I’ve been on a bit of a Quest recently, the background to which is complex, but I will try and explain how this challenging search came about in the next few posts.
I should probably also point out that recently, also might actually mean decades, but it is definitely a Quest, and the search started when I was about 16, about the same time as I purchased my first Motorcycle.
This decision to buy a Bike, was for the most part taken out of necessity. Work demanded travel, a car was out of the question, and public transport was not practical. My Parents hated Motorcycles, and very probably Motorcyclists. So they fought the decision all the way, but more on that later…
But it eventually happened….After a brief financial struggle and a few vicious arguments I found myself astride a tiny Honda with the front wheel pointing to an uncertain destination, but that was anywhere but home.
In my mind this 100cc two tone Blue, Commuter bike, was the most magical, and powerful machine that mankind had ever constructed. A sort of Two Wheeled Saturn V that you sat on. This diminutive, utilitarian bike catapulted me, with as much force as it’s 12 Horse Power could muster, into a world that I had no idea existed.
My fascination with Motorcycles had started many years previous to my first wobbly journey on the Honda Commuter. One of my early memories of encountering a Motorcycle up close and personal was whilst I was out walking with my Mum. We came across a Motorcycle on the pavement that had apparently broken down…
It was likely an old Honda CB400 or something similar. I was instantly hooked. The rider was sporting long hair, a black leather jacker adorned with embroidered patches, and filthy hands that were clutching onto the cigarette he was calmly lighting whilst, he was laid on the pavement gazing up at his bike. I stopped to look, or possibly even marvel at the sight. It was at this point Mum took my hand, and dragged me away at top speed, whilst muttering something about “Not Talking to People Like That..”
Fast forward a couple of years, and I found myself with a sponge and a polishing cloth in hand, ineffectively, but enthusiastically polishing a bike that is as revered today, as it was back then. The Honda CBX1000 six cylinder. This was a ground breaking machine back then. Expensive, desirable and rare. Just to see one was an honour. To actually be up close and cleaning it was a priceless experience. It was owned by my friends father, Mr. Bullock, and he promised me a ride if I helped him clean it. True to his word, later that morning after an hour or so of crawling all over the machine, I climbed onto the rear seat wearing a borrowed helmet, jacket and gloves and had my first ever Pillion ride. We went, very swiftly I seem to recall to Mr. Bullocks Squash club, and then equally swiftly back to his large, flash house. I had no idea how far it was, or how long the ride lasted, but it was a life changing event.
As I gave my generous host sincere thanks, he was gracious, but told me “You wriggled too much, next time relax and go with the bike.” There never was a next time. Upon hearing of my pillion ride, there was an almighty row and delivery of one of those lessons my Dad specialised in. The kind of lesson you didn’t want twice….
It didn’t take long for me to discover that riding to work and back was not the only thing that my new Motorcycle was good for…
More background to the Quest in Part #2.