TALES FROM THE SHED
0ptimism is a wonderful thing. I've suffered from it for as long as I can remember, especially when contemplating acquiring a motorcycle, a motorcycle voyage, a motorcycle rebuild ... in fact most things involved with motorcycles. I've occasionally wondered whether the Reliant was invented for motorcyclists who've lost their essential optimism.
Years ago, when I was relatively new to motorcycle scribbling and was packed with self-confidence and optimism, folk would ask me for advice. Talk about false optimism ... However, with that easy self-regard with which many of my kind are inflicted, I would hand it out- advice, that is, not self-regard. That would be silly. Among the advice I would glibly dispense, probably while swilling cheap cider and stroking my beard- which used to be black, I think- were several recurrent suggestions. Like ... never buy a bike in boxes, because lots of it will be missing; never buy a bike as a project unless you're completely familiar with the model and know that it's all there, because if it's not all there finding the missing bits will prove to be a right PITA. This is a family magazine, so you can look that up.
Later in life, when for no comprehensible reason folk started to ask me advice about magazine publishing, among the idiot sagacity I supplied was a gem about never, ever start running a rebuild series until you already have the final episode. That way The Reader (that's you!) is never left wondering what happened to the project bike. This advice stemmed from my own dull experience reading bike magazines in the early 1970s - my formative years - which would start a New! Project Bike! series and then never finish it.This is annoying. Or it was ... Now it's mostly embarrassing.
I've had lots of fun down the decades by fiddling with old clunkers. Mostly the fiddling has been an attempt to get some dodgy old nail back onto the road, initially because I needed cheap personal transport and latterly - after the 1978 invention of the classic bike - because it became a hobby. And it's fun. I enjoy fiddling about, and the simple delight of firing up some old nail and rattling around on it is one of life's more gentle pleasures. What I found to be the easiest way of accomplishing a resurrection was to buy something with which I was familiar and for which I knew the sources of both spares and expertise - so, a lot of AMC porridge- and then strip the bike of everything which did not work and replace it with stock items. So I de-cafe'd several street racers, converted dodgy failing magnetos to coil ignitions- using stock parts here; AMC fitted sports bikes with mags but the cooking roadsters with more reliable and cheaper coil sparklers - and throwing away bad twin-carb conversions.You might be vaguely amazed at how successful this was. Also at how easy
The Man Who Can. Kenny at Ace Mosickles applies the spanners