Misadventures in Cycling

Of all the lessons I have learned in riding few are as unexpected as the tidbit that part of riding is learning some basic mechanical skills.  Having the skills and knowing the frequently encountered issues with your ride will save a lot of stress and worry.

In my case, the Piaggio MASTER 500 engines are notorious for fuel pickup issues related to ethanol making hoses expand and rupture. I knew this, and as you are about the hear, I should have known better.

My BV is a year older than my brother's X9. He's got about 5k miles on his. I'm a bit closer to 40k. His fuel line inside the fuel tank, between the filter and pump, ruptured about 3 weeks ago. I am the one that did the repair. After doing his, I had the parts lying on the work bench to do mine, but I just didn't feel like tearing the plastic off (forgetting that on the BV, you can do the job only removing 1 piece of tupperware, while the X9 is major surgery, and about 15 bits of plastic.) 

Anyways, last week I had to make a run to Chattanooga, TN to visit a customer, so I went out that morning and rocked the back roads ( map ) any chance to ride Fort Mountain is not to be missed. After filling up in Dalton on the way up, I did get a couple of what felt like misfires. I should have known then, but it didn't register. I was focused on what I needed to work on at the customers office when I got there.

Arriving safely in Chattanooga, I did my thing at the customers office and hit the road south about 3pm. Looking at the fuel gauge, I decided I did not need to top off, knowing I only need to go about 50 miles to get to the QT I was planning to fill up at, and rolling highway because I wanted to be home by 5:30 to meet my brother for a run (training for a marathon with him). 

Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned.  They rarely do.

Rolling southbound (and anyone that knows this stretch of road can tell you, speed limit is 70, average speed is closer to 85).  Zipped through Calhoun just ahead of what sounded like it was going to be a good thunderstorm, I was thinking about stopping at the Hwy 136 exit to put on my rain gear. As I was approaching the top of the hill at mile marker 323, just 3 miles short of the target exit, I felt all the power go away.  Twisting the throttle, I knew exactly what had happened. Like my brother's X9, I had ruptured the fuel line inside the fuel tank, and the system was sucking air instead of fuel.

So I rolled to a stop on the side of the road and checked what I had in the way of tools. If I could lay my hands on a fuel line, I had enough tools to fix it. Also, if I could top off the fuel tank to submerge the split, I could probably nurse the bike home by keeping the tank no less than half full. The problem is that the nearest fuel and possible fuel line is 3.2 miles away at the Flying J truck stop. So, making a couple of calls to see about a truck ride home, I start walking. Well pushing is more accurate.  In dress shoes, slacks and a button down oxford cloth shirt I might add.

It was not the best gear to be pushing in, in the foot hills of the north Georgia Mountains.  

Break Down to Rescue

I had gone about 200 yards up the road when the thunderstorm catches up with me and the bottom falls in. Calling this rain is really not fair. It was more like standing under a very very large bucket and having it pour on you... for an hour. 3.2 miles and about 55 minutes later, I arrived at my destination, a very soggy (drowned rat) but safely ensconced under a roof in front of the Flying J. Pulled my phone out of the top box, and checked messages. I had a ride on his way. Checked Find My Friends, and said ride is 15 minutes away. So I decided not to put fuel in the scooter, and just hitch a ride home.

So we got home safe and sound, a bit later than planned, and a lot wetter.

Thursday afternoon, I pulled the fuel pump to confirm what I expected, the hose was ruptured with a nice ling split in the hose line.   5 minutes later, everything was replaced, repaired and reassembled.  

All that trouble over a 1cm long split in a 2in long hose, and a 10 minute repair....

Lesson learned. MASTER 500's older than '09. Even if it's running fine and you you've put clamps on the hose. Pull it out, replace the hose with ethanol safe submersible hose. 

Second lesson learned.  Know enough to be your own mechanic.  Even though I didn't do the repair roadside, I know that I could have, and that in and of itself is a comforting thought.


Content by dru_satori, edited on a Mac using SandVox (because I'm lazy)