Sunday 25 May 2014


Since it's taking literally months to get a new passport sorted I thought it best to use some of the time to modify/improve the bike the best I can before I set out again.

This little guy; a fuel filter that I cut into the fuel pipe (thanks for making me bring a hacksaw, Dad) At around 70p a pop these little guys are great. My carburettor will be thankful... this fuel here just isn't filtered properly. There's loads of residue in my half litre fuel bottle that I use for cooking. Only been filled and emptied three times. My carb would be gasping for breath!   

My front basket I stole from Morrison's. Has a Morrison's basket ever travelled so far? Must be a record coming up! Anyway, the rack snapped from the basket banging up and down
whilst I was off road riding in Senegal. Had it welded back together for 30p (!) but it looked like some reinforcements were in order.

I picked up four semi bungee cords wrapped in woven fabric, secured them to the basket in areas that braced it the most. Then I covered them with glue to make them stronger and painted over them to make them water tight. 

Each one has hooks on the ends which go round the brackets that hold my front fairing on. I've put bits of sponge onto the fibre glass to reduce wear. These easily come on and off went I want to take my cooler bag containing my day to day used items out of the basket easily and quickly.

There's no more bouncing that goes on with the basket any more. Secure as hell! 

The lasting legacy of failure and annoyance from the last time a mechanic here touched my bike was that he managed to break my chain guard. They like to throw things around, smash things with hammers, hack with screw drivers and generally stand all over things. It literally beggars belief... So a new chain guard was in order. This one didn't quite fit over the front sprocket protector so I used bits of leather from my seat cover (explanation further down) and duct tape (this is a must have in your kit!) to seal them both together. Don't think I made a bad job of it if I do say so myself. 

I spray painted the chain guard black so it blends in with my engine. Don't want any questions on engine numbers from any borders. The more it inconspicuous the better!

For a while now I've wanted a single seat. Having a 3 1/2 litre petrol tank does make filling up a bastard and a half with having to take all my gear off the back seat... then reattach, then repeat, repeat, repeat.  

Since I am extremely sentimental when it comes to my things (especially things I left home with) so I decided against buying a new seat. My ass has been sat on that seat since I rode away from home and I want it to be sat on the same seat when I ride back home... so I just cut this one in half with the hacksaw (thanks Dad.)
Another added beauty of this is that it will give my back sack a lower centre of gravity, which should make handling better. It's also more secure as its jammed in between the back of the rack and the seat, which should hopefully stop it from bouncing around and coming loose when riding off road, which is a real bitch... And I never have to take it off in the middle of the day again!!

I don't think I made a bad job of smartening it up, considering I just hacked right through it and bent the metal until it snapped off (I might have picked up some useful methods from African mechanics after all) I've stuck down the under plate of the seat with super glue to give a wider pivot spot for my back bag. I'm going to cover it up with the remaining leather later to stop it from rusting too.

Now for the tent. It doesn't matter what kind of tent you have, whether you picked one up for £10 or bought the highest class tent for £100's, the first thing that will break (usually) is the zip. 

Mine had three; two for the main door and one for the outer. The main door one's have been going for a good few months now. You can prolong there life a bit by squeezing the zipper back together with a pair of pliers... but you know when you start to do this that your days are numbered. By the time I got to Will's I only had half a zip that would consistently close, so it was time for a drastic remedy; replace everything with velcro!  

I bought some velcro from a lovely lady. For some reason her measurements were in yards even though Ghana uses the metric system, but she charged me 70 pesoas for a yard... which is around 17p. She said 'I am Muslim so I want to treat you fair. I don't want to overcharge you just because you a white.' I love meeting honest people. I bought a sewing kit off her too. She asked me if I could sew and I said 'No, but I'll teach myself.' She gave a concerned look. Ever the optimist against the odds I bought the sewing kit and within 15 minutes of attempting to sew these bits of velcro onto the zip seams I gave up and decided to use a more manly technique. Ultra hardening glue, staples and a hammer. It worked too! It may not look pretty but I don't want to be caught out camping with a tent door that doesn't close and become a meat feast for the masses and wake up with malaria. The velcro does its job. 

I've added bits of thin cloth that drape over the seams too which cling to the tent fabric, further assuring that the mosquito's won't be getting in through the little holes from the velcro seals.

 So that's about it, I'm all ready to go now. All I need is my FUCKING PASSPORT! If I'd have known it was going to take this long to get another one I would have smashed that Benin high commissioner right in his stupid, fat, bald headed face for daring to get angry at me for demanding I get my money back for the visas that were in there. I think here is an insight to the problems of many African countries. It's the people with money that get into high positions and evidently they are stupid. The one's who are smart and with talent but are poor can't buy themselves a job in high up places. I have a feeling the high commissioner of Benin bought his position... because he's a fucking fool.


  1. Really good to see you finally got a fuel filter in there, you really have no idea what's in the fuel you're getting out there and going through your carb., piston rings, oil, and whole engine. (Salt and sand would be my guess though.) What's the latest on the passport? Sent off an application and waiting for it to process? Have you been chasing it up?

    1. Yep, that's pretty much it. It was sent off ages ago. I've been getting in touch with the passport office; general enquiries and tracking services and all I received back was a generic message saying that they have received it and it's being processed... I heard that there is a huge backlog on all passport applications - I'm not sure if it's true but either way, it's just a case of waiting here and annoying customs and immigration with my constant extension requests!

      I like this fuel filter very much. It makes me happy. I've got three of them.