Today, Sunday we got a tad sick of “playing” indoor games and simply gazing out of the front door watching the rainsqualls and wind blasts, so we went off to “town” to restock the larder.
It was then that we decided to visit several friends that up till about 6 months ago were our neighbours.
Bruce and Vivian are well into their seventies now, and retired to a comfortable government housing unit.
During our conversation on the rear patio, I announced I had begrudgingly ‘woosed’ out of a club ride today because of the disgusting weather. Vivian then bought up the stories of her and Bruce’s courtship in the 1950s and Bruce’s biking days.
She told of how Bruce had repeatedly thrown her off the back of his Triumph on one outing.
Bruce after some deliberation took over to clarify this tale.
It seems Bruce told that was after he first bought his 1948 Triumph and sidecar.
They were travelling down the “Bulli Pass” behind Wollongong in NSW. (Many Australians will know of this demonic mountain pass’s repute.)
Anyway Bruce and Vivian, (his newly won love of his life), placed securely in the sidecar, were heading for a family property just outside of “the Gong”.
Bruce’s parents toddling along somewhere behind in the family car.
As darkness descends he suddenly experiences a rattle and clunk to find the bike engine revving and going nowhere!
He climbs off and scratches his head, Vivian equally perplexed.
His Dad arrives and pulls up behind the immobilised machine. “What’s up Son? “ “I think I blew the gearbox!” Bruce retorts.
As they contemplate the situation, another car comes toddling down the road. His headlights highlight a bedraggled length of something lying on the road behind them! The chain!
So after further debate Dad and Bruce “squirt up” the road to a small village where they know the Baker has a BSA with side car/ box, which he uses as a delivery vehicle. He willingly offers up a spare link and back they go to reattach the chain!
Off they go once more.
Well about 30 miles from the property he suddenly finds he has a flat tyre on the sidecar.
He pulls over. Then as he inspected the damage, his parents appeared.
“Now what?” asks Dad, as he draws alongside the motorcycle.
He and his Dad endeavour to replace the tyre with the spare mounted on the front of the cart. To their horror it is the wrong size rim!
So Dad recommends they stuff the flat tyre with grass. This bemuses Bruce, but he assists in the task at hand. Vivian climbs into the carriage and Bruce strikes up the Triumph and off they go.
Some miles further on the tyre gives up and bales out, leaving the bare rim to rattle on by it-self!
Dad pulls up behind ~ “What’s wrong now!!
More deliberations. So they remove the sidecar and strap it to the parcel rack on the roof of Dad’s car!
Vivian climbs on the back of the bike and all set off again. Well; apparently Bruce is amazed at the power increase, as the sidecar is no longer attached.
Vivian barges in at this point. “And now off course, Bruce had never ridden any thing more than his push bike, so is totally of his depth!”
A round of chuckles resound. Bruce announced it was then that it started to rain, and inevitably he approaches a corner. Remembering the bike has no sidecar and a new leash of power.
As the corner approaches, Bruce leans into the corner ~ as if there was aside car attached.
By some miracle he manages to retrieve the potential disaster, but leaves the road and running the verge of the road, before eventually getting back on the road.
A quick stop and composure is regained! Off they go again.
As he gathers confidence, the rain continues and he suddenly leaves the tarmac and launches onto dirt road surface.
It was then a whole new ball game began and with a 17 year old Vivian hanging grimly on the back.
In moments, Viv is launched off the back landing flat in what is a muddy slop. They grimly remount and set off once more.
It was after some three or four undignified lunges in the mud and slush, when Dad pulls up and by now definitely short on patience, gruffly orders the little lady, by now looking bedraggled and more like a mud wrestler in her leathers, into the back of the car.
They finally made journeys end with no more dramas.
The next day, Bruce, still proud of his latest acquisition, refits the sidecar, replaces the tyre and wheel and all is intact.
Unfortunately, he was about to come to more grief when he proudly took his mate for run. He was fired up and a generous throttle in hand, he stretched the bike and sidecar out along the still muddy dirt road.
It was at one of those corners, that he totally got it wrong. The bike and car lunged off the road and into a gutter.
The impact launched he and his mate over the front. His mate taking out the sidecar windscreen in the effort!
They then hauled the unit out of the gutter, to examine the damage, which consisted of one broken wind screen and a pronounced and definite, altered fork angle toward the engine, ~
“Well ~ they were definitely bent back “a little”, but we rode it home!” Bruce proudly announced!!
So with bike and ego in hand it was finally back to the workshop!
Vivian went on to proudly announce that even when she well and truly pregnant with her first that she still rode proudly in that sidecar!
Ahh Tall tales and truths!!
(Copyright; Stuart Setzer)
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