Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

this was such fun

Zipping along the roads, sun in my face, wind in my hair...

This (googled image) is a picture of a Suzuki 50cc motor scooter that is very similar to the one I owned from 1969 to late 1972. It's even the same colour.

I don't have actual photos of my bike, or me on my bike. I'm pretty sure Mum took a couple when I first got it, but I have no idea what happened to them.
Yes, it's just a little thing, but I was only 16 and weighed less than 100 pounds. About 45kg.
A bigger bike might have been to hard for me to handle. (Mum's words, not mine).

I'd been having driving lessons from a friend of Mum's who owned a small car, but then he moved away and that was the end of that. So Mum decided I should get a small bike because I could put L plates on it and learn on my own.

We went to the dealer and I chose a bike from their catalogue, made a down payment, bought a helmet, and waited for the bike to arrive from Adelaide.
When it arrived I was so excited! I went to the dealer to get my bike, but was disappointed to find I couldn't even start the motor. The mechanic/salesman said I probably just need some practise at it, started the bike for me and I rode it home.

Everyone rushed outside to the front lawn and wanted to see me ride around the grass, but again, I couldn't start it. My younger brother, who is much bigger and heavier than me, had a go and was soon making tracks in the grass as he went round and round, then he took the bike up and down the driveway and even out on the road a bit.
Then he handed it back to me and I tried to start it, but it took several tries before it kicked over.
R had also needed several tries to get it going and I remembered the salesman/mechanic also kicked it over more than once.

After a couple of months, I was still having trouble starting the bike, so Mum said I should take it back and get them to look at it.
It was still under warranty, so the mechanics said they couldn't touch it and it would have to go back to Adelaide.
So they sent it off and a couple of weeks later, I got it back.
The people in Adelaide said they couldn't find anything wrong with it, so I persevered with multiple kick starts until the motor started and I rode back and forth to work daily.

Apart from not being able to start it, the machine was beautiful!
I loved it! I decorated it (and my helmet) with psychedelic daisies.

Anyway, the problem continued and I wanted to take the bike to the guy who'd recently opened a motorbike shop in Murray Bridge.
Mum said no.
My bike was still under warranty and couldn't be touched by anyone else, so for a full year, I rode the bike for a while, then took it back to where I'd bought it and they'd send it back to Adelaide to be looked at. Back and forth, back and forth, probably five times in the first year.
Each time it would come back to me with a letter saying they couldn't find a single thing wrong with it.

Well, I bet you all know what's coming next!
You're right!

The day after the warranty expired, I took my bike to the bike shop guy.
He'd been a racer and one wall of his shop was covered in ribbons and trophies so I was sure he'd know more about bikes than the people in Adelaide.

He watched me try to start the bike, then had a go at it himself.
He knew immediately what the problem was!
He removed the spark plug, sneered at it, and replaced it with a new, different type, saying that the crappy little spark from the old plug wasn't enough to start the motor.

Then he explained to me that every time I sent the bike to Adelaide they'd hook it up to a machine which would kick over the motor and the bike would run beautifully. So probably no-one had ever tried to manually kick it over.
He told me to try it now, and for the very first time ever, I kicked it over and the motor started.
I was so happy I almost cried!

From that day on, until I eventually sold it, I never had a single moment of trouble from my beloved bike.


  1. That was so frustrating...nice looking bike.

  2. Hi River,

    My dad has a Honda that looked just like that little bike.

    Brings back memories...




  3. Good grief, what we have to put up with to find someone to do it right the first time. Great little bike; I hope you put a lot of miles on the odometer before your parted ways.

  4. Who would have thought River a Bikie Chick :-).

  5. There is something truly magical about bikes. I had a 250cc Honda and had a very similar problem to yours. I got a LOT of exercise trying to start it. A friend knew the likely cause (same as for you) and it was fixed in no time.

  6. Delores; it was frustrating, but once the spark plug was changed everything was hunky-dory.

    Plasman; they're very similar bikes. The Hondas that our postmen ride around on remind me of my bike everyday.

    Joanne; if it hadn't been under warranty I could have had it fixed much quicker, but mum said I couldn't negate the warranty by taking it to someone else in case they did the wrong thing.

    Windsmoke; I didn't quite get to the leather jacket and boots stage, but I loved riding.

    EC; Isn't it annoying trying to kick start something that just needs something so simple as a better spark plug? My brother started with a 250cc Honda. Wrote it off and got something bigger. Repeat, repeat, then wised up and got a car.

  7. Sadly that is the way of dealers.. My Yamaha (now two years old) had problems from day one..back and forth just like you. Eventually I got the sh**s with Yamaha and fixed it myself. I know I officially voided warrantee but at least it's great now. I know your little bike would have given you untold pleasure and freedom, they were a great bike.

  8. Just about every lawn mower I have ever met has had a starting problem. The major difference between mowers and your bike, however, is that there will never be a lawn mower I could love.

    Would you ever think of getting another bike, or a scooter?

  9. Tempo; was your problem also the spark plug?

    FruitCake; if I'd kept my licence up to date and I could afford it, I'd buy a bike tomorrow. Sadly, I let the licence lapse after I sold the bike and started pushing a pram around.