Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Wonderful World of Motorcycles

I come from a motorcycling family, but alas, I could never get the hang of riding one.  I did once own a 125 Suzuki.  But in my family, it goes back to my grandfather, who died before I was born, had two bikes.  An old belt driven Rudge, and one of the first foot change BSA`s.  My dad owned a 1937 hand change 350 Douglas, a 500 Norton, which turned out to have a slightly bent frame, and his favourite, an ex-army 350 Royal Enfield.  One elder brother had two; a Puch Maxi, to start, then a CD175 Honda.  Another brother had an assortment; Honda 50, Honda 90, CB175, CD175, CB200, CB250, 250 AJS & a CX 500 Honda.  Both of them were members of the Wheelwrights Motorcycle Club in the early to mid 70`s, that met in the Wheelwrights pub in Elton.

    What does my memory recall?  The club held a "Bike of Britain" contest in August 1976 that brought bikes from all over.  There was me with a cheap Halina camera snapping away at bikes, when an immaculate Matchless slowly run past me.  I managed to snap the bike and rider and caught a very good black and white photograph.  This turned out to be the winner.  A G500 Matchless from Wallasey.  An event was somebody turning up on a Silk.  A limited edition bike, modelled on the Scott, but very much updated.  The club president Keith Wilkinson had a ride on it, with me catching him on some hastily taken photos.  He and two others once road tested a T3 Moto Guzzi and took in the small Silk factory situated in Derby.  They had a test ride on a just completed bike and all agreed it was a fantastic bike.  The only stumbling block was the price.  Because it was a very small production bike, it was expensive, and Keith could not afford it.  I know this because he once told me.  He said it WAS a fantastic bike.

    A couple of times in the 80`s, I visited a lady friend in Oxford, when one day, stood at a bus stop, we heard a roar of a bike.  A big black Yamaha with semi high rise bars, came racing down the street, with a woman rider, weaving in and out of the traffic.  "That`s Carol" said Joan, my friend, "Never pick a fight with her.  She`s a hard case!"  The Yam was a 750.

     One of my customers has a couple of bikes, and as he is retired, he has time to indulge himself.  One bike he has in a 650 XS2 Yamaha, a 1978 model.  In good condition as well.  To finish this ramble, I must mention Alf, one of my cousins.  He had the ultimate superbike in the early 70`s.  The Kawasaki Z1 900.  One of the very first in the country.  The times he used to visit our home to see my brothers or my dad, and then see my brothers looking enviously at this superbike - remember this was the early 70`s.  I will keep returning to the world of bikes, as, although I could not get to grips with them, they fascinate me.  Until next time.

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