Dave Finlay in Chengdu
Dave was born in New Zealand but lived mostly in Australia before hitting the road for Singapore with the New Zealand Infantry followed by more travel with the Australian Air Force. He served as an electrical maintenance engineer before getting into the oil and gas business where he has since worked in India as well as China. Dave does project management, safety and administrative work and has been in PRC for four years. (One year in Jiangsu near Shanghai, a year in Shangdong near Qindao and three years in Chengdu.) He rides a Super that he bought from CJU sponsor LRM.
 
"I have been scouting around the countryside after wood pieces and have got quite a few over the months. This was last weekend's effort—US $7 for the lot. The pieces are very dirty but with a good scrub and the wood looks wonderful."
 
"What do you do on your wedding day if your dad's rich? Choose any one of about 15 Mercedes to drive to the reception. I noticed three S600s and four S500s which were in the middle the line. The bride chose the S350 at the head of the entourage rather than my CJ. (This would have to be the best example of the "wealth" gap I have seen recently—the difference in income between the rich and poor)."
"While riding back into the city one evening the fireworks were a very exciting scene, particularly as the "burst" was only several hundred metres in the sky, showering all the passing vehicles on the busy road with burning 'stuff'."
 
"Here in China we are about to enter "Mid Autumn Festival", a week long holiday when about 1,300,000,000 people head back to their villages or to the countryside to "enjoy" themselves. Needless to say it's chaos. The best option is to buy a carton or two of good red wine, have a pile of books to read and chill out in the comfort of your home. Yesterday while riding around the third ring road (Chengdu has three, and I think Beijing is up to about five), I saw this guy on a horse. If you could picture a rapidly growing city of 10,000,000, it's not easy to commute on a horse."
 
"It's been a quiet time here in Chengdu. I had an oil leak on the CJ a while ago. It sprayed the bike in oil, great for limiting the rust but uncomfortable for riding. During the repair we found both pistons and cylinders were scored which have been replaced after some dramas. Not sure how it happened."
"I have used quality oil which has been changed very regularly. If I had used cheap oil and not bothered changing it I would have got the same result. Also we have a picture of truckdriver having a bad day. Most times I go out for a ride I seem to see something that is either different or unusual."
 
"The Chengdu CJ Riders Club now numbers two with Chris who has sent photos in the past. Another foreigner is reported to be here riding but no sighting to date. It's a little hard tracking people down in a city with a population of more than 10 million. Had a ride with Chris the other day and we visited "his" mechanic."
"Chris has bought a sidevalve (now the owner of two CJs). The SV seems to be in very good condition and has had little use. He bought it from a bloke who was in the army and rode it home one day and forgot to return it. The other photo is of my partner on a flower shopping trip."
 
"Here I am in the west of China (2500km west Shanghai), still Changing away. Didn't have much to do today so rode down to the local Ferrari and Maserati dealer. Only two new Ferraris on display. I guess that's the hardship for living in a third world country. There were four new Maseratis but they didn't appeal. The staff were friendly and helpful (with limited English) but did not appear to know the difference between their arse and their elbow."
 
Long load—I have seen this several times. They must drive these things in the middle of the night so the police don't catch them.
The transportation and re-planting of trees is big business. All the trees in the background would be replanted.
Missing manhole covers. They are sold for scrap.
Another day, another load of plants for the roof garden.
 
"While a lot of your riders/readers are out there in the shed polishing their CJ, others are out there getting them working. A few days ago it was a beautiful day and one of the pleasures (aside from drinking beer and developing relationships with the many skilled wenches that live in these parts) is to discover the areas around Chengdu." ..........................................................
"I am always on the lookout for a bargain as generally one gets ripped off most times. During my ride I managed to get a "load" of plant pots. The "prize" was the glazed one which weights a ton. All up, 20 RMB worth. It cost me 10 RMB to have someone carry it up to my roof garden on the 7th. floor... no elevator!" ..........................................................
 
"Now that I have two CJs I was wondering what to do. This morning I was riding around when I noticed a new Rolls in town and spoke to the principal. He was pleased with the condition and accepted the CJ as a trade on the Rolls. I like the Rolls. It is the same colour as the CJ and the umbrella is a handy option which the CJ did not have."
"Money was a bit of a problem to finance the Rolls Royce however we were able to work out easy monthly payments through January 2075. I was disappointed that they would not provide whitewall tires as I know you like them. On the way home I had some misgivings, perhaps "buyers remorse" when I noticed this "Red Flag".
"This is the one I really want. It's better suited to the Chinese environment and I was worried about the reliability of the Rolls here in Chengdu. I cancelled the Rolls and am in negotiation to purchase the Red Flag. The whitewall tires made the decision easy."
"Cheers, Dave Finlay (Chengdu). P.S. The doctor said if I continue with the medication I should be OK by June this year!".................................
 
Webmaster's note: Apparently Dave is new to this game if that's the best he could do. Just thought you'd like to see a car I'm negotiating for. Cheer up Dave. I've been at this a long time.
 
