The ride went well until I set out to return home. While riding along a secondary road, I noticed the engine starting to sputter and misfire. After pulling over into a parking lot, checking things out and letting the bike cool down a bit, I was able to restart it with difficulty. I rode it for about a kilometre until it stalled again and left me on the side of the road.
Towing is never a fun experience for anyone, least of all motorcyclists. A motorcycle breakdown leaves the rider vulnerable to more dangers than in the case of a car breakdown. Depending on the circumstances, the rider has no access to shelter from the elements or the protection offered by a motor vehicle while waiting for the tow to arrive. In my case, I was somewhat fortunate as I was able to push my (small) bike a few hundred metres to a small country market where I could wait for CAA.
I was hot and sweaty from pushing the bike to a safe place. Not everyone is able to do this depending on the size of the bike and the nature of the road that they are stranded on. Also, the weather was pleasant, albeit a bit hot while fully dressed in my riding gear and pushing a small motorcycle down the road. It could have been much worse – a few years earlier I had the misfortune of breaking down on a busy country road at around the same time of year except it was cold and snowy.
Upon arriving at the country store and parking my broken-down BSA safely in a corner of the parking lot, I called CAA for assistance. My CAA Plus Membership includes towing for motorcycles. Without coverage, motorcycle towing can cost upwards of $80, depending on where you are, how far you need to go and the size of your motorcycle. CAA was a great help and provided me with updates and an ETA for the tow vehicle. After a reasonable wait, the CAA towing provider arrived, smartly loaded my bike up for me and gave me a ride home.
Later on while looking over the bike to find out what might have gone wrong, I noticed that a battery cable had broken off from where it joins the terminal connecting to the battery. This was what caused my breakdown! Had I taken the time to check things over properly, I would have noticed this before it happened and prevented the breakdown in the first place.