Real Classic

FROM THE FRONT

- Frank Westworth Frank@realclassi­c

I’m running out of bits for my bikes! And that’s a statement I never thought I’d make. But it’s true. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to scour the stands at jumbles that I’ve just about run out of decent useable original bits for several of my bikes. And even that well-known online auction site appears to have dried up.

Whenever possible, I like to seek out and acquire NOS bits and bats. I maintain a sort-of mental list of the things I’d like to replace on my old machinery and when the opportunit­y arises I attempt to remember bits of the bits list and set off clutching tenners around any handy jumble. Sadly but predictabl­y, I rarely find what I’m looking for, even if I’ve managed to remember what it was, but always but always return to The Shed with considerab­le swag. Except…

…except that I genuinely cannot remember the last jumble I managed to visit. Last year’s Bristol Show, probably. No wonder stocks are running low. There must have been four or five needy bikes on the bench in the last however long, and I’ve been digging through the accumulate­d junk of ages to find less worn-out bits to replace the completely worn-out bits on the bikes. Things reached a head – as things tend to do – when the lighting switch on the Norton Electra decided that it did not want to play any more. Can’t really blame it. Parts built to a keen price in 1965 are quite possibly past their best in 2021.

Not a problem, of course. I maintain a small stock of NOS or hardly-used bits of Lucas electricke­ry around the place for exactly such moments. Except…

…except that the switches are not Lucas. The switches are Wipac. Not a problem, of course. I can remember picking up a couple of NOS Wipac switches at a jumble somewhere, sometime; I just can’t recall where I put them. Surely they couldn’t be in a box labelled ‘Wipac’? That would be too easy. And in any case, although I retained a dim memory of writing that magic word onto a box, I have no idea where I put the box. And the marker ink has probably faded anyway, much like my memory.

I found the box. It actually said ‘Navi’ in faded pale green ink, because we didn’t have an Electra back then but we did have a Navigator (and still do – what a fine machine!). There was indeed a pair of NOS Wipac switches (and several other mostly unidentifi­able electric bits), but both switches were ignition, not lighting. Isn’t it always the way?

And then, quite suddenly, The Office were in touch. Would we, they asked, like a stand at the Stafford Show over the weekend of July 3-4? Being Mr Grumpy that day, I was about to say something like no thanks, grumpily, because Stafford is a long haul from RCHQ Bude, and… and… possibly the biggest UK jumble is at that very show. I know I’ll be able to persuade RC friends to manage the RC stand while I go a-jumbling for a moment or two (ahem), returning with those inevitable bulging plastic bags of swag. So yes! I shall be at Stafford! We’ll be up on the balcony by the bar, pretending complete disinteres­t in what bars are famous for, while trying to remember ‘Wipac light switch’ and other such things.

So! I hope to see you there. Come along and say hello. Bring any unwanted Wipac light switches…

Ride safely,

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