Introduction to Motorcycles


I have had an, on-off, life-long, love-affair with motorbikes. I had my first moped when I was sixteen, back in 1972, an NSU “Quickly” (you know what an oxymoron is 🙂 ). My year at school were the first to be relegated to mopeds. Before 1972, 16-year-olds could ride a motorcycle. I remember out the front of Plympton Secondary Modern School, back in the late 1960 to early 1970s, having quite a few iconic bikes: BSA, Triumph, Matchless etc, belonging to the older kids. It looked like a real Rockers Paradise.

Vincent Black Shadow. One of the most coveted post-war Rockers bikes. 1000cc ‘V’ twin engine. (wikimedia.org). Probably nearer my dads gereation than mine though. The only person I ever knew owned one of these was the labourer in the Tool room, in the Valley Road branch of Tecalemit Ltd.

Changes in the Law for British Motorcyclists

1972 was the first year the UK government started to clamp-down on motorcycle use. Nowadays you have to pass three tests to get a full motorcycle licence. Back then, it was just the one. Two things had happened to bring this about. Firstly, there were more and more cars on the roads, which made motorcycling a bit more dangerous. Secondly there were quite a few Japanese import motorcycles. These were aimed at sixteen-year-olds, who could only ride a 250cc machine, until they passed their motorcycle test. In particular there was a Kawasaki two-stroke, triple cylinder, machine that could almost climb walls in top gear. It was like a rocket. Well, this wasn’t thought to be wise for young people moving up from a push bike.

The UK government changed the law so that all you were allowed to ride at 16 was a moped. A little while later they changed the law again so that, even when you were 17, you could only ride a 125cc, until you passed your test. This makes perfect sense to me. You need to be restricted until you know what you are doing. It’s no good executing a perfect overtaking manoeuver but then finding that you are going into a tight bend, with the wrong camber angle, and which has mud on it, at far too fast a speed. You need experience, planning and judgement, which only comes after you have been riding for a while.

What these Motorcycle Blogs are About

These posts cover some of my motorcycling experiences, and anything related to this. I present each post in connection with each bike. So the motorcycles themselves form a sort of vehicle (haha) to tell the related stories.

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