|My first bike - Honda 70cc (1983)|
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
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...