But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you: Home is home, be it never so homely.
— ~Henry David Thoreau

I got a call from Teddy telling me that he and a few riding buddies were planning on riding to the coast that weekend. On Saturday we would ride down to a little beach spot for a few beers. 

Beers by the beach - perfect. My bike however was blowing far too much smoke and the whole thing was chewing through oil like a two-stoke. I mean… my bike always blows smoke. It’s just what it does. Before I blew a piston in the outback, I was spending more on oil than fuel. Not the most environmentally friendly form of transport but it worked well in Australia. Until of course, I blew a piston in the outback that left me stranded and put me a month and a half behind schedule. 

 The local club I was riding with often take their pre-1960 bikes on runs that are several thousands of kilometres long; sometimes the full length of Indonesia. To do this they need an amazing mechanic and luckily they have one. Mr Agung used to race two strokes in the 70’s and now he is known as *the* mechanic for old bikes. The locals talk about him in near mythical terms. “He only sleeps for 2 hours a night!”.  “He once wrote off a Blackshadow moon riding but repaired it the next day so he could race it”. Anyway, he was the man to see about my smoky bike. I was still feeling a bit sick so when he came around to pick up my bike at close to midnight, I didn’t think too much of it. I went to bed and conceded that I would have to ride someone else’s bike to the beach or worse, ride pillion, “the seat of shame”. 

 I woke in the morning after being tagged in a bunch of facebook photos from Mr Agung working on my bike. That clock in the top left isn't broken. He was working on my bike at 4:30 in the morning. 

I woke in the morning after being tagged in a bunch of facebook photos from Mr Agung working on my bike. That clock in the top left isn't broken. He was working on my bike at 4:30 in the morning. 

Teddy woke me up in the morning with the ripping of his WLA outside the wok factory. I pulled on some pants and walked down. 

“Jump on - we go and get your bike now” 

 I am not a morning person at the best of times. With me still feeling sick I wasn’t really looking forward to a day of wrenching on my bike but with the heroic Mr Agung working with me it should be a good learning experience. 

 Getting to his shop I noticed that the gearbox cover is off. This isn’t a step for working on the engine. 

 Turns out for Mr Agung, he had not slept. Perhaps the Blackshadow tale was true after all. He had pulled off the head, replaced the rings and rebuilt the engine. Of course it is impossible to find Enfield rings in a few hours so he fabricated a set. Unfortunately when he was rebuilding the engine he stripped off a rocker oil feed bolt (a bolt with a hole in it that allows oil into it).  Once again he didn’t have this part. He did however have the ability to fabricate one with no issue. Ditto the kickstart return spring that broke when he was starting it up.  The talented dude worked all through the night to get my bike running - just so I could go for beers at the beach. People talk about Indonesian hospitality but if you have only experienced the sellers at Kuta you are missing out on some of the kindest and most caring people you will meet anywhere in the world.

 Why are the mechanics so good in Indo? They learn to hold a wrench before they can walk. 

Why are the mechanics so good in Indo? They learn to hold a wrench before they can walk. 

That afternoon we jumped on the bikes to the beach there was to be 7 of us.  A ratted matchless, 3 WLAs, a couple of BSA and Cosmas bikeexif level cool custom. Seriously follow this link for more details on this bike.

 A bunch of old bikes, winding mountain roads and a grin on everyone’s face. It was a great feeling. The quality of the road also allowed us to really get the most out of our bikes.  I feel I need to say that I often get pulled up on how hard I push my bike - scraping pegs, cornering too fast and just generally being a hooligan on an old bike. I have to say though, these guys rode the be-jesus out of me. Bikes that had 20 years on mine, suicide shifters and no rear suspension footplate carving every corner. It was nuts. Some kids love standing on their seats (guilty) while riding.  Watching Teddy handsfree stand on his 42 WLA ridged…well it made me feel like I should put my training wheels back on.  Once at the beach the first cold beer was cracked.  The beach was perfect, movie set perfect. Waves, little huts, dramatic rocks and cliffs. If this was Bali it would be packed with hotels. Instead it was us, a few locals and thatched hut/bar/daybed type things called Bales

 Not a bad place to kick it and drink some beers. 

Not a bad place to kick it and drink some beers. 

 Our drinking table.. and later our resting area. 

Our drinking table.. and later our resting area. 

After a few beers I started winding it back - aware of the night ride through the mountains.  Noticing my slowing pace, I was pulled up and quickly told we would be spending the night there. Sleeping at the bar under the thatch. Perfect. I grabbed another beer - one of many. Eventually falling alseep under my jacket, with my friends’ glasses clinking and waves not too far away.

 In the morning we woke with a tasty breakfast, coffee and a clutch issue with a WLA. The clutch plate bolt had threaded. Mr Agung grabbed one of left over beer cans from the night before, drank the last few sips, pulled it apart and used some plumbing tape to get some traction on this bolt. 

 This Matchless has no right to run as well as did. The owner rode me under the table with it. 

This Matchless has no right to run as well as did. The owner rode me under the table with it. 

The ride back was at a more relaxed pace. It might have been the hangovers or perhaps everyone was just taking in the last moments of the weekend while they could. 

 I think we have a habit of trying to overcomplicate what makes us happy and what is needed to have little adventures. I had just had the most amazing weekend. No real plans, friends, bikes and a friendly thatch roofed bar - no frills but all fun.



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