Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Grit and Gravel, and Corrugations

I have done the incredible once again! This last week I rode out to a dam, because I craved a paddle. What I’m saying is that I really wanted to go out and paddle in a kayak. There are three dams nearby that are suitable for paddling, but I could only go to one, because we moved the kayaks recently, to the smallest of the three. This dam is on a farm called Damascus. The dam is 22km out of town which is not too far to go on a little 50cc scooter, is it?

There were only two problems… One was that my moped has started stalling at high speed. Don’t worry; it’s not as dangerous as it sounds. The moped doesn’t actually stall, but it loses power and then shuts off as soon as I come to a stop. When I first encountered this, I tried limiting the fuel, but that did not work, so I tried un-limiting the fuel, which did not work either. Now I just make do, and start it up as soon as it switches off. It’s not the best situation, and it looks really funny when someone sees me kick starting the scooter at every stop sign.

The other, more serious problem was that the 22km were on slippery, treacherous, bumpy gravel. Yes, it was a dirt road. The Yamaha Passola was not made for off-roading, and it probably handles corrugations a lot worse after thirty years. This did not deter me in any way though, so I filled up, put my helmet on and tied the paddle to the moped. Let me add that the only way that I could tie the paddle to the moped prevented me from sitting on the seat. I had two options; side saddle, or on the rear cage. I chose the latter.

The ride there was not exactly comfortable, and it felt like it took tremendously long. I had to stop six or seven times because of my previously mentioned engine troubles. On my fourth stop I looked down and saw two bolts jumping up and down on my foot panel. Where these bolts came from, I don’t know, but it did unnerve me a little at the time.

When I arrived at the dam, I was so happy at the Red Devils achievement, but I didn’t waste time by celebrating, because I knew dark would be coming soon. I ran to fetch the kayak and forced it through a thicket of all different types of thorn trees, and then I followed it. I found out that the dam hadn’t received water in a long time, and the water was stagnant. After doing two laps of the dam, and being petrified by massive underwater creatures, I got out and ran around five hundred metres with the boat on my shoulder.

By the time I started on my way back, it was past six, and the sun had sunk beyond the horizon. The way back was fast, and 5km from home my dad came out to check if I was still all right. I was, and I rode the last few kilometres back in complete darkness.

I felt the same way I did when I finished my journey from Oudtshoorn. It revived my interest and yearning for moped adventures. We will just have to see where the little Devil takes me next…

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Moped Army

I have news. My mate Matthew has just acquired a Honda Melody! He is as excited as I was when I first got my moped. Farai, another good friend is busy fixing up his 150cc Lambretta tuck-tuck and I another two friends, Chris and Johanli, already have mopeds. Plus there are still many of my friends who are looking for mopeds.

I have arranged that the four of us go out on a ride to De Rust on Sunday, and hopefully everyone will make it. The plan is to ride out to De Rust in order to have breakfast. On the way we will be able to race one another, play around and experience the beauties of riding ones moped without any cares in the world.

Once we get to De Rust we will be able to order some breakfast and coffee, and discuss various things about mopeds. If anyone has a technical or mechanical problem we will be able to discuss it, and find a solution. Then we will meander back to Prince Albert.

We must just remember to take enough petrol along!

What an Idiot

Hey Passola Fans!
It has been a long, long time since I last posted... The truth is, I have been trying to find a way to tell you what I have done without making myself look too bad. It has taken me this long to realize that there is in fact no way of doing that. I am going to look bad anyway.

I did something no Passola owner should do; I did not put two-stroke oil into the tank! Before you go ahead and judge me, let me put my case foreword. 

The dude I bought my little red devil from said to me at the time that I should put some oil in the tank every now and then. This seemed simple enough for me, and that is what I did, until I got back from Oudtshoorn. I had left my oil reserves in Oudtshoorn, and did not have any with me in Prince Albert. So I simply kept filling her up without two-stroke oil. I assumed that she would be fine for a while. Little did I know that she would not be fine. 

