Wednesday, 22 December 2010

12 days of Christmas

In the words of David Byrne how did I get here? Christmas shopping done in an afternoon, I don't understand why folk say some people are hard to buy for. But then my obsession with obscure old motorcycles means that, like most old bikers, unless you know the path that brought them to their current condition, I guess you'll never get what they really want for Christmas. Sure, less miles on the clock and a bit less grey hair would be good but research proves reliving your past makes for a happier and healthier present. So over Christmas I'll post all the bikes I've had, and think about whether I'd like to own them again

First up's the ubiquitous 1970s peds from Puch. My step-mum can't drive, so experimented briefly with an old Puch Maxi. I was 15 and not really into bikes, but endless cycling to get around and a village full of bikers made me think...

Spring 75 saw me persuading my parents that if I moved into the caravan in the garden, I'd be better able to study for the looming O-levels: this of course was a cunning plan to allow me to spend the hours of darkness whizzing around the countryside on petrol "borrowed" from the lawnmower, before pushing the silent auto-ped back to the garage. No-one ever suspected a thing.

So when a 2-speed (hand change!) yellow peril Puch M2 was bought in a local auction for £35 I persuaded Dad to lend me the money ready for my 16th Birthday. I was working evenings and weekends in a garage for 50p an hour, so you do the maths. Spare time was spent polishing EAM135L (still the only numberplatre I can remember), listening to Elton John and Kiki Dee on the DLT show and waiting for summer.

Would I have it back? Oh yes, if kid brother hadn't bought it to trash on home-made jumps in the garden. Although the Puch could trace its roots back to a 1962 half-ped, half scooter thing Puch were first on the sports moped bandwagon and dressed up their pressed steel framed fifties into ever more convincing mini-bikes. Problem was by the time their "proper" sports mopeds arrived with a foot gear-shift the FS1-E had arrived, and brushed Puch aside.

But the summer of 1975 was fabulous, and as I buzzed along wearing just jeans and a red tee (like our Ride tees) despite wondering where mates with proper sports mopeds had gone, life seemed absolutely perfect.

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