Friday, July 24, 2009

A dear old friend and travelling companion

It is with much sadness that I announce the "moving on" of a dear friend and travelling companion - Bertie.

It was as a young man in the halcyon days of the early 1980's when I first made Bertie's acquaintance in a pub car park just off the A4 near Maidenhead. We instantly hit it off and Bertie and I were to share our love of travel and make a number of trips together including a grand tour of Europe.

From Tromso in the Arctic Circle to the bustling tourist resorts of southern Spain and from the peaks of Snowdonia in the west and the islands of Kos and Rhodes in the east - Bertie was with me. A faithful friend who never let me down, never complained and often watched over me while I slept on beaches or by the side of a road. At times I would be cranky and hurl abuse at this old friend - particularly after a lengthy journey - but he never answered back and never gave up on me.

Bertie was my faithful old Yamaha XT500. A single pot 500cc Japanese motorbike of an "enduro" style, but one which resembled in many ways the old British thumpers of the 50's and 60's - except he didn't tend to leak oil all over the place.

Bertie had retired some years ago to the coast where he lived with my cousin - and it was only this morning that I learned that my cousin had decided to sell Bertie and had received the grand sum of £1500 for him (more than three times what I had paid when I bought him in the first place!). It's true to say that there was little left of Bertie that was still original - the frame, tank, front forks, switchgear and maybe a few other ancillary items, but that's not the point.

The point is that my cousin might at least have offered me first refusal!


William Gruff said...

Notwithstanding that I thought your dog had died, I could never get on with Japanese motorcycles and have only ridden three in my life.

The only true 'thumper' was the Panther. I was fortunate enough to acquire a box of bits that was a 1953 Model 100 but stupid enough to marry before I could finish its restoration, and the rebuild of the Royal Enfield Super 5 that I was lucky enough to own for a good few years.

My first wife once said to me 'either the bikes go or I do'. Needless to say I divorced her before I had to sell the uncompleted motorcycles, and very nearly almost all of my books.

Stan said...

I grew up with Japanese bikes, WG. To be honest, they weren't that good back then - they tended to have ... errrr ... unusual handling characteristics - but they were fast and cheap. Like most kids around that time I started with a Fizzy at 16 and after that stayed wih Jap bikes. The best bike I ever rode was my KH250 which was wickedly fast for the time and actually handled pretty well - but it was a temperamental bastard. The XT in comparison was slow and handled like a tub of lard, but it was comfy, reliable and could cruise all day effortlessly. Being an enduro it could also cope with some of the rather shitty roads I came across without throwing a wobbly or me over a cliff.