Wonky winkers was the least of Barney's problems today
Are you sitting comfortably?
We had planned to meet Gunter early this afternoon when we got off the ferry from Denmark to Germany so we were up with the lark, or whatever the Swedish is for lark, and set off at 7.15am. We had 180 miles to cover before catching the ferry but only 20 miles into the journey, on a slip road between the E4 and E6/E20, Barney came to a grinding halt. When we're riding together I'm in the habit of glancing in my mirrors every 5 to 10 seconds to check that Jane is OK so I noticed straight away that she had slowed down for some reason. Luckily I hadn't got too far down the slip road so was able to pull over before entering the motorway. The slip road was curved so I didn't have a clear line of sight, I thought Jane had pulled over to the side but as I walked to where they'd stopped I realised they were stuck in the middle of the slip road. With it being early there wasn't much traffic about but it was one of those heart stopping moments when I saw them both. Jane had the presence of mind to switch her hazard lights on but was helpless because she couldn't paddle Barney to safety.
Just as I reached them a Swedish driver stopped to offer assistance but Barney was stuck solid. At first I thought it was a transmission failure but it soon became apparent that his rear brake had seized. With the drivers help we wheeled Barney to the side by lifting his back end. After thanking the driver for his help I walked back down the slip road to fetch the Ulysses.
The rear brake caliper is located under the swinging arm out of sight, right in the line of fire from water and dirt so it's prone to corrosion if you don't keep everything well copper slipped. I can only assume that the recent very bad weather we've ridden through had washed all the grease out causing the inboard pad to stick on it's sliding pin. I checked the pads and greased the caliper before we set off on this trip but 4,000 miles in 2 weeks in very mixed conditions have clearly taken their toll. I managed to remove the caliper and pulled the pads and pin out, cleaned all the parts and greased them up. You never know what to take on a big tour but a small tube of copper slip sure comes in handy.
Sorting this problem out delayed us by over two hours so we sent Gunter a couple of text messages to let him know what was happening. When we finally got back on the road we still had 160 miles to do so we clearly weren't going to catch one of the midday ferries as we'd hoped. Just to add to the drama as we approached the ferry terminal in Rodby, Denmark we got stuck in a 6 mile traffic jam on a dual carriageway leading to the port. It was very difficult to filter through but eventually we made it to the toll booths to catch the 3.00pm ferry, arriving in Puttgarden, Germany around 3.45pm. So after all that we missed meeting Gunter
Handy tip, if you're going to breakdown make sure you do it on a sunny and warm day, it makes things so much easier.
We're now in Heidenau, Germany as planned. This is a beautiful little village and the hotel is first rate. We celebrated finally reaching today's destination with a nice cold beer.
Mileage today was 304, total = 4031.
Chris & Jane Jessop
Founders of UKBEG April 1998www.ukbuellgroup.co.uk