FROM THE FRONT
Magazine deadlines are always a source of entertainment in this household. For instance: further on – right at the end, in fact – you will learn that my elderly and considerably eccentric Matchless CSR is running again. Huge hurrahs, of course, and huge plaudits to Jacqueline PUB, who actually provided the electric impetus which allowed it to become mobile.
However, magazine deadlines being what they are, in fact it’s been a runner for several weeks – a couple of months, to be honest. It’s been off the bench for a time long enough for me to haul more than one other ancient relic from the far back wall of The Shed. These are bikes from the dwindling collection of lots of bikes which we somehow acquired for no logical reason apart from the happy fact that they were offered at a reasonable price and in a deal which involved delivery to a point where I could meet the previously proud owner and bring them home. All bar one of them were bought as non-runners – a risky business indeed, but the only way a chap can get a bargain, in my view.
And I’m glad that we did collect them when we did, because they’ve been a source of much entertainment down the years. And it is rare that a chap sells a bike for less than it cost if I was not a runner but now is, which brings a tiny smile to the cheeks, although people do tend to grumble about profiteering. Oddly. Because some bikes have been a financial horror story. This always happens in the same way…
It starts like this: I have an idea. This is always dangerous. I discuss the idea with Rowena of this parish and if she doesn’t start kicking the cat, muttering darkly about earlyonset lunacy and the like, I turn the idea into a plan. Plans are always great, especially if they involve finding a machine, throwing money and spanners at it to turn it into a hopefully improved machine, then riding around on it for a bit. Things only ever get sticky when money begins to leave my account and heads off on a voyage of exploration of its own.
So, while riding around aboard a machine you’ll probably read about next month – all being well – I stumbled across another machine entirely which looked familiar. The reason it looked familiar is that it actually is – I owned it for several years, but rarely rode it. I can’t remember why now, because the very last of the pushrod Bonnevilles – the Devonian subset – are among my preferred Triumph twins. Anyway, there it was.
I’ll take a step back here for a second. Just a couple of days before that Bonnie encounter, I’d been looking for a kickstart lever for my old AJS 20. I know I have one, because I remember buying it in the early 1980s, but I cannot find it. This is a minor irritation because one of the bikes dragged from the slumber of oily ages is that very AJS. However, where it should have been there was in fact a big box containing an electric start kit for a late T140 Bonneville. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
Correct! The reason I’d sold the T140 in the first place was that I am increasingly incapable of kickstarting big twins. These are good riding machines and although LF Harris never officially fitted electric starters … it’s apparently not a difficult task. You can see where this is still going, can’t you?
Sanity may yet prevail. We will see… Ride safely