The rider was leaning slightly forward as the large bike swept around the corner towards us.
I was about 14 years old and a passenger in my mothers’ car. That rider on that sunny afternoon in Cornwall has defined motorcycling to me ever since.
This was mid 80’s and the bike as an older Kawasaki Z1000, painted matt black. The rider was wearing Doc Martin’s boots, black jeans, old black leather jacket, gloves, shades, open face helmet and the biggest grin I’d ever seen. The speed was not excessive, but enough to be making progress. He was riding for pleasure, fully present to every aspect of the moment.
I’d already started helping my mother’s friends husband restore vintage, veteran and pioneer motorcycles. This was before at 16 that I could ride on the road. At this time, we lived in a bungalow in Perranporth, there was a private lane system from the bottom of the hill to the top. This was relevant because it meant I could legally ride the moped I acquired after saving up from my paper round. One moped led to another as addiction finally found a way of expressing itself beyond every magazine and book I could lay my hands on.
One of the sons of mechanic opposite came past one day as I was tinkering. He was a good guy, but in the past had taken something that affected him. He knew what was lost, and that it was down to him. Yet, he was a gentle soul. We greeted each other, and then he gave some advice that has stayed with me ever since.
“Stick to the bikes, once I used to ride, now I can’t.” He spoke with sadness and wisdom.
Oddly 10 years later I was meeting friends in Perranporth, at the time I had an orange Triumph Dolomite 1500. I had been enjoying it fully and she smelt of
As I parked, I heard, “It just had to be you, didn’t it…!” There was my friend who had given me the advice years before, with a
There are times that help define, guide and create our understanding. Those two very different ones have stayed with me.