The first time she broke down, I had just left town. I did not think much of it, and after a while, kicked her back to life. On my way back into town she broke down again. At this point I started getting worried. There was a acrid smell, and it took me a very long time to get her going the second time. I had just entered the town when she broke down a third and final time. I had to push her back home :(

Not to worry, I thought, there must be something small wrong with it that I will easily be able to fix. Now if you know a thing or two you would immediately know that no two-stroke oil means messed piston rings. I did not know this, so my friend Matthew and I proceeded to clean and fix everything, except for the rings. Every time we accomplished something, our hopes were broken down when the damn thing wouldn't start. 

Two weeks ago I decided that I had had enough, and I took it back to the Kobus, the able mechanic in Oudtshoorn, in order to have it fixed once and for all. I am hoping that it will be done by the end of the week. I have not rode on it since my last post, and I am dying to feel that familiar wind in my hair.

I hope you will not make the same mistake as me, because the heartache of not being able to ride it is almost unbearable. I know that I will never make a similar mistake again. I was an utter Idiot!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

S#*t, it's the Police!

According to South African legislation, I am not allowed to ride my moped! It just so happens that you need a roadworthy, licensed moped, and you need to have a learners license and be wearing a helmet. Also, you cannot give someone a lift on the back unless you motorcycle is larger than 125cc's. Mine in a 50cc.

So, I was in a tough situation the other day when I gave a friend a lift from her house to a farm dam where we were swimming. I was running low on fuel, so I went past the garage to fill it up. As I pulled away from the station, with Lisa clutching me from behind, wearing my helmet I saw a police van far down the road. I immediately turned into a street on the right in order to evade them.

After a few minutes I assumed that they hadn't seen me, and started to relax. suddenly I heard a squealing that I thought was coming from the wheel, but it did not sound familiar at all. I asked Lisa what it was and she didn't know. Then all of a sudden I saw blue and red lights flashing in my rear-view mirror! The cops had their siren on and everything!

I pulled over and the policeman asked me if I had a license, and I showed him my learners. He said I was looking for my motorcycle license, and I said I did not have one... He pointed out the law and all I could do was stand there with my tail between my legs. He eventually let me off with a warning. He also said that I could ride the scooter home.

Not 5 minutes later, we ran into another police vehicle! And we were on the back-roads! These cops were a lot friendlier, and they just laughed and waved us by. I never thought I would get caught, and all I have to say is... CRIME DOES NOT PAY!

Monday, 28 November 2011

An almost ultimate journey

Since I last posted I have done something that I think requires some acknowledgement; I rode for 111km, from Oudtshoorn, where I am at school, to Prince Albert, my home town. Now you may not think that this is so amazing, but in fact it was. Not only the fact that my teeny weeny scooter made it, but the experience I got in return was unparalleled.

Lets start with the moped. It has on it a standard 2,5 liter tank, and a maximum speed of 60km/h ... on a downhill. On the flat it will reach 55km/h, if the wind plays along. Basically what I'm saying is that she is not the most powerful bird out there. But I'm not complaining. For a 50cc engine, I don't think 55 is bad. In fact, when I bought it I was overjoyed!

If you do the math, it works out to a theoretical time of 2 hours and 12 minutes. If you cannot do the math, check out http://http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=speed+distance+time&a=ListOrTimes_List So, in practice, I did not make the cut-off time. But I did come close. I estimate the journey to be around 2h30, which is not bad at all.

I knew the 2,5 liter tank would not last me 111km, so I planned to fill up in De Rust, which was 33km from Oudtshoorn, and then fill up again in Klaarstroom, 25km from De Rust. Then I would hold my thumbs and hope that the Red Devil would take me the last 52km. That seemed reasonable to me, as I have previously done 50km n a tank easily.

It did not work out exactly like this though. When I got to De Rust I discovered that I couldn't fill up with LRP (Lead Replacement Petrol). This was unfortunate, because I now had to do 78km on a single 2,5 liter tank! I eventually ended up running out of petrol 5km out of town! By then my dad had graciously brought me some petrol to get the last few kays.

I also miraculously only had one mechanical problem. This was when I ran out of petrol. Because I ran completely out of gas, there was no petrol to get the ped going from a kick-start. I tried bouncing it up and down, lying on its side, blowing into the tank, but eventually what got it going was when I removed the fuel pump and let petrol run straight into the filter.

As for the personal journey. It was epic. I got back pain after ten minutes of riding, there was hardly any space for cars, let-alone trucks to pass, the road was bumpy and often uncomfortable, and, I was caught in the rain for ten minutes! But I pushed on through. After everyone shared that they did not think me or my moped would make it, and after even I was having doubts, the venture was successful. By the time I had gotten to De Rust, I had decided that it was something I had to finish, and the feeling I got as I entered Prince Albert was awesome.

 De Rust: Not much hope of getting LRP...
Would I spend another two and a half hours on an uncomfortable moped, battling with rain and an aching back? Definitely!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Wind in my hair...

I have gotten the moped back from the mechanic. I am ecstatic, everything runs perfectly. the kickstart is fixed, and he also replace a few things, making it top notch. Although, I did end up paying around R1900 ($230). I have been on quite a few rides since I got it back, and there is one thing getting on my nerves; the riding position. If I ride the ped for more than half and hour, I get pains in my lower back. I cannot thing of anything that I can do, except keep reminding myself to correct my posture.

For those of you who are familiar with the Passola, you will know that there is only space for one person on the scooter, which is totally understandable, because the engine is only a fifty cc, and that it is near impossible to give someone a lift. In fact, in South Africa it is against the law to lift someone if you are on a motorbike that is less powerful than 50cc. This did not stop me though, when I gave a pretty girl a lift back to her hostel. I let her use my helmate, and she sat on the chrome cage behind my seat. It was great having the air run though my hair as we were cruising at the incredible speed of 50km/h!

Do not be shy to comment... please...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Air Box, 2-stroke and Slipping Kickstart

Hello again, It has been quite a while since my last post, and in the mean time, a lot has happened. I went for a fifty km ride in September, and once I had finished I had more than Half my tank left over. Not bad for a 2,5 liter tank! I even took it over some dirt road, but I don't think it did my scooter any good...

I noticed that I did not have a hose connecting my carburetor to my air-box, which made my air-box useless. I removed the whole air-box, and put on a small air filter. I had actually bought the air filter too small, but with the help of a hot-air-gun I got it on tightly enough. I found that this made it somewhat slower, but I would rather lose 2km/h than have the engine get muck in it and seize up.

2stroke Oil
My oil tank was beyond repair, so I removed it because it was not serving a purpose. I now have to pre-mix my oil and petrol. For that I bought a 20liter jerry-can and used a 1:50 ratio. I have to stress how important it is to mix it in a container before pouring it into the gas tank! On one occasion I put the two-stroke straight into the gas tank, and it sunk to the bottom and blocked the petrol filter: I then had to push it from the petrol station! {( Remember to tie up the electrical cables to avoid getting them stuck in the wheel. )}

Kick-start Slip
At the moment I cannot get my scooter running because the kick-start slips every time I try and kick it. It is extremely frustrating and the more you try the more you will hurt your foot. I took apart the gear-box and found out that the cogs that get the first gear to start turning had been so badly worn down that there was no chance I was personally going to be able to fix it. So I took it to a local motorcycle mechanic, and he said that it was quite common among these types of motorcycles, and that he will do a small welding job on it.

My plan from now on is to get hold of an Owners Workshop Manual, probably off the web. I have seen some for sale on Amazon that are in fairly good condition. Once I have acquired this book, I will slowly start fixing what still needs to be fixed on the moped. I hope to get it into perfect running condition, so that I will be able to stop worrying about whether it will break down anytime soon.

Friday, 9 September 2011

What's what?!

So, what exactly is the point of this blog? Well is is basically a Yamaha Passola fan site. In the following posts I will post all types of things that have to do with this incredible noped. I will also predominantly focus on posting about my own scooter and what I am doing to restore it.

The Passola was introduced during the early 1980's. I recently bought one of these beautiful machines for the ridiculously low price of R800.00. I was actually looking to buy a Honda Express, but I couldn't get my hands on one. I am not disappointed though. What I stumbled upon was in fact a fantastic find. It is not in great condition but it runs, and it sure runs fast. On a straight road I got it up to 55km/h, and on a down-hill it reached 60km/h. Since then my housemate and I have fiddled with it a little and now it isn't reaching those speeds easily.

Here are some pictures I took of it after giving it a clean...