Real Classic - - Letters -

A re­cent MoT on my 1964 Fran­cis Bar­nett Cruiser 89 led me to re­flect on the 1979 pop song‘ Ghost Rid­ers in the Sky’ sung by Johnny Cash. Why? This bike has, over the past three years, only av­er­aged some 25 miles a year. I keep it as a re­minder of what mo­tor­cy­cles have meant to me for over fifty years.

You may be able to see the photo of the odome­ter read­ings on this year’s MoT. When I first had the F-B tested in 2014 the read­ing was 18437. In 2016 it was 18489, a to­tal of 52 miles. At its an­nual test this year the recorded to­tal had jumped to 18811, al­though I had only rid­den an an­nual to­tal of 22 miles. This should, if my maths are cor­rect, give a grand to­tal of 18511.

So has a‘ Ghost Rider in the Sky’ de­scended from a heav­enly mo­tor­cy­cling nir­vana, and se­cretly cho­sen my ba­sic bike for an earthly ex­pe­ri­ence? I think not, for surely no self-re­spect­ing Ghost Rider would de­mean him/her self with such a non-as­tral ma­chine! The most likely rea­son is a very op­ti­mistic Smiths speedome­ter. It’s be­come bored with such a lack of for­ward move­ment that it de­cided to ethe­re­ally add some three hun­dred miles…

Th­ese mys­te­ri­ous miles led me to sus­pect that the speedo had a will of its own, and did not want to obey any earth­bound method­ol­ogy for mea­sur­ing ei­ther speed or dis­tance. In turn this led to me fol­low­ing my very pa­tient wife in our car while she switched on/off the car’s light at both 20/30mph. The speedo was show­ing five/ ten mph less than the ac­tual speed be­ing trav­elled. So I am un­likely to ever get caught speed­ing un­less I hap­pen to pass a ghost­op­er­ated speed camera!

R L Smith, mem­ber 8090

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