My first blog story, I tried to write about something I know and love (motorcycling), I hope you enjoy reading this first attempt. Any feedback would be gratefully received.
Motorcycling, the early years.
In 1969, Ted (name not changed for confidentiality, he really was called Ted) a fellow workmate was selling his moped (Honda P50) for £15.00 (10 Dollars). Never having ridden any motorised vehicle before I thought this was a good deal and would save money on my usual commute to work. The transaction took place and I arranged to collect the machine from his house on Sunday.
The day came around to collect the bike, I took the bus to town and walked to his house, outside the front door was parked this high powered mean machine, all 50cc of it complete with red shopping bag on the front, two pedals to assist engine power and a frightening top speed of 30mph. Ted instructed me on the operation of the said machine, e.g. put it on the stand and turn the pedals to start, brake on one side of the handlebars and throttle on the other, there were no gears and a petrol consumption of half a gallon every ten days. So engine throbbing away, a twist of the throttle, the power kicked in and I accelerated rapidly down the road, my stomach was tied in knots hoping that this machine would behave itself and not throw me off.
After a few days I realised there were two slight negatives,
It was not the right type of machine to attract the ladies
Unfortunately I lived at the top of a very steep hill
After a few weeks I perfected a riding method of accelerating toward the hill leading to my home, 28mph had to be achieved at the bottom of the rise, engine power would propel me half way up the hill at which point people walking along the pavement were moving faster than me, at this point auxiliary propulsion e.g. pedal power was implemented, legs turning like pistons, engine roaring, sweat pouring out of me, red in face, lungs near to bursting point and legs turning to jelly. Eventually the top of the hill was reached, I could then sit back and try to get my breath back, cool down and stop my legs shaking. I rode this bike for eighteen months commuting to work, it never let me down.
I had my first off on this machine, whilst riding to work in the winter I started to lean into a bend, the next thing I know bike and rider were sliding through a garage forecourt in perfect syncronisation, we slid past amused drivers filling their cars and eventually came to a stop by the air and water fillers. Whilst sitting on the floor I checked to see if all limbs were pointing in the right direction, they were so I picked up the bike, re-fixed my shopping bag and rode off into the sunrise leaving a few bemused drivers still filling their cars. If points were awarded for style and technique it would straight 10’s.
One day I was cruising around town and rode past the window of RG Callow motorcycles, there in all its glory was a Honda C200 motorcycle, stylish black and chrome, 90cc, four gears and joy of joys no pedals. A deal was made and the moped was traded in, cash passed hands and this motorcycle was all mine.
This machine would climb hills and almost keep up with other traffic, I tried to look the part and bought a Barbour waxed jacket. The bike was extremely reliable but for some unknown reason kept getting punctures in the rear tyre, this happened at least once a week and led me to damaging my precious Barbour jacket.
So you are saying to yourself how did he damage his jacket because of punctures, well, I always went out with a can of tyre inflator and sealant in my pocket, while out riding one day I heard a hissing noise, I stopped and checked around the bike and then noticed a grey brown bubbly liquid coming out of my jacket pocket, I had a pair of gloves on and reached into the bubbly liquid and pulled out the can which then stuck to my glove, I had to throw away my gloves and never ever got that jacket pocket open again, it certainly was a good product for permanently sealing things.
I had my second ‘moment’ on this bike, as I was riding along the road a car pulled out and started to make a u turn, unfortunately out of all the cars I could pick to hit I had to choose a Morris 1000, a very solid well made car, I swerved but unfortunately caught the front wing and light, this resulted in a cut leg but luckily the bike was ok.
This very nearly led to my first speeding ticket a few weeks later, while riding to the hospital to have my stitches taken out, I was running late and was riding a bit fast through the town, I eventually got outside the hospital, saw a small parking space, jammed on the brakes only to see a police motorcyclist shoot past me and eventually come to a halt. He gave me a good safety talk about speed and accidents but seemed quite impressed with my reactions and riding skills at high speed through congested traffic on a 90cc machine, luckily I got off with a warning.
Next in line was the 250 Honda which I rode with an ‘L’ plate, I did take my test but due to an unfortunate problem which meant I took the wrong route and lost the examiner, when I eventually found him he did the emergency stop walking out into the road, luckily for him I was so relieved seeing him I was only doing about ten miles an hour when he stepped out, his reactions were very good as he rapidly reversed back to the pavement, needless to say I failed.
At this point cars came into my life but the love of motorbikes never left me. There was then a 35 year gap before they came back into my life. Part 2 will follow showing progression from 250cc to my fantastic 1300cc Midnight Star.