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Trip Summary

Name: Cheesy Rider
Destination: Faro Rally, Portugal
Distance: 2,550 kms (1,593 miles)
Vehicle: Chopped Honda C90

Trip Diary

Pass the angle grinder
When all is lost, turn to Jesus
Let’s not meet in a dark alley
In the shadow of death
Seize the day, not the engine

Neh, Neh, Neh! Fuh, Fuh, Fuh! Indians.

The idea was pure genius. Let’s make our own version of the iconic film “Easy Rider”. After emptying the piggy bank and scratching around the back of the sofa we realised that a fleet of Harley Davidson’s might put us a tad over budget. No bother, we’d make some.

Pass the angle grinder

Matt had produced a blue-print for a custom chopper based on a Honda C90. Well, when we say blue-print, we mean he drew it in blue ink on a beer mat. It was agreed that we would probably have to go through several prototypes and several broken bones before we had something that was rideable so we volunteered Jenny as the test rider.

A sacrificial C90 was dragged from the garage and stripped. Some minor alterations were in order. The frame was chopped in half and lengthened using a scaffold pole. The forks were cut off and replaced with two metre lengths of square section steel used for office partitioning. A fuel tank was welded in the big gap between the seat and the handlebars. Prototype 1 was ready before lunch.

The test ride had to be carried out without a front brake as the cable no longer reached the front wheel. Jenny was unperturbed. She put on a lid, wobbled out of the drive and crashed. We chalked this up as “promising” since we weren’t expecting her to make it out of the driveway.

During an extensive debrief Jenny advised that the reason for her crash was a “lack of stability”. This seemed to tally with the datalogging which showed that she drove in wobbly fashion before lying horizontally with the bike on top of her. Armed with this insight the next modification was to lengthen the handlebars to compensate for the ridiculously long forks.

Head first into a wheelie bin

This seemed to do the trick as this time Jenny made it all the way to the end of the road before forgetting she didn’t have a front brake. The resulting head-on into a wheelie bin did at least prove the forks had structural strength.

A few more mods later protype three went out for a test run. On the basis that there was no crashing it was declared the production model. A further eight chopped C90’s were churned out in progressively sloppier fashion resulting in the turd that was to be Greg’s bike. We figured since he didn’t have a licence and couldn’t ride that he’d be the least likely to notice how shit it was. It worked.

So after months of thinking about it, weeks of talking about it, and hours planning it, our quest to ride 2,500 kms to the Moto Faro Rally in Portugal was go. And then stop. Not wanting to risk the wrath of the UK Police on what were effectively motorised Meccano sets, we trailered the bikes to the ferry port. Unfortunately this meant we hadn’t done any serious road-testing before arriving in Spain. Welcome to Cheesy Rider.

> Part 1 When all is lost, turn to Jesus