Motorcycles are a family thing — my father competed at everything: road racing, sand racing, trials and scrambling. He also commuted to work. All on the same machine. He only sold it when I became too big to strap to the petrol tank. At least I’ve still got more hair than I had then.
My mother, meanwhile, was terrorising the good citizens of North Shields as Hell’s District Nurse on her New Imperial.
Note the advanced safety equipment — three inches of solid hair lacquer. She’s also been around the Isle of Man as a racing sidecar passenger — definitely a sign of being two pushrods short of a rocker.
The header picture is my father, sand racing on his Royal Enfield Bullet 350, Whitley Bay, circa. 1954. Note everyone else heading in the opposite direction. It’s a family thing.
They still make the Bullet in India. And people even go there to ride them. There’s a certain aptness about promoting a fify-year-old motorcycle design with a very nineties web site, although some of the marketing language isn’t necessarily quite there — from the 1999 edition of their web site:
“Owning a Machismo means having a lot of it yourself. The Machismo, a high-performance 4 stroke machine that makes a statement about itself, and the rider.”
With all that behind me, what could I do but go with the flow?