Bikes with Engines
Sequel to My
May / June 1951
and my school final exams
years old and too young to even consider ownership of a motor-bike I
introduced to a professional bike-racer across the
of my Dad's beer-shop.
He was plainly foreign, Rhodesian in fact and very well known in his
This interesting Stranger told us of his plans to ride in that
year's I.O.M. T.T.
and as a result I was invited to view his bike at the house
where he was lodging
in Heaton Chapel, Stockport.
I arrived at the address in time to see the bike, an AJS
7R perched on a
ready for towing to the I.O.M. Truly a sight for
1953 / My own
Mum and Dad took pity on me. Although I had achieved my aim of
engineering apprenticeship I think M & D shared my
exchanged a line of school desks for a line of drawing boards.
concluded that (somehow) a motor-bike would get me out more !
Cash of course would be paramount and the minimal support I got was
approval to withdraw money from my Post Office Savings account,
seems harsh on reflection but I now see as a lesson
My first bike, a BSA C11 (250cc) was found
in Warburton's Showroom,
Bullock Smithy, Hazel Grove. It cost the princely sum of £100
out my account, but what a good investment, as at the young age of 17 I
licenced to see the World beyond the tram and bus terminii
households had a single driving licence between them.
1955 / My second
wasn't a conscious decision to dump the BSA, more like an
An uncle pointed out to me that his old friend Harry had a
It was the same age as the
BSA yet had very few miles on the clock.
So I was very pleased to pay Harry his asking price of
youngest brother Phil in the saddle.
The bike was a 500 Norton, seemingly immaculate but in a poor
state due to
Harry's over zealous servicing. It had
been off the road and garaged for some
time, but he had serviced it for unridden mileage
the gearbox with oil; and the brake drums with grease! As a
result I found
that clutch was slipping and
Eventually I restored the bike to good running order and
she repaid me many
times over as a "transport of delight". For example, during my
service in the
in the R.A.F. (Aug '58 to Aug '60) I would often spend the weekends at
enjoying the journeys
1958: A1 road near
Beauty, as I had named the bike, might not have enjoyed
retirement as I sold her to a biker who clamped her to a
A reluctant combination, I think.
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1987 twenty-four years without a bike.
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But in my dreams the long-legged Norton
and I were often cruising the old roads.