Thursday, January 17, 2013

Honda Days

Honda C70
You see this little beauty? I had one exactly like it when I was at university. I bought it because I was living in Exminster which was about 6 miles from Exeter, and couldn't afford a car.

I wasn't supposed to be living in Exminster however, I had found a house in Topsham and should have moved in with a girl on my course and some bloke, a friend of hers. A week before our second year began, the bitch girl told me that another friend of hers was desperate for a house, hadn't found anywhere and asked if she could live with us. As this would make things a bit cramped, she'd said that yes okay that would be fine, and told me I should move out to make room for her.

She tried to make it sound better by saying that as we were doing the same course it wouldn't be a brilliant idea to live together too - too much contact. There was no thought of them moving elsewhere and me getting a new flatmate because they were all a nice little cosy group of fwends. I never forgave the bitch.

Anyway, a friend of mine - a proper one this time - helped me find a new place by taking me to see lodgings in his car. I ended up renting a room in a house owned by a woman called Penny in Exminster, and had to buy the Honda to get me to and from the university. I was terrified the first time I rode it away from the garage, refusing to leave first gear all the way home. My friend was incredibly kind and patient and followed me in his car, crawling along the road, to the rage of other road users, to make sure I got back safely.

It didn't take me long to get used to the bike as it was very simple and easy to drive. It cost me £1 per week in petrol back in 1983 to go to and fro every day. Top speed was 55mph going downhill with a following wind but I left cars standing at Stop signs and lights as I speedily nipped off from 0-20, faster than them. Ha!

I only fell off it twice. Once, on a wet evening, I was approaching a bend at the university with a Stop for  traffic in a side road. I had right of way as I didn't have a Stop. Some stupid cow at the Stop decided she could nip out in front of me which meant I had to slam on my wet brakes. Wet brakes don't brake, so I didn't stop; I went towards the bend which also had some gravel on it (another deathly peril for bikers), could do nothing about rounding the corner so came down instead just in front of another car. Did the stupid cow stop? Did she bugger. I was okay but shocked and got picked up by friendly passers by.

The second time I was out in the middle of nowhere on my way to someone's house for a party or get-together. Not far from their house, I was victim to another gravel patch, skidding and ending up on my side again. There was no one to pick me up so I had to do it myself, get back on the bike and limp to the house whereupon the girls took one look at me and poured me a G&T. Grateful? boy was I!

My petrol consumption went up quite a lot when I got a boyfriend. We scooted about the place and had a right merry old time. The only problem was that it was illegal for me to have a passenger, and one day I got stopped by a policeman, which put an end to our happy trips. I got off with a warning, but the sod wrote and told our parents too. I do believe I was over 18 at the time so no idea why he did that, fucking stirrer!

It was a really cool little bike. I remember having to take the hairdryer to the brakes in the depths of winter to unfreeze them. The back yard behind the little house at Exminster was always cold and damp. The bathroom was similar as it had been added on out the back and was exposed on three sides, so particularly freezing in winter.

After that year at university, my Honda ended up living in the greenhouse at the end of my parent's garden until I was told to get rid of it, and sold it for a song. The guy who bought it was delighted, despite its poor state! Well, it was an example of the most popular motorcycles in the world...



22 comments:

  1. I remember back when I used to ride, the abject terror when I would see a patch of gravel ahead.

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    1. Absolutely. I'm always edgy when I see gravel when my DB and I got for rides on his big BMW, but it handles gravel much better. Heavier, I suppose, and bigger tyres.

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  2. Wonderful writing, great stories, Sarah, thanks for the fun.
    I only ever fell off a motorbike once. (And only ever tried to ride one once.)

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    1. Thanks Tim, glad you enjoyed it. :)

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  3. I saw the picture on my blog roll before the title and said, "AAH! A Honda 70!!" My dad had one that he saved and taught us kids to drive.. I couldn't have been any older than 12 or 13 at that time but it sure was fun. I wasn't allowed to drive it out of the neighborhood and I'm not even sure I ever shifted higher than 2nd gear, but it was good fun, just as you describe :)

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    1. What a marvellous idea! It must have been terrific fun whizzing round the neighbourhood, especially so young. You must have been on the receiving end of many an envious look from the other kids.

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  4. What fun, so much better then peddling back and forth! I also have a problem with gravel on my bike so I can imagine no fun on the Honda! Some 'friends' are meant to be friends for ever, others are only there when it suits them. The latter will always let you down when you need them most! Keep well Diane

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    1. Totally agree, Diane. I'm still in contact with my mate with the car. Never heard about the mean old cow after university, and it's no loss.

      What really stuck in my craw was that I had found the sodding house in the first place. Then I was being booted out. On the bright side, I probably would have spent a horrible year living with that group, as it was, I had a lovely one doing exactly as I pleased. :)

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  5. Love it! I'm surprised you didn't track down the pseudo friend later in life and wallop her one. What a meanie. I wasn't brave enough for anything with two wheels and an engine - a tricycle with an engine would have been more my style as I'm dangerous to myself and others, even on a bicycle :-)

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    1. Someone told me she married a missionary and went to live in China. Good riddance.

      They make an amazing motortricycle now. It's targeted at ageing bikers who are no longer confident about riding two wheels, costs an arm and a leg but is super comfy with all mod cons. :)

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  6. Love the pretty blue of this bike and the little story "spin" you've taken us on, took me right back to my varsity days too. (Also remembering all the weird and mean people I met there) What was that cool movie about those kids on scooters, I def wanted to get one after that, but I haven't enough dexterity for the gears, I would have fallen off many more times than twice.

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    1. The colour was called 'Angel Blue'. Isn't that cute?

      Was the film 'Quadrophenia'?

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  7. Never had a bike of my own but very much enjoyed the thrill of being a passenger!

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    1. Oh me too, on my DB's big bike. Love it!

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  8. I've never owned a motorbike and have only ever been on the back of one once but I absolutely loved it! Happy memories...

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    1. What a shame the Shah is not a biker! :)

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  9. You're braver than i am, Sarah. Probably because I never learned to ride a bike, I was terrified on my one and only ride on the back of a scooter and never tried again. DH, on the other hand, had a scooter in his teens until he had an argument with the front of a bus in the middle of Newcastle and ended up in hospital. Later he had a 50cc Honda which he used for travelling back and forth to university until he could afford to run a car. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Perpetua, needs must when at university with little money! It was either that or cycle - way too much effort!

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  10. I've had 'friends' a bit like that too - I think being let down by girlfriends can be harder than being let down by men. This is where you get your bike love from then?

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    1. Not sure about bike love, but I was definitely game to go along as a passenger on my DB's bike. I love doing that.

      Being let down by girlfriends is a pain in the arse, but it's bound to happen and just makes you careful about who you choose as a friend next time. Eventually you can whittle it down quite well, but you also realise that very few people fit the bill. The ones you can rely on, anyway.

      The rest are just flutterers that you can take or leave. That's the wonder of growing older and wiser. Knowledge.

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  11. What a lovely bike! And I like the memories too...I can't believe that you were kicked out of your first house just like that. Some people can be nasty!

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    1. Yes, I should have known too. She was a right dodgy unreliable old cow. You live and learn. :)

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Comments are bienvenue.