We called into a fuel station about 20 miles from home just as a thunderstorm was rolling toward us over the Gran Sasso mountains. It rumbled away as the sky drew ever darker while I filled up a 5l gas can for the mower and topped up the Capo’s tank. All done, time to head on ……. except the ignition wouldn’t turn. One look and my heart sank – 2/3 of a key winked at me from between my gloved fingers. Yes, the other third is still in the fuel tank!!
Long and the short of it, Jan drove over with the spare and I was on the road again. I have to say that 20 miles heading home under a pretty pissed-off thunderstorm is not really much to chuckle about, but it did remind me of the last few weeks in England! Once back in the barn, time to fix the problem. Stripping the cap didn’t help. The barrel looks like it’s fitted once and fitted for life, so no getting the bit out that way. OK, maybe a locksmith can do the job, but at what cost and what state would the lock be in afterwards? A replacement Aprilia cap (AP8104529) then? A quick search shelves that idea – €277 you have to be bloody kidding me! So how about aftermarket? Well it looks like Oberon make a nice key-less cap for £79.99 that fits. It looks good and folks seem to like Oberon quality, so maybe that’s an option. I’ll think about it.
Anyway, for now I’ve refitted the cap and it opens/closes just fine with the broken key. Tomorrow I’ll get a couple of replacements cut from the spare and mull over what to do next. Meanwhile lessons learned:-
- Carry a spare key or squirrel one away somewhere on the bike – Andy (Beasthonda) gave me a good idea on that one – cheers Andy!
- Give the key a once-over every now and then with a magnifying glass … maybe I’d have spotted the cracks starting you never know.
- Replace the key every few years with a new one …. this one was 13 years old, so no real surprise that fatigue had set in by now.
- And no matter how short the journey or how sunny it is when I leave, throw a set of waterproofs in the (empty) panniers. You never quite know!
Oh and as a parting word …. thank-you to whoever was watching over me on the last couple of big trips. Breaking a key then would have been a real ball-breaker that’s for sure! 😕