Thursday (I think it was Thursday) I was jollying to work on the Ninja.
I’d just left the M6 at junction 2, and dropped down from 6th gear to 5th gear, to maintain speed but add a bit of extra power to the back wheel (for that left-right-left and then the join on to the M69 for three hundred yards before the roundabout).
On the change down to 5th gear the clutch ‘clunked’ which is slightly rarer than hens teeth, because the clutch/gearbox on the Ninja feel as if they have been sewn together with love and adoration by the most talented sewing fairies in all of the seven universes.
I didn’t need to change again, because the lights changed, and I stayed in fifth gear down to the next roundabout (Asda), where I had to drop from fifth through fourth and in to third gear.
The clunking got bigger with each change.
After the Asda roundabout I changed up to fourth until I was approaching the big roundabout by the Walsgrave Hospital.
Down to third (clunk) and in to second (CLUNK!).
And that was it; locked in second gear and unable to apply any clutch.
The cable had snapped clean through.
The engine cut out.
I managed to stop, switch the ignition off, and get the bike in to neutral, put the bike on its stand and dismount on to the central reservation.
I waited until there was a break in the traffic (I was stationary in the right-hand margin of lane three on the approach to a busy roundabout), and then walked the bike over to the left-hand margin of lane one, in to a safe position.
I got my phone out and rang the RAC, who said they’d send someone out within the hour.
Then I went on to FB, and to the Warwicks & West Mids Bikers Group, where I typed: “Does anyone know someone in Coventry who could supply and fit a clutch cable to a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja ZX9R?”
Almost immediately there was a “Nooooo” from the guy I bought the bike from, but that was followed by a name – Andy Clark.
Andy and I got in touch through FB.
The RAC man arrived – just an RAC patrol, not a recovery vehicle – and announced he couldn’t fix the problem and the bike needed to be recovered to a garage. Well der.
Andy said he’d be able to supply and fit the cable, but it would be a couple of days for it to be delivered.
Eventually the RAC-contracted recovery lorry arrived. The ramp was lowered, we pushed the Ninja aboard, where she was well secured, and off we went.
The lorry driver (bless him) took me straight to work and then took the bike on to Andy’s workshop.
An hour or so Andy rang to give me the bad news: supply and fit of a new clutch cable would be £38.
Wow. Is that all?
I caught the train home that night, and used the Daytona for the next couple of days.
On Wednesday I caught the train to work (carrying all my biker gear). That lunchtime I went up to Fletchampstead Highway, Coventry (nice and close to where I’m currently working) and met Andy.
I gave him £38. He gave me the key to the Ninja. And then I had a nose about and asked him about his business.
You can hire space in Andy’s workshop. You can hire the use of ramps (there are a few!). You can hire tools. And if you get stuck, you can hire Andy to help out – or (do what I would do and) get Andy to do the work in the first place.
This whole concept is an an interesting idea if you’re looking to save money and do big mechanical jobs on your car or bike yourself.
And if that’s not good enough, Andy’s prices (as evidenced by the Ninja repair) are extremely competitive.
So if you are in the Coventry area and you need a motorbike or a car mechanic, or if you want to hire a car or motorbike ramp, or if you want to hire space in a workshop, or if you just want the services of a very reasonably-priced mechanic, I suggest you drop Andy a line (tell him I sent you).