ThunderPress East

EAST APRIL 2018

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72 April 2018 www.thunderpress.net THUNDER PRESS The last shall be fi rst If you're lucky enough to be around motorcycles for a while, you'll run across a few machines that stand out. The reasons they stand out can vary. Some are special because they have survived in original condition, others because they have been custom- ized to the nines. Some of them you love, others, like the one you'll be reading about here, you may not even particularly like. They've just been a part of your life so damn long you'd miss them if they were gone. This little "bike" is technically a moped, a French-made Motobecane Mobylette or "Moby" for short. This Moby was built in the mid '70s and bought by my Dad in the '80s for about $150. This Moby was a top-of- the-line model 50V and I have person- ally topped 35 mph on her, in a crouch, on a slight downgrade with a tail wind. The 50V has a tandem seat, front and rear suspension and a whopping 49.9cc two-stroke engine with a simple but effective variator belt drive system. In his later years a lot of small to medium-sized bikes came and went through Dad's garage but his Moby was a constant. If he needed to clear his head over a vexing problem, he'd hop on the Moby. It seemed to do the trick every time. The combination of ethanol- infused gas, aging two-stroke oil and rare-to-occasional use proved problem- atic to the once-reliable little Moby, often resulting in two-stroke premix puddles around the drive. Dad even talked about selling it now and then, usually when it was in its non-running phase. A Saturday afternoon in the driveway spent working on the pecu- liar little bike usually brought he and the Moby back together again. For Dad, the Moby clearly became his last stand, the last of the toys in his toy box and the last to languish in the corner, forgotten as Father Time came calling and just living became more important than living well. After he passed, I was getting his place ready to sell and I saw the bike as it sat alone in his shed, surrounded by empty nutshells cast off by the squirrels and other rodent intruders. Surprisingly it hadn't been nibbled on or turned into nesting material. I couldn't bear to part with the Moby even though it wasn't running. I literally picked it up, put it in my truck and took it to my garage, where it sat for several weeks untouched. A day fi nally came when I had time to putter around with it to see if I could make it run again. If you've never had a moped, know this: there is a degree of physical activity involved in starting one that has been neglected. DINER DASH Sandi's Red Hot and Blue Diner by Amy White If you are trippin' through South Texas lookin' for a great throwback place to toodle to, check out Sandi's Red Hot and Blue Diner in Corpus Christi. It is a 1960s-themed diner, designed around Sandi's 1970 Monte Carlo. They claim the best waffl e in Corpus Christi, and make all their bread in house, including hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls and buttermilk biscuits. Sandi's is also known for "Turkey Tuesdays" where she serves up a full turkey dinner every week, just like her grandma used to make. Everybody knows that Texans know food, so come on down to Corpus and see what Sandi's customers are stompin' their boots about! Breakfast and lunch, patches welcome, biker friendly, family friendly. 704 Ayers St., Corpus Christi, TX 78404 facebook.com/sandisdinerredhotblue • 361.334.3850 You pedal them like a bicycle until they start and that might be a while, especially if you don't know which of the two positions on the on/off switch is which. The lettering had faded over the years. Eventually I got it to run with the choke about half out and I considered that a victory. The start- ing procedure was very reminiscent of bikes from the early 1900s. The little bike cleaned up well, the fi nishes likely preserved by years of two-stroke oil fog. The Moby also has the distinction of being one of the few things left relatively unmodifi ed by my father in his 30-some years of ownership—a true stamp of engineer- ing approval. My son expressed an interest in it, so I loaded it up and took it to him a few months ago when we went to visit. I showed him what little I knew about it and it was still running only with the assistance of the choke. We decided a thorough cleaning of the Gurtner carb was in order whenever he had the time, which, as it turns out, was about a week or so ago. One day he kept texting progress reports on the little bike. Carb photos led to videos of a much-improved starting process which ultimately led to a point-of-view video of him taking it for its re-christening ride in a nearby National Park. I was thrilled! I was happy for Dad that his little bike had found a new home. I was happy for the bike that it was in the wind again and I was happy that my son had found success in getting this Moby back on the road all by himself. The celebration came to an unceremonious ending when the chain fell off and the baffl e backed out of the muffl er chamber, but you can't expect perfection right out of the gate. He put the chain back on and rode it home, where he is planning to repair the muffl er. He has it starting with just a pump or two now. It was an amazing feeling to watch on the phone in real time as my dad's last bike became the fi rst bike my son ever resurrected while the most basic elements of motorcycling spanned three generations. What's your favorite biker-friendly diner or luncheonette? Send in a high- resolution photo and a 120-word description, along with the place's address and contact info, to tpress@thunderpress.net. See all the stuff we couldn't show you in print on thunderpress.net

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