Thursday, 8 June 2017

Easy Rider

This lovely lady was parked up on Portstewart Prom during the bike race week:

On Foma Nature fibre paper, toned in sepia giving it lovely chocolatey-brown blacks, if you know what I mean

I presume it's a Harley what with that big V-engine and those beautifully curved chromed pipes.  I used to know my bikes, since my dad was into his Triumph T500C in a big way.  He had it before he got married and sold it in order to pay for the honeymoon, or the house or something.  Then a couple of years later he bought it back and kept it until the end of his days.  On a weekend morning he would get up early and ride it to Belfast when the roads were empty - probably less than an hour away at the speeds he would have used :).  He'd call into Marks&Spencers (the only one in the country in those days) and get something different for breakfast.  He'd be back home to bring my mum a cup of tea and a croissant before she even knew he was away.

As a lad I had various posters on my bedroom wall from my dad's copy of MotorCycleNews that he bought regularly.  Ivan Mauger (speedway) and the famous Giacomo d'Agostini (what a name!) on his MV Agusta were ones I remember.  Barry Sheene was a bit more recent but I think he had his place on the wall too.  Anything Italian was, of course, exotic - and how could it not be with names like the Laverda Jota or Benelli Sei, with 6 cylinders - mad!  A quick look at the classifieds shows a 1977 Jota currently for sale at £14,000, so clearly it has achieved iconic status.

Unfortunately not all Italian machines lived up to the dream.  My Uni mate Simon had a Moto Guzzi for a while when we were undergrads in Bath.  Great in principle but in practice the electrics were shot - manys the time him and I pushed it up the steep hill outside our digs in order for him to jump-start the thing before riding it non-stop back to his home in Liverpool for the weekend.  Good times...for the most part, anyway.  It was a big brute of a thing to push uphill, that I do remember...


  1. Bikes... I could have gone on forever about them things, as you might know. Your Guzzi story brings a couple of similar events to my mind as well, as I have been sharing my part of sweat while pushing one of them around the streets of my home town also. I never got to the bottom of that bike at all, and it was my first and last italian bike ever.
    And the in-line, beautiful and rough, six cylinders thing I used to own for years but eventually sold off around 2005 or thereabouts, my very much cared for Kawasaki Z 1300. A huge, heavy piece of steel it was... but so well put together and a pleasure to ride. OK, it was not exactly a racer, but then again I was kind of steering away from that kind of fun at this point in life. One have to grow up at some point, as we know.
    And then there were the Hondas, old CB 350 four and CB 550 sort of things, and of course the brief ownership of the non functioning 350 and 500 Royal Enfields...
    Posters on my wall back in the days included a rather big one of a certain Irish dude no longer among us. He's got his own statue though, as we know.
    Now I'm back to basics with an old Honda CB 550 again, so you could say the ring is closed for now :))

    1. Nice words, Roy. Sounds like you scratched that itch pretty well! I remember the Z1300 - in stories only, of course. At that time it had a bigger engine than most cars lol.

      That Irish dude, eh?! The one from just down the road. We all knew him and loved him - he was one of ours. There are so many stories about him. My favourite is when he was a works rider for Honda and they flew the Honda CEO in from Japan to meet him. You can imagine the scene - a perfectly manicured, suited and booted Japanese manager and then our Joey, the wild man from the back-woods. They'd booked Joey into the same 5-star hotel as the CEO but he politely declined, preferring to sleep in his van with his bikes, as he usually did. He was one of a kind, was Mr Dunlop. Sorely missed.

    2. Fantastic story that one, and I have more than once tried to imagine the expression on that Japanese's face when he realized the amount of oil and grease accumulated into the hands of the Irishman through years and years of work on them bikes, greasy hands he were supposed to give a good shake. That would make a great few photos, I guess.
      One of a kind, and sorely missed for sure.

      The Z1300 was a heavy beast, but it was still possible to do wheelies with the thing if you knew it rather well. Not that it was ever built for that kind of foolish games, but well... you know.

    3. Haha bullseye Roy, as usual! That's a nice image, too :) - and a very accurate one, I suspect!!