Bang, Bang

There are clearly more small motorbikes on the road than there were fifty-years ago.  Without buying a back copy of Motorcycle News from 1972 to prove it, I just know.

Many of these motorbike owners gather outside various food establishments, like something out of The Birds, waiting for their order to take something in a polystyrene box to someone very hungry.  Or very lazy.  Or both.   You half expect Tippi Hendren to tentatively come out of the local KFC, only to be cajoled by waiting bike riders randomly shouting out items of fast food.

These riders are mounting the 2022 equivalent of the Honda 50 (a bike many of us probably had to enable us to pass the bike test or appear in a very poor sequel to Quadrophenia).

Fifty-years ago these riders weren’t leaving McDonalds or Burger King, together with their produce, they were learning ‘The Knowledge’.   As a kid, when I got my first moped, I’d pretend I was doing it too – memorizing every Balham street in case my plans of going into advertising failed.  I imagined being able to talk loudly to people behind me about “if Mrs. Thatcher were alive, we’d have never got into this mess”.

Nowadays, if you randomly stopped a bike rider, they’d not be able to tell you the quickest route to Charing Cross Station, but they would be able to hand over a bucket of Bang Bang Chicken and chips.

2 thoughts on “Bang, Bang

  1. Your reminiscing always brings a smile to my face. The Honda C50 in the photograph was the one on which I took my motorcycle test in March 1981. (At least it was the same colour…). I was going gto take it on a CB175 until iit broke down the night before the exam. In a panic I phoned my friend with the C50: Twice round the block and I felt reasonably confident I could both start and stop this far eastern powerhouse. The test was held in Tunbridge Wells.
    We all knew the test route which involved continuous left turns round the circuit ,with a right turn back into the driving test centre for good measure. The examiner would walk round it anti clockwise with a clip board, hiding in doorways, and then amble out when it came to the emergency stop. The clipboard would then indicate it was time to pull up quicktime. All went well for the first three minutes or so, at which point the indicators on the C50 failed. I panicked, looked out for the examiner (who was lurking under the canopy of “Camden Ironmongers”) and pulled over. “My indicators have stopped working “, I sobbed. “Justr carry on” came the very British reply. In a moment of unusual clarity I realised that he had meant I should now use hand signals. I did and passed first time. It then dawned on me
    that not only could I now ride Honda C50s ,CB175’s and Reliant Robins with oassegers and without L plates, i could also attempt to beg purloin or borrow a Kawasaki Z1300 a la Mel Gibson’s “Mad Max”. Somehow the subsequent change in motorbike licencingr preventing the instantaneous transition from C50 to Z1300 with the words “That’s the end of the test you’ve passed”, did not seem so draconian. Mind you, my wife told me last week that her driving licence
    was also a full motorcycle licence even though she had never ridden one in her life. I checked, it did. I then looked up the small exclusions print which does not appear on the plastic licence. It only allows it if the motorbike is a trike. Sorry to have disappointed her and all the girls in her ioffice…

    Thanks again for your writing Micky, you brightened my day again.

    John Constance
    (The other member of Ralph Scrowston’s cross country club)


    1. Any friend of GRS’s etc etc. thanks so much for kind words, and so pleased you like these weekly ramblings. My test was in Sutton and still cannot see how I passed as the examiner saw me off and back again. I did a hand signal leaving and that seems to have done the job. I took mine on a CB250. On the one day it actually worked for 24-hours. Thanks again, John.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s