Indian Riders
Header image



Motocycle Club
Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last
Belgium By Topper 2012


After lots of hard work by Carl on my carburation, I finally got my MOT and three weeks later Pauline and I set out for the ferry at Ramsgate. Carl didn't want me to go to Belgium as Pauline's Honda is much more reliable – it turned out he might have been right about that! But Pauline wanted to take ME because she finds me easier to drive.

We caught the truckers' ferry which they like because it's a four-hour journey with no screaming kids and they can have a meal and a glass of wine and a nice nap before we dock in Ostende. I was really excited but already my starter motor was playing up and you can't bump start an automatic! We just made it off the ferry and to the Bike Motel (Bikers' Loft Oudenberg).

The motel used to be an industrial warehouse and it has a large space inside to store the bikes overnight and rooms all round. There is a 24-hour do it yourself kitchen (so handy for ferry-goers) and a wonderful bar with lots of heavy rock they like.

But they had no time to enjoy it – they had to work on me for hours until it was too dark to see and then got up early the next morning to continue. The words RAC rescue were bandied about every now and then. But finally they got me going and we set off for the Pow Wow.

We travelled on the back roads and suddenly we were in Holland – the wrong country! But we made it back to Belgium and on to the venue. We were made very welcome and ate the traditional Spag Bol.  The site was amazing, set in a small clearing with a tipsy house that they slept in.

On Friday evening more and more people rode in. One from far away Czechoslovakia! There were some gorgeous Indians – big Chiefs and Scouts and 101s. Some had side cars. And even a couple of big Harleys to keep me company, but nobody told us off for coming to an Indian rally. Some bikes came in vans but I don't like to do that. I was well behaved during the rally, but coming home was another story!

Belgium Topper 2012 Belgium Topper 2012 Belgium Topper 2012

Belgium Topper 2012

Belgium Topper 2012

The long ride out was to the “mountains” and they had a good lunch by a canal. A lovely old boat chugged by us. In the evening a Belgian man played a Hurdy Gurdy and they sang all the-old tunes. Pauline and Carl met many old friends and made some new ones.

On Sunday it was time to come home. I was finding it harder and harder to start. I stopped in the petrol station past Bruges as they topped me up and Carl was just able to catch the motor on the clutch get me going. More work on me at the bike motel – no wonder somebody we met recently said: “I know where I saw you two – it was working on the scooter at Oudenberg that holiday weekend!”  just couldn't start.

The starter just wasn't gripping. Carl thought about the problem all night and in the morning they took all the footboards off me and he used his feet to kick the clutch round. He coaxed it over till it got to top dead centre and then he kicked me sharply. Using this method, it took about twenty minutes before I was able to fire up. They bungied the footboards back on – Pauline's idea. We got about a hundred yards down the lane when I coughed and died again. It turned out that a new condenser that had recently been fitted was faulty.  We just made it to the Ferry.

They knew by now we couldn't stop lots of times. Luckily the weather – which had been forecast Bank Holiday Monday dire – was good. At Harrietsham we had to stop for petrol and they had something to eat. When we came to go my starter couldn't even turn over. Carl took the starter apart and the E clip that holds it all together had disappeared along with the springs that hold it together. . He took the whole starter off. I let him play around for half and hour kicking my clutch and then I started. There was was be no stopping now and once I was going we were able to make it back home. 

The insides of my starter motor had completely come apart in this case due to the E clip coming off, but the general problem is starter cup wear -.that's why you never see a high mileage Topper.

Last Decmber Carl and Pauline met with a Topper owner in California and he told Carl there were notches in the starter cup so you could just wrap a cord round it like an outboard motor to start it. He could have done with this info in August! I loved the Rally and even the limp home. Carl has taken the starter from Topper 1 (Ken Lee's old Topper) to replace mine and I am now starting and running again. I hope she takes me again this year.

Harley Topper  Harley Topper

Back Button             


Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
Disclaimer:  Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, neither the Indian Riders Motorcycle Club, it's officials or any individual shall in any way be liable for loss, injury or damage resulting directly or indirectly from reliance of such information.  The inclusion of adverts  does not mean  that the advertisers are in any way endorsed by Indian Riders Motorcycle Club or it's officials.  Any disputes or claims must be taken up with the advertiser.