Within ten minutes, we had the ailing motorbike in the garage and a gas heater on. Nothing like as cold as the -37 degrees to be expected at the highest lift in Val Thorens next month, but frosty nevertheless.
“It’s probably your voltage regulator. Common problem with the ER5.”
In an hour we had managed to get petrol all over the garage. The gas heater had to be turned off to avoid the nightmare of every middle class cul de sac – not only greasy men fixing motorbikes in a garage, but greasy men fleeing burning garages with their clothes on fire.
“It’s your starter motor I reckon. Probably shagged the bushes when you couldn’t start it yesterday.”
By the second hour we had spark plugs akimbo, and were watching for sparks with one eye, and uninvited flames with the other.
Hour three, and we had proved that the Japanese know how to make sparks using small black boxes, and surprisingly had not electrocuted or flambeed one another in the process.
“Clogged air filter? Cup of tea?”
The fourth hour and we were poking fingers deep into the carbs, and squirting oil anywhere we could.
“Dirty carbs I reckon. I’ve never put my hands this far into a carburetor before…”
By hour five, we had a makeshift petrol tank in the form of a washing-up liquid bottle, and were draining petrol from anywhere it could be found.
“Gushing, pissing, or dripping?”
Within six hours, the bike had been coaxed into starting, most of the important looking bolts had been replaced, and the leftover clips had been kicked out of sight.
“What do you think was wrong with it?”
“Ah, well. Could have been anything really. Well, it starts now.”
Immensely satisfying, resulting in much more of a feeling of well-being than an hour of Pilates.