My cousin Pete came over from Australia to ride with dad and I in Ireland for the ‘National’, which necessitates a whole, horrid, long van journey, during which of course we talk about all sorts, though often back to motorbikes. I invariably say: “I’d quite like one of them” about pretty much anything motorcycling, as well as various other cars, vans, pick-ups, motorhomes, bicycles, and anything else (garage snacks!) encountered. At one point Peter said something along the lines of: “Jeez, is there anything you don’t want?” in his Australian-intonated (he’s been there 20 years) accent. Though it did make me think a bit, mainly that it’s perhaps I’m just ‘suggestible’ in the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ manner…
Anyway, owing to transport issues (the original hire van broke; a long, frustrating – and expensive – story…), we took one bike each to Ireland. For me it was my 1927 Long-stroke Sunbeam. When it seized within the first hour of the first morning, it looked like being a fairly miserable trip. Still, it freed off, I got it going again and though there were a couple more glitches, it kept running all week. Basically, the Best and Lloyd pump casting had started to disintegrate, so I was hand-pumping the oil in directly (happily it has a supplementary hand-pump) and as I got used to as and when, it improved no-end.
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In the end we had a great time, a couple of other minor issues (dad had a puncture, the engine shock absorber made a dive into the hedge off Pete’s (exposed primary drive) bike but that aside, all was well.
The next weekend cousin Peter and another cousin Dan joined us for a lovely ride out around the Norfolk coast, with several other pals joining us too for my 40th birthday. The only disappointment of the day was the lady had run out of fresh crab at our allotted lunch stop, so I had to make do with whelks, shell-on prawns and crayfish tail sandwiches. Having abused the Sunbeam thoroughly in Ireland, it was the turn of the Rex-Acme, while Pete was able to get some miles on his 1928 K10 ‘cammy’ AJS, having borrowed dad’s K8 (ohv) for Ireland, owing to the K10 being freshly restored and unproven. But it did 120-odd miles with only a couple of minor hiccups, and as Pete has returned to Aus, it is staying over here for a while now – so I’ll be putting some miles on it too, and there will also be a feature coming up.