I was beginning to think it would never happen, but I've finally got myself a project to occupy the seemingly endless amount of free time I have.
Ebay turned up the ideal project in the form of a Derbi GPR50 which has the dual benefits of giving me something to do up and being suitable for the boy to ride when he turns sixteen next year.
I admit to having had a certain level of trepidation as to whether I'd be able to get it in the back of a Honda Civic, but with an appropriate selection of foam blocks, flattened cardboard boxes and a length of rope, everything was suitably secured. Half an hour and a measly 185 quid later the bike was safely installed in the shed awaiting reference.
First impressions are that I've really got my work cut out but as I've got plenty of time and I like a challenge I have to say I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into it. All the plastics are in an awful state and it's questionable at this stage how much will be usable, how much can be repaired and whether I may just manufacture new bodywork from aluminium alloy.
The bike has been stored for at least three years and appears to have had rather a hard life, so a total nut-and-bolt restoration looks like the way forward. Woo-hoo!
A couple of hours in and 'Donkey' is looking like the result of extreme dieting, with the remaining chassis components due for removal later today.
Interestingly, initial investigation of the engine suggests that it's been derestricted, so although not strictly legal for a sixteen-year-old, I'm not going to worry. I remember back in the day that at that age it was a constant battle to have the quickest moped, with various big-bore kits and race exhausts wherever you turned.
Back then everyone had 'proper' 50cc bikes, not twist-and-go scooters which were strictly for girls. There was the RD50 and DT50 from Yamaha, Honda's MT50, the Kawasaki AR50, with Suzuki pitching the TS50. Funny how times change as now almost everyone has a funky scooter instead, and even I occasionally think it might be fun to get an old Vespa or Lambretta as a toy.
Personally I never did the whole moped thing as I passed my bike test about a year after my car test (plus mum wouldn't let me have one), but later on I did have the experience of riding a Yamaha FS1e custom which was a little nerve racking. Vague hinge-in-the-middle handling led to thoughts of "Is it gripping? Well I'm still going round the corner so I suppose it must be...." Needless to say I was glad to clamber back on to the TZR250 I had at the time.
Any regular readers needn't worry, this blog isn't going to turn into a motorbike progress diary, but I might occasionally throw in the odd bit here and there.
The world in general will still find ways of annoying me to the point where I need to rant about something and get it off my chest, but right now I actually feel pretty good about things.
Only one thing is certain. It won't last!
PS: It's now 1pm and Donkey is pretty much in kit form :-)