Annepm2015 has nominated me to enter the Five Photos-Five Stories challenge and I’ve accepted her nomination.
Over time, a number of bloggers have graciously nominated me for various challenges but unfortunately I’ve been unable to take up any of the nominations for a variety of reasons.
Things are now looking up at Cassa Creakingbones and when Annepm2015 mentioned Harley Davidsons in her invitation to me, how could I resist? So here we go, five photos and five stories over five days.
I’ve always loved motorcycles. I can still vividly remember my first ride on a real motorcycle when I was about 14 years old. A mate of mine in the surf club had a Vincent Black Prince motor bike, one of the first mass produced motorcycles that could easily exceed 100 MPH. His name was Jim and he was probably about 10 years older than I.
Anyway, one day I rode pillion as Jim took me for a ride through a large National Park near where I lived. No traffic, no helmets, no leather jackets, no protective clothing, no Highway Patrol, just the open road, very hight speeds and excitement by the bucket full. I was absolutely amazed that anything could give such an adrenalin rush. I was hooked and I loved the raucous exhaust sound.
When I got home and told my father he nearly had a fit. As a young bloke in the 1920’s he rode a Rudge, another fast English motor cycle. His motorcycling career ended abruptly when he hit a stationary train at a country level crossing. He survived but his love of motor cycles didn’t.
My father demanded that I abstain from riding anything on two wheels that was powered by anything other than two legs. I reluctantly agreed.
However, when I was 22 years old, doesn’t seem like over 50 years ago, my then employer decided I would make a good high speed Special Traffic Patrol ( now known as the Highway Patrol) cop.
It seemed like a dream come true when I lined up with eight or nine others to commence the training program. We were issued with khaki cotton boiler suits, leather gauntlets, crash helmets that looked like Nazi storm trooper replicas and the most idiotic sunglass type eye protectors imaginable. Of course we had no visible insignia so that if we created mayhem on the public street, no one would know who we really were.
After a five minute lecture on the technical issues, gears, brakes, kick start, spark, advance and retard, choke, clutch and throttle, we started our bikes and followed the instructor straight out onto a busy Sydney road. I’m not sure who was worried the most, bus drivers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, car drivers, pedestrians, pedal cyclists and the occasional dog, not to mention me.
Our instructor was definitely oblivious to everything as he weaved in and out of the traffic with our little group following blindly behind. After what seemed to be an eternity we arrived unscathed at Centennial Park, a large public area with a number of sealed roads, some hills, a few lakes and dirt tracks.
After a short stop where we were congratulated for not being involved in any accidents our training really commenced, with the added information that if we dropped our bike for any reason, we had to pick it up ourselves, get back on and keep going.
My issue bike was a Norton, I think a Feather Bed. It was a feather bed on the bitumen but on the dirt tracks it was more like a bucking broncho. I can’t remember how often I fell off but I know that by lunch time I was totally stuffed. I wasn’t the only one to feel that way and that made me feel much better.
After three days of hurtling around Centennial Park, both on and off the bitumen, we were taken out onto the open road and followed our lead instructor and his helpers down through the Royal National Park where I’d pillioned with Jim all those years ago.
We didn’t reach warp speed on the training run but it was rapid enough to get the heart beat well raised and bring a smile from ear to ear.
Back at Centennial Park for our final debrief and endorsement as high speed riders, disaster overtook me. I overestimated my ability when negotiating the only hairpin bend in the park, dropped the bike mid corner, slid with it off the road, hit a tree and guess what, no more Norton. It was a write off.
The issue khaki boiler suit I was wearing got ripped to bits. I did’t get a scratch, not even a bruise, but was immediately scratched out of the High Speed Motor Cycle Course. Totally unsuitable for the STP.
As a consolation prize I was authorised to be what was known as a Divisional Rider, picking up and delivering the mail, running messages, getting the Sergeant’s lunches and other equally vital and important jobs. What a let down.
Fortunately for me, I was shortly afterwards,’ In the Interests of the Service’ transferred 300 miles away to an inland country town where ‘Divisional Riders’ did not exist. For the next six years I enjoyed my country General Duties.
My interest in and love of motorcycles didn’t diminish and I snuck in the occasional ride on a bike a mate generously lent me.
As the years went by, I had occasional love affairs with BMWs, Hondas, Suzukis and Triumphs
Then I came to my senses with the realisation that there was only one bike that made you look absolutely fabulous and terrific when you caught a glimpse of yourself in a shop window as you rode by. That bike was and is an Harley Davidson. It has to be black of course.
The rest is history.
Hoo roo for now.