I don’t really believe in magic …

But, sometimes I almost want to.

I’ve had two very strange, things happen to me in the last month.  Maybe I’ll write about it in one of my other blogs.  They were strange in the way that they were just way too coincidental!

Its not yet a month later, and another very strange, and very lucky thing has happened to me.  And this time its happened in my quest for new biking adventures.

My friend, Gabs and I want to do a nice roadtrip here in SA.  So we planning that she’ll come down to South Africa in June, and we’ll do it then.  This time I supply the bikes.  I had no long distance ridable bikes up till yesterday.  And then yesterday, I finally decided to take the plunge and go and check out one that I’d been eyeing on gumtree for a couple of weeks.  I went to see it.

The bike belonged to an Afrikaans chap in the northern suburbs of Cape Town in a place called Vredekloof.   There is a big difference between people in the northern and southern suburbs.  To look at it in a more optimistic way (favouring the northern suburbs) People have a more family oriented lifestyle and are more honest and trustworthy in the northern suburbs.  It is very “Afrikaans”.  And the southern suburbs attach the stigma to this very Afrikaans-ness as backwards and maybe even seeing the people from the northern suburbs as somewhat less intelligent.  I must admit I am not innocent in this regard.  My family mostly lives in the southern suburbs, and currently I live somewhere in between.

But the one thing we all know if you want to buy a second hand item, especially a vehicle, it is more likely that you WON’T get conned by folks in the northern suburbs.  Why?  Of course because they generally do have better values than the Southern folk.  Many a poor soul (including myself) have been conned badly by Southern folk, from many different historical backgrounds.

On the southern side, its every man for himself.  If you trick someone, and they fall for it, you feel a sense of victory that you conned them into something like buying a piece of shit wreck, and you are just relieved that its not longer on your hands and you actually managed to make someone BUY it from you.  I am ashamed to say, I am guilty of this kind of thing too.   That’s just how we evolve in the south.  I am proud to say, I no longer partake in such shady things.  And I guess its paying off in some ways, like with what is happening to me now for instance.

Ok, so back to the story.  The bike is a Suzuki DR-Z 400E.  As far as I found out, its a very nice on-road/offroad bike, which (besides the small fuel tank), is perfect for what Gabs and I want to do.  Since India, We both want to play around in the dirt more.  Its such fun (I’ll soon be posting some seriously wonderful stories from my India roadtrip).  So, I take the bike for a testride, its great, lots of power, besides the height (which I’m almost completely used to already), its comfortable, just a minor issue with wiring, and a missing mirror, it was a great buy.  EXCEPT for a little oil leak which the owner assured me was just a washer which needed replacing by the sump plug.  So I decided to take it.

I did the bank transfer of the agreed amount (R22 500).  I confirmed the transaction with a special code which they send to one’s cell fone as a safety measure, and I also forwarded the guy who I was buying the bike from, the proof of payment which one gets on the online banking website after any online payment.  I thought it was a bargain.  We then did all the paperwork and off I went home with my new (to me) bike, my helpful friend driving my car home behind me.

The bike has amazing power.  But the top speed, gets to about 120km/hr with  a struggle.  I suspect its because they sprockets had been changed at some point to favour offroad bundu bashing more than onroad.  I can easily get this changed though to give me more top speed on the road.

On getting home the first thing I discovered was that the bike overheats when idling.  At first I felt worried.  For the first few weeks after buying a second hand vehicle I always get uneasy wondering WHEN this THING will start to let me down.  I figured since the water was boiling and bubbling out of the radiator, the fan did not come on.  I peeped checking out the radiator from all angles but could not spot anything that looked like a fan.  I then thought, well, I’ll just get one of my friends to sort it out.  They are mechanics so they should know where to find the fan.  Then I googled a bit and found out that this model does not have a fan.  One should just avoid letting the bike idle for too long.  This makes me worry about riding in traffic to work for example.  But today, I did and it was fine.  At least as far as overheating goes.

Second problem, When I got home  the oil leak looked much bigger of a problem than I first anticipated.  The oil dripped out A LOT!  I checked the oil level and it still looked good so I decided I would use the bike for the day, and go buy the washer after work and then replace the worn washer on the sump plug (what I assumed was the cause of the oil leak).  Ok, so after coming home, having bought just as I bent down to unscrew the pan at the bottom of the engine, I see where the oil is coming from.  It was a hole in the side cover of the engine where a bolt had broken off thread and all!  My heart sank.

I knew this was going to cost me thousands, and usually previous owners are ruthless about this kind of thing.  They outright refuse to take any responsibility to pay for the damage, and in fact as I alluded to before sometimes they actually deliberately sell vehicles in bad condition with full knowledge of it without disclosing the information to the unsuspecting buyer.  Luckily we have a new consumer protection law for this kind of thing, but I am not exactly sure how it works, and probably it would be a few months before I would get my money back if I had to resort to using the law.

The first thing to do is always to contact the previous owner.  Which I did.  He seemed nice about it, saying I should let him know what the damage is and he will pay for it.  So I found out that the new covers from the Suzuki dealer here would cost R3 200.  Which made my heart sink, because I thought that if he heard about that amount he would turn ruthless and tell me, that this was my problem to deal with as I made the decision to buy the bike (this would be the usual experience).   I messaged him to tell him and he agreed to pay the full amount.  This just made me feel so happy and relieved and hopeful for humanity.   This was the first dose of magic.

The second dose of magic was that he said the money hadn’t cleared in his account yet, which was very strange as it should have cleared first thing in the morning.  I checked my account and saw that the money that I transferred to his account the night before was back in my account!  It was like somebody was looking out for me and somehow protecting me from what was coming today.  The transaction of last night was confirmed I even send him a proof of payment from the transaction to his email (which mysteriously never appeared in his inbox).

Certainly this can all be explained by logic.  Whether or not its something more than what it is, I don’t know.  What I do know is I’ve been incredibly lucky.  We both have been as we are both honest people.  He agreed that I should transfer the balance of what is left from our agreed price after I subtract the amount for the damage.  I’m so grateful  and I am so determined to reward other people with only honesty in my future dealings.  Life is good sometimes.  In fact, I think its always good if we choose to see the good.

Bless you all!


The bike

The cause of the leak!




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