Thursday, 23 December 2010

The L plate year

Ah, the irony of riding Pat Slinn's perfect C15 for Classic Bike when my C15 was built the same year: but there the similarities end. Mine was registered the day I was born, so was nearly 17 years old when I paid £60 for it. The combination of dubious parentage (the bike's) and doubtful mechanical talent(mine) was always going to end badly. Still, I loved the torque after a moped, and having mastered kick-starting it was fun to watch others try and fail. Often painfully.

But duff reliability meant missed bike tests and school, so my parents generously bought a second-hand Honda 125S for my 18th birthday. Non-original tank was courtesy of the previous owners crashes, but I soon added twisted bars and crooked front mudguard after overtaking a friend on an unknown road, and finishing up in a disgruntled (but nicely spoken) chap's front garden.

Test passed, I could barely afford to keep the 125 in petrol, but took it everywhere - including weekly commutes to Cardiff and Southampton. I holed the piston when an article in Motorcycle Mechanics told how to adjust the points, surely something that would allow an indicated 70mph (at the far side of the red line, ahem) but instead I buggered the timing and holed a piston. When I joined the merchant navy I sold it to my brother, who not appreciating the little Honda's taste for oil soon blew it up. Never mind, the 400/4 years beckoned

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