I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I had occasion to fit a side stand on a small motorcycle I have recently purchased (of which more in a later blog post). There is a lug built in to take one, but our dreaded European "Health and Safety" rules, to which we have to comply, has meant that motor cycle manufacturers can only fit such now if they include an electronic cut off switch to immobilise the engine unless it is retracted. (It seems that some forgetful wights forgot and rode off with the stands down - they soon remembered when leaning over to take a left hand bend!). This particular model had dispensed with them since the  European diktat was promulgated in about 2000.

Such stands are still available via Ebay as  most more enlightened countries outside the European "state" still allow them to be fitted. So I obtained one and looked forward to a pleasant half an hour fitting it. (Motorcyclists love "tinkering").

It came complete with fixing bolt and retracting spring. The actual stand fitted quickly and easily in about 5 minutes to the lug provided. However, the retracting spring is, of necessity, very powerful and when offered up it was approximately one cm. short of its locating stud.
Its end was totally inaccessible and the spring too strong to be able to stretch it, but a known dodge by anyone purporting to have some engineering knowledge is to extend the spring by fitting spacers into the coils. This can be effected by putting the spring in a vice and bending it to left and right to open the coils. Coins are useful spacers. The trouble is that as one bends the coils one way the tension on the previous spacers is released and they drop out. Calm thought was called for and insulation tape came to the rescue.

As each set of spacers was fitted a winding of tape kept them in place and the end result was a spring sufficiently extended

There was a problem however, on coming to fit it I found the space too congested to loop the end over the stud because the width of the spacers was impinging on the stand

It pays to keep calm in such circumstances. The only solution was to remove all the coins and cut them in half (sorry your majesty!)


Once the stand was put into the "down" position the spacers could easily be removed with a pair of thin nosed pliers as the spring extended.

and what I thought would be a half-hour job took the whole of Saturday morning. But I did, in a strange way, enjoy working out the problem. (It's not just riding motorcycles that gives pleasure - fettling increases it).

My wife gets her pleasure from solving crosswords - mine is of a more practical nature.


Anonymous said...

Love this Pa. Tinkering and fettling = great result!
Love Daughter x

Avus said...


Keeps me busy and interested!

Pa x

Roderick Robinson said...

The rhetoric reveals a determined Brexit voter:

"...dreaded European "Health and Safety" rules, to which we have to comply..."

"...the European diktat..."

"... more enlightened countries outside the European "state"..."

But then of course I can see why. By one of those mendacious sleights of hand which leaves me breathless one Brexit prophet (it could have been the egg-faced IDS) says that leaving the EU will make Britain's borders "more secure". Never mind the illogicality consider this: where will the battered migrants first start appearing? That's right: Kent!

So you are fully justified in voting "out" as a means of securing our island fortress. Knowing of course that those treacherous Frogs will immediately eliminate The Jungle in Calais, forcing the wretched foreigners to look north as the only option left open to them

Your ingenuity also leaves me breathless although - as always - may I be allowed to rain on your techno-parade? But only slightly - in the manner of Portia during her somewhat extended simile about mercy. I too used to go in for improvisation of the sort you describe but as my circumstances eased and I simultaneously recognised that my talents (such as they are) didn't lie in this direction, I started buying special tools. The house is now littered with devices, gratefully used once and then left to gather dust. (I'm thinking in particular of one for loosening the locking nut that holds taps steady in the wash-basin).

Not that this approach is always a 100% cure-all. For one thing it's often Hell's own job shrinking your needs into a two- or three-word phrase that will be recognised by a potential vendor. Nor is it half so pretty as your sawn copper coins; of course I'm also pleased to see it's damn the monarchy when expediency beckons.

And yes, just in case you misread me, I am impressed.

Avus said...

I included my comments on "Europe" slightly tongue in cheek and wondered if anyone (and RR particularly) would bite.
I know what you mean about special tools. I have a magnificent flywheel puller for an Ariel Square Four (not made since 1958)which I used just once and hung up on a nail where it has since been transferred to grace about 3 garages. It brings back memories!

Pam said...

Well, this is very admirable but leaves me feeling that I'd not make a good man. I'm with your wife on cryptic crosswords. (And patchwork. And gardening.) Still, good for you.

Avus said...

Each to his (or her) own. You should practice though. You never can tell when you will need to fit a return spring on a motorcycle stand, you know.

Relatively Retiring said...

Coins are so valuable. I use a variety of them for balancing my collection of antique clocks. This is a valid reason for always retaining British currency.

Avus said...

Rel. Retiring:
Yes, I never bother to load my pockets with our practically worthless and heavy "bronze" (now simply bronze-washed steel - try a magnet on them), but throw them into a jam jar. I too use some to balance the hall pendulum clock. In the old days, when they were true bronze they had other uses in the construction of Roman armour - polishing off the design and using as the disks on the apron of a Roman "cingulum" (the belt, whose apron protected the lower stomach and private parts. (I will add that I always polished the reverse, leaving her majesty untouched on the obverse.)

Relatively Retiring said...

I must remember that the next time I'm making a cingulum. Nice for HM to be hanging on in there!

Avus said...

Rel. Retiring
Yes, I always kept her maj. close to my essentials! Your reply had me laughing!

Anonymous said...

Note to self...

Get a vice.

Nice job Mike


Vita said...

I greatly enjoyed your solutions with the coins, and the half coins. I've got to drag HH away from the news so he can admire your brilliance, which is very similar to his own. Ha ha ha ha. Thank you.

Avus said...

Absolutely essential piece of kit!

I guess HH and I have much in common on the motorsickle front!