In the beginning.......
The first motorbike I ever rode was a tiny bike, owned by Andy Hopkins, one of the village boys a year or two older than me. It was a Bown, according to the badge on the tank, and powered by a very simple Villiers two stroke engine. The rear wheel was bolted solidly to the frame the front had simple undamped "girder" forks, controlled by a spring that would not have been out of place in a mattress. I was told that this little bike, which was ideally suited for small boys to learn to ride on, was originally made to be thrown out of the back of a World War II aircraft on a parachute, and be recovered by a paratrooper. This seemed a perfectly reasonable explanation to me at the time. This may or may not be true but as a small lad of 10 years old or so roaring round the lumps and bumps of the local recreation field the thrill of riding this motorbike was quite the most exhilarating thing I'd ever done. It was this simple machine that set me off on a life long love affair with motorcycles, thanks Andy!
The bike I learned to ride on was like this only not quite so tidy!
My next bike, ridden on in fields, or on the lane to the field, was a Triumph Tiger Cub, (200cc single cylinder 4 stroke) similar to the one pictured below, only black and battered. Purchased for the princely sum of £11, complete with a large box of spares. I thrashed it mercilessly round the field until eventually the crankshaft broke in two!
Triumph Tiger Cub
The first bike I (legally) took on the road was a BSA Bantam (D14/4) a 175cc single cylinder two stroke, soon after my 16th birthday. This was my introduction to the thrills of the open road. A cheap and reasonably reliable run about, assuming you could get the blighter started!
BSA Bantam D14/4
Aged 20, I got myself in heavily in debt to buy my first brand new bike, a Honda CJ250T (250cc twin cylinder 4 stroke). After the Bantam and a couple of intervening 4 wheelers it was like suddenly arriving in the future. Electric start, power to overtake, brakes that actually worked, comfort, and of course bullet-proof Honda reliability. Did 30k miles in 2 years, most of which was clocked up around London as a motorcycle courier. Special fond memories of taking Gill, my then wife-to-be out on our first date on this bike. Ah those were good times!
Having finally got around to getting a full bike licence, I traded in the Honda 250 for an 850cc Norton Commando MkIIa Interstate. A beauty and a beast of a bike, that vibrated so much it could shake your fillings loose. A two hour ride would leave me exhausted, but exilarated.
Norton Commando MK2a Interstate
The Commando was totally impractical as a courier bike so I owned a succession of Honda CG 125's. Reliable and so cheap to run (> 90 mpg) it was probably cheaper than walking, and ideally suited to the cut and thrust of London traffic. If anybody has made better tool for getting round a city I'll be amazed.
Honda CJ125 (the most practical city bike ever)
After a 13 year sentence restricted to 4 wheels, due to work, family, finance and all the usual excuses I returned to motorcycling in style. In the style of a Triumph Sprint 900, three cylinder black beauty. I rode (and lovingly polished) this bike you see pictured for several years until I traded in for a new Triumph Sprint in 2005
Triumph Sprint Sport 900 (1998 model)
The Triumph Sprint ST 1050cc triple took me on many a happy weekend blast and a number of longer trips
around Britain and one tour to the alps and back.
In 2009 I bought a second bike as a winter project a 1981 Moto Guzzi V50. I kept it as a great little runaround
until it and the Sprint were traded in for the present bike.
Moto Guzzi V50