"Here are some more photos from Chengdu for you. It might not be snowing here, but its still effing cold, about 2-3 C. However we are still out there riding. I wear about six layers of clothes and still feel cold. I certainly miss the heated handlebar grips from my Triumph Sprint ST."
"What may not be a big deal to others is a small miracle to me. I now have "real" registration papers for the bike."
"No more riding around on false plates."
"Next week (I am told) I will get my bike license. This shows that while nothing in China is easy, anything is possible."
"While in this day and age the CJ is a piece of crap, they do grew on you and now I seem to have two. I'm wondering what colour to paint this one, maybe army green."
 
Dave recently met Robert from Canada who has been touring China on his CJ. Here are some photos taken over a period of a few days. This one shows him looking positive and joking about maybe needing to use that huge pipe wrench.
But here he's using it for some minor adjustments... or something. He runs open exhaust as a loud horn alternative.
If all else fails there is always the hammer option.
Some days later, Robert was wondering if this was such a good idea.
 
Dave's CJ with Uncle Ho's brother. To get into the countryside here is very easy. This photo is about 40km from downtown Chengdu on good roads.
I think that's a MiG. Dave says his bike is running better and better with nearly 2500km on it so far. "I am surprised how long it takes to run them in being so used to modern bikes."
A PLAAF plane on final approach. "The plane flew over me at a height of about 30 feet as the end of the strip was very close to the road. There were no fences and only some bored guards sitting under an umbrella. I tried to take about seven photos but got so excited and nervous I stuffed up. Excited by being so close to the planes as they landed and nervous as the guards were taking more interest in my actions."
 
Dave sent a couple shots of the pretty gal in the sidecar of his Super. (The other picture is on the CJ women page.)
The trunk and toolboxes opened up for your inspection. We sure can carry a lot of stuff in our bikes.
 
Dave's Super with all the personal touches including a set of loud horns under the headlamp and plenty of illumination.
Here's the bike in the shop for a little front end work. He was having a new guard and fork lowers installed on this day.
Dave isn't sure what this is for but noted that it's freaking huge—and that it's located in a very small town.
Contemplating one of those Mercedes limos with the V12, Dave was surprised to learn that the trade-in allowance on his CJ was zip.
CJs have a million uses... like this, for example. The man's lady companion took an interest in Dave for some reason.
This is a fly-over in Chengdu. Sichuan opera masks are famous—in Chengdu anyway.
 
Tea gardens are popular in China. People enjoy spending their time their playing mahjong, cards, and just relaxing. Here's a picture of Ou Yang Li with PLA officer cadets at a tea garden in Chengdu.
Here she is again. What an interesting bike. That windshield is really cool.
This side of the tank lacks a CJ emblem.
A pair of Gong An riding a so-called plastic CJ.
This CJ probably has a slightly bigger motor than ours.
 
Talk about anticipation. Delivery of Dave's new bike is still a ways off but he and his partner Ou Yang Li remain in a constant state of readiness. In the enlarged image you'll see all the police stuff Dave is thinking about putting on the bike. He reckons the sidecar is ideal for hauling a spouse around. I can't hear a thing my wife says when she's in the sidecar!
 
More construction shots of Dave's M1S taken by Gerald at LRM.
Still a ways to go...
That lowered front fender sure does look good!
 
Dave's CJ seen here under construction by our sponsor LRM. Gerald sent him these progress report images that we'd like to share with you. Here's the sidecar fender.
The front end with an R71 style lowered front fender. Gerald produces these fender brackets in house.
Again, from the starboard side.
The engine casing and crankshaft.
There's really not very much to these engines!
Gerald replaces the Chinese roller bearings with high quality German-made FAG bearings.
 
This M1M has certainly drawn some attention. Could it be because of that desk in the sidecar? This bike is pure CJ all the way. It has CJ leg guards and a windshield with all those great Chinese markings.
I'm a sucker for little kids... and it looks like Dave is too.
Dave visits a local 750 shop. See the engines on the floor?
How could anyone not love a bike like this? The driver looks especially proud. Dave describes it as a people mover. That's Dave in the passenger compartment wearing a genuine PLAAF jacket.
 
While poking around the dark corners of a bike shop in Chengdu, Dave happened across these official stickers which we can only assume were used on bikes. This one is from the government tax office.
This one is from the PLA, probably infantry judging from the emblem.
We're not too sure about this one other than it looks great!
This is a police emblem, commonly known as the Gong An.
 
This is a Chengdu CJ shop and in the enlarged version you can see all kinds of great stuff inside. It looks as if the owners are quite pleased to have their photograph taken.
I'd die for a sign like that.
East meets West. (Yep, that's a Jaguar.) The M1M belongs to a good friend who's been letting Dave use the bike for the past five or six months. It has one of those great CJ750 windshield fairings.
Again. Notice the leg guards as well. Although we can't see them too well, they're probably embossed with the Chinese characters for Chang Jiang.
This is a Ural Dave saw in Vientiane. He thought we'd enjoy seeing the, uh, attachments.