Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 East Trip - Day 10

Serious Bike Problem

First, I am fine. The bike never fell over, but that could have happened.

I had never heard of Judique, on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I was riding south on Route 19 towards Port Hawkesbury. Nice two lane road, but the pavement is like me in a way, shall we say "mature". So, I ended up riding in the middle of the lane. Route 19 is twisty and equal opportunity for right and left curves, some tight, and many blind crests. Surprises can occur.

I saw a curious object on the road ahead. Brown was my first impression. Cubic, about 3 to 4 inches on a side. Sharp edges. A brick? I did attempt a swerve to the left and almost made it. There was a thump. I thought the front tire was going to join the old rear of last Tuesday, but no warning on the panel and tire pressures were holding. Yes, I know I should not pay too much attention to the panel so I looked up. Figured I got away with it. I have normal peripheral vision but hardly needed it when the big red warning light appeared. Is that a tire warning? Not this time. It looks like an oilcan. Slow down now, but gently and get ready to go to the shoulder. I was down in first gear, feet ready for pavement, pulled the clutch lever...and the engine stopped. The bike stopped and I put the sidestand down to have a look. No traffic at all. No panic.

Yes, this was from my engine.

There was a thin line of oil on the road, not visible from the seat if I looked back.
This gout of oil was from when I stopped.

The rear tire got a soaking on the right side. Did not feel any wobble at all. This may have been due to my superb balance (yeah, sure) or some BMW stability control software. I liked the result either way.

I've carried that safety triangle in a side case for years. Glad I got it. And, by the way, I did not call the police at any time, and saw no police, but someone did slightly relocate the triangle. Two bikes, one of them a BMW, smoked by me after I placed the triangle and was walking back to the bike. Not even a wave. I was really pissed. This was squiddly action for sure. As I was walking to a nearby house, a car did stop to ask if I needed help. At that time I had been adopted by the house owners and did not need any more help, nor could I have ever received more generous and gracious help. If you ever see a funny suited guy walk up your driveway and ask for help, your best efforts are not likely to even approach my hosts Dugal and Pat MacDonald.

It took a while, but the tow service ordered by my insurance company arrived with a proper trailer with front wheel chock.

Kevin Mackenzie is the owner of the company and brought his wife and two children along. They were going to take me back to the BMW dealer who changed my tire last Tuesday, then off to a local hotel with a pool for the kids. Next to Dugal, my favorite person of the day. He took several handsfree calls on the way and it was like the soundtrack to Highway to Hell TV show.

Kevin spotted the bent rim and brick dust right off. 

Another view.

Had to take a picture of Kevin and his family.

Next steps:
  • I'm in a nice Comfort Inn
  • Tomorrow, I pick up a rental car and try to enjoy some local sites.
  • Monday, visit the dealer and meet the claims adjuster, figure out what happens next.
  • Tuesday, maybe parts arrive and bike fixed.
  • Wednesday, likely the earliest day I could depart.
You may say, hey Ed, why are you so confident this will go that fast? You might need a whole new engine... . Well, Kevin pointed out there was only a single large smooth edged hole on the right lower engine sump. Looks like a plug got knocked out. Yeah, right. But it could be. Hope springs eternal.

Ok folks, I am going to bed.


  1. Bummer! You do enjoy adventure. Give me a call on Skype.

    1. Thanks Peter. I will call.

      Now I could plank my old ass on the couch and surf, watch TV, and otherwise enjoy myself...or I could do things.

      If you do things, something will happen. There is a good part to this. Look at the nice folks I met.

  2. Lots of debris on the road these days. Too bad about the delay. I'll be interested in hearing what the dealer says about the engine...

  3. Doh! You've gone from adventure to epic! It happens. Hopefully you won't be off the bike long. I am glad the homeowners could lend a hand.

    Those bike riders that passed you by without asking if you needed help? Well - karma will take care of them.

    1. Hard to understand.I've been stopped to make a cell call and had riders slow to ensure I was ok.

    2. Hi Ed - Just spoke with Rodney and Irene who arrived back home last evening. Rodney has a great solution for you. He says he will sell you his 1981 Yahama and would even be willing to drive there, and the two of you can return together on the one bike. Hugs from your wife. (I just can't imagine what that experience would be like. )

    3. Just spoke to them myself. Discussed the issue and if necessary, Rodney might be able to bring back my stuff in Sept, if we could find a place to keep it here until then. I think that is more complex than taking the stuff in boxes.

  4. Glad to hear you are okay but what a trip it! Hope it gets fixed quickly. You might as well enjoy the sights while you've got the time, good thing you don't have a fixed agenda.

    1. I thought I had replied, but must have hit a wrong button. You know, when this happens, you get rattled, make more mistakes. It's human. Unsettling, but normal I suspect...

      Anyway, it won't be fast. They likely do not have an engine in a box right there, it would have to be shipped in before they could install it and they are of course fully booked up anyway. If they rebuilt it, it could take months, to do it right. Finally, the insurance guy may write it off. Engine in box plus front wheel plus installation will exceed book value, I think. I am pretty confident of that. So, looks like season over. But, Bob would like that I did the trip we had planned, did the Cabot Trail like we planned.

    2. Also, I would argue that the front tire is very suspect, it's my life after all, and there is likely to be extensive internal damage since the amount of oil on the ground after I stopped is like a cup or so, not much more. Not near 4 litres. It was all gone. No wonder now the engine stopped when I pulled in the clutch. How I stayed upright is going to be an eternal mystery. I will put it down to extreme skill and an utterly unflappable demeanor LOL.

    3. And, this should remind all readers to take pictures of the bike after you stopped. Dugal reminded me to do this. Also, keep all hotel and other receipts. I usually travel with a plastic, flat envelope with snap to store the reciepts. Forgot to bring it but have the receipts. Bought a package of 3 zipper envelopes at Walmart today for $3....

  5. Well Ed, glad your ok! Bikes are replaceable, your not. I always stop and ask if other riders are ok, I might not be able to help mechanically, but stop just the same. So how are you getting home now.

  6. My daughter sent several text messages saying the same thing about the bike being fixable, me not so much. Thanks to you for your thoughts.

    In a few minutes I will drive the rental car to the dealer and meet the adjuster sometime this morning. It is overwhelmingly likely that I will take a flight home today or tomorrow as the bike could not possibly get a new engine or a rebuild in a short timeframe. I will post something when I learn more.

  7. And here I thought Beemers were indestructible. Turns out Kilners are indestructible, Beemers, not so much.

    Nice work Ed. I wonder how many of us would have fared so well.

    1. Thanks! If the road section was challenging at the point I was stopping, who knows what the outcome would have been? The slippery rear could easily have moved out and control could have been lost. But, all went well. If one can use the word "well" in this context...