Zen and the art of maintaining Solex

About a month ago I found a pristine “Willempie helmet” in a thrift store. Exactly my size and for five euros it became my property. Now the word property consists of two parts, “own and stupid”. So you think you own something and it’s your own stupidity because possessions grow against the rocks. But of course I’m not that stupid, because I know that such a helmet is worth more than five euros, usually I know how to sell it for more.

The reason I sniff around thrift stores and flea markets is that we have a shop in our Buddhist center in Bemmel. I donate used Buddhas, books, censers and related items to the center and we also regularly receive items from the Sangha members. Also, many things in our zen center are used – that’s why we don’t ask for a contribution or anything, but we exist on donations. But someone sees that helmet (which I didn’t intend for the store), he says, ‘I have a matching means of transport with accessories.’ Soon I was in possession of a rickety Solex, a leather jacket, the “Solex DIY book”, and a bunch of extra loose parts that normally wouldn’t fit in the “Solex folder”.

When I showed the chef at the local supermarket this new addition, he patiently cooperated with me. After all, he was an expert as chairman of the solex club “Op thirty-eleven”. Of course he had to try it too, and under the squeaking and squeaking protest of our coughing asset, he tore away. When he came around the corner and shook his head again, I saw that it wasn’t right. The new acquisition was a messy mess held together with ties. But I was optimistic – the engine produced the same sound as my mother’s “Sanger”. Jubilantly too early on the second, somewhat longer trip, “Tieribje” began to spray jerkily and jerkily. I discovered that a Solex is not really meant for cycling. With a red head and a pounding heart, I drove into the supermarket’s parking garage. Chef Arie came to watch with a doubtful face, and sporty as he is, he started running with “Tieribje” in his hands. After a lot of coughing from the vehicle and two laps in the parking garage, his conclusion was: “No gas”. “Throw away that plastic tank, I still have an iron tank at home that you still need to solder”.

In the distant past I once read a book by Mr. Pirsig, “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”. It says that you must tinker with your engine with attention and concentration, and that you must listen carefully for her coughs and roars. I take that to heart and with attention and concentration the barn has been transformed into a real moped repair facility. The brand new toolbox includes items such as: “The crankcase neck reamer, spool plate puller, decompressor cutter and the indispensable key 9. With patience and concentration I removed all tie-downs, lifted the front wheel off the fork to bend the exhaust far enough to secure it properly. Removed the plastic tank, tapped the oversized threaded into the bottom mounting point on the tank.Fixed the cracked ignition cover, patched the roll bar, etc. But Solexes are like little kids, sometimes you want to put them behind the wallpaper.

If you buy an insurance-proof anti-theft device from a very expensive brand… it won’t fit around the screen. I’ve ridden it twice and been tinkering with it for a week now. I will buy that book “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” again, there were no action pictures in it, only pictures of stationary motorcycles being worked on because they were broken. I now also understand why those oldtimer insurances are so cheap, when do you get on the road with such a barrel, let alone that you can make money on such a thing for a reasonable amount. Such things only make the center poorer, even though I have donated insurance, locks, tools and gas. But it is also allowed – only I ride the barrel, no one else dares to step on it. Except for the supermarket manager. In the end, Solex was still sold. You see that many people give our center a warm heart by helping us get rid of unsaleable goods.

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