Misfueling hurts so bad

Unfortunately, this first post will not be about a trip I had, as I could not complete it at the end of the day. For various reasons. One of those reasons was that I was not planning to write about it, as my camera’s memory stick didn’t arrive yet.

The second reason is slightly weirder.

It was a nice and sunny Saturday, when I decided to go from my house in Ealing, West London to Pimlico, Central London. While I was riding down Hanger Lane, I decided to fill my bike with some petrol.

I entered the petrol station and I spotted a pump saying VPOWER Nitro+, took it off and started pumping fuel into my motorbike.

I went in to pay, put my helmet on and started riding. After a couple of meters, the bike started behaving strangely. It seemed like the accelerator was not very responsive.

I found it sensible to pull over to see what happened, it seemed like I’ve put really bad quality fuel inside. I did pull over only to hear my engine die.

Luckily, there was a petrol station across the street, so I just entered and asked them if they know a way I can empty my tank and put new fuel inside. They just gave me a telephone number of a guy whose job is to drain contaminated fuel from cars and motorbikes.

I didn’t know that services like this very one existed, so I gave him a ring. He asked me if I had put diesel in my motorbike and I answered that I was pretty sure it wasn’t diesel. Then he told me that whatever is inside my tank, it would cost me 160 pounds to get it out.

I honestly freaked out and I thought that there was no way I was going to pay 160 quid for my small motorbike’s tank. I pushed my bike to a quiet street and I bent it over in order to empty the fuel in a road sewer.

It didn’t seem very legal to me, but we were talking about only some pints of fuel. After I emptied more than the half tank, I was stuck. Then Bernoulli’s equation kicked in and I realised that all I needed was a garden hose to siphon the fuel out.

I started knocking doors and asking politely for “spare garden hoses”… Luckily, a middle aged Irish woman was very helpful and allowed me to use her garden hose. It was a bit lengthy, but I didn’t want to cut a piece out of it. She was really nice and courteous to me and I respected this very much.

So I cleaned one end of it, went to my motorbike, dipped it in the tank and started “sucking”. From the failure of first attempt, I realised that I needed to suck much harder if I wanted to get the fuel to the other end of the hose.

And so I did. Apparently I sucked so hard, that I swallowed an ounce of petrol.

Exactly like Walter White below:

Those who have done this will understand. I sucked again with caution, and finally I could hear fuel flowing in the sewer as well as air sucking from the hose, which meant that finally, the tank was empty.

There was still a bit of diesel that I couldn’t get out, but I was hoping that if I fill the tank with petrol, everything would be fine. And so I did.

But nothing was fine. The bike still couldn’t start. I tried everything, with no avail. It was also getting dark, so I decided that enough is enough and it is time to ask for help.

So I called one fuel drainage service and the guy told me that he could be in the scene in about one hour. I told him to call me when he was about and went to dine in a pub. I was smelling diesel and I was also burping it, making the whole pub smell like diesel.

I got a couple of weird looks, but it was time to piss off back to the motorbike, as the drainage guy had called me.

We re-emptied the tank, for good this time, emptied the pipes, cleaned the spark plug and tried starting the bike, but the results weren’t that hopeful. The bike started a couple of times, but oil was leaking everywhere and it did not run smoothly at all.

I had to leave it by the side of the road, swallow my pride, put my head down and walk to the bus stop. When I went back home and shared my tale, my flatmates were a bit angry because I could have called for help instead of doing all these silly things on my own.

This was entirely true and I can’t understand why I didn’t do it. Well, the other day we went together to try and start the bike, we tried cleaning the spark plugs again, but nothing seemed to work.

Broken Little Donkey

At that point I was out of hope and I couldn’t believe that my loyal little servant for the last 5 years, my little donkey, seemed to be dead. It had 35,000 kilometres on the clock, it is not a little for a 125cc town bike. It travelled all the way from Greece to London to keep serving me and I have just killed it. I was in tears…

But still, I had to try. I didn’t care about the money, it was a lot deeper, I would fix it if I could, no matter what. So we dragged it to the nearest garage and the mechanic seemed to be reassuring, which made my spirits go up a bit.

Then he called me on the phone and this time he was very pessimistic about it. He told me that maybe it would be better if I got a new bike instead. I begged him to do everything he could, I explained him that this was so much more than a bike for me and promised I would pay no matter how high the price would be.

And then, after two agonising days that felt like centuries, he called me and he told me “Listen to this” and he revved the bike. I almost cried of relief, got my helmet and left the house immediately. In fact, I was so overwhelmed from the news that I left my wallet at home.

I left my phone with him and rode my bike to fetch my wallet. There were occasional hiccups of the engine (probably because of remains of diesel) but other than that it was also faster that it was before (probably because of new spark plugs and a clean carburettor).

I went home, fetched my wallet, rode back again, paid around 150 pounds for labour and returned back home relieved. The following days I went for long rides to welcome a friend that was resurrected, that came back from the dead.

It needed some adjustments on its carburettor, but other than that, it still runs like clockwork. It has got 37,000 kilometres on the clock now and it will keep on counting…

My little donkey, a loyal servant that is part of some of my happiest moments in both of my countries…

4 thoughts on “Misfueling hurts so bad”

  1. I had my first motorbike at the age of 12. I had bought it for 5GBP which was next to nothing. My parents didn’t even blink. I used to go for rides on the road opposite which was full of potholes. Screws would work loose and I would spend time looking for them on the road. Siphoning fuel was something I often did and I got the odd mouthful of petrol. I finally sold the motorbike back to the guy I’d bought it from and probably for 5 pounds again. I really liked that bike. It was a BSA Bantam 150cc and all black and looked like the bike that Steve MacQueen was riding on in the Great Escape. The repair job you did in the end is something I would have suggested! Your old dad.

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