Sometimes it's personal

Friday, 5 July 2013
James Robinson, editor of TCM
So far as I’m concerned, there’s a fine line between a self-indulgence and providing interest – and I’m always very wary of crossing it

So, to any who find the inclusion of my own Douglas on page 57 of this month's magazine in any way annoying or offensive, I can only apologise and offer in mitigation that I was encouraged to include it by several readers/friends.

Thing is, my own motorcycles play a huge part in my ‘professional’ life and it’s inevitable the two sometimes coalesce somewhat. The Douglas has been a long-standing familiar machine to me, as the accompanying picture of my brother and I illustrates (below – I’m on the left). We reckon it was taken in about 1988 and that dark green nose just protruding into the picture is my dad’s Royal Enfield sidecar, which we spent many an hour riding about in. We (Simon and I) were always fascinated by the low-slung ‘Dougie’ and after much investigation, then selling my Comet (and Thunderbird, and spring-frame KSS ‘kit’) to fund it, I’ve managed to acquire it.

As with everything I acquire, I’ve become somewhat obsessed and have put myself on a crash course to learn about dirt track Douglases and their history – and particularly the past of my own machine, while it’s also opened up a whole new world of potential friends and contacts. It’s all terrifically exciting.

What has also been exciting, is that my Rex-Acme has come back together, thanks in no small part to Dave Flintoft at DFE. There’ll be more about all the work Dave has put into the Rex’s Blackburne engine in the next few magazines (yes, more self indulgence, but it’s fascinating what has gone into rebuilding this engine for which nothing is available ‘off the shelf’) while we also took it to Banbury. It didn’t all go quite as had been hoped on the day – ‘hope’ being the operative word, as I had put too much into that, rather than testing, with it literally only having been started up two days before and ridden no further than a few hundred yards. Basically, I went on the side of caution and ducked out with no damage or harm done. Still, what transpired was an opportunity to have a proper ride on the Douglas (I’d taken precautions for such an eventuality and had taken that along), which reminded me exactly why I love old motorcycles. It was also great to be able to lend a couple of bikes out and see people thoroughly enjoy them too; read all about it on page 20 of this month's mag.

And the Douglas? It lived up to all the expectations conjured up in the minds of those two little boys in the picture below.

James Robinson, Editor

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 42-01 - Jan 2015

Where legends come to life

About the Editor

James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson, Editor

James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.

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