Sunday 29 December 2013


I now have a working bike. The piston I put in in Spain with an undisclosed amount of miles on it (there looked to be a lot) gave in and damaged the cylinder. I had two valves on their last legs too. But within two days I had a new piston, cylinder rebore and two repaired valves for the total of £60. It was very easy to find parts out here.
 I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and thank you for the donations. They all went into having a fully working bike, which considering the circumstances is actually the best present ever. Christmas doesn't really exist here in Senegal though - 99% Muslim. My Christmas day consisted of finding out just how much of a bad way my bike was in in a garage in a busy Senegalese road, surrounded by goats, chickens and a monkey. That was my Christmas.

I've been living on a campsite by a palm tree beach since I arrived, which doesn't have internet, so forgive the infrequent updates and not getting back to people. The scenery by the campsite is pretty amazing though.

Senegal, from what I've seen is a stunning country. It makes Mauritania look like an armpit. Some of the roads here are good even by European standards. Its a pretty special feeling to know that I've ridden a moped here from England where you can ride past monkeys, acacia trees and little villages made from wooden huts. This is a part of Senegal that I'm enjoying. Its almost taking away the first impression of when I got arrested on my first day in the country for foolishly riding around St Louis with none of my papers. I got taken back to the police station and demanded to pay a bribe. No bribe paid and I'm a free man! Looks like you can talk your way out of most things in Africa.

Have a good new year if I don't get back on here before. I think a good few beers are in order!  


  1. Woohoo. Way to go adventurer. Merry xmas and happy new year.
    Jordie kev

  2. Happy new year bud!!, That oil question needs a bit of explanation. When you run the engine, it sheds small amounts of metal as the rings rub against the cylinder and other bits rub each other and other crap that gets into the engine. this is suspended in the oil. If you just top up oil, these remain in the engine and continue to build up making the oil less and less effective. The only way to get rid of them is empty the oil out and start again. Imagine that you have a dirty pond and the water evaporates, so you add more water, you still have a dirty pond ! M

  3. Yeah I get that. I change it every 1000 miles as the Haynes manual states. Well, its normally less than 1000 miles as I change it in the morning before I go over the 1000 mile limit that day. Not when the oil is cold though, I run the engine on idle for 5 minutes before I change it. It does need topping up A LOT before these 1000 miles changes. It would run dry if I didn't. Sometimes there's no oil left on the dipstick after 100 miles. It ran dry in Spain after 600. I'm hoping though that now I have a new piston and repaired valves that the oil consumption should be a lot lower as it does seem like massive high maintenance to have to top it up to the correct level 3 times a day when on a big ride. Do you still think I should change it every 500 instead of 1000 though?

  4. What colour is the oil when you look at it? If it's still syrupy and translucent then you know it's not contaminated, but if you're changing it that frequently and it's getting black and opaque really quickly then something's getting in there and contaminated it (though could just be soot).

    The fact that you've worn out two pistons already makes it sound like something's getting into the engine that shouldn't and wearing it out much too quickly. Have you checked your air and fuel filters? As soon as you hit southern Europe you will have entered a climate where the air is rich with dust blown up from the Sahara (it travels a really long way). Fuel purity is probably also much less regulated outside of Europe.