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