Sunday 19 April 2020

A Personal Motorcycle History.....Or a Misspent Youth? Part 3

As described in the previous post on the subject, I was frustrated with the Honda XL250. Spring is a great time to change your bike (this would be a recurring theme!) together with my fondness for travelling further afield swayed me towards a pure road bike. March (I think!) 1976 saw me the proud owner of a brand new....

Honda CB250 G5
(Apologies for the use of the photo taken from the internet and any copyright infringement)
Mine was the same as the one pictured except on a P reg (hence no front plate required)

 This felt like a much larger bike than it actually was. A 250cc twin cylinder engine, SOHC fed by twin carburettors and an electric starter! Plus a disc front brake, although from memory it wasn't the best to say the least. A max speed of just over 80mph in real terms, was with hindsight more than enough.

 I piled the miles on this machine travelling to motorcycle events across the North of England and had a short camping tour round Kintyre in Scotland. I also used it for transport for work and to go walking and fishing in the Lakes. The summer of 1976 was of course one of the best, from memory it didn't rain in Kendal during the day from 1st April until mid July, motorcycling heaven. If I wasn't hooked before I was during this period of fantastic weather.

 Up till now motorcycling had been a mainly solitary experience, moving to Kendal away from Bowness meant I had lost touch a bit. I learnt that Tim Wray (from Bowness) had the same the same colour as well. I called round to see him and to have a chat...people with motorbikes always have plenty to talk about. Tim also had a Kawasaki KE175 trail bike...motorbike mad! We would become great fiends....and still are. 

 Tim was keener on trail/trials riding than the road, lots of time was spent exploring the capabilities of various off-road bikes over the following years. 

 The Honda was used mercilessly, I clocked up about 14000 miles in the 12months or so I owned it. I only came to grief once more by good luck than skill, colliding with a Wine & Spirits delivery van a couple of 100 metres of home...resulting in a rather battered Honda...and no damage to the van at all...Dad had been right!! I was a bit cut and bruised, but remember straightening up the Honda in the garage during the evening to be ready to ride over to Scarborough the next day for the road racing.

So the following Spring, March again I think I traded in a rather battered CB250 for another Trailbike....
A Yamaha DT250 Monoshock
(Apologies for the use of the photo taken from the internet and any copyright infringement)
Mine was identical to the image above.

 Bought brand new in March 1977, and another 250cc engine, it was the first 2 stroke bike I'd owned. It was used again without mercy both off road and on and from memory never missed a beat. Lots of fun was had...including a 2 up trip to Hereford and back in the day from Kendal. It spent many days caked in mud and hammered over rocks. 

 It did however in early December bite back (perhaps it was over enthusiastic throttle use) spinning up on frozen grass and falling and trapping my right foot. This happened on the Garburn Road...a favourite area in those days. Barely able to walk, I eventually rode home. Mother decided I should go to the hospital, a severely sprained ankle which resulted in a plaster cast and 3 weeks off work. The cast was removed on Boxing Day. 

 Something which I'd almost forgotten...I had taken up skiing in the Lakes, self taught (like motorcycling!) and without a car...this bike was ideal for ploughing through the snow to get to Kirkstone...Skis and poles across my back and a rucksack with skiboots etc also on my back...I'm shivering now typing this!

 I kept the Yamaha for 13 months I think (Tim will correct me if I'm wrong!) I cant quite remember why I felt I should forget about the trail riding?...I certainly enjoyed it...perhaps I thought there was more chance of injury? Anyway it was bike time! So off to James Walker for the 5th time and I bought a....

Honda CB400T
(Apologies for the use of the photo taken from the internet and any copyright infringement)
Mine was the same as the one above.

 Back to a Honda and a 4 stroke engine 400cc SOHC with 3 valve heads, not a performance machine really 27bhp and would reach mid 90's with a following wind. Tim had also bought one, although he still had an off road bike as well. He sold his quite quickly.

 The Honda Dream name was revived for this model (which I think only lasted 1 year) but in all honesty this wasn't really the bike of my dreams. It was still my daily transport and was used again for light touring, including a holiday to Galloway with Tim he still had his red version of the same bike. Strangely Tim and Ang now live on the Mull of Galloway so I know he liked the area!  

 I can't remember how many miles I clocked up or in fact exactly when I sold it. What I can say is things were going to get a bit crazy.
Thanks for reading
Take Care and Stay Safe

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