The 1960’s was the last decade of British motorcycle dominance on British streets. I can still remember the noise and smell of mainly Triumphs and BSA’s as they snarled, growled and thudded their way around town and country.
When I went to boarding school in ’68 my dormitory looked out over the bicycle shed, home to not only a rag-bag fleet of un-motorised two wheelers, but also a strangely customised Lambretta and a pretty Triumph Tiger Cub. The Lambretta seemed to be subjected to rebuild after rebuild and hours of futile kicking which resulted in occasional spurts of loud revving and alarming amounts of blue smoke. The Tiger Cub, on the other hand, simply plodded down the path and onto the road without any fuss whatsoever. Although the picture I have just painted probably reflects the owners’ and their respective maintenance programmes rather than the machines themselves, I sort of knew which way I was headed…When I saw a policeman starting and swiftly guiding his Triumph Saint (Stop Anything In No Time) up the Lisburn Road in pursuit of a speeding Mini, my mind was made up – a big Triumph Twin was the bike for me.
Through the seventies the bike park filled up with Honda step thru’s and CD 175’s, Vespa’s and a variety of ‘sports mopeds’ like the Yamaha FS1E and Honda SS50, so when a Triumph or BSA came along, it was truly akin to the arrival or royalty.
In 1980, after school days, I joined the crowd and bought a Honda 250N Superdream ‘learner bike’ which provided reliable transport and a modicum of fun. However, such a machine was always only going to be a stepping stone and since that joyous day when I passed my test (actually on a Yamaha DR125), it has been old Brit twins and singles all the way.
So the intention here is to cover my activities and involvement with the charismatic products that came out of factories in Meriden, Small Heath, Selly Oak and beyond. The star of our first web film will be a motorcycle so look out for that in the coming months.