This is a cautionary tale of scooter wheels.
I have ridden the same machine over hill and dale through rain and sun, but this being England mainly rain. The rain part being my downfall on lovely sunny afternoon coming back from a rally in France(beet sugar).
It had been a great weekend with the usual piss taking and alcohol consumption but surprisingly few breakdowns. The only pain was on the Sunday we had to make a mad dash back up the motorway to catch our pre-booked 1pm ferry from Calais.
So with everything packed up early in the morning off we set in bright sunshine five lambrettas and a p-range, me on my G.P loaded up with luggage. All scooters running fine and onto the French motorway.
At this point our only worry was the TS1 and M.B monster tuned bikes that were with us running out of petrol but with some wise throttle control they could do it. Any way there we were cruising along at about 60, actually getting quite bored as thereís not a lot to see (youíve seen one field youíve seen them all) when it happened with no warning, bang, my front tyre blew in a cloud of black dust.
To say I thought I was going to die would be the truth. The scooter became completely uncontrollable and started bouncing at the front like a wild horse getting worse as it slowed. Got my legs out in the vain hope I could keep it upright but no chance. Next thing I know Iíve crashed into a concrete culvert at the RIGHT side of the motorway, blood pouring from my leg but alive!
Help was immediate from my friends who Iíd just like to say thank you too. I was picked up and scooter dragged from where it lay, at this point I sat there dazed when all sorts of things were going on around me. To me it only seemed like a minute when Iím told ďcome on Dave weíve still got to catch the ferryĒ. Amazing, my leg had been cleaned up and my pride and joy G.P with the courtesy of several pairs of D.M,s had been straightened, front wheel changed and I was gently encouraged to get my arse back in gear . Mates hey.
From there to Calais and the ferry we made it, however to say I was paranoid would be an understatement but make it we did. Chilled out a bit on the ferry thanking who ever looked after me when it happened (remember if I was in England the scooter would have bounced with me into the path of some thundering great lorry) and whoever came up the idea of a van to put the scooters into.
Once home I discovered I had actually broken my hand and the scooter although didnít look to bad was actually quite damaged. Of course the question is why did it happen?
On inspection the tyre is fine with no nails or any sign of damage , the inner tube however and the wheel itself is a different story. Due to the fact a front tyre on a lambretta never appears to wear out I have not changed it in some considerable time. Couple this then with lots of riding in the good old British weather and you get rust. This is what caused my blow out; a sliver of rusty metal from the wheel rim pierced the inner tube and bang! On a sunny day in France.
I am now thankfully fully recovered and just the other day received my pride and joy back from Interscooters who can I say have done a fantastic job rebuilding it considering how bent it was. Complete with brand new rims it looks better than before.
So there you go a cautionary tale that I think I was lucky to escape from so lightly, be wary of your maintenance of your trusted steed, may see you next year at Beet sugar 3 as Iím going back. It was great.