance the Lumina looked sound, but the boot wouldn’t close properly, and the frame was shunted in under the back doors. (For the next couple of days, whenever Husband drove the Lumina, drivers on the Sheikh Zayed road would slow to 120kph in the next lane, knock on the passenger window and shout at him that the back door was open while helpfully pointing at it.)


Poor The Bro had recommenced moaning with renewed vigour, so I got him installed on the sofa with 600mg of Brufen and a bucket of margharita. I went back to the scene with a cup of coffee for Husband, but the police had arrived so I drove on and pretended I didn’t know him. Hey, I love the guy, but there is nothing on earth that will induce me to spend time with the UAE Fuzz.


Apparently the Lumina’s chassis is bent. Although it can be repaired, it is expensive and is unlikely to pass its next registration. Therefore, we’re going to have to try and persuade Aramex Guy’s insurance company to write the car off

Biking in Baja

The Start: No 22 stands out from the crowd – probably because I focussed the camera on him

 

Husband crosses finish line

 

Portrait of testosterone: Jase, Andrew, Mark

 

Testosterone is sticky up close

 

Andrew: vogue